Topics from the Bible

The Bible contains stories to use in testing out the various theories, doctrines, and interpretations.



Heaven

Angels in heaven

(John 1:32) And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

When souls/spirits manifest in this world they manifest a material form. This is true of the Holy Spirit, angels, and even human beings who are spiritual beings with physical bodies (but they can live in a disembodied form in the spiritual realm).


Election 

Terms addressed in this section:

I reject the teachings of Calvinism.

(Jude 4) For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Those who will be judged have been determined (chosen) for this since the beginning. But notice that it is not particular individuals who were predetermined for judgment, but that God would judge those who transgress his laws.

(1 Peter 1:20) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

God foreordained that Jesus would come into the world and sacrifice his life to procure our redemption. This would not have been necessary if Adam and Eve had not sinned, thus, in creating them he knew they would succumb to Satan's temptation, but he created them anyway.

(Matthew 24:22) And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

Here, the elect are Jews — likely referring to devout, believing, redeemed Jews. There were survivors of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.; they became slaves but at least their lives were spared. Christians were exhorted to flee Jerusalem (verses 16 - 20) and they, in fact, did flee.

(Matthew 24:24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Here, the elect are Christians. Jesus is exhorting them not to follow after false teachers and false prophets. There were many of these in the early church.

(Matthew 24:31) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Here, the elect are all believers, all the redeemed from all ages.

(1 Peter 1:2) Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Peter is addressing the "elect" — these are the redeemed who are Christians.

(Romans 1:1) Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

(1 Corinthians 1:1) Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

Ultimately, all good things happen because of God's influence. God chose Paul and he responded.

(Romans 1:6) Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

Christians are the "called". This does not mean that they had no choice in the matter; they had to respond favorably to God's calling. Being the "called" of God requires reception by those who God calls. God actually calls everyone, but only the "called" respond favorably to God's call.

(Romans 1:7) To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Those who become Christians are the "called". God established the church and no one could have prevented this from occurring. But individuals must accept the gospel message in faith to become the "called".

(Romans 8:28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Once a believer receives God's blessing of faith, they can advance God's will in the world.

(Romans 8:29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

(Romans 8:30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

There is a succession of events here: Foreknowledge —> predestination —> called —> justified —> glorified.

This does not mean that God chooses who will be redeemed and who will not (ala Calvinism). Rather, it means that God is sovereign and that nothing occurs that is outside of his will. A necessary ingredient of salvation is faith. This requires a free-will response on the part of each person.

(Romans 9:24) Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Paul is referring to all Christians; those who had been Jews and those who had been non-Jews.

(1 Corinthians 7:18) Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.

(1 Corinthians 7:21) Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.

(1 Corinthians 7:22) For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.

Being called of God requires that the person receives it in faith. God calls everyone but only some receive God's call and become the "called".

(1 Corinthians 7:20) Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

Notice that being "called" requires obedience in faith to the terms of the calling of God.

(1 Thessalonians 4:7) For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

Those who are the called of God will live holy lives. Thus, being called requires faith which leads to repentance from sin.

(1 Timothy 6:12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

Those who receive the gift of salvation will obtain eternal life. But this requires that those publicly profess their faith and practice it.

(2 Timothy 1:9) Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

In becoming the "called" we are merely receiving God's gift; we do not deserve this calling but God offers it to all out of his grace and mercy.

(Hebrews 5:4) And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

Aaron would not have been called if Moses had been more bold in accepting God's call himself.

(Hebrews 11:8) By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

Note that Abraham had to act upon his calling.

(1 Peter 2:9) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

This verse does not imply that those who are called have no role in their calling.

(1 Peter 2:21) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Notice that being called requires that people follow Christ and obey him.

(Revelation 19:9) And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

God initiates all blessings; we merely respond.

(1 Peter 2:6) Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

(1 Peter 2:8) And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Jesus is one of the elect; he was one of those chosen of God.

Just as Jesus was chosen, so also those who receive the gospel and obey it are also chosen. Jesus was chosen by God the Father to come to earth and die for our sins but Jesus had to accept his mission.

(2 Peter 1:10) Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

Those who are called and elected must be diligent in practicing their faith or their calling and election might be revoked.

(Romans 11:29) For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

We can reject God's gifts. In like manner we can also reject God's calling.

(1 Corinthians 7:15) But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

God desires that Christians live in peace with one another but not all do. Thus, we can reject God's calling.

(Philippians 3:14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

We are to strive to live according to the standards of God's calling. Thus, we have a role in our calling; we must exercise our faith.

(Matthew 20:16) So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

It is possible for some to be called but not chosen. Thus, being called does not necessarily guarantee salvation; the called person must participate.

(1 Peter 2:9) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Being called from darkness into the light requires faith; thus, being called requires faith.


New Covenant

The question is: how many of the ordinances (laws) of the old covenant still apply in the new covenant?

(Jeremiah 31:33) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Notice that God's law is still operative — but it is enforced inwardly instead of outwardly; by the properly-formed conscience rather than the religious leaders and national institutions of Israel. Some Christian churches and communities try to impose this law on their members but such a thing is not proper in the new covenant.

(Jeremiah 31:34) And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

This verse can only be perfectly fulfilled in the new heavens and new earth. Certainly God has forgiven the sins of true Christians.

(Hebrews 12:24) And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Referring to Abel's offering (involving animal sacrifice) which pleased God (Genesis 4:4).


Born Again


Take up your Cross

This is a very odd image for Jesus to use. Likely the disciples had occasionally seen people carrying a cross on their way to crucifixion. But what possible meaning could it have had for the disciples who were not engaged in sedition against the Romans?

It is understandable that some Bible scholars would use this as evidence that these passages were written after the crucifixion of Christ and that Jesus never spoke these words. I reject these conclusions. Once we interpret the Bible this way Christianity collapses as is evidenced by liberal Christianity and even the difficulties plaguing the Catholic Church and many Protestant denominations.


Angel vs. Soul

Both live in heaven.


The Flesh

The word "flesh"has several meanings:

Physical Body

Part of the Soul

(Matthew 19:5) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

(Matthew 19:6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

The marriage bond is more than just a contractual agreement. But is certainly is not a merging of two bodies since the bodies remain distinct. I believe there is a merging of the two souls in the spiritual, heavenly realm.

(1 Peter 3:18) For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Notice that the flesh can die even though the body still lives. Thus, the term "flesh" refers to a spiritual aspect of the soul, not to the body. The inclination to sin (concupiscence) is a part of the soul, not a part of the body. The body can't sin, only the soul sins. Thus, the body is "good"; it is spiritually and morally neutral. This is similar to various technologies (such as TV and the internet) which are spiritually neutral. The sin enters when people use these technologies in a sinful manner.

Flesh and Bone

Some Bible teachers make a distinction between "flesh and blood" and "flesh and bone." I remain unconvinced that there is a difference.

There are more. Search for the word "flesh"


Body of Christ

The phrase "body of Christ" is more than just a figure of speech meaning "set of all believers" or "Christian community". Just as Christ as deity took on a human form, so also he constructed a body in the spiritual, heavenly realm composed of the redeemed.


Bind and Loose

(Matthew 18:15) Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

(Matthew 18:16) But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

(Matthew 18:17) And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.

(Matthew 18:18) Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

The power of binding and loosing is the authority of church leaders to discipline those they have authority over. This includes the authority to judge disputes and to excommunicate wayward Christians.

This authority was abused many times throughout church history.

(Matthew 18:19) Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

(Matthew 18:20) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Heaven and earth unite in the presence of Spirit-filled Christians.


Peter's Keys


Water, Spirit, Blood


Virgin, Eunuch, Celibate

Neither Catholics nor Protestants have doctrines about this that match the Bible.

Protestants seem to think that the married life is the only valid vocation. After all, during the Protestant reformation they destroyed the monasteries.

Catholics generally have the right idea about the validity of the unmarried vocation but they pressure young men into becoming priests.

It's possible that the word eunuch in the Bible sometimes refers to a homosexual.


Light

There are many references in the Bible to light which clearly refer to something other than physical light seen by physical eyes. There are several aspects to this light:

(1 John 1:7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

This phrase "walk in the light" is more than just a figure of speech. When illuminated with God's light our human souls see the way to go, the choices to make.

(2 Corinthians 4:4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

One of the attributes of a "god" is their ability to affect the physical world (as well as the spirit world).

This verse mentions the ability of Satan to blind souls so that they don't see the "light." This reference to seeing and blinding and light is more than a metaphor; the soul has spiritual eyes which see the light of God.


Does God Tempt Us to Sin?

(2 Thessalonians 2:11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

Just as God allowed Satan to temple Adam and Eve; just as God allowed Satan to bring extreme trials upon Job; and just as God hardened Pharaoh's heart; so also God allows these people to receive a strong delusion. This world is a place of testing to see who is fit for redemption.

(James 1:13) Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

(James 1:14) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Technically, God doesn't tempt anyone but he allows them to be tempted and he created this world which allows for the possibility of evil and of evil influences. So in this sense it can be said that God sends them a strong delusion.

(Exodus 9:12) And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.

This verse clearly states that God hardened Pharaoh's heart.


Resurrection

(Daniel 12:3) And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

(Daniel 12:10) Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

Daniel certainly understood the resurrection.


Uncategorized

(1 Peter 2:13) Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

(1 Peter 2:14) Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

This verse assumes that these rulers are ruling righteously. When rulers punish those who are good and reward the wicked, we are under no obligation to obey them.

(1 Peter 2:18) Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

(1 Peter 2:19) For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

(1 Peter 2:20) For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

(1 Peter 2:21) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Neither Christ nor the apostles attempted to eradicate the institution of slavery. Rather, they taught slaves to endure their suffering patiently and exhorted the masters to treat their slaves fairly and kindly.

In our modern age this exhortation applies to employees and those who work for others.


(Ephesians 2:2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

The human soul animates the human body. It is also possible for a fallen spirit to inhabit the human body (and other kinds of bodies such as pigs). In this verse we see that fallen spirits can influence the human soul also.

Satan is the "prince of the power of the air." I doubt if this means that he is in control of the weather. The phrase "power of the air" probably refers to his power to influence events, including physical events, in his mission of destruction.

(Job 1:12) And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

God does not harm Job and his family, he merely removes his protection from them allowing Satan to harm them. Thus we see that Satan (and the fallen spirits) have the ability to affect the physical world in addition to the spirit world.

(Hebrews 4:12) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Fundamentalist Protestants often interpret the phrase "word of God" to mean the Bible. Certainly the Bible contains the word of God but it is not the word of God.

God used his word to create the universe ("God said", in Genesis 1). God's word reflects his will which he communicates to all. God's word also reflects his presence.

God does not divide joints and marrow by separating them but, rather, by creating each with its distinct characteristics. I interpret this literally; that in each creative frame God re-creates all the complex physical components that make up the physical universe.

God doesn't divide soul and spirit by separating them but by distinguishing between them. The soul is that spiritual life which all living beings possess but the spirit is that living energy of God which only humans possess.

Thoughts and intents of the heart are attributes of the human soul.

(John 20:9) For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

This is an odd verse. Jesus told the disciples this before.

(Matthew 20:18) Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,

(Matthew 20:19) And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.

(Luke 18:33) And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.

(Luke 18:34) And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.

It seems the disciples didn't understand what Jesus was saying when he told them. Also, it is probable that he didn't use Old Testament prophecies to support his claims until after the resurrection.

(Matthew 27:63) Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

Even the unbelieving accusers had heard Jesus predict that he would rise from the dead.


(1 Peter 4:1) Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

(1 Peter 4:2) That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

This is a remarkable passage. It states that we can stop sinning in direct contradiction to the Protestant doctrine of the total depravity of man.

How do we stop sinning? We have to live like Christ and to be motivated as he was motivated. Two examples:


(1 Peter 3:20) Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

(1 Peter 3:21) The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Notice that we are saved by baptism. Just as those who were drowned by the flood (presumably because they believed Noah's message once they realized he was speaking the truth), so also those who are baptized are saved. Baptism's effect has nothing to do with being cleansed of dirt; Jesus once objected to the ritual cleansing of cups by the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:25) and taught that it was what was inside us that mattered. Presumably he was referring to our motives.


(Daniel 10:13) But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

(Daniel 10:20) Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.

(Daniel 10:21) But I will show thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.

A rare view into the spiritual realm and the spiritual battle that is occurring there. Notice there is time in the spiritual realm.