All posts by kjvbiblebeliever

Scattered Israel to Be Gathered

Coming Events and Present Duties
Being Plain Papers on Prophecy

J.C. Ryle, 1879

“Hear the Word of the Lord, O you nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say: He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd does his flock.” Jeremiah 31:10

The text which heads this page is singularly full and comprehensive. It contains both history and prophecy.

It speaks of the scattering of Israel — this is history.

It speak of the gathering of Israel — this is prophecy.

It demands the attention both of the Jew and the Gentile.

To the Jew it holds out a hope, “Israel,” it says, “shall be gathered.”

On the Gentile it lays a command, “Hear the Word of the Lord,” it says, “O you nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, He who scattered Israel will gather him.”

Reader, the whole body of Gentile Christendom is specially addressed in this text. There is no evading this conclusion on any fair interpretation of Scripture. We ourselves are among the “nations” to whom Jeremiah speaks. Upon us devolves a portion of the duty which he here sets forth. The text is the Lord’s voice to all the Churches of Christ among the Gentiles. It is a voice to the Churches of England, Scotland, and Ireland. It is a voice to the Churches of Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Holland, Denmark, and America. It is a voice to all Christendom. And what does the voice say? It bids us proclaim far and wide the will of God concerning the Jewish nation. It bids us keep one another in memory of God’s past and future dealings with Israel. “He who scattered Israel will gather him.”

Reader, I ask your serious attention for a few minutes while I try to place the Jewish subject before you in a connected and condensed form. I propose in this address to show you from Scripture the past, the present, and the future of Israel. I know few texts in the Bible which contain such a complete summary of the subject as the one before you. This text I shall endeavor to unfold.

I entreat you not to dismiss the subject as speculative, fanciful, and unprofitable. The world is growing old. The last days are come upon us. The foundations of the earth are out of course. The ancient institutions of society are wearing out and going to pieces. The end of all things is at hand. Surely it befits a wise man, at a time like this, to turn to the pages of prophecy and to inquire what is yet to come. At a time like this, the declarations of God concerning His people Israel ought to be carefully weighed and examined. “At the time of the end,” says Daniel, “the wise shall understand” (Daniel 12:10).

There are four points on which I purpose to dwell in considering the words of Jeremiah which stand at the head of this address.

1. The meaning of the word “Israel,” both here and elsewhere in Scripture.

2. The present condition of Israel.

3. The future prospects of Israel.

4. The duty which Gentile Churches owe to Israel.

1. The MEANING of the word “Israel.” The definition of terms is of first importance in theology. Unless we explain the meaning of the words we use in our religious statements, our arguments are often wasted, and we seem like men beating the air. The word “Israel” is used nearly seven hundred times in the Bible. I can only discover three senses in which it is used.

First, it is one of the names of Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes; a name specially given to him by God.

Second, it is a name given to the ten tribes which separated from Judah and Benjamin in the days of Rehoboam and became a distinct kingdom. This kingdom is often called Israel in contradistinction to the kingdom of Judah.

Thirdly and lastly, it is a name given to the whole Jewish nation, to all members of the twelve tribes which sprang from Jacob and were brought out of Egypt into the land of Canaan. This is by far the most common signification of the word in the Bible. It is the only signification in which I can find the word “Israel” used through the whole New Testament. It is the same in which the word is used in the text which I am considering this day. That Israel, which God has scattered and will yet gather again — is the whole Jewish nation.

Now, why do I dwell upon this point? To some readers it may appear mere waste of time and words to say so much about it. The things I have been saying sound to them like truisms. That Israel means Israel, is a matter on which they never felt a doubt. If this be the mind of any into whose hands this address has fallen, I am thankful for it. But unhappily there are many Christians who do not see the subject with your eyes. For their sakes I must dwell on this point a little longer.

For many centuries there has prevailed in the Churches of Christ a strange, and to my mind, an unwarrantable mode of dealing with this word “Israel.” It has been interpreted in many passages of the Psalms and Prophets, as if it meant nothing more than Christian believers. Have promises been held out to Israel? Men have been told continually that they are addressed to Gentile saints. Have glorious things been described as laid up in store for Israel? Men have been incessantly told that they describe the victories and triumphs of the Gospel in Christian Churches. The proofs of these things are too many to require quotation. No man can read the immense majority of commentaries and popular hymns without seeing this system of interpretation to which I now refer.

Against that system I have long protested, and I hope I shall always protest as long as I live. I do not deny that Israel was a peculiar typical people, and that God’s relations to Israel — were meant to be a type of His relations to His believing people all over the world. I do not forget that it is written, “As face answers to face, so does the heart of man to man” (Proverbs 27:19), and that whatever spiritual truths are taught in prophecy concerning Israelitish hearts — are applicable to the hearts of Gentiles. I would have it most distinctly understood that God’s dealings with individual Jews and Gentiles — are precisely one and the same. Without repentance, faith in Christ, and holiness of heart — no individual Jew or Gentile shall ever be saved.

What I protest against is the habit of allegorizing plain sayings of the Word of God concerning the future history of the nation Israel and explaining away the fullness of their contents in order to accommodate them to the Gentile Church! I believe the habit to be unwarranted by anything in Scripture, and to draw after it a long train of evil consequences. Where, I would venture to ask, in the whole New Testament shall we find any plain authority for applying the word “Israel” to anyone but the nation Israel? I can find none. On the contrary, I observe that when the Apostle Paul quotes Old Testament prophecies about the privileges of the Gentiles in Gospel times, he is careful to quote texts which specially mention the “Gentiles” by name. The fifteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans is a striking illustration of what I mean. We are often told in the New Testament that under the Gospel believing Gentiles are “fellow-heirs and partakers of the same hope” with believing Jews (Ephesians 3:6). But that believing Gentiles may be called “Israelites,” I cannot see anywhere at all.

To what may we attribute that loose system of interpreting the language of the Psalms and Prophets, and the extravagant expectations of universal conversion of the world by the preaching of the Gospel, which may be observed in many Christian writers? To nothing so much, I believe, as to the habit of inaccurately interpreting the word “Israel,” and to the consequent application of promises — to the Gentile Churches with which they have nothing to do!

The least errors in theology always bear fruit. Never does man take up an incorrect principle of interpreting Scripture, without that principle entailing awkward consequences and coloring the whole tone of his religion. Reader, I leave this part of my subject here. I am sure that its importance cannot be overrated. In fact, a right understanding of it lies at the very root of the whole Jewish subject, and of the prophecies concerning the Jews. The duty which Christians owe to Israel, as a nation, will never be clearly understood, until Christians clearly see the place that Israel occupies in Scripture.

Before going any further, I will ask all readers of this address one plain practical question. I ask you to calmly consider — What sense do you put on such words as “Israel,” “Jacob,” and the like — when you meet with them in the Psalms and Prophecies of the Old Testament? We live in a day when there are many Bible readers. There are many who search the Scriptures regularly and read through the Psalms and the Prophets once, if not twice, every year they live. Of course you attach some meaning to the words I have just referred to. You place some sense upon them. Now what is that sense? What is that meaning? Take heed that it is the right one.

Reader, accept a friendly exhortation this day. Cleave to the literal sense of Bible words and beware of departing from it — except in cases of absolute necessity. Beware of that system of allegorizing and spiritualizing and accommodating, which the school of Origen first brought in, and which has found such an unfortunate degree of favor in the Church. In reading the authorized version of the English Bible, do not put too much confidence in the “headings” of pages and “tables of contents” at beginnings of chapters, which I consider to be a most unhappy accompaniment of that admirable translation. Remember that those headings and tables of contents were drawn up by uninspired hands. In reading the Prophets, they are sometimes not helps, but real hindrances and less likely to assist a reader than to lead him astray. Settle it in your mind, in the reading the Psalms and Prophets, that Israel means Israel; and Zion means Zion; and Jerusalem means Jerusalem.

And, finally, whatever edification you derive from applying to your own soul the words which God addresses to His ancient people — never lose sight of the primary sense of the text.

2. The second point in the text on which I proposed to dwell, is the PRESENT CONDITION of Israel. The expression used by Jeremiah describes exactly the state in which the Jews are at this day, and have been for nearly eighteen hundred years. They are a “scattered” people. The armies of Assyria, Babylon, and Rome have, one after another, swept over the land of Israel and carried its inhabitants into captivity. Few, if any, of the ten tribes appear to have returned from the Assyrian captivity. Not fifty thousand of Judah and Benjamin came back from the captivity of Babylon. From the last and worst captivity, when the temple was burned and Jerusalem destroyed — there has been no return at all. For eighteen hundred years, Israel has been dispersed over the four quarters of the globe. Like the wreck of some goodly ship, the Jews have been tossed to and fro on all waters and stranded in broken pieces on every shore.

But though Israel has been “scattered,” Israel has not been destroyed. For eighteen hundred years, the Jews have continued a separate people, without a king, without a land, without a territory — but never lost, never absorbed among other nations. They have been often trampled underfoot — but never shaken from the faith of their fathers. They have been often persecuted — but never destroyed. At this very moment, they are as distinct and peculiar a people as any people upon earth — an unanswerable argument in the way of the infidel, a puzzling difficulty in the way of politicians, a standing lesson to all the world. Romans, Danes, Saxons, Normans, Belgians, French, Germans have all in turn settled on English soil. All have in turn lost their national distinctiveness. All have in turn become part and parcel of the English nation, after the lapse of a few hundred years. But it has never been so with the Jews.

Dispersed as they are, there is a principle of cohesion among them which no circumstances have been able to melt. Scattered as they are, there is a national vitality among them which is stronger than that of any nation on earth. Go where you will, you always find them. Settle where you please, in hot countries or in cold, you will find the Jews. But go where you will and settle where you please, this wonderful people is always the same. Scattered as they are, few in number compared to those among whom they live, the Jews are always the Jews. Three thousand years ago Balaam said, “The people shall dwell alone, and not be reckoned among the nations.” Eighteen hundred years ago our Lord said, “This generation shall not pass away until all be fulfilled.” We see these words made good before our eyes (Num. 23:9; Luke 21:32).

But by whose hands was this scattering of Israel wrought? The text before us today declares expressly that it was the hand of God. It was not the armies of Tiglath-Pileser or Shalmanezer, of Nebuchadnezzar or of Titus. They were only instruments in the hand of a far higher power. It was that God who orders all things in Heaven and earth, who dispersed the twelve tribes over the face of the earth. It was the same God who brought Israel out of Egypt with a high hand and mighty arm and planted them in Canaan — who plucked them up by the roots and made them “wanderers among the nations” (Hosea 9:17).

And why did God send this heavy judgment upon Israel? To what are we to attribute this surprising dispersion of a people so highly favored? The inquiry is a very useful one. Let us mark well the answer. The Jews are a “scattered” people — because of their many sins. Their hardness and stiff-neckedness, their impenitence and unbelief, their abuse of privileges and neglect of gifts, their rejection of prophets and messengers from Heaven, and finally their refusal to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, the King’s own Son — these were the things which called down God’s wrath upon them. These were the causes of their present dispersion.

The vine which was brought out of Egypt bore wild grapes. The gardener to whom the vineyard was let out, rendered not of the fruit to the Lord of the vineyard. The people that were brought out of the house of bondage, rebelled against Him by whom they were set free. Hence the wrath of God rose until there was no remedy. Thus He says, “You only have I known among the inhabitants of the earth, therefore I will punish you, because of your iniquities” (Amos 3:2). “They killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last!” (1 Thessalonians 2:15,16).

Israel was “scattered” to be a perpetual warning to the Gentile Churches of Christ. The Jews are God’s beacon or pillar of salt to all Christendom, and a silent standing lesson which all who profess to know God, ought never to forget. They proclaim to all Christians . . .
God’s hatred of spiritual pride and self-righteousness,
God’s high displeasure with those who exalt the traditions of men and depart from His Word,
God’s hatred of formality and ceremonialism.

If any man desires to know how much God hates these things, he has only to look at the present condition of the Jews. For eighteen hundred years, God has held them up before the eyes of the world, and written His abhorrence of their sins, in letters which he who runs may read.

I cannot pass away from this part of my subject without entreating all who read this address, to learn a practical lesson from the scattering of Israel. I entreat you to remember the causes which led to their dispersion, and to beware of the slightest approach to their peculiar sins. I am sure the warning is needed in these latter days. I am sure that the opinions which are boldly broached and openly maintained by many religious teachers in all Churches of Christendom, call loudly on all Christians to stand on their guard. It is not without good reason that our Lord said, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Sadducees and Pharisees” (Matthew 16:6).

Look to your own heart. Beware of tampering with false doctrines. Churches are never safe unless their members know their individual responsibility. Let us each look to ourselves and take heed to our own souls.

The same God lives, who scattered Israel because of Israel’s sins. And what does He say to the Churches of Christ this day? He says, “Be not high-minded, but fear. If God spared not the natural branches — take heed lest He also spare not you!” (Romans 11:20, 21).

The third part of the text on which I propose to dwell is the FUTURE PROSPECTS of Israel. In taking up this branch of my subject, I feel that I am entering on the region of unfulfilled prophecy. I desire to do so with all reverence, and with a deep sense of the many difficulties surrounding this department of theology, and the many diversities of opinion which prevail upon it. But the servant of God must call no man master on earth. Truth is never likely to be attained, unless all ministers of Christ speak out their opinions fully, freely, and unreservedly — and give men an opportunity of weighing what they teach.

Reader, however great the difficulties surrounding many parts of unfulfilled prophecy, two points appear to my own mind to stand out as plainly as if written by a sunbeam. One of these points is the second personal advent of our Lord Jesus Christ before the Millennium. The other of these points is the future literal gathering of the Jewish nation and their restoration to their own land. I tell no man that these two truths are essential to salvation and that he cannot be saved, unless he sees them with my eyes. But I tell any man that these truths appear to me distinctly set down in holy Scripture, and that the denial of them is as astonishing and incomprehensible to my own mind, as the denial of the divinity of Christ.

Now what says our text about the future prospects of the Jews? It says, “He who scattered Israel — will gather him.” That gathering is an event which plainly is yet to come. It could not apply in any sense to the ten tribes of Israel. They have never been gathered in any way. Their scattering has never come to an end. It cannot be applied to the return of the remnant of Judah and Benjamin from the Babylonian captivity. The language of the text makes such an application impossible.

The text is addressed to the Gentiles, “the nations.” The declaration they are commanded to make is, “to the isles of the sea.” In the days of the Babylonian captivity, the “nations” of the earth knew nothing of the Word of the Lord. They were sunk in darkness and had not even heard the Lord’s name. If Jeremiah had told them to proclaim the return of the Jews from Babylon under such circumstances, it would have been useless and absurd. There is but one fair and legitimate interpretation of the promise of the text. The event it declares is yet future. The “gathering” spoken of is a gathering which is yet to come.

Reader, I believe that the interpretation I have just given, is in entire harmony with many other plain prophecies of Scripture. Time would fail me, if I were to quote a tenth part of the texts which teach the same truth. Out of the sixteen prophets of the Old Testament, there are at least ten in which the gathering and restoration of the Jews in the latter days are expressly mentioned. From each of these ten I will take one testimony. I say “one” testimony deliberately. I am anxious not to overload the subject with evidence. I would only remind the reader that the texts I am about to quote are only a small portion of the evidence that might be brought forward.

1. Hear what Isaiah says: “In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:11,12).

2. Hear what Ezekiel says: “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.” (Ezekiel 37:21).

3. Hear what Hosea says: “The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited, and they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.” (Hos. 1:11). “For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.” (Hos. 3:4,5).

4. Hear what Joel says: “Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations.” (Joel 3:20).

5. Hear what Amos says: “I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the LORD your God.” (Amos 9:14,15).

6. Hear what Obadiah says: “But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and the house of Jacob will possess its inheritance.” (Obad. 1:17).

7. Hear what Micah says: “In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief. I will make the lame a remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever.” (Micah 4:6,7).

8. Hear what Zephaniah says: “Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame. At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes, says the LORD.” (Zeph. 3:14-20).

9. Hear what Zechariah says: “I will strengthen the house of Judah and save the house of Joseph. I will restore them because I have compassion on them. They will be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the LORD their God and I will answer them. The Ephraimites will become like mighty men, and their hearts will be glad as with wine. Their children will see it and be joyful; their hearts will rejoice in the LORD. I will signal for them and gather them in. Surely I will redeem them; they will be as numerous as before. Though I scatter them among the peoples, yet in distant lands they will remember me. They and their children will survive, and they will return. I will bring them back from Egypt and gather them from Assyria. I will bring them to Gilead and Lebanon, and there will not be room enough for them.” (Zech. 10:6-10).

10. Hear, lastly, what Jeremiah says: “The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,’ says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 30:3). “I am with you and will save you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.” (Jeremiah 30:11).

Reader, I place these texts before you without note or comment. I only wish that they may be weighed and examined, and the several chapters from which they are taken read carefully. I believe there is one common remark that applies to them all. They all point to a time which is yet future. They all predict the final gathering of the Jewish nation from the four quarters of the globe and their restoration to their own land. I must ask you to believe that the subject admits of being drawn out at far greater length than the limits of this address allow. I am resolved, however, not to encumber it by entering on topics of comparatively subordinate importance. I will not complicate it by dwelling on the manner in which Israel shall be gathered, and the particular events which shall accompany the gathering. I might show you by Scriptural evidence, that the Jews will probably first be gathered in an unconverted state, though humbled; and will afterwards be taught to look to Him whom they have pierced, through much tribulation. I might speak of the future glory of Jerusalem, after the Jews are restored, and the last siege which it shall endure, as described by Zechariah and by our Lord Jesus Christ.

But I forbear. I will not travel beyond the bounds of my text. I think it better to present its weighty promise to you in its naked simplicity. “Israel scattered — shall yet be gathered.” This is the future prospect of the Jew.

Now is there anything contrary to this gathering in the New Testament? I cannot find a single word. So far from this being the case, I find a chapter in the Epistle to the Romans where the subject is fully discussed. An inspired Apostle speaks there of Israel being once more “received” into God’s favor, “grafted in,” and “saved.” (See Romans 11:1532.) Is there anything impossible in this gathering of Israel? Who talks of impossibilities? If an infidel, let him explain the present condition and past history of Israel, if he can. And when he has solved that mighty problem, we may listen to him. If a Christian, let him think again before he talks of anything being impossible with God. Let him read the vision of the dry bones in Ezekiel, and mark to whom that vision applies. Let him look to his own conversion and resurrection from the death of trespasses and sins, and recall the unworthy thought that anything is too hard for the Lord.

Is there anything inconsistent with God’s former dealings in the gathering of Israel? Is there any extravagance in expecting such an event? Why should we say so? Reasoning from analogy, I can see no ground for refusing to believe that God may yet do wonderful things for the Jewish people. It would not be more marvelous to see them gathered once more into Palestine, than it was to see them brought from Egypt into the promised land. What God has done once, He may surely do again. Is there anything improbable in the gathering of Israel?

Alas! reader, we are poor judges of probabilities. God’s ways of carrying into effect His own purposes are not to be judged by man’s standard, or measured by the line and plummet of what man calls probable. In the day when the children of Israel went forth from Egypt, would anyone have said it was probable that such a nation of serfs would ever produce a book that should turn the world upside down? Yet that nation has done it. From that nation has come the Bible.

Four thousand years ago, would anyone have said it was probable that God’s Son would come to earth and suffer in the flesh on a cross — before He came to earth in glory to reign? Yet so it has been. Christ has lived, and Christ has suffered, and Christ has died. Away with this talk about improbabilities! The ways of God are not our ways.

Finally, is there anything fanatical or enthusiastic in this expectation that Israel shall be gathered? Why should men say so? Your own eyes tell you that the present order of things will never convert the world. There is not a church, or a parish, or a congregation — where the converted are more than a little flock. There is not a faithful minister on earth, and never has been — who has ever seen more than the “taking out of a people” to serve Christ. A change must come before the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord. A new order of teachers must be raised up and a new dispensation ushered in. These teachers, I firmly believe, shall be converted Jews. And then shall be seen the fulfillment of the remarkable words, “If the casting of them away be the reconciling of the world — what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15.)

I may not dwell longer on this branch of my subject. I leave it with one general remark, which may sound to some readers like a bald truism. Whether it be a truism or not, I believe the remark to be of vital importance, and I heartily wish that it was more deeply impressed on all our minds. I ask you, then, to settle it firmly in your mind that when God says a thing shall be done — we ought to believe it. We have no right to begin talking of probable and improbable, likely and unlikely, possible and impossible, reasonable and unreasonable. What is all this but veiled scepticism and infidelity in disguise?

What has the Lord said? What has the Lord spoken? What says the Scriptures? What is written in the Word? These are the only questions we have a right to ask; and when the answer to them is plain — we have nothing to do but believe. Our reason may rebel. Our preconceived ideas of what God ought to do may receive a rude shock. Our private systems of prophetic interpretation may be shattered to pieces. Our secret prejudices may be grievously offended. But what are we to do? We must abide by Scripture, or be of all men most miserable. At any cost, let us cling to the Word. “Let God be true and every man a liar.”

In all matters of unfulfilled prophecy, I desire, for my own part, to fall back on this principle. I see many things I cannot explain. I find many difficulties I cannot solve. But I dare not give up my principle. I am determined to believe everything that God says. I know it will all prove true at the last day. I read that He says in the text before us this day, “He who scattered Israel — shall gather him.” It must be true, I feel, whatever be the difficulties. That Israel shall be gathered, I steadfastly believe.

The last point on which I propose to dwell is one purely practical. It is the duty which Gentile Churches owe to Israel.

Reader, in touching on this point, I would not have you for a moment suppose that the future gathering of Israel depends on anything that man can do. God’s counsels and purposes are independent of human strength. The sun will set tonight at its appointed hour, and neither Queen, Lords, nor Commons, Pope, President, nor Emperors — can hasten, prevent, or put off its setting. The tides of the sea will ebb and flow this week in their regular course, and no scientific decree nor engineering skill can interfere with their motion. And just in like manner, the promises of God concerning Israel will all be fulfilled in due season, whether we will hear, or whether we will forbear.

When the “times and seasons” arrive which God has “put in His own power,” Israel will be gathered; and all the alliances and combinations of statesmen, and all the persecution and unbelief of apostate Churches shall not be able to prevent it. But seeing that we look for such things, it befits us all to be found in the path of duty. It behooves us to consider gravely the solemn question: What manner of people ought we to be? And in what way can we testify our full assent to God’s purposes about the Jews? Can we in no sense be fellow-workers with God? Should we not remember that remarkable saying of Paul, “Through your mercy, they shall obtain mercy” (Romans 11:31). This is the question to which I now desire briefly to supply a practical answer.

1. I believe, then, for one thing, that it is a duty incumbent on all Gentile Christians to take a special interest in the spiritual condition of the Jewish nation, and to give their conversion a special place in our prayers. I say, advisedly, their spiritual condition. I leave alone their civil and political position. I speak, exclusively, of our duty to Jewish souls. I say that we owe them a special debt, and that this debt ought to be carefully paid. We prize our Bibles, and we are right to do so. A sky without a sun would not be more blank, than a world without a Bible. But do we ever reflect that every page in that blessed book was written under God’s inspiration by Israelitish hands? Remember that every chapter and verse you read in our Bible, you owe under God to Israel.

There is not a religious society that meets in London in the month of May which is not constantly working with Israelitish tools. We prize the glorious Gospel of the grace of God, and we are right to do so. A land without the Gospel, like Mongolia or China, is nothing better than a moral wilderness. See the vast difference between Europe and America with the Gospel, notwithstanding all their vices — and Africa and Asia without it. But do we ever reflect that the first preachers of that Gospel were all Jews? The men who, at cost of their lives, first carried from town to town the blessed tidings of Christ crucified, were not Gentiles. The first to take up the lamp of truth, which was passed from hand to hand until it reached our heathen forefathers — were all men of Israel.

We rejoice in Christ Jesus and glory in His person and work. Well may we do so! Without a living Savior and the blood of His atonement once made on the cross — we would indeed be miserable. But do we ever reflect that when that Savior became a man, in order that as man’s substitute He might live, and suffer and die — He was born of a Jewish woman? Yes, let that never be forgotten! When “God was manifest in the flesh” and was “born of a woman,” that woman was a virgin of the house of David. When the promised Savior took flesh and blood that He might bruise the serpent’s head and redeem man — He took not flesh and blood of any royal house among the Gentiles — but of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Reader, I know well that these are ancient things. They have been often urged, often alleged, often pressed on the attention of the Churches. I am not ashamed to bring them forward again. I say, that if there be such a thing as gratitude in the heart of man, it is the duty of all Gentile Christians to take special interest in the work of doing good to the Jews.

2. I believe, furthermore, that it is a duty incumbent on all Gentile Christians, to be especially careful that they take up stumbling blocks out of the way of Israel, and too that they do nothing to disgust them with Christianity or hinder their conversion. This is a matter which is expressly mentioned in Scripture. There we find Isaiah bidding us, “Take up the stumbling blocks out of the way of God’s people” (Isaiah 57:14). Truly the Prophet might well speak of this. No man can look round the Gentile Churches, and fail to see that he had cause. What shall we say of the glaring unholiness and neglect of God’s Ten Commandments which prevail so widely in Christendom? What shall we say of the open unblushing idolatry which offends the eye in all Roman Catholic Churches? What shall we say of the rationalistic mode of interpreting Old Testament history, which has crept so extensively into modern commentaries — the system of regarding the histories of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph and the like, as so many myths or ingenious fables, but not as narratives of facts which really took place? What shall we say of the traditional mode of interpreting Old Testament prophecies, in which so many Christians indulge the system of appropriating all the blessings to the Church of Christ and handing over all the bitter things to poor despised Israel; the system of interpreting all prophecies about Christ’s first advent literally — and all prophecies about His second advent figuratively; requiring the Jew to believe the first in the letter — and refusing in turn to believe the second, except in what is called (by a sad misnomer) a spiritual sense?

What shall we say of all these things but that they are stumbling blocks — great stumbling blocks in the way of the conversion of the Jews? What are they all but great barriers between the Jew and Christ, and barriers cast up by Christian hands?

Reader, we must all do our part in aiding to take these stumbling blocks away. Here at least all may help. Here, at any rate, every Gentile Christian can aid the Jewish cause. The more pure and lovely we can make our holy faith — the more we are likely to recommend it to Israel. The more we can check the progress of the Roman apostasy, and protest against its idolatries and corruptions — the more likely is the Jew to believe there is something in Christianity. The more we can promote the habit of taking all of Scripture in its plain literal sense, the more we are likely to remove prejudices in the minds of honest inquirers in Israel, and to make them ready to hear what we have to say.

3. Finally, I believe it is a duty incumbent on all Gentile Christians to use special efforts in order to promote the conversion of the Jews. I say special efforts advisedly. The Jews are a peculiar people and must be approached in a peculiar way. They are peculiar in their state of mind. They require an entirely different treatment from the heathen. Their objections are not the heathen man’s objections. Their difficulties are not the heathen man’s difficulties. They believe many things which the heathen man never heard of. They have a standard of right and wrong, with which the heathen man is utterly unacquainted. Like the heathen, they need to be converted. Like the heathen, they need to be brought to Christ. But the lines of argument to be pursued with the Jew and the heathen, are widely dissimilar. A faithful missionary might do admirably well among the heathen, who might find it difficult to reason with a Jew.

They are peculiar in their position in the world. They are not to be found all assembled together, like the Africans at Sierra Leone, or the Hindus, or New Zealanders, or Chinese. They are emphatically a scattered people, a few in one country and a few in another. An effort to get at them, must aim at nothing short of sending missionaries in search of them all over the world.

Circumstances like these appear to me to point out clearly that nothing less than a special effort will ever enable Christians to discharge their debt to Israel. There must be a division of labor in the missionary field. There must be a special concentration of preaching, praying, and loving fellowship on the Jewish people — or the Church of the Gentiles can never expect to do them much spiritual good. Without such special effort, the cause of Israel will inevitably be lost sight of in the cause of the whole heathen world. Without such special effort, I cannot see how the command of the text can be rightly obeyed.

I leave the whole subject with three remarks, which I pray God to impress on the minds of all into whose hands this address may fall.

1. For one thing, I charge every reader of this address to remember the special blessing which God has promised to all who care for Israel. Whatever a sneering world may say, the Jews are a people “beloved for their fathers’ sake.” Of Jerusalem it is written, “They shall prosper, who love you” (Psalm 122:6). Of Israel it is written, “Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you” (Num. 24:9). These promises are not yet exhausted. We see their fulfillment in the blessing granted to the Church of England since the day when the Jewish cause was first taken up. We see their fulfillment in the peculiar honor which God has put from time to time on individual Christians who have labored especially for the Jewish cause. Charles Simeon, Edward Bickersteth, Robert M’Cheyne, Haldane Stewart, and Dr. Marsh are striking examples of what I mean. Is there anyone that desires God’s special blessing? Then let him labor in the cause of Israel, and he shall not fail to find it.

2. For another thing, I charge every reader of this address never to forget the close connection which Scripture reveals between the time of Israel’s gathering — and the time of Christ’s second advent to the world. In one Psalm it is expressly declared, “When the Lord shall build up Zion — He shall appear in His glory” (Psalm 102:16). Where is the true believer who does not long for that blessed day? Where is the true Christian who does not cry from the bottom of his heart, “May Your kingdom come”? Let all such work and give and pray, so that the Gospel may have free course in Israel. The time to favor Zion is closely bound up with the restitution of all things. Blessed indeed, is that work of which the completion shall usher in the second coming of the Lord!

3. Finally, I charge every reader of this address to make sure work of his own salvation. Rest not in mere head knowledge of prophetic subjects. Be not content with intellectual soundness in the faith. Give diligence to make your own calling and election sure. Seek to know that your repentance and faith are genuine and true. Seek to feel that you are one with Christ and Christ in you, and that you are washed, sanctified, and justified. Then, whether the completion of God’s promises to Israel are near or far off — your own portion will be sure. You will stand safely, when the kingdoms of this world are passing away. You will meet Christ without fear, when He comes the second time to Zion. You will join boldly in the song, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” You will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God and go out no more.

Knox Seminary Statement On Israel

In 2002, more than 25 seminary professors (see list at the bottom) signed off on an open letter regarding their view on Israel.  It is a Replacement Theology Statement.

It has since been removed from it’s original location on the Knox Seminary website, so we have posted it here for future reference.


An Open Letter to Evangelicals and Other Interested Parties:
The People of God, the Land of Israel, and the Impartiality of the Gospel

Recently a number of leaders in the Protestant community of the United States have urged the endorsement of far-reaching and unilateral political commitments to the people and land of Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, citing Holy Scripture as the basis for those commitments. To strengthen their endorsement, several of these leaders have also insisted that they speak on behalf of the seventy million people who constitute the American evangelical community.

It is good and necessary for evangelical leaders to speak out on the great moral issues of our day in obedience to Christ’s call for his disciples to be salt and light in the world. It is quite another thing, however, when leaders call for commitments that are based upon a serious misreading of Holy Scripture. In such instances, it is good and necessary for other evangelical leaders to speak out as well. We do so here in the hope that we may contribute to the cause of the Lord Christ, apart from whom there can never be true and lasting peace in the world.

At the heart of the political commitments in question are two fatally flawed propositions. First, some are teaching that God’s alleged favor toward Israel today is based upon ethnic descent rather than upon the grace of Christ alone, as proclaimed in the Gospel. Second, others are teaching that the Bible’s promises concerning the land are fulfilled in a special political region or “Holy Land,” perpetually set apart by God for one ethnic group alone. As a result of these false claims, large segments of the evangelical community, our fellow citizens, and our government are being misled with regard to the Bible’s teachings regarding the people of God, the land of Israel, and the impartiality of the Gospel.

In what follows, we make our convictions public. We do so acknowledging the genuine evangelical faith of many who will not agree with us. Knowing that we may incur their disfavor, we are nevertheless constrained by Scripture and by conscience to publish the following propositions for the cause of Christ and truth.

1. The Gospel offers eternal life in heaven to Jews and Gentiles alike as a free gift in Jesus Christ. Eternal life in heaven is not earned or deserved, nor is it based upon ethnic descent or natural birth.

2. All human beings, Jews and Gentiles alike, are sinners, and, as such, they are under God’s judgment of death. Because God’s standard is perfect obedience and all are sinners, it is impossible for anyone to gain temporal peace or eternal life by his own efforts. Moreover, apart from Christ, there is no special divine favor upon any member of any ethnic group; nor, apart from Christ, is there any divine promise of an earthly land or a heavenly inheritance to anyone, whether Jew or Gentile. To teach or imply otherwise is nothing less than to compromise the Gospel itself.

3. God, the Creator of all mankind, is merciful and takes no pleasure in punishing sinners. Yet God is also holy and just and must punish sin. Therefore, to satisfy both his justice and his mercy, God has appointed one way of salvation for all, whether Jew or Gentile, in Jesus Christ alone.

4. Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, came into the world to save sinners. In his death upon the cross, Jesus was the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world, of Jew and of Gentile alike. The death of Jesus forever fulfilled and eternally ended the sacrifices of the Jewish temple. All who would worship God, whether Jew or Gentile, must now come to him in spirit and truth through Jesus Christ alone. The worship of God is no longer identified with any specific earthly sanctuary. He receives worship only through Jesus Christ, the eternal and heavenly Temple.

5. To as many as receive and rest upon Christ alone through faith alone, to Jews and Gentiles alike, God gives eternal life in his heavenly inheritance.

6. The inheritance promises that God gave to Abraham were made effective through Christ, Abraham’s True Seed. These promises were not and cannot be made effective through sinful man’s keeping of God’s law. Rather, the promise of an inheritance is made to those only who have faith in Jesus, the True Heir of Abraham. All spiritual benefits are derived from Jesus, and apart from him there is no participation in the promises. Since Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the Abrahamic Covenant, all who bless him and his people will be blessed of God, and all who curse him and his people will be cursed of God. These promises do not apply to any particular ethnic group, but to the church of Jesus Christ, the true Israel. The people of God, whether the church of Israel in the wilderness in the Old Testament or the Israel of God among the Gentile Galatians in the New Testament, are one body who through Jesus will receive the promise of the heavenly city, the everlasting Zion. This heavenly inheritance has been the expectation of the people of God in all ages.

7. Jesus taught that his resurrection was the raising of the True Temple of Israel. He has replaced the priesthood, sacrifices, and sanctuary of Israel by fulfilling them in his own glorious priestly ministry and by offering, once and for all, his sacrifice for the world, that is, for both Jew and Gentile. Believers from all nations are now being built up through him into this Third Temple, the church that Jesus promised to build.

8. Simon Peter spoke of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus in conjunction with the final judgment and the punishment of sinners. Instructively, this same Simon Peter, the Apostle to the Circumcision, says nothing about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel in the land of Palestine. Instead, as his readers contemplate the promise of Jesus’ Second Coming, he fixes their hope upon the new heavens and the new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

9. The entitlement of any one ethnic or religious group to territory in the Middle East called the “Holy Land” cannot be supported by Scripture. In fact, the land promises specific to Israel in the Old Testament were fulfilled under Joshua. The New Testament speaks clearly and prophetically about the destruction of the second temple in A.D. 70. No New Testament writer foresees a regathering of ethnic Israel in the land, as did the prophets of the Old Testament after the destruction of the first temple in 586 B.C. Moreover, the land promises of the Old Covenant are consistently and deliberately expanded in the New Testament to show the universal dominion of Jesus, who reigns from heaven upon the throne of David, inviting all the nations through the Gospel of Grace to partake of his universal and everlasting dominion.

10. Bad Christian theology regarding the “Holy Land” contributed to the tragic cruelty of the Crusades in the Middle Ages. Lamentably, bad Christian theology is today attributing to secular Israel a divine mandate to conquer and hold Palestine, with the consequence that the Palestinian people are marginalized and regarded as virtual “Canaanites.” This doctrine is both contrary to the teaching of the New Testament and a violation of the Gospel mandate. In addition, this theology puts those Christians who are urging the violent seizure and occupation of Palestinian land in moral jeopardy of their own bloodguiltiness. Are we as Christians not called to pray for and work for peace, warning both parties to this conflict that those who live by the sword will die by the sword? Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring both temporal reconciliation and the hope of an eternal and heavenly inheritance to the Israeli and the Palestinian. Only through Jesus Christ can anyone know peace on earth.

The promised Messianic kingdom of Jesus Christ has been inaugurated. Its advent marks the focal point of human history. This kingdom of the Messiah is continuing to realize its fullness as believing Jews and Gentiles are added to the community of the redeemed in every generation. The same kingdom will be manifested in its final and eternal form with the return of Christ the King in all his glory.

Of all the nations, the Jewish people played the primary role in the coming of the Messianic kingdom. New Testament Scripture declares that to them were given the oracles of God, the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises. Theirs are the fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and from them, according to the flesh, came Christ. Salvation is, indeed, of the Jews. While affirming the Scriptural teaching that there is no salvation outside of Christ, Christians should acknowledge with heartfelt sorrow and grief the frequent oppression of the Jews in history, sometimes tragically done in the name of the cross.

But what are we to make of the unbelief of Israel? Has their unbelief made the faithfulness of God without effect for them? No, God has not completely rejected the people of Israel, and we join the apostle Paul in his earnest prayer for the salvation of his Jewish kinsmen according to the flesh. There always has been and always will be a remnant that is saved. While not all Israel will experience the blessing of participation in the Messianic kingdom, yet Jews who do come to faith in Christ will share in his reign throughout the present age and into eternity. In addition, it is not as though the rejection of some in Israel for unbelief serves no purpose. On the contrary, because they were broken off in unbelief, the Gospel has gone to the Gentiles, who now, through faith, partake of the blessings to the fathers and join with believing Jews to constitute the true Israel of God, the church of Jesus Christ.

The present secular state of Israel, however, is not an authentic or prophetic realization of the Messianic kingdom of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, a day should not be anticipated in which Christ’s kingdom will manifest Jewish distinctives, whether by its location in “the land,” by its constituency, or by its ceremonial institutions and practices. Instead, this present age will come to a climactic conclusion with the arrival of the final, eternal phase of the kingdom of the Messiah. At that time, all eyes, even of those who pierced him, will see the King in his glory. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.

In light of the grand prophetic expectation of the New Testament, we urge our evangelical brothers and sisters to return to the proclamation of the free offer of Christ’s grace in the Gospel to all the children of Abraham, to pray for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and to promise all humanitarian sympathy and practical support for those on both sides who are suffering in this current vicious cycle of atrocity and displacement. We also invite those Christian educators and pastors who share our convictions on the people of God, the land of Israel, and the impartiality of the Gospel to join their names with ours as signatories to this open letter.

Advent

In the Year of our Lord 2002

Soli Deo Gloria

Signatories

R. Fowler White, Ph.D., Knox Theological Seminary, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Robert L. Reymond, Ph.D., Knox Theological Seminary, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
O. Palmer Robertson, Th.D., Knox Theological Seminary, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D. (cand.), Knox Theological Seminary, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Samuel P. Lamerson, Ph.D., Knox Theological Seminary, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Lawrence C. Roff, D.Min., Knox Theological Seminary, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Warren A. Gage, Ph.D., Knox Theological Seminary, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Collins D. Weeber, Ph.D., Knox Theological Seminary, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Ronald T. Kilpatrick, D.Min., Knox Theological Seminary, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
George W. Grant, Ph.D., King’s Meadow Study Center, Franklin, TN
Michael A. G. Haykin, Th.D., Toronto Baptist Theological Seminary, Canada
David W. Hall, Ph.D., The Kuyper Institute, Oak Ridge, TN
Alden C. Mayfield, M.A.R., Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea
Gary DeMar, M.Div., American Vision, Powder Springs, GA
Dominic A. Aquila, D.Min., New Geneva Theological Seminary, Colorado Springs, CO
Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., Th.D., Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, PA
Cornelius P. Venema, Ph.D., Mid-America Reformed Seminary, Dyer, IN
Michael S. Horton, Ph.D., Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Philadelphia, PA
C.W. Powell, Ph.D., New Geneva Theological Seminary, Colorado Springs, CO
James E. McGoldrick, Ph.D., Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Taylors, SC
Kenneth G. Talbot, Ph.D., Whitefield Theological Seminary, Lakeland, FL
Donald J. Musin, Ph.D., Whitefield Theological Seminary, Lakeland, FL
W. Gary Crampton, Th.D., Whitefield Theological Seminary, Lakeland, FL
Thomas Schirmacher, Ph.D., Martin Bucer Theological Seminary, Germany
D. Randall Talbot, Th.D., Whitefield Theological Seminary, Lakeland, FL
Leanne Van Dyk, Ph.D., Western Theological Seminary, Holland, MI

Frank Beckwith’s Apostasy and the Lukewarm Evangelical Response (May 2007)

Frank (Francis) Beckwith was the president of an organization that calls itself the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). Most things “evangelical” these days are an unfunny JOKE and the ETS is no exception to this Laodicean Age rule of thumb.

Demonstrating the lack of discernment or depth in this gang of highly-skilled gentlemen, Beckwith abruptly joins the Roman Catholic Church and then resigns from the presidency of the ETS. How such a man–who could commit such a gross sin against God and the millions of saints who have been butchered, burned and otherwise tortured, imprisoned and/or dismembered by Rome’s satanic “church”–could ever have been “president” of a so-called Evangelical Theological Society is beyond comprehension.

But he was and he did.

For the record, we will print Mr. Beckwith’s exact words as he announced his betrayal to the world. Following, we will show you our response and the subsequent exchanges that took place after I responded to Mr. Beckwith who, by the way, never responded to me personally.

NOTE: Spelling Mistakes Are In The Original & Left Unchanged

Here is Beckwith’s announcement in his own words

My Return to the Catholic Church
During the last week of March 2007, after much prayer, counsel and consideration, my wife and I decided to seek full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. My wife, a baptized Presbyterian, is going through the process of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). This will culminate with her receiving the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation. For me, because I had received the sacraments of Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation all before the age of 14, I need only go to confession, request forgiveness for my sins, ask to be received back into the Church, and receive absolution.

Given my status as president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), I decided several weeks ago–after consultation with trusted friends–to not seek absolution until my term as ETS president ended in November and then to request that the ETS nominations committee not place my name on the executive committee ballot as an at-large member. I wanted to make sure that my return to the Church brought as little attention to ETS as possible. To complicate matters, I received conflicting advice from wise friends on when and how to address the ETS executive committee on this delicate matter. Some suggested that the ETS executive committee would rather not know about my reception into the Church until after the national meeting in November. These friends recommended I lay low, give a presidential address that is irenic and does not address Protestant-Catholic issues (which I had planned on doing all along), and then quietly ask not to be nominated to the executive committee for the four-year at-large term. Other friends, equally as wise, gave conflicting advice. They opined that my withholding from the executive committee my plans to return to the Church would play to prejudices that some Protestants have about “secretive Jesuit conspiracies” and the like. They were concerned that my planned move would be inadvertently disclosed by friends before the November meeting and that the news that I had withheld information concerning my return to the Church could be perceived by many as a bad witness for the Gospel.

I did not know exactly what to do. So, I prayed and asked the Lord to provide to me clear direction. I believe I received this direction on April 20. On that Friday morning, my 16-year-old nephew, Dean Beckwith, called me and asked if I would be his sponsor when he receives the sacrament of Confirmation on May 13. I could not say “no” to my dear nephew, who has credited his renewal of his faith in Christ to our conversations and correspondence. But in order for me to do this I would have to be in full communion with the Church. So, on Saturday, April 28, 2007, I received the sacrament of Confession. The next day I was publicly received back into the Catholic Church at 11 am Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Waco, Texas. My wife, standing beside me, was accepted as a catechumen. (A Baylor student, who I do not know, was present at the Mass and provides an account of it on her blog).

Because I can in good conscience, as a Catholic, affirm the ETS doctrinal statement, I do not intend to resign as a member of ETS. However, because I am sensitive to the fact that my status as ETS president changes the dynamic of my return to the Church, I had originally thought that it was wise for me not to step down as ETS president before my term expires in November. For, I thought that my resignation would draw needless attention to ETS. On the other hand, because I had no doubt that word of my return to the Church would disseminate quickly through private conversation and correspondence over the next six months, I suggested to the ETS executive committee that it appoint someone else on the committee to preside over the remaining meetings in both August and November. I offered to attend those meetings and contribute to them in ways to advance the good of ETS. But I also told the committee that if it did not think it was appropriate for me to attend, I would not. On the other hand, if it thought I should conduct the meetings, I would do so. Regardless, I deferred to their collective judgment on this matter. However, I also told them that I intended to remain as ETS president until my term expires in November, but not to accept a nomination for a four-year at-large appointment to the executive committee after the end of my term.

But, as many of you now realize, word of my reception into the Church was delivered, without my knowledge, to several bloggers. A tiny percentage of these bloggers have engaged in much speculation about my motives, the timing of my move, as well as my status as ETS president. Unfortunately, some of these speculations had pockets of uncharity, for they were not advanced under the assumption that I have a true love for my Evangelical brothers and that I may have had undisclosed reasons, perhaps personal and theologically delicate ones, that time and circumstance prevented me from fully conveying in one full swoop.

Fortunately, the uncharitable aspects of these postings have had no impact on people of good will and devout faith, both Protestant and Catholic, who have offered their prayers, advice, and even critical comments to me in the form of private messages adorned by a love of Christ and a sincere desire to honor and respect both me and my wife. Many of these messages, especially the critical ones, have been extremely important in helping me to reassess my decision to remain as ETS president. As I have already stated, my decision was based on a cluster of goods that I thought would be best protected by my completing my tenure and then permanently moving off the executive committee. However, given the immense public attention and commentary that my reception into the Church has provoked, I no longer think that it is possible for ETS to conduct its business and its meetings in a fashion that advances the Gospel of Christ as long as I remain as its president. I now believe that my continued presence as president of ETS will serve the very harms that I had originally thought that my retention would avoid. For this reason, effective May 5, 2007, I resign as both President of the Evangelical Theological Society and a member of its executive committee.

In order to dispel any other rumors, I want to make it clear that no one on the ETS executive committee asked for me to resign. They received my letter concerning this matter during the week of April 30, and I have no doubt that they have since then discussed that epistle among themselves. As stewards of this important academic society, these men not only have the right to do this, they have the obligation. And I would have willingly and graciously resigned if they had asked me to, even if I thought that I could serve out my term with little controversy. But knowing these wonderful gentlemen, and the measured and serious way they take their responsibility, I knew they did not want to be rushed into assessing such a delicate matter. I have no doubt they have been thinking, deliberating, and praying about what to do. But given the fact that it is unlikely that I would have been elevated to the presidency of ETS by its membership if my reception into the Catholic Church had occurred prior to the time of my candidacy, I think it would have been more than reasonable for these gentlemen to ask me to step down. But they had not done so yet. Nevertheless, I am stepping down, in order to relieve them of the burden of that judgment as well as to avoid bringing scandal to either ETS or the Church.

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This lengthy “dear John” letter from Beckwith to the scorned saints is “spin”. It is Beckwith’s attempt to explain his hasty exit from the evangelical fold and why he didn’t have the integrity to resign FIRST from the ETS before joining the Papal cult.

It was no shock to find Beckwith to have been a papist who joined the evangelical scene and is now going back “home”. The unbiblical accomodation of and compromise with Rome by today’s apostate evangelicals will continue to breed this sort of embarrassing scenario.

It was also no shock to see Mrs. Beckwith follow her husband to Rome. (We only bring her up because HE did.) She was sprinkled as a baby and has been told ever since that her baby bath was “baptism” and that it put her “in the covenant”. That heresy originated with Rome and Calvin (the unregenerate murderer who crowned himself as a “pope” in Geneva before starting what has become the Presbyterian denomination) couldn’t “reform” enough to rid himself of the Pope’s baby-bath version of “baptism”. So, in a very real sense, Mrs. Beckwith, like so many other “protestants”, finds herself going home, too.

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My Response To Beckwith’s Betrayal

I heard of Beckwith’s apostasy from a friend who had alerted me to a statement on the web site for Christianity Today. That site, in turn, provided a link to Beckwith’s Blog and that is where I read the statement provided above.

I was sickened. But I was sickened as much by the lukewarm nonesense being posted by the professed “evangelicals” as I was with Beckwith’s pathetic excuse for his apostasy. Therefore, I posted this in response:

I do not expect that you will post my comments, but I do hope that you will read them.

Your post made me ill. To think that someone would go back to the Whore of Revelation 17 and base his decision (according to your post) upon the tripe of the Church Infants (you call “fathers”) who consistently contradict the APOSTLES and Jesus Christ. Such is a fulfillment of prophecy. A dog returns to his vomit.

However, it is fitting that the Evangelical Theological Society would find it’s president fornicating with Rome. Your “society” has pushed the apostate Alexandrian Bible upon the evangelical church for decades. You truly have returned to your mother.

You are one of thousands who are deluded and living a lie as we approach the end of this present world. You will answer for this reproach upon the blood of Jesus Christ and His martyrs. You did not once mention the 20 million souls butchered by the Whore you now join yourself to.

This is not intended as an insult, but as a statement of fact. You have succeeded in making me sick this night. May God have mercy on your blind soul.

And rest assured. I will continue to fight your Whorish “mother church” and her soul damning false gospel until the Lord takes me home and the Beast arrives to assume his post in the city on seven hills.

Pastor Greg Miller
Bible Believers Fellowship
PO Box 662
Worthington, OH 43085

Posted by: Greg Miller | May 7, 2007 6:29 PM

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Enter Mr. Blomberg

 

In reaction to my post, Craig Blomberg sent an unsolicited E-bomb in my direction. He had nothing but praise and adulation for Beckwith. He then turns toward me and lashes out like I had insulted his MOTHER.

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Blomberg’s splendid response to Beckwith’s incredible violation of God and His word:

Dear Frank:

One of my students gave me your news this afternoon and pointed me to your website. I so appreciate your wrestling with all the ethical issues involved, as your blog recounts, though I wouldn’t have expected any less, knowing you as I do. What an array of responses you’ve received, which doesn’t surprise me either but still saddens me how folks can express their concern or disagreement with such vitriol. I’ve known enough folks over the years representing a huge diversity of experiences with Catholicism both inside and outside the church to have no doubt about your genuine hope to find an evangelical wing or parish or fellowship in which you can thrive, even while they may remain a minority within the worldwide Catholic communion. I hope you can do great things for the movement from within, though I don’t underestimate the struggles you may have. I suspect, though, that it will be at least a little more courteous than all the incredible “crap” you had to put (up) with from Baylor and certain Southern Baptists! You’re still my friend with lots of admiration even if I don’t anticipate following your pilgrimage.

Posted by: Craig Blomberg | May 7, 2007 5:22 PM

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Now, read this. And keep in mind, Blomberg’s relief that Beckwith is now going to “the worldwide Catholic communion” where he is free from the “crap” that he had to endure from those dirty old Southern Baptists!

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Here is Dr. Craig Blomberg’s unsolicited letter to me:

Email Address: withheld

Name: Craig Blomberg

Website (optional):

Contact: Dear Pastor Greg:

After reading Frank Beckwith’s blog and the array of responses, I posted one myself. I just read yours as well. I can’t say I”ve ever met anyone claiming to be a Christian with as exaggerated, ill-informed, vitriolic and unloving rhetoric as that posting demonstrated. Nor have I ever seen that kind of rhetoric do any good other than to further alienate people, including non-Christians whose caricatures about believers are simply reinforced. I’d be curious how you understand Galatians 6:1–in any translation.

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Did you get THAT?

Blomberg wishes Beckwith the best and hopes he can “do great things” as a ROMAN CATHOLIC. Then, Blomberg says that my comments were “exaggerated, ill-informed, vitriolic and unloving”!

Take a close look and you will notice that Blomberg didn’t even attempt to show that anything I said was not based in fact. Blomberg’s “faith and practice” is PRAGMATISM. It’s all about what “works”. And since honest talk and plain language don’t get you crowds that will fill Mile High Stadium, then we must resort to effeminate and smooth speeches.

Now, we are going to show you the exchange that took place between myself and Professor Blomberg. Watch carefully. You will see that I appeal for Blomberg to show where ANYTHING that I said was not true. And you will see Blomberg DODGE the facts like he was dodging poisonous darts. He’ll reveal his apostate condition as he demonstrates that he can only speak in the language of the evangelical psycho-heresy and can’t deal with historical fact or documented information even ONCE.

*************************

Here is my first response to Blomberg:

From: Gregory Miller [mailto:bbbfohio@yahoo.com] Sent: Mon 5/7/2007 8:19 PM To: Blomberg, Craig Subject: Re: Contact Us (Craig Blomberg)

Dear Craig,

Your response to my e-mail is exactly what we have come to expect from a distinguised Denver Seminarian, such as yourself. Your work has disgusted me for years. You worship the Jesus that is a figment of your own imagination. Your Jesus would never repeat the “vitriolic and unloving rhetoric” of Matthew 23.

Craig Blomberg would not have felt comfortable rebuking the murderers of Jesus Christ. He would have felt it “unloving”.

Galatians 6:1 refers to a “fault”. I am surprised that I would have to explain to you that paraptoma is not a reference to APOSTASY. And that is what Mr. Beckwith has committed. He is not my brother, if he feels at home with the demons in Rome . Mr. Beckwith has a “mother” church. He is lost and does not know the Father.

And if you pretend otherwise, you are his worst enemy. What Mr. Beckwith and the majority of the pompous, arrogant embiciles parading themselves as “leaders” in the cloak of “clergy” need today is REBUKE. I urge you to do the thing that you would do if you truly loved Mr. Beckwith and this is to follow the apostolic admonition of Titus 3:10: “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject.”

You, Mr. Blomberg, represent the death of Biblical Christianity, with only a remnant looking to survive until the sound of the trumpet and voice of the archangel at the time of the Rapture. You have espoused and propagated a pragmatic approach toward truth and error that has left Christianity in a state of disarray and blindly marching into apostasy. There is no place in Blomberg’s religion for contending for the faith (Jude 3) and the rebuke of error. Blomberg would only rebuke the prophets, John, the Savior and His apostles for being “mean”, if he were consistent.

“Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:128

I am calling on YOU to repent. I am calling on evangelicalism to repent. This disgusting slut that calls herself “the church” is in bed with the enemy and will be judged… IS being judged by the Lord. And when He takes His spotless bride away, apostates like Beckwith will be left to pick up the pieces and follow the “church fathers” as they establish “the kingdom” on earth and usher in the Millennium–the Origenic, Augustinian, Calvinist pipe dream.

How sad, that their false Kingdom will only last 7 years and being judged by a Jesus who returns with His vesture dipped in blood, gathering the religious and political leaders to a blood-letting feast where vultures will dine and the wicked will be devoured. (Revelation 19:11-21)

Is that your Jesus?

That’s mine, Mr. Blomberg. And I couldn’t care less if my Jesus doesn’t fit your image of an effeminate false “christ”. I’ll stick to the old AV based upon the bloody Book of martyrs from the Traditional Text. And I will continue to preach the Gospel (daily in my home town) to sinners, preach discipleship to the saved and preach rebuke to all the religious kooks who make up our denominational and seminary leadership.

I wouldn’t want to stand in your shoes on Judgment Day. The wood, hay and stubble that you’ve subjected the body of Christ to since the mid-eighties is like dry kindling ready to burn.

And, by the way, no one would be happier to see Frank pull from Rome and embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ than I would (2 Corinthians 6:17). You can join the sodomites in labelling us “haters” because we preach the truth but the fact is, it’s people like us who love them enough to tell them the truth. (Galatians 4:16)

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” 1 John 2:19

In Service to Jesus Christ Alone,

Greg M.

*************************

Now, you may read that and think that I am a little “mean” and you are entitled to your opinion. But, for starters, I meant every word and said nothing with hatred in my heart. I truly mean what I said and would be dishonest if I didn’t speak the truth clearly.

Besides, I said nothing that would compare with the “vitriolic” of the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 23. Read IT.

In response to my honest thoughts, complete with Scriptural references, do you think Blomberg had anything of SUBSTANCE to say? He had nothing of substance to share with Beckwith. He couldn’t muster even a syllable of rebuke, not even a word asking Beckwith to reconsider his horrible act against God’s word and His true body.

And if you’re holding your breath to see any factual remark from Blomberg in his next response, you’ll be turning blue and passing out.

See for yourself:

*************************

” Blomberg, Craig ” wrote:

I figured I’d get an answer like that, but every once in awhile I’ve been pleasantly surprised to the contrary so thought I’d give it a try. I won’t bother asking about your take on the golden rule. I can only imagine what a horrid life you’ve had thus far that brings out such anger and hostility May you some day come to know the true God of the Bible and his all-merciful love.

*************************

Blomberg didn’t deal with a single historical FACT that I had provided.

Blomberg didn’t deal with his own mishandling of Scripture, nor did he deal with a single Scripture that I had provided.

What we do get is his mindless psycho-babble. My upbringing, lack of breast-feeding, birth order, personality type, parental dysfunction, personal brain chemistry, genetic predisposition, etc. There MUST be an explanation for this person who bases his beliefs and reactions on Biblical truth and historical fact!!

What we get from Mr. Blomberg is a retreat to “the true God of the Bible”. Is that right? The true God of the Bible–a Book that Blomberg hasn’t quoted A SINGLE TIME. How would Craig Blomberg KNOW this “true God of the Bible” when he doesn’t seem to know the BIBLE?

What we get from Mr. Blomberg is a high-sounding remark about me being LOST.

That’s right. Don’t miss that one boys and girls. Blomberg can’t handled a discussion of facts and information so he resorts to the tactic of a POPE. If you can’t refute them, DAMN THEM.

So, now, according to Blomberg, I don’t know “the true God of the Bible.” I am condemned by a man that knows so much Bible that he only references it TWICE in half a dozen exchanges and is taking it out of context BOTH TIMES.

I won’t be losing any more sleep over Blomberg’s damnation of my soul than I will over Pope Ratzinger’s damnation of all churches outside of his own. (See Pope Ben, aka. Joseph Ratzinger, is a False Prophet)

Craig Blomberg would be doing us all a favor if he just went ahead and switched teams. Cross the Tiber and get it over with.

*************************

Here was my honest response to this “professor”:

Dear Craig,

Please seek help. Do you not realize how far gone you are, mentally? You haven’t dealt with a single fact or Scriptural truth in either my post or my response. Your original reply was standard psycho-analysis with a little “bait” to pull out your subject and read him (the practice of both psychics AND pschologists). And your second reply was an amateurish attempt to diagnose my “psychological needs”.

You can’t even think like a normal person any more. You’re so shot through with apostate “Christianity” that you can’t even hold a normal conversation. If you were dropped into a conversation at the White Horse Inn around 1520 and talked like that, they would have thrown you into a straight jacket and sought out an exorcist! (And I think Exorcism and Psychology are equals.)

Incredible. And you represent “cutting edge evangelicalism”. Death by a thousand cuts…

If you would dare deal with Beckwith’s apostasy and the facts discussed in my post, I would enjoy dialog. Otherwise, go write another useless book while I go share the Gospel with lost Roman Catholics and Evangelicals—“Christianity Today”.

In Jesus Alone,

Greg M.

*************************

Blomberg becomes sanctimonious in prayer. These guys are so far gone, they can’t be reached. No real response. Blomberg is yet to address the historical facts or Scriptural truths.

Here is his disengenuous response that was meant to psycho-analyze me under the guise of “prayer”:

*************************

” Blomberg, Craig ” <Craig.Blomberg@denverseminary.edu> wrote:

“Dear Lord. I know not what in Greg’s life has filled him with such hatred. Please soften his heart with the love you have promised will abide for eternity when all else fails. Father, forgive him for he knows not what he does.”

Craig L. Blomberg (Ph.D.)
Distinguished Professor of New Testament
Denver Seminary
6399 S. Santa Fe Dr .
Littleton , CO 80120
303-762-6897

*************************

What a disgusting display! Can you imagine? This is what is teaching “seminary” students in Denver!?!? “Distinguished Professor of New Testament”???

He responds to me just like a Sodomite would. I’ve dealt with them one on one for years and every time I share Biblical truth or scientific fact to open their eyes to the deathstyle they are living and their need of the Savior, I get the “hate” label.

And just like Blomberg, I’ve had them PRAY FOR ME right there on the spot–a practicing Sodomite praying for God to remove the “hate” that I am spreading by preaching against sin and preaching the Gospel.

And their “prayers” are just like Blomberg’s. They pray to a “Lord” with no name. What “Lord” is Blomberg praying to? The same “Lord” the Sodomites pray to–the Lord of the FLIES (Beelzebub).

And while they do not address Jesus Christ, they quote him out of context and innappropriately: “Father, forgive him for he knows not what he does.”

What a light attitude toward those serious and solemn words spoken by my Savior as he hangs on a Cross, dying for the sins of the world. A sinless man being violated by worms, dying for the wicked “while they were yet sinners”. (Romans 5:8).

Is Craig Blomberg a Sodomite? I have no idea. I would not make such a charge. But he CERTAINLY talks like one and “prays” like one and treats God’s word like a Sodomite does and would!

I won’t copy the last two responses but will summarize that I asked Blomberg if he were a Freemason, since he PRAYED like one. I thought that would be less offensive than insinuating that he might be a Sodomite, though both are reprobates. He denied being a Mason.

But, like Mason’s and Sodomites, Blomberg NEVER quoted Scripture in any sort of context. Like Mason’s and Sodomites, Blomberg ONLY quoted Scripture in an abusive manner as a pre-text, out of context. Like Mason’s and Sodomites, Blomberg NEVER named his “god”.

And, like Masons, Sodomites, liberals, cults and all other false religions, Blomberg’s God is a “god” of “all-merciful love” with no JUSTICE and no JUDGMENT.

That is NOT the God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a “god” who is the figment of Craig Blomberg’s imagination. And it is a “god” who is believed on today by all but a small remnant of Bible Believers around the world. And the small remnant isn’t buying what Frank Beckwith, Craig Blomberg or their “Mother Church” in Vatican City is selling.

“And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
“Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
“And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
“The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
“And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.”
Revelation 18:9-13

The “Three-Fifths Clause” Helped End Slavery In America

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

–Three-fifths Clause: ARTICLE I, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 3 of the Constitution of the United States of America.

By: Pastor Greg Miller
3/31/2017

The Enumeration Clause
The Enumeration Clause is also referred to as the “Three-Fifths Clause” in the U.S. Constitution.  And it is a glaring example of the CULTURE OF LIES that exists in America, today.  A culture that completely misrepresents history, re-defines terms and flat out LIES in order to teach what they WANT to be true instead of actually teaching the truth as it stands.Have you been told that the “Three-Fifths Clause,” or the “Enumeration Clause,” as it is also known, was adopted because slaves were considered less-than-human?  If so, you were LIED to.  And most Americans persist in believing this lie.

Another distortion is to claim that this three-fifths clause GAVE slave states additional representation.  And such a claim is LUDICROUS.  The slave states came to the table demanding ALL slaves be FULLY counted as part of the state population.¹

The FACT is, the Three-Fifths Clause played an important role in ENDING SLAVERY in America.  Here is the true story… ²

Why Did The Founders Adopt The Three-Fifths Clause”?
During the Constitutional Convention, the anti-slavery state representatives became fully aware of the fact that whenever anything decided was proportioned according to population, the slave states would have a great advantage IF every slave was counted as part of that state’s population.

For example, while each state is allowed to send two Senators to that chamber the House of Representatives is proportioned according to the state population.  If slaves were counted fully and added to the population totals, then states like Virginia (whose population was nearly 40% SLAVES) would have additional congressman.  This would give the southern states a great advantage with dozens of additional votes in Congress.

For that reason, after contentious debate and disagreement, the representatives of the Constitutional Convention reached a compromise: Slaves would only count as three-fifth a person for population totalling purposes ONLY.

What Was The Result of The Three-Fifths Clause?
The result was immediately dramatic.  The slave population of America only accounted for 525,000 instead of 700,000.  The number of Congressmen from slave states was considerably smaller, especially when many bills were decided over a single vote!

The three-fifths clause was a substantial BLOW against slavery in America.  That is a FACT.

IF the Constitutional Convention had counted each slave fully as part of the state population, American history would have been MUCH different and slavery would not have ended anywhere NEAR the mid-19th century.  Between 1787 and the terrible “Civil War”, this Constitutional compromise favored emancipation of slavery by:

  • Resulting in laws that were anti-slavery, pro-abolitionist in nature.
  • The appointment of more anti-slavery judges.
  • Even the election of Congressmen was titled a bit more “anti-slavery” by this very clause.

It is simply a fact: the three-fifths clause was a GREAT move toward the end of Slavery in America.³  And every time you see someone mockingly denounce the founders for this “Enumeration Clause” that only counted slaves as three-fifths, especially whenever they pretend this was because slaves were seen as “less than human”?  You know you’re either dealing with an ignoramus or a liar.

Always Verify
That is the bottom line.  In this day of lies and distortion, Bible believing Christians simply cannot afford to assume that we are being told the truth.  We cannot afford to be LAZY.  We must TEST everything by the word of God (Acts 17:11) and try the spirits (1 John 4:1).  We must do our own research and VERIFY the claims made by textbooks, teachers, documentaries, news reporters, journalists, preachers, movies…

For More Information:

  1. Here is an example of someone making this completely fabricated claim:  “Three-Fifths Clause: Why Its Taint Persists,” Paul Finkelman (2/26/13).  (An example of how liberals call good, “evil” and evil “good”, see Isaiah 5:20).
  2. Compare Finkelman’s article to this article written by one of America’s great black authors, Walter E. Williams, “Was A Black Valued At 3/5th of A White?”
  3. Don’t Denounce the Founders Over Slavery,” By Walter E. Williams (June 28, 2011)

See also: “Constitutional Topic: Slavery,”   @ usconstitution.net

Was It Ornan or Araunah Who Owned The Threshingfloor?

1 Chronicles 21:15 (KJV) says, “And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.”

But,…

2 Samuel 24:16 (KJV) says, “And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.”

So, which was it?  Was It Ornan or Araunah Who Owned The Threshingfloor?

The answer: BOTH.  Because it was, obviously, the same man.  And nothing more needs to be said.  There is no evidence to the contrary and plenty of examples of this same “phenomenon” in not only Biblical literature but ALL literature, both ancient and modern.

Do you ONLY go by one name?  Have you ONLY gone by one name your whole life?  Not even a nickname?  If so, you’d be a rare bird.

This author has gone by multiple names for various reasons.  My first name is Gregory.  But it is rare that anyone calls me that.  Most of the time I am known as just “Greg”.  But there there is the fact that there were several of us named Greg in the small town I went to.  So, while at school and in school functions, I would just be called “Miller” much of the time.  That’s my last name.

But you are probably aware of the fact that there are actually MORE “Millers” than there are boys named “Greg”.  So, it was only natural that I’d be labelled with other names.  And through the years (I won’t explain the reason behind each one), I have been known by the following names and most, if not all, are recorded in writing somewhere in documents: Gregory, Greg, Miller, Andy, Andrew, Fudge…

So, the fact that one account calls the owner of the Threshingfloor Ornan and a totally different author living in a different Kingdom (the North vs. the South) at a different time called that same owner by the name Araunah?  That’s supposed to be a “contradiction”?

Nonsense.  Only if you’re trying to find reasons to doubt the veracity of the Bible so you can feel comfortable in your sins and delude yourself into thinking that the Bible is false and that there is no “God of the Bible” who will one day judge you for your sins.

John 3:19 (KJV) “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

Other Double-Named Characters In Scripture

There are other examples of this in the Bible, itself.  And these are not contradictions, either.  For example, at the Resurrection we see two names mentioned as having seen the Resurrected Jesus.

In the Gospel of John we see this:

John 21:1-2 (KJV) “After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, …”
And in Paul’s Gospel declaration in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4,  he begins listing those who saw the Resurrected Jesus and we see this:

1 Corinthians 15:5 (KJV) “And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:”

So, Jesus was seen by Peter AND by Cephas.  So, that’s two eyewitnesses, right?  No.  Peter and Cephas are the same man.

Other examples?

  • Lucifer and Satan
  • Jacob and Israel
  • Reuel and Jethro (Father of Zipporah, Moses’ First Wife)
  • Gideon and  Jerubbaal
  • Daniel and Belteshazzar
  • Hananiah and Shadrach
  • Mishael and Meshach
  • Azariah and Abed-Nego
  • Immanuel and Jesus
  • Saul and Paul
  • Thomas and  Didymus

And there are MANY more examples, but this demonstrates the reality.  There is no “contradiction” here.

Are 1 Chronicles 21 and 2 Samuel 24 Contradictory?

At a glance, we see Satan being credited with David’s numbering of the children of Israel in 1 Chronicles 21 and then we see the Lord being credited with the SAME THING in 2 Samuel 24.  But that’s the problem: “At a glance…”

(Caps for emphasis only…  Not shouting.)

We need to look carefully at EXACTLY what the text says.  That is ALWAYS the case.  And when we look at the EXACT wording and EXACTLY what these texts tell us, we see something that is not only NOT a contradiction but is FASCINATING.

Those who make much of this and try to use it to prove a “contradiction” are not usually open to the answer because they approach the Bible with the attitude that IT must match THEIR view of what God SHOULD do, IF there were a God.  Most of these “skeptics” are simply Psalm 14:1 “agnostics” and atheists, even if they are called “theologians” or “Bible professors” or “pastors” or “Reverend” or “Priest,”…

But the answer is very simple.  Satan moved David to sin, so God allowed it and directed (moved) David’s arrogance toward numbering Israel so that the Lord could bring down judgment on Israel as a nation.

This is simply an example of the free will of a man (in David) whose heart is in a state of rebellion (at that time) being used by God for His ultimate purpose.  And, although many died as a result of God’s judgment, the ultimate end is for GOOD: the preservation of the remnant of true believers in Israel AND the repentance and restitution of David to God.

Romans 8:28 (KJV) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

But the hardened skeptic cannot see the “big picture”.  They do not begin with a holy God who is just in judging sin.  They begin with an unholy figment of their imagination who is SUBJECT to their opinion.  So, they ignore what the text SAYS:

2 Samuel 24:1 (KJV) “And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them …”

1 Chronicles 21:1 (KJV) “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David…”

Satan had his agenda and God used him to exact judgment.  No contradiction.  But a very incredible look into the workings “behind the scenes” in the spirit realm.  A place we only understand insomuch as we are given such “light” in the words of God.

Reading The Bible Literally

“When the PLAIN sense makes GOOD sense, seek NO OTHER sense.”
Would you read a prescription bottle and not take it LITERALLY? Do you read the morning newspaper LITERALLY? Did you read that job application LITERALLY when you applied for that job?

Do you read a cookbook, the US Constitution, a Map, a history book, love letter (supposing you have received one!), your driver’s license, your family genealogy, legislation, your diary, etc., LITERALLY?

Well, the Bible is a collection of such similar items. Covenants (contracts), historical accounts, future predictions, laws (including civil, domestic, religious and dietary), genealogies, teachings. And, just like any other document, it must be handled IN CONTEXT so that if there are readings utilizing parable, symbolism, etc., the context makes that clear. The ONLY legitimate way to read the Bible is to read it LITERALLY unless the context demands otherwise.

Revelation Revealed!

Of course, the main victim of the anti-literal folks is the Book of Revelation. And a main point that they make is to say, “How can you take all of that symbolism LITERALLY?”

The short answer is, “I don’t!” Why? Because the context makes it clear when it is symbolic.

For example, Revelation 12:1 says, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.”

Now, the Roman and Orthodox pull an interpretation out of thin air and say that the woman is “Mary”. They have no Biblical basis for that. It just fits their worship of Mary, so they stick it in there.  And this claim that Revelation 12:1 refers to Mary is, obviously, false as we will show in a moment.

Many others who want to “spiritualize” the Bible and never take the literal approach will tell you that Revelation 12:1 refers to “the Church”.  Again, they have no Biblical basis for this.  It simply fits their agenda to “build the kingdom” (and it just happens to be THEIR denomination that they wish to head up this “Kingdom”) and they call it THE Church. And this claim also is, obviously, false.

So, what does Revelation 12:1 mean?

We should look to the Bible for the meaning of symbols. And so, we find this verse defined by Genesis 37:9 where Joseph says, “…Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.”

In verse 10, Jacob confirms that he is the sun, Rachel is the moon and the sons of Jacob (the twelve tribes) are the stars. He says, “Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?”

Eleven stars represent the OTHER eleven patriarchs whose offspring became known as the tribes of Israel. Joseph would be the twelfth “star”. Israel is represented by stars.

This is confirmed as we see God refer to the seed of Abraham as “stars”, coming from these twelve “stars” over and over in Scripture. You can look up Genesis 15:5, 22:17 and 26:4 to see this before Joseph’s dream. Then you can look up Exodus 32:13, Deuteronomy 1:10, 1 Chronicles 27:23, Nehemiah 9:23 and Hebrews 11:12 to see that Israel is “as the stars” after Joseph’s dream.

The woman in Revelation 12:1 is shown by comparing Scripture with Scripture to be a reference to: ISRAEL.

It’s That Simple

There are things in the Bible hard to understand (2 Peter 3:16). A Book written by God should be expected to be complex in places. But with the help of God’s Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14) and a healthy attitude toward God’s word (1 Thessalonians 2:13), you can handle the Bible with care and rightly divide the word of truth with no need of being ashamed in God’s presence (2 Timothy 2:15).

Election 2016

Psalm 118:8 Vote Pray Trust In The LordBible Believers Fellowship does not endorse particular candidates.

However, Pastor Greg answers your questions regarding the election, who he is voting for, voting questions in general, facts of history, etc., in these individual videos.
Simply click on the link to watch and learn:

Why Vote?
Answering those who ask, “Why bother?”

Lesser of Evils?
If you vote for the “lesser of evils”, does evil still win?

Did the Apostle John Err In His Reference To The High Priest?

normal_open_book_BW

This accusation of error was a new on on me. A reader was claiming that there was an error in the Gospel of John and that the Author (humanly speaking, the Apostle John but, in reality, God the Holy Ghost) had made an error by making the office of High Priest an annual office. In other words, the accusation is that John said the High Priest was decided annually and that the High Priest served a one-year term.

Tha accusation is absurd. There are two references given, as follows:

“And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,…
“And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;”
John 11:49 & 51

AND,

“And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.”
John 18:13

Absolutely Ridiculous Mishandling of WORDS
This accusation is simply laughable. But in my research, I found that it has been espoused by certain critics. Schaff cites a Bretschneider making such an accusation (page 710, “History of the Christian Church,” Volume 1 of 8). But that doesn’t surprise me. What passes for “scholarship” throughout human history is, many times, just a big joke.

So, let’s clear the air and make it plain for anyone reading at this point who hasn’t already seen the OBVIOUS.

John was referring to the YEAR of Christ’s CRUCIFIXION.

It was in “that year” of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ that Caiaphas was the high-priest. John was not making a reference to the status or length of term that Caiaphas would serve as High Priest. He was making reference to the fact that Caiaphas was high priest the very year that Jesus died.

The Gospel of John, after all, has as it’s climax that very event. The Gospel of John was written to tell you:

1. Who Jesus was: and He was God (read the first verse of the Book).

2. What Jesus came to do: which was to DIE and RISE from DEATH.

3. When Jesus DIED: which was on 14th Nisan–a Wednesday.

4. Where Jesus DIED: which was OUTSIDE Jerusalem on Golgotha (and not INSIDE Jerusalem, which is where the Catholic temple is built claiming to be the site of the Crucifixion).

5. How Jesus DIED: which was on a Cross (pierced) without a broken bone, etc.

6. Why Jesus DIED: which was to pay for the sins of the whole world.

When John speaks of “that year”, he is speaking of the year that Jesus died. There is no error in this or any other place where the careless skeptics make their accusations.

Did Paul contradict the teachings of Jesus?

Academics (including the ridiculously named “Jesus Seminar”—a group of apostates who couldn’t handle the Bible accurately if their lives depended on it) teach lies couched in high-sounding theological terminology, such as the idea that Paul somehow HIJACKED Christianity, changed the teachings of Jesus and, then, created a completely new religion.

The simple remedy to this mishandling of the word of God is to “rightly divide the word of truth”. (2 Timothy 2:15, kjv) This means that we must read the Bible IN CONTEXT and we must read the text carefully, understand the author’s intentions and identify the author’s immediate audience, taking into consideration the historical and grammatical information that will give us an accurate understanding. Only then can we apply it to 21st century life in a legitimate manner. This should be grade school stuff, but some of the most highly decorated PhD’s and ThD’s in the nation seem incapable of accomplishing this task.

Immediate Context

As when reading any other text in the Bible, we must look at the text and see what the immediate context is. There are different Dispensations (“economies”/ages) and each represents a difference in the manner in which God is dealing with mankind.

For example, Adam didn’t start a “new religion”. But God changed the rules after kicking Adam out of Eden. Why? The first dispensation, which began in a paradise garden, ended with Judgment. The second dispensation began with Adam and Eve outside of Eden with the commandment to replenish the earth. You will find some similarities but vast differences between these two ages (dispensations) but this is the continuing unfolding of the SAME RELIGION with the SAME GOD.

The Biblical account of history unfolds as we continue through Genesis. The second dispensation ends with a global flood. Only Noah and his family survive. This begins the third dispensation. Again, you will find some similarities but vast differences in God’s dealings with the post-flood world as compared to the second dispensation (pre-flood).

Gospel Transition Into Pauline Revelation

This brings us to the question of Paul and whether or not he “contradicted Jesus”. By taking note of the dispensational economy-age of each, we see the reason for any seeming differences between what we read in the Gospels when compared to the writings of Paul.

During His ministry on earth, Jesus was a circumcised Jew living under the dispensational economy-age of Law. He declared His intention of fulfilling the Law and spoke of the kingdom. The entire narratives of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts are of transition from Law to Grace. You will find differences between Jesus and the Old Testament, especially as you move toward the end of each of the four Gospels.

Paul comes along and wasn’t even saved until Acts chapter 9, after much of the transition from Law to Grace was already completed. He, then, was ordained and used of God to complete the task and to establish the infant local churches in sound faith and doctrine.

With that said, we have yet to see that Paul actually “contradicted” Jesus at all! What we do see is that Paul’s message is directed toward the Gentile believer while Jesus did not go after Gentiles, as He said Himself in Matthew 10:6, But He did “…go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

On the contrary, we see Paul at the end of the book of Acts rebuking the Jewish majority and saying, “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” (Acts 28:28 kjv) Paul still preached “to the Jew first” (Romans 1:16) but found fertile ground among Gentiles.

Summary Conclusion

The simple fact is that Paul continued the “revolution” that Jesus began. Jesus tried to pull Jews away from a superficial religion of works that could not save anyone and pointed them toward the Cross that He would bear as a Substitutionary payment for the sin of mankind. Once He accomplished this, He arose from the dead and ascended to Heaven, sending His Spirit to empower the apostles for the task of establishing local churches all over the world.

Paul was the hand-picked replacement of Judas Iscariot (Acts 9 & 1 Corinthians 15:8-10). He continued the work of establishing salvation as a gift from God that is based completely upon the finished work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, sealed by His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-7).

There is nothing contradictory. The Gospel, Acts and Pauline Epistles are a cohesive unit that, together with the other canonical books, tell us the whole story of God’s plan of the ages. That plan is still being worked out by the Sovereign hand of God.

Are you ready when the end comes? If you were to die tonight, would you be saved by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross, or would you be condemned by your refusal to receive God’s free gift of eternal life?

We urge you to believe and be saved.