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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Paul: was he a false apostle?

                   (like some say)

A Defense of Paul

Other than Jesus Himself,  I don't think any other man has been more maligned in his ministry to both Jews and gentiles than the man named Paul. 

Although he wrote the majority of the New Testament and was responsible for countless numbers of Christian converts for the last 2,000 years, I have heard him referred to as a "male chaivinist", anti-female, a liar, and a false apostle. 
One "prophet" was saying "ya gotta watch that Paul" alluding Paul was in error and that the Catholic Church was somehow mistakenly responsible for including Paul's writings as scripture.

 Many Messianic Christian Jewish brethren stumble at Paul's epistles. Even the vast majority of Christian ministers and pastors  bear no resemblance to the ministry, faith, and walk of Paul. 
Were Paul's writings scripture and believable?

From a website critical of Paul:

 "James, the leader of "myriads" of Messianic Jews, never does come to Paul's rescue when everyone would naturally think he certainly would have if it all were just a simple misunderstanding of Paul's teaching." 
The writer also stated: "Now we need to look at some more of Paul's errors in doctrine... especially those that suggest that one is not expected to live by God's Law.
 His use of Scripture to prove his doctrine is lackluster at best... if not outright dishonest.
Paul has told lies, and he is in all probability the false apostle that Yahshua commended the Ephesians for rejecting.

1. "His apostleship was unrecognized by others.", 
      Unlike Paul, a true prophet or apostle does not have to go to such extraordinary lengths to convince the world they are who they say they are. Even Yahshua said that if he alone bore witness of himself, his witness was invalid. (John 5:31)
 And of all the people who shouldn't need to have others testify on their behalf, Yahshua was that person. Yet he had Moses, the prophets, the Psalms, John the Baptist, the Fathers voice from heaven declaring to everyone "this is My beloved Son..." and hundreds of those who witnessed his resurrection just to name a few.
Paul had none of these."  

2. "Of the 22 times in the Bible where Paul is referred to as an "apostle", only twice is he referred to as an apostle by someone other than himself!
These two instances came from the same person. Not from Yahshua, or any of the original apostles, but from Paul's close traveling companion and personal press secretary Luke.

Both accounts are found in Luke's record of the Acts of the Apostles, (chapter 14:4,14).
Here Paul is referred to as an apostle along with Barnabas. By this time in the story, Luke would have been very accustomed to Paul calling himself an apostle, and he would no doubt have been in agreement with Paul's assessment of himself. By these statistics alone, it is evident that Paul is by far his own biggest fan... and his side kick Luke was his number two fan.
This  leaves no one else anywhere in the Bible going on record as recognizing his apostleship!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Our Baptism

Where did Baptism originate ??
Who baptized?
HOW did they baptize?
What did the apostles of Christ command concerning this?

Most  have heard about John the Baptist.... but did you know...?
 God had given John the baptist a direct command to baptize  (to baptize means literally "to immerse", not sprinkle.)

John 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize in water, he said unto me, 
Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon him, the same is he that baptizeth in the Holy Spirit.

John gave a strong message of repentance and baptized those who were told to "bring forth fruits worthy of (your) repentance", i.e. to change of one's mind and will).

But baptism was also  foreshadowed in the Old Testament temple service.
1.   Under the Old Law, as a priest entered the temple to do service, he was to follow the law given in Exodus 30:18 where God commanded:

"Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and the base thereof of brass, whereat to wash. And thou shalt put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.
19  And Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: 
  (their works (of their hands) and spiritual walk (of their feet) were to be cleansed
      by the washing of the water by obedience to the Word)
20  when they go into the tent of meeting, (that is to come before God)  they shall wash with water,
     that they die not;
      or when they come near to the altar to minister,
      to burn an offering made by fire unto Jehovah

      (the OT priest offered the sacrifice and burning of the flesh, which symbolized how the Christian is to
       repent from our dead fleshly works and sin)
21  So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

 The NT "translates" this statute into water baptism and continuing in His Word, the New "eternal" Covenant in Christ. 
In doing so, we "fulfill all righteousness" as there is no righteousness apart from the Word and obedience in faith, to the terms of the New Covenant. And we are "walking as He walked", that is, in the very footsteps of Christ.
2.  Jesus as our high priest likewise had to fulfill the righteousness of the law, which He too submitted Himself to fulfill it for us.
     The law required the priest to wash a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed
    which pointed right to Jesus Christ, our "High Priest".

 Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
3.  As we transition into the New Testament, baptism is *commanded,  as the extension of the law of the Old Testament, only it was changed:
     Their is no longer a tribe of priests doing service for God in a temple built with hands,
      Baptism is now commanded for ALL believers who each are now a priest and who are themselves a corporate temple made without hands, to offer up the sacrifices of praise and our "reasonable service".

 Thus the ceremonial "washings", the ordinance commanded in the washing in the laver,  became a complete immersion into Christ, which points us also to immersion in water and Spirit.
  (Hebrews 9:10 being only (with meats and drinks and divers washings) carnal ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation.) 

 The literal water of baptism also being a symbol of both the Word and Spirit, which Jesus called the "new birth", for the "born again" believer..
 Therefore when the gospel was preached after the death and resurrection of Christ,  baptism was commanded, and was 
always by immersion.

The OT priest was to obey the command to wash his hands and feet (symbolizing his works and walk) in order to offer an acceptable sacrifice and come into God's presence.

The NT believer, who is also of a "a royal priesthood" is to likewise continue in his baptism through abiding in the Word and offering up the sacrifice of his flesh, in laying down his life for the brethren.
(1John 3:16)
4. Baptism also shows forth and fulfills our death to sin, self (through repentance), and burial as Christ died, was buried, and rose to walk in new life.
At our baptism as we are immersed in the water "we are buried with Him by baptism into death"
-Rom 6:3-4-5) in order that we might arise to walk in newness of life.
5. Baptism also shows us a token of God's forgiveness of sins "arise and be baptized WASHING AWAY thy sins..."  Acts 22:16, Acts 2:38.
6. There is one more beautiful truth that goes with our baptism
Not only does it bury us with Christ showing our repentance and death to sin, it also shows us the promise of our immersion into Christ who is the Word.
     As the disciples baptized, they did so as ambassadors of Jesus Christ, acting in His Name and authority. 

The name of Jesus was the ONLY name used in baptism and our baptism is  where the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is revealed in Jesus
The name of Jesus was called upon to save by the new believer, and the person administering the baptism acted as the representative of Jesus Christ.  

"neither is there salvation in any other, for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
"Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name" Phil. 2:9

This was so important that disciples of John the Baptist were re-baptized  into the name of Jesus in Acts 19.
   (5  And when they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.

the Greek word for baptism is baptizo 
the definition is:
 to dip, to immerse, to submerge, to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one's self, bathe.
Our New Testament baptism is a blessing from God and a visible way to experience forgiveness of our sins when we believe the gospel.
It was in the last instruction Jesus gave the apostles and the first time the message of Jesus was preached, it resulted in a command to the crowd to be baptized in Jesus' name. Acts 2:38 a figure for the NT priesthood of believers:
the OT priest performed the washing as commanded.
Revelation 1:6 and he made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The law was only the shadow, Christ gave us the Light, and the New Testament reveals Him.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

To Our Spiritual (and carnal) Brethren

To Our Spiritual  (and carnal)  Brethren
Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, ... do not cease to pray and make request for you,
that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding
What is "spiritual" ?   Who is  "spiritual" ?

The word "spiritual" is not used in scripture until the New Testament.
For you Bible Word students, it is:
G4152 pneumatikos From G4151; non-carnal, that is, (humanly) ethereal , or (demoniacally) a spirit , or (divinely) supernatural, regenerate, religious: - spiritual.

The New Testament ushered in the fulfillment of all previous covenants in Christ, which gave us a "Better Covenant", the "Eternal Covenant" and reconciling us to God.
Hebrews 13:20
 Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus,  as Jesus commanded His disciples to "tarry in Jerusalem" that they might receive "the PROMISE of the Father.."
 Acts 1:4 and, being assembled together with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem,
              but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, ye heard from me:

In a nutshell, "the promises" of God are in Christ, and they include eternal life, salvation, deliverance, provision, protection, healing, and wholeness.
Nothing is left out, and we receive them when we are fully persuaded in faith that they are ours, and we keep our part of the Covenant by repentance, faith, and obedience.
-as we "abide in my Words", and "keep my commandments".. (as given in our New Testament Covenant).

What is "spiritual"?
Our "abiding city", "New Jerusalem" is a spirtual city.  (Heb. 13:14, Rev. 3:12)
 There is "spiritual food" and "spiritual drink(1Cor. 10:3-4) for the "spiritual man" who has a born again  spirit from above, and a new spiritual nature.

There are "spiritual brethren" , "spiritual gifts" , "spiritual songs" , "spiritual sacrifices" , a "spiritual body" , a "spiritual house", and "spiritual blessings".
There is "spiritual understanding" of "spiritual words" , and there is "spiritual wisdom and understanding" 
The  "discerning of spirits" is spiritual.  Speaking in tongues is spiritual language, there are spiritual visions, angels and demons are spiritual beings, and God Himself is Spirit.

Revelation from scripture is spiritual
Galatians 1:12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it,
                      but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.

The church was expected to walk in spiritual  "revelation" :
1st Corinthians 14:26 ...When ye come together, each one hath a psalm, hath a teaching,
        hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation.
:30   But if a revelation be made to another sitting by, let the first keep silence.
Ephesians 3:3 how that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery,
        as I wrote before in few words...

and Paul prayed for the saints in Ephesians 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;
Yes, we know some people can get flakey and over-spiritual.
And  we also know that carnal-minded and letter-minded  brethren will reject a spiritual revelation unless they have a gift from God to "see" and "hear" what the Spirit saith to the churches.

However the spiritual overseers of a spiritual assembly called the church, are spiritual brethren (or should be) that are given to judge and discern.
The apostle Paul even said "if any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge the things that I write are the commands of God".
He ENCOURAGED the saints to have and get "spiritual wisdom and understanding".
 Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our message? and to whom hath the arm of the LORD been revealed?
Spiritual people received spiritual revelations often missed by the majority:

Matthew 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jonah:
         for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.
Luke 2:26 And it had been revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death,
                 before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
And to the saints in 1st Corinthians 2:10 But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit:
          for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
When we left the church world in 2004,
Linda and I had purposed to return to the diligent study of God's Word. Because we had followed Jesus Christ out of the sheepfolds of men, He became our teacher as He said in John 14:26 and 1John 2:27.... of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any one teach you; but as his anointing teacheth you; concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you...
At that time, what we read from others served to point us toward the Word for ourselves to "prove all things" as it is written, and we have done so ever since. The lexicons in Greek and Hebrew became tools used almost daily, Scripture word searches are examined numerous times per day also, as well as our regular reading of the Word.
And the Lord has blessed  with non-stop revelation and understanding from the Word, much of which we never heard taught in "church".
Indeed, we hear a similar testimony from many others after they "exodused" from Church Inc. and the organizations formed by men.
Many obvious truths were hidden in plain sight. (Such as the naked truth about tithing never given to the churches by the apostles that gave us the New Testament writings.)  

Other revelations come by prayer and study, and are a gift from God.

An example was the hidden prophecy of the endtime in Joshua 6, or the revelation of the Nicolaitane error that Jesus said He hated,  true church government, and more as the Lord reveals.

In fact, once the Lord begins to open your eyes to some of the deeper truths ("But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God") you will realize how small our understanding is.

How wonderful it is when He blesses us with deeper truth and spiritual understanding than what is in the plain text in the letter! Jesus did so virtually every time He spoke! -And it was not only in the parables.
Let's read an example of Jesus "spiritualizing" the scripture:
Mat. 12:
47 And one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand outside, seeking to speak to thee.
48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
49 And he stretched forth his hand towards his disciples, and said, Behold, my mother and my brethren!
50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Huh? said the carnal brethren.

Now look at Jesus "spiritualizing" the law:

Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28 But I say unto you, that every one that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Matthew 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22)  but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment

And John wrote in "spiritual" terms: 1st John 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
They already knew it was wrong to murder but John "spiritualized" it to include hatred, which means "to despise"!
As we "searched the scriptures", we found the word "spiritual" only came into use in the New Testament, which testifies to the fact that a spiritual people who make up God's spiritual house.As we realize His temple is not "made with hands"  but is built from "living stones".
1st Peter 2:5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices),  who were "born from above" by the Holy Spirit.
The flip side is that we can easily lean on our own understanding which is the "natural man" and who loves fleshly reasonings.
1st Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ.

-and see where Paul pointed this out in 1st Corinthians 2:14 Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him;
and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
spiritually: non-physically, that is, divinely, figuratively.discerned: properly to scrutinize, that is, (by implication) investigate, interrogate, determine: - ask, question, discern, examine, judge, search.

Let me ask this, can a prophet read someone's book in order to prophecy by the Spirit of God?
Can God give another man or woman a revelation about His Word that is not heard in "mainstream" Christianity?
Is God's truth limited to those with pulpits and Bible College  Certificates?
1Cor 2:12 But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God.
13     Which things also we speak, not in words which man`s wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth
 1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
 1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory
Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
-You don't get that from a book. Men may instruct, but revelation comes from God.