Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Unity of the People of God

Reading the Epistle of Romans all the way through in a single-sitting, brings some things to light in a way that only considering individual verses of the Epistle mightn't achieve quite as well.

Like, the fact that Paul introduces the topic of 'Israel' in chapter nine of Romans, shows he had design - flow - he was going somewhere - leading somewhere - in his Epistle.

Otherwise, mentioning Israel at this point would seem unnatural - it wouldn't quite flow - like coming to a wall at the end of a corridor.

But no Paul's letter has flow. And the fact he swings the topic right back to Israel again, after the high-point of chapter eight, indicates what that purpose was.

Since the church at Rome was a mixed Gentile/Jewish bunch, they had many of the same issues which many other churches among the Gentiles had outside of Judea. A main desire of Paul's therefore was to preserve the unity of faith among the new people of God. Everything he mentioned in his Epistle leads towards that desired objective.

He deals with some themes of major theological importance, sometimes in a single verse - then he spends an entire chapter putting unity ahead of diets.

So when Paul mentions "the election", he means it in the same way he'd previously discussed God's plan to justify all men through faith rather than through the works of the Law or through Jewishness.

When he quotes "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy", it's to illustrate God's godliness in now showing mercy on all by grace through faith rather than exclusively to Jews through the Law.

When he mentions "that the purpose of God according to election might stand", it's to illustrate that the Gospel (the salvation of all men, without the deeds of the Law) was always God's plan, quite aside from the nation of Israel and the Law.

All of that is quite far from introducing the issues which Calvinists debated with Arminians some 15 centuries or so later!

Also noteworthy is Paul's use of tenses, throughout Romans. He sometimes speaks in the present-tense even when he is speaking of things past. For example, in chapter seven he speaks of his struggle with sin under the law, even though in his own experience he'd already discovered freedom from the law and from sin, by grace through faith in Christ.

He plays with tenses when discussing Israel too. He mentions "all Israel shall be saved", as if it was to be an exclusively future event - but then he links it with the prophecy, "There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer," Who had in fact already come; and links it with "my covenant unto them", which also had already been made.

Notice Paul had begun it with "and so all Israel shall be saved", not "and then..." Manner, not sequence.

He'd also spoken about Israel's grafting-in again as a present-possibility - not as an exclusively eschatological forecast.

He mentions Israel - but sometimes he's talking about individual Israelis.

He labels it a 'mystery' - but that doesn't mean it's still future, because later he mentions "the revelation of the mystery" as being a present scheme and reality, not something reserved exclusively for the future.

So when he says, "til the fulness of the Gentiles be come in", it's not to say that what happens next is anything other than what is to happen next according to the Gospel-scheme itself - not some other scheme.

That's quite short of asserting the Dispensationalist view which distinguishes between the present Gospel-plan and Israel's future kingdom-plan as if they're two separate schemes!

Reading a book of the Bible through in a single sitting makes the overall flow of the book in which individual verses are found, clearer - it makes us aware of the use of terms and definitions and themes and tenses - it eliminates some issues - helps clarify certain things.  

Friday, 23 June 2017

The Son of God in the Hebrew Scriptures

John the Baptist bore record that Jesus was the son of God - so John already had the concept of the son of God.

Where might John have gotten that concept from?

The Old Testament, of course!

"In thy seed [not seeds plural, seed singular - which was Christ] shall all families of the earth be blessed."

"I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said, unto me, Thou art my Son' this day have I begotten thee...

...Kiss the Son, lest He be angry with thee".

"The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit at my right hand, 'til I make thine enemies thy footstool."

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given..."

"The name of the child shall be Immanuel [meaning God with us]."

"One like unto the son of God" - in the book of Daniel. 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Speak in Tongues

One of the best pieces of advice I feel I can give is spend time speaking with tongues.
"He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself..." (I Cor.14:4).
"...he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries" (verse 2).
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26).
"...if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful" (verse 14).
"...I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also" (verse 15).
"...let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret" (verse 13).
"If any man speak in an unknown tongue...if there be no interpreter...let him speak to himself, and to God" (I Cor.14:27,28).
"I would that ye all spake with tongues..." (verse 5).
"I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all..." (verse 18).
"...tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not" (verse 22).

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Jacob Have I Loved, Esau Have I Hated

I benefited from Shane's thoughts about the firstborn versus the second-born.

I also think he was right to say that Paul's whole discussion in Romans 9-11 was really in answer to a question about Israel.

(Except, I don't think it's exclusively about Israel's future, but about the present scheme of things which was already seeing its outworking among Israelis even in Paul's own day.)

The question Paul was answering was not the questions Calvinists debated against Arminians in the 17th century!

And yet many today take Paul's statements in Romans 9-11 as if Paul was directly addressing the Calvinist/Arminian issues, when he really wasn't.

Correctly identifying the first-century issues which Paul was addressing, goes a long way towards answering the questions we (or Calvin and Arminius' students) ask today. In fact, I think it almost eliminates the questions!

The question Paul was answering (and he virtually says so, in the passage itself), put in my own words, I think was something like:

"If God's long-promised salvation is indeed now being offered to Gentiles, on the basis of faith alone, without them also needing to become Jewish by Observing Moses' Law, then wouldn't that imply that God has been unrighteous or unfaithful towards the nation of Israel, seeing they were the original custodians of the promises, and yet so many of them have not believed?"

And Paul's answer of course was, No...

It had always been God's plan to bless all nations on the basis of faith. God gave that promise to Abraham before Israel was even born, before the Law was ever given...

And it was God's prerogative to later choose the nation of Israel as the custodians of that promise, and to preserve their nation alive despite their unrighteousness, until the time of the promise came - and then to offer salvation to the people He'd always planned (which is, to all nations) and on the basis He'd always planned (which is, on the basis of faith)...

It didn't mean God's promises to Israel had failed, because the prophets already foresaw that only the remnant would believe...

And that Gentiles would then also hear and believe...

As Jesus said, this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached to all nations, and then the end shall come.

And it didn't mean God had utterly closed the door on a Jew, because God was still reaching out to more Jews, through believing-Gentiles.

Nothing unrighteous, unfair or unfaithful about that - it shows the extent of God's wisdom and mercy!

That outcome (the remnant of Jews, plus Gentiles) had been a bit of a mystery in Old Testament times - but it's the precise scenario which fulfils Prophecy, and will continue that way until the end.

Thus Paul was explaining and defending his Gospel - proving how it fulfilled Israel's promises; and defending the Gentiles' freedom against the Judaizers.

He wasn't discussing the questions which Calvin's and Arminius' students debated in the 17th century.

I think. But I don't know anything like I ought to.

Friday, 16 June 2017

The Power of God

One day when I was a teenager, our Pastor suddenly stepped off the stage while he was preaching, and approached the husband of one of the women in our church who was visiting that Sunday morning.
When my Pastor raised his hand to pray for him, I saw the man get thrown backwards by the power of the Spirit through two or three rows of chairs.
Another time, another man - the unsaved husband of another of the women in church - responded to an altar-call for prayer. When our Pastor laid hands on him, he fell to the ground.
The man jumped straight up again - and the look on his face was like "What just happened!" Or maybe even a bit more like he thought the Pastor had knocked him to the ground and he was ready to retaliate! He got soundly converted and is still serving the Lord all these years later.
You know these types of men wouldn't fake something like that.
At another meeting in another place, so many people turned up, because they'd heard about the manifestations of the Spirit that were happening, that there weren't enough seats for everyone - so the leaders asked all the children to go outside.
During the meeting I went outside to check-up on the children. I found most of the children were lying on the ground: it was obvious many of them were having a profound spiritual experience. They were laughing for joy, and many of them seemed to be seeing visions.
Many adults were touched by the Spirit in that meeting - but the children were still lying on the ground, in the Spirit, even after the adults finished their meeting.
We asked one of the girls afterwards (who I'm kind of related to), about her experience. She spoke about seeing an angel, and about heaven, and about seeing and interacting with Jesus - she even said an angel was tickling her and making her laugh! She was nine years old.
When children are together with their friends, they wouldn't ordinarily spend the whole time lying still on the ground like that. So even if there are some people who do "courtesy drops" just because it's difficult to stand up, you know these children weren't pretending.
That's the power of God. We ought to be seeing this sort of "demonstration of the Spirit and of power"!
It's Scriptural. Saul (Paul) had a similar experience where "he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" And he got up a changed man.
He said afterwards "And I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision" - Paul started preaching instantly. There was a result.
When someone falls under the power of the Spirit, we may hear the person weeping, laughing, interceding, petitioning God, speaking with tongues, fellowshipping with the Lord or praising God - but very often the person might also be seeing a vision or hearing from the Lord. Having a heart-change. Then when he stands up, he's a different person.
With Pastoral facilitation, we can then encourage the person to go and be obedient to any instructions the Lord gave him while he was on the floor. This can result in much fruit.
It can happen to adults and children alike. Joel did after all prophesy that "your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions" when God will "pour out" His "spirit upon all flesh".
The "fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ" includes seeing the power of God accompanying the preaching of the Gospel. You can see it!
"...ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me".
"...these signs shall follow them that believe..." Jesus said.
"And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Wonderful Jesus

Two issues Paul dealt with:

1. Did Gentile believers in Jesus need to become Observant of the Law - that is, become Jews - in order to be fully accepted as the people of God?

And Paul's answer was: No - since they were justified, sanctified and perfected forever, by one offering - by grace, through faith - the Gentiles were therefore complete in Jesus and didn't need to become Jews. They were free to live-out their salvation in a new and living way.

2. If salvation is indeed offered on that basis, wouldn't that imply that God had somehow been unrighteous and unfaithful towards Israel, seeing many in Israel were missing out, because they still sought it by the Law?

And Paul's answer again was: No - it confirmed God's faithfulness! God had always planned and promised - before Israel was even born, before the Law was ever given - to offer salvation to all nations, on the basis of grace through faith. So it was God's sovereign prerogative to later choose the nation of Israel to be the custodians of that promise, and then to offer salvation on the basis He'd always planned, when the time came. God was in fact still reaching out to more Jews, through Gentile believers!

Paul wasn't directly dealing with the issue which Calvinists argued against Arminians over, centuries later.

Neither was he setting grace off against the importance of holy living. Of course Gentile believers in Jesus were to live holy, upright lives - they just didn't need to become Jews, that's all!

Paul mightn't even have been forecasting a major change of plans in favour of Israel in future - he was mainly explaining and defending his view that the salvation long-promised to Israel had indeed come, through Jesus Christ, in the scheme that was already working in the first century AD.

Paul's Opinion About...

When we read Paul, it makes a difference if we understand the issue/questions he was really dealing with.
Like, one day a group of relatives were walking along the beach, talking about aliens. One of them heard only the last part of the conversation, and she thought they were talking about illegal immigrants.
"It shouldn't be allowed!" she said.
Everybody laughed - it was funny, because that lady was notorious for often speaking-out about her political views!
Or it's like over-hearing someone talking on the phone. You can hear him answering a question - but you don't know what the question was.
You could think they were talking about how to avoid getting a flat cake in the oven - but what if they were really talking about how to change a flat tyre! Make a difference? Sure!
Same with Paul. Very often we impose onto Paul's writings our own modern issues and questions, and then try to read Paul as if he was answering our questions. Well, what if he was really answering a different question.
Trending issues and questions today include:
Grace teachers versus the importance of morals...
Or, Dispensationalism versus so-called Replacement Theology...
Or, so-called 'Hebrew Roots' versus mainstream Christianity...
And the Calvinists versus Arminians issues still linger too, in some schools...
And many of us quote Paul as if he was dealing directly with the same issue and questions that we are dealing with.
But the issues that surrounded Paul in the first century AD was something a little different. And he doesn't leave us wondering - he tells us himself what the issues/questions were.
Paul was dealing with issues and questions like:
Must Gentile believers in Jesus become Observant of Moses' Law - that is, must they become 'Jews' as well - in order to become fully accepted as the people of God?
And Paul's answer of course was, No - since believers were already justified, sanctified and perfected forever, by grace through faith, through one offering, it wasn't necessary for them to also become Jews. They were complete in Jesus.
That answer of Paul's (that God had procured salvation for Gentiles on the basis of grace through faith without needing to become Jewish) gave rise to a further question:
If that's indeed the way God's promised-salvation is being fulfilled, wouldn't that imply that God was somehow unrighteous or unfaithful towards Israel, seeing it meant many of them were missing out (because they were still seeking salvation through Moses' Law)?
And Paul's answer was, No - it confirms God's faithfulness! because God had always planned and promised, even before the Law was given, before Israel was even born, to offer salvation to all nations through faith; it was His sovereign prerogative to have chosen the nation of Israel as the custodians of that promise, until the time came when salvation would be made available to all, by grace.
Far from being unrighteous of God, that fulfilled His promises, and demonstrates His faithfulness. In fact God was even now still reaching out to more Jews through Gentile believers!
So, Paul was really defending the Gospel against infiltration by the Judaizers - he wasn't dealing with the same issue which Calvinists debated against Arminians centuries later, for example...
Neither was he discussing grace over against the importance of believers living morally upright and ethical lives, like some of us discuss today...
Paul mightn't even have been giving any eschatological forecast about Israel, like end-times preachers do today...
Rather he was explaining the Gospel, against the criticisms of the Judaizers -
and defending the Gospel against the cultural insistence of the Judaizers that Gentile believers in Jesus ought to become 'Jews'.
Of course Gentile believers were to live holy, upright lives, in comparison to their Gentile environments - they just didn't need to become Jews, that's all! They were free to express their sanctification in a new and living way.
Of course God's promise to bring salvation for all Israel hadn't failed - salvation was indeed procured for Israel and announced to them, but only believers experienced it, and then Gentiles were grafted-in to the same experience - which was precisely the scenario that had been foreseen in the Torah and the Prophets, Paul asserted.
Understanding what Paul was really on about, positions us to better answer the issues and questions of our own day. It even eliminates some issues altogether - especially if the issue only arose in the first place because readers missed the issue Paul was really addressing. 

What is Sanctification

Many so-called Hebrew-Roots people today, while they concede that justification is by faith, insist that sanctification involves observing the Law.

But that's not what Paul said. Paul said "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified".

Our perfection - our sanctification - our justification - each hark back to a single event in history: the once-for-all offering of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Christ's offering is the true basis for the Jews' justification - through faith, as it was for the original Hebrew, Abraham.

Christ's offering is also the basis of our perfection. Our perfection looks back to a past event: "...he hath perfected..."

Our perfectness is permanent: "...he hath perfected for ever..."

Our sanctification is a past event: "...them that are sanctified". It looks back to the cross. 

What it means is that in Christ Gentiles could eat at the same table as Jews. It meant that through faith in Jesus Christ, the Gentiles, without needing to become Observant of the Law - that is, without needing to become Jews - but by grace alone - were fully accepted, from God's point of view, as the Covenant people of God - justified, sanctified and perfected, forever.

In Christ, Gentiles had become coheirs with Christ. Equal sons of God; equal children of Abraham. 

In fact, Christ is the only way Jews could truly be justified, sanctified and perfected too.

God made one new man, in Christ - which is His body, the Church - comprising both Jews and Gentiles, without distinction.

Without the Gentiles needing to become Jews - that is, without needing to become Observant of Moses' Law. Not that that needs stating today like it needed stating in Paul's day (because Moses' Law can't be carried out anymore today anyway, like it still could in Paul's day).

Becoming Observant wasn't the way to sanctification then - and it certainly isn't today, when it isn't even possible to Observe the Law anymore anyway!

"Christ [alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, regardless of ethnicity, and without the deeds of the Law] is [already, and forever] made unto us [made to you] wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption".

Sunday, 11 June 2017

What Paul Was On About

It really helps to take note of what the first-century issues and questions were which Paul was addressing in his Epistles.
We've got our own issues today of course, like the question of grace versus moral living. And the old Calvinist/Arminian question still lingers too in some schools.
And many pull statements out of Paul's writings as if Paul was directly addressing those questions.
But what if he wasn't? What if he was really on about something else.
The types of issues Paul was really answering in his Epistles included questions like:
Must Gentile believers in Jesus become Observant of Moses' Law (that is, become Jews) in order to be fully identified as the Covenant people of God? And Paul's answer of course was, No.
But that didn't mean Christians weren't distinguished among other Gentiles by their morally upright lives. Of course Christ led them to live morally! Paul's statements weren't a denial of that, because the issue Paul was addressing was not grace versus moral living, but grace versus becoming Jews.
In a sense the issue Paul was addressing in the first century shouldn't even be an issue any more, since the Levitical system no longer exists, whether someone today wishes to become 'Observant' or not. But the importance of living godly lives is timeless.
Another question Paul was addressing was:
Wouldn't it imply that God's Covenant faithfulness (to Israel) has been compromised, if indeed justification is now by faith rather than by the Law - since so many Jews have not become believers? And Paul's answer again of course was, No.
It was God's prerogative to have chosen Israel as the custodians of His promise, and to have preserved their nation until the time - then to offer salvation on the basis which He'd planned all along, which is by mercy and faith, not ethnicity and the works of the Law. God was still reaching out to Jews through Gentiles anyway, despite their unbelief.
But many today seem to miss the issue Paul's statements were addressing - and it needlessly triggers the question which Calvinists many centuries later argued with Arminians about. When really Paul's statements weren't about that question at all.
Instead of taking Paul's statements as directly stating 17th century and 21st century issues, why not take his statements as answers to 1st century questions. Then we'll be better able to apply Paul to present-day issues!
In fact many times it dissolves the issue itself.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Speaking in Tongues at Will

Can we speak in tongues at will, or only when the Spirit moves us to?

"I will pray with the spirit, I will pray with the understanding also" Paul said.  

'I will' indicates volition. It meant Paul could decide whether he would pray with the spirit (that is, in an [unknown] tongue), or with his understanding.

If a person decided to give thanks in tongues, "he verily giveth thanks well" Paul said, but the others can't say "Amen at thy giving of thanks" because they didn't understand him.

The fact he "verily giveth thanks well" meant the Spirit had indeed given the person the utterance - but still, it wasn't the ideal time for a person to speak in an [unknown] tongue. And Paul expected the speaker of the tongue to take responsibility for that.

That shows me the speaker of tongues can decided when to speak with tongues and when not to.

Paul advised someone who addressed a congregation in tongues, to let someone interpret. 

Or if there was no interpreter, he could "pray that he might interpret". 

Or if not, he'd be better to refrain from addressing the congregation in the [unknown] tongue and instead "speak to himself and to God", in the tongue. 

Notice Paul didn't say the Corinthians' tongues were invalid - in fact he validated it. Only he said that there was no sense in them addressing a congregation in an unknown tongue except it be interpreted. 

The other option was to speak "to himself and to God" in the tongue.

That shows the speaker himself was in control of what he did, where, and when. 

So Paul expected them to act responsibly, maturely, decently, orderly, motivated by love, and by a desire for others to benefit. 

Paul said "I thank my God I speak with tongues more than ye all" - yet "in the church" he'd rather address a congregation in a language they understand. 

So it means someone who's received the gift of tongues can decide to pray in tongues privately.

But of course it's the Spirit who gives him utterance. In the spirit he's speaking mysteries, to God not to men.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Dispensationalism, Covenant Theology & the Apostles' Doctrine

I'm not sure that DISPENSATIONALISM, nor strict COVENANT THEOLOGY, deal with Bible-prophecies about Israel satisfactorily.
Bible-Prophecies sometimes mentioned the theme of Israel's regathering after captivity (the rebuilding of their Temple, Levitical priesthood, sacrifices and feasts), and the theme of the coming of Messiah, and of the age to come - all in the same prophetic passages. Almost like it was all meant to occur together.
Dispensationalists deal with that by insisting that a Jewish/Levitical age is still required in future, in connection with the second coming, in order to fulfil Bible-Prophecy.
A problem with that is it conflicts with New Testament theology, which teaches that the Law has passed away and that the new covenant is everlasting.
It implies - and Dispensationalists actually say this - that the Gospel is something largely unforeseen, rather than the fulfilment of Israel's promised salvation. Something merely inserted in the interim while we wait for God to get back to really fulfilling prophecy for Israel.
When you think about it, it would also imply that Jesus was too early in history to be Messiah - because the Messianic prophecies occurred in the same passages of Scripture as the prophecies about restored Levitical worship in Israel.
That's more like the Orthodox Jewish view of Bible Prophecy than the Apostles' doctrine!
But I'm not satisfied with the way strict Covenant Theology deals with it either. Strict Covenant Theology spiritualises the identities, subjects, objects, locations and themes in Bible Prophecy to the extent that Bible-prophecies about Israel are taken as never having been about physical Israel at all, but instead as entirely about the Church.
That means that adherents of strict Covenant Theology are stumped trying to cite a single Bible-prophecy which definitively meant Messiah had to minister in the physical land of Israel at all, or that the Gospel had to be "to the Jew first and also to the Greek". Because that would mean conceding a physical rather than spiritual (covenantal) meaning for 'Israel' - and that's untenable to them.
But that would mean we couldn't use physical facts - such as Jesus' place of birth and ministry - as proof that He fulfilled the details of Messianic prophecy.
It would mean our Gospel-claim is based on personal, ethereal or spiritual claims, rather than on objective, physical, geographical facts as well.
But that's not the way the Apostles used Old Testament Prophecies (about Israel)!
The Apostles' claim was that there had indeed come the fulfilment of God's promises concerning Israel - literally, on the ground in Israel, among Israelis, for Israelis - as objective historical and physical facts - without needing to alter or spiritualise identities in prophecy in order to make that claim.
God had already regathered Israel from captivity; their Temple was already rebuilt; Levitical sacrifices were already restored - and in that historical setting, Messiah came, to Israel, as required by Prophecy.
They claimed Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies - they were eyewitnesses.
And they said He's coming again.
That was the Apostles' take on Bible-Prophecy. The Apostles' doctrine. Called the Gospel.
So unlike Covenant Theology, the Apostles took prophecies which said 'Israel' to mean Israel - while prophecies which meant Gentiles said 'Gentiles'.
And unlike Dispensationalism, the Levitical themes were taken as already-fulfilled, not future.
Jesus Messiah was crucified, buried and rose again, as prophesied.
All of this fulfilled God's promises to Israel. Jews were the first to hear this good news.
Then afterwards, the Gentiles received the same good news. Not a different good news inserted merely as an interim - but the same good news.
Believers were made one new man - not two separate plans. But it had to happen in Israel first.
There's no other name to call on for salvation but the Name of Jesus.
Keeping Moses' Law won't be necessary in future, and isn't necessary in the present, even if it was still possible which it isn't.
And Jesus is coming again! His second coming will come.
That I think sounds a bit more like the Apostles' doctrine - their take on Bible-Prophecy - the Gospel.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Divine Law

There was Divine law before Moses' Law; and there is still Divine law after Moses' Law.

Two Ways Demons Can Be Dealt with

LUKE 6:17-19
17And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; 
18And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.
19And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.

Casting out demons is valid, and we can do it.

But Kenneth E. Hagin said demons don't always have to be discerned and cast out - sometimes just a touch of the anointing can heal people of demonic vexation or sicknesses.

Brother Hagin told of a lady who came to him to be healed of a stomach ailment; she fell under the power - and not only was her stomach healed, but she never had any more of some trouble she'd been having with demons after that, even though Kenneth E. Hagin only prayed for healing.

Another person came for physical healing - and aside from being healed, from that moment on the man said two other things happened: Jesus became more real to him; and he never touched another drop of alcohol again, despite having been addicted to the drink - even though Kenneth E. Hagin didn't pray about alcoholism.

The power of God doesn't only heal people - it'll drive the devil out!

ACTS 19:12
12 so that even facecloths or work aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, and the diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them. 

Notice the demons didn't need to be discerned, nor directly addressed and cast out - the demons just left.ACTS 10:38
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

It was done by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

When people touched Jesus, they were healed.

And before they came to be healed by Him, they'd heard about Him. They'd come to hear Him, and to be healed. To hear Him.

In that environment demons can come out, and vexations released, as well as sicknesses healed.

Paul on the Law

The Law was a unit. Indivisible. It's passed away. Even that which was written and engraven on stones has passed away. Paul said so. 

Yet Paul also said we fulfil the Law. And that we're not altogether without law, but under the law to Christ.

If we can't say all that, as he said all that; and if we can't reconcile it, as he could - then we either haven't grasped Paul, or we're not using our terms the same way he did.

And it's probably a good idea to use our terms the same way Paul used them - especially if we intend citing Paul in defence of our argument. 

Friday, 2 June 2017

Exhibit in Evidence for Jesus

4 ...many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Does this verse really refer to a travel and technology boom, as a sign that the "end" is near?
One day I decided to read the whole Book of Daniel through in a single sitting, to see what meaning would spring naturally to light when I arrived at 12:4. When I did so, a meaning for this verse seemed to fall into my lap!
In the lead-up to the verse, and following the verse, you will notice words and phrases such as “knowledge" and "wisdom” and “they that be wise" and "those with understanding" - and it always refers to people who know God: it refers to the knowledge of God.
Daniel wasn't concerned with Boeing 747s, and mobile Apps. When you read the whole book through, you realise how out-of-left-field it is to impose that meaning onto 12:4. Daniel's concern was with his own people and also the surrounding nations knowing God.
Elsewhere in the Old Testament "sealing up" a prophecy meant its fulfilment was for a time future to the writer; and "...they shall run that read it..." meant people would come to understand it and respond to it and broadcast it. It probably doesn't mean anything different in Daniel.
So here in Daniel, "...many shall run to and fro..." probably means heeding and carrying God's prophesied plan which had previously been a mystery; "...and knowledge shall be increased..." probably means the knowledge of God being increased.
Jeremiah also, in foretelling of a New Covenant which God would make with the house of Israel, said, “They shall all know me, from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord”.
When in history did that happen - when was there a sudden opening-up of Divine revelation, a revealing of the mystery, when did many come to know God, when did many begin publishing His Word?
Through the Gospel! John the Baptist was the forerunner; then our Lord Jesus Christ came; He also sent out His Apostles - and it's continuing through the ministry of the Church today: a great light has shone; there's been an unprecedented effusion of the knowledge of God; and a great increase in the numbers of those who proclaim His Word - it began in Israel first, then among all nations - through the Gospel, and by the Spirit of God.
The historical fact that all this is being achieved through the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, is an exhibit in evidence for Jesus as the Messiah foreseen in the Book of Daniel.