Apostle James

The Misunderstood Messiah #5

Friday, December 30, 2016

“Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (John 8:41 KJV).

Did you ever notice the magnitude of the insult put forth toward Jesus Christ in today’s Scripture?

Once Christ replied with sound doctrine (verses 42-47), Israel’s religious leaders simply resorted to name-calling again (verse 48): “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” A Samaritan was half-Jew/half-Gentile, and “the Jews [had] no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9). Notice Jesus was insulted twice more—they called Him a “Samaritan” and “devil possessed.” Throughout the rest of John chapter 8, Israel’s religious leaders continue arguing with Jesus and nearly stone Him to death (verse 59)!

Why did Jesus not simply “zap” these religionists and instantly throw them into hellfire? They belittled and blasphemed Him several times in this one account, and then attempted to murder Him, but rather than Jesus killing them with His spoken word (which would have been justified), He only conversed with them. Why?

Remember, when the Apostles James and John saw how the Samaritans refused to accommodate Jesus, they asked Him if He wanted them to call down fire from heaven and consume those sinners, He replied, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:55,56). This First Coming of Christ was His “meek and lowly” coming: He did not come to judge man’s sins, but to die for them!

Even today, God is still not pouring out His wrath on wicked mankind (2 Corinthians 5:19), creatures who still snicker at Jesus Christ, deceive others in His name, persecute His saints, ignore His Word, and “rub His nose” in their sins. Lost mankind is wasting God’s grace and mercy that He is offering so freely. When His grace is finally exhausted, the undiluted wrath that has accumulated will finally be poured out (His Second Coming). May we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour now so we have our sins forgiven now, lest we face that angry, righteous God in judgment (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)!

For more information, you may also see our archived Bible Q&A: “Did God ‘rape’ Mary?

Understand and Enjoy the Bible! #11

Friday, January 15, 2016

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).

Although there is so much confusion about it, can we really understand and enjoy the Bible?

Let us consider the fifth point from today’s Scripture: “as they do also the other scriptures….” Some in “Christianity” have claimed that Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, should be ripped out of the Bible! (I receive such foolish emails.) Yet, if we are to toss out Paul’s epistles, we should also remove the whole book of Acts, plus Luke, and Peter’s epistles. In today’s Scripture, Peter endorsed Paul’s epistles as “scripture.” He placed the Pauline writings on the same level with Moses’ writings, the Four Gospels, Psalms, Isaiah, Daniel, and so on.

When denominations and religious organizations have understood the Bible according to their particular theological systems for many decades or centuries, they will (understandably) refuse to see Pauline dispensational Bible study. To admit wrong would mean losing salaries, memberships, egos, diplomas, real estate, buildings—literally everything! They, like the people in Peter’s day, pervert Paul’s epistles as they do the other Scriptures. Making everything in the Bible the same, they refuse to separate Peter’s ministry from Paul’s ministry. When they come across opposing verses in the Bible, they just dismiss them with, “Oh, this verse is questionable—it was not in the originals.” Or, “Do not take it literally. It means this rather than what it says.”

Christendom must swallow its pride. It must realize something. Accepting Paul’s epistles as literal and true is not to deny the rest of the Bible with which those epistles disagree. Rather, it is accepting Paul’s epistles as true because those Pauline epistles contain the secret will of God previously unknown to man! We should “rightly divide” “truth” from “truth” in the Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15), whether concerning Paul’s epistles or any other part of the Bible.

Understand and Enjoy the Bible! #10

Thursday, January 14, 2016

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).

Although there is so much confusion about it, can we really understand and enjoy the Bible?

Let us consider the fourth point from today’s Scripture: “which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest.” Peter did not understand everything that Paul taught. Yet, at least Peter was Holy-Spirit-filled, honest enough to admit Paul taught some doctrine that was quite different from God’s previous revelations to mankind. What happens in the religious crowd (back then and still today) is that pride gets in the way and the Scriptures are pushed out of the way. Scholarship and denominations still militantly refuse to admit that Paul’s ministry and epistles are separate and distinct from the 12 apostles’ ministries.

Since it has been repeated for 2,000 years that “everything in the Bible is the same”—the assumption that there is only one “gospel” in the Bible, only one “church” in the Bible, only one “ministry” of Jesus Christ in the Bible, only one “program” in the Bible, et cetera—people are automatically inclined to reword any and every Bible verse to the contrary. Hence, modern English versions and their underlying manuscripts are so unreliable. Their editors, translators, and teachers—going back decades and centuries past—have rephrased verses so as to harmonize Paul’s ministry with Peter’s, combine the Church the Body of Christ with the nation Israel, et cetera.

As the Holy Spirit led Peter to write, these people “wrest” (pervert, distort) the Bible (today’s Scripture). They have not learned the truths of God’s Word rightly divided. They are thus “unstable”“tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). Their “ministries” produce only equally unlearned (uninformed) and equally unstable (undecided) souls. Dearly beloved, now we know how the Body of Christ got into the mess in which it now sits!

Understand and Enjoy the Bible! #9

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).

Although there is so much confusion about it, can we really understand and enjoy the Bible?

Let us consider the third point from today’s Scripture: “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood.” I confronted my denominational pastor years ago with dispensational Bible study. Pointing to today’s Scripture, I told him Peter admitted that he found some of Paul’s teachings “hard to understand.” Looking for a quick way out, the man blurted, “Paul’s teachings had not been written down yet!” (How dishonest! Did not Peter refer his audience to Paul’s “writings” and “epistles?!”)

When Peter declared that he did not understand everything Paul wrote, we need not throw up our hands in desperation. We need not throw away our Bibles in frustration. First, we take a deep, deep breath. Then, we recall that Peter had already written that special divine wisdom had been given to Paul. That wisdom had not been committed to Peter’s trust! People have been taught for ever so long in church tradition that Paul’s ministry was an “extension” of what Peter and the 11 apostles of Israel did and taught, but Peter himself argues, “Not so!”

Paul’s ministry was so radically different from Peter’s that Peter admitted in final last epistle that Paul taught some information he did not understand. Jesus Christ Himself taught Peter for three years, and Peter still had difficulty with some spiritual truths? Yes, because not even Jesus had taught during His earthly ministry what He was now teaching through Paul during His heavenly ministry. No wonder people still struggle with Paul today. They need not. With the completed Bible in hand, we can see everything Peter did not. Through Paul’s writings, we have God’s Word to us Gentiles!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does Colossians 1:24 mean?

Understand and Enjoy the Bible! #8

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16 KJV).

Although there is so much confusion about it, can we really understand and enjoy the Bible?

Let us consider the second point from today’s Scripture: “even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things.” Some people in “Christianity” today—even preachers!—absolutely hate the Apostle Paul. I have received emails from “Christian” people disparaging Paul, individuals calling him every nasty name but the “four-letter ones.” (Doubtless their “‘Jesus-loving,’ scholarship-worshipping, ‘spiritual’ leader” taught them these reckless slanders.)

The Holy Spirit, knowing people were criticizing Paul (2,000 years ago), moved the Apostle Peter to pen “our beloved brother Paul.” Paul was not a charlatan or infidel. Peter acknowledged Paul as a brother in Jesus Christ. Moreover, he called Paul “beloved.” Notice the amity and love Peter had toward Paul. After all, they both were saved by the same Jesus Christ and led by the same Holy Spirit.

Yet, Peter acknowledged Paul had “wisdom given unto him.” Interestingly, Peter singled out Paul. Peter never claimed to have been given that wisdom—or John, James, Matthew, Jude, et cetera. In Peter’s mind, no one but Paul had that “wisdom.” Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:2,3: “…the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery….” Paul confirms in Galatians 2:1,2: “Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles….” Paul met with Peter, James, and John, and he shared with them the special Gospel message God had given to him to preach amongst the Gentiles!

The Misunderstood Messiah #5

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

“Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God” (John 8:41 KJV).

Did you ever notice the magnitude of the insult put forth toward Jesus Christ in today’s Scripture?

Once Christ replied with sound doctrine (verses 42-47), Israel’s religious leaders simply resorted to name-calling again (verse 48): “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” A Samaritan was half-Jew/half-Gentile, and “the Jews [had] no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9). Notice Jesus was insulted twice more—they called Him a “Samaritan” and “devil possessed.” Throughout the rest of John chapter 8, Israel’s religious leaders continue arguing with Jesus and nearly stone Him to death (verse 59)!

Why did Jesus not simply “zap” these religionists and instantly throw them into hellfire? They belittled and blasphemed Him several times in this one account, and then attempted to murder Him, but rather than Jesus killing them with His spoken word (which would have been justified), He only conversed with them. Why?

Remember, when the Apostles James and John saw how the Samaritans refused to accommodate Jesus, they asked Him if He wanted them to call down fire from heaven and consume those sinners, He replied, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:55,56). This First Coming of Christ was His “meek and lowly” coming: He did not come to judge man’s sins, but to die for them!

Even today, God is still not pouring out His wrath on wicked mankind (2 Corinthians 5:19), creatures who still snicker at Jesus Christ, deceive others in His name, persecute His saints, ignore His Word, and “rub His nose” in their sins. Lost mankind is wasting God’s grace and mercy that He is offering so freely. When His grace is finally exhausted, the undiluted wrath that has accumulated will finally be poured out (His Second Coming). May we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour now so we have our sins forgiven now, lest we face that angry, righteous God in judgment (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)!

For more information, you may also see our archived Bible Q&A: “Did God ‘rape’ Mary?

James and Dispensationalism

Friday, August 28, 2015

“And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things (Acts 15:13-17 KJV).

What can the Apostle James teach us about dispensational Bible study?

In the famous Jerusalem Council of A.D. 50; James, Peter, and John heard Paul and Barnabas give their testimony of Paul’s ministry (verse 12). Israel’s God had indeed left her and was now reaching the Gentiles through Paul. James commented with today’s Scripture, quoting Amos 9:11,12: “[11] In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: [12] That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this.”

Obviously, “After this” was not in Amos’ original prophecy: James added it to interpret the passage according to the divine revelation he learned from Paul. Interestingly, Amos knew nothing of our Dispensation of Grace or of the Church the Body of Christ. (Simeon/Peter had an experience with Gentile Cornelius years earlier, in chapter 10, helping both him and James understand God was going to the Gentiles.)

Like the other Old Testament prophets, the Prophet Amos foretold that, one day, Jesus Christ would return to fulfill the Davidic Covenant (cf. Luke 1:31-33). He would be Israel’s King, thereby making her His kingdom of priests. But, what happened to Peter and Paul caused James to realize prophecy was delayed. Peter wrote about it in his second epistle, chapter 3, also learning from Paul. Yes, James agreed, Israel’s kingdom is coming, just not today!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “I experienced difficult times. Was God chastening me?