The Future Is As Bright As The Promises Of God

Archive for October, 2013

Baptism and Prophecy part 2 — Were Damascus Prophecies Long Ago Fulfilled?

torah2

In his article of September 21, 2013 that appeared in the religion section of the Wichita Falls Times Record News, the minister (mentioned in my previous post) made his argument that to many today are focused on the events in Syria — that all end-times prophecy has been fulfilled.

Partial preterists believe and teach that most bible prophecy was fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD,  Full preterists believe and teach that all prophecy was fulfilled at that time.  They also believe that Revelation is mostly symbolic and allegorical, and was written while Nero was emperor — Nero committed suicide in 68 AD so events recorded in Revelation were fulfilled when Titus sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in 70 AD.  There is no external evidence that Revelation was written during the reign of Nero — there is external evidence that it was written during the reign of Domitian, 96/77 AD.

“God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the Church, and He blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” Rev. 1:3 (NLB)

No prophecy found in the Old Testament or the New Testament applies to today?  Have the following prophecies been fulfilled?

“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ will all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and authority and power.  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” 1 Cor. 15:22-26 (NASB)

“For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”  1 Thess. 4:15-17 (NASB)

“But the Day of the Lord will come; it will come, unexpected as a thief. On that day the heavens will disappear with a great rushing sound, the elements will disintegrate in flames, and the earth with all that is in it will be laid bare.  Since the whole universe is to break up in this way, think what sort of people you ought to be, what devout and dedicated lives you should live!  Look eagerly for the coming of the Day of God and work to hasten it on; that day will set the heavens ablaze until they fall apart, and will melt the elements In flames.  But we have His promise, and look forward to new heavens and a new earth, the home of justice.  With this to look forward to, do your utmost to be found at peace with Him, unblemished and above reproach in His sight…”  2 Pet. 3:10-14 (NEB)

Have the heavens disappeared?  Has the earth been destroyed?  Has death been abolished?  Have true believers been caught up to meet the Lord with those who have already died?

The minister mentioned in his article that God’s plan for Israel as His chosen nation has been completed — that the Church replaced Israel in the purposes of God. (Replacement Theology)

Replacement Theology is a doctrinal teaching that originated in the early Church as Jewish leaders were replaced by Gentile leaders.

Besides teaching that the Church has replaced Israel, Replacement Theology teaches that the Jewish people are no longer God’s chosen people and that the covenants ascribed to Israel were taken away.  But we read in Jeremiah 31:35-37, “It is the Lord who provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night, and who stirs the sea into roaring waves.  His name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and this is what He says: ‘I am as likely to reject My people Israel as I am to abolish the laws of nature!’  This is what the Lord says, ‘Just as the heavens cannot be measured and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored, so I will not consider casting them away for the evil they have done.  I the Lord have spoken.'” (NLT) — God is eternal — God’s promises are eternal.

Genesis 17:1-8, “Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless.  I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly.’  Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you will be the father of a multitude of nations.  No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.  I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.  I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.  I will give to you and your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.'” (NASB)

Has the Church replaced Israel?  Paul wrote to the Church at Rome, “…God has not rejected His people, has He?  May it never be!  For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.  God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew…”  Rom. 11:1-2 (NASB)

“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee:  and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”  Gen. 12:3 (KJV)

Baptism and Prophecy

In August and September of this year a minister wrote two articles for the religion section of a neighboring town newspaper.  The titles were, “The many sides of baptism” and “Damascus predictions long ago fulfilled.”  He used several verses of Scripture to corroborate his belief that water baptism is necessary for salvation — that one must be immersed in water in order to be saved.

I disagree — water baptism is not necessary for salvation.

“…without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”  Heb.9:22 (NASB)  “but if we walk in the light as He Himself is the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”  1 Jn. 1:7 (NASB).  There is not one thing that man can do or add to the finished work of Christ to make himself fit to receive God’s free gift.

John 1:12-13, “But to all who welcomed Him, who believe in His name, He gave the power to become God’s children.  They have been born, not of the blood of parents or of a sexual desire or of a man’s desire but of God.” (Beck)  In these verses not one word is mentioned about water baptism.  A person receives Him and believes in His name and God does the rest.

James 1:18, “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.” (NASB)  The Word of God regenerates the sinner through the power of that Word.  James did not say, “word of truth and water baptism.”  Immersion in water does not wash away sin.

Mark 16:16, “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.” (NASB)  Jesus did not say that those who are not baptized would be condemned — He said those who do not believe will be condemned.  Those who refuse to believe will be condemned regardless of whether or not they have been baptized.  “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  John 3:18 (NASB)

Romans 10:9, “Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in and rely on the truth) that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Amplified)

Acts 16:31, “And they said (Paul and Silas), ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.'”  (NASB)

Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not that of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”  (KJV)  We are saved by grace through faith.  Baptism symbolizes our identity with Christ, our willingness to live righteously, and identifies us with the New Covenant.

Consider this:  A minister enters a diner and notices a man sitting alone and looking despondent.  He walks over and begins a conversation with the man and discovers that the man has never made a profession of faith.  The minister leads the man, through the Word, to faith in Jesus.  The individual confesses Jesus as Lord and believes in his heart that God has raised Him from the dead.  The minister tells the man that he must be baptized immediately.  They leave the diner and start to cross that street to the minister’s church and a car hits the man and kills him.  Is his destiny eternal life or eternal damnation?

In my next post I will discuss fulfilled prophecy.

Ignorance

True born again, Spirit filled, Bible reading, consecrated, Christ centered Christians often shake their heads and ask, “What is going on with our country?  What has happened?  This is not the America I grew up in.”

The answer — ignorance!  Ignorance was the major characteristic in Noah’s day.  It was the major characteristic in Jesus’ day, and it is the major characteristic in our day.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:37-39, “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them away; so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (NASB)

Paul wrote to the Church at Rome, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceit…” (KJV)

In fact, the word “ignorant” or “ignorance” appears 18 times in the New Testament.  One of my favorite verses is Acts 17:30, “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring that all people everywhere should repent.” (NASB)

As I said, there are several verses that mention ignorance, but lets take a  moment and look at these three.

The world today, as in Noah’s day, does not realize the peril surrounding it.  The lost do not know the gift of God, and Christians live such careless lives that they do not recognize their Lord.

Some time ago, I asked a friend about his eternal destiny.  He answered, “I belong to the (_____) church.  I am a deacon and my father was an elder.”  But when I said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven,” He replied, “I hope I make it.”

Sadly, the average person today does not think about his relationship with God — if he has religion, he thinks he is ok.

Noah worked on the ark for 120 years.  I’m sure people asked him what he was doing, why he was doing it.  They knew what Noah had said concerning the judgment of God, but they thought Noah was crazy.  They laughed at him. The ignorant people of Noah’s day did not understand until the rains came — then it was too late.

What about the world today?  Do they resemble the people of Noah’s day?

“But know this: difficult times will come in the last days.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of religion but denying its power.  Avoid these people!  For among them are those who worm their way into the households and capture idle women burdened down with sin, led along by a variety of passions, always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of truth.  Just as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men whom are corrupt in mind, worthless in regard to faith.  But they will not make further progress, for their lack of knowledge will be clear to all, as theirs was also.”  2 Timothy 3:1-9 (The Apologetics Study Bible)

Everything the Word of God has prophesied in Scripture concerning the end of the Church Age is now with us — but most are ignorant of this fact.

The majority of preachers today want you to feel good about yourself.  They promise a “pie in the sky.” They want you to believe that whatever you do is ok as long as your conscience tells you its alright.  The sad fact is (although the Bible is the #1 best seller) no one reads it.

“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continuously.  And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart.  So the Lord said, “I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground — not only man, [but] the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air — for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I ever made them.” Genesis 6:5-7 (Amplified Bible)

In the days of Noah the wickedness of man was so great that every thought of man’s heart was evil continually.  No wonder God grieved over His creating man.  There has never been a time on earth like today.  I don’t think this world can continue much longer in its perpetual state of wickedness.

“For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be know about God is evident among them, because God has showed it to them.  From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, having been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made.  As a result, people are without excuse.  For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude.  Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals and reptiles.  Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves.  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen.  This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions.  For even their females exchanged natural intercourse for what is unnatural.  The males in the same way also left natural intercourse with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another.  Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty for their perversion.

And because they did not think it worthwhile to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong.  They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness.  They are full of envy, murder, disputes, deceit, and malice.  They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful.  Although they know full well God’s just sentence — that those who practice such things deserve to die — they not only do them, but even applaud others who do them.”  Romans 1:18-32 (The Apologetics Study Bible)

Finally, my favorite verse, Acts 17:30 — “…God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent.”

We must understand that although God had overlooked peoples former ignorance (that is, He had not yet judged it) He now commands that all people everywhere should repent.  Whatever the nature and consequences our former failure to respond to God, nothing can compare to ignoring what is being offered in the finished work of Christ.

The Wayfinding Bible

My library contains 600 books including 14 study bibles, but I must say, I have just purchased a jewel – The Wayfinding Bible.

Although I still use my Theological Dictionary, Hebrew-Greek Key Word Bible and MacArthur commentaries, The Wayfinding Bible is an excellent resource when it comes to understanding Scripture.

The introduction to each book (Old Testament and New Testament) has a paragraph entitled “Finding Jesus In…”  For example: “Finding Jesus In Genesis,” “Finding Jesus In Romans,” and so forth.

It contains numerous timelines, charts, maps, and is loaded with definitions and explanations.  It also has 655 observation and exploration points.

It is a bible, lexicon, dictionary, commentary all in one — I love it and highly recommend it.

Shortfellow Is Right On Point

http://shortfellow.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/watchman-on-the-wall

Video

Chris Tomlin – Awake My Soul

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=0902e1nu

Grandpa Was Right

As a child I can remember hearing my grandfather say, “that ate at me all night,” when he had said or done something that caused another harm or grief.

The cruel words I used to describe Harry Reid “ate at me all night.”  If you read my post The Bare Facts, I hope you also read my apology posted the next day.

As I lay in bed Sunday night I recalled the words Paul wrote to Timothy…

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority…”

When Paul wrote those words there were no Christian rulers.  The man in charge was Nero.  A man whose cruelty toward Christians is known to this day.

Christians were crucified, thrown into the arena with lions and bears, beheaded, used as torches to light Nero’s gardens, hunted down and mauled by dogs.  But Paul urged the Believers to pray for Nero.

Peter also wrote in his first epistle (which was written while Nero was emperor)…

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.”

Later, at then end of the first century, Clement of Rome included this prayer in his letter to the church at Corinth concerning rulers…

“Grant them, Lord, health, peace, harmony and stability so that they may give no offense in administering the government You have given them.”

Tag Cloud