Rightly Dividing The Word

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Rightly Dividing the Word Using a Principle Only the Apostles Understood

Part 1

Updated November 4, 2023

The Bible is without question the most well-known book in the history of this world. It is the most revered book on earth. It has for decades consistently outsold every other book in the world. Bible sales top 100 million every year. It always heads the best seller list.

While it is no doubt the most quoted and most popular book in the world, it is at the same time paradoxically the least read and even less understood book of all time.

Why is a book so universally acknowledged as the Word of God, or at the very least the greatest piece of literature in existence, so completely misunderstood or ignored?

God gives us His answer to this paradox. Within this answer we are given a key to unlocking the scriptures. Notice this statement directly from the mind of God via the pen of the apostle Paul: “the natural man receives not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1Co 2:14).

1Co 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Notice: “the things of the Spirit of God” are spiritually discerned. They are “foolishness” to the natural mind. The natural mind may want to receive them but “neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned”.

So no amount of writing, explaining or educating can give one an ability to receive “the things of the Spirit of God” because they are spiritually discerned.

Education is not the gift of the Spirit of God. Take note what the educated leaders of the church said of Christ, “How knoweth this man letters having never learned?”

Joh 7:15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?

Christ was not illiterate, and the Pharisees acknowledged this fact. However, they could not understand where his “knowledge of letters” came from “having never learned” within their educational system. Christ was not as the learned pharisee, the apostle Paul, brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. Yet at the age of twelve, he was asking questions of the teachers in the temple at Jerusalem, and all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

Luk 2:46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
Luk 2:47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

So how did He come by this knowledge? We are given the answer in a response from Christ to a statement made by Peter.

Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Christ’s response was:

Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

No amount of education gives one “spiritual discernment.” Spiritual discernment, to whatever degree one has it, is given only those to whom “the Father reveals it.” It is to just such people that this discussion is addressed; to those who know through “Christ in them” (Gal 2:20) that the Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek is the revealed Word of God to mankind.

Now the apostle Paul made a statement to just such a man that has given rise to much discussion and disputation over the years. Timothy was a young man of whom the apostle Paul thought so highly that he called him his dearly beloved son (2Ti 1:2). As such, he admonished Timothy to diligently study “the word of Truth.”

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Could there possibly be a connection between this “rightly dividing” of 2 Timothy 2:15 and the “spiritually discerned” of 1Corinthians 2:14? Surely the answer to this question and the godly understanding of both of these scriptures is demonstrated for us in the scriptures themselves in the examples set for us by Christ and His apostles as they quoted the scriptures.

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Can anyone deny that the manner with which Christ and His apostles understood and handled the scriptures should also be our manner of understanding and using “the Word of Truth” (2Ti 2:15)? Would the apostle Paul “rightly divide” scripture in one manner and expect us to “rightly divide” it some other way? Surely not!

Let us without any “idols of our hearts” (Eze 14:3-4) examine how Christ and the writers of the gospels and the apostle Paul “rightly divided the word of truth.” Let us with an open mind search for the examples given us of how they went about discerning “the things of the Spirit of God.”

The best treatment ever given this subject, to the knowledge of this writer, is within the pages of a 150 year old book by Andrew Jukes. The name of the book is The Mystery of the Kingdom. Mr. Jukes takes note that Christ is called “the Word of God” (Joh 1:1). As such whatever applied to Christ in the flesh will also apply to the written Word. Contrary to the modern concept of Christ having a halo around His head, nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is Christ was so common looking that He could, and He did, lose Himself in a crowd of Jews of His time.

Luk 4:28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
Luk 4:29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
Luk 4:30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,

Seeing Christ in the flesh alone, no one would ever have known He was the son of God. As we have related, this was only revealed to a few at that time, not by flesh and blood, but by “my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 16:17). Christ was in every visible way as common as any human who ever lived.

However, there was much more to this Jesus, the “son of Joseph” (Joh 6:42), than met the eyes. Casually seeing Christ, one could never have discerned the boundless love within Him. One could never simply by meeting and shaking hands with Him have been aware of the complete and total oneness He was with the written Word. No one without a revelation from God would ever have known that this man was the supernaturally conceived and begotten Son of God.

No, outwardly, he was the perfect disguise for the creator of the universe living among His creatures in “the same… [mortal] flesh and blood” (Heb 2:14).

Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
Joh 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own (the Jews) received him not.

Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Anyone who did not ‘need’ Christ certainly did not recognize who He was. Anyone who came to Christ measuring Him against their preconceived idea that the Christ had to be a physically powerful man with the intent of throwing off Roman rule was surely disappointed.

To the ‘righteous’ of the day, He was a great disappointment, picking corn on the Sabbath, healing on the Sabbath and then telling a man to pick up his bed and carry it on the Sabbath. To such, Christ was a door shut tight, keeping God out of sight.

Now if it is true that Christ, the Word in the “flesh” (Joh 1:1), could not possibly have been discerned as such by the natural man, then the same must be true of the written Word. Is that also true of the written Word? Is it possible that, just as Christ was undiscernible as the Son of God, there is also more to the written word than meets the eye? Could it be that just as the Word in the flesh was hidden right out in the open, so the written Word is right there for anyone to see, yet only those “to whom it is given” (Mat 13:11) can see it and understand it? Could it possibly be so foreign to the average person that simply reading the Words, considering the context, and believing what was written, was not enough to grasp the deepest meaning of what the scriptures say? Here is Christ’s own answer to that question:

Mat 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

If Christ’s parables are designed to keep the multitudes from “knowing the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, then surely some principle for “rightly dividing the Word” is revealed within Christ’s parables. All Christ’s parables used natural words to convey spiritual concepts. The sower of the seed was not a literal sower, the field was not a literal field, the seed was not literal seed. The fowls of the air, the briars and thorns that devoured and choked out the seed were never intended to be understood in the natural realm. It was all to be properly understood only in the spiritual realm. This same principle was carried through in observing the way the Word of the Old Testament was understood by the writers of the New. Christ and His apostles cannot tell us to “rightly divide the Word” by simply considering the context and the words written, while they themselves apparently ignore the context and assign a different meaning to words other than their original primary natural meaning. Did Christ and His apostles ignore the context and natural meaning of the words of the Old Testament?

Do the writers of the New Testament quote the Old Testament out of context? Let us with an open prayerful mind see if it is true that the writers of the New Testament quoted the scriptures of the Old Testament completely out of context. Consider the context of the very first Old Testament scripture quoted in the New Testament. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is pregnant, and the marriage has not yet been consummated. The situation demands an explanation, so Mary tells Joseph the truth. What is the truth? According to scripture, “thy Word is truth” (Joh 17:17). Is the truth easy for Joseph (or anyone) to accept? No! The Truth is never easy for Joseph or any of us to accept and to understand. Neither Joseph nor you nor I would have believed Mary. The context demands that we just naturally cannot believe her. Only the most gullible, blinded-by-love man would have bought such a fantastic story, yet it was the truth. As with Peter (Mat 16:17), so with Joseph, so with you and me; a supernatural revelation is required to convince anyone of the truth.

Mat 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
Mat 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Dreams seem as real as life, and if God wants us to believe our dreams, we will believe them. We come now to the first Old Testament scripture quoted in the New Testament.

Mat 1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Mat 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Was this scripture really written about Christ’s mother and His birth as Matthew says it was? Is that the context in which we find it? Or is Matthew quoting the Old Testament completely out of context?

Let us check the context. Today’s method of scriptural interpretation teaches that the examination of the context is the primary rule for understanding the Word of God. My ‘first year Bible’ teacher told us… “There are three rules for studying the scriptures. The first rule is to consider the context, the second rule is to consider the context and the third rule is to be sure to consider the context. With those ‘three rules’ in mind let’s look closely at Isaiah 7:14, which is quoted in Matthew 1:23:

Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

The context shows that this statement is addressed to king Ahaz, the king of Judah.

Isa 7:10 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying,
Isa 7:11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
Isa 7:12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.
Isa 7:13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?

Matthew applying these words of Isaiah 7:14 to the birth of Christ certainly does not follow today’s commonly accepted rules for scriptural interpretation, which dictate that context is the most important element to understanding the scriptures.

To the natural undiscerning eye, there is nothing here to connect this to the birth of Christ. Ahaz was concerned about the conspiracy by the northern kingdom of Israel under king Pekah with Rezin the king of Syria against Ahaz. What possible sign would the birth of the Messiah some 480 years later be to Ahaz? The need to know what the outcome of this conspiracy would be IS the context. In context there was an immediate and urgent concern. Yet Matthew, without explanation or apology, applies this verse to the virgin birth of Christ.

The second chapter of Matthew also contains prophecies which appear to be taken completely out of context. This chapter tells us of the wise men coming from the east to Jerusalem searching for “the king of the Jews” (Mat 2:2). After inquiring of the chief priests and scribes, Herod tells the wise men that the prophets say the messiah is to be born in Bethlehem.

Mat 2:8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

The wise men find Christ, worship him, present him with presents “and being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way” (Mat 2:12). After the wise men depart, an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream:

Mat 2:13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

Now we come to our next out-of-context prophecy:

Mat 2:14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
Mat 2:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Out of Egypt have I called my son” (vs 15). This was a quote from Hoseah 11:1 which reads:

Hos 11:1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

In context, Hosea is simply saying that as Israel, not Christ, was being called out of Egypt, they were in the process of departing from God:

Hos 11:2 As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.

Still Matthew, once again without explanation, applies this verse to Christ’s return from Egypt. Surely, we would wonder WHY DOES MATTHEW NOT EXPLAIN HIMSELF?

Let us continue with this “totally out of context” and “you can go anywhere with that” application of scripture. An even greater violence to the modern rules of exegesis (scriptural interpretation) is contained in the very next verses:

Mat 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

Was this event prophesied and foretold in the Old Testament? According to Matthew, it certainly was:

Mat 2:17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
Mat 2:18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

Matthew is quoting Jeremiah:

Jer 31:15 Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

Now Ramah, as Matthew very well knew, is nowhere near Bethlehem. It is not even in Judah. Ramah is a city in Ephraim. Bethlehem is south and west of Jerusalem, and Ramah is many miles away, north and east of Jerusalem.

Furthermore, Judah, the tribe of Christ, was not born of Rachel but of Leah. All of this is very well known by Matthew, yet he once again WITHOUT EXPLANATION quotes this scripture from Jeremiah 31:15 and applies it to this horrendous event in and around Bethlehem in the time of Christ.

Mark uses this same out of context rule of scriptural exegesis in the first three verses of his gospel.

Mar 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
Mar 1:2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Mar 1:3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Mark is quoting Malachi 3:1…

Mal 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

Mark only quotes half of verse 1. Checking the context, let us pick up where Mark left off: “and the Lord WHOM YE SEEK, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, WHOM YE DELIGHT IN: behold he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts”. That is the last part of verse 1. Verses 2 and 3 say He will purify the sons of Levi when He; “whom you seek”, and “in whom ye delight” comes, “and He shall purify the sons of Levi; and purge them as gold and silver.”

None of this would appear to the natural mind to apply to Christ’s coming in the flesh when the “sons of Levi”, the priests, had Him crucified. Yet we are told by the Holy Spirit that the first half of Malachi 3:1 refers to John the Baptist. Why would the holy spirit handle the scriptures in this way?

Notice once again Mark doesn’t bother to explain himself. Like Matthew, he applies scriptures to Christ which we would say with our natural mind are taken out of context.

Read the second part of Mark’s statement. Along with all the New Testament writers, Mark apparently practiced what today is criticized as “proof texting”, taking only that part of the scriptures which makes his point while completely ignoring the context.

Let’s see how Mark 1:3 appears when read in context. This second part of Mark 1:3 is a quote from an entirely different prophet. It is quoted from Isaiah 40:3. Read it with the verse before and a couple of verses afterward, and ask yourself if you would, with today’s “context, context, context” rules of biblical interpretation have ever guessed this was a prophecy about John the Baptist. Verse 2 says:

Isa 40:2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.

Verse 3 and 4 continues…

Isa 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Isa 40:4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

…and verse 5:

Isa 40:5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Was the “glory of the Lord” revealed at the coming of John the Baptist? Did “all flesh” see it together? Yet we are once again informed without explanation that Isaiah 4:3 is a reference to John the Baptist.

Luke quotes the same scripture and draws the same conclusion, once again without explanation or apology as if there were some commonly understood principle being applied of which we today are apparently woefully ignorant.

Does the apostle John take this same approach to scripture? Yes, he does.

Joh 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

All four gospels quote the same scripture and draw the same conclusion with the same assumption that ‘You understand what I mean.’ (Mat 3:3, Mar 1:3, Luk 3:4, Joh 1:23)

The word ‘hermeneutics’ is commonly used in seminaries and among bible students, but many people are unfamiliar with its meaning. The dictionary explains the word as “the science and methodology of interpretation; especially of scriptural text.”

Before we examine the apostle Paul’s hermeneutics, let’s examine one more scripture which the apostle John applies to Christ. John quotes a verse from Psalm 69 and applies it to Christ driving the animals and money changers out of the temple:

Joh 2:16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
Joh 2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

Notice that John says “His disciples remembered that it was written…” It is clear that all Christ’s disciples were applying the same rules of exegesis, and they all appear to quote scripture completely out of context.

Remember the headings in the Psalms are inspired along with the Psalms themselves. The heading says this is a psalm of David. David confesses:

Psa 69:5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.

This is obviously not talking about our sinless Savior. David continues in verses 6 and 7:

Psa 69:6 Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel.
Psa 69:7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.
Psa 69:8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children.
Psa 69:9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.

Applying today’s context hermeneutics, it would appear that John has taken this statement by David about himself completely out of context and applied it to Christ.

Next week we will examine how Paul handled The Word, and we will see if he used it in this same ‘cherry picking’ manner.


Rightly Dividing the Word Using a Principle Only the Apostles Understood

Part 2

Let us examine the apostle Paul. Did he ever apply this “spiritualizing” principle? Indeed he did. To quote him out of context, he did it “more abundantly than they all” (1Co 15:10). It is commonly taught in Christian churches and seminaries that God’s chosen people today are the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. Genesis 12:1-3 is the first mention of God’s covenant with Abraham, whose name at this time is still Abram.

Gen 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Gen 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Notice the “had said” in verse 1. This is a reference back to the time when God had first spoken to Abram while Abram was still in “Ur of the Chaldees”.

Gen 15:7 And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.

The deal (covenant) God had with Abram at first, while still in Ur, was very general and rather vague, at least as far as what Abram was to receive was concerned. What he was to do was specific enough:

Get out of your country.
Get away from your kindred and from your father’s house.
Go to a land that I will show you.

Exactly what was he promised?

I will make you a great nation.
I will bless you and make your name great.
You shall be a blessing.

In line with, and as a result of these three promises to Abram, God says:

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

Verse 4 tells us Abram was still in Haran and departed from Haran when he was 75 years old. Verse 5 says he took his wife Sarai and Lot, his nephew, and “they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.” Verse 6 says he passed through the land of Canaan “and the Canaanite was then in the land.” Hence, the name “land of Canaan.” Now the Lord adds more detail to His promise to Abram. Notice:

Gen 12:7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

The next mention of this covenant with Abram is in chapter 13:

Gen 13:14 And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:
Gen 13:15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
Gen 13:16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
Gen 13:17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

The promise now is somewhat altered:

Instead of simply promising to make Abram “a great nation”, he is told “I will make your seed as the dust of the earth.”
Instead of “to a land that I will show you”, he is told “for all the land which you seest, to you will I give it and to your seed forever.”

The most specific description of the land given to Abram, is in chapter 15:

Gen 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

In Genesis 17:4 he is told:

Gen 17:4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

This is where his name is changed from Abram to Abraham, which means “a father of many nations.”

Gen 17:5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

The last mention of the promises given Abraham is in Genesis 22.

Gen 22:10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
Gen 22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
Gen 22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
Gen 22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

Therefore the Lord says to Abraham:

Gen 22:16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
Gen 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
Gen 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

So here we have the promises in their final form:

Abraham is to inherit the land of Canaan from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates.
His seed is to be “as the dust of the earth”, “as the sand of the sea” and “as the stars of heaven.”
“Thy seed shall possess the gates of his enemies.”
“And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”

“Thy seed” meant that these promises were passed on to Isaac and from Isaac to Jacob. These are the “promises made unto the fathers” referred to by the apostle Paul in Romans 15:8 and Galatians 3:29.

What do these promises mean to Paul? Do they mean, as we are told today, “Abraham’s seed according to physical descendants are to possess modern Israel, and we will be blessed if we support them and cursed if we do not?”

No, the message we are commonly taught today concerning Israel is nothing like the true message of Paul. Paul, like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter and James, seemed to have a principle of scriptural interpretation that Christians, as a whole, do not grasp.

What did the promise “in thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” mean to Paul? He tells us in Galatians 3:

Gal 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Gal 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

To Paul, the promise “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen 22:18) had nothing to do with physical descent. Paul took this as a statement concerning a spiritual principle, the principle of faith in the word of God. To Paul the “thy seed” of Genesis 22:18 are those in Christ.

Gal 3:29 And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promises.

“Heirs according to the promises?” Is Paul saying that the Gentiles who accept Christ are to inhabit Canaan “from the river of Egypt, to the great river, the river Euphrates?” Does Paul also spiritualize the promised land? Well, yes, he does!

Rom 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

“Heir of the world”? Where did he get that? What happened to “from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates?”

To Paul all the promises were primarily and ultimately spiritual statements having nothing to do with the physical realm. They certainly had nothing to do with Abraham’s physical seed and descendants.

Rom 9:6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
Rom 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

What does “in Isaac” mean? Does it mean physically descended from Abraham and therefore entitled to the promises?

If it does, then you are saying that the promises don’t pertain to you; the adoption (maturing to the point of carrying on the Father’s business) doesn’t apply to you. Instead, you are saying the adoption and the promises apply to those who today, by the letter, are called “God’s chosen people”, but who Paul calls the “son of the bondwoman” whom he says “shall not be heir with the son of the free woman” (Gal 4:30).

If we believe that “Israel according to the flesh” is still “God’s chosen people”, like Esau, we are selling our birthright and believing that the son of the bondwoman (Jerusalem that now is and is in bondage with her children) will be made heir with the son of the free woman. It is Hagar, the bondwoman, who answers to Jerusalem that now is and is in bondage with her children (Gal 4:25). Paul is not saying that the other Jewish apostles, or any believing Jews who happened to be in Jerusalem, were in bondage. He is saying that being “of Israel” or “of Abraham” physically, has nothing to do with being “the seed of Abraham” or “an heir according to the promise.”

So who does God “count for the seed?” Who are the “heirs according to the promise?” Let’s go right back to where we left off.

Rom 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
Rom 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

Who then are the “heirs”, these “children of the promise?”

Gal 3:29. If you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

This agrees with Christ’s statement in John 8:37.

Joh 8:37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

Joh 8:39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Christ says they are Abraham’s children in verse 37 and says they aren’t in verse 39. As Paul said in Romans 9:6, “They are not all Israel who are of Israel.”

See how far Paul carries this spiritual approach to the scriptures in Romans 9:

Rom 9:2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
Rom 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

Does this not sound just like Abraham when told that his son “according to the flesh” was not to be counted for the seed. His immediate response was like Paul and many of us today. “Oh, that Ishmael (Jerusalem that now is) might live before thee” (Gen 17:18, Gal 4:25-30).

Continuing now in Romans 9:4:

Rom 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

So the adoption and the promises “pertain to Israel” and yet Israel “according to the flesh” is “the son of the bondwoman” (Gal 4:30) and cannot be heir with the son of the freewoman. So to whom now does the adoption pertain?

Rom 8:14 – “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God [the seed of Abraham (vs 15)] for ye [you Roman Gentiles] have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father”.

Gal 4:5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us (Gentile Ephesians) unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ…

Who then is Paul calling “Israelites to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God and the promises?”

Since Galatians 4 seems so hard for many to grasp, let’s consider Ephesians 2:11.

Eph 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Just how near is near?

Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Paul has just revealed that as far as God is concerned, Israel in the flesh has been replaced by Israel according to the Spirit. He goes on in chapter 3 verse 2:

Eph 3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:
Eph 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

Is this some extra-scriptural revelation of which Paul is speaking? Hardly! Standing before Agrippa in Acts 26:22, he states clearly that he spoke “none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.”

Act 26:22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
Act 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

Two chapters later speaking to the Jews in Rome “he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets, from morning until evening” (Act 28:23). Of course, they rejected it, and Paul makes this statement to them:

Act 28:28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God [the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants and the giving of the law, and the service of God and the promises] is sent unto the Gentiles, and they will hear it.

Continuing now with Ephesians 3:3:

Eph 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

Eph 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles [Paul here and in Acts 15:25-27 says the apostles agreed with Paul] and prophets by the Spirit;

What is this mystery (secret) revealed to Paul and the apostles?

Eph 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Notice: no Jew versus Gentile; no body versus bride; no heaven versus earth inheritance, but rather “fellow heirs”.

Eph 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Any doubt about the oneness of the body of Christ should be shattered by these plain statements by Paul as to who constitutes an Israelite. There are still those, though, who contend that there is a “body” made up primarily of Gentile believers and a “bride” made up of Jewish believers. “You can’t be both a body and a bride” they say.

Yes, God can and does give us His children, many different, sometimes apparently contradictory, descriptions. We are sons and virgins. We are trees and temples. We are stones and lights. We are soldiers and sheep, etc.

Paul concludes Galations with this summary statement.

Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Gal 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

It is a strange phenomenon how so many see the words “Israel of God” in verse 16 and immediately forget “this rule” laid down in verse 15. They revert right back to the flesh and the letter, forgetting the truth of God revealed in Romans 2:27.

Rom 2:27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

So what is the scriptural circumcision?

Php 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

So we Gentiles who are in Christ “are the circumcision.” We are God’s chosen people. There cannot be two chosen people. There is no such thing as “chosen” versus “elect” or “elect” versus “very elect”. Few people realize it, but the words “chosen” and “elect” are the same in the original Greek. The Greek word is eklektos (#1588 in Strong’s concordance).

An oft-quoted scripture is Matthew 24:24.

Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

It is believed by many that the “very elect” mentioned here are somehow separated from those who are called merely “elect”, and this group is somehow separated from those who are merely “chosen”.

Since we are the “Israel of God”, and we are both the bride and the body, will we reign in both heaven and earth? As a matter of scriptural fact, that is exactly what the apostle Paul says in 1Corinthians 6:2.

1Co 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

Paul even says that God:

2Co 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

Paul specifically points out that the new covenant (#1242 – same as testament) is NOT OF THE LETTER, but of the spirit. Yet some still say this is not the new covenant referred to in Jeremiah 31:31-34, where the new covenant is first mentioned.

Jer 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
Jer 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Apparently some still think this is not the same “new covenant” referred to by Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:6. They apparently don’t notice that the Ephesian Gentiles are “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens…” (Eph 2:19); that the Gentile Ephesians are no longer “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel”; no longer “strangers from the covenants of promise” (vs 12).

Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

If this is a “new covenant” that pertains to the Gentile Corinthians and Ephesians but is not connected to the “new covenant” mentioned in Jeremiah 31:31-33 quoted above, then we must conclude that God had an old covenant with these Gentiles. This obviously is not what Paul had in mind. Paul is referring to the only new covenant mentioned in scriptures (Jer 31:31).

Going back to 2 Corinthians 3:6, the very next verse, after mentioning the “new covenant”, refers to the old covenant, calling it the ministration of death.

2Co 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
2Co 3:7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
2Co 3:8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

There are many other scriptures in Paul’s writings we could mention to demonstrate his “out of context” spiritualizing use of scriptures. Let us go on now to James to see if he does the same thing.

Acts 15 is known as the Jerusalem conference chapter. Certain believers from the area of Judea had taken it upon themselves to teach the Gentile disciples in Pisidian Antioch that they could not be saved unless they practice the outward sign of “circumcision and keep the law of Moses” (Act 15:5). There was obvious freedom of thought and expression because verse 7 says there was “much disputing”.

Finally, Peter stands up and makes a profound statement; a statement he later had to live up to (Gal 2:11). In Acts 15:

Act 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
Act 15:9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
Act 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Act 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Now we come to James, the so-called “circumcision apostle.” Does he agree that there is “no difference” between how a Gentile and a Jew are saved?

Act 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:

Act 15:15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
Act 15:16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
Act 15:17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Why would the Gentiles need the tabernacle of David rebuilt to “seek after the Lord?” James somehow equates “building again the ruins thereof” with the calling of the Gentiles.

This is a quote from Amos 9. Let’s check the context there:

Amo 9:9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.
Amo 9:10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.
Amo 9:11 In that day [of verse 10] will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:
Amo 9:12 That they [of the house (tabernacle) of David] may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.

Reading this passage in Amos, it simply seems to be saying that David’s throne will be restored “as in the days of old” (vs 11). The throne of David is no older than David and Solomon when all twelve tribes were still under the “tabernacle of David” (vs 12) “That they (those of David’s house or tabernacle) might possess…the heathen, which are called by my name.”

Does this sound like a prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles at the time in Acts 15? Had David’s throne or tabernacle been restored? Yet, once again, as if everyone present understood exactly what was meant (not what was said), James, like all the other apostles, doesn’t bother to apologize for or explain what he’s ‘getting at.’

Does anyone doubt that the “tabernacle of David” to which the Gentiles seek is Christ who even now has inherited the throne or tabernacle of David?

If, as some tell us, physical Israelites are to be returned to their former prominence, this scripture might have been better placed, had it been quoted on the day of Pentecost when all present were Israelites by physical birth. Even then there was no restored tabernacle of David. Instead he Holy Spirit has seen fit to place it here in Acts 15 in connection with the calling of the Gentiles, “that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.” James agrees with Peter (vs 15) that circumcision and the law of Moses was “a yoke upon the neck of the (Gentile) disciples, which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear.”

Act 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

This must have been hard for the twelve original apostles to receive and fully accept. Peter’s trials with this part of God’s mind are enumerated for us in Acts 10 where Cornelius is called, and again in Galatians 2, where both Peter and Barnabas are seen struggling to accept this part of God’s workings.

Gal 2:12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
Gal 2:13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
Gal 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

This situation deserves our scrutiny. Why did Paul confront Peter? Was it really because ‘Peter made the mistake of attempting to mix administrations?’ If that were his sin, Paul missed a good chance of clarifying this. Instead, he waits until “certain came from James” to point out this supposed sin of ‘administration mixing’.

Such a suggestion is of course absurd. Peter’s sin was not ‘administration mixing’ but “dissimulating.” Dissimulation is the Greek word ‘hupokrisis‘ (Strong’s #5272). This word is from hupo-krinomai (Strong’s #5271) which is translated “feign” in Luke 20:20 where the chief priest and scribes “watched him (Christ) and sent forth spies which should feign themselves just men.”

The reason Paul waited until “certain came from James” to reprove Peter was because Peter needed no reproof until then. Strong’s definition for dissemble is “to act hypocritically in concert with.” This is what Paul meant by “they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel.” Peter was not “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3). He had forgotten that:

Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Eph 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Hadn’t Paul agreed with Peter that Peter would go to the circumcision and Paul would go to the Gentiles? Indeed he had. So what did that mean?

Did it mean that Paul had one gospel, a “gospel of the uncircumcision” while Peter had another gospel, the “gospel of the circumcision?” It is right here in this chapter where Paul is reproving Peter for “not walking uprightly according to the gospel.” In the concordant version of the New Testament, ‘the’ in “the evangel” is in dark print, indicating that Paul is aware of only one gospel, a gospel which did not allow one part of the body of Christ to separate itself from, or set itself above, the rest of the body.

Eph 2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

The word “both” is a reference back to the “circumcision” and the “uncircumcision” of verse 11:

Eph 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

The circumcision and the uncircumcision are “one body” and both have only “THE (one) gospel.”

Rightly Dividing The Word – Part 3

We ended our last study pointing out that the only differences tolerated within the body of Christ are “diversities of gifts [and] differences of administrations” mentioned and revealed in 1Corinthians 12. This chapter reveals that there are indeed “differences of administrations” within the body of Christ, but it also points out that “there is but the same Lord”:

 What I did not point out at the conclusion of our last study is that the subject of  First Corinthian 12 is “concerning spiritual gifts” (vs 1), and after reviewing a few of the gifts of the spirit Paul concludes:

1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

So any “diversities of gifts or differences of administrations” concerning spiritual gifts are within ONE BODY. Verse 28 says that the apostles, all of them, are part of “the body”. Had this not been the case, Peter would have been justified in separating himself from the Gentiles, and for that matter, should never have been eating with Gentiles in the first place.

Much earlier Peter had stood up to the chief priest and the Sanhedrin saying:

Act 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

He had been willing to risk his life to preach the gospel, had been thrown into and supernaturally delivered from prison. Yet here was a part of “the gospel” which he and Barnabas had trouble fully taking to their bosom.

Php 3:3 For we [Gentile Philippians] are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Why were Peter and Barnabas along with apparently all “the other Jews” having such a hard time accepting believing Gentiles as “the Israel of God” and counting their own physical descent as “dung” (Php 3:8)? The reason is given in John 16:12:

Joh 16:12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.

This was as hard for the original twelve apostles of Christ to receive as for Christians today to be told “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1Co 15:22). Their reluctance to accept this Truth signifies our own reluctance to accept the full extent of the love of God and “[that] all happened to them and it was written for our admonition…” (1Co 10:11).

Even today, many in the body of Christ reject God’s decree: “the son of the bondwoman (Jerusalem which now is – Gal 4:25) shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman” citing Galatians 4:31 “WE BRETHREN, ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE FREE (WOMAN)” as pertaining to themelves.

In Acts 2:29, Peter, speaking to the Jews from “every nation under heaven” (vs 5) on the day of Pentecost, is showing them the scriptures foretelling the coming of Christ. He quotes from Psalms saying:

Act 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

When God says “according to the flesh”, He means “according to the flesh.” So Christ came “of the fruit of his (David’s) loins according to the flesh.”

Likewise, when it says “we are able ministers of the New Testament (covenant) NOT OF THE LETTER (FLESH) BUT OF THE SPIRIT, it means of the spirit (Rom 2:29). “Inward Jews” are [the spiritual] Jews [with whom]; the covenant with Abraham was confirmed (Rom 3:17) of God IN CHRIST [that’s all in spirit].

Rom 3:29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: [that’s spirit]

Paul interprets “from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates” to mean the whole “world” (Rom 4:13) [that’s spirit also]. He explains to the Gentile Corinthians that they are to “judge the world” (1Co 6:2). This is because they are, in Christ, counted as “Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” (Gal 3:29). It is all “of the spirit” (2Co 3:6 and Rom 2:29).

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1Co 2:14).

In 1 Corinthians 15:22, Paul says:

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Paul explains in Romans 11:

Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Rom 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
Rom 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

When Will He “Take Away Their Sins?”

If that is the case then we really need to know WHEN HE will “TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS?”

Those whose ‘affection’ [the Greek is ‘mind’ (Col 3:1,2)] is on the earth, say this time period is during the millennium. They quote Ezekiel 37, the chapter of scripture which refers to “the valley which was full of bones.”

Chapter 36 sets the stage for chapter 37. It is addressed to “the mountains of Israel” (vs 1). In the first twenty verses, he describes their punishment and why they were punished. In verse 21, he says: “But I had pity for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.” Then the Lord declares:

Eze 37:22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:

Verse 25 says: “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean and then again the Lord declares another spiritual fact:

Eze 36:26 A new [spiritual] heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh [‘Flesh’ being contrasted with ‘stone’ signifying a spiritual heart].
Eze 36:27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

We must at this juncture determine what is meant here by replacing a heart of stone with a heart of flesh. Do Jews have “hearts of stone?” How could anyone have a “heart of stone?” A heart of stone is to the spiritually minded person a “carnal (fleshly) mind” (Rom 8:7). “…the carnal mind is enmity against God: [it profanes His name among the heathen]; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

Rom 8:7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Now Ezekiel says this ‘heart of stone’ is to be replaced by a heart of flesh. If a ‘heart of stone is figurative (and it obviously is) what is the meaning of a ‘heart of flesh’ in this verse?

The answer is to be found in 1 Corinthians 15, the resurrection chapter.

1Co 15:35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
1Co 15:36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest [the way you live your life (Gal 6:7)] is not quickened [given life] except it die.

We must die ‘to the flesh’ before we die ‘in the flesh’, or we will not be in the first resurrection (Joh 12:24-25). Paul has both deaths in view here:

1Co 15:37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
1Co 15:38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. [what we sow is what we reap (Gal 6:7)].

Before we read verse 39 of 1 Corinthians 15, let us jump ahead to verse 44, and remember this is all in answer to the rhetorical question “with what body do they come in the resurrection?”

Here in verse 44, Paul makes a statement we must accept and apply if we hope to grasp what is meant by a ‘heart of flesh’ in Ezekiel 36:26. “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”

1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

Now we know that this chapter concerns the resurrection of the dead and that in the resurrection “it is raised a spiritual body.”

Return now to verse 39:

1Co 15:39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.

1Co 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
1Co 15:43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

So the resurrected body is “incorruptible”, “glorious”, “powerful” and “spiritual”. These “invisible things of God” are “understood by the things that are made” (Rom 1:20). God’s only way of communicating with us is in terms we can grasp – in physical terms. So still speaking of resurrected, spiritual, invisible bodies, we are told in 1 Corinthians 15:40:

1Co 15:40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

In the resurrection of spiritual bodies, even though they are “incorruptible”, “glorious”, “powerful” and “spiritual”, there are still degrees that “differ one from another” in every one of these spiritual qualities.

Going back to Ezekiel 36 and 37, we can now see that the “heart of flesh” of 36:26 and the “sinews, flesh, and skin” of 37:8 are all physical descriptions of a spiritual resurrection.

1Co 15:44 – It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

If this is a resurrection, then the bodies are spiritual.

There is an important scripture that is completely neglected by those without spiritual eyes. It has to be overlooked because it denies a second physical death which the physically minded demand.

In Hebrews 9:25, Paul explains that Christ did not have to “offer himself often; as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with the blood of others.” In verse 26, he says:

Heb 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

This all explains the time and the place of the resurrection of Ezekiel 36 and 37. There are two resurrections, the first and the second, but no one is in both.

Joh 5:28  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
Joh 5:29  And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life [That “blessed and holy… first resurrection” (Rev 20:6)]; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [Second resurrection to judgment at the great white throne judgment, Rev 20:11-15].

We die once and are resurrected once. “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body” is the truth of God’s word.

The fact that Christ appeared to be a physical body immediately following His resurrection, does not mean His or our resurrected bodies are physical. His purpose at that time was to prove to His skeptical disciples that He had indeed risen from the dead. He even appeared in a locked room with the wounds He received at His crucifixion, just to prove to doubting Thomas that what Thomas had heard about Christ being alive was true. Why do so many ‘Christians’ insist that we are raised in bodies of flesh and blood, but they do not insist that Christ will forever have nail holes in His hands and a big spear hole in His side???

Indeed, a spiritual body is much more alive than a natural body, but Christ needed no holes in His body when He appeared to John in Revelation 1:14 – “…His eyes were as a flame of fire (vs 15); And His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters.” It appears that spirit can appear in many forms.

Heb 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

That’s a plain and very clear statement. If you can see anything, it is composed from something invisible (God’s spirit).

Continuing that thought, Christ speaking to Nicodemus said:

Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Now remember, Paul has revealed to us that in the resurrection, “it is raised a spiritual body” (1Co 15:44).

Now read:

Joh 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth and you hear the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, an whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.

Everyone born of the Spirit is invisible like the wind? That’s what Christ told Nicodemus. So when Christ appeared in the flesh after His resurrection, this was for the benefit of those in the flesh. It would have been totally unnecessary otherwise. Physical sight is essential for those who are still in the flesh.

Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.”

If you, a Gentile Christian, must see with your physical eyes, and if you, like doubting Thomas and Nicodemus, cannot yet bear to hear of spiritual things, then you see natural Jews, “Israel according to the flesh”, as “the Israel of God”. When we see “Israel according to the flesh” as “the Israel of God” then like Esau we are forfeiting our birthright to the “son of the bondwoman” (Gal 4:26-28).

Dan 12:2 Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some (“flesh of beasts” and “glory of the terrestrial”) to shame and everlasting contempt.

This coincides with:

Eze 36:27 I will put my spirit within you, and cause you [through a fiery experience (1Co 3:13)] and chastening judgment [1Co 11:32] to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them”, and “Then shall ye remember your own evil ways and loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.”

There you have it: incorruptible “glorious”, “powerful” “spiritual” bodies who “remember (their) own evil ways” who “loathe themselves” and are raised to “shame and everlasting (olam) contempt.”

Israel “in the flesh” is neither better nor worse than the Gentiles “in the flesh.” ‘Circumcision avails nothing and uncircumcision avails nothing’ (Gal 6:15). It follows then that the resurrection and reward of both would be the same. Sure enough, it is! The assertions, and that’s all they are, of the Jews, Catholics or Protestants to the contrary, the word of God will not fail. This same prophet who gives us the “whole house of Israel…without hope” and “cut off” from God in a “valley of dry bones”, gives us the timing of this event.

Speaking to Jerusalem (Eze 16:3) God tells ‘her’ (Eze 16:55) “When their sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate.” This is what Paul meant when he said “and so all Israel shall be saved.” This is that of which Paul spoke in Romans 11:15 when he asked: “For if the casting away of them (Israel) be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead?” (The second resurrection which is for all mankind)

This is what Paul meant when he said “so then brethren, we are not the children of the bondwoman, but of the free.” Unlike Esau, let us hold fast our birthright, because “they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the children of the promise (that’s us!) are counted for the seed.” So Israel is no longer Israel according to the flesh, but what Paul in his summary of Galatians calls “the Israel of God”. Israel has become a spiritual nation, the “Israel of God” (Gal 6:16). And since “as in Adam (did you choose to be ‘in Adam’?) all die; so in Christ (it is God who ‘draws us” in our “own order) will all be made alive” (1Co 15:22). Then Abraham’s seed will indeed be “as the dust of the earth” and “as the stars of heaven for number”.

In the last chapter of Luke, chapter 24, we are given an account of some of the events surrounding the day of the resurrection of Christ.

Luk 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
Luk 24:14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
Luk 24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
Luk 24:16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

Christ joins their conversation, and in verse 27 we are told: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Here is Christ himself “rightly dividing the scriptures”, “concerning himself”. What were these “things concerning himself”? They were the things He had revealed to James, Peter, John and Paul, etc., and they were in most cases what today’s Bible expositors would say were “taken out of context”, prooftexted”, “spiritualized”. Words concerning David, Israel, etc. he explains to these men on the road to Emmaus are actually “things concerning himself.” He ends up at least starting to eat a meal with these two disciples (vs 31) “and their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight.” As soon as they received spiritual vision, Christ departed. In biblical typology, it is significant that they received their “opened eyes” while “breaking bread” (Joh 6:48). This whole scene is repeated within mere hours.

Luk 24:33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

Luk 24:35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
Luk 24:36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

Luk 24:41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

So while once again “breaking bread” we are told:

Luk 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

The ‘food’ or ‘breaking bread’ to those with “eyes to see and ears to hear” (Mat 13:13) is understanding the “spirit” (2Co 3:6) of the covenant.

What was given the disciples “…that they might understand the scriptures” as demonstrated time and again in this paper, was a principle of scriptural understanding that defies the context-oriented reasoning of virtually every Christian denomination or seminary in the world, whether Catholic or Protestant. Before we attempt to give a verbal expression to this principle, let us demonstrate its application by the one apostle we haven’t yet quoted.

In Acts 1, the disciples are gathered in the upper room awaiting the gift of the Holy Spirit (vs 15). “In those days, Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said… (vs 16) Men and brethren this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.” Peter says the scriptures from Psalms he is about to quote were “by the Holy Ghost” speaking of Judas:

Act 1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

This verse (Act 1:20) is nowhere to be found in Psalms as quoted here. It is actually a conjunction of two separate Psalms with many Psalms in between. The first part is from Psalm 69:25. In this psalm, David is simply asking God for protection from his enemies (vs 1). “Save me, O God: for waters are come into my soul. (vs 13)…my prayer is unto thee, O Lord…(vs 14). Deliver me out of the mire and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of deep waters. (vs 18)…Deliver me because of mine enemies (vs 19)…mine adversaries are all before thee.” In context, this is all about David’s enemies. Christ had “opened (Peter’s) understanding, that (he) might understand the scriptures” (Luk 24:45). Peter now understands about whom this is actually speaking. Now in the verse of which Peter quotes only half in Acts 1:20, which is Psalm 69:25, “Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents”, he left off the “and let none dwell in their tents.”

The last half of Acts 1:20 is quoted from Psalm 109. The inspired heading declares this “a psalm of David…” In verse 2, he says “…The mouth of the wicked…are opened against me.” From verses 2 to 19, David calls down curses on HIS enemies. Verse 20 says “Let this be the reward of MINE adversaries.” Christ only days before had opened Peter’s understanding (Luk 24:45) “…that they might understand the scriptures.”

Armed with this new “understanding”, Peter borrows only verse 9 out of this chapter of Psalms, throws it together with the first half of Psalm 69:25 and concludes that all these experiences of David are actually referring to Christ.

Where did the apostles then get the “understanding” that allows such “out of context”, “prooftexting”, “you can go anywhere with that” approach to scriptures?

They got it from Christ

Luk 24:45 Then opened He [Christ] their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.

What was it they understood at that point that they hadn’t understood before?

In Luke 24:44, Christ laid down this principle; the one which is rejected by those who, generally speaking, consider themselves today to be “the body of Christ.”

Luk 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

Christ had been explaining it to them for years. In Luke 24:44-45, Christ simply opened their spiritual minds (previously blinded and veiled) to understand and remember what He had been showing them all along. The principle is “as he is so are we in this world” (1Jn 4:17). Christ was rejected by the church. His doctrine was more than they could receive. If all of the “out of context” verses we have quoted, from virtually every writer of the New Testament, is any indication of what Christ had been teaching them, it is clear (Mat 10:24) “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord” (vs 40); “He that receiveth you, receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth Him that sent me.”

Matthew 25:40 and 45 sum it up thusly: “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

In other words, Christ had taught His apostles over and over that anything that applied to any of the Old Testament patriarchs or prophets or Israel or any particular Israelite (“one of the least of these my brethren”) will, and does apply to Christ. Also, anything that applies to Christ as the head of His body, will apply to any part of His body, or to any part of spiritual Israel.

If the head must suffer, the body must suffer with it (Rom 8:17, 2Ti 2:12). “As He is, so are we in this world” (1Jn 4:17).

If Christ were hated, we will be hated also (Mat 10:22-25).

What applies to David or any Old Testament patriarch or prophet or Israelite, will apply to Christ and through Christ to us, His body.

This is the principle upon which the apostles had been discipled for so long and so repeatedly that it needed no apology or explanation, because it was so universally understood at that time, but it is lost today.

How can we relate our sins to a perfect Christ?

Someone will say “but David and Daniel and others, including all of us, have confessed to sin. How can this be applied to our perfect and sinless savior?”

2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin.

If David says (Psa 51:9) “Hide your face from my sins and blot out all mine iniquities,” Christ says the same thing to the Father for David, the patriarchs, Israel, any Israelite and any part of His body.

Out of context?

We can see the spiritual application isn’t out of context at all! The literal fleshly application is the error. (2Co 3:6) “Who (God) also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit, for the letter (the fleshly, physical, literal, context oriented) kills, but the spirit (as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren…) gives life.” According to Romans 7:6:

Rom 7:6. But now we are delivered from the [letter of the] law that being dead [“the letter kills”] wherein we were held, that we should serve [the law of God (Rom 7:22, 25)] in newness of Spirit and not in oldness of letter.


It was Peter who was chosen to reveal to us in 2 Peter 1:20 that “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation (vs 21). For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

The word ‘private’ in verse 20 is Strong’s #2398, idios in the Greek. It appears 109 times in the New Testament and is generally interpreted as ‘apart’ or ‘his own.’ So “no scripture of prophecy” is to be taken ‘apart’ from other scripture or used on ‘its own.’ Why not?

2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

It all has the same author, the Holy Spirit, so it will never contradict itself if taken as a whole.

Psalm 119:160 says in the King James version: “Thy word is truth…” but the Concordant version and many others recognize the proper translation of the Hebrew here as “the sum of thy word is truth…”

Psa 139:17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them.

No prophecy of the scripture is of its own interpretation, but is to be taken in the context of the rest of scripture. The principle referred to by Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:1 – “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” is especially true when using the Word of God. If you have only one scripture with which to establish doctrine, there is no scriptural basis to the doctrine. One isolated scripture is not enough.

Yet the average person cannot accept this principle of understanding the Word of God: (Isa 28:13) “But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line; here a little and there a little; (prooftexting) that they might go, and fall backward and be broken, and snared and taken.” God’s method of understanding His word is also His method of keeping it hidden from those to whom it “is not given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” Just as at the Red Sea, the same cloud that gave God’s Israel (in the flesh) light by night, was deep darkness to the uncalled Egyptians.

“You can go anywhere with that”

The above subhead is a direct quote from ministers who cling to the literal “context oriented only” modern understanding of the Word of God. The same ministers admit that the “Lamb of God” is not to be taken literally. They will admit that the Lion of the tribe of Judah is not to be taken literally, that we are not literal temples, nor are we to literally eat Christ’s flesh or drink His blood. This is the vast majority of the shepherds of the flock, at least as far as Protestant churches are concerned.

There are those who are willing to go as far as to agree that the word “fire” in scripture is generally figurative and that the lake of fire might even be figurative. The one thing most of them refuse to recognize as figurative or a “type” is the one thing Paul went to such great lengths to clarify; that is, who the true “circumcision” is, who the “seed of Abraham” is, who the “children of the freewoman” are and who is the true “Israel of God”. On these points, most Christians do not want to give up the flesh for the spirit.

While there are many who do not recognize the “Israel of God” as being those who are in Christ, they do at least recognize the fallacy of denying the cross, the disciplining grace, the “if we suffer with Him, we will reign with Him” part of the gospel. On the other hand, many of those who say “you can go anywhere with the spiritual approach to scripture” are the same people who teach that we are saved by “grace alone”; that the statement “we are not under the law, but under grace” means God’s law does not apply to Christians. It is this literal, fleshly, letter-oriented thinking that “can take you anywhere.”

The truly spiritual take on scripture will lead you nowhere but where Christ and the apostles went with it; and that was straight to God through Christ.

So is anything to be taken literally or naturally?

Having spent so many pages pointing out (1Co 2:14) “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit”, we cannot close this discussion without making the point that it is in the same book of 1Corinthians 15:46, that we are told “Howbeit that was not first which was spiritual, but that which is natural; and AFTERWARD that which is spiritual.” A second witness to this principle is Romans 1:20:

Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

The spiritual is understood by the natural, and the spiritual is never first, but the natural is first.

Consistent with this truth, every detail of the first coming of Christ was fulfilled in a literal way, Christ was: “born of a virgin”, “called out of Egypt”, “Rachel weeping for her children”, “forsaken of his friends”, “his visage was marred” but “not a bone was broken”, “they parted his garments”, etc.

Not one detail failed to have a “natural first” fulfillment. While the natural must come first, it is not the natural that saves us, but the spiritual.

Rom 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life”.

Joh 6:63 – “It is the spirit that giveth life” and finally 2Co 5:15-16 – “And that He died for all that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto Him which died for them and rose again. (vs 16) Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more” (after the flesh).

Hardly anyone recognized the signs of the first coming of Christ: the shepherds, the wise men, Simeon and Anna in the temple and family members Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and her husband, Zecharias, were all given supernatural revelations concerning the birth of Christ. No doubt this whole scenario will be repeated with the signs of His second coming. Everyone was expecting the messiah, but no one recognized Him when He came. Everyone is looking for Christ to come again. No doubt every detail of the signs of His second coming will also be fulfilled, but nothing has changed. Christ as much as told us that our religious leaders can discern the face of the sky (the outward, literal) but cannot discern the signs of the times. Who knows how many seals of the book of Revelation have been opened and no one is aware of it. How many trumpets have already sounded and God’s people still do not hear the call to battle? Do those who think ‘God’s Israel’ are those who slew Christ expect seven literal seals to open and seven literal trumpets to sound?

The world has its eyes on the Middle East, while Christ is urging us to watch and keep our garments (Rev 16:15) “Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”

Let us pray with Paul (Rom 12:2) “be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, (our understanding, our way of thinking) that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

If you approach God’s written Word to prove yourself right with any of your own preconceived ideas, what Ezekiel 14 calls “idols of the heart”, you will see exactly what you want to see. However, the written Word, the truth, just as Christ was in the flesh, will be a door shut tight hiding the true light within.

On the other hand, come to the written Word with an open heart seeking only to know the mind of God, willing to give up every preconceived idea, every false church doctrine, every ounce of pride, with the heartfelt attitude of “not my will, but thine be done”, and the written Word becomes a wide open double (as in two witnesses) door, shining a light brighter than the sun on endless truths never seen before though they were there; and you had been stumbling all over them for years. “How could I possible have been so blind for so long?” you’ll wonder.

So it was with Christ in the flesh. Who was it that was able to receive Christ? It was the tax collectors who were hated by everyone. It was the prostitutes everyone despised and who probably despised themselves. It was the poor who had nothing to lose. It was the sick who had no other hope. These were those with whom the Spirit of God could work to give them the love, the healing and the hope they had never had before. Had they not needed Him, they would never have known Him.

David is a type of Christ, and those who were drawn to him while being persecuted by the established church of his day typify those who follow Christ today. Who was drawn to follow David while he was, in type, waiting for “the redemption of the purchased possession” (Eph 1:14)?

1Sa 22:2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

We simply do not come to Christ while everything in this life is going well. Christ puts us into distress. He makes us aware of our spiritual debt to Himself, and we must experience severe discontentment before we cry out to Him to save us from our enemies within and without.

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory [That “blessed and holy… first resurrection” (Rev 20:6)].

So it also is with the Lord as the written Word. As we need it and can receive it, God will reveal Himself and His word to us (Mat 11:27).

The degree of understanding given by God seems to correlate with the degree of need and hunger in the individual. “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2Co 12:9).

2Co 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2Co 12:10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

[Another valuable resource which should be read in conjunction with this article would be The Keys to The Kingdom]

[Reach the author at vinsmike@gmail.com for comments and questions.]

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