The New Testament Completes the Testimony of Ancient Jews About Their God

God chose Abraham and his descendants to carry a message to the world.  That message was embodied in Jesus of Nazareth.  Jesus chose twelve disciples to lead the people of God in bearing witness to Jesus as raised from the dead, Messiah of Israel, and soon coming Judge of heaven and earth.  The 27 New Testament documents that we have are ample evidence that this mission was fulfilled.

Thus the New Testament documents complete the Hebrew Scriptures.  They bear witness of the fulfillment of God’s great promises to the Jewish people.  Immediately after that time, the end came and a new heavens and earth were ushered in.  The purpose of Israel was fulfilled.  It gave its life for the birth of the new world in which we have lived ever since.

The completion of the New Testament therefore marks the end of the old age and the beginning of the new.  We may always thank God for the people of Abraham who told us the story of how it all came to pass.  Know that the major divide is not between the Old Testament and the New, but rather between the whole Bible and life ever since.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

“Where the Corpse Is, There the Vultures Will Gather” – Matthew 24:28

In Matthew 24:28, Jesus said, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”  This statement was made in the midst of a two-chapter discourse in which He was answering questions from His disciples about the timing of the destruction of the temple, His coming, and the end of the age.

His reference to the corpse can be applied to the time when the Holy Spirit left the body of Christ.  Paul makes reference to the one “who restrains…until he is taken out of the way” in 2 Thessalonians 2:7.  James 2:26 reminds us that the body without the spirit is dead.  In the same way, the body of Christ without the Holy Spirit is dead.  Thus when the kingdom of God came, the Holy Spirit left the body of Christ.  The church’s work was done.  It had given glorious testimony to Jesus Christ.  History will forever note that God visited the earth through Jesus of Nazareth.

There’s no longer a body of Christ to which we can tend.  All we have is His Spirit.  But that is enough.  Let us worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.  Seek the kingdom of God for it has replaced the church as the means of God’s grace.  It is not healthy to visit corpses.

See also:

The Holy Spirit Was Removed from the Church

Come Out from the Temples of Idols

The New Testament Church was Shiloh – The Church Afterward Was Ichabod

How Did We Go from Shiloh to Ichabod?

A Deterioration from Prophets to Attendees

Call on the Lord from a Pure Heart

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

When Did the Dismemberment of the Body of Christ Begin?

The apostles worked hard to make sure that the body of Christ stayed together.  Though it was difficult, they were successful at this effort until the time known as “the apostasy.”  Since then, the body of Christ has been cut into piece after piece after piece.  It is said that we have today over 30,000 different Christian denominations.  Would the apostle Paul ever have believed such a thing could happen?  (See his horror at the thought of any division in the body of Christ: 1 Corinthians 1:10ff.)

Do not worry, however, that Christ has been cut.  For His Spirit left the body when the dismemberment began.  That is, the Holy Spirit left the church when the kingdom of God came – “for the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).  (See The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now.)

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The New Testament Church Was the Body of Christ; Today’s Churches Are Not

The New Testament described the church as “the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12 and elsewhere).  How can anyone today say that there is one body of Christ?  There are either multiple bodies of Christ, or a single body of Christ that is dismembered.  Thus, churches today cannot be “of Christ.”

Does this mean that we cannot access Christ?  Of course not!  It just means that church structures are not the way to reach Him or please Him.  Institutionalism is not of God – it’s something we humans do with each other to try to make ourselves feel more secure.  But God sees our hearts and we should trust that He will see our love and respect for Him without our having to join a group for Him to take notice.

In New Testament days there was one Lord and one body (Ephesians 4:4-6).  Today there is one Lord and many bodies.  Therefore, forget the bodies and seek the Lord (Isaiah 55:6).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Churches Today Are Under a Curse

For something to be cursed means that it is subjected to futility.  When something is cursed you may go through its motions, but you’re never really going to get anywhere.

The whole creation was subjected to a curse when man sinned.  Jesus came to redeem us from that curse and turn it into a blessing – for it is God’s way to turn a curse into a blessing.  He did this by making death the doorway to heaven.  (See Everyone Is Going to Heaven.)

Church activity today never really “gets anywhere.”  The New Testament church was moving toward something:  that is, the coming of the kingdom of God.  Today’s church is forever waiting, like the Israelites who circled the desert in futility rather than enter the promised land.

The New Testament church was under a blessing, but today’s churches are under a curse (and that they are divided instead of unified is but one sign of that curse).

God turns the curse of today’s church into a blessing by the opportunities people have to hear the word of Jesus Christ and believe.  However, if they truly believe, they will recognize that church activity is about going around in a circle – not about reaching God.

Forsake the curse and seek the blessing of the kingdom of God.  Forsake religion and pursue righteousness.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Physical and Spiritual Versions of Ancient Israel

The Old Testament describes the physical (or “of the flesh”) version of ancient Israel.  The New Testament (particularly Acts through Revelation) describes the spiritual (or “of the spirit”) version of ancient Israel.

The Old Testament was about those who were Jews according to the flesh, while the New Testament was about those who were Jews according to the spirit.

Thus, the Old Testament spoke of the Jerusalem that sits in the Middle East (i.e. the ancient near east, or ANE).  The New Testament speaks of the Jerusalem “above” (i.e. the heavenly Jerusalem).

As Jesus said, “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).  The Bible is thus the testimony of those Jews of whom Jesus spoke – Himself most notably included.

Thanks be to God for these Jews – men and women of whom the world was not worthy.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Bible Gives a Name…For Us To Call Upon

The Bible tells us of Jesus Christ that we might call upon His name.

Jesus Christ is spirit, therefore we cannot find Him by geography.  We call His name…and He finds us.

Do not worry that He won’t be able to find you, for “The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the whole earth that He may show Himself strong to those whose hearts are completely His”  ( 2 Chronicles 16:9).

Don’t fail to use the name.  Neither take it in vain.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Bible Gives a Name

The totality of the Bible’s thousands of words can be summed up in a name:  Jesus Christ.

In John 5:39 Jesus said that those who searched the Scriptures should recognize that the Scriptures testify of Him.  He is not a secondary subject of the Bible – He is its primary subject.

Let me say it again: The purpose of the Bible is to testify of Jesus Christ.  It has much more to say about Him than we have let it say.  Much more.

Let us study the Scriptures more devotedly that God might speak to us of Jesus Christ more clearly through them.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Father Became the Son so that The Son Might Become the Father

The Father became the Son to show us the way.

The Son was named to head the new creation.  This was the plan from the beginning, though it was not revealed from the beginning.  It was revealed in the New Testament.  Prior to that it was written in a mystery by the prophets.  The apostles unfolded that mystery, as Jesus had unfolded it to them.

When the new creation came (that is, when the kingdom of God came), the Son became our Father that all might become new again.

Thus the Father became the Son so that the Son might become the Father.

Recall that Hebrews 1:1-2 said that God appointed the Son to become heir of all things.  All things.   ALL THINGS.

If the Son has become heir of all things, it must mean that the Father died in order to leave that inheritance.  The Son thus became the Father.

To learn more about this subject, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Seeing Christ as He Is

To see Christ as He is means seeing Him in the fullness of His glory: which is to say, to see Him as God.

When the New Testament is rightly viewed, it is viewed as prophecy.  It is prophesying the revelation of Jesus Christ as God.  It does so in “a mystery” (to use a biblical term) just as the Old Testament had prophesied of Christ’s first coming in a mystery.

The New Testament speaks of a glory of Christ yet to be revealed (e.g. 1 Peter 1:7; 4:13; 5:1).  That is the glory that He is God.  This fulfills John 5:23 that we should honor the Son even as the Father was honored.  (See also Isaiah 22:24.)

There was glory enough for one generation in the New Testament declaring that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah of Israel.  It would fall to the generations after to recognize that the grand theme of prophecy in the New Testament, supported by the Old Testament, was that the Messiah was Himself God!

Hallowed be His name.

See also:

Jesus Christ Is God

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Are You Not Seeing Christ as He Is?

In our day, religious Jews generally read the Old Testament as unfulfilled prophecy.  That is, they do not see Jesus in it.  Christians read the Old Testament as fulfilled prophecy because they see Jesus in it.

Ironically, while most Christians read the Old Testament as fulfilled prophecy, they do not read the New Testament as fulfilled prophecy.  As a result, they only see Christ as He was – not as He is.

To see Christ as He is, read the New Testament as fulfilled prophecy.

See also:

Jesus Christ Is God

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

If the New Testament Is Unfulfilled Prophecy, Then It Is False Prophecy

Moses made clear the test for a prophet in Deuteronomy 18:14-22.  If the prophecy comes true, the person has truly spoken for God.  If the prophecy does not come true, then the prophet is false and should be disregarded.

Therefore, to say that the New Testament speaks truly of Jesus and yet is wrong about the timetable for His Second Coming (as most churches say today) is not only self-contradictory, it is contradictory to the standard God set for prophecy through Moses.

Be assured that the New Testament is true.  Its prophecies have been fulfilled.

See also:

All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled in Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

If the Second Coming of Christ Has Not Occurred by Now, We’re All Sunk

Repeatedly, the writers of the New Testament made reference to the imminent return of Jesus Christ.  The terms they used included “the coming of the Lord,” “the day of the Lord,” the coming of the kingdom,” “the resurrection of the dead,” and others.

If what they said did not happen, then the New Testament is false prophecy and we cannot depend on it.  Then the Old Testament is just a collection of unfulfilled promises.

The good news is that the New Testament is fulfilled prophecy, and it describes fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises.  We are not sunk.  We are on our way to heaven.

See also:

All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled in Christ

Everyone Is Going to Heaven

Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Why Did Felix Become Frightened in Acts 24:25?

In Acts 24, Paul was preaching the gospel to a Roman governor named Felix and his wife, Drusilla.  This, of course, involved a discussion about “righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come”  (verse 25).  This provoked Felix to put off any further discussion until later…if ever.  It was clear something had made Felix uncomfortable.  Why did he not want to continue?

The judgment to come was the one in which God would judge the secrets of men’s hearts through Christ Jesus (Romans 2:14-16).  Considering the righteousness of the life lived by Jesus of Nazareth, Felix knew this would be a daunting level of judgment.  Like most people, he just wasn’t ready to contemplate that sort of scrutiny.  We can find this dynamic described in John 3:19-21, wherein it says “everyone who does evil hates the light and does not want to come to it lest his evil deeds be exposed.”

Living before the face of Christ is indeed a sobering prospect.  However, it is the only way we will find true salvation in this earth, and this reward is well worth the effort.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

God Has Much More to Say About Christ Than We May Be Willing to Hear

The writer of Hebrews felt his readers were not interested enough in learning more about Christ.  In chapter 5, verse 11 he says to them, “Concerning Him we have much to say, but it is hard to explain to you because you have become hard of hearing.”

Are we hard of hearing about Christ today?  Or are we intensely eager to learn more about Him?

Is it not likely that the reason we do not understand more about the Bible than we do is that we do not hunger to learn more about Christ?

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Our Salvation Is in Christ; Our Life Is in Christ

Our salvation is in Christ.  (See 2 Timothy 2:10 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

Our life is in Christ.  (See John 1:4; Philippians 1:21; 2 Timothy 1:1; and 1 John 4:9).

There is life in no one else.  There is salvation in no one else.  Therefore, we must keep seeking Christ.

Do not seek the church.  Do not seek the Trinity.  Do not seek anything but Christ, for in Him you will find all things and apart from Him you will find nothing.

“In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  – Colossians 2:3

To learn more about how to focus on Christ, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Gospel Is the Proclamation Wherein We Always Find Grace

The gospel of Jesus Christ is an announcement.  It is a proclamation.  In this proclamation we find peace with God.

The gospel is eternal (Revelation 14:6).  It is always giving forth the grace of God.  The supply of grace found in the gospel is inexhaustible.

Why do people tire of hearing the gospel?  Do they think that once they’ve heard it, they need hear it no more?  By contrast, Hebrews 2:1 says we must pay much closer attention to it lest we drift away from it.

Why do Christian preachers preach anything but the gospel of Christ – that is, the gospel of the grace of God?  Therein lies the power that brings about our salvation (Romans 1:16).

Keep going back to the gospel of Jesus.  It is the well that shall never run dry (John 4:13-14; 7:38).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

All That Was in God Is Now in Christ

The end to which God’s work in Christ advanced was, as Paul says in Ephesians 1:10:

…an administration suitable to the fullness of times…

…the summing up of all things in Christ…

…things in the heaven and things in the earth.

In other words, everything that had been in God (a la Acts 17:28 – “in Him we live and move and have our being”) would come to be in Christ.

This has been accomplished (see All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled).  “It is finished!”

This is the day [of the Lord] that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in [the day of the Lord.]  (Psalm 118:24).

Consider all that Paul says happens “in Christ.”  It is a wonderful thing God has done for the human race, and for all creation!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Apostles Were Keen on Building Faith – Not an Organization

Read the New Testament epistles and notice how intent the apostles were on promoting faith among the disciples of Jesus.  Paul, Peter, John, and the rest sought to reinforce the values of faith that Jesus had taught them.  They also sought to see those values demonstrated in human lives.  They longed to see sinners transformed into saints.

You do not see the apostles seeking to establish an institution.  They made no succession plans.  They promoted no hierarchical system of government.  They took seriously Jesus’ command that they should be as servants to the other disciples, not as “lording it over them” (see Luke 22:25-26).

An organization would not be able to sustain the disciples through the days ahead of them, but faith would.

Let us be like the apostles, not promoting an institution, but promoting faith in Christ.  That faith gives people access to the kingdom of God, which is “all things being summed up in Christ, an administration suitable to the fullness of times” (Ephesians 1:10).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Signs Jesus Gave for His Second Coming Would Only Be Recognized from a Posture of Faith

When the unbelieving Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign of the coming of the kingdom in Luke 17:20-21, Jesus would give them none.  Yet when the disciples asked for a sign of it in Matthew 24:3, Jesus gave a response so long and detailed it took two chapters to contain it all (Matthew 24-25).  Why was Jesus so tight-lipped with one group and so talkative with the other?  Easy: one group believed and the other didn’t.  Faith enables you to see things that unbelief cannot enable you to see.

Note that this is not simply Jesus arbitrarily withholding information from one group and giving it to another.  Rather, it’s that the unbelieving group could not understand the signs He described even if they were to have read Matthew 24-25.

Here’s an example:  Jesus said that apostasy (a “falling away”) would mark the time just before His coming (Matthew 24:10).  Well, who is an apostate?  Someone who falls away from the faith.  But doesn’t that depend on your perspective?  To Saul of Tarsus, all those Jews calling on the name of Jesus were apostate (that is, “falling away” from the truth).  But when Saul had his Damascus Road experience, I’m sure his erstwhile companions considered him to be the one “falling away.”  Jesus, of course, was speaking from the perspective of those who would fall away from Jesus.  Only if you believed Jesus was the way would you think anyone falling away from Him was an apostate.  The Pharisees would not “see” people falling away from Jesus because they were not participating in the movement.

Another example to consider is Philippians 1:27-28 where Paul told the believers in that city that having opponents to their worthy walk for Christ would be a sign of destruction for those opponents and salvation for the believers.  The opponents certainly wouldn’t see things that way.  What was a sign to one group was nothing to the other.

This is why we must walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Only when we walk by faith, can we see the biblical signs God has given us.

As Jesus said in Matthew 16:4, “an evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign but none shall be given it but the sign of Jonah.”  That’s because such a generation can only see a preacher calling for repentance.  Unless they accept that call and repent, everything else he says will seem like nonsense to them.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Read with a View to Do

Reading and studying the Bible as a merely academic exercise is a vain effort.  This tree yields its best fruit only to those willing to eat it.  Others, who merely want to pick  fruit that they might go and sell it at market, find nothing of value.

God longs to make known His hidden truths.  As Jesus said, “Nothing is hidden except to be revealed” (Mark 4;22).  Moses had made known, however, that such revelations were meant to foster obedience, not human pride (Deuteronomy 29:29).

The Bible is a revelation of Jesus Christ (John 5:39).  It is a still-unfolding revelation of Him.  Therefore, to keep the unfolding going, read with a view to do.  That is, learn more about Him that you might act more like Him.

Another way of saying this is that you have to always read the Bible with a repentant heart if you want to gain more understanding from it.  That is, you have to be willing to change and conform your life ever more closely to His if you want to understand His book better.  “In repentance and rest you shall be saved” (Isaiah 30:15).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Why Should God Reveal Biblical Truths to Us if We Are Not Willing to Obey Them?

Study of the Bible can never succeed as a purely academic exercise.  Its truths are spiritual and can never be fully apprehended by unspiritual scholarship.

Seek to obey God.  Seek to do His will.  Seek to forsake your own ways.  Seek to find revelation you can honor and obey, not just talk about.

Would you study the Bible as hard if you knew you could never talk to another soul about what you learned from it?  Then you are in a good place.

When it comes to the Bible, read with a view to do.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Where Is the Manual for Church Services?

Have you noticed that the New Testament has no set of instructions for what days of the week to have worship services?  Nor does it contain anything about the appropriate times for such services.  Neither can you find an “order of worship” for how a given service ought to take place.  For this reason we have churches meeting on various days of the week (though most often on Sunday), at various times, and with various orders of worship at those services.  There is, as you can see, nothing biblically-directed about any of these elements.

The closest the Bible comes to directions for a church service are Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth.  And there, Paul’s main direction is an appeal to order.  It was clear that the Holy Spirit was moving throughout church gatherings in that day and the need was to minimize the confusion resulting from so many people being affected at once.  The content was obviously being supplied by the Lord, and all the folks had to do was exercise some self-control for comprehensive edification to take place.  This is so different from what we see in churches today.

The reason that the Holy Spirit is no longer inspiring church services is that the kingdom of God is the administration God is pursuing in our time.  We should be bending the knee to the King – not to the church.  The manual for service in the kingdom of God is to obey Christ.  His is the “administration suitable to the fullness of times” (Ephesians 1:10).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Where Is the Doctrine of Apostolic Succession?

The doctrine of apostolic succession must be somewhere other than the Bible.  Its pages don’t contain such a teaching.

The apostles gave no instructions for being succeeded.  They left no means for new apostles to be appointed.  They did appoint elders (also called overseers, or we might say “supervisors”) in each city, but assigned duties were limited and would only last until the Lord returned according to His promise (1 Peter 5:1-4).

It is clear from the New Testament that the Lord’s coming in His kingdom in that generation obviated the need for any sort of multi-generation strategy for waiting on the Lord.  Neither did the apostles express any need for a back-up plan, just in case there was a postponement of the Lord’s publicly-announced plan.  On the contrary, the apostles kept insisting that everything would happen, and was happening, on the timetable provided by the prophets and the Lord.

Apostolic succession is a man-made doctrine formulated in the institutional church for the purpose of keeping people under control.  It has nothing to do with God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

How Could Someone Read the Letter of Jude and Not Realize That the Apostles Expected the Lord’s Return To Be Soon?

Read the epistle of Jude.  It’s not long: just one chapter of 25 verses.  Do you not feel the urgency of Jude?  He’s exhorting his readers to stay faithful until the coming of the Lord.  He makes no allowance whatsoever for a delay in the Lord’s return.

What I just said about Jude can be said about practically all of the books of the New Testament.  One of the clearest themes to be found in the New Testament documents is the expectation of the Lord’s imminent coming (what we would call the Second Coming).  Why then – almost two thousand years after these documents were penned – does organized Christianity act as if this is something that has not yet occurred?

See Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

How New Testament Church Unity Gave Way to Apostasy

Yesterday’s post (The Apostasy) recounted how apostasy in the church would be the final sign that Jesus’ return was imminent.  The unity of the church and of its witness to Christ, which had been so important to the apostles was covered in the post published the day before yesterday (Ephesians 4:13 – The Unity of the New Testament Church Was for a Specific Purpose).  Thus the unity of the church would be lost in the apostasy of the church, but the coming of the kingdom of God would redeem all those who stood fast in the gospel.  Thereafter, unity would be found in the kingdom, not the church.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

The Apostasy

The word “apostasy” means to “falling away,” “forsaking,” “defecting,” or “revolting.”  The apostles knew that apostasy would afflict the church they were building because Jesus told them it would.  He was specific that it would occur in what we have come to call the waning days of the 1st Century.

Paul spoke of this falling away in Acts 20:25-32 when he said that “savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock,” and “from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul reminded the church at Thessalonica that the day of the Lord would not occur unless the apostasy had occurred first.  Jesus had not given the disciples a specific date of His return, but He had given them a sequence of events or signs.  Just before His coming there would be “much lawlessness” (Matthew 24:10); in the midst of this lawlessness, “false Christs,” and “false prophets” (Matthew 24:5, 24) would arise.  Judas had been the example to prepare the apostles for the fact that sometimes those you least expect of falling away, will fall away.

In both of Paul’s letters to Timothy, the subject of this apostasy is addressed.  In 1 Timothy 4:1-3 Paul describes how the false prophets would operate.  In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul gets specific about the various forms the lawlessness would take.

In 2 Peter 2:1 and 3:3, Peter confirms that the apostasy would manifest itself through false teachers.  Jude also bore witness to this in Jude 1:18-19.

By the time John writes 1 John, the apostasy is already manifest because he says, “We know that it is the last hour because many antichrists have now arisen in our midst” (see 1 John 2:18 and 4:3).

Thus, we need look no further than the New Testament itself to find the apostasy that Jesus and His apostles prophesied would come.  This is yet one more reason we can know that Jesus Christ came again just when He said He would (see Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Ephesians 4:13 – The Unity of the New Testament Church Was for a Specific Purpose

Paul saw that he and the other apostles were leading, and were part of, a process that would result in a comprehensive and unified witness to the world of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And this process was completed, for history records that these first-century Jews testified dramatically to the coming of Israel’s Messiah.

Thus, when Paul decried church divisions in 1 Corinthians 1-3 (and especially in 1:10-17) it was with the same thought in mind that we find in Ephesians 4:13.  The New Testament church was not in the process of establishing an institution.  It was in the process of bearing witness – giving solemn testimony – to the One whom God had promised through the Scriptures of the prophets.

“Until we all attain to the unity of the faith” was the goal upon which Paul was intently focused.  Because he was, and because the other apostles were as well, we have 27 documents bearing ample witness to the clarity of their testimony about who Jesus was and what He did.  (See also Romans 15:5-7; Philippians 1:27-28).

Once that witness was established, unity no longer mattered because apostasy was prophesied to come and divisions would be the order of the day…as they still are.  The kingdom of God is in our midst and the organized church is but a distraction.

Focus on the Son of God by faith and forget about organized religion.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Noah’s Ark Was For a Time

Noah’s ark was not forever.  It provided salvation for a time…until dry land reappeared.  Likewise, the Israelites drawn from the tyranny of Egypt were not destined to endless years marching around the desert.  Rather, they were destined for the promised land.

Why are we forever delaying and holding back God’s purposes?  Let us move on.  Let His kingdom advance and conquer the world through us.

See The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Whom Do You Seek When You Seek the Lord?

When you read in the Scripture that we should “seek the Lord,” and you want to obey, whom do you seek?  There is only one:  Jesus Christ our Lord.  (See Acts 2:36; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11; 1 Peter 3:15; and elsewhere.)

The concept of trinity only confuses this clear focus on Jesus Christ as Lord.

See:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

Posts to Date on the Trinity Versus Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scriptures from the Apostles and the Prophets

Scripture is divided by the Christians into Old Testament and New Testament.  These terms can be misleading because they can appear to misplace the dividing line between the old covenant and the new covenant.  It’s not as if the first set of documents is about the old covenant and the second set is about the new.  Rather, both covenants are addressed in both sets of documents.

Another way our thinking can be misled is to allow the terms “Old Testament” and “New Testament” to obscure the important fact that both sets of documents are Jewish.  It’s not as if the Old Testament is Jewish and the New Testament is Gentile, or that  the Old Testament is for Jews and the New Testament is for everybody.  Or still another false distinction is that the Old Testament is about the past but  the New Testament is for now.  Yet these kinds of distinctions are ones to which many hold, even if vaguely and sub-consciously.  The prophets were Jews and the apostles were Jews.  And, of course, the Lord was a Jew.  All the documents, regardless of which testament holds them, were cut from the same bolt of Jewish cloth.

A better way to describe this division of the Scriptures is to say it is between the prophets and the apostles.  That is, what we call the Old Testament are those Scriptures produced by the prophets, and what we call the New Testament are those documents produced by the apostles.

Therefore, all Scripture comes from God through the apostles and the prophets.  Let us think therefore of dividing the Scriptures into those from the prophets and those from the apostles.  Thus the Scriptures are “The Apostles and the Prophets” (or you could just as easily say “The Prophets and the Apostles”).

See also any or all of the following posts:

The Twofold Witness of Prophets and Apostles

The Apostles and the Prophets Witness Christ’s Sufferings…in Dramatically Different Ways 

The Prophets Wrote the Old Testament; the Apostles Wrote the New Testament

The Apostles Were Prophets and the Prophets Were Apostles

The New Testament Is Not the New Covenant

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.