Cristo La Verdad

Christ the Truth - John 14:6

Tag: Bible Studies

Who or What is the Olive Tree in Romans 11?, Pt.1

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Grafted in

‘Replacement Theology” teaches God has no more plans for Israel & the church has  ‘replaced’ them, but this is a doctrine that’s proved wrong by many bible passages one of them found in Romans 11 which tells us that God is not yet done with Israel, even they had rejected Him.

But on the opposite side of the coin we have another kind of ‘Replacement Theology’ were some teach that in order to be saved the ‘church’ needs to be part of Israel, (in other words the church is replaced by Israel). As one of their main points they use Romans 11, which they interpret that gentile believers are grafted into ‘Israel’, and for that reason have to become like them. But this is also wrong, to see it more clearly I’m sharing this next article that contains some nice illustrations:

 

“Grafting”

Written & illustrated by Brian R. Franco, used with permission

 

Preface
In Romans 11, Paul begins speaking to the Gentiles about their salvation, using the imagery of an olive tree and branches to explain the new life they are able to receive (and lose) with their belief (or lack thereof). The question, however, arises of “who or what is this olive tree the Gentiles are grafted into?” I’m going to present and attempt to defend the idea that Christ is the olive tree/root Gentiles are really grafted into. I’m going to do this by analyzing certain chapters, across the whole of Scripture, while explaining my understanding (with a fair amount of illustration to help visualize the ideas) of everything and how it ties together to form the basis for what I believe and why.

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Once Saved, Always Saved?

Some Christians believe that once you are saved you will always remain saved, and that no matter what you do after that, including sinning, your salvation is still secured. Some others will add that if you sin willingly, then it is because you were never saved in the first place; even after 20 or more years of walking faithfully with God, if you fall, it means you were never really saved.

We’ll try to explain our position on this subject. We are not attacking people who believe differently, we are not questioning their salvation or attacking their character. We believe this is a very important doctrine, but we also think it is still not an issue to divide over if the person has the Foundational Doctrines right,  unless ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’ is used as a license to sin.  Sound Doctrine is very important because what we believe is going to affect our actions & way of living.

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Does God harden hearts? Pt.1

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Importance of The Heart

God places on us the responsibility to guard our hearts from hardening. Deut. 15:7, Prov.4:23, Prov. 28: 14  We are warned NOT to harden our hearts.

So what about the passages where God hardens peoples hearts? The main confusion people encounter in this regard has to do with Calvinist’s teachings that say passages which speak of God hardening human hearts prove God’s selective election & determinism from the foundation of the world. That God hardens the hearts of people not elected for heaven so they won’t receive salvation.

But God is not saying one thing and doing another. God is Just! Deut. 32:4, Jeremiah 17:10Job 34:12 , etc.

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Spiritual vs. Carnal

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. . . .For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying (G2205 = Jealousy), and strife (G2054= contentions ), and divisions (G1370= dissension, division, sedition ), are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? . . .   Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. 1 Corinthians. 3:1-23

This bible verse is often misinterpreted. When reading it, at simple view, it may seem to some like Paul is saying division among Christian denominations is carnal. Some go as far as to accuse their brethren of being carnal just because they expose false doctrines or false teachers, not realizing they are the ones acting in a carnal way.  Others even say that Peter (Cephas) is the founder of the Catholic church & for that reason we should accept this denomination as part of the body, otherwise it would mean we are carnal.

But Peter was not the founder of the Catholic Church, nor the first pope nor the rock. He was named pope by the Vatican hundreds of years after the apostle Peter had passed away. Moreover the Catholic church doesn’t teach the same doctrine that the apostle Peter taught. . .but this is another topic for another time. Let us study a little more about the bible verse above.

We cannot emphasize enough how important is to study & read the bible  in context, taking verses out of context causes confusion & division among believers, it does much harm to the gospel & to the body of Christ. Taking verses out of context means we are not rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim.2:15), it shows we need to study the bible more deeply (specially before becoming teachers of the Word), it also may indicate spiritual immaturity.

It is normal for young believers to be carnal or fleshly. Spiritual maturity doesn’t happen over night, it requires time, it requires submitting to the Holy Spirit and knowledge of the Word of God. However Paul’s admonition reveals that he felt the believers at Corinth should have grown but they had failed to do so, they were still walking in the flesh.

The apostle Paul was writing his concerns to the church of Corinth after hearing there were divisions & strife (carnality or works of the flesh) among them.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the fleshFor the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance (G2054= contentions ) emulations (G2205= Jealousy), wrath, strife, seditions (G1370= dissension, division, sedition ), heresies (G137), envyings (G5355), murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  Galatians 5:16-20

We notice in this verse of Galatians about work of the flesh, that the apostle Paul used exactly  3 of the sames words he said to the Corinthians.  Divisions, Jealousy and strife are not the only signs of fleshiness, but these were some of the most evident among the Corinthians.

The fruits we should look in the church, mainly in teachers & leaders are the fruit of the Spirit, not how big their ministry is, or how many people they reach, nor how many books they wrote, etc. Instead, how much they love the sheep, are they protecting them from false doctrines, serving even the least of them, or are they using them for personal gain? are they following Christ example?

The spiritual man is led by the Holy Spirit and will manifest the Fruit of the Spirit, and the main one is love. 1 Cor. 13

The spiritual man is led by the Holy Spirit and will produce the Fruit of the Spirit

The Corinthians probably thought of themselves as spiritual people, but their strifes showed that they were in fact fleshly. The problems they were having in their human relationships showed there was something wrong in their relationship with God also. It was evidence of carnality, of a fleshly way of thinking and living.

We humans have a tendency to make idols. In idolatry we put something or someone, usually a gift from God, in a place of value that takes the first place owed to God alone, the gift Giver.

What caused the strife & dissensions among the Corinthians?

They were following men, leaders, teachers. It seams they were getting too attached to the person through whom they came to believe in Christ, or may be some were looking for the most anointed or the greatest teacher to follow him.

. . .that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Cor. 1: 10-13

They got their eyes off the Lord and on the Lord’s servants, and this led to competition. This behavior of following men is common in many Christian churches today,  it’s known as ‘Cult of Personality’. Followers of men identify themselves with their leaders rather than with God. In this case they even said I’m of. . . like they belonged to them.

Paul calls these carnal Christians brethren, (they are not unsaved/natural man like 1 Cor. 2:14) but they are not behaving like spiritual Christians either, rather they are behaving like carnal people- that is, fleshly -people, like immature Christians or babes in Christ.

We know Paul was apostle to the gentiles & Peter apostle to the Jews (Gal. 2:7) but one in Christ, & they where great teachers of the Word of God, but we may not know that Apollos was also a great teacher, specially among the converted Jews:

And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: for he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ. Acts 18: 24-28

Apollos was a converted Jew who worked for the Lord, mainly in Ephesus and the province of Achaia which capital was Corinth. It is understandable that some may liked his teachings, he was eloquent & mighty in the Scriptures, but the problem was when many were taking this favoritism to a point where it was causing division among members of the same church.

The division in Corinth that Paul addressed (1 Cor. 3) was NOT DOCTRINAL, all of these teachers mentioned were teaching the same doctrine, the same gospel, the same Lord Jesus. They didn’t have different denominations, for that reason is not talking about unity among denominations. Besides accepting a different doctrine would be a contradiction and there are not contradictions in the Word of God, there is only lack of information on our part or we are taking verses out of context.

Teachers & doctrines (teachings) go together, hand in hand. That’s the reason the bible warn us about false prophets & teachers, because of their false doctrines. How can God tells us in His Word to avoid them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine we learned (Romans 16:17-18), or tell us heresies are works of the flesh, to later tells us we are carnal/fleshy if we avoid them?  that would be a terrible contradiction, it wouldn’t make any sense. For this & many other verses we find in the bible, we know God want us to teach & guard sound doctrine.

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Titus 1:10-14

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse (G1294= distort, corrupt ) things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears”.  Acts 20: 29-31

Sound doctrine is teaching that agrees with the Bible. Here are some more bible verses that emphasize that we should continue or hold fast to the same doctrine of the apostles, which is simply what Jesus taught them:

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim. 1:13

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 1 Tim. 4:16

For a bishop (G1985=overseer) must be blameless, as the steward of God. . .  holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Titus 1:9

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. 2 John 1:9-11

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep (G2722= hold fast, retained) in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, 1 Cor. 15

The church should defend sound doctrine::exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3)

..that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ Ephesians 4:14-16

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. speaking lies in hypocrisy1 Tim. 4:1-2

1 Tim 1:9-10; 6:3; 2 Tim.1:13; Titus 1:9; 2:11 Timothy 6:3-5; 1 Tim 4:6; 1 Cor.11:1-2; Galatians 1:6-10, Romans 16:17, 2 Tim.4:3-4, 2 John 1:9, 2 Thess.3:6, 2 Cor. 6,;  Col.2:8, etc.

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers (G1249 = servants) by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?” vs. 5.  – We don’t belong to any men, nor to the ministers or servants  through whom we came to believe in Christ. They brought Jesus gospel to us. They are just laborers through whom we believed, not on whom we believed. No man should glory in men. We belong to Christ alone.  

“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God”. vs 6-9.  

We are one body, a team work. We might think Paul would be more kind to his own “fans/followers”, but instead of letting their praise get to his flesh, Paul denounced fleshy followers and diminished himself & exalts God. That’s what a true man of God would do, point people to God & not to himself.

This is also a lesson for us, the contemporary Church: Christians must always center their loyalty, their love and devotion upon Jesus Christ and His word, not on individuals. No leader is to be the focus of Christian fellowship. How can we call ourselves Christians if we don’t follow Christ or His Word  but rather follow men?  Our advise…let no man glory in men, do not follow men Mark 7:6-7  but the son of God, invite Jesus Christ into your life, accept Him as your Saviour, your Lord, study His Word and follow Him.

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 23

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Bible Study

We are going to use the same 4 steps mentioned previously, to study PSALM 23:

1/ Setting the context: (abc’s)

Author — King David

Background — When did the author live? In what culture? Born in 907 BC, he reigned as king of Israel for 40 years, dying at age 70 in 837 BC. He was a farm boy, a shepherd &  a musician, then became a warrior & a king. David had a heart for the Lord.

Context — Book of Psalm, Chapter 23:1-6 The Christian sees in this Psalm a wonderful foreshadowing of “The Good Shepherd” Jesus Christ, (John 10) who gave His life for His sheep & watches over them even now.  

For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice,Psalm 95:7

2/ What does the passage say? (observation)

Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Read Prayerfully. Re-read the passage.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


Questions we may ask: 
What is a shepherd?
shepherd is a sheep farmer, a pastor.
What are some of the duties of a Shepherd? Their main duty is :
-To guide the sheep safely from one place to another.
He has to make sure that he leads them to:

-graze, ( eat right food )
-drink good clean water, ( right water ), they get sick easily when water is not good.
make them rest and then return them to the pen for safety
-He is responsible for protecting the sheep day & night, from wolves or other predators,  
-to examine & keep them healthy, 
protect them from eating poisonous plants,  
-to take care of the wounded & heal them, etc.
Sheep are not ferocious animals and have no ways to defend for  themselves from any predators, they depend on their shepherd for survival. The Shepherd knows what is best for the sheep and always acts in their best interests.
 
Locate and mark any key words, repeated words or phrases, and commands: In Psalms 23 -The Lord & me.

What David realized and wrote  so beautifully is that your Shepherd loves you.  Really loves you.

 

3/ What does it mean? (meaning)

-Carefully examine the text and let it speak for itself.  Let Scripture interpret Scripture
-What is the main idea or lesson that the author/God was trying to communicate? – The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want (or lack anything)
-You can make an outline and/or write down the general idea: In this Psalm King David begins by illustrating the provision of the Lord, both physical and spiritual (1-3). David then describes the protection & provision of the Lord, as he travels through dangerous places and in the presence of enemies (4-5). The psalm ends with an expression of faith and hope in the Lord’s care, that God will furnish the goodness and mercy needed throughout life, so that he made abide in the house of the Lord forever (6).

-Look for scriptures that relates to the passage (cross-references).

 

OUTLINE

1. The Shepherd’s Provision & guidance (23:1-3)  
The source of provision & guidance is God’s presence, Josh.1:5-9

a. Physical, soul & Spiritual Provision (1-2)

1. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want (Is.40:11, Lk12:22-32, Heb.13:20, Jer.23:4)

2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures (Ez.34:14-15; Matt.11:28-29)
3. He leads me beside the still waters ( Rev. 7:17)

b. Soul Restoration (3)
1. He restores my soul (Psalm 51:10, 1 Peter 2:25)
2. He leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake 
(Psalm 5:8, 19:7, 143:11; 1Co 10:13)
 

2. The Shepherd’s Protection (23:4-5)  

a. His faithfulness through difficult times (4), (Valley of the shadow of death, Job 3:5) 

  1. I will fear no evil, for He is with me (Matt. 28:20; Psalm 27:1-2,138:7)

  2. His rod and staff comfort me (Lev. 27:32), (Ex. 4:2, Exodus 4:20) (Num.17; Eze. 20:37)

b. In the presence of our enemies (5)

  1. He prepares a table before me in their presence (Psalm 78:19, Jn 16:33)

  2. He anoints my head with oil, my cup runs over (Psalm 16:5, Eph 3:19-21). 
Oil : Healing, James 5:14, Luke 10:34 & Consecration: 1 John 2:27, Exodus 29:7, 30:22-31,Exodus 40:9; 2 Kings 9:6
Ecclesiastes 9:8; Acts 10:38.

3. The Shepherd’s Everlasting Care (23:6)

a. All the days of one’s life (6a)
1. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
2. All the days of my life (2 Ti 4:18)

b. Forever (6b)
1. I will dwell in the house of the Lord
2. Forever (Jn 14:1-3)

– STUDYNG VERSE BY VERSE:

 

1. “The Lord is my Shepherd; Relationship, If we believe & follow Jesus, then we become one of His sheep. Then we can say, “The Lord is my Shepherd”. The central image that the author/King David uses to describe how the Lord relates to him is a shepherd to his sheep, remember David was a shepherd, and he understood very well that relationship. But God in the Old Testament compares himself to a Shepherd and Jesus in the New Testament in John 10:11, describes himself as the ‘GOOD SHEPHERD’. Jn 10:11-15, 25-30; He 13:20; 1Pe 2:21-25; 5:4; Is.40:11, Lk12:22-32, Heb.13:20, Jer.23:4.

I shall not want! Provision on every area of my life. When the Lord is my Shepherd, I will lack nothing for only He can bring satisfaction and I find that my satisfaction is in Him not in things. Matt. 6:25 – 34; 1 Tim.6:8; 2 Pet.1:3-4; Revelation 7:15-17

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Basic steps to Bible Study

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Bible Study

John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

Luke 11:28 “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

Not all Bible versions are the same and the version we choose is critical for sound doctrine. When studying the Scriptures is always good to compare the version we are reading with other good translation, that will give us more understanding on some words, or you can also use a bible dictionary.

The King James Bible is one of the best translations in the English language. Other Bibles translated from the Textus Receptus or Received Text (Majority Text) are also good but there are just a few bibles left today. Example: ‘The Interlinear Bible’ by Jay P. Green Sr. ; George Ricker Berry, Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, World Publishing, 1997, 1999 ; the ‘New King James’ Bible & the ‘Modern English Translation‘.

What it’s important to look for is that the bible version we use is translated from the Received Text (Textus Receptus or Majority Text). Most modern translations like New International Version, The Living Bible, New Revised Standard, etc. have many parts translated from a corrupted manuscript or minority text, that comes from Alexandria Egypt and are not reliable translations, you will see some examples below. Also the Greek Interlinear by Wescott & Hort is corrupted, they used the minority text manuscripts and most new modern translation used this Wescott & Hort interlinear to translate their versions (this corrupted interlinear is used also by the Jehova’s Witnesses because attacks the Divinity of Jesus Christ).  A quick test we can do : Any version of the Bible which omits Acts 8:37, and/or the word “through his blood” in Col. 1:14 evidently has for its foundation a corrupted manuscript. Check this chart for more information: Bible Version Comparison.

Some bible verses that talk about the importance of keeping the Word of God pure:

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Deut. 4:2 –  Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32, Proverbs 30:6, Galatians 1:8-9 ;Revelation 22:19; Acts 17:11.

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Misuse of Hebrews 13:17

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Spritual Authority

A proper understanding of the real meaning of spiritual authority is greatly needed. We in these posts make no attempt to deal exhaustively with this topic, but we just look to give some examples. At the end of the post we mention some good readings on the subject for those that need more information.

When we became Christians many years ago and started this blog (in Spanish), a Catholic priest wrote requesting from us the gift of silence or as he said: an ‘obsequious silence’ to the mistakes of the leaders of the Catholic Church, according to him the only true church etc . This misunderstanding of spiritual authority (looking to serve man or organization rather than God) is the reason many keep silence & tolerate spiritual abuse in this large denomination, as well in many others.

When a leader demands obedience or submission because or their ‘position’ of authority, in so doing have demonstrated his lack of genuine spiritual authority.  Authority in the Body of Christ is not positional or organizational but spiritual. Its application must likewise be spiritual.  When the apostle Paul had to correct people in the church, he used only the Word of God as authority, never his position.  Authority in the church is very different to worldly authority, leaders within the church must, first of all, be servants.

We are not implying to rebel against you leaders. We thanks God for good & humble leaders that teach sound doctrine & serve the body well, we appreciate them & respect them. But we are talking here about a growing problem that was mainly seen in cults & sects, that is now becoming more & more common in some  Christian churches.  One example is The Believer’s Church of Gospel for Asia or GFA. This organization receives around $50 millions a year from churches & Christian individuals, which don’t know of the spiritual abuse occurring in this organization – see Video,- besides the allegations of financial mismanagement. (See an inauguration ceremony (other) & their center piece  with fleur de lis cross, compare with a Hindu ceremony.  It’s a Hindu sacred lamp, (1). Also check their logo with cross vs. Knight Templar cross).

Many Christians have been taught to obey & submit to their leaders by quoting to them Hebrews 13:17 . The Church’s authority does not reside in the Church, or in any office-holder in the Church, but in the Word of God. The Head is the authority & that head of the Church is Jesus Christ alone, (Ephesians 5:23), we all (the body) submit to Him.

Obey (#G3982 = be persuaded by) them that have the rule (G2233= leader) over you, and submit (G5226= yield) yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.  Hebrews 13:17

-The word translated as ‘obey’ is the Greek word ‘pheitos’ Strong’s number G3982 that means ‘to be persuaded‘, and is used with that meaning many times in other bible verses. Greek word Pheitho G3982 is used 55 times in the New Testament. And we can be persuaded because they are teaching us the Word of God, vs.7 not their own ideas or personal agendas. The word in Greek that translates obey is the word ‘hupakouo‘ Strong’s # G5219,  used in Ephesians 6:1 : Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

G2233 = (Translated them that have the rule over you ) translates to lead, to go before, to be a leader. This word is used 29 times in the New Testament.

G5226 = yield (Translated ‘submit’). This word occurs only once in the Bible, and it is not the same submit in Strong’s G5293 – hypotassō, ‘to be subject ‘ used in other verses like James 4:7.

From Vine’s Expository Dictionary:  “Peitho: to persuade, to win over; to be persuaded, to listen to, (to agree) as in Acts 5:40 (passive voice).  The obedience suggested is not by submission to authority, but resulting from persuasion”.

We also have among many others the following bible verse, that some are not taking into consideration when interpreting Hebrews 13:

But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon themBut so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister (#G1249– Servant): And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.   For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.  Mark 10:42:44

There are not contradictions in the bible, if Hebrews 13:17 means obedience &  submission to authority, because of leadership position in the church, etc. then Mark 10 would be a contradiction.   Let us read the following explanation on the subject made by pastor Joseph Herrin:

If a man has been appointed as a minister by Christ and he acquits himself faithfully, then that man is worthy of honor. He should be listened to. However, there has never been any commandment given to the church instructing the individual members to give obeisance to any minister. Some quote the following passage from Paul’s words to the Hebrews, while wresting a wrong interpretation from it.

Hebrews 13:17
Obey (peitho) your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

The word “Obey” is a poor translation. The Greek word is “peitho” which means “to persuade, to convince.” This Greek word is used in the following verses:

Matthew 27:20
But the chief priests and elders persuaded (peitho) the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. KJV

Acts 18:4
And [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded (peitho) the Jews and the Greeks. KJV

Romans 8:38-39
For I am persuaded (peitho), that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. KJV

It should be obvious from these verses that the Greek word peitho does not mean what some contend when they use Hebrews 13:17 as the foundation stone upon which to build a doctrine of unquestioned obedience to church leaders. The last verse above is from one of Paul’s writings. He clearly used this word in a manner that conveyed something different than what most English speakers understand the word “obey” to mean. To paraphrase Paul’s intent, he was saying, “Let yourself be persuaded by those who are appointed ministers in the church. Listen to them intelligently. Do not be stubborn or rebellious.” To be persuaded by the voice of reason is very different from blind obedience.

Returning to the false history being promoted by the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, it is demonstrable that there never existed among the early church any central authority akin to what they have adopted. Those whom Christ appointed as ministers were to view themselves as servants of all. They were not invested with authority to become the rulers of men. Their goal was to lead all those under their care to a condition of spiritual maturity where they were hearing the voice of God themselves and were walking in obedience to Christ who is the Head of man. Essentially, the goal of a minister is to work himself out of a job by promoting the maturity of the body of Christ so that he is no longer needed.

Ephesians 4:11-13
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

If a minister is not trying to render his position unnecessary by bringing those under his care to spiritual maturity, he has misunderstood the purpose of his calling. If a minister is seeking to perpetuate his role, and is ruling over the lives of others, magnifying his own importance, he is acting contrary to the intent of Christ and is manifesting selfish ambition. . . -emphasis in the original, (Parablesblog.blogspot.com)

 

More on the subject:

Hebrews 13:17: Spiritual Authority’s Most Abused Verse

Solving the Hebrew 13:17 dilemma

What Kind of Obedience to What Kind of Leadership?

Shepherding God’s Flock

Speaking the Truth or Keeping Silent

Properly discerning spiritual authority

Beware of false teachers

New Apostolic Reformation & Ecumenism

NAR Apostles

Dominionism & Kingdom Now theology – apostasy

Rick Warren & Word of Faith Apostasy

Spiritual manipulation

Rebuke Not An Elder

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Spritual Authority

After finding some information regarding a well known international ministry,  and their wrong views on spiritual authority,  I decided to make this post.  These problems show us  how important  sound doctrine is and how much harm wrong doctrines do to the body of Christ.

But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.  But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: (#G1249- Servant) And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.   For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Mark 10

There are many bible verses that have been misinterpreted or twisted by some institutions, using them wrongly to exercise lordship over God’s people, & keep them in bondage. The  Word of God says in 1 Timothy 5: 1-2

Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;  The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.  -AKJV.

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers,  older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.  -NKJV

We are taught throughout the Bible, to honor our father and mother (see Eph. 6:1-3). In saying to intreat him like a father, the apostle Paul is saying, to respect or value him for his old age. The word ‘presbuteros’, is used in these two verses translated as “elders” for a male as well as for a female “elder women”.  Not only that, but the context is comparing “elders” with “younger”.

Some teach that rebuke not an elder refers to a pastor or leader in the church, but the fact that the context of the passage speaks of “elder women” should tell them it’s not referring to a pastor but people of age.

The following commentaries & articles can helps us understand better this bible passage of 1 Timothy 5.

Rebuke not an elder:

Though the Bible uses the term elder in various contexts, it should be obvious to the honest Bible student that here it indicates an older gentleman. In 1 Timothy 5:1, the elder is contrasted with the younger men . It is then contrasted with the elder women in 1 Timothy 5:2. The issue is respect. The scripture is not teaching that believers can never question the actions of an older man, but indicates that the method of this questioning is of the utmost importance. An elder is not to be rebuked, but he can be intreated “as a father.” To intreat a person is to plead with or ask them earnestly. It is an approach of respect, and it is the method by which the Lord demands an elder be approached.

Andrew Ray,

Relating to your Spiritual Family:

Paul and his readers were aware of the spiritual sense in which Christians were related to one another as brothers and sisters. Continuing the same tone and concern from earlier in the epistle, Paul discusses how Timothy should relate to people of different ages and genders. The instruction grows directly out of the problem Timothy is having with the older elders and out of Paul’s concern that Timothy be on guard against the other problems evident in the Ephesian church. Timothy must treat all believers as members of the same family of God—fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters.

His approach should not be one of domination but one of encouragement, including respect and honor.

An older man is to be treated like a father while an older woman is to be treated like a mother. This would include treating them with respect. ..Leviticus 19:32  says, “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.” The “hoary head” is the head that is covered with grey hairs. To rise up before them means to stand and show them honor when they enter the room. I understand that this is the law, but there are many lessons for us here. In the book of Job, Elihu waited to speak until all the older men had their say (Job 32:4 ). …As one of the signs of a society that has broken down and rejected God, “the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient” (Isaiah 3:5).  We are warned against the mistreatment of our parents when they grow old. Proverbs 23:22.

D. Reagan,  Learnthebible.org.

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The Doctrine of Jezebel

This is a great sermon by pastor David Wilkerson (a well known pastor for more than 50 years) that I’m sure will bless you. In this video he explains what the doctrine of Jezebel really is. There is so much confusion today regarding this matter and this video will help us to better understand and consequently and most importantly help us to take heed of Jesus words and warnings regarding this danger that is very present in our churches in this time of apostasy.

Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest (permit) that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols (Rev. 2:20).

Pastor David Wilkerson explained that the Greek word for Jezebel (Strong G2403) is a synonym for false teacher, and that she clearly represents False Doctrine .  As Wilkerson said, Jesus speaking in the book of Revelation clears up any doubt by continuing, “…as many as have not this doctrine… (Revelation 2:24)”.

By reading Revelation chapter two we clearly understand that Jesus is warning us about the teachings or doctrines of this person or false teacher. Many will just focus on her gender, & not her doctrine, but if we think about it, we don’t have women in position of authority over men in most of our Christian churches. Our Lord Jesus is talking here about a big  & serious problem inside His church.  ” He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” vs.29.  These bible verses are talking about us permitting to be spiritually seduced by false doctrines.  The word ‘seduction’ stems from Latin and means literally “to lead astray” mostly by an appeal to the senses.

But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons”  1 Timothy 4:1

 

By David Wilkerson
January 18, 1988
__________

“I could subtitle this message “The Danger of Being Seduced by False Doctrine“. Read Revelation 2:18-29 and you will see that Christ Himself warned the church against the doctrine of Jezebel. “You permit that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat the things sacrificed unto idols” (Revelation 2:20). The Greek word here for Jezebel is a synonym for a false teacher. She clearly represents false doctrines. Jesus clears it up by continuing, “…as many as have not this doctrine…” (Revelation 2:24).

Here is a group of God’s people, full of good works and charity, having a form of faith and patience. But the eyes of Jesus appear among them, blazing with flames of fire. With all that is good and commendable, there is something very dangerous going on, something so seductive that Christ warns He will send judgment and make them an example to all the churches. Certain members of the church were selling out to Satan. Their good works, charity, service, faith and patience were overshadowed by a seduction of false doctrine. They were under the spell of a false teaching, a teaching that came disguised as the true Word but was in fact evil.


The Seduction of God’s Servants


Christ said it was “My servants” being seduced. Ministers. We have come to this very dangerous condition Christ warned about. There are multitudes of pastors, teachers and evangelists completely under the seductive spell of the Jezebel doctrine. These seduced teachers are in turn producing “children of seduction”. They teach fornication and the consumption of the food of idolsthis is spiritual fornication. This is eating the demonic food of doctrines that excuse sin.  . . . . . ”   For a written summary of the teaching, please see: The Doctrine of Jezebel!

Image of Jezebel from book “Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum “

Besides the book of Revelation we can find more about Jezebel in 1 & 2 Kings.  Jezebel was a princess, identified (1 Kings 16:31) as the daughter of Ethbaal, King of Sidon (Lebanon/Phoenicia), this king was not only a worshiper of Baal but also a high priest of Baal, his name means ‘ With Baal or devotion to Baal ‘.  Jezebel became a priestesses (a high level witch) of Baal, the Phoenician sun god. She  married Ahab, king of northern Israel, becoming queen of Israel.

I always associated Jezebel  with false prophets, which is not far off from false doctrines, but because of that limited interpretation, I was being more careful with false prophets & prophetess than with false doctrines.

According to the bible, Jezebel incited King Ahab (her husband) to abandon the worship of the God of Israel and encourage him instead to worship the false god Baal who required human sacrifices, and the goddess Asherah his counterpart. Ahab instead tried to steer a middle course, encouraging tolerance between the two belief systems (God’s truth & false doctrine) to God’s people. Throughout the Old Testament this union of that which is holy with that which is impure is considered by God as spiritual adultery. It was and still is an abomination in His sight!

And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. 1 King 18:21

Jezebel  was an enemy of God who was “killing off the Lord’s prophets.” In response, the prophet Elijah accused King Ahab of abandoning the Lord and challenged Jezebel’s 450 prophets of Baal and 450 prophets of Asherah. Jezebel, like the pagan wives of Solomon, required buildings for carrying on her form of worship, so Ahab made an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. Another 400 priests/prophets were housed in a sanctuary that Jezebel erected for them, and which she fed at her own table. The palace in which Jezebel lived was called the Ivory House because of the wealth of carved ivory used in its decorations.

Jezebel was evil, she destroyed the prophets of God as much as she could reach. After becoming queen, she quickly tried to take over Israel with her idolatrous worship and  demonic practices, she ordered the extermination of all the prophets of the Lord and replaced their altars with those of Baal. Her goal was to advance the false doctrine she led.  These are very important characteristics, to take into consideration when we want to understand who she really was.

Obadiah, the faithful overseer of Ahab’s house, rescued one hundred of God’s prophets, hid them, and secretly fed them in a cave. 1 Kings 18:4, 13.

Jezebel also fabricated false evidence of blasphemy against Naboth, an innocent landowner, because he refused to sell his vineyard to Ahab, causing him to be put to death. (1 Kings 21:3; Leviticus 25:23)  At God’s command, the prophet Elijah then confronted Ahab that was going to take possession of the land. He proclaimed that because of their actions : “Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine“.  (1 Kings 21:19). He further prophesies that Ahab’s male descendants will die, his dynasty will end and that dogs  “shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.” (1 Kings 21:23).

Three years later, Ahab died in battle. His son Ahaziah inherits the throne but dies in an accident and his brother Jehoram became the successor. Jezebel outlived Ahab by almost fourteen years, she then knew that Jehu killed her son Jehoram and was coming for her, she prepared herself and died a gruesome death – At the orders of Jehu she was thrown out of a window of her palace by members of her own court, the eunuchs that were there to protect her, her body was then trampled by horses & later when Jezebel’s body was to be taken for burial, his servants discovered only her skull, her feet and the palms of her hands – her corpse had been eaten by dogs, & Ahab’s male descendants also died just as the prophet Elijah had prophesied. Interestingly enough it wasn’t the prophet Elijah who executed God’s judgment over Jezebel, (but only over her prophets), he was already gone when her judgment took place, but (most likely because of her position of authority) God used a military commander called Jehu who was anointed by Elijah as the new king over Israel (1 King 19:16).

Jezebel and Ahab Meeting Elijah in Naboth’s Vineyard. Print by Sir Francis Dicksee (1853-1928)

Jezebel’s dressing  and her putting on of makeup led some people to associate the use of cosmetics with “painted women” or prostitutes. But when we do some research we find that the make up used by kings and queens at that time, were used only by the royalty and priestess, and it represented their authority. It is also believed that Jezebel went to her death wearing the ritual make-up and dressed as a priestess of Baal.

Heavy make-up was part of the regalia and ritual of royal women and priestesses

Knowing that he was coming, Jezebel put on make-up and a formal wig with adornments and looked out a window. Bromiley says that it should be looked at less as an attempt at seduction than the public appearance of the queen mother, invested with the authority of the royal house and cult, confronting a rebellious commander. Wikipedia               – Geoffrey W. Bromiley (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

In many evangelical circles, the Jezebel spirit is used to describe a spiritual force behind individuals (males or females) and groups which exercise manipulation, domination and control.  There are some events in the life of Jezebel which characterize her and may define what is meant by many in the church as the ‘Jezebel spirit’.

1/ They abuse their position of authority (She was a queen with power to do harm to God’s people).
2/ They have a strong tendency for domineering and controlling others, especially in the spiritual realm. (Like promoting Baal worshipers-false doctrines & Killing God’s true prophets to dominate).
3/ They have a single-minded determination to have one’s way, no matter who is destroyed in the process (example: What she did to Naboth to get her way).

These are the main characteristics we find out of what many  call the ‘Jezebel spirit’, but there are many more that you can find in the Internet. This could be true, these are known characteristics behind any spirit of witchcraft, (in males or females), and is good to be able to recognize them, but unfortunately they always miss the main problem that JESUS was pointing out to us: Her (or his) False Doctrines.

Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest (permit) that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. …. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine“. Rev.2:20,24

Jezebel worked hard against Godly doctrine and relentless promoted her false doctrine of sun-god worship.   God not only warned Jezebel the false teacher, but God also warned her followers to stop and repent (Rev. 2:22-23).  God appealed to Jezebel’s husband King Ahab many times: with a famine, a miraculous fire set to a sacrifice, military victories against-the-odds, spoken appeals, and more. Ahab humbled himself before the Lord and because of that the Lord didn’t bring the punishment of his household in his days. 1 King 21:27-29. But Jezebel was more proud & didn’t repent.

– In conclusion, the main characteristics to remember when some one mentions Jezebel in the church, should not be mainly her personality or her tools (things that are temporary), but her spiritual goals:

1/ When Jezebel got into a position of authority, she quickly began an intense campaign to take control of God’s people and get rid of sound doctrine & consequently true worship. For this reason she ordered the extermination of all true prophets (teachers) of God, replacing them with counterfeits full of demonic doctrines & witchcraft.

This is her real legacy, these are the main characteristics to take in consideration when someone mentions her name, but most important of all, this is what our Lord JESUS was warning us about.  I pray for the Church of Jesus to be able to discern, but especially for our leaders to not allow false doctrines to contaminate the Church, but to diligently guard the sound doctrine that was given to us in the Scriptures.

The importance of the Heart, Pt.1

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Importance of The Heart

The key focus of the ‘Parable Of The Sower’ is the soil, and in this parable the soil represents the heart. For that same reason I also like to call it The Parable of the Hearts.  By reading this parable, we can learn the importance of the heart and how the condition of our heart determines our response to the Word of God & our relationship with Him.

There is also something very important about this parable that will help us understand or discern other parables,, because Jesus said concerning this to His disciples:
‘Know (Strong’s # G1492 = To see, perceive, discern, understand) ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? (Mark 4:13)

Lets use the 3 gospels where the Parable of the Sower is found, Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke8:4-18. I divided the verses in 4 sections in order to study them better:

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