Digression 26 Melchizedek

Many a Bible student has said a hearty 'Amen' to the words of the apostle Peter when he wrote Our beloved brother Paul in all his epistles in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Pet.3 15,16). This certainly applies to Paul's commentary on Melchizedek which is recorded in Hebrews he himself admitted he was going deep, speaking of things which could only be grasped by...

Digression 27 Being In The Form Of

Jesus being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant (Phil.2 5-11). These verses are taken to mean that Jesus was God, but at his birth he became a man. If this is true, then every point made in Studies 7 and 8 must be explained away too. It is submitted that one verse cannot be allowed to contradict the general tenor of Bible teaching. It is significant that this is almost the only passage which...

Digression 4 Is the Holy Spirit a person

Study 2.1 and 2.2 have given ample evidence that God's spirit refers to His power, which reflects His mind in a very broad way. Because the way God's spirit acts is such an accurate reflector of the essence and personality of God, some have argued that God's spirit is a person who is also God. A careful re-reading of the previous sections will show that God's spirit is His mind and power if that is so, then there is no way that a mind or power can be a person. Electricity is an unseen power...

Inspiritation

Spirit meaning breath or breathing, Inspiration means in-breathing. This means that the words which men wrote while under inspiration from God were the words of God's spirit. Paul encouraged Timothy not to let his familiarity with the Bible lead him to forget the wonder of the fact that it is the words of God's spirit, and therefore provides all that we need in order to have a true knowledge of God - From a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto...

Ecclesial Life

So far in this Study we have spoken of our personal spiritual responsibilities. However, we have a duty to meet together with others who share our hope. Again, this should be something we naturally desire to do. We have shown that after baptism we enter a wilderness journey towards the Kingdom. It is only natural that we should desire to make contact with fellow-travellers. We are living in the last days before Christ's coming to overcome the many complex trials which assail us in these times,...

Digression 10 The Claims Of British Israelism

The idea has been put forward by the likes of H.W.Armstrong's 'Plain Truth' organization that the promises to Abraham have been fulfilled in the British and American peoples, who, it is claimed, are the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. Members of the 'British Israelite' movement believe that the kings and queens of England are descended through the line of Judah which began with king David. In order to justify their theories, they have had to conclude that the Jews have been rejected as God's...

Digression 3 God manifestation

What follows will not be easy to grasp fully at first reading, but the importance of the subject will become more evident as your studies proceed. We include it at this point so that you will leave this Study having fully considered the Bible's basic revelation about God Himself. The name of God can be carried by anyone through whom He chooses to 'manifest' or reveal Himself. So men and Angels as well as Jesus can carry God's Name. This is a vital principle which opens up so much of the Bible...

Digression 11 Purgatory

The Roman Catholic church teaches that the souls of God's people may go to a place called 'purgatory' after death, which is a half-way house between 'heaven' and 'hell' . They teach that it is a place of purging, in which the soul will suffer for a while before being fit to gain salvation in heaven. The prayers, candle-burning and financial gifts to the church of a person and his friends is supposed to shorten the length of time that the soul suffers in 'purgatory'. The gross error of such...

Offering For Us And Himself

The Jewish high priest had to make an offering firstly for his own sins, and then for those of the people (Heb. 5 1-3). Christ's sacrifice had this same two-fold structure. Although he did not have any sins personally, Jesus was still of human nature, and needed salvation from death. This salvation was provided by God on account of Christ's own sacrifice thus Jesus died both to gain his own salvation, and also to make ours possible. Many passages refer to this. This section is a catalogue of...

The Nation Of Israel Is Personified

Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets (Jeremiah 31 4). I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke turn thou me, and I shall be turned for thou art the Lord my God (Jeremiah 31 18). The context of these passages reveals clearly that the prophet is not referring to a literal virgin or to Ephraim as a person, but to the nation of...

Gods Name And Character

If there is a God, it is reasonable to think that He will have devised some means of telling us about Himself. We believe that the Bible is God's revelation to man, and that in it we see the character of God revealed. This is why the word of God is described as His seed, 1 Pet.1 23) because if it reacts with our mind, a new creature is formed within us which has the characteristics of God (James 1 18 2 Cor.5 17). Therefore the more we apply ourselves to God's word and take the lessons to...

Info

(Source Institute Of Conflict Studies, University Of London) 3) The massive problems of famine and plague are well known to us all. A.I.D.S. is by far the largest world-wide epidemic that has been known. It threatens to dramatically reduce world population in the long term. Apart from Christ's words in Mt.24 and Lk.21, there are several other passages which associate earthquakes with the return of Christ Is.2 19-22 Ez.38 20 Joel 3 16 Hagg.2 7 Zech.14 3,4. The relatively recent feature of...

Past

The Kingdom of God is the future reward for believers. As such, it is their motivation to live a life dedicated to imitating the example of Christ - something which will involve short term suffering and discomfort. It is therefore to be expected that all their days they will be consumed by an ever increasing desire to appreciate and understand the wonders of that future age. It will be the summation of all their spiritual strivings, and the full declaration of the God whom they have come to...

The Existence of

He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb.11 6). The object of these studies is to help those who want to come to God, having first believed that He is therefore we will not concern ourselves with the evidence that confirms faith in God's existence. Examining the intricate structure of our bodies (cp. Ps.139 14), the evident design in a flower, gazing up into the vastness of space on a clear night, these and countless other...

Digression 15 The Literality Of The Kingdom

The very literal descriptions of the Kingdom found in the Old Testament prophets are often ridiculed by theologians and members of many denominations. It is claimed that the language is figurative of some place of reward other than the earth, seeing that this planet is going to be burnt up. In answer to this, it must be understood that a ground rule of Bible study is that we should always take the Bible literally unless there is good reason to impose a spiritual interpretation. For example, the...

The Promise in Eden

The pathetic story of man's fall is related in Genesis chapter 3. The serpent was cursed for misquoting God's word and tempting Eve to disobey it. The man and woman were punished for their disobedience. But a ray of hope comes into this dark picture when God says to the serpent - I will put enmity (hatred, opposition) between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed it (the woman's seed) shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Gen. 3 15). This verse is highly...

STUDY 11 Questions

What are the kind of changes which should occur in someone's life around the time of baptism a) Having no contact with unbelievers b) Being separated from sin and unto the things of God 3. What sort of occupations are unsuited to a true Christian 4. What do the words 'saint' and 'ecclesia' mean 5. Which of the following statements are true about the breaking of bread a) We should do it about weekly b) We should do it once a year at Passover time c) The bread and wine turn into the literal body...

The Nature Of

The majority of human beings seem to spend little time meditating about death, or about their own nature, which is death's fundamental cause. Such lack of self-examination leads to a lack of self-knowledge, and therefore people drift along through life, making their decisions according to the dictates of their own natural desires. There is a refusal - albeit heavily masked - to take on board the fact that life is so short that all too soon the finality of death will be upon us. For what is your...

But

Many Christian churches have the idea that Angels can sin, and that sinful Angels now exist who are responsible for sin and problems on the earth. We will discuss this misconception more fully in Study 6. For the present we will make the following points - - It is possible that there was a creation previous to our own, i.e. that recorded in Genesis 1. It is also conceivable that the present Angels came to have an awareness of good and evil (Gen. 3 5) through having been in a similar situation...

The Angels

All that we have considered so far in this Study is brought together by a consideration of the Angels - channels through which God's Spirit works to execute His will - in accordance with His character and purpose We mentioned in Study 1.3 that one of the most common Hebrew words translated 'God' is 'Elohim', which really means 'mighty ones' these 'mighty ones' who carry God's Name can effectively be called 'God' because of their close association with Him. These beings are the Angels. The...

The Promise To David

David, like Abraham and many other recipients of God's promises, did not have an easy life. He grew up as the youngest son in a large family which, in the Israel of 1000 B.C., meant looking after the sheep and running errands to his rather bossy older brothers (1 Sam. 15-17). During this time he learnt a level of faith in God which few men have since approached. The day came when Israel were faced with the ultimate challenge from their aggressive neighbours, the Philistines they were challenged...

The nature Of Jesus

The word 'nature' refers to what we naturally, fundamentally are. We have shown in Study 1 that the Bible speaks of only two natures - that of God, and that of man. By nature God cannot die, be tempted etc. It is evident that Christ was not of God's nature during his life. He was therefore totally of human nature. From our definition of the word 'nature' it should be evident that Christ could not have had two natures simultaneously. It was vital that Christ was tempted like us (Heb. 4 15), so...

STUDY 4 Questions

C) The soul is stored somewhere until judgment d) Wicked souls go to hell and the good ones to Heaven. a) An immortal part of our being b) A word meaning 'body, person, creature' c) Exactly the same as the spirit d) Something which goes to Heaven or hell after death. 4. Briefly describe the nature of man. 5. List two Bible verses which prove that death is a state of 6. What do you know about the judgment seat of Christ 7. Who will be resurrected and judged

The Relationship Of God With Jesus

Considering how God resurrected Jesus leads us on to think of the relationship between God and Jesus. If they are co-equaL.co-eternal, as the trinity doctrine states, then we would expect their relationship to be that of equals. We have already seen ample evidence that this is not the case. The relationship between God and Christ is similar to that between husband and wife The head of every man is Christ and the head of the woman is the man and the head of Christ is God (1 Cor. 11 3). As the...

The Promise to Noah

As human history progressed after the time of Adam and Eve, man became increasingly wicked. Things reached the stage when civilization was so morally desperate that God decided to destroy that system of things, with the exception of Noah and his family (Gen. 6 5-8). He was told to make an ark in which he and representatives of all the animals would live during the time when the world was being destroyed by flooding. In passing, there is ample scientific reason to believe that this huge flood...

The Kingdom Is Not Now Established

There is a widely held notion that God's Kingdom is now fully in existence, being comprised of present believers - 'the church'. Whilst in prospect the true believers have been 'saved' and given potential places in the Kingdom, there can be no doubt that we cannot now be fully in the Kingdom, seeing that Christ has not yet returned to establish it. It should be obvious from what we have studied so far that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 15 50). We are heirs of the...

Digression 23 I Came Down From Heaven

The bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world I came down from heaven (John 6 33,38). These words, and others like them, are misused to support the wrong idea that Jesus physically existed in Heaven before his birth. The following points, however, must be noted 1. Trinitarians take these words as literal in order to prove their point. However, if we are to take them literally, then this means that somehow Jesus literally floated down through the skies. Not...

Digression 25 Before Abraham Was I Am Jn858

These words are often misapplied to teach that Jesus existed before Abraham did. However, closer investigation reveals the opposite to be true 1. Jesus does not say 'Before Abraham was, I was. He was the promised descendant of Abraham we make a nonsense of God's promises to Abraham if we say that Jesus physically existed before the time of Abraham. 2. The context of Jn.8 58 is Christ's discourse with the Jews concerning Abraham. As far as they were concerned, Abraham was the greatest man who...

The Blood Of Jesus

It is very often stated in the New Testament that our justification and salvation is through the blood of Jesus (e.g. 1 John 1 7 Rev. 5 9 12 11 Rom. 5 9). To appreciate the significance of Christ's blood, we must understand that it is a Biblical principle that the life of all flesh is the blood thereof (Lev. 17 14). Without blood a body cannot live it is therefore symbolic of life. This explains the aptness of Christ's words, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye...

Digression 14 The Rapture

There is a widespread belief amongst the 'evangelical' churches that the righteous will be 'raptured' up into heaven at Christ's return. This belief is often associated with the idea that the earth will then be destroyed. We see in Digression 9 that this is an impossibility. We have also shown in Study 4.7 that the place of reward is earth, not heaven. These erroneous beliefs are based around a mistaken interpretation of 1 Thess. 4 16,17 The Lord himself shall descend from heaven and the dead...

Hell

The popular conception of hell is of a place of punishment for wicked 'immortal souls' straight after death, or the place of torment for those who are rejected at the judgment. It is our conviction that the Bible teaches that hell is the grave, where all men go at death. As a word, the original Hebrew word 'sheol', translated 'hell', means 'a covered place'. 'Hell' is the Anglicized version of 'sheol' thus when we read of 'hell' we are not reading a word which has been fully translated. A...

The Spirit Of

There is an unfortunate confusion in many people's minds between the soul and the spirit. This is aggravated by the fact that in some languages and Bible translations, the English words 'soul' and 'spirit' have only one equivalent. The 'soul' fundamentally referring to all the constituents of a person can sometimes refer to the spirit as well. However, normally there is a difference in meaning between 'soul' and 'spirit' as used in the Bible soul and spirit can be 'divided asunder' (Heb. 4 12)....

Digression 22 The Historical Jesus

If, as some claim, there is no evidence that Jesus of Nazareth ever existed, then the very existence of Christianity is difficult to explain. It is asking an awful lot to expect anyone to believe that millions of people over the last 2,000 years have based their beliefs on someone who never existed, and to have such an intense faith in him that they were motivated to spread their faith in him world-wide, often at the risk of persecution and death. Christians and Jews generally have no...

Digression 19 Lucifer

Isaiah 14 vs. 12-14 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,son of the morning how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north I will ascend above the heights of the clouds I will be like the most High. It is assumed that Lucifer was once a powerful angel who sinned at the time of Adam and...

Digression 20 The Temptations Of Jesus

Matthew 4 1-11 Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterwards an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God,command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a...

The Bible The Only Authority

From what we have seen so far in this study, God's spirit refers to His mind and purpose, and to the power by which He puts those things into operation. We have emphasized that that spirit is expressly revealed to us in the pages of God's Word. The many problems of contemporary Christianity all come down to a dire lack of appreciation of this. Because it is hard to believe that such great power is vested in one book, parts of which we find hard to understand, it is tempting to feel that there...

The Sabbath

One of the most widespread continuities between present 'Christian' practices and the Mosaic Law is seen in the idea that we must keep the Sabbath. Some groups claim that we should keep the Jewish Sabbath exactly as defined in the Law many others feel that Christians should have a specific day of the week upon which to worship, which they often define as Sunday. The first thing to clarify is that the Sabbath was the last day of the week, when God rested after the six days of creation (Ex. 20...

Gifts Of The Holy Spirit

At various times in His dealings with men, God has delegated the use of His power (Holy Spirit) to men. However, this has never been in the form of a blank cheque, as it were, enabling them to do what they wished always the use of this Holy Spirit has been for a specific purpose. When it was accomplished, the gift of the Holy Spirit was withdrawn. We must remember that God's spirit acts in a way which forwards the purpose which is in His mind. His purpose often allows short-term suffering in...

Old Testament Prophecies Of Jesus

Study 3 explained how God's purpose of salvation for men was centred around Jesus Christ. The promises which He made to Eve, Abraham and David all spoke of Jesus as their literal descendant. Indeed, the whole of the Old Testament points forward to, and prophesies about, Christ. The Law of Moses, which Israel had to obey before the time of Christ, constantly pointed forward to Jesus The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ (Gal. 3 24). Thus at the feast of Passover, a lamb in perfect...

Christs Place In Gods Plan

God does not decide on His plans on the spur of the moment, devising extra parts to His purpose as human history unfolds. God had a complete plan formulated right from the beginning of creation (John 1 1). His desire to have a Son was therefore in His plan from the beginning. The whole of the Old Testament reveals different aspects of God's plan of salvation in Christ. We have frequently demonstrated that through the promises, the prophecies of the prophets, and the types of the Law of Moses,...

Digression 9 The Destruction Of

Heavens And Earth (Rev. 21 1, 2 Peter 3 612). God's purpose being to establish His Kingdom here on earth (see Study 5), it is inconceivable that He would destroy this literal planet, and Study 3.3 has demonstrated that He has consistently promised not to do such a thing. The above references to the destruction of the heavens and earth must therefore be taken figuratively. The passage from Peter is showing the similarities between the judgments on the earth at Noah's time and what will happen at...

STUDY 1 Questions

What will most help develop our faith in God 2. Which of the following is the most correct definition of God b) A piece of Spirit in the atmosphere d) Impossible to define in any way 4. What does God's Name 'Yahweh Elohim' mean b) He who will be revealed in a group of mighty ones 5. What does the word 'Angel' mean 7. What most convinces you that there is a God As God is a real, personal being who therefore has feelings and emotions, it is to be expected that He will have some way of sharing His...

The Vital Importance Of Baptism

Several times in earlier Studies we have mentioned the vital importance of baptism it is the first step of obedience to the Gospel message. Heb. 6 2 speaks of baptism as one of the most basic doctrines. We have left its consideration until this late stage because true baptism can only occur after a correct grasp of the basic truths which comprise the Gospel. We have now completed our study of these if you wish to become truly associated with the great hope which the Bible offers through Jesus...

Jesus And The Law Of Moses

The Bible teaches that salvation is possible through Christ's death AND resurrection, not just by his death. Christ died for us once. The theory of substitution would mean that he had to die for each of us personally. If Christ paid off a debt with his blood, our salvation becomes something which we can expect as a right. The fact that salvation is a gift, brought about by God's mercy and forgiveness, is lost sight of if we understand Christ's sacrifice as being a debt payment. It also makes...

Digression 7 Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit Acts 238

Peter addressed the large crowd on Pentecost, concluding with the appeal in v. 38 to repent, be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This reference to the gift of God's spirit is in the context of the apostles having used those gifts in speaking in tongues to the crowd, explaining that by doing so they were providing a fulfilment of Joel's prophecy about the giving of the miraculous gifts (Acts 2 16-20). It is therefore reasonable to assume that Peter was promising the miraculous...

Digression 12 Ghosts And Reincarnation

The belief that man continues living in the form of another person or animal being possessed by his spirit, was one of the earliest ways in which man tried to convince himself that death was not as final as it appeared. We have shown that the spirit of man refers to the breath life force within him, which returns to God when he dies (Ecc. 12 7) . This means that his spirit is not moving around as a 'ghost', nor is it free to possess another person or animal so that the man's personality is...

Baptism And Salvation

Baptism associating us with the death of Christ means that it is only through baptism that we can have access to forgiveness. We are buried with (Christ) in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Col. 2 12,13). We are washed in the name of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 6 11) - i.e. baptism into the name of Jesus is the means by...

The Resurrection

The Bible emphasizes that the reward of the righteous will be at the resurrection, at the coming of Christ (1 Thess. 4 16). The resurrection of the responsible dead (see Study 4.8) will be the first thing Christ will do this will be followed by the judgment. If the 'soul' went to heaven at death there would be no need for the resurrection. Paul said that if there is no resurrection, then all effort to be obedient to God is pointless (1 Cor. 15 32). Surely he would not have reasoned like this if...

The Judgment

Bible teaching concerning the judgment is one of the basic principles of the one faith, which must be clearly understood before baptism (Acts 24 25 Heb. 6 2). Frequently the Scriptures speak of the day of judgment (e.g. 2 Pet. 2 9 3 7 1 John 4 17 Jude 6) , a time when those who have been given the knowledge of God will receive their reward. All these must stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Rom. 14 10) we appear before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5 10) to receive a recompense for...

Jesus As Our Representative

We have seen that the animal sacrifices were not completely representative of sinful men. Jesus was representative of us, being in all points made like unto his brethren (Heb. 2 17). He tasted death for every man (Heb. 2 9). When we commit a sin - e.g. we are angry - God can forgive us for Christ's sake (Eph. 4 32). This is because God can compare us with Christ, a man like us who was tempted to sin - e.g. to be angry - but who overcame every temptation. Therefore God can forgive us our sin -...

The personality of

It is a majestic, glorious theme of the Bible that God is revealed as a real, tangible person, with a bodily existence. It is also a fundamental tenet of Christianity that Jesus is the Son of God. If God is not a corporeal (bodily) being, then it is impossible for Him to have a son who was the image of His person (Heb.1 3). Further, it becomes difficult to develop a personal, living relationship with 'God', if 'God' is just a concept in our mind, a wisp of spirit somewhere up in the emptiness...

The Place Of Reward Heaven Or Earth

Apart from the above reasons, any who still feel that heaven rather than earth will be the location of God's Kingdom, i.e. the promised reward, need to also explain away the following points - The 'Lord's Prayer' asks for God's Kingdom to come (i.e. praying for the return of Christ), whereby God's desires will be done on earth as they are now done in heaven (Matt. 6 10). We are therefore praying for God's Kingdom to come on the earth. It is a tragedy that thousands of people thoughtlessly pray...

Life In Christ

9.1 After baptism, a believer must make a reasonable effort to be separate from the ways of this sinful world, 9.2 and develop Christ-like characteristics. 9.3 Participation in occupations and pleasures which lead us to break the commandments of God, e.g. the use of force and excessive drinking of alcohol, are incompatible with a truly Christian life. 9.4 Baptized believers have a duty to meet with and fellowship each other, whenever and wherever humanly possible. 9.5 Baptized believers should...

Future

Sections 1 and 3 of this Study have yielded a fair amount of information concerning what this Kingdom will be like. We have seen that Abraham was promised that through his Seed people from all parts of the world will be blessed Rom. 4 13 extends this to mean that the whole earth will be inherited by those people who are 'in' Abraham's Seed, i.e. Christ. The image prophecy of Dan. 2 explains how Christ will return as the little stone, and then the kingdom will gradually spread world-wide (cp....

Digression 6 Calvinism

A few hundred years ago, Calvin taught the idea that there was predestination of our lives, so that our freewill decisions have no effect upon our salvation we are either predestinated to salvation or to rejection. This notion has resurfaced in several modern ideas - That there is no point in making a great effort in Bible study or religion, because if we are to be saved then we will be anyway. - That there is a being called the devil who forces us to sin and brings problems into our lives...

The Meaning Of Baptism

One of the reasons for baptism by immersion is that going under the water symbolizes our going into the grave - associating us with the death of Christ, and indicating our 'death' to our previous life of sin and ignorance. Coming up out of the water connects us with the resurrection of Christ, relating us to the hope of resurrection to eternal life at his return, as well as to living a new life now, spiritually triumphant over sin on account of Christ's victory achieved by his death and...

The Millennium

At this point in our study of life in the Kingdom, the thoughtful reader will probably be asking, 'Doesn't this picture of the Kingdom of God all seem rather human ' People in the Kingdom will still be producing babies (Isa. 65 23) and even dying (Isa. 65 20). These people will still have disputes which Christ will settle (Isa. 2 4), and will still need to work the ground in order to survive, even though this will be much easier than at present. This all seems a far cry from the promises that...

The Promises Of God Introduction

At this point in our studies we have reached a broad understanding of who God is and how He works. In doing so we have cleared up a number of common misunderstandings about these things. Now we want to look more positively at the things which God has promised to them that love him (James 1 12 2 5) by keeping His commandments (Jn. 14 15). The promises of God in the Old Testament are what comprise the true Christian hope. When on trial for his life, Paul spoke of the future reward for which he...

God And Evil

Many sects of Christendom, along with many other religions, believe that there is a being or monster called the Devil or Satan who is the originator of the problems which are in the world and in our own lives, and who is responsible for the sin which we commit. The Bible clearly teaches that God is all-powerful. We have seen in Study 1.4 that the Angels cannot sin. If we truly believe these things, then it is impossible that there is any supernatural being at work in this universe that is...

In The Beginning Was The Word John 113

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him (John 1 1-3). These verses, when properly understood, confirm and expand upon the conclusions reached in the last section. However, this passage is the one most widely misunderstood to teach that Jesus existed in heaven before his birth. A correct understanding of these verses hinges on appreciating what the Word means in this context. It cannot...

Fellowship

The Greek words translated 'fellowship' and 'communion' basically describe the state of having something in common common-union. 'Communion' is related to the word 'communicate'. By reason of knowing and practising God's ways, we have fellowship with Him and with all others who are doing the same through being in Christ. It is easy to neglect the responsibilities which we have to fellowship with others to do good and to communicate (i.e. fellowship) forget not (Heb. 13 16). Phil. 1 5 speaks of...

The Soul

In the light of the foregoing it ought to be inconceivable that man has an 'immortal soul' or any immortal element within him naturally. We will now attempt to clear up the confusion surrounding the word 'soul'. The Hebrew and Greek words which are translated 'soul' in the Bible ('Nephesh' and 'Psuche' respectively) are also translated in the following ways - The 'soul' therefore refers to the person, body or self. The famous 'Save Our Souls' (S.O.S.) clearly means 'Save us from death ' The...

Human nature

Tempted to sin (James 1 13-15) by a corrupt natural mind (Jer.17 9 Mk.7 21-23) Doomed to death, i.e. mortal (Rom.5 12,17 1 Cor.15 22) Of very limited strength, both physically (Is.40 30) and mentally (Jer.10 23). This is the nature which all men, good and bad, now possess. The end of that nature is death (Rom.6 23). It was the nature which Jesus had during his mortal life (Heb.2 14-18 Rom.8 3 Jn.2 25 Mk.10 18). It is unfortunate that the English word 'nature' is rather vague we can use it in a...

Defining The Kingdom

Our previous studies have shown that it is God's purpose to reward His faithful people with eternal life at the return of Christ. This eternal life will be spent on earth God's repeated promises concerning this never imply that the faithful will go to heaven. The Gospel (good news) of the kingdom of God (Matt. 4 23) was preached to Abraham in the form of God's promises concerning eternal life on earth (Gal. 3 8). The kingdom of God is therefore the time after Christ's return when these promises...

The Humanity Of Jesus

The Gospel records provide many examples of how completely Jesus had human nature. It is recorded that he was weary, and had to sit down to drink from a well (John 4 6). Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus (John 11 35). Most supremely, the record of his final sufferings should be proof enough of his humanity Now is my soul troubled, he admitted as he prayed for God to save him from having to go through with his death on the cross (John 12 27). He prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible,...

The Promise to Abraham

The Gospel taught by Jesus and the apostles was not fundamentally different from what was understood by Abraham. God, through the Scriptures, Preached before the gospel unto Abraham (Gal. 3 8) . So crucial are these promises that Peter started and ended his public proclamation of the Gospel with reference to them (Acts 3 13,25).If we can understand what was taught to Abraham, we will then have a very basic picture of the Christian Gospel. There are other indications that the gospel is not...

How Should We Be Baptized

There is a widely held view that baptism can be performed, especially on babies, by sprinkling water on their foreheads (i.e. 'christening'). This is in stark contrast to the Biblical requirement for baptism. The Greek word 'baptizo', which is translated 'baptize' in the English Bible, does not mean to sprinkle it means to completely wash and immerse in a liquid (see the definitions in the concordances of Robert Young and James Strong). This word is used in classical Greek concerning ships...

Digression 24 Did Jesus Create The Earth

The firstborn of every creature for by (Jesus) were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers all things were created by him, and for him and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead (Col.1 15-18). This is typical of those passages which can give the impression that Jesus...

Digression 13 With What Nature Are We Resurrected

We have shown that eternal life and being changed to God's nature are granted to the faithful after the judgment. Christ will firstly resurrect those responsible to his judgment, and then judge them after they have been gathered to him. Seeing that the reward of immortal nature is given at the judgment, it follows that all those who are resurrected have mortal nature first of all. If they are resurrected with immortal bodies, then there is no reason for a judgment seat at which to dispense the...

The Victory Of Jesus

The previous Study has demonstrated how Jesus had our human nature and was tempted to sin just like us. The difference between him and us is that he completely overcame sin whilst having a sinful nature, he always exhibited a perfect character. The wonder of this should endlessly inspire us as we increasingly appreciate it. There is repeated New Testament emphasis upon Christ's perfect character - He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without - He knew no sin. In him is no sin (2...

Responsibility To

If man has an 'immortal soul' naturally, he is forced to have an eternal destiny somewhere -either in a place of reward or of punishment. This implies that everyone is responsible to God. By contrast, we have shown how the Bible teaches that by nature man is like the animals, without any inherent immortality. However, some men have been offered the prospect of eternal life in God's Kingdom. It should be apparent that not everyone who has ever lived will be resurrected like the animals, man...

Death Is Unconsciousness

From what we have learnt so far about the soul and spirit, it should follow that while dead a person is totally unconscious. Whilst the actions of those responsible to God will be remembered by Him (Mal. 3 16 Rev. 20 12 Heb. 6 10), there is nothing in the Bible to suggest that we have any consciousness during the death state. It is hard to argue with the following clear statements concerning this - (Man's) breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth in that very day (moment) his thoughts...

Marriage

We will begin this section by considering the position of those who are single at the point of baptism. We have discussed in Study 5.3 the need to marry only baptized believers. There are a few passages, coupled with the examples of Jesus, Paul and others, which encourage those who are single to at least consider the option of remaining single so as to totally commit themselves to the Lord's work (1 Cor. 7 7-9, 32-38 cp. 2 Tim. 2 4 Matt. 19 11,12,29 Ecc. 9 9). But and if thou marry, thou hast...

Digression 18 What Happened In Eden

Genesis 3 vs. 4-5 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. POPULAR INTERPRETATION It is wrongly assumed that the serpent here is an angel that had sinned, called Satan. Having been thrown out of heaven for his sin, he came to earth and tempted Eve to sin. 1. The passage talks about the serpent. The words satan and devil do not occur in the whole...

Digression 21 War In Heaven

Revelation 12 7-9 And there was war in heaven Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not neither was their place found any more in heaven.And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world he was cast out into the earth,and his angels were cast out with him. This is one of the most popular passages used to suggest that there was a rebellion in heaven amongst the angels,...

Digression 8 These signs shall follow them that believe Mark 1617

It has been argued from this, that anyone who truly believes will receive the miraculous gifts. However, this proves too much - they shall take up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover (Mk. 16 18) . This is no promise of things which might theoretically happen if the believer had enough faith these were sure promises of what would definitely be done by believers. Unless miracles of this magnitude are clearly...

Demons

The previous two sections have explained why we do not believe the devil or satan to be a personal being or a monster. If we accept that there is no such being, then it surely follows that demons, who are held to be the servants of the devil, also do not exist. Many people seem to think that God gives us all the good things of life, and the devil and his demons give us the bad things, and take away the good things which God gives us. The Bible clearly teaches that God is the source of all power...

The Breaking Of Bread

Along with prayer and Bible reading, regular obedience to Christ's command to break bread and drink wine in memory of his sacrifice is vital. This do in remembrance of me, Jesus commanded (Luke 22 19). It was his wish that his followers should regularly do this until his second coming, when Jesus will share the bread and wine with them again (1 Cor. 11 26 Luke 22 16--18). The bread represents Christ's body which was offered on the cross, and the wine his blood (1 Cor. 11 23-27). The early...

Digression 17 Witchcraft

This digression is written largely to cater for the needs of those in Africa and other parts of the world where witchcraft is a common feature of daily life. It is recognized by all true Bible students that recourse to witches, African doctors and the like is incompatible with holding the truth. However, I do appreciate that witch doctors being cheaper and often more accessible than medical doctors, combined with their apparent success, makes them attractive. We need to look at this problem in...

The First Century Spirit Gifts

The Greek word for 'prophet' means someone who forth-tells God's word - i.e. any person inspired to speak God's words, which at times included foretelling of future events (see 2 Pet. 1 19-21). Thus prophets - those with the gift of prophecy -came from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth (famine) throughout all the world which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, every man...

The Virgin Birth

The record of Christ's conception and birth does not allow for the idea that he physically existed beforehand. Those who hold the false doctrine of the 'Trinity' are driven to the conclusion that at one moment there were three persons in heaven, and then one of them disappeared and somehow turned into a foetus in Mary's womb, leaving just two in heaven. We have seen in Scripture that all existence - including that of God - is existence in a physical, bodily form. We are therefore left to...

The Believers In Christ Are Personified

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4 13). There is one body (Ephesians 4 4). Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular (1 Cor. 12 27). Christ is the head of the church and He is the saviour of the body (Ephesians 5 23). He (Christ) is the head of the body, the church who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the...