Desert photographs by Dr. R. C. Tindle.
By Way of Introduction
Matthew 13: 11And 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 peoples 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 Saviours 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
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 Lords 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 Lords 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 thats most important to their immediate future:
and those placed in positions of responsibility within the
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 dont 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, theyre fixed on the goal, arent they? And your man is way out in front; and youre 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 dont get distracted! Why? Because they want to win, and they keep their eye in the goal. They are aware, but they dont 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 cant 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 dont 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
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) deserve:That 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 Messiahs 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 apostles 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
* Here is another of his numerous inferences to the ever
present possibility and danger of losing ones inheritance in the millennial
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
About his 44th year, Spiras 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 Popes legate at
* 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
Spiras life, they are but like,
the opening scene in this tragic drama.
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
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
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. Pantons 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
* * *
CONSEQUENCES OF APOSTASY
27 I have heard the
murmurings of the children of
* 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.).
* * *
Contending for the Faith*
By A. L. CHITWOOD.
[* The following (chapters 1, 3 and part of 5) - are selected from of the authors 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: 25 (striveth), 1 Tim. 6:12 (fight), 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 victors 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, Strive [Agonize, Agonizomai] 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 strived [agonized, agonizomai] 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 Peters and Judes 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 to [in] virtue knowledge; and to [in] knowledge temperance; and to [in] temperance patience; and to [in] patience godliness; and to [in] godliness brotherly kindness; and to [in] 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 ones 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 mans 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 Gods 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 Gods 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), ones 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 ones 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 to [in] 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 endureth [patiently endureth] temptation: for when he is tried [approved], 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
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 Gods Son [the mystery of God, Christ], Gods 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 engrafted [implanted] 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 ones 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)
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
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 individuals calling has to do with the salvation which he presently possesses (salvation of the spirit), and an individuals 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 ones out-calling after ones 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 ones out-calling on the same level of importance as ones 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 Sons glory when he was with Christ in the holy mount, and he penned the Epistles of 1, 2 Peter as he was moved [borne 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
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
Gods Firstborn Son
The rights of the firstborn, the
birthright possessed by
segment of the birthright placed the firstborn in the position of heir with respect to a rule of the Fathers
house, under and for the Father. Sonship implies rulership and carries
the thought of supremacy. In this
The second segment of the birthright would place
The third segment of the birthright placed
The law given to Moses at
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 Gods firstborn son had been removed from the
wilderness and established in the
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 authors comments in Chapter 5; and (B),- Transhuman.]
All things dating back to Abraham
and his removal from
the reason that the people of God since time immemorial have been commanded, Pray for the peace of
Spiritual blessings are derived
through Gods 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, Gods
firstborn Sons (
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
The Twelve Spies and Their Report
At Kadesh-Barnea God instructed
Moses to send spies into the
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.
The nation of
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 ones 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
The nation of
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 world [age] 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 Gods 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 Gods 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.
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
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
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,
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
At Kadesh-Barnea, however, the
prohibition applied only to the present generation, twenty years old and above
(this would allow the nation of
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
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
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 Esaus 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 Esaus 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
* * *
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).
world during Noahs 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
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
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 dominion [rule] ; 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 Flood, Satans 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 mans Redeemer but would ultimately crush Satans
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
tried to accomplish his task in
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.
the days of Abraham the Rephaim could be found among the inhabitants
of five cities in the
evident from Gen. 14: 1-5 that the Nephilim and Rephaim
were in the
Since the Nephilim and Rephaim were associated
with the nations of
There are two entrances of the people of God into the
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
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
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
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
2. Evident Past History of
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
The inference from the record appears to clearly indicate that
both Lot and the men of
By comparing Gen. 19: 4-11; 2 Peter 2: 4-8; Jude 6, 7 it appears clear that the men
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
The man of sin will be of the Rephaim. He will be the actual son of Satan. Note the expression, thy [Satans] 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 Satans 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
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 hell [Hades] 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.
* * *
Transhuman: As The Days of Noah Were
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. Mans thoughts and imaginations were continually evil, and this triggered Gods 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 mans 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 Gods 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 Gods 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 mankinds DNA would once again be altered. The modern altering would not be done through sexual contact with the sons of God, but rather through mans knowledge of science and breaking the DNA code. We are now living in a time when mans DNA is being tampered with just as it was in Noahs day.
Mans increase in
scientific knowledge reached a point that starting in 1990 a concerted effort
was made to map the human genome. The
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 mans 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 mans 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.
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 mans 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 Olympians 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 Gods 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 mans 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 isnt 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 lions head, goat body, and dragons tail with other creatures mixed in. It was always viewed as a monster. Websters 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 Gods image. This is what happened in Noahs 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 Gods 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 Noahs 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 mans 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 mankinds 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 Noahs 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 Gods 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 Christs Second Coming, you are on Gods side.
Remember, this is coming to a head very, very fast.
* * *
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 Lambs 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 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]
* * *
Be Strong: for the days are darkening,
Night cometh on;
Impenetrable gloom fast gathering,
Light almost gone.
Be Strong: though the darkness oerwhelm thee,
Through it press on;
On to the end of the wearisome journey,
Where Jesus has gone.
Be Strong: the earths 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,
Hell bear thee along;
The battle is raging the Lord God is with us,
Our Hope and our Song!
- KETTIE K. PAYNE.