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Desert photographs by Dr. R. C. Tindle.

 

 

By Way of Introduction

 

 

Matthew 13: 11“And he” - [Jesus] – “answered and said unto them” - [i.e., His ‘disciples’ (apostles)] - ‘Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath.  13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.  14 And unto them it is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith,

 

“By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand;

And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive:

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross,

And their ears are dull of hearing,

And their eyes they have closed;

Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes,

And hear with their ears,

And understand with their heart,

And should turn again,

And I should heal them  …

 

 

‘ 19 When anyone heareth the WORD OF THE KINGDOM,* and understandeth it not, then cometh the evil one, and snatcheth away that which hath been sown in his heart.  This is he that was sown by the way side.  20 And he that was sown upon the rocky places, this is he that heareth the word” - [i.e., ‘the word of the kingdom’; not the message of eternal salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus - also in the following verse.] - “and straightway with joy receiveth it; 21 yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while; and when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway he stumbleth.  22 And he that was sown upon the good ground, this is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; who verily beareth fruit,** and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.’”

 

- REVISED VERSION, 1881.

 

 

* “The Word (or ‘Message’ N.I.V.) of the Kingdom,” is not the message of eternal salvation by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.  This should be apparent to all who rightly interpret the above passage.   The Holy Spirit is given to those who OBEY (Acts 5: 32), as well as those who BELIEVE: and He knows when our all is fully yielded to doing our Saviour’s will; and until that is the case, it is pure mockery to confess our sin and then wilfully continue in it afterwards.  We must be determined to find His grace and strength to turn from it, and with full purpose of heart and honesty confess and abandon it.

 

** “Acts speak louder than words,” is a common phrase used today; and it also holds true in the spiritual realm.  There are multitudes of regenerate believers who may say they are ‘converted,’ but their lifestyle is not bearing the ‘fruit’ of their conversion!  They are dupes of Satan, deceiving themselves and risking the loss of their ‘inheritance’ in the ‘kingdom of God’ (Eph. 5: 1-6. cf. Gal. 5: 16-22).

 

 

Christians are living in “perilous times  These are the last of “the Last days” and the love of many is “waxing cold Christ is about to spew many of His people out of His mouth (Rev. 3: 16): and multitudes today are being deceived and deluded by a ‘gospel’ which is only the half the truth in the “Gospel!”(Acts 20: 24. cf. verse 25).  Many are walking along the road to ‘destruction’ (Heb. 10: 39), and do not realize it!  Being fully persuaded that because they are regenerate believers, they believe themselves certain of everything!  Because they have been baptized, joined a church and partaken of the Lord’s Supper, they think there is no urgent necessity for a sanctified life: and all the time they are being deluded by Satan and eating and drinking damnation to their souls every time they sit around the Lord’s Table.  The Churches have compromised with the world; and Divine truths which need to be disclosed to Christians are being ignored; and many Christians today are unwilling to hear them!  But the fact remains: “You can never get a man out of a bog-hole by going in beside him  If we are to live holy, happy, obedient, soul-saving lives, worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, it is imperative for us to be obedient to Him and filled with the Holy Spirit.  Without His power in our lives it is impossible to withstand the assault of the enemy; and without His teaching, there can only be blindness to a correct interpretation or understanding of the Word of Truth: all depends upon His grace and our willingness to learn from Him.

 

 

It has rightly been said that there is a peril of “uncounted cost.  It is one thing to make a start.  The first step is not the hardest, but the last.  ‘Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest,’ protested one candidate; and you know the reply: ‘The foxes have holes and the birds have nests, but the Son of Man has not where to lay His head’; and then it was good-bye, Jesus.

 

 

“When the storm occurred on the lake there may have been an inclination to say, ‘Thank you, I am a fair weather Christian  But ‘Except a man forsake all he hath, he cannot be My disciple; except a man deny himself, and take up his cross daily, he cannot be My disciple. … Which of you, going to build, does not count the cost  The Christian life is a life of battle and building and the Lord would have us to count the cost.  Many a pilgrim has made a good start and a bad ending, because he did not count the cost of the persecution, - of being ostracised, maligned, misrepresented and hated of all men.  It is better never to make the move than to make it and make a mess of it.” (W. P. Nicholson.)

 

 

But are those who ‘make a mess of it’ eternally lost?  No.  But they risk loosing the “inheritance” in the “age” to come.  Hence the importance of being judged worthy to “ENTER the Kingdom of the heavens” (Matt. 5: 20; Luke 20: 35, (Greek): and this, relative to the dead ‘in Christ’ - presently in Hades (Luke 16: 23, 31. cf. Matt. 16: 18; Psa. 16: 10; Acts 2: 34), - requires passing the Divine judgment BEFORE the time of their RESURRECTION, (Phil. 3: 11; Heb. 11: 35b; Rev. 20: 4, 5. cf. Heb. 11: 39; Rev. 6: 9-11.). 

 

 

May the Lord richly bless these writings, make them effective in changing the lives of His redeemed people, and awaken multitudes of His redeemed people from their spiritual slumber and blindness.  We are in desperate need of another REVIVAL.

 

 

THE DANGER OF DISTRACTION

 

 

One of the greatest dangers facing Christians today is their lack of scriptural understanding.  It might seem a ridiculous statement to make, particularly at a time when we are witnessing an explosion of worldly knowledge.  But in spite of all the information obtainable on the internet, most Christians lack the knowledge that’s most important to their immediate future: and those placed in positions of responsibility within the Church of God, are partly responsible for their ignorance!

 

 

Some years ago I received four recorded messages on cassette tape by a prominent Bible teacher.  They were expositions of Hebrews 12: 1-3.  One was is entitled: ‘Train to Reign – The Danger of Distraction  Throughout this message, the preacher talked about ‘loosing focus’; about being distracted by so many things happening around us, and how easy it is to take our eyes off Jesus.  He makes mention of the “sin-pounds” which we need to take off if we are to win the “Prize  “The weights,” he said, “are so much of us that we need to strip off”: and asked the question: “What are the things that are weights that have to go and the sin-pounds we are so accustomed to that we carry them so long that we don’t even know they are there  In his sermon he went on to stress the importance of endurance and perseverance, and the need of repentance and restoration after a fall. 

 

 

He pointed out that Paul named his enemies to warn Christians of those who would do them harm and lead them astray: “Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm.  The Lord will repay him for what he has done.  You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message”: (2 Tim. 4: 14, N.I.V.).  “Anything that does not propel us forward,” he said, “is holding us backward: and we have got to ask ‘What are the things that we hold very dearly, that we cherish, that are weights that have to go’?”

 

 

He likened the Christian race to a marathon: “The key is measuring our stride, … I may find myself dragging in at the end, but I need to come in, I need to come in

 

 

Luke 24: 25, 26; I John 2: 3-7; 1 Pet. 2; 19, 20; Phil. 2: 3, 4 were also referred to, and continued the exposition with other questions and observations:

 

 

“Where is our head  “What are we thinking about  “Looking unto Jesus is the key to victory over distraction: I get in the way of myself; I am a major distraction, and I need to think it through

 

 

“You go back to the track, you watch those runners; boy, they’re fixed on the goal, aren’t they?  And your man is way out in front; and you’re cheering him on; and you never see him stop and take a bow and say, ‘Thank you, thank you’: you only see that in the Christian race!  They don’t get distracted!  Why?  Because they want to win, and they keep their eye in the goal  “They are aware, but they don’t lose focus

 

 

All this and much more was heard: but he failed to make known, or try to explain, what the “Prize” was!

 

 

Several years later, and on the same topic he writes:-

 

 

“I sometimes preach from Hebrews 12: 1-3 about reducing in order to run the Christian race effectively.  As the text suggests, we can’t run well if we carry around a lot of extra weight.  So I allude to what happens to the body when it puts on a pound of fat.  The fat adds tremendous strain to the heart, the muscles, the respiratory system, and makes it difficult for a person to run.  I suggest that sin-pounds have a similar adverse effect on the spiritual life, making it difficult to run the Christian race effectively.  Invariably, that message produces more converts to jogging than to spiritual exercise.  Why?  Because people are more concerned about being in shape physically than they are about being in shape spiritually.  Apparently they don’t want ill health to curtail their enjoyment of the ‘good life.’”

 

 

The vast majority of Christians today appear to have ‘lost focus’: the churches in Galatia had lost focus.  Many were being circumcised and observing the law to be justified: and they had to be reminded how Abraham was justified by faith, (Gal. 3: 6).

 

 

But there was more which needed to be disclosed! and Paul quickly moved into the realm of responsibility truths, conditional promises, the importance of good works, and the prospect of a “just recompense of reward” at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  That is, of being rewarded exactly as our actions (since conversion) deserveThat we” – the apostle includes himself – “MIGHT” - [for the “Prize” is not given to any not ‘accounted worthy’ of it.] - “receive the FULL rights of sons” (4: 5) – a double portion of our inheritance – both millennial and eternal.

 

 

Like ‘Seventh Day Adventists’ in our day, they were “observing special days and months and seasons and years!” (verse 10).  “You were running a good race,” Paul said: and then he asked the question: “Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth

 

 

Instead of looking out ahead to a time of ‘Reward’ and a future ‘Inheritance’ in the coming Millennial Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, they were distracted by the enemy and began to look at things then present and back into past experiences!  They were not living within the rules of the ‘New Covenant’ which God had established at the time of Messiah’s death!  They were still only infants, feeding on the milk of the Word but, “not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness:” (Heb. 5: 13)! 

 

 

Then comes the apostle’s encouragement and warning against the loss of their future inheritance:-  “You, my brothers, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.  The entire law is summed up in a single command, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’  If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

 

 

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

 

 

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissentions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  I warn YOU as I did before, that those”* - [i.e., Christians] – “who live like this will NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD:” (Gal. 5: 13-21, N.I.V.).

 

* Here is another of his numerous inferences to the ever present possibility and danger of losing one’s inheritance in the millennial kingdom of Messiah: and the responsibility truths which all apostates reject, wilfully avoid; and, by false teachings and interpretations, continually seek to undermine God’s danger signals to His redeemed people.

 

 

“The changes of our time have brought upon Christianity the most crucial conflicts and the most searching ordeals which it has experienced since its foundation.  Neither in the days of the persecution by the Roman Empire, nor when Arianism struck at the heart of the Christian faith, nor when Mohammedanism threatened to overwhelm Christendom, has the Church been exposed to dangers so great and attacks so fierce as those which menace it today

 

-THE BISHOP OF WINCHESTER, presidential address to the Church Congress.

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

THE TORMENTS OF THE APOSTATE

 

 

Francis Spira, to whom we now refer, lived about the middle of the sixteenth century (1548).  He was a doctor of law, and an advocate of high rank in the town of Citadella, in the province of Italy, then subject to Venice.  He was distinguished by his learning and his eloquence, possessed of a subtle mind, and was highly intelligent.

 

 

About his 44th year, Spira’s attention began to be turned to the work of Luther and other Reformers.  Eager in the pursuit of knowledge, he forthwith began to inquire.  Spira embraced the Reformed doctrines with so much zeal, that he even became in his turn a preacher of them; at least among his family (which was numerous) and his friends he sought to disseminate what he had himself embraced.  To some extent he abandoned other pursuits, and urged his friends to depend solely on the grace of God in Christ for salvation.  He was well versed in the Scriptures, took a firm hold of their doctrines, and did all that he could to spread the light at once by his life and his lessons.

 

 

The Pope’s legate at Venice at that period was the noted Dela Casa, and he entered with zeal into the persecution that had begun against Spira.  Amid his forebodings, Spira soon became restless and troubled.  Now one purpose, and anon another, swayed him.  To-day he was resolved to suffer the loss of all things rather than deny the truth: to-morrow he would listen to the seductive and too successful sophism, which has kept its tens of thousands in spiritual bondage for ever:- “How can you so far presume on your sufficiency as to disregard the examples of your ancestors, and the judgment of the whole church?”  Under the influence of that, or rather, in the state of mind that would listen to that, Spira became more and more irresolute.  He could not calmly contemplate “the offensive dungeon, the bloody axe, and burning faggot”.  The thought of country and of friends, of wife and children (of whom he had eleven), rendered his agitation deeper and deeper.  He at last hastened to the legate at Venice, there to confess his heresy and implore forgiveness.  He sought to return to “entire obedience to the sovereign bishop in the communion of the Church of Rome, without ever desiring to depart from the traditions and decrees Holy See  He rehearsed all his errors, and drew them up in a formal deed, which he solemnly subscribed.  He was present at the celebration of mass, and repeated clause by clause the abjuration which he had formerly subscribed.  About two thousand persons were present at the ceremony, in which Spira acted so prominent a part, although he confessed that a feeling akin to desperation had already, taken hold of him.  He was fined thirty pieces of gold, the greater part of which was expended on masses; and the unhappy man was restored by a corrupt church to all that corruption was sure to receive from it.  Spira is said to have fainted away after the agitating scenes through which he passed on that eventful day; and from that moment he never more knew peace of mind.  Physicians for the body, and ministers of religion for the soul, were called to the conscience-stricken man.  He was removed from Citadella to Padua, that he might in all respects benefit by the means reckoned most likely to restore his peace of mind; but, after mature consideration, the physicians declared they could discover no bodily ailment.  It was a disease of the soul that was preying on the wasting frame; so that the most skilful men in a city, that was at that period “the eye of Italy”, saw the resources of their art exhausted in vain attempting a cure.  Spira himself declared that his disease was beyond the reach of human appliances; his exclamation was:- “Who can succour a soul oppressed by a sense of sin, and by the wrath of God  He made the bystanders weep; nay, some of them trembled at the recital.  When they attempted to console him, his constant exclamation was:- “My sin is greater than the mercy of God.  I have denied Christ voluntarily, and against my convictions.  I feel that He hardens me and will allow me no hope  Referring to the doctrines he had abjured, he declared that “he believed them while in the act of denying them”, adding, that now “he believed nothing, he had neither faith, nor confidence, nor hope.  I am a reprobate like Cain or Judas*, who, rejecting all hope, fell from grace into despair.  My friends do me great wrong in not suffering me to depart to the abode of the unbelieving, as I have justly deserved

 

* See, Judas was a Regenerate Believer.

 

 

His friends were anxious to read the Scriptures with the agonized man, in the hope of alleviating his misery; but terrified by the attempt, he roared out in anguish, beseeching them to desist.  The physicians we have seen, declared that there was no bodily distemper; yet, from hour to hour, his misery became more and more intense, and the pitiable spectacle became intolerable to the onlookers.  Paul Vergerio, Bishop of Justinopli, and others tried from time to time to soothe him, but all was rejected.  His mind seemed to become acute, and inventive of arguments by which to torment himself, by repelling the suggestions of his friends.  He clung to the conviction that he was a reprobate, and declared that “there was no room in his heart for aught but torment and agitation”.  Roaring in bitterness of spirit, he explained:- “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. ... I  have a whole legion of devils who take up their abode in me, and possess me as their own, and that justly, for I have denied Christ  In one of his paroxysms he exclaimed:- “I desire nothing more than to come to that place where I may be certain of enduring the worst: and of being delivered from the fear of a worse to come

 

 

Rarely has the appalling termination of such a career been so stedfastly contemplated.  There was a kind of method in his agony, for he never ceased to affirm that “when he renounced his opinions he believed them to be true, and yet he abjured them before the legate  His mind, through this torturing process, gradually settled down in the conviction that he had sinned against the Holy Spirit, and, entrenched behind that conviction, no created power could move him.  He spoke of his mind as corroded by the reprobation of God, Who had hardened him; and, “I find,” he adds, “that from day to day, He hardens me more and more  When he reasoned regarding his punishment, he always justified the ways of God, declaring that “there was no punishment which he did not deserve for so detestable a crime”; and adding: “I assure you, it is no little thing to deny Christ and yet it is more common than is imagined  At another time he exclaimed:- “Oh! could I only experience the least sentiment of the love of God towards me, although it were but for a moment, as I now feel the weight of His wrath burning like the torments of hell within me, and afflicting my conscience with inexpressible anguish! Assuredly, despair is hell itself

 

 

Painful as are these passages in Spira’s life, they are but like, the opening scene in this tragic drama.  “Here is the truth of my case,” he exclaimed, when his anguish grew more and more overpowering: “I tell you, that when I first abjured my profession at Venice, and when the declaration was recorded, the Spirit of God admonished me often, and yet, while at Citadella, I, in some sort, set my seal to it.  I resisted the Holy Spirit, and signed and sealed it; and at that very moment I sensibly felt a wound inflicted even on my will  And subsequently to this, clasping his hands violently together, and raising himself up, he exclaimed:- “Now I am strong, but I sink into decay, by little and little, and consume away. ... I see my condemnation, and know that my only remedy is in Christ; nevertheless I cannot persuade myself to embrace it.  Such is the punishment of the damned

 

 

At other periods Spira gave clear evidence, that, though he could not apply the Gospel to himself, he yet could preach it to others.  He urged his friends to “exalt the glory of God continually; and not to be afraid of legate, inquisitors, prisons, or any kind of death  The moments, however, were few and infrequent; and incidents sometimes occurred to rouse him to intense vehemence of feeling.  Antonio Fontania, a priest, who had been with him when he recanted before the legate, came to visit him, and reminded the wretched man of their last interview: “0 the accursed day,” he exclaimed.  “0 the accursed day!  Would that I had never been at Venice!  Would to God I had been then dead

 

 

Toward the close of his life, he addressed some young men in the most solemn and instructive terms, warning them from his case to beware of a religion of form, or of making faith their Saviour.  He spoke of the merits of Christ as “a strong rampart against the wrath of God”; but added, that he had “demolished that bulwark with his own hands”, and was now overwhelmed by the deluge.  He urged those around him to beware of being “almost Christians”, as he had been, and then broke out into vehement emotion, indicative of his internal agony.  “Give me a sword,” he exclaimed.  “Why, what use will you make of it  “I cannot tell,” he rejoined, “to what act my feelings may carry me, nor what I may do.”  He subsequently declared to Vergerio, when his friends began to take leave of him, “that he felt his heart full of cursing, hatred and blasphemy against God,” instead of being softened by the prospect of being left alone; and, on the following day, he attempted self-destruction, without success.  For eight weeks did he continue in this lamentable state, refusing nourishment, except as it was forced on him, and gradually becoming emaciated and haggard; and died, soon after returning to his own house from Padua, a melancholy monument of the effects of unstedfastness in the faith and the fatal results of that fear of man that bringeth a share. 

 

 

- D. M. PANTON.

*       *       *

 

 

“APOSTASY CAN COME WITH

THE SPEED OF AN EXPRESS*

[*The following account was published in D. M. Panton’s Evangelical Mid-monthly Magazine on August 15th, 1939.]

 

 

It is but a few years since President Hindenberg – we have reason to know, a regenerate man – instructed Reichbishop Muller:- “See that Christ is preached in Germany  To-day, when from 160,000 to 170,000 political and religious victims are in concentration camps, Dr. A. E. Garvie sums up ‘German Christianity’ thus (Christian World, June 29, 1939):- “Germany is God’s beloved Son, who was crucified in the peace treaty, raised again by Herr Hitler, and is ascending to be ‘Germany over all’.  This travesty of the Church’s creed is carried out in detail.  The bread in the Lord’s Supper is the grain that springs from German soil, and the wine the blood which flows in German vines.  The Trinity is the family of father, mother and child, especially the German; the law of God has been written in the German blood: the Incarnation of God is in the German.  Is there any wonder that the Confessional Church has risen in revolt?  What is the wonder is that any of the still professedly orthodox Churches can be neutral.  What is a scandal is that any man professing the Christian name can be lukewarm, and can be deceived by the ‘rationalization’ of this ruthless, shameless persecution, this Anti-Christ, as legitimate measures by the State to maintain to restore order in the Church.”

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

SCRIPTURE READINGS AND THE

CONSEQUENCES OF APOSTASY

 

 

“ 27 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.  28 Say to them, As I live, saith the Lord, surely as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you; 29 your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, 30 surely ye shall NOT COME INTO THE LAND, concerning which I lifted up my hand that I would make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun … “36 And the men, which Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up an evil report against the land, 37 even those men that did bring up an evil report of the land, died by the plague before the Lord.” (Num. 14: 27-30, 36, 37, R.V.).*

 

* See also Psa. 106. cf. Psa. 95:7-11: and the ‘rest’ with that found in Heb. 4: 1, 11.

 

 

“1 For I would not brethren, have you ignorant, how that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and did all eat of the same spiritual meat; 4 and did all drink of the same spiritual drink: for they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them: and that rock was Christ.  5 Howbeit with most of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.  6 Now in these things they became figures [or ‘types’], to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.  7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.  8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.  9. Neither let us tempt the Lord, as some of them tempted, and perished by the serpents.  10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer.  11 Now these thing happened unto them by way of figure; and they were written FOR OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the ages are come.  12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.  13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also a way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.” (1 Cor. 10: 1-13, R.V.). 

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

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CHAPTER 1

Contending for the Faith*

 

By A. L. CHITWOOD.

 

[* The following – (chapters 1, 3 and part of 5) - are selected from of the author’s book: ‘JUDE Acts of the Apostates’.]

 

 

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3).

 

 

Following introductory remarks in verses one and two, Jude calls attention to the original intent of his epistle.  Jude had originally set about to write on the “common salvation [salvation by grace through faith, possessed commonly by all believers]”; but the Holy Spirit prevented him from writing upon this subject and, instead, moved him to write upon something entirely different.  The Holy Spirit moved Jude to write upon contending for the faith during a day of apostasy.

 

 

There are two indispensable keys which one must possess when studying the Epistle of Jude: (a) a correct understanding of “apostasy from the faith” as it relates to both individual Christians and to the Church as a whole, and (b) a correct understand of exactly what is meant by the expression “earnestly contend for the faith  These things must be grasped at the very outset or else the main message in this epistle will be either distorted or lost to the reader.

 

 

“Apostasy from the faith,” the first indispensable key, was the main subject under discussion throughout  the introduction to this book; and this introductory material should prove sufficient to provide a base upon which one can build as he moves on into the Epistle of Jude and views the various forms which apostasy can take.  Those who apostatize from the faith are Christians not those of the world.  It is not possible for an unsaved person to “stand away from” the faith, for he has never come into a position from which he can stand away.  Only the saved have come into this position, and only the saved can enter into this latter-day apostasy.

 

 

The second indispensable key which one must possess to correctly understand the Epistle of Jude is the subject matter at hand in our present study – “earnestly contend for the faith,” which in one sense of the word is the opposite of “apostasy from the faith  However, contrary to popular interpretation, this opposite meaning has nothing to do with being a protector or guardian of the great Christian doctrines.  Something entirely different is in view, and this will constitute the subject matter of our present study.

 

 

Striving in the Contest

 

 

The words translated “earnestly contend” in Jude 3 are from the Greek word epagonizomai.  This is an intensified form of the word agonizomai, from which we derive the English word “agonize  The word agonizomai is found in such passages as 1 Cor. 9: 25striveth”), 1 Tim. 6:12fight”), and 2 Tim. 4: 7 fought”).  This word refers particularly to a “struggle in a contest

 

 

In 1 Cor. 9: 24-27 Paul pictured himself as a contestant in a race with a victor’s crown to be won by successful completion of the race.  He “agonized” as he ran the race.  That is, he strained every muscle of his being as he sought to finish the race in a satisfactory manner and be awarded the proffered crown.

 

 

1 Tim. 6: 12 states, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called …”  This verse could be better translated, “StriveAgonizeAgonizomai] in the good contest [agon] of the faith; lay hold on life for the age whereunto thou art also called …”  Agon, translated “contest is the noun form of the verb agonizomai, translated “strive  A contest race is in view (same as 1 Cor. 9: 24-27), and it is a “contest of the faith  It is “striving” relative to the faith.

 

 

2 Tim. 4: 7 is a very similar verse. “I have fought a good fight …” could be better translated, “I have strivedagonizedagonizomai] in the good contest [agon] ...”  The “contest” here, as in 1 Tim. 6: 12, has to do with the faith.  This verse, along with the following, goes on to state, “I have finished my course [the contest/race], I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day …”  The contest or race here is the same race set forth in 1 Cor. 9: 24-27, with one or more crowns in view at the end of the race.  And successful completion of the race will result in the runner being crowned, anticipating the coming rule from the heavens over the earth as a joint-heir with Christ (called “life for the age” in 1 Tim. 6: 12.

 

 

With these things in mind concerning the use of the word agonizomai relative to “the faith note the expression “earnestly contend for the faith” in Jude 3.  In keeping with the other translations, the exact thought brought out by the word epagonizomai in Jude could perhaps be better understood by using the translation “earnestly strive  Once again a contest/race is in view, and the thought is really earnestly striving “with reference to the faith” rather than earnestly striving “for the faith  The wording in the Greek text will allow either translation, but related Scriptures are concerned with the basic thought from the former translation rather than the latter.  Earnestly striving “with reference to the faith” in Jude carries the identical thought as striving “in the good contest of the faith” in 1 Timothy.  The intensified form of agonizomai (used only this one place in the New Testament) undoubtedly appears in Jude because of the immediate danger of the recipients of this message being caught up in the apostasy at hand.

 

 

Jude and 2 Peter

 

 

Understanding exactly what is involved in earnestly striving “with reference to the faith” in Jude is possibly best brought out in 2 Peter.  2 Peter is the companion epistle to Jude.  Both epistles deal with the same subject matter throughout “faith and “apostasy  “Faith” appears first in both epistles (Jude 3: 2 Peter ch. 1), followed by “apostasy” from the faith (Jude 4ff; 2 Peter chs. 2, 3).

 

 

2 Peter also occupies the same unique relationship to 1 Peter that Jude occupies relative to certain preceding epistles (Hebrews; James; 1, 2 Peter; 1, 2; 3 John).  1 Peter deals specifically with the salvation of the soul, and 2 Peter deals with “faith”(ch. 1) and “apostasy” (chs. 2, 3) in relation to this salvation.  The same order is set forth in Jude and the seven preceding epistles.  The seven epistles preceding Jude, as (and including) 1 Peter, also deal specifically with the salvation of the soul.  Jude then forms the capstone for the entire subject, presenting, as 2 Peter, “faith” in relation to the salvation of the soul first (v. 3), and then “apostasy” in relation to the salvation of the soul (vv. 4ff).

 

 

Parallels in the sections on apostasy from the faith in both epistles (Jude 4ff; 2 Peter 2: 1ff) clearly  illustrate the oneness of Peter’s and Jude’s messages.  Numerous identical subjects, events, and places are recorded in the same order (cf. 2 Peter 2: 1-3, and Jude 4; 2 Peter 2: 4-9 and Jude 6, 7; 2 Peter 2: 10-14 and Jude 8-10; 2 Peter 2: 15, 16 and Jude 11; 2 Peter 2: 17, 18 and Jude 12, 13, 16; 2 Peter 3: 1-13 and Jude 17-19).  “Apostasy” in both instances is from the same “faith”; and since Scripture is to be interpreted in the light of Scripture, a proper study on either “faith” or “apostasy” in one epistle would necessitate a study of the same subject matter in the other epistle.  The best available commentary on Jude is 2 Peter, along with other related Scripture; and the best available commentary on 2 Peter is Jude, along with other related Scripture.

 

 

Our main interest at hand is the parallel sections on “faith” in the two epistles.  Where Jude devotes one verse to earnestly striving with reference to the faith: (v. 3), Peter devotes the greater part of an entire chapter to maturity in the faith (ch. 1).  And this chapter, in the light of Jude and other related Scripture, is actually a dissertation on earnestly striving “with reference to the faith which will result in the one engaged in this “contest of the faith” (if he runs according to the rules) “receiving the end [goal]” of his faith, even the salvation of his soul (1 Peter 1: 9).  Thus, in order to properly understand Jude 3, the remainder of this study will be drawn from 2 Peter, chapter one.

 

 

Maturity in the Faith

 

 

Peter directs his second epistle to “them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour [lit ‘our God and Saviour’] Jesus Christ” (v. 1).  This is a “faith” possessed by all Christians.  We were all accorded the same measure of “faith” at the time of the birth from above.  Every Christian begins at the same point with the same “like precious faith  Then, in verses five through seven Christians are to “add to [lit. ‘abundantly supply in’]” this faith “virtue; and toin’] virtue knowledge; and toin’] knowledge temperance; and toin’] temperance patience; and toin’] patience godliness; and toin’] godliness brotherly kindness; and toin’] brotherly kindness charity.”  Peter then states that “if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge [epignosis, ‘mature knowledge’] of our Lord Jesus Christ

 

 

The Greek word epignosis, referring to a “mature knowledge occurs three times in 2 Peter, chapter one (vv. 2, 3, 8).  In verse two “grace and peace” are multiplied through a mature knowledge “of God, and of Jesus our Lord [lit. ‘of God, even Jesus our Lord’ (cf. v. 1)].”  In verse three Christians are given “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” through the mature knowledge “of him that hath called us to glory and virtue”; and in verses five through eight, abundantly supplying the things listed (with “faith” as the foundation), will result (if these things “abound” in the person) in “fruitbearing” within one’s mature knowledge “of our Lord Jesus Christ

 

 

Colossians 2: 2, 3 is a corresponding passage concerning a mature knowledge “of Jesus our Lord” which deals with the same basic truths as 2 Peter 1: 2, 3, 8.  In the Colossian passage the “mystery of God” is revealed to be Christ and in Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge  The words appearing between “God” and “Christ” (v. 2) in the Authorized Version are not found in the best Greek manuscripts, and the latter part of this verse should read literally: “… unto a mature knowledge [epignosis] of the mystery of God, Christ.”  The name “Christ” is placed in opposition to the word “mystery” in the Greek text, making Christ to be “the mystery of God  The things in this mystery were unrevealed in prior ages; but now, through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit, the previously hidden truths concerning Christ are being made known to the saints.  Man today has the complete revelation of God, and as this revelation is received into man’s saved human spirit, the indwelling Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and reveals things (previously hidden) concerning the Son (cf. John 16: 13-15; 1 Cor. 2: 6-13; Gen. 24: 4, 10, 36, 53).

 

 

In Col. 2: 2, 3 it is only the person coming into a mature knowledge of the “mystery of God” who will see the great storehouse of “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” in Christ.  In like manner, only the person coming into a mature knowledge of “Jesus our Lord” in 2 Peter 12, 3, 8, contained in the “mystery of God” in Col. 2: 2, will realize an increase of “grace” and “peace” (cf. “Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied” [Jude 2], or come into possession of the numerous other things mentioned in this chapter.

 

 

In 2 Peter 1: 3, 4, a mature knowledge of God’s Son results in the realization of two things:

 

 

(a) Possessing “all things that pertain unto life and godliness  “Life” (Gr. Zoe) is used referring to life in its absolute fulness which a Christian is to exhibit during his present pilgrim walk, and “godliness” refers to piety or reverence which is to be exhibited at the same time.  A godly walk in the fulness of life is appropriating that which God has for man (revealed in His Word) and, at the same time walking in a Godlike manner.

 

 

(b) Possessing “great and precious promises  Through these “great and precious promises” (revealed in God’s Word) individuals become “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world [by means of epignosis; cf. 2 Peter 1: 2, 3; 2: 20].”  The “divine nature” has been planted within the inner being of every Christian, but it, as faith, can be either dormant or very active.  To assure that the “divine nature along with faith, does not lie dormant, a Christian must lay aside the things having to do with corruption in the world and receive the Word of God into his saved human spirit (James 1: 21; 1 Pet. 2: 1, 2).  It is the reception of this Word and the corresponding work of the Ho1y Spirit alone which bring individuals into that position where spiritual growth is wrought, partaking of the “divine nature” is effected and victory over the things of the world, the flesh, and the Devil come to pass.

 

 

The great problem among Christians today is spiritual immaturity, which results in defeated lives, worldly living, etc.  There is no increase of “grace,” “mercy,” “peace and “love  Such Christians, not in possession of a mature knowledge (epignosis), are not in possession of the things pertaining to “1ife and godliness”; and they know very little or nothing of the “great and precious promises or being “partakers of the divine nature  They thus, can be easily “carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:14).

 

 

Fruitbearing for the Kingdom

 

 

In 2 Peter 1: 5-11, fruitbearing is in view; and fruitbearing is associated with things abundantly supplied in faith (vv. 5-7), a mature knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (vv. 8, 9), one’s “calling and election” (v. 10), and “entrance” into the coming “kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (v. 11).

 

 

1. Things Abundantly Supplied in Faith (vv. 5-7)

 

 

Every Christian is in possession of faith, obtained “through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ  This faith can be very active, or it can be weak, anaemic, or even dead (James 2:17, 20, 26).  But faith, even though dead, is still present with the believer, and it can never pass away (1 Cor. 13:13).

 

 

The word “dead” appearing in James 2:17, 20, 26 (KJV) in connection with faith can only refer to a “barren” or “fruitless” faith.  This type faith is void of works, and works are necessary to bring forth fruit.  In a number of the older Greek manuscripts the word for “barren” rather than the word for “dead” appears in verse twenty, equating “barren” in this verse with “dead” in verses seventeen and twenty-six.  However, one need not belabour whether or not this rendering from these older manuscripts is to be accepted, for 2 Peter 1: 5-8 teaches the same thing concerning a “barren” faith.

 

 

2 Peter 1: 5 should literally read: “But also for this cause, giving all diligence, abundantly supply in your faith ...” Because of what has preceded (outlined in verses one through four) - things resulting from a mature knowledge (epignosis) “of God, even Jesus our Lord” - the Christian is commanded to follow a certain stepped course of action.  And this course of action will result in “fruitbearing within one’s mature knowledge (epignosis) “of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 8), which will, in turn, ultimately result in an abundant entrance “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (v. 11).

 

 

a) “Add to [‘Abundantly supply in’] your faith virtue” (v. 5).  The words “Add to” should literally be understood as “Abundantly supply in” throughout verses five through seven.  The Greek word translated “virtue” is arete (same as v. 3), which has to do with “energy” rather than moral goodness.  The thought is that we are to exhibit “energy” in the exercise of our faith.  This is to be understood as “courage” and “purpose” in the things of the Lord.  It is acting in a purposeful, courageous manner in the energy of the Spirit.

 

 

b) “And toin’] virtue knowledge” (v. 5).  “Knowledge” is the translation of gnosis (the regular Greek word for “knowledge”) rather than epignosis mature knowledge”) as used in verses two, three, and eight.  Gnosis refers to the accumulation of facts, which may result in epignosis, but not necessarily. Epignosis is more restricted in its usage, having to do with knowledge pertaining more particularly to things relating to the coming kingdom (ref. Part “2” following this section).

 

 

c) “And to [‘in’] knowledge temperance” (v. 6).  The Greek word translated “temperance” is egkrateia, which means “self-control  Passions and desires emanating from the man of flesh are to be held in check.

 

 

d) “And to in’] temperance patience” (v. 6). The Greek word translated “Patience” is hupomeno, which has to do with “patient endurance” during the pilgrim walk.  Note how the verb form of this word (hupomeno) is used in James 1: 12: “Blessed is the man that endurethpatiently endureth’] temptation: for when he is triedapproved’], he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him  Note also the use of hupomeno in 2 Tim. 2: 10, 12 (translated “endure” and “suffer” respectively).  Both should be translated “patiently endure

 

 

e) “And to [‘in’] patience godliness” (v. 6).  The Greek word translated “godliness” is eusebeia, which refers to Christians exercising “piety or “godliness” as they patiently endure the trials and testings of life during their pilgrim walk.

 

 

f) “And to in’] godliness kindness” (v. 7).  The words “brotherly kindness” are a translation of the compound Greek word philadelphia, comprised of phileo 1ove,” “affection”) and adelphos brother”).  The word should be translated “brotherly love” or “brotherly affection

 

 

g) “And to in’] brotherly kindness charity” (v. 7).  The Greek word translated “charity” is agape, which, as phileo), means “1ove  However, agape moves beyond mere affection, or the type love between Christians set forth by the word phileo.  Agape has to do with “Divine love which God is in His character and nature.  “God is love i.e., “God is agape” (1 John 4: 8).  This is also the same word used relative to man in the context of this verse in 1 John.  “Love” set forth by the word agape is the highest type love attainable.  This is love produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of a faithful believer, Agape appears after all the other things mentioned in 2 Peter 1: 5-7.  It must be supplied last, for it is placed at the height of Christian experience, and nothing can be added therein (cf. 1 Cor. 13: 1ff; agape is used throughout this chapter).

 

 

2. A Mature Knowledge (vv. 8, 9)

 

 

Epionosis in Scripture has a peculiar relationship to the salvation to be revealed, the salvation of the soul.  This word appears in passages which have to do with the saints possessing a mature knowledge in things related to the coming kingdom.  The list is by no means complete, but throughout the New Testament epignosis is associated with a mature knowledge of “God,” of God’s “Sonthe mystery of God, Christ’],” God’s “will,” truths pertaining to “faith,” “life and “godliness the coming “judgment” of the saints, the “blessed hope and the coming “inheritance” of the saints (Rom. 1: 28; Eph. 1: 17, 18; 4:13; Col. 1: 9-12; 2: 2; 3:10; 1 Tim. 2: 4; 2 Tim. 2: 25; 3: 7; Titus 1: 1, 2; 2: 13; 3: 7; Heb. 10:25-31; 2 Peter 1: 1-8; 2: 20, 21).

 

 

Epignosis, having to do with an impartation of things pertaining to “life and godliness allows Christians to escape the “pollutions of the world” (2 Peter 1: 3, 4; 2: 20).  Rejection of epignosis, on the other hand, places Christians in the dangerous position of being easily entangled in the things which epignosis allows them to escape (Rom. 1: 28; 2 Peter 2: 20-22).  “All filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness” must be set aside prior to receiving the “engraftedimplanted’] word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1: 21), and the reception of this Word progressively produces the renewing of your mind “in knowledge [epignosis] after the image of him that created him,” working the metamorphosis in one’s life (Rom. 12: 1, 2; Col. 3: 10), allowing that person to escape the entanglements of the world.

 

 

Epignosis has to do with the “strong meat” of the Word, which is associated in Heb. 5: 6-14 with Christ and His Melchizedek priesthood.  Those who have been enlightened by God to move from gnosis to epignosis - and then “fall away” are the ones who become entangled again in the affairs of the world (Heb. 6: 1-6).  The fact that such persons cannot be renewed again unto repentance (vv. 4, 6) will answer the question concerning why it would have been better for such individuals not to have known “the way of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:21) through coming into possession of epignosis (v. 20)

 

 

Hebrews, chapters five and six must be understood in the light of chapters three and four, which contain the record of the Israelites being allowed to go on into things beyond the death of the firstborn in Egypt. They were allowed to go up to the very border of the Promised Land itself, hear the report about the land from the twelve spies, and taste the actual fruits of the land which the spies had carried back with them.  In this respect, they were allowed to move from gnosis to epignosis; but they turned away (fell away), and it was then impossible to renew them again unto repentance (Num. 13, 14).  They were overthrown in the wilderness.  It would have been better for the ones who were overthrown (the entire accountable generation, twenty years old and above, save Caleb and Joshua) not to have known these things about the land (equivalent in the antitype to, “it had been better ... not to have known the way of righteousness” for Christians in 2 Peter 2: 21), than after they knew these things, “to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them” (Num. 13: 30; Deut. 1: 21ff; cf. Joshua 1: 1, 2).  It was so with the Israelites in the type, and thus will it be for Christians in the antitype

 

 

3. Calling and Election (v. 10)

 

 

Individuals are to give diligence to make their “calling and election sure The word “election” could be better translated “called out  The words translated “calling” and “election” in this verse are from the same root forms as the words translated “called” and “chosen” in Matt. 22: 14, which should literally be translated, “For many are called, but few are called out  An individual’s calling has to do with the salvation which he presently possesses (salvation of the spirit), and an individual’s out-calling has to do with the salvation which he will possess in the future (salvation of the soul).

 

 

The word “diligence” in this verse is from the same word also translated “diligence” in verse five.  With the same intensity that a person is to abundantly supply in his faith virtue ... , he is to make his calling and out-calling “sure  The word sure is the translation of a word which means “certain “firm,” “secure  A Christian is to know just as much about one calling as the other.  He is to be knowledgeable in things pertaining to his calling, and he is to be equally knowledgeable in things pertaining to his out-calling.  And with the same intensity that he made his calling certain/sure, he is to likewise make his out-calling certain/sure.

 

 

There is no such thing as following Biblical guidelines in the matter of salvation and, at the same time, ignoring one’s out-calling after one’s calling.  The entire concept widely promulgated in Christian circles today that the one really important thing is just to be saved (called), with all other things relegated to some type sub-importance, emanates from the apostates and those who follow their pernicious teachings (cf. 2 Peter 2: 1-3).  Scripture places one’s out-calling on the same level of importance as one’s calling, or vice versa.  One is not placed above the other.  One has to do with the work of an evangelist, and the other has to do with the work of a pastor-teacher.  Both evangelists and pastor-teachers have been placed in the Church for his purpose (Eph. 4: 11-14; “knowledge” in v. 13 is epignosis in the Greek text), and they, accordingly, are to be faithful in fulfilling their God-ordained callings.  The work of an evangelist anticipates the work of a pastor-teacher, for a person is called in view of his being called out.

 

 

4. Entrance into the Kingdom (v. 11)

 

 

The word “entrance” is the translation of a word which means a road into.  The route has been properly marked in the preceding verses, and one can not only follow this route, but he is exhorted to so do.  He is exhorted, following his calling, to make his out-calling “sure

 

 

Peter did not follow “cunningly devised fables” when he made known “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ  He was an “eyewitness of his majesty  He saw the Son’s glory when he was with Christ “in the holy mount and he penned the Epistles of 1, 2 Peter as he was “movedborne along’] by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1: 16-21).  Peter not only saw and recorded things having to do with the coming kingdom, but he also left detailed instructions concerning how Christians can have a part in this kingdom.

 

 

When will Christians learn that they have been saved for a purpose? and when will they learn that this purpose has to do with the coming kingdom positions as joint-heirs with Christ in the governmental structure of the kingdom are presently being offered, and crowns must be won by conquest.  The arch-enemy of our souls is at work in the closing days of this age as never before; but the route for an “abundant entrance” into the kingdom has been properly marked, and the promise of God stands sure:- “To him that overcometh...” (Rev. 2: 7, 11, 17, 26-28; 3: 5, 12, 21).

 

 

-“ Earnestly strive for [with reference to, in the good contest of] the faith …”

 

 

-------

 

 

CHAPTER 3

Saved, but Afterward Destroyed

 

 

I will therefore put you in remembrance, though you once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not (Jude 5).

 

 

The beginning of spiritual lessons concerning apostasy in Jude is drawn from the experiences of the Israelites under Moses.  The Israelites were saved out of the land of Egypt.  Not only had they appropriated the blood of the paschal lambs but they had also been delivered from Egypt itself.  As a redeemed people under Moses, they had been called into existence and saved out of the land of Egypt for a purpose - a purpose to be realized in the land of Canaan.

 

 

God’s Firstborn Son

 

 

Israel’s standing among the nations is that of firstborn.  Israel is God’s firstborn son.  An announcement to this effect was to be proclaimed to the Pharaoh of Egypt before the Exodus, along with the command, “Let my son go, that he may serve me” (Ex. 4: 22, 23).  This referred to the fact that the purpose surrounding Israel’s removal from Egypt was associated with the nation’s birthright.  Israel was called out of Egypt to go into another land, the land of Canaan, and exercise the rights of the firstborn in that land.

 

 

The rights of the firstborn, the birthright possessed by Israel, consisted of three things: 1) ruler of the household, under and for the Father, 2) exercising the office of priest in the family, and 3) the reception of a double portion of all the Father’s goods.

 

 

The first segment of the birthright placed the firstborn in the position of “heir” with respect to a rule of the Father’s house, under and for the Father.  “Sonship” implies rulership and carries the thought of supremacy.  In this respect, Israel, a national power, was to be the supreme nation and exercise rule over other nations - all the nations of the earth.  This earth, a province in the kingdom of God, constitutes the Father’s house when the birthright with respect to nations is in view (cf. Rev. 2: 26, 27); and Israel was to bear rule over all nations in this house, under and for the Father.  Israel occupied the standing as firstborn among all nations while still in Egypt, but Israel would not actually inherit these rights until after the nation had been removed from Egypt and established in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

 

 

The second segment of the birthright would place Israel in a priestly position with respect to both God and the nations.  Israel was to be a “kingdom of priests” in the midst of the nations (Ex. 19: 6), resulting in the nations being blessed through Israel in accord with Gen. 12: 1-3.  A first-mention principle relating to these blessings had previously been established in Gen. 9: 25-27.  “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Ex. 16) was first “the God of Shem” (Gen. 9: 26).  Neither Ham nor Japheth had a God, and the only way they could receive spiritual blessings was through Shem and his God.  Or, to say it another way, the descendants of Ham and Japheth (the Gentile nations) are “without God in the world” (Eph. 2: 12) and can receive spiritual blessings only through the descendants of Shem (the nation of Israel) and their God.  Although the lineage of Shem also, among others, includes the descendants of Ishmael and the sons of Keturah, spiritual blessings for nations emanating from these lines are derived through the same means as those for the Gentile nations (Gen. 17: 18-21; 21: 5-12; 22: 2; 25: 1-6).

 

 

The third segment of the birthright placed Israel in a position to receive the double portion of all the Father’s goods.  This segment of the birthright, as the first two segments, also had to do with Israel’s portion among the nations.  There are two spheres of governmental power and authority in a rule over the Gentile nations - earthly, and heavenly - and the double portion of the birthright pertained to Israel ultimately coming into possession of both (cf. Gen. 22: 17, 18).  The way was open at Kadesh-Barnea for Israel to go into the land and realize the earthly portion of this inheritance, but the heavenly portion of the inheritance was not to be opened to the nation until fifteen hundred years later.  It was necessary that both be extended to Israel at some point in the corridors of time, for Israel, as the firstborn, was the appointed heir.  At Kadesh-Bamea, when the earthly portion of the inheritance was in the offing, God Himself dwelt in the midst of the nation: fifteen hundred years later, when the heavenly portion of the inheritance was in the offing, God Himself once again (in the person of His Son) dwelt the midst of the nation.

 

 

From Egypt to Canaan

 

 

When Israel left Egypt, the march was not directly to the land of Canaan.  Before entering the land and assuming the rights of the firstborn, certain preparatory steps must first be taken.  Thus, the march of the Israelites under Moses, beyond the Red Sea passage, was to a previously designated place in the wilderness - a mount in “the wilderness of Sinai” (Ex. 3: 1, 12; 19: 1, 2) - where God would meet and commune with the people through Moses.  Here, before the mount in the wilderness of Sinai, the people were to be prepared and equipped for the position they were to occupy in the land of Canaan. During this time the law was given to Moses, the priestly ministry and tabernacle worship were established, and orderly arrangements of the tribes and families were set forth (Ex. 19: 3 - Num. 10: 10).

 

 

The law given to Moses at Mt. Sinai, with all its rules and regulations, was to be Israel’s constitution, given to govern the nation’s affairs in the kingdom.  And the tabernacle, with God dwelling in the Holy of Holies in the midst of His people, was to be the central place of worship for the “kingdom of priests through whom God would bless all the nations.  Israel, God’s firstborn son, was to bear rule after this fashion in a worldwide theocracy with pre-established laws, rules, and regulations.

 

 

The tabernacle was “set up” in the wilderness of Sinai on the first day of the first month of the second year following the Exodus - a few days short of one year.  On that day the “glory of the Lord” - the visible presence of God among His people - filled the tabernacle, and at that point in time there came into existence upon this earth a theocratic kingdom (Ex. 40: 1-38).  The kingdom with its constitution was actually established in the wilderness of Sinai, but the actual rule within this kingdom could not begin until God’s firstborn son had been removed from the wilderness and established in the land of Canaan. Thus, the march from the wilderness of Sinai was then to Kadesh-Barnea.  In essence, at that juncture in history, everything was ready for God to fulfil His purpose for saving His people out of the land of Egypt.

 

 

1. ISRAEL AT KADESH-BARNEA

 

 

“And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.’  But the men that went up with him said, ‘We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we’”* (Num. 13: 30, 31).

 

[* See at the end of this chapter, (A) the author’s comments in Chapter 5; and (B),- “Transhuman”.]

 

 

All things dating back to Abraham and his removal from Ur of the Chaldees came to pass with an end in view, and that end involved the nation springing from the loins of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob realizing the very purpose of her national existence.  All the nations of the earth were to be blessed through Abraham and his seed, and this was to be realized through the seed of Abraham becoming a “great nation” and occupying a predetermined place on the earth with respect to the surrounding nations (Gen. 12: 1-3).  National blessings for the nations of the earth were to be realized through national blessings for Israel.  The surrounding nations, alienated from God (Eph. 2: 12; cf. Psa. 147: 19, 20), were to be brought into a proper relationship with God through the “kingdom of priests” - the nation in possession of the tabernacle, the dwelling place of God and the only way of approach to God.

 

 

Herein lies the reason that the people of God since time immemorial have been commanded, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem ...” (Psa. 122: 6).  When Jerusalem is at peace, the nations will be at peace; when Israel is at rest, the nations will be at rest; when Israel has been established in the land as a blessing, the nations will be blessed through Israel (Isa. 2: 1-5; 14: 1, 2; 40: 3-5; 52: 9, 10; 62: 1-7; Jer. 3: 17, 18; Zech. 2: 4-11; 8: 20-23; 9: 10; cf. Deut. 32: 8; Ezek. 5: 5; Acts 17: 26, 27).

 

 

Spiritual blessings are derived through God’s firstborn Sons.  This was the pattern established in history, this pattern remains true today, and this pattern will remain true throughout time and eternity.  Gen. 12: 3 remains in force today, as does Gal. 3: 14.  However, during the present age, God’s firstborn Sons (Israel, and Jesus) are not occupying their God-ordained places with respect to their Firstborn status; and the fulness of blessings awaiting mankind must be deferred to that future time when present conditions will be changed, in the coming age.

 

 

The prospect lying before the people of Israel upon their departure from the wilderness of Sinai was to enter into the land of Canaan and ultimately be established in the land, not only as the ruler over the nations of the earth, but also as the kingdom of priests through whom God would bless the nations.  The prospect lying before the nations at this point was, accordingly, that of entering into a position of subjection to Israel which would ultimately result in their being recipients of the blessings of God.

 

 

The Twelve Spies and Their Report

 

 

Several months beyond Israel’s departure from the wilderness of Sinai, about one and one-half years beyond the nation’s departure from                                  Egypt, the newly established nation, God’s firstborn son, arrived at the borders of the land of Canaan.  The end of an era was at hand.  Heretofore the descendants of Abraham had been considered “strangers” in relation to the land of Canaan (Gen. 15: 13; 37: 1; 47: 9; Ex. 6: 3, 4).  But the sojourn of the seed of Abraham had ended (Ex. 12: 40, 41), and the descendants of Abraham were now at the very borders of the land - an established nation under God (the only nation which ever has been or ever will be so placed) - ready to enter in and take possession of the land - covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

 

 

At Kadesh-Barnea God instructed Moses to send spies into the land of Canaan, one man from each of the twelve tribes.  These spies were to traverse the land, obtaining a complete report concerning the land and its inhabitants prior to the nation’s entrance into and conquest of the land.  The twelve men chosen searched the land “from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob” for forty days.  They observed the cities and inhabitants of the land, and obtained samples of the fruits of the land (“grapes,” “pomegranates,” and “figs”) to carry back with them.  Among the inhabitants of the land were the “giants [‘nephilim’], the sons of Anak, which came of the giants [‘nephilim’]”  (The word nephilim, a transliterated Hebrew word meaning “fallen ones refers to the offspring resulting from a cohabitation of the “sons of God [angels]” with the “daughters of men [female descendants of Adam]  This subject is covered in Chapters 4 and 5.)  Upon their return the spies possessed a complete report concerning the land and its inhabitants.  Their findings were then presented before Moses, Aaron, and all the congregation of Israel (Num. 13: 1-33).

 

 

Ten of the twelve spies presented an “evil report” concerning the land and its inhabitants.  They stated that the land was truly a land flowing with “milk and honey,” but the people that dwelt in the land were “strong the cities were “walled, and very great and it was a land that “eateth up the inhabitants thereof According to their report, the Israelites would “be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we  In essence, the ten spies bringing this report were saying that God would be unable to complete His dealings with Israel through bringing the people of this nation into the realization of their calling (Num. 13: 26-29, 31-33), resulting in Gen. 12: 2, 3 remaining unfulfilled.

 

 

However, two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, believed God could do exactly what He had promised. Caleb “stilled the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it’ ” (Num. 13: 30).  Caleb and Joshua recognized that the battle belonged to the Lord (2 Chron. 20: 15), and circumstances were not viewed from a naturalistic standpoint, but from a Divine viewpoint.  They knew that the Israelites within their own strength could not overcome the inhabitants of the land (cf. Num. 14: 42-45), but they also knew that with God dwelling in their midst no one, inside or outside the land, could overcome them.  In essence, their report stated that God was well able to complete His dealings with Israel through bringing the people of this nation into the realization of their calling (cf. Num. 14: 8), ultimately effecting the fulfilment of Gen. 12: 2, 3.

 

 

Israel’s Reaction

 

 

The nation of Israel at this point stood at the very threshold of entering into the land and ruling within a theocracy in the position for which the people had previously been saved out of the land of Egypt.  They were in possession of all things pertaining to the kingdom (constitution, centre of worship, presence of God Himself), they had heard the report concerning the land from those who had been there, and they had even tasted the actual fruits of the land.  They were at the end of one era and the beginning of another.  Everything was now in readiness for them to move ahead.  They had been brought from the brickyards of Egypt to the borders of the land of Canaan.  They had been brought from a place of subjection to the most powerful Gentile nation of that day to a position where they could enter into a land which belonged to them alone and ultimately rule over, resulting in a blessing to, the same Gentile nation which had previously held them in bondage.  This is the prospect which lay before the people of Israel at Kadesh-Barnea.

 

 

If ever a people could be looked upon as having moved from a state of gnosis (“knowledge”) to a state of epignosis mature knowledge” [especially as it relates to the things surrounding the purpose for one’s calling]) it would be the Israelites under Moses.  They moved from a simple knowledge (gnosis) of the rudimentary things surrounding the death of the firstborn in Egypt to an extensive knowledge (epignosis) concerning the purpose of their calling at Kadesh-Barnea (Ex. 12 - Num. 13).  And at Kadesh-Barnea the children of Israel, in possession of this knowledge, were in a position to move in one of two directions: they could either believe the true report proclaimed by Caleb and Joshua and go into the land, or they could believe the false report proclaimed by the other ten spies and refuse to enter the land.  Israel chose the latter, and through this move the nation fell away at Kadesh-Barnea (Num. 14: 1ff).

 

 

The nation of Israel stood away from “the faith  They refused to believe that they could go into the land and, under God, be victorious in conquest.  Israel, not only to her own detriment but to the detriment of the nations of the earth, committed national apostasy at Kadesh-Barnea.  Israel turned away from the land of Canaan and looked back toward the land of Egypt (cf. Luke 9: 62).  The people rejected God’s appointed leader, Moses, and sought to appoint a new leader and return to Egypt.  They even sought to stone Caleb and Joshua because of their positive report concerning the land.  They refused to believe that God was able to       victoriously lead His people into this land, and they wanted no part of it (cf. Heb. 3: 19).  This is the point in Scripture of a national overthrow resulting from national apostasy. Caleb and Joshua alone, of the entire accountable generation, twenty years old and above, would ultimately    be allowed to enter into the land and realize the purpose of their salvation.  The remaining individuals were to be overthrown in the wilderness and fall short of the goal of their calling (Num. 14: 29ff).

 

 

2 CHRISTIANS AT KADESH-BARNEA

 

 

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the worldage’] to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance ... “ (Heb. 6: 4-6).

 

 

This passage in Hebrews has been an enigma to Bible interpreters over the years and is possibly the most misunderstood section of Scripture in the New Testament.  But the passage is really not as difficult as the multiplicity of interpretations would lead one to believe.  The numerous interpretations advanced by various expositors have resulted basically from two exegetical errors: 1) a failure to take into consideration the message of the book, and 2) a failure to take into account the context of the passage.

 

 

The message of the Book of Hebrews centers around the “salvation of the soul and the context leading into Heb. 6: 4-6 has to do with the experiences of the Israelites under Moses (chs. 3, 4) and with maturity in the faith (chs. 5, 6a).  The summation of the matter is contained in chapter six; but the thought begins in chapter three, and the entire passage must be so understood.

 

 

Israelites Under Moses - Christians Under Christ

 

 

As the Israelites under Moses moved from a state of gnosis to a state of epignosis in the type, Christians under Christ are moving from a state of gnosis to a state of epignosis in the antitype; as the Israelites under Moses moved from Egypt toward the land of Canaan with an earthly inheritance in view, Christians under Christ are moving from the things of this world toward a land separate from this world with a heavenly inheritance in view; as the Israelites under Moses were prepared during the wilderness journey for entrance into the land, so are Christians under Christ being prepared during the wilderness journey for entrance into the land; as the Israelites under Moses were to go in, conquer the inhabitants of the land, and rule as God’s firstborn son here on earth at the head of the nations, Christians under Christ are to go in, be victorious over the inhabitants of the land (cf. Eph. 6: 10-17), and, in the coming day (following the adoption), rule as God’s firstborn son from the heavens over the nations.  BUT, as the Israelites refused to go into the land, conquer the inhabitants, and take possession of the land in view of a future rule, so can Christians refuse to go into the land, be victorious over the inhabitants, and take possession of the land in view of a future rule; and, just as the Israelites at this point fell away, with no possibility of being renewed again unto repentance, so can Christians at this point fall away, with no possibility of being renewed again unto repentance; and, just as the Israelities who fell away were overthrown in the wilderness and failed to realize the goal of their calling, so will Christians who fall away after this fashion be overthrown in the wilderness and fail to realize the goal of their calling.

 

 

The words, “once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world age’] to come” (Heb. 6: 4, 5), refer to a progression in growth from milk to meat to strong meat.  This is a progression from the rudimentary things concerning the antitype of the death of the paschal lambs in Egypt to the strong meat associated with things surrounding the antitype of Israel’s experiences at Kadesh-    Barnea (chs. 3, 4).  In the immediate context (ch. 5), “strong meat” is associated with things surrounding the Melchizedek priesthood.  This priesthood refers to things beyond Kadesh-Barnea, in the land itself.  Melchixedek was a priest-king, setting forth in type the office which Christ will occupy in the coming age when He, as the great King-Priest, with His “kings and priests” (Rev. 5: 10), takes the kingdom.

 

 

The entire thought in Heb. 6: 4-6 is a progression from gnosis to epignosis, followed by a “falling away” from the faith.  “Eternal salvation,” which more often than not is read into the text, is not in view at all.  Viewing eternal salvation as the issue under discussion is completely unnatural and will serve only to obscure the correct interpretation.  Let the Scriptures interpret Heb. 6: 4-6 and the entire matter becomes clear.  (Note the words, “enlightened,” “partakers,” and “tasted” [vv. 4, 5].  These words are used elsewhere in the Book of Hebrews referring to individuals [Christ, and Christians] entering into certain experiences [cf. 2: 9; 11; 10: 32].  The usage of these words in Heb. 6: 4-6 is in the same framework.)

 

 

Impossibility of Renewal

 

 

The thought that it is “to renew” certain apostate Christians “unto repentance” is one of the most solemn warnings to be found                      in all Scripture.  The finality of the matter for those who apostatize in this manner is set forth by the word “impossible  This is a particular apostasy, and once a Christian has fallen away from the faith in the manner set forth in Heb. 3-6, he can never again be brought back into the position which he occupied prior to his departure, from the faith. (The Greek word translated “renew” means to be brought back into the exact position previously occupied.)  In the type, Israel could not be brought back into this position; and in the antitype, neither can the Christian.

 

 

The entire thought is very similar to the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in Matt. 12: 22-32.  This was a national sin committed by the religious leaders of Israel.  …  Once the religious leaders had committed this sin, their actions brought the nation into a state from which a restoration to the previously occupied position could never occur.

 

 

At Kadesh-Barnea, however, the prohibition applied only to the present generation, twenty years old and above (this would allow the nation of Israel, at a future time, to realize the position for which the generation under Moses had been called - an earthly calling).  In Matthew, chapter twelve, anticipating Matt. 21: 43, this prohibition not only applied to the present generation but to future generations as well (this would prevent the nation of Israel from ever realizing the position unto which the generation during the days of Christ and the Apostles had been called ‑ a heavenly calling).

 

 

One thing which must not be overlooked when considering the impossibility of renewing an apostate unto repentance, who has fallen away in the manner specified, is the fact that in the type surrounding the experiences of the Israelites at Kadesh-Barnea the nation did repent.  The word “repentance” (metanoia) means a change of mind.  This change of mind will lead to other things which are often mistaken for repentance (or part of repentance), but the simple, restrictive meaning of the word itself does not include these things.  Once the Israelites at Kadesh-Barnea fell away and realized the consequences of their action, they changed their minds (repented) concerning the land of Canaan.  They sought to occupy their former position, entering into and taking possession of the land in view of a rule over the nations.  Thus, bringing this over into the antitype, it is possible for Christians who have apostatized in this manner to also change their minds about the land set before them and seek to occupy their former position, looking ahead to the coming inheritance of the saints.  However, God did not change His mind concerning what He stated would befall apostate Israelites in the type; nor will God change His mind concerning what He has stated will befall apostate Christians in the antitype.

 

 

After the Israelites repented at Kadesh-Barnea, the nation failed to occupy the position it had previously held.  The Lord was no longer among His people to lead them victoriously into the land; and when they tried to enter, the Amalekites and Canaanites “smote them” (Num. 14: 40-45). Nor will the Lord be among like-minded apostate Christians today who repent and seek to occupy their former, forfeited position.  They cannot now move victoriously into the land and overcome the inhabitants.  If they try, as in the type, they will be overcome.  The only promise awaiting Christians who have apostatized in the antitype of Israel’s Kadesh-Barnea experience is the same promise which awaited Israel - an overthrow in the wilderness, on the right side of the blood but on the wrong side of the goal of their calling.

 

 

The word “repentance” is only used three times in the Book of Hebrews (6: 1, 6; 12: 17), and two of these three times the word is used in the heart of major warnings given to Christians. (Heb. 6: 4-6 is the heart of the third major warning, and Heb. 12: 14-17 is the heart of the fifth major warning.) Interestingly enough, in the fifth major warning in chapter twelve, Esau did repent.  He changed his mind concerning the birthright after it had been forfeited.  His repentance led to a great show of emotion.  The words, “he found no place of repentance refer to the fact that he found no place for a change of mind in his father (ref. ASV), Esau sought to effect a change of mind on the part of his father, resulting in a reversal of what had transpired.  However, such did not, it could not, occur.  Isaac could not change his mind.  The birthright, once forfeited was beyond Esau’s grasp forever.

 

 

The situation in Heb. 6: 4-6 is identical.  The apostates in this passage have forfeited their birthright, and it is not possible, as in Esau’s case, to renew them again unto repentance.  In the types - the Israelites at Kadesh-Barnea, and Isaac in the presence of his father - both repented, but neither found a place of repentance.  God did not change His mind at Kadesh-Barnea, and Isaac did not change his mind when Esau appeared in his presence.

 

 

Repentance in the fifth major warning is not on the part of the one who forfeited his birthright, for he did repent.  And repentance in the third major warning also does not appear to be on the part of the ones who fall away, for in the type the Israelites did repent, extending such a possibility to the antitype also. Repentance in both instances can only refer to the fact that God will not change His mind and restore those who have apostatized in like fashion to their previously occupied state.

 

 

For it is impossible …”

 

 

*       *       *

 

 

CHAPTER 5

 

And Also After That

 

 

Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire (Jude 7).

 

 

The world during Noah’s day experienced destruction as a direct result of angelic intervention in the affairs of the human race; four cities in the Jordan plain were destroyed during the days of Abraham for this same reason; and the Israelites under Moses were told to go into the land of Canaan and slay every inhabitant for, once again, this same reason.  Angels in the kingdom of Satan took upon themselves the form of man, left their positions of power in the heavens, came to earth, and cohabited with members of the human race.  Before the Flood, insofar as the record is concerned, this cohabitation was only between angels and female members of the human race – a heterosexual union.  After the Flood, however, Scripture reveals both homosexual and heterosexual relationships of this nature.

 

 

Before the Flood, this union involved the families of the earth.  After the Flood, this union appears to have been confined more particularly to the inhabitants of the land in the Abrahamic covenant.  The cohabitation of angels in the kingdom of Satan with members of the human race in the days before the Flood and again in days following the Flood occurred with the same objective in view: Satan must, at all costs, continue to hold the government reins of the earth.

 

 

Man in his present state cannot exercise power over the earth.  This is graphically illustrated by comparing the command given to Adam and Eve before the fall with the similar command given to Noah and his sons following the Flood.  These commands, to a point, were identical.  One was given at the beginning of an un-fallen human race (Gen. 1: 28), and the other was given at the new beginning of a fallen human race (Gen. 9: 1).  However, one part of the command given to Adam and Eve was not repeated in the command given to Noah and his sons.  Adam and Eve were told to “subdue it [the earth]: and have dominionrule’] …”; but this was not – for it could not be – repeated in the command given to Noah and his sons.  Fallen man must await the time of the “manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom. 8: 18-23) – which includes (1) a separate and distinct creation, (2) redemption, and (3) adoption – for he can rule nothing within the sphere of governmental control “before the time” (1 Cor. 4: 5).

 

 

The nation of Israel was placed in a position to rule following the Exodus under Moses, but this nation consisted of a special creation in Jacob, a redeemed people, and an adopted people.  Israel was God’s firstborn son, and only redeemed sons are in a position to rule.  Although Christians today have been redeemed and are new creations in Christ, they have not been adopted into sonship.  Thus, Christians are presently in no position to rule.  Nor Israel presently in a position to rule.  Even though the nation retains its status of being a special creation in Jacob and an adopted nation, Israel today resides on the earth in unbelief.  In conjunction with this unbelief, the nation has been set aside while God takes out from the Gentiles “a people for his name  The time when both Israel and the Church will be in positions to rule is yet future.

 

 

Before the Flood, Satan’s strategy consisted of an attempt to corrupt the lineages of the families of the earth in order to prevent the appearance of the Seed of the Woman, Who would not only be man’s Redeemer but would ultimately crush Satan’s head.  After the Flood, Satan changed his strategy somewhat and concentrated his efforts on corrupting the nations dwelling in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  This task was accomplished prior to the establishment of Israel as a nation and the subsequent Exodus from Egypt under Moses.  Satan knew that the land between the Nile and the Euphrates Rivers belonged to Abraham and his seed, he knew that the families of the earth were to be blessed through the nation emanating from Abraham, and he knew that the Redeemer was to come through the lineage of Abraham (cf. Gen. 12: 1-3; 14: 19; 15: 18-21; 17: 7, 8; 22: 1-18).  Thus, Satan moved his forces into the land ahead of Israel, not only to contest their right to enter the land of Canaan, conquer the inhabitants of the land, and exercise supremacy within a theocratic rule over the nations of the earth.  Israel’s position of supremacy at this point was to, in turn, result in the nations of the earth being blessed through the seed of Abraham in accordance with Gen. 12: 2, 3.  Israel was to rule as a kingdom of priests, and the nations of the earth were to be blessed through Israel’s kingly-priestly function.  These were the nations over which Satan and his angels ruled; and a rule by Israel within a theocracy of this nature would, in reality, be a wresting of governmental control from Satan and his angels.

 

 

Not only was Israel to occupy this position of governmental power and control among the nations here on earth, but Israel was also in possession of heavenly promises and blessings.  This would necessitate the nation one day controlling, and at least a segment of the nation occupying, the very heavenly places from which Satan presently exercises power over the nations.  The seed of Abraham – both earthly and heavenly – MUST ultimately “possess the gate of [exercise governmental control over] his enemies” (Gen. 22: 17, 18).  This, Satan, as the incumbent ruler over the Gentile nations from this heavenly realm, must not only prevent the appearance of man’s Redeemer, but he must also destroy the nation of Israel itself to assure his continuance on the throne in the heavenly realm.

 

 

Satan tried to accomplish his task in Egypt before the Exodus through the afflictions in the brickyards and the death of the male Hebrew children at birth.  He continued trying to accomplish this task at the time of and following the Exodus through the armies of Pharaoh pursuing Israel at the Red Sea, the Amalekites attacking Israel in the wilderness, and the corrupted nations awaiting Israel in the land of Canaan itself.  He has tried to destroy Israel in many instances since (e.g., in modern times, the destruction of six million Jews under Hitler during the years of the German Third Reich [1933-1945]), he will try in the immediate future through Russia and her allies, and he will try a few years beyond that through the nations of the earth under Antichrist.  His attempts in the past have been for naught, as will his attempts in the future.  Not only has Israel brought forth the Redeemer, but Israel herself remains, as a nation, yet to occupy her God-ordained position as the one through whom the nations of the earth will be blessed. …

 

 

Nephilim and Rephaim

 

 

Prior to the Flood, the cohabitation of the sons of God with the daughters of men resulted in offspring called Nephilim.  Following the Flood, when this union occurred again, these offspring were known by two names: Nephilim, and Rephaim.  The translators of the Septuagint (Greek version of the Old Testament) used the word Gigantes in most instances for both of these words.  Gigantes is the Greek word for “giants and this is the thought that is carried over into several verses of the King James Version (e.g. Gen. 6: 4; 14: 5; Num. 13: 33).  However, this meaning may have been only secondary to what the translators of the Septuagint Version had in mind.  Gigantes comes from a root form which signifies “earth-born” rather than gigantic stature.  The use of Gigantes in this respect would, contextually, refer to “earth-born individuals [individuals born on the earth, having heavenly fathers and earthly mothers],” with a secondary thought having to do with “physical stature

 

 

Nephilim is simply the plural form of a Hebrew meaning “to fall,” and Rephaim is the plural form of another Hebrew word meaning “to heal A cognate form for Rephaim though would carry the thought of “casting down,” or “falling down Understanding the word in this latter sense would appear to be more in keeping with the fact that Rephaim is simply another name for the Nephilim, referring to this, same group of individuals – “fallen ones

 

 

The word Nephilim is used only three times in the Old Testament in passages referring to offspring resulting from the cohabitation of the sons of God with the daughters of men (Gen. 6: 4; Num. 13: 33). But the word Rephaim is used numerous times referring to these individuals (Gen. 14: 15; 15: 20; Deut. 2: 11, 20; 3: 11, 13; Joshua 12: 4; 13: 12; 15: 8; 17: 15; 18: 16; 2 Sam. 5: 18, 22; 23: 13; 1 Chron. 11: 15; 14: 9; 20: 4, 6, 8; Job 26: 5; Psa. 88: 10; Prov. 2: 18; 9: 18; 21: 16; Isa. 14: 9; 17: 5; 26: 14, 19).  English versions of the Old Testament handle the Hebrew words Nephilim and Rephaim in different ways.  The words are many times, transliterated rather than translated.  Other times translations are attempted (e.g. “giants,” “departed spirits,” “spirits of the dead,” “deceased,” “death,” “dead” [ref. KIV, ASV, NASB, NIV]).  All that can be known about the Nephilim and Rephaim must be derived from these passages in conjunction with related Scripture.

 

 

During the days of Abraham the Rephaim could be found among the inhabitants of five cities in the Jordan plain (Gen. 14: 1-5).  Four of these cities – Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim - were destroyed by brimstone and fire from heaven (Gen. 19: 23-29; Deut. 29: 23).  Zoar, the fifth city associated with the Rephaim, was spared to serve as a refuge for Lot and his two daughters when the Lord destroyed the other cities of the plain.

 

 

It is evident from Gen. 14: 1-5 that the Nephilim and Rephaim were in the land of Canaan preceding Abraham’s entrance into the land.  Note that the very first statement of Scripture following Abraham’s journey from Ur of the Chaldees to the land of Canaan concerned the inhabitants of the land: “And the Canaanite was then in the land” (Gen. 12: 6b).

 

 

Since the Nephilim and Rephaim were associated with the nations of Canaan, this verse could very well be a reference to these individuals.  In this respect, the reference would call attention to a fact of primary importance concerning Abraham’s entrance into the land: Satan had already established his forces in the land in order to oppose God’s purpose surrounding the call of Abraham.

 

 

There are two entrances of the people of God into the land of Canaan under the call of God with the forces of Satan - the Nephilim and Rephaim – being marshalled in the land first.  Abraham’s entrance, following his departure from Ur, constitutes the first; and Israel’s entrance, following the exodus from Egypt, constitutes the second.

 

 

The Nephilim and Rephaim were individuals of gigantic stature and great strength.  Their gigantic stature can be seen in the report of the ten faithless spies at Kadesh-Barnea (Num. 13: 33), the apparent size of Og, king of Bashan (Deut. 3: 11), and the size of Goliath, who appeared later in Jewish history (1 Sam. 17: 4; cf. 2 Sam. 21: 18-22).  Their great strength can be seen in the fact that they were “mighty men [the Hebrew word pertains to ‘strength’]” (Gen. 6: 4), the fact that they were the ones who built the sixty “great cities” of Bashan (Deut. 3: 4, 5; 1 Kings 4: 13), and the position of Goliath as a “champion” in the army of the Philistines (1 Sam. 17: 1ff).

 

 

The first time the Nephilim and Rephaim appeared (called Nephilim only in antediluvian days), God destroyed them by the waters of a   Flood.  The second time these individuals appeared, God destroyed a segment in the destruction of the cities of the plain and later commanded the nation of Israel to go into the land and destroy them.  By this    time the Nephilim and Rephaim had so infiltrated the nations in the land of Canaan that God commanded total destruction of these nations at the hands of His people (Deut. 7: 1, 2).  However, the failure of the Israelites to carry out the command of God completely when the nation entered the land under Joshua resulted in the Nephilim and Rephaim persisting in Jewish history as the bitter enemies of the people of God for hundreds of years beyond that time.

 

 

The Cities of the Plain

 

 

Scripture in several places singles out angelic activity involving sexual perversions in the cities of the plain during the days of Abraham.  Jude 7 states that individuals living in the cities of the Jordan plain committed illicit sexual acts with angels.  The words, “in like manner should read, “in like manner to these  The words “to these” refer to the angles, in verse six.  The inhabitants of “Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them” gave themselves over to “fornication” and went after “strange flesh” in the same manner as the angels.  The word “strange” is heteros in the Greek text, referring to a “different kind” of flesh.  The angels in the kingdom of Satan who took upon themselves the form of man and came to earth to cohabit with members of the human race did not possess the same type flesh as man.  There was an unrevealed difference, which is set forth by the Greek word heteros.  Angels went after “strange flesh” by cohabiting with the inhabitants in the cities of the plain, and the inhabitants of these cities went after “strange flesh” by cohabiting with angels.

 

 

Jude 7 is usually taken to refer only to homosexuality, in accord with Gen. 19: 1-11.  This interpretation, however, is too limited.  Rephaim were associated with the cities of the plain (Gen. 14: 1-5), necessitating sexual relations between angels and female members of the human race as well.  Jude 7 and the parallel section in 2 Peter 2: 6 actually have to do with both homosexual and heterosexual acts, and the Genesis account points to widespread perversions in both spheres.

 

 

1. Degeneracy of the Sodomites

 

 

The account in Gen. 19: 1-11, showing the utter degeneracy of the inhabitants in the cities of the plain, has to do with men and homosexuality; but the Scriptures in 2 Peter and Jude, alluding to both homosexual and heterosexual acts between angels and members of the human race, place both types of sexual perversions occurring in these cities on the same basic level.  And, in this respect, the apparent utter degeneracy of the entire populace - both male and female - can be seen by what is revealed in the Genesis account.

 

 

The night preceding the destruction of the cities of the plain Lot had given two angels, sent to Sodom by the Lord, lodging inside the safety of his home.  After Lot, his family, and the two angels had eaten, the men of Sodom began to gather outside Lot’s house.  These men are described as “both old and young, all the people from every quarter and they had come for one sole purpose: they wanted the two angels under Lot’s roof to be brought forth in order that they might “know them i.e., have homosexual relations with them.

 

 

Lot came outside, shut the door behind him, and offered his two virgin daughters to these men in order to protect the two angels under his roof.  But the men of Sodom showed no interest in his daughters.  Their only apparent interest lay in having illicit, carnal relations with the two angels.  The intensity of their interest is shown in verse nine: “And they said [to Lot], ‘Stand back’ ... And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door  But the two angels man, intervened.  They pulled Lot inside the house and smote the men that were at the door with “blindness  The angels then revealed Sodom’s impending destruction to Lot.

 

 

2. Evident Past History of Sodom

 

 

There is more to Genesis, chapter nineteen than Lot just being very insistent that two unknown strangers spend the night inside the safety of his house, and the men of Sodom just wanting two strangers turned over to them.  Why was Lot so insistent that these two men not remain in the streets during the night? Why, in seeking to protect these two men, did Lot go to the point of even offering his two virgin daughters to the men of Sodom?  The Sodomites wanted these two men so badly that they were going to break down the door of Lot’s house.  They were not interested in Lot’s daughters; nor were they interested in having illicit, carnal relations with one another.  Their interest lay solely in obtaining the two strangers inside Lot’s house.

 

 

The inference from the record appears to clearly indicate that both Lot and the men of Sodom knew that these two strangers were angels.  Lot went to great lengths to protect them from the Sodomites, because he knew what had been happening in Sodom (2 Peter 2: 7, 8).  The men of Sodom, on the other hand, went to great lengths to obtain these two individuals, for they had evidently been brought into this frame of mind through their past ungodly manner of living.

 

 

By comparing Gen. 19: 4-11; 2 Peter 2: 4-8; Jude 6, 7 it appears clear that the men of Sodom, as well as the men in the other cities of the plain, had been having homosexual relations with angels.  It cannot be determined how long illicit, carnal relations of this nature had been occurring; but according to the record, immediately before the destruction of the cities of the plain, the men of Sodom had become so sex-crazed that their only apparent real interest lay in having homosexual relations with angels.  Thus, because of gross sexual perversions, God rained brimstone and fire from heaven upon these cities following the removal of Lot, his wife, and his two virgin daughters from Sodom.

 

 

Angels, Nephilim, and Rephaim in Tartarus

 

 

The angels who sinned both before and following the Flood by taking upon themselves the form of man, leaving their positions of power in the heavens, and coming to earth for the specific purpose of cohabiting with members       of the human race are today confined with chains in Tartarus.  Not only are they confined in this place, but it would appear that their progeny, the Nephilim and Rephaim are also there.  Tartarus is located in a particular section of Sheol reserved specifically for these individuals. …

 

 

The angels who sinned following the Flood, directing their attack more specifically against Israel, have counterparts in angels who will commit this same sin at the end of the present age: “As it was in the days of Noah ... Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot ... Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17: 26-30).  The cohabitation of angels with members of the human race will occur once again, both on heterosexual and homosexual levels.  This latter-day angelic attack will be directed mainly against Israel through the Gentile nations, as during the days of Lot, which anticipated events during Moses’ day.  And possibly an announcement similar to the one which Christ delivered to the angels who sinned before the Flood awaits not only the angels who sinned following the Flood but also the angels who are about to commit this same sin once again.  If so, such an announcement would be forthcoming only after the corresponding sin of the angels at the end of this age and after Israel has subsequently been elevated to her rightful place at the head of the nations.

 

 

The man of sin will be of the Rephaim.  He will be the actual son of Satan.  Note the expression, “thy [Satan’s] seed,” in Gen. 3: 15.  He will also have Rephaim ruling the earth with him during the Tribulation.  Rulers who will possess power directly under the man of sin, mentioned in the Book of Revelation (cf. chs. 13, 17), are revealed in Old Testament be Rephaim - “men” (cf. Rev. 13: 18), but not men as we know them today.  Satan will rule the earth during the Tribulation through his son, and high-ranking angels in Satan’s kingdom will also rule the earth with Satan through sons begotten by angels - possibly their very own sons.

 

 

Isa. 26: 13, 14 reveals that during the Tribulation “other lords Rephaim, will have dominion over Israel: “O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.  They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased [lit. ‘they are Rephaim’], they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish  These “other lords” who will have dominion over Israel during the Tribulation, specifically called Rephaim, will be destroyed before the Kingdom Age commences.  This destruction will be so complete that the Rephaim will not even be remembered by Israel. …

 

 

The prison where the Rephaim from the coming Tribulation are to be confined with Satan appears to be in the section of Sheol called Tartarus.  Other inhabitants are mentioned, which could be not only the Nephilim and Rephaim from the days before and after the Flood, but also their angelic fathers.  This place is located “deep under the waters at the bottom of the sea.  The “sea” in Rev. 20: 13 is apparently an allusion to this place.  The sea giving up “the dead which were in it” cannot refer to those in the human realm, for they are all included in expression “death and hellHades’] delivered up the dead which were in them  These are two separate groups of individuals.  The first group, is taken from the sea, and corresponding Scripture locates this place more specifically as being at the bottom of the sea and associated with the Nephilim, Rephaim, and angels.  The other group is taken from the place more specifically called Hades in this passage and has to do with the unsaved dead of all the ages from the lineage of Adam.  Unsaved descendants of Adam, angels who sinned both before and after the Flood, and the progeny of these angels - Nephilim and Rephaim will one day be removed from their corresponding sections of Sheol / Hades and appear before the Great White Throne to be judged.

 

 

 

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Transhuman: As The Days of Noah Were

 

http://www.defendproclaimthefaith.org

 

When the Lord Jesus was describing the “end of days the time just prior to His Second Coming, He drew a direct connection back to the days of Noah: the time just before the Great Flood.  He mentioned that the people were involved with eating, drinking and marrying right up until the flood came.  They were totally unaware of the coming judgment.

At first glance, there does not seem to be anything unusual about eating and drinking until all the Scriptures are studied about the time of Noah.  The big picture shows this time period was full of violence and rebellion against God.  It is also a time of intense sexual immorality as women were having sexual relations with spiritual beings identified as the “sons of God

This combination of violence and immorality grieved the heart of God.  The wickedness of man filled the earth.  Man’s thoughts and imaginations were continually evil, and this triggered God’s judgment on mankind.  Mankind was so corrupted that God deemed it necessary to destroy man and start over again with Noah and his family.

Genesis 6: 5-7 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.  And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth …

The effect of man’s sexual immorality was staggering since it altered the race. The offspring of this union between human females and the fallen angelic beings were physical giants.  These children were not fully human.  They grew enormous in stature with great intellects and were called “men of renown

This cohabitation between humans and the spiritual beings was not isolated to a few individuals but became widespread throughout the earth.

Genesis 6: 1, 2, 4.  And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

This cohabitation was part of the reason God’s heart was grieved with mankind and triggered the flood as judgment to wipe out this corrupted race of humans.  In modern science, the biologists would identify what happened to mankind as altering the human DNA.  The DNA of man was changed by this union and some men were no longer fully men.  They were a hybrid.

The Bible describes God’s selection of Noah in order to preserve mankind.  Noah qualified because he was “perfect” in his generation.  This does not mean he was a morally perfect human, but that he was genetically perfect in his lineage.  He had perfect human DNA and was not corrupted by the sons of God.

Genesis 6: 9.  These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

In the 1970s when I first began to study Bible prophecy, I viewed “As the days of Noah” as a time of great violence and immorality.  I never imagined that a time would come when mankind’s DNA would once again be altered.  The modern altering would not be done through sexual contact with the sons of God, but rather through man’s knowledge of science and breaking the DNA code.  We are now living in a time when man’s DNA is being tampered with just as it was in Noah’s day.

Man’s increase in scientific knowledge reached a point that starting in 1990 a concerted effort was made to map the human genome.  The United States led this project with assistance from other nations.  This was an enormous task as the genome has 25,000 genes with 3.1 billion DNA pairs.  The project was 99 percent finished in 2003.

Immediately while this mapping was taking place, the manipulation of the DNA began.  This manipulation included splicing DNA together from two females to create a multiple parent egg, and splicing human DNA into other animals such as mice and pigs.  Animals such as sheep were cloned, but to this day there is no known case of a human being cloned.  Since 2003 there has been a tremendous acceleration in tampering with man’s DNA.  It seems that scientists are now on a regular basis making discoveries about DNA.

Never before in history did man have the knowledge to break the genetic code.  Man now has such knowledge and is developing the technology to alter his DNA.  This is once again setting the stage for corrupting the human race.  We are now living in “As the days of Noah were”!

The scientists tamper with man’s DNA under the guise of increasing health by identifying genetic diseases and imperfections.  By using this argument, the scientists are virtually insulated from criticism and control.  They have a free hand to tamper with the human DNA as long as it is tied to health.  With this freedom, the geneticists will move to create babies free of any genetic flaw.  By 2006, this is exactly what happened.

In 2006 Great Britain opened what is called “Designer Baby Clinics  In these clinics, an eight day old embryo was examined for over 200 inherited diseases.  A “defective embryo” was destroyed while the accepted one was used for invitro fertilization.

The following is a quote from an article about the use of two female monkey eggs to produce an offspring.  With this type of argument it is impossible to stop the manipulation of man’s DNA:

“The prospect of a human baby with three biological parents has moved closer after scientists created monkeys using a technique that one day could stop children from inheriting severe genetic disease …

It should allow scientists to replace faulty “cellular batteries” called mitochondria, which affect about 1 in 6,500 births.  While most mitochondria defects have mild effects, some can trigger severe brain, heart, muscle and liver conditions, as well as cancer, diabetes, blindness and deafness

In addition to a baby free from “genetic flaws,” parents now can create a child to order.  It is possible to go shopping for the genetic type baby you want.  For example, a child could be created from an egg and sperm of two Olympic athletes and placed in the womb of the future mother.  The child would have DNA that was not related in any way to its birth parents.  A female Olympian’s eggs cost around $30,000.

The natural progression is to enhance the human race by sharpening the senses.  If the DNA is now understood and can be manipulated, why not increase the eyesight and hearing?  With the addition of eagle DNA man could see like an eagle.  By placing deer DNA, man could hear like a deer.  The same enhancement could be accomplished for smell.  For strength the introduction of gorilla DNA could give super strength, and for speed how about ostrich DNA!

The scientists have already placed human DNA in animals such as mice and pigs; however, there is no report of animal DNA yet being placed in humans.  When the science of DNA tampering is perfected, there will be a cry to enhance humans with animal DNA.

Evolution also plays into the tampering of human DNA.  The theory of evolution frees man from Genesis 1 which states that everything is to reproduce after its kind.  Evolution also detaches man from his Creator and being created in God’s image and likeness.  Man is now a free agent to tamper with his DNA under the guise of advancing evolution.

The evolutionists believe they are rapidly advancing evolution by manipulating the DNA.  Many scientists believe they are enhancing evolution by improving man.  Because, through evolution, man has no fear of God and thus no restraints on tampering with DNA, any attempts to stop this tampering will be met with cries from the scientists.  Unless there is a general public outcry, this tampering will continue until man’s DNA is altered and merged with animals.  The following is a quote from an article We are becoming a new species, we are becoming Homo Evolutis which states:

“… humanity is on the verge of becoming a new and utterly unique species, which he dubs Homo Evolutis.  What makes this species so unique is that it ‘takes direct and deliberate control over the evolution of the species.’  Calling it the ‘ultimate reboot,’ he points to the conflux of DNA manipulation and therapy, tissue generation, and robotics as making this great leap possible...

The day may come when we are able to take the best biology of the known animal kingdom and make it part of our own.  This isn’t just about being a bit stronger, or having perfect eyesight our whole lives.  All of our organs and limbs have weaknesses that can be addressed, and there are also opportunities to go beyond basic fixes and perform more elaborate enhancements

The merging of human DNA with animals creates what is called a Chimera (k mir ).  The word chimera comes from Greek mythology.  This was a frightening looking beast that was made from the parts of several animals.  It has a lion’s head, goat body, and dragon’s tail with other creatures mixed in.  It was always viewed as a monster.  Webster’s dictionary defines a chimera as the following:

3: an individual, organ, or part consisting of tissues of diverse genetic constitution occurring especially in plants and most frequently at a graft union, the tissues from both stock and cion retaining their distinctness in the chimera

There was even a movie made about human chimeras.  It was made in 1977 and called The Island of Dr. Morea starring Burt Lancaster.  In the picture, Dr. Morea, a mad scientist, creates numerous chimeras and abuses them.

Eventually, the chimeras revolt and kill him.  This movie was made long before genetic manipulation was possible, yet the idea was there.  In the near future, chimeras will be reality and not science fiction.

When reading Greek mythology, one did not give thought to the possibility that one day man could create a Centaur and Minotaur.  These were creatures that were half human and half beast.  The Centaur had the upper torso of a human and the body of a horse.  The Minotaur had the head of a bull and the body of a human.

These beasts were always viewed as pure mythology, but what about today when it is becoming possible to create such beasts!  What was viewed as ancient mythology, in the near future, could become reality or at least the possible ability to create such a beast!

The ancient Greeks believed in the Titans which were gods that ruled the earth.  They were physical giants and produced offspring with human women.  This is very similar to the biblical account found in Genesis 6.  Perhaps the Greek myths had some kernel of truth that was twisted away from the Bible into what is now known as mythology.

It is my view, that once the human DNA is contaminated with animal DNA, this beast is no longer human and no longer created in God’s image.  This is what happened in Noah’s day, and God selected Noah because he was pure in his generations.  He was fully human.

The creation of a chimera is in direct violation of the Bible.  In Genesis, chapter one, the Bible states eight times that everything is to reproduce after its kind.  This is a basic law of life that God instituted at the very beginning.

Genesis 1:24  And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

The mixing of DNA from two different species violates this law.  When God created man, He stated that man was made in His image and likeness.  The human DNA is what physically carries this image and likeness.  The addition of animal DNA means that man is no longer in God’s image.  It is extremely serious to tamper with the integrity of man as transmitted through his DNA.  This is, in part, what triggered the flood in Noah’s day.  All of the hybrid humans were destroyed during the flood, and God then started over with Noah.

Genesis 1: 26, 27.  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness … So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

When God moved to redeem mankind through the Lord Jesus, the Bible specially states that He rejected the nature of the angels, but took on Him the seed of Abraham.  The Greek word for seed is very interesting; it is sperma, which is the basis for the English word sperm.  Sperm is what carries the male DNA.

The Lord Jesus had a human body which had pure DNA that could be traced back to Abraham, then to Noah and finally to Adam.  His DNA was 100 percent human, and thus when He shed His blood on the cross for sin, He could redeem mankind!

Hebrews 2: 14, 16.  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 ...

For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

Mankind is racing towards altering his nature. Paralleling tampering with DNA is the merging of man with robotic technology.  The merging of man with machines is called Singularity (See my article Singularity and The Image of the Beast).  Both Singularity and DNA tampering are on the threshold of altering what it means to be human.  This is coming so fast, yet so few outside of the scientific circles are aware of this.

God is fully aware of what is happening.  He will only let the tampering with man’s DNA go so far, and then He will step in to stop it.  It is clear that modern man, led by the geneticists, is right at the very point when God will intervene to stop this madness.

2 Peter 2: 5, 9.  And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly … The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.

Once again, tampering with mankind’s DNA integrity is a very serious offense to God and will bring severe judgment.  Man is once again in the same position as the Days of Noah.  Through science, it is now possible to alter the nature of man.  The judgment that happened in Noah’s day is a warning of what is fast coming upon the earth.  Science has taken mankind beyond the point of no return to a genetic Armageddon.

Because modern science is anchored in evolution, no amount of reasoning can stop this progression.  The evolutionists have no respect for the Bible and absolutely no fear of God.  The evolutionists mock at the concept that man is created in God’s image, and therefore have no compunction about altering the nature of man.  Just as God stopped it in the days of Noah, so God is going to stop it in our day at the glorious Second Coming of the Lord Jesus.  Make sure that in the days of Christ’s Second Coming, you are on God’s side.

Remember, this is coming to a head very, very fast.

 

 

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The Kingdom A Reward

 

 

…Our Lord Himself sets the final seal on this truth - [i.e., “JOINT-HEIRS with Christ, if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified with him” (Rom. 8: 17).  For “if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him” (2 Tim. 2: 12).] - “He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne’ – manifestly the Millennial Throne – “EVEN AS” – that is, on identical grounds, for identical reasons – “I also” – I correspondingly with my brethren – “overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne” (Rev. 3: 21).  Here entrance into the coming Reign for both Christ Himself and all who will share His throne is based four-square, not on grace or gift, but on running the race as to win the prize.  The Lord Himself here makes our experience identical with His own.  Just as the Eternal Glory of Christ, the glory which He had with the Father before the world was, rests solely on the fact that He is the Son of God, while His Millennial Glory, the glory He receives on returning to this earth, rests solely on His achievements and sufferings as the Son of Man: - exactly so, our Eternal Glory – when all whose names are in the Lamb’s Book of Life “shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 22: 5), totally irrespective of works done either before or after faith – rests solely on the fact that we are the sons of God; while Millennial Glory – if we achieve it, as Christ did – rests solely on our obedience and suffering as servants of the Most High, when we “shall be priests of God and of Christ, and reign with him a thousand years” (Rev. 20: 6).

 

 

THE MOTIVE

 

 

The motive that moved our Lord is to be ours also, and both are wonderfully compacted into one verse.  “Let us also lay aside every weight, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus” – our model runner – “who FOR THE JOY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM endured the cross, despising shame” (Heb. 12: 1).  Here dawns on us the immence importance to us all of this truth being clearly stated.  To assume that to be a gift which as a matter of fact is a reward is almost certainly to lose it; because the conditions on which the prize is given are ignored, and therefore, with almost equal certainty, some condition or conditions will be fulfilled, and so cancel the reward.  If our Saviour could go through all His unparalleled agony because of the joy set before Him, how much more can we master our present, however disconcerting, for a future of such boundless joy.  “Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things” – that is, add the seven graces to saving faith (ver. 5) – “ye shall never stumble: for thus shall be richly supplied unto you the entrance” - because an entrance a thousand years earlier – “into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1: 10).

 

                - D. M. PANTON. [read the complete tract in:‘The Kingdom a Reward’]

 

 

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BE STRONG

 

 

Be Strong: for the days are darkening,

Night cometh on;

Impenetrable gloom fast gathering,

Light almost gone.

 

 

Be Strong: though the darkness o’erwhelm thee,

Through it press on;

On to the end of the wearisome journey,

Where Jesus has gone.

 

 

Be Strong: the earth’s filled with violence,

With hatred and Sin;

Pray that in all things ye may be found worthy

The Kingdom to win.

 

 

Be Strong: keep thine eyes fixed on Jesus,

He’ll bear thee along;

The battle is raging – the Lord God is with us,

Our Hope and our Song!

 

 

                       -  KETTIE K. PAYNE.

 

 

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