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Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church II

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Question #1:

Could you please clarify Ephesians 4:4-6:

There is one body and One Spirit – just as when you were called it was in one hope that you were called. There is One Lord (i.e., Jesus Christ), one faith, one baptism. There is One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

What is meant by 'one body' - is it the church?

Response #1:

Yes. Jesus is the Head (1Cor.11:3; 12:21; Eph.4:15-16; 5:22-33; Col.1:18; 2:10; 2:19) of the Body which is the Church (e.g., 1Cor.12:12):

(22) And [the Father] subordinated all things under [Christ's] feet and gave Him [as] Head over all things in the Church (23) which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills up all things in all ways.
Ephesians 1:22-23

Question #2:

What is meant by 'He was with a rich man in His death' in Isaiah 53:9?

Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

And in the next verse, why does it say 'if':

If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,

Also, what is meant by 'His offspring'?

Response #2:

Here is how I render the two verses:

(9) And they assigned Him a grave with the wicked (pl.) and with a rich [man] in His deaths (sic). Not for any violence that He had done. Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. (10) For it was the Lord's good pleasure (i.e., "will") to crush Him, to subject Him to torment. But though you make His life a guilt offering, He will see His seed, He will lengthen His days, and the good pleasure (i.e., "will") of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
Isaiah 53:9-10

The "wicked" are the two thieves; the rich man refers to the tomb of the rich man Jesus' body occupied during His short time in paradise (i.e., that of Joseph of Arimathea: Matt.27:59-60). The "if" is one way to render the Hebrew conjunction 'im, but it is really being used concessively here: "but though". The offspring are the seed of faith, His Bride, the Church. Our Lord had no physical offspring but will possess the entire Bride, of whom we blessedly form an eternal part.

Question #3:

Could you please clarify Romans 9:6-8:

6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7 nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: "through Isaac your descendants will be named." 8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.

Are the words 'But it is not as though the word of God has failed' spoken due to the fact that some Israelites expected the whole nation to be saved (that's the interpretation I came across)?

Similarly, what does Paul mean by ' For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel'?

Response #3:

Yes. Paul is explaining the distinction between the spiritual remnant who are saved and the physical seed, most of whom are not. God's promise is not failing, therefore, because those "of Israel" who are not delivered are not really of Israel because they are not of the remnant of faith.

Question #4:

Could you please clarify this passage from Hebrews 8:

These minister in [what is a] copy and a shadow of the [actual] heavenly [tabernacle], just as command was given to Moses as he was about to complete the tabernacle. For He says, "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown to you on the mountain (i.e., Sinai)."

Could you please explain why does Paul compare the priests of the Law ministering in a shadow of what was to come to Moses completing the tabernacle? Is it because the tabernacle is a shadow and a representation as well (i.e., Hebrews 9:11-12?)

Response #4:

Paul is using Moses as the authority for his contention that the tabernacle/temple is a model of the third heaven and as such possesses significance only to the degree that we learn the lessons of what it represents in the reality above where God dwells.  And just as the we now have to do with the reality of heavenly things in this regard, so also we are blessed to be liberated from the regime of shadows in the Law in all we do today as members of Christ's Church.

Question #5:

You wrote:

we belong to Him forever and will be "wedded" to Him as His Bride forever on His return (Matt.9:15; Matt.25:1-13; Mk.2:19; Lk.5:34; Jn.3:29; 2Cor.11:2-3; Eph.1:22-23; 5:22-33; Rev.21:2-4; 21:9ff.; 22:17; cf. 1Cor.15:23).

Did you include Ephesians 1:22-23, since the church, 'which is His body' is an image of the husband and wife being 'one body' after marriage?

Ephesians 1:22-23 NASB:
22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Response #5:

Yes. Jesus is the Head of the Body – which is His Bride – just as the husband is the head of the wife (Eph.5:23; cf. 1Cor.11:3).

Question #6:

In 1 Peter 1:10-12 who does Peter mean by 'you' - does 'you' simply means the people that Peter is addressing in his epistle?

It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you . . .

Response #6:

"You" is all of us, namely, post-cross believers who have been given to know Jesus Christ as the resurrected God-man, and who now benefit from understanding the full meaning of the Old Testament scriptures which speak of Him directly or indirectly, without the shadows which veiled the reality of Him from those who penned them.

Question #7:

You wrote:

The mystery of God's solution to sin, and all of the other mysteries about which scripture speaks (the mystery of the Church preeminently: Eph.3:1-11; 5:25-32) are all revealed in the face of Jesus Christ come in the flesh, having died for us on the cross for our redemption, and having been resurrected on the third day for our justification (cf. Rom.4:25).

(1) I want you to know what a great struggle I am engaging in on your behalf and on behalf of those in Laodicea and [on behalf of] as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, (2) [struggling] that your hearts may be encouraged, being strengthened by love and [led] into all the [spiritual] wealth which confident understanding [of the truth brings], [led, that is,] into the full acknowledgment (i.e., epignosis, "knowledge made real through faith") of the mystery of God the Father, [namely] Christ, (3) in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.
Colossians 2:1-3

Could you briefly explain what do you mean by the mystery of the Church (as described in the passages listed)? Is it about the time in which the church was revealed? About the fact that the church was redeemed? About how it would function? Or did the mystery encompass all of these things?

Response #7:

The mystery as it relates specifically to the Church is that the gentiles would repent and flow into the ranks of the sons of God in unprecedented numbers in the aftermath of the sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord ("This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.": Eph.3:6 NIV; cf. Rom.16:25-26; Eph.3:1-3; Col.1:27).

Question #8:

Ephesians 1:22-23:
22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

What does the 'fullness of Him who fills all in all' refer to?

Response #8:

The Church is Christ's "fullness", and that is a wonderful thing to contemplate. We exist for Him and He died for us. We are an integral part of Jesus Christ and He of us. The oneness we have with Him now is positional but in the near future it will be experiential, an ecstatic eternal belonging to Him forever.

Question #9:

Hebrews 12:2:
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

What does Paul mean by 'for the joy set before Him'? Is irony used here by Paul?

Response #9:

We, the Bride of Christ, are His "joy". We should thus never underestimate just how important we are to Jesus – or forget how important He is to us.

Question #10:

Hey Bob,

It's been awhile and I thought I'd come to you with an update, as well as some things which I could use some clarification on. Firstly, everything's going good: I'm on Romans 7 and Numbers 16 so far, and still feel mostly confident in my walk, although I have hit a few small snags along the way. The big one is something we talked about before. Is there any way we can control unwanted thoughts and just not think them, or will they simply go away over time? And I do have a few others as well, and you don't have to answer them, but you're he best source to come to about this stuff, I think.

1) Leviticus 3:17, and Leviticus 17 -- The Lord is saying not to eat the fat/blood of an animal, right? Does this count as a Jewish ceremony we are 'freed' from, or should we follow this?

2) Leviticus 15 -- What bodily discharges are being referred to?

3) In Acts 28 3-6 Paul was bitten by a snake, but not poisoned and had not fallen ill from it. Was the snake not poisonous, or did God not allow the poison to get into his system?

4) I don't recall if I've asked about this before, but should we keep the Sabbath? The penalty for breaking it doesn't apply, right?

5) Finally, I remembered today something I did a very long time ago, and I don't even remember if I was saved or not when I did this. I used to play this group video game and one day I got angry and deleted some of it which kind of messed up the game for others. I had forgotten about this and just today remembered it, and feel I should do something. I don't think the person in question would even remember. What should I do?

Thank you, and it'll be good to hear from you again.

Response #10:

Good to hear from you. I am glad to hear that you are making spiritual progress, and want to encourage you to continue with your taking in of the truth of the Word of God – it's really the only way to achieve what you are trying to achieve. While none of us is (or will ever be) absolutely perfect in our thinking and speaking, the best way not to think about bad things is to overwhelm your heart with good things:

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:45 NIV

As to your question your other questions:

1) The Law has been fulfilled (Rom.10:4; cf. Rom.13:10). This was recognized in the first generation of the Church. Here is what I read on that:

"It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood."
Acts 15:19-20 NIV

"It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell."
Acts 15:28-29 NIV

"But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written [and] decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from [things] offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality."
Act 21:25 NKJV

Abstaining from blood seems prudent based on the above (and also the Noahic covenant which was given well before Israel came into being: Gen.9:4), but understanding the reasons for this is also important: 1) blood represents life and specifically Christ's sacrifice – and since His blood is a symbol rather than actual blood, eating actual blood profanes that symbol (we have communion instead: a symbolic ritual of remembrance of His actual dying for our sins, i.e., "His 'blood' "); 2) eating blood is incredibly offensive to those of the Jewish tradition so that we ought not to do so also from the point of view of the "law of love" (Rom.14). There is nothing about eating fat in the NT.

2) The word "flow/discharge" is generic and can cover all manner of things which might be imagined.

3) Scripture does not say, and it does not say he was bitten, but it is fair to say from the reaction of the native people watching him that they certainly assumed this was a poisonous snake. God protected Paul in any case.

4) The specific "day Sabbath" has been replaced for us by the continual moment-by-moment Sabbath of rest in the Lord which we are to strive to enter into now at all times (Heb.4:9; see the links: "Sabbath Questions" and "Faith Rest").

5) It is a common experience for Christians who have been marking time for some time but then become enthusiastic for the Lord and begin to make serious spiritual progress to look back from time to time and realize they have made mistakes in the past which didn't necessarily bother them at the time. The best policy for all such things is to "confess and forget". No doubt God has already forgiven us in all such cases ("He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" whenever we confess anything: 1Jn.1:9). In some cases there might be opportunity or even necessity to make amends, but generally speaking the best policy is to move forward and not look backward, accepting that we have failed and being determined to do better in the future.

Keep on fighting the good fight of faith!

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dear Sir:

I am using your study on the sin nature to disciple some Christian friends, explaining the need to be re-born, etc. In doing so how can I best explain God's relationship with Israel? How was God able to communicate with Moses, etc. when we are separated from Him due to our inherited sin? Another question I am often asked is does God even hear the prayers of the unsaved, and finally what about those who pass away prior to reaching the age of accountability?

Any help you can offer me here would be truly appreciated.

Thank You

Response #11:

Good to hear from you, my friend. I hope you and yours are doing well. As to your questions:

1) Israel is a model for everyone, being, collectively, the archetypical "believer". Like many a believer, Israel has had her ups and her downs, and has demonstrated every possible aspect of believer-behavior, from red hot and zealous for the Lord and His truth, to lukewarm, to rejecting Him for the world, to falsely giving the impression of following Him through legalism, to hardness of heart, to repentance and return. God appears to (and in some non-crucial aspects does) deal with Israel collectively – in order to show everyone all the more clearly how He deals with individuals. But of course even within Israel God has always dealt absolutely fairly and justly with each individual as an individual. And He is fair in every way. So if it seems that certain human beings have been "advantaged" by being Jewish, well, there are certainly catastrophes that have come upon that people in which those not responsible have shared as well (e.g., Jer.45:1ff.). So Israel is a symbol and as a result the Law is a symbol of God's goodness and graciousness. Problems arise only when people misunderstand that even Jews are treated by God one on one "for there is no favoritism" with Him (Acts 10:34; Rom.2:11; Eph.6:9; Col.3:25); or when people misunderstand the purpose and the meaning of the Law in symbolizing the relationship between God and the believer before the removing of the shadows in the person of the incarnate Christ (and so falsely want to continue things that God has discontinued). For more on this please see the links:

"Israel: God's Perfect Standard" (in SR 5).

God's corporate dealing with Israel

How does the Lord deal with Israel?

So in this respect, at any rate, God communicating with Moses, even though he was a sinner as we all are, is no different from Him communicating with you and me through the indwelling Holy Spirit: He is able to do so in a right and righteous way based upon His gracious forgiveness in the atonement of Christ (a reality now and anticipated then; cf. Rom.3:25). See also: "The Devil's Access to the Presence of God".

2) God of course hears everything. The question is whether or not He answers prayers of those who do not believe. He is certainly free to do so, though there are no biblical promises to that effect. We do know of such occasions:

One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!" Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked. The angel answered, "Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God."
Acts 10:3-4 NIV

3) On the automatic salvation of those who are not able to choose for themselves (whether because of an early death or mental deficiency), please see the following links:

Natural Revelation and Accountability (in BB 4B)

God's Plan to Save you (in BB 4B)

Infant Salvation

The Saved and the Unsaved

Why Doesn't God Prevent All Children from Dying?

The Book of Life (in CT 4)

The Book of Life misunderstood

Best wishes for your continued effective service for our dear Lord Jesus Christ!

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hello Bob,

The following verse, for me, kind of indicates that at one time the Hebrews and Israel were a separate people if this is the case could you please expound on when did the Hebrews become (Israel) the Jewish people. I am a little lost here

1Sa 14:21: Moreover the Hebrews that were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan.

Response #12:

Good to hear from you – I am keeping you and your family in prayer, and hope that the truth will win out in all your struggles.

As to your question, these "Hebrews" were Jews who for one reason or another had allied themselves with the Philistines rather than with Saul and his kingdom at this point. The reason is not being a separate people (there were no Hebrews in the land before the return of the people of Israel under Moses and Joshua), but Philistine conquest and political influence (we may compare the Greeks who fought with the Persians during Xerxes' fifth cent. B.C. invasion). Had the Israelites been following the Lord with a full and pure heart before this time, there would have been no Philistine victories and no such military conquest and political dominance to bring about such a thing in the first place. Indeed, the cities of the Philistines were part of "the land" and should have been conquered by the Israelites long since. When David mistakenly allied himself to Achish after becoming mentally fatigued from being in constant danger from Saul, he too found himself in exactly this same situation, and was only saved from finding himself going into battle against Saul and Johnathon by the Lord's great mercy (1Sam.28:1ff.).

Spiritually speaking, "not all Israel is Israel" (Rom.9:6), but the Jewish people – especially of the Jewish age – are unique in that they are all assumed to be believers (even though that was never completely the case; cf. Lk.1:77) whereas gentiles are always assumed to be unbelievers (and, likewise, even though there have always been gentiles who believed in the Lord). But this collective manner in which the Lord treats Israel means, for example, that both blessing and judgment fall upon Israel as a whole in Old Testament times, even though God is well aware of individual differences. That corporate divine treatment is an important point which explains many things about the Old Testament and sometimes the New as well. For example, John's water-baptism is one of "repentance" for the Jewish nation to "prepare a people" for the coming of the Messiah. No doubt many who were water-baptized by John were not believers at the time (and many also continued not to be afterwards). But the ritual itself is meant as a repentance ritual for believers to bring them back from their wayward thinking and wrong behavior into right behavior and thinking (a kind of mass confession of sins which is now individual as in 1Jn.1:9; cf. Mk.3:6).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Good morning Robert,

I hope all is well and you are in good spirits. I have two questions that came to mind while studying the bible. You can reply in separate emails if you wish.

1. I am reading your series on the coming tribulation and it had me thinking about eternal life with Christ and the Father. I was wondering what will the Spirit's role be in eternity. From my readings, this subject has not been broached but maybe you can shed light on it for me, if possible. I know in this life, He is the comforter, healer, guide, etc but His role not only in eternity but in the Kingdom when Christ rules.

2. In Joshua 23:12 and other parts of the old testament, particularly Deut, God informed Israel not to intermarry lest they take the religion of their spouse and even associate with their neighbors lest they take their idols and way of life. This is happening and has been happening after Christ 2nd ascension to heaven. In modern day Israel, they intermarry with Arabs as well as with gentiles who is not of Christian faith. How does God view that and will the nation as a whole have to account for this during the tribulation period.

One last item of note, I read an excellent expository on revelation from versebyverseministry.org and I am in the process of reading yours. Primary difference is the tribulation aimed for Israel to bring them to obedience of the law and then through knowledge of Christ versus your emphasis on tribulation main emphasis everyone. I aim still reading yours and will come to a more final understanding. But good stuff and great work.

Thanks for listening Robert and may our Savior and Lord continue to bless you richly for providing hungry student like ours knowledge.

FYI. I know you don't have time but I would love for you to delve into individual books of the bible study......your work is great. I would even purchase them.

In Christ.

Response #13:

Good to hear from you. As to your questions:

1) There is a good deal in scripture about the Spirit's role in Christ's millennial kingdom (see the link: in CT 6: "The Millennial Pouring out of the Spirit"). As to His role in eternity – in the New Jerusalem – there is nothing specific mentioned in scripture, but it seems incongruous to me that since we will have such close fellowship then with the Father and the Son, that such would not also be the case with the Spirit. Since His ministry is deliberately a largely invisible one now, it is understandable that we are given little information at present about that future time. When New Jerusalem does descend, however, we will "know even as we are known" (1Cor.13:12), and these mysteries will then be fully revealed. As I have fielded this question before, I will paste in here what I wrote previously:

What the precise economy of things will be in eternity (the third heaven at present but earth from the point of the second advent forward and into the eternal state) is not precisely spelled out in scripture. However, as the indwelling of the Spirit is a sign of the kingdom (Jn.7:39; cf. Acts 2:17-18) and also prophesied for the millennial kingdom (Is.44:3; Joel 2:2-29), it would certainly be understandable if, as we dwell in the presence of the Father and the Son, we continued to be indwelt by the Spirit. We are also now indwelt by Christ, of course (Jn.14:20; Rom.8:10; 2Cor.13:5; Eph.3:17; Col.1:27). Both indwellings are "felt but not seen" blessings. We will see Jesus face to face in resurrection, and the Father too (Rev.21-22; and cf. Jn.14:23 on the Father too "making His abode" with us along with the Son even now). So if indwelling continues, I would suppose we would not only know much more about it, but also experience it more vividly and tangibly as well. On the other side of the coin, the indwelling of Christ is for fellowship and encouragement (Eph.3:17; Col.1:27) and the indwelling of the Spirit is for empowerment against the flesh and for the work of the kingdom. Since we will have perfect fellowship with the Trinity in eternity and will no longer have a sinful body (nor any opportunity or need for works), any eternal indwelling will be for pure fellowship – for we will be one with God forevermore:

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17:22-23 NIV

[It is] through these [divine blessings] that the great and honorable promises have been granted to us, so that through them we might become partakers of the divine nature (i.e., in contrast with our earthly sinful nature), having [through salvation] escaped earthly corruption and its lust.
2nd Peter 1:4

2) First, it is important to note that it is not as if Israel was anywhere close to be being obedient to the Lord in these matters at any time. For example:

The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods. The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.
Judges 3:5-7 NIV

Secondly, it is also true that, in the present day Church Age especially, "not all Israel is Israel" (Rom.9:6b), and that until "this generation" which is characterized by "hardness" (Rom.11:25) passes away, rejection of the Lord will be the most common spiritual stance of those descended physically from Abraham. The promises of the covenants and the demands of the law are for "Israel", which word in Old Testament times assumes that the persons in question are believers, whole-hearted followers of the Lord. And while it is true that many at many times were not, on one level the Lord dealt with Israel before the cross corporately and collectively (i.e., as if they were "one person", either whether deserving of blessing or punishment; e.g., "His people" in Lk.1:77). Not that He has not always dealt with every individual who has ever lived on an individual basis (which of course He has), but Israel as the special people were so because they were the community of the faithful – that was God's expectation of them as a whole. It is from that point of view that things like the commands not to intermarry must be seen (it matters little what unbelievers do, after all). So this was not a "racial thing" but a "spiritual thing" – as can be seen from the quote from Judges above (failure to follow that command led to spiritual defilement). Also, we should remember that in fact there were many mixed marriages which were from God and for the good in every way. In our Lord Jesus' lineage we find, for example, Ruth who was of Moab. Rahab (who was a Canaanite from Jericho) also married into Israel. In both of these cases the women were exceptional believers – and that is really the issue (gentiles of that day are assumed to be unbelievers, but individually that is also sometimes not the case at all as in these two examples).

Thirdly, as to God's attitude to the nation state of Israel today (to be distinguished carefully from "Israel" as in Rom.9:6b), while all who are of Abraham's seed are "beloved for the sake of the fathers" (Rom.11:28), one has to be of the faith of Abraham in order to be a true child of Abraham in the Lord's eyes. While that was assumed for Israel before the cross being considered as "one" (which explains why John's water-baptism was a "baptism of repentance" – as in "of believers"), even though it was often not the case, nowadays hardness is the new norm (even though there are those of Jewish stock in every generation who are genuinely believers in Christ: Rom.11:5). The state of Israel is a secular state and its formation came about from human effort, not direct divine agency. All Israel will return to the land – after Christ returns. At that point, every Jew will stand judgment in the desert, with only those who accept the Messiah being allowed to enter the Millennial Israel – with the result that the future state truly will be (at its commencement) a state of believers in its entirety. Today, from what I know, the number of those in contemporary Israel who believe is infinitesimally small, and we should not expect that these unbelievers are either under any sort of regime of special blessing from God (as Israel in the Old Testament often was), or under any sort of special discipline for violating strictures in the law such as the ones you adduce (as, all too frequently, Old Testament Israel was as well). God's corporate dealing with Israel as a political nation is now not in force, since in God's eyes there is a people, Israel, but not a political nation, Israel – at least not one of His making, He being the One who dissolved it (and in its true form it will stay dissolved until He re-institutes it at Christ's return). So to reply to your specific question it appears that any "answering" will be on an individual basis for what was done or not done during the Tribulation in respect to the mark of the beast (i.e., when the Jewish person in questions stands before our Lord to pass muster before entering the land), and in respect to whether or not the person now accepts Him as the Messiah (see the link: "The Regathering and Purging of Israel"). I don't find any reason to assume that any other issue (as in not keeping Kosher, for example) will be of any import.

Fourth, the only other thing to mention here is that even though most of Israel today find themselves "hardened" against the truth, on the one hand there are always some of Israel who do believe, and on the other hand it is very dangerous for the "wild olive" to boast against the "natural olive", since the latter can easily be grafted in again (and the former easily removed):

So even if some of the branches have been broken off, and you, wild olive branch that you are, have been grafted into their place and have become a partaker of the rich root of the natural olive tree, don't boast over those branches. For if you boast, [remember] that you don't support the root, but the root supports you. Now someone may say "Branches have been broken off for me to be grafted in." True enough. They were broken off because of their unbelief, and you stand secure because of your faith. But don't think arrogant thoughts. Rather, have a care. For if God didn't spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either. So consider God's mercy and severity. For He is severe towards those who have fallen away, but merciful towards you – if, that is, you continue in that mercy. But if you don't, you too will be cut off. And if they don't continue in their unbelief, they will be grafted back in.
Romans 11:17-23a

For more on this please see the links:

Satan's attack on the line of the Messiah (in SR5)

Israelology, Anti-Semitism, the Remnant, Gentiles, Lost Tribes, and Jewish Myths

Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church I

Thanks for all your encouragement and for all your good words!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

You asked this question on the site: `How did "the Church" ever come to mean "gentiles as opposed to Jews" in people's thinking anyway?'

I think this has to do with early Christians who lived after the Second Jewish Revolt. After seeing the apparent weakness of Jews, they simply regarded a revived state of Israel as an impossibility, so they rationalized the presence of promises for the Jews by saying that the gentiles superseded them.

Sincerely,

Response #14:

That's probably part of the picture. In any case, "rationalization" is the key word. I think also the R.C. church had a lot to do with it: a "new" priesthood and all the trappings of the law reworked and rewritten to cast Rome in that role of the "new Israel". The Reformation went the same way in large part instead of correcting the error (eschatology in general is another place it fell far short).

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

I do not mean to be argumentative or challenging! I have spent a lot of time on this study and it appears that these words mean much more that has often been discussed.

PLEASE tell me what you see here and where I am wrong if you disagree.

Mat 4:17 Repent For the Kingdom Of heaven is at hand.

OR

Change your mind come near for the power of God.

When Christ began preaching, did He proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven? or did He call us to change our way and prepare to receive the Power of God. This is an interesting study, It has it basis in the formation of the formal church (referring to the Church form 325 ad to 1350 ad from Constantine to the reformation), and the fact that the church wanted to control the masses, The development of the early Church combined ideas from many people and many sources. The only true commentary on Scripture is Scripture, Any understanding we have of a verse MUST agree with the rest of the Bible.

I had the privilege of going to Athens. I climbed the path to the theater on Mars Hill. I stood at the lectern over looking that theater. OK! It has been "repaired" but the path is real, the theater is real, and there was a speakers place there at one time. I for a little while walked where Paul walked, and when I stood at that lectern I thought of His skill. Paul knew you have to speak to your audience. In Greece of that day they had so many gods they made a law stating "No New gods may be presented in Greece". Paul saw all there "gods" along the way to the theater and in the guidance of the Holy Spirit said, …You have an alter to an unknown god him I wish to proclaim to you.

That same Holy Spirit was guiding Matthew when he wrote the gospel that is Christ as King, promised Son of David, the savior of Israel. The references in this passage are very Jewish. The Jews did not speak the name of God. They felt His name was to HOLY and they were not worthy, so at times they used the place where He dwells in place of his name. Thus we have Kingdom of Heaven, it is the same as Kingdom of God. Matthew recorded John the Baptist and Jesus using a play on words. He did not want to start out in this new message in a way that would offend or not be understood by his audience, and he spoke in Jewish terms. The Jewish People since Moses Looked for a King A Messiah to set up a kingdom and rule them in victory. You cannot just tell someone, "What you have always looked for is here and not at all what you thought". They will shut you out and think you are a false prophet.

Matthew used a play on words that said something very new, very different, but the Jews had to be taught to understand it. Let me put this the other way to I hope help you see my point. What if John and Jesus preached, " Change the way you think and come near for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit". I not only think they would not listen, they may have stoned them. They did not have the next 2000 years to look back on, the Gospel was brand new.

Matthew spoke in Jewish terms to a Jewish audience and he made a play on what they knew to teach them more. The word translated kingdom is an abstract term and means the royal power of the king, it is very rare that the Greeks used it of Kingdom. (Alford GNT). If we did not have other NT references and 2000 years of discussion we might have to imply The material kingdom from this word. But, that is not what it means nor what Matthew was recording. If Jesus had taught "a Kingdom" we would only be subjects of that kingdom and not have the power of God unto salvation.

A word for word translation of this verse is "change your mind and draw near for the royal power of heaven" or "the royal power of God". Note in this verse the "draw near" is in reference to the one changing their mind not the "kingdom or power". There is no grammatical reason the move the "draw near" to the kingdom of Heaven. Change your mind is "You" second person plural, Draw near "the ones changing" is third person plural. Power of God is the object of the preposition "for" and first person singular.

"You change your mind the ones changing draw near for the royal power of God"

We will look at why it was changed to "kingdom of heaven". There are lot of church practices that will come into question here and I pose the reformation of Luther and Calvin did not go far enough.

When We are saved, we stop disobeying God and Yield to His position as Lord, we are indwelled by God the Holy Spirit. We are adopted into the family of God. We have the "Power Of Heaven".

So why did the translators change the wording? The formations of the early Church blended ideas form sources new and ancient. The leaders of the Church took ever increasing positions of power. When Constantine made Christianity legal and called the Nicene council. He recognized the Clergy's position of representing the masses in religious matters. (This may be the most important outcome of the council.) Over time the clergy usurped authority of the individual Christians. Eventually including the "Priesthood of the believer" and the ability to go to God directly. If only the clergy were "priest" only the priest could approach the throne of God. For over 1000 years the Church would not allow the masses outside the clergy to have or read the scriptures, having the scriptures was punishable by death, only the clergy could tell people what the bible said then only in agreement with the dogma and theology of the Church; Any group that questioned or taught other than the Church Dogma and Theology were excommunicated and called heretics. Over so many years the ideas just became accepted. "The Church" was the Kingdom of Heaven guided and ruled by the clergy. The masses were to be

Shepherded by the clergy and guided to heaven. The clergy usurped "salvation by grace" and made salvation by belief and the sacraments taken at the hand of the priest. There was the kingdom, its rulers, and the common man. It sounds like some of the ideas which were on the surface condemned were in some parts included in the Church teachings. The Church clearly adopted a position that there were elect having greater knowledge and higher understanding, this Gnostic idea is not the only one that was to be included in the development of the church. The clergy were exposed to many ideas and they adapted or adopted many of them for their use in controlling the masses. Total depravity is one of these Gnostic ideas, If I can teach people are too sinful to know god without the church I can control the masses, they need the church to get to heaven. Wycliffe and Tyndale just quoted church dogma and translated the verse the way the church taught it for a thousand years, but, is that what the verse says?

βασιλεία basileia

Thayer Definition:

1) royal power, kingship, dominion, rule

1a) not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom

1b) of the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah

1c) of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom

The royal power of heaven is the power of the King of Kings, God's authority to rule over eternity. When changed by grace, children of God, we are heirs and joint heirs with Christ. He is the King there is only one King, Yet as heirs we have the power (βασιλεία) of God. When Christ said Mat 16:28 Truly I say to you, There are some standing here who shall not taste of death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. The word βασιλεία is used that is "Coming in His Royal Power."

The ones saved by Grace and obeying Christ Lordship share and have that power. This is not some distant eventual result it is a present possession.

How do you tell someone "you are a child of the king, heir to the throne of God, member of the heavenly family, Priest under the High Priest Jesus Christ. You may go directly to the Fathers side with your petitions."

Then tell them, "I am in charge and will tell you what you need to know and do for the church. I will tell you what the scripture says and how to live." The failure to teach the truth about the Adoption of Sons and Priesthood of the believer is a choice of the leaders in the church to control people and the same grasp for power that lead to both the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

History defends my translation. The Ideas and usurped power I have discussed did happen. The taking of power for the clergy is real. Not allowing the common person to read the scripture for themselves is history. (Any one educated enough to read it would see just what I see, Saved we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, Adopted into the family of God, Priest of the Most High God.)

The Dogma and Theology of the Church needed the Kingdom to be controlled by the Clergy, not the power of the Living God in every Christian.

The New Testament defends my translation. Saved, Repent, turn from the flesh, all come down to a change of mind, Stop Disobeying God and Keep His commandments. We are said to live in the Spirit, Indwelled by the Holy Spirit, Adopted as sons Heirs and joint heirs with Christ. We are called Priest and Kings. ( more correctly Priest with the Royal Power βασιλεία of the King, Jesus is the King) The "Kingdom of Heaven" is the Power of the Living God in a Person Living in the Spirit, The family of God.

Response #15:

Good to make your acquaintance. I had a look at Thayer's complete entry, and in my opinion the article you include grossly misrepresents what Thayer actually says. Thayer's purpose in making a mild distinction between "kingdom" and "royal power associated with the kingdom" is not meant to limit the word but to expand it. That is to say, Thayer is concerned that those reading his entry might assume that Christ's kingdom is merely geographical. Your author leaves out this critical part of what Thayer has to say in the context of explaining Matthew 16:28 where he adds . . .

"i.e., to come in his kingship, clothed with this royal power" and "of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah's kingdom".

In other words, it would be wrong to assume that Christ is like any other earthly monarch, since His kingdom will be miraculous in any number of ways and we who are heirs to it will be beneficiaries of all of its wonders, wonders which transcend anything an earthly "kingdom" could ever aspire to be (and how much more will that not be true of the Father's eternal kingdom?). But taking Thayer's entry as an excuse to strip away the literal aspects of the kingdom is to misuse use that resource mightily. It would also require us to strip out hundreds of verses in the Bible in both testaments where the kingdom is described as literal.

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
1st Corinthians 15:24-25 NIV

For my own take on these issues, please see the following links:

The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ (in CT 6)

New Jerusalem and the Eternal State (in CT 6)

In CT 7: The Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God was among us but is not merely spiritual

What is the Kingdom?

The Kingdom

Yours in Jesus Christ the Coming King,

Bob Luginbill

Question #16:

Hi Bob,

I was reading Wikipedia today, and I saw that Tokyo would be the hosting city for the 2020 Olympics, and I then had a cold chill come over me, and I remembered that we are closer to the tribulation than we think. Indeed, we are so close, that worrying about human effort is folly. I wonder to what extent the `you can't know the day or hour' fallacy is a Satanic attack to keep the church underprepared.

I came across this website <http://www.wildbranch.org/ that espouses a common misinterpretation of Romans 11: namely, that because gentiles have been grafted onto the Olive Tree of Israel, Christians therefore need to come into contact with their `Hebraic Roots.' While I am learning Modern Hebrew and find Jewish culture to be fascinating, this websites misunderstands the Olive Tree. The Olive Tree is about those who have faith in God, which has predominantly Israeli roots, but which now includes all who believe.

In the days of the past, there was only one covenant between man and God, and that was the covenant with Israel. In this sense, those who wanted to worship the true God were forced to do so through Israel. But now, a new covenant has emerged, wherein those can come from any nation and have faith with God. In this case, the new covenant lets gentiles be `grafted into' the faith of God, something which before could only be properly done through Israel.

"You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth" (John 4:22)

Of course, the Jews who are not used to the new covenant will be averse to accept it, and gentiles cannot worship Christ while practicing circumcision and Jewish rites.

"No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old wineskin; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, 'The old is better.'
(Luke 5:33-39)

Sincerely,

Response #16:

Good words. A covenant is, essentially, a promise, and the promise of God to human beings is Jesus Christ. The essential difference between the Old (and any variation/subdivision thereof) and the New is the shift from symbolizing the coming of the One who would make fulfillment of the promise(s) possible to the reality of His coming as the unique God-man and His actual paying off of everything necessary to fulfill the promise(s) at the cross (see the link: Covenants).

Israel does form the foundation of the Church (e.g., Eph.2:19-22), but that has nothing to do with the means of dispensing truth in the Church Age (which is noticeably different from the Age of Israel). Given that the temple rites and attendance of festivals in Jerusalem at the temple are such essential and indispensable parts of the Law, I usually ask such people/groups how they think taking only certain parts of the Law and applying them could even come close to being correct. No doubt God saw to it that the temple was destroyed right at the time when the last apostle died, namely, in order to avoid just this sort of misapplication. Sadly, that hasn't stopped silliness of this sort which has been around since Paul wrote Hebrews to dissuade believers from doing these sorts of things. After all, the R.C. church is just a pseudo-temple rite / high-priesthood cult, taking all of its trappings (with self-serving modifications of course) from the ancient Jewish rites.

Yours in the One who came in the flesh to remove the shadows and bathe us in the glorious light of the truth, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hello Bob,

We have corresponded on several occasions. Could you advise if you have anything on your site which would educate me as to why the Seventh Day Adventists have this "hang-up" (my thoughts) on Saturday being the Sabbath Day.

Do the Jewish followers have Saturday too?

We know according to Genesis 2:2, God rested and sanctified the "Seventh" day, so who and when were the days named and placed in the order that they are in today ?

As a Christian, I hope that we live everyday according to the Sabbath day....but there again, I'm retired...but, when it comes to work, servile work does not come into the equation any more.

I listen sometimes to the local retirement village S.D.A FM radio station (close to us) and sometimes watch their satellite TV programs....some contents need to be filtered !

On the 7th Day...God rested, and gave us the Sabbath day. But That exact day would have been lost in it's proper order, surely ! I mean surely no-one would of kept a calendar...starting from our first parents....to the present day, without any discrepancies.

I've even seen modern day Calendars (here) showing that Monday is the start of the week.

Would God be too worried or condemn those who are worshiping on the wrong day, but we are commanded to keep holy the Sabbath Day?

Hope this isn't too hard.

Thanks

Response #17:

Very good to hear from you again, my friend.

As to your questions, first, I think it is absolutely true that one cannot look at any celestial marker and say that "today" is "Saturday" – or whatever day. The solar year is not precise in terms of days, nor is the lunar month (in fact there are variations here depending upon what type a "month" it is in celestial terms). Calendars are man-made, with the exception of the original Jewish Ceremonial calendar (see the link); even there, of course, God made the year and the month-cycle and the seasons what they are, and the best calendar has to adjust from time to time to accommodate them (i.e., even the Jewish calendar had to "intercalate" days or months from time to time, and there is absolutely no guidance in the Bible as to how that should be done nor how it was done in actuality). As to the week, this is a divine invention that has no anchor in the phenomena we observe (i.e., it is not pegged to nor visible from seasons, solar or lunar cycles, or sidereal movements). In other civilizations outside of that of Israel, there were no "weeks" as we know them. We know of "market days" in many places, but these ran on anything from a five to a nine day cycle, and were not of any particular moment in the dividing up of the lives of the people of those times. The dominance seven day week in the west has its origins in the triumph of Christianity as a political force from Constantine onwards. Our days of the week actually have pagan names; in Hebrew, they are numbered only.

I think that your main point to the effect that we ought to be living for Jesus Christ every day is precisely the correct one. That is the true, biblical position. The fourth commandment has to do with building up and staying true to our personal relationship with the Lord, and that is something we should be doing now, in the Church age, not one day a week – regardless of which day – but every day, as we walk with Jesus at all times. In practical terms, it is understandable that groups wish to meet on a particular day, and also that a weekend day is generally more workable. On the other hand, there is nothing in scripture (correctly understood) which mandates making one day special. Quite the contrary.

But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
Galatians 4:9-11 NIV

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Colossians 2:16-17

The essential point behind this question can be seen in the verses above. The Old Testament looked forward to the cross and the glories that would follow, and it did so through rituals, through "shadows". But the physical rituals of the past have now been replaced with the spiritual realities of the present: we have the entire Bible; we have the ministry of the Spirit and His gifts to the Body; we have the knowledge of the mystery of the Church which is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col.1:27). Since the earliest days of the Church, there have been those who have desired, for all manner of reasons (I cannot speak to them all; tradition and the desire to differentiate themselves from other groups no doubt has a great deal to do with the SDA approach), chosen to "turn back" to the "weak and pitiable principles" of the shadows of the past. Doing so is always legalistic; doing so is always a substitution of false ritual for spiritual reality; doing so always degrades spiritual growth – if not destroying it altogether and undermining faith. We followers of Jesus Christ are to learn, believe and follow the truth of the Word of Him who is the very Word of God. Giving in to any regime of physical ritual is unauthorized following the cross, and that includes "special day worship", be it Saturday, Sunday, or any other day.

(9) So there does remain a "Sabbath day's rest" for the people of God. (10) For he who has entered into [God's] rest has himself ceased from his works just as God did from His own. (11) Let us therefore be eager to enter into that [continual and spiritual] rest, lest anyone fall [from grace] following the same pattern of disobedience [as the Exodus generation did].
Hebrews 4:9-11

This rest for us today, moreover, is a rest that we should be walking in as long as it is still called "Today" (Heb.4:7), that is, we should be resting in Christ at all times (not on a special day only). This is one of the reasons the fourth commandment is the only one not repeated in the New Testament, and why our Lord went out of His way to demonstrate that legalistic observation of the Sabbath was contrary to the will of God (e.g., John chapter nine). The fourth commandment is still in effect, spiritually: but we have to understand that it is to be applied to our Christian walk at all times. We need to be walking with Christ, embracing the joy and peace that is in Him at all times, in order to carry out the spirit of that commandment. And as with all things, the spiritual is truly more important and more real that things we can see and touch.

These matters, including some conversations about SDA, are addressed at the following links:

Faith Rest in Hebrews 3-4

What does "Keep the Sabbath Holy" mean?

Sabbath Rest in Hebrews 4

SDA and Sabbath Observance

Sabbath Observance

Should Christians honor Sunday as the new Sabbath?

Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.

True Orthodoxy and False Creeds

Sabbath Observance as Legalism I

Sabbath Observance as Legalism II

The Seventh Day in the Plan of God

The Law, Love, Faith-Rest and Messianism

Hope you find this helpful – do feel free to write me back about any of this.

In Jesus our dear Lord in whom seek to rest at all times,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Brother Luginbill,

I was very encouraged to have run across your website as it is quite reflective of the views, writing and teaching ministry that I and my co-laborers are involved in. And, as a Jewish believer, this is more than a mere eschatological fascination to be exploited for theological debate fodder. These are eternal life and death issues, critical to both the Church, and in particular, as it relates to Israel's ultimate redemption.

The views, or should I say, the convictions which we espouse are all too uncommon in the American church, who to this point, have had the luxury of buying into a Pre-Tribulation Rapture doctrine, which is a rather myopic view of God's eternal purposes. I won't even bother going into the Spiritual Israel error.

If I may, in case you are not already familiar with this ministry and website, it is called the "Mystery of Israel." http://the.mysteryofisrael.org/about/

Although, no two men or ministries can be said to be identical, I do believe you will find much common ground. Again, I am thrilled to have discovered one more "Voice crying in the wilderness," who exhibits both the Biblical and historical grasp of scripture to complement his apparent spiritual maturity. It is always something of an invigorating "breath of fresh air" to encounter men such as yourself. May your kind increase!

Best regards,

Response #18:

Thanks so much for your patience. I was out of town and away from my desk visiting family for Christmas.

I appreciate your kind and encouraging words. Thanks also for the link. From a brief perusal it does appear that we have much in common. One of the things that has long troubled me is the stark division so many evangelicals want to see between "Israel and the Church" with "the Church" seemingly meaning gentiles who have replaced Israel – when in fact of course Israel is the Church, its foundation and superstructure, and the basis for our eternal organization.

Standing on the threshold of the end times, we are likely in our lifetimes to see Israel again take up the mantle of leadership within the Church very soon, with the return of Moses and Elijah and the ministry of the 144,000 commencing as soon as the Tribulation begins. Your work is no doubt a very essential preparation for all this, and it is indeed a blessing to work side by side with believers who have chosen the best part, the truth of the scriptures rather than convenient popular pablum.

Best wishes for the success of your ministry in the new year.

In Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of all.

Bob Luginbill

Question #19:

Bob,

Thank you for your gracious reply. Since, we are just now getting the holidays behind us I didn't realistically expect to hear from anyone before now. So, thanks for replying as quickly as you did.

The greater the ministry, the greater the preparation required. And brother, we certainly have our work cut out for us! "Who is sufficient for these things? Thanks be to Jesus our Lord!"

Blessings upon you and your labors,

Response #19:

You're very welcome,

I certainly concur with all your sentiment.

Keep up the good work for our Savior, dear Jesus Christ – in this there is the greatest reward.

Your friend in Him,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi,

This is not a question but a comment on your comment on Jeremiah 31:22

As a student of Biblical Hebrew may I humbly tell you that there are 5 words for 'man' used in the Tanach. The one used above 'a woman shall surround a man' is 'gever' This means a mighty man such as Boaz was. Any time you see mighty used in the Bible it refers to a 'type' of God or antiGod. (Nimrod was a mighty hunter - but he is a type of antiGod).

So Jeremiah confirms what Isaiah states! A woman shall surround (or be pregnant with) a mighty man ie God. Praise the Lord! For this did indeed happen in 4BC when Yeshua (Jesus) was born at the Feast of Tabernacles. He 'tabernacled' (translated as dwelt) among us - as John's gospel states.

Response #20:

Thank you for your email about the link: "Jeremiah 31:22: A Woman shall Compass a Man". As to your suggestion about the word gebher, in my reading of the OT Hebrew I don't see this word as being always typological (quite the contrary). It's often a poetic synonym for 'ish (and this portion of Jeremiah is poetic), but even in prose the word often very clearly cannot have any typological meaning. Take Deuteronomy 22:5 for example, where any "man's clothing" is meant, not just that of some sort of special individual. Also, even were this special meaning the case (which as I say is not so), it would be quite a leap to get the second part of the interpretation offered. A woman surrounding a man does not on its face have anything to do with pregnancy, regardless of what sort of man we are talking about. So I would prefer the interpretation offered at the link you found at Ichthys. There are many prophecies about our dear Lord in the Old Testament which are fulfilled in the New (and many more to come in the Day of the Lord soon approaching), but this is not one of them.

Finally, my own studies on the issues of chronology suggest that 2 B.C. rather than 4 B.C. is the correct year for our Lord's birth (see the link in SR 5: "Life of Christ"). Also, since Luke tells us that our Lord was "almost 30" when He told John to baptize Him (Lk.8:23), given the time of the crucifixion at Passover and the three and one half years on Jesus' ministry, a birthday coinciding with the feast of Tabernacles is several months too early (for in that case Jesus would have already been 30 or would have been recently turned 29; see the previous link for the details).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Thank you Robert

I have ceased to argue any point as it is fruitless. However, as long as we both love the LORD that's all that matters.

Response #21:

You're welcome.

The Body of Christ has many parts, and on that day of days we all rejoice in unison, come what may in the meantime.

In our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L

Question #22:

Let's examine the verse without changing any meaning in any way. A (singular-one) woman shall compass (synonyms - encompass, surround or circumnavigate) a man. Interpretation - A (singular, one) woman shall have a baby without the help of a man. Voila! The miraculous conception. Jesus was the son of God.

Response #22:

Dear Friend,

It is an interesting idea – indeed, it goes back to the early Church fathers, and many exegetes nowadays like this interpretation as well (e.g., Unger, whose opinion I respect very much, in his Commentary on the Old Testament).

However, the context in Jeremiah is the regathering of Israel after the second advent (not the beginning point of the first advent), and that is the case in both verse 21 which precedes and verse 23 which follows.

Secondly, the fact of a woman embracing / encompassing a man would be very a strange way to express the virgin birth where no human male was present in this conception via the Holy Spirit (Matt.1:18-20), and some explanation would seem to be necessary to demonstrate how a woman encompassing a man can mean a woman pregnant without a man (for that is not what the language suggests in the Hebrew or in translation).

Third, the real "rub" with this interpretation is that the "new thing" which this verse expresses – without changing the meaning in any way so as to favor an alternative interpretation – is not a virgin conception (cf. Is.7:14), but an unprecedented female dominance over the male. However one wants to interpret the role reversal, that is precisely what the verse calls attention to as "something new and remarkable". The virgin birth was new and remarkable, but that is not what the language here expresses at all.

Men usually "compass" women (which is why the reversal is "a new thing"), and so I have taken this phrasing, "a woman shall compass a man", to mean, in the millennial context in which this verse is set, the falling away of the need for the sort of male protectiveness which has been the case for the last six thousand years as a result of the absolute peace and security of the Messiah's reign making such male dominance no longer as needful as has been the case throughout all prior human history. Here is a link where that is discussed: "A woman will compass a man".

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #23:

Jeremiah 31:22- Paul expresses that what counts is a new creation, and interestingly enough, this very passage is describing how the lord will CREATE a NEW thing ON EARTH. So a new thing created on earth would be a new creation right? Sure. As you know, the second Adam is the life giving holy spirit, and we are the bride of Christ (wife), who is the counselor/spirit, "therefore a 'man' will leave his mother and father and joined to his 'wife' and the two shall become one flesh, this is a profound mystery"...so u see IN CHRIST we ARE the new creation, ( will create a new thing on earth) and the body surrounds the spirit (treasure hidden in a jar of clay), and the two become one. Adamu means 'man', so the second 'man' is the holy spirit of Christ, therefore the woman is the body, that's why we are to be one and be lead by that spirit, and are warned not to follow any other spirit, because the two become one. Remember, Paul taught about Christ coming to make the two-one, and once Christ destroyed the hostility and disobedience of the earthly man in his flesh, we can be submissive and 'led' by this spirit, because we are no longer hostile nor disobedient to the counselor, for we ARE the BODY of Christ. Also I believe this is where the term son of man comes from. He was not born of Joseph, but of the holy spirit, so son of 'man', I believe is describing a child of this second 'man', or child of the life giving spirit holy spirit, which IS GOD, because "the Lord IS spirit". And just as Christ was born of the spirit, we also MUST be remade into his likeness, (born again by this spirit). Thanks for reading, hopefully this got your wheels turning. God bless brother/sister. Please let me know what you think, I've tried to make it work other ways, but to me this is the most plausible, especially since Peter says that these prophets spoke of OUR salvation, so this has to be fulfilled in us, and only thru Christ.

Response #23:

Good to make your acquaintance. Thank you for your email and for your interesting idea. It is true that Jeremiah 31:22 uses the verb bara'h (create) with the "new thing". However, this would seem to me to invite a connection directly with us believers who are "the new creation" in Paul (2Cor.5:17; Gal.6:15; et al.), rather than with the virgin birth of Christ (in regard to whom that terminology is in fact not used: He, after all, is the Creator). Consider also:

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 KJV

Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19 NKJV

The Hebrew word for "new thing" is the same in both passages above as one finds in Jeremiah 31:22, and in the second passage it is in the same exact form (chadasha, ). Since it seems that the Holy Spirit can use "new thing" for a variety of new things which God brings into being, I'm not sure that this is definitive proof for equating Jeremiah 31:22 with the virgin birth. Also, the virgin birth is something quite different from the rebirth of believers. We have a spirit at our first birth; our rebirth is a spiritual one that happens when we believe, whereas Christ was perfect at His physical birth (and conception). We are the creation; He is the Creator. We are the lost He came to save. So to the extent that we have to distinguish the virgin birth (actually it is the virgin conception which is the "new thing") from the spiritual rebirth of believers who respond to Person and work of Christ, to that extent we should be careful about using Paul's "new creation" (which is clearly taking about us and not about Christ) to connect Jeremiah 31:22 with the virgin birth.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #24:

Thank you for responding. Sorry for the confusion about it sounding like I was trying to relate this new thing with the virgin birth. I should have made a better distinction, kind of got ahead on my thoughts and skipped ahead there. The road in the wilderness is a new thing created to redeem us, I know he is describing the 'Way', the straight and narrow path thru Christ, (one of my favorite sections of the bible btw). The connection I made of the term 'son of man' to this particular passage was simply that we are to be children of the spirit, born of the spirit, FOR the spirit. We are taught to put on this new self, and be conformed to Christ' likeness. Just as Adam was formed first, and eve from a part of Adam and for Adam to be a helper, so also it is the same for us born of the spirit. We are to be born of that spirit, to be one with that spirit, and to be a helper of that spirit here on earth, to do the work of the invisible, in the physical. The spirit was eternal from God, and we are born of the spirit, because spirit gives birth to spirit. Once you are born of this spirit, you MUST be a child of the life giving spirit, a child of the second ADAMU, a son of this second man. I firmly believe that. One of the beautiful things of the bible to me is understanding that Jesus had to be made like us in every way, and in the end, we must be made like him in every way, (for when he appears, we shall be like him/ transformed), because we are his brothers, "I have said you ARE gods". Not in any way am I saying we are his equal, or even worthy of this gift, but there is this hope of glory that we have as the reward for having this faith. Son of man, born of woman and spirit, and we all are one and the same if we really are born again. Jesus was very much perfect from birth, I AM very much in agreement with that, and yes we have to be remade in his likeness, because god is holy, we had to be made holy thru his sacrifice, once we are made holy, the work in man is 'FINISHED' ( IT IS FINISHED). HE came to finish the Father's work correct? He finished making man on day six, he is the beginning (genesis 1:26-27), and the end, (I came to finish my Father's work/ my Father has been at his work TO THIS VERY DAY), AND what Jesus was telling them is its not over yet, for God still has work to do, ('and you who call on him give him NO REST UNTIL he establishes Jerusalem as the praise of the Earth), the heavenly Jerusalem of course. Sorry got off track there! In reference to this particular verse of Jeremiah, he is calling out to his lost children. Calling Israel out of being lost and wandering in the desert wilderness. Now the exodus had happened long before this passage, so to me, this is metaphorically referring to us, because Jesus clearly stated that he was sent ONLY FOR THE LOST SHEEP OF ISRAEL. We have to be them, the new covenant was with the house of Israel correct? And that's for us right? That covenant is predicted right after this passage as well. Isaiah prophesied about us taking the name Israel (Isaiah 44:5). The valley of dry bones. The prophets spoke of the salvation to come to us, yet we weren't called Christians till when? So what were they calling us in the old testament? Israel/Zion...(you have come Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem) Jesus came to fulfill the prophets, not only thru his suffering, but also thru the glories that follow. Those very glories, the redemption, the protection, the deliverance IS the very salvation that comes to us, not only as his children, but as his new creation, that saves us from being lost in this dark, wild world. Sorry this was so long, I just love talking about and discussing, and learning others interpretations and knowledge of scriptures. A pleasure to meet you, god bless you brother, thank you for your work in Christ!!! Looking forward to another email!

Response #24:

Good to hear back from you. It is indeed a blessing to be born again from the Spirit of God, and to look forward not only to a life of walking with Jesus in the truth of the Word, but to an eternity of untold blessing where we will finally know even as we are known.

One thing here; I do think that you are onto something that all too many evangelicals do not "get", namely, that many make a false distinction between Israel and the Church due to these issues often being misunderstood. Every believer from Adam and Eve to the last person saved before Christ's return is a part of the Church, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ (please see the link: "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride"). After all, there we no Jews, no Israel, before Abraham was circumcised at age 99. It is true that Israel and those believers who are truly of Israel by physical birth have a special place in the plan of God, but that does not mean that gentiles who believe now or who believed then are disadvantaged in any way. Even if we are grafted in, we are still "in". The Church is the assembly of God and this age is called the Church Age because it is the time when Christ's assembly is called out in great numbers, expanding geometrically (as opposed to the largely linear line of faith which obtained before). Therefore all theologies which either minimize Israel as being "out" now that the (predominantly gentile) Church is "in", or which give her too much status on earth at present (so as to focus backwards on the Law and the previous economies of God and thereby miss the present power of the Spirit) are out of line. Today, "this generation" of hardness is still the rule for her, but when our Lord returns (and in truth even before once the Tribulation begins) the pride of place of Israel will be reestablished. And, after all, we who believe will all be subsumed into Israel in the eternal state (i.e., the New Jerusalem has twelve gates and twelve major divisions, each one belonging to a tribe of Israel, into one of which all gentile Christians will be incorporated according to their merits and rewards won here in time). Here a couple of other links you may find helpful:

The New Jerusalem

The Church

Dispensations

Dispensations, Covenants, Israel and the Church I

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.
 

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