Archive: reader questions

WATER BAPTISM and PURIFICATION (Part 2 of 2)

A question that came to us:

“If we are still to practice water baptism today, what scripture teaches that it is no longer a purification (Jn. 3:25) and washing (Acts 22:16) by sprinkling or pouring but burial in water to symbolize death, burial, and resurrection?”

(This is the second part to the question’s answer. You can read Part 1 here.

My short answer:
Water baptism is not a sacrament, or means of obtaining salvation. Baptism of a believer is a personal decision that identifies (by a picture or visual representation) the believer with the gospel he professes to believe.

The gospel in this Church age is that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again for our justification under the New Testament. This gospel does not symbolize a future remission of sins under the New Covenant God promised to Israel, such as John’s and Peter’s baptism (Jeremiah 31:31; Luke 3:3, 24:47; Acts 2:38; Joel 2:28-29).

Water baptism in the Church age looks back on the finished and complete work of Christ, which was applied effectually by the Holy Spirit, at the moment the believer trusted Christ. It is important to note that water baptism does not look directly back to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ—it looks back to the work of the Holy Spirit when the believer was baptized into Christ—which in itself, indeed, is based on the past Person and Work of Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. (Romans 6:3-4). The believer’s salvation and justification is “no more of works” “not of works” and “not by works of righteousness” (Romans 11:6; Ephesians 2:9; Titus 3:5).

At the same time, when the believer trusted Christ alone, the Holy Spirit baptized him into the body of Christ, of which Christ is the Head (1 Corinthians 12:13-27). Therefore, water baptism is by immersion (going down into a ‘watery grave’, and coming up out of it): and the only mode that can picture the gospel of grace: identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.

Water baptism may be public or private but the intent is always to identify the believer with the gospel revealed to Paul for this age, and to mark his fellowship with all other believers in Christ.
It is a vivid illustration that can be done anywhere, anytime, in any culture. When the gospel of grace (salvation without any work by man–all is dependent upon Christ) is preached, water baptism renounces all other ‘gospels’ and proclaims that any other means of salvation are false.

The biblical meaning of water baptism has been so perverted, ignored and neglected by so many for so long, water baptism is no longer an offence to false gospels and religious systems in the USA and other parts of the world.

The detailed answer:

PREVIOUS STUDY ON PURIFICATION AND BAPTISM

In our first study we covered the general process of purification, its elements, and the fact that baptism and purification were not synonymous. In this final study we look at the second part of the question: Do we have any scriptural justification to baptize converts that is a burial to symbolize death, burial, and resurrection?

I attempt to cover a large body of material here without needless jargon or long technical terms with the intent to not only answer the question above but to also use it as part of our Bible school curriculum. My focus is on the average Bible student and is intended to be an introduction to the voluminous and complex subject of translation and interpretation from a source language (Greek) to a target language (English). At the same time I hope to give a reasonable, logical, and scriptural answer to the question. It is of utmost importance to know what constitutes “baptism”. Is baptism an act or a condition that results from a particular action? In other words, when one is ‘baptized’ does that mean the candidate was dipped, submerged, immersed, or simply overwhelmed? When one is baptized, must water be the element used? “He was baptized by John in the river of Jordan.” Does that mean he was “dipped in water and brought up” “sprinkled with water, or had water poured over him so profusely, that he was entirely wet?” “The disciples were baptized with the Holy Ghost”—must that mean the baptism was with water? When a person is “baptized” does it mean the baptism was ‘because of’ a prior event or looking forward ‘for’ a future benefit?

“Baptism” and “Baptized” (verbal forms and adjective) have been miserably ill defined by many so-called ‘scholars.’ This is the result of a flawed definition of baptism; one that never met the demands of normal literal interpretation of scripture. First error: To discover what the word “baptism” meant, ‘scholars’ searched Classical Greek for how the terms, baptism and baptized were used in the writings of ancient secular Greek authors. Second error: Depending on the particular religious view of the researcher, the definition of baptism was determined from select accounts, while any opposing account was simply left unreported. The majority of accounts that agreed with the researcher’s predetermined ‘correct definition’ overruled any account of disagreement.

Therefore, to put it in plain speech, when the researcher was Presbyterian, ‘baptism’ was determined to be sprinkling or pouring. When the researcher was a Baptist, ‘baptism’ was determined to be immersion or dipping. Both ignored the context where baptism was used in the Bible, and both believed the interpretive authority lay in the secular Classical Greek usage, instead of context and usage of the term in the Bible itself. Both approaches concluded that “baptism” was an ACTION (sprinkling or pouring or dipping or immersion) rather than a CONDITION. The misconception lingers today and has affected Bible interpretation by many.

The definition of baptism must include several key elements, all determined by the context and usage found in the King James Bible (KJB). The KJB is an accurate translation of the koine (common) Greek text into the English language and thus reflects the divine definition. A consistent definition and meaning of “baptism” must consider “where” “when” “how” and to “whom” the term is used in the word of God. Proper definition of baptism embodies the message it accompanies, the method employed, the mode of action, as well as the messenger or the “baptizer”.

The Greek of the New Testament was not written in Classical Greek; the NT Greek is what is called ‘koine’ (common) Greek and was not the Greek of the secular Greek authors such as Homer, Sophocles, Euripides, Hippocrates, etc. God set His own definitions and interpretations apart from man by usage and context in the KJB.

NT Greek was the language of the common man and not the language of the ‘scholars’. Not only that, NT Greek has properties that go beyond the normal speech and usage of the koine Greek. The KJB is based on what is called “Biblical Greek”. Even the English of the KJB has certain elements not used or spoken in the English language by anyone from 900-2015 a.d.; therefore, the KJB is Biblical English and one only finds the definitive meanings of terms in their usage and context in the KJB.

For several reasons, I believe the error of substituting or transliterating baptismois as “baptisms” instead of the translation of “washings” in Hebrews 9:10 is a glaring example of ignoring Bible usage and context. It is simply the result of ‘uniform translation’ (the assumption that all Greek words that are the same, must have the same meaning.) In following this assumption, all ‘modern translations’ such as the NIV, have perverted the meaning of critical Bible words.

The KJB employs context and usage to define critical Bible words. Methods God uses are: common translation, which is dependent upon words between Greek and English context and usage that are necessary for proper grammar and syntax. For example: common words such as a, an, the, is, am, to be, go, to, for, in, at, body, people, etc. This not to say that gender, verb tenses, adverbs, prepositions, adjectives, etc., are not important and that translation does not necessitate Greek/English grammar rules. The most unusual feature of proper communicative translation between Greek and English is transliteration of certain words in specific contexts. Whether a word is to be translated or transliterated is determined by its import of a doctrinal matter as well as near or far context. Transliteration in effect creates a new term by putting the English equivalent of the Greek letters such as βαπτισμοῖς= baptisms. It is a divine marker to indicate the need for biblical context and usage alone to define it. Typical Greek vocabulary and grammar reference books are of no help in discovering what it means. (The Greek vocabulary tools on such words have been manipulated by Classical Greek usage rather than how the Bible uses the term).
The word baptism (along with all its various grammar forms) is not found in the Hebrew or English Old Testament. There are “divers washings” involving water just as the KJB says, but there is no usage of “baptisms”. The KJB recognizes the problem of transliterating baptismois as “baptisms” in Hebrews 9:10 and employs the translation, “washings” which is defined on the rule of biblical context.
Here is the reason: if the OT “washings” is synonymous with NT baptisms, a doctrinal error of extreme importance is introduced. The various ‘water baptisms’ of tents, pots, pans, cups, toes, and animal guts would be on the par with not only the baptism of NT believers, but also John’s baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ!

God reveals seven baptisms in the NT with a variety of recipients, messengers, modes, and meanings—not a single one is named a baptism in the OT text.

Baptism from the beginning (Exodus; 1 Corinthians 10) was identification with Moses as God’s spokesman and professed agreement with his message from God. The waters of the Red Sea never cleansed or even touched those under Moses leadership—they all went through on “dry ground”. Remember, this “baptism” at the Red Sea was never called that in the OT. Paul brought it into the Corinthian letter because of their misuse of the purpose and meaning of water baptism. A single baptism (Red Sea) existed before the Law and God never confused baptism with “a purification rite” under the Law. This baptism preceded the Law dispensation and involved a “mixed multitude” that included Jews and Gentiles, some truly dedicated to Moses leadership and some mere professors, as was proven later when times got hard and they rebelled. The rule of first mention establishes the basic meaning.

The use of water in such Law matters as the priests, etc., was a dedication and identification to their office and duties. Water took no sins away nor did it immediately remit any sins; water if used, was a part of several elements and actions: a process.

God “sent John to baptize” and he followed no OT Law instruction or traditions of the Jews. (John 1:33).

WATER BAPTISM TODAY

“If we are still to practice water baptism today, what scripture teaches… (it is)… a burial in water to symbolize death, burial, and resurrection?”

There is no scripture that ‘teaches’ water baptism is essential to salvation or successful Christian living today. When ‘baptism’ is seen to be immersion in every instance in the NT, the interpreter has accepted the wrong conclusion that baptism is an ACT, rather than a condition that is the result of an action. This false assumption is based on Classical Greek usage in secular writings and not the Bible Greek (koine) usage and context. Therefore, when we read, “they were baptized…” the meaning is that the people were put into a place and a particular action of pouring, immersion or submersion occurred, which resulted in the condition of them being described as “baptized”.


Baptism is defined in its most basic definition by the rule of first mention. (See 1 Corinthians 10:1 with Exodus, “baptized unto Moses”). Baptism, by whatever mode, (sprinkling, pouring, immersion, etc.) is identification with the messenger and his message. And, the mode may be in a figurative sense such as when Jesus spoke of His coming substitutionary death, (“I have a baptism to be baptized with.” Matthew 20:22-23) refers to a submersion into a certain situation. When we say, “He was baptized by fire in the first battle…” we mean he was placed in a situation he had never been in before and experienced things he had never experienced prior to that situation. We do not mean he was literally in fire. But when the context of a baptism contains such words as “baptized in Jordan” “in and out of water” “baptized by John”, context demands it is a literal event.

“Baptized unto Moses,” means those who followed him through the Red Sea accepted Moses as God’s leader, His spokesman, and agreed with Moses’ message. That baptism was literal but the mode and meaning were certainly unusual! No one got wet. The ground was “dry”; at least dry enough so that the Israelites were not impeded by mud and sinkholes, the waters of the sea itself were “divided”. Exodus 14:21-22 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

They were not encompassed or touched by water on every side, unless one wishes to insist that the atmosphere had water in the form of vapor above them. The “cloud” was not above them but before and behind: “…and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:” (v.19). The whole experience is described as being “baptized unto Moses.”

Baptism, as used in the context of Paul’s ministry, is certainly important for us today. God selected him as the “apostle to the Gentiles” and revealed to him God’s program for the Church. His ministry was not just a continuation of the same message and ministry of Peter and the twelve apostles before him. Certain aspects of his ministry are the same as previous periods of time but there are several that are unique to the present doctrine and practice. God’s program for all eternity is consistent throughout and in total harmony. And in our Bible study, we must never ‘split’ up the Bible so that certain portions of scripture are of less value than others, but neither should we insist that everything in the Bible is to be followed by everybody during all periods of time.

WHAT DOES PAUL TEACH REGARDING BAPTISM?

Paul never commands or denies water baptism in all his epistles (13 in total: Romans-Philemon) although he did baptize converts. Paul never changed his message of salvation by grace, without works. This can produce nothing but one of two conclusions: (a.) Paul was ignorant for a period of time in his ministry, or (b.) that water baptism is not essential to salvation and carries some other meaning than that found in Luke 3:3 and Acts 2:38 ‘for the remission of sins’.

Paul connects water baptism with the testimony or profession of a Christian and never with salvation. In his letter to the Corinthians, he deals with their carnality and poor spiritual practice but never questions their position in Christ. To understand this, we must look at the context of 1 Corinthians 1.

1Cor. 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
1Cor. 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
1Cor. 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
1Cor. 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1Cor. 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Cor. 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

(There is no question here as to whether Paul is writing to confirmed, lost professors or to those who are saved. He thanked God for them, they are “enriched by Him (Christ)”, Their “testimony” of Christ was confirmed—not necessarily perfect—in that they had many gifts, and they were “waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”)

1Cor. 1:10 ¶ Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
1Cor. 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
1Cor. 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
1Cor. 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

(However, they had some problems of carnal divisions and contentions. The Corinthians had divided themselves into various ‘denominations’: “I am of Paul”—those that separate Paul’s ministry apart from Peter’s ministry to the extreme, ’Neo-Bereans’??—“I of Apollos’, ‘scholarly crowd’??—“of Cephas”, RCC??—“I of Christ”, so-called Church of Christ?? It is this problem he addresses. Their carnality was marring their testimony.)

1Cor. 1:14 ¶ I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
1Cor. 1:15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
1Cor. 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

(Paul is not confessing his problem with understanding baptism here—as the Neo-Bereans of today claim—Paul is not trying to figure out what he believes, he is correcting the Corinthian’s problem! Since water baptism pictures the union of the believer with Christ and his fellowship with other believers in Christ, the practice of division among the Corinthians was not consistent with their position in Christ. Paul, by inspiration here, also strongly indicates that water baptism is not commanded, nor is it of such importance that records of who is baptized by who must be maintained; Paul did not. Baptism is a picture that professes relationship and fellowship. The Corinthians were not ‘living up to’ their profession.)

1Cor. 1:17 ¶ For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

(Again, Paul is not finally coming to the realization that he should never baptize—another ridiculous interpretation by those who oppose water baptism in this age. Water baptism is not a part of the gospel he preached. The gospel of the grace of God does not require that you cover water baptism or any work by man. John the Baptist was “sent to baptize” and his baptism proclaimed that Israel would receive “remission of sins” in the future. Peter preached the same message and his baptism was “for the remission of sins” in the future. Both John and Peter demanded that those who believed their message must be baptized. That baptism looked forward to the future day when the nation would be “born again” and their sins remitted—final dealing with their apostasy under the New Covenant.)

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
John 3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
John 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

(Nicodemus was a ‘master of Israel’—teacher, and a prominent leader of the nation. Jesus’ question was a rebuke to Nicodemus, had he never read and believed all the OT promises of the future New Covenant?)

Jer. 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Jer. 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
Jer. 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.
Jer. 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.

Joel 2:28 ¶ And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
Joel 2:29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Acts 2:37 ¶ Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

(John the Baptist and Peter, while not understanding the full meaning of the suffering of Christ, they knew the OT promises of the coming New Covenant and the ‘pouring’ out of God’s Spirit, along with the OT’s many references to water being a symbol of the word of God: cleansing, refreshing, growing, and even judging.)

1Cor. 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

(Paul mentions “the cross” several times in his letters. In 1 Corinthians 1:17 “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” With v. 18, “the preaching of the cross” connects “the gospel” and “the cross”. Whereas, John and Peter did not mention “preaching of the cross”; John was puzzled regarding the death of Christ on the cross; Peter, knowing that Christ was crucified, mentions the death of Christ—not as a blessing to anyone—but as a sin of Israel’s leaders, who with “wicked hands” killed the “Prince of life” Acts 3:15.)
Today, those who do not see the primacy of the “cross” in the gospel of the grace of God are apt to add other things or requirements to the “preaching of the cross.” Men add baptism, church membership, good works, even understanding ‘mysteries’, giving, and even some level of refraining from practices such as gambling, sports, entertainment, etc., and call these things “preaching the gospel”. One can stand on a street corner all day long with biblical terminology signs: “Repent or Perish” “Go to Church or the Devil Will Get You” “Get Saved”, “Pray For America” “Get Baptized” or political statements such as: “Abolish the Supreme Court” “Elect Hillary” “Arrest Hillary” “Impeach Obama”–none of them have anything to do with “preaching the gospel”. We are not saying it is wrong to stand on the street with a sign, or that all of the above imperatives are good or bad; none of them are the gospel.

There is nothing sinful or ungodly about being baptized, praying, giving, going to church, or being concerned over political and social issues. Every preacher should have such concerns, but God did not ‘send us’ to baptize, pray, give, or dedicate all our efforts to a thousand other worthy matters. If I “send” my son to the store to buy a gallon of milk, he may drive the car, say ‘hello’ to several on the way, look at the store’s candy display and even buy a “KitKat”—but if he forgets the milk—he did not do what I sent him to do.

–Dave Reese August, 2015

WATER BAPTISM and PURIFICATION (Part 1 of 2)

WATER BAPTISM and PURIFICATION (1)

(Part 1 of 2 Parts)

A question that came to us:

If we are still to practice water baptism today, what scripture teaches that it is no longer a purification (Jn. 3:25) and washing (Acts 22:16) by sprinkling or pouring but burial in water to symbolize death, burial, and resurrection?

PURIFICATION

The error of equating or relating OT ‘purification’ to NT water baptism has caused much confusion. The terms are neither synonymous nor are they related in any way. In other words, water baptism was never Bible purification and never a part of the process of purification. Over the centuries after God gave the Law to Moses, the Jews’ religion became a mixture of rabbinical interpretations and traditions that added to the Law of Moses hundreds of non-scriptural requirements and perversion. By the time Jesus came to earth, the religious leaders of the nation of Israel had added to, subtracted from, and changed so much of the Law of Moses that His sternest rebukes: “hypocrites”, “blind leaders of the blind” “whited sepulchres” “vipers” etc., were reserved for the religious leaders of Israel. The Law feasts were no longer “feasts of the LORD” but designated by a term never found one time in the OT: “feast of the Jews” (John 5:1; 6:4; 7:2). By inspiration, Paul called his past religious life as a leading Pharisee, Hebrew of the Hebrews—the “Jews’ religion” (Galatians 1:13-14).

There is no justification to make all First Century doctrines and practices of the Jews a valid argument against plain, direct, inspired statements of the Bible. Those who use Jewish practice to vilify the Bible practice of water baptism are either ignorant of scripture or they are religious crooks.

Inspired Bible purification was a process involving various definitive actions, elements, over a period of time. One passage of several illustrates the process:

Num. 19:16 And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.

(Notice purification cannot be done by even a single act of ‘washing’—it took 7 days)

Num. 19:17 And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel:

(The ashes had been prepared much earlier from a burnt heifer)

Num. 19:18 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave:

(Hyssop is dipped, sprinkled, not only on all the persons but on the tent and all the vessels—a long process)

Num. 19:19 And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even.

(Purification never took place in one moment or 1, 2 or 3 days. It took 7 days, previous dipping and sprinkling of water, washing clothes, taking a bath, and one could only be pronounced clean on the even of the 7th day. Any future reoccurrences had to begin the process all over again. How, by any stretch of the imagination, could this be equated with NT baptism?!?)

We only need go to the OT and note “the feasts of the LORD” and compare those with the “feasts of the Jews” in the NT (John 5:1; 6:4; 7:2) to realize that the Jews had perverted the Law of Moses to such a degree that none of the feasts in the NT are called “feasts of the LORD” anymore.  Temple worship had also been degraded to a “den of thieves” (Luke 19:46). The gospel accounts are replete with the Lord’s rebuke to leaders of Israel and their apostasy from the Law of Moses. It is no wonder then to find the Jews questioning “some of John’s disciples” about purification.

John 3:25 Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying

BAPTISM

Heb. 9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

The correct and basic rule of Bible interpretation is usage and context in the King James Bible (KJB). All skepticism of the justification and meaning of a believer’s water baptism in this present age stems from two corrupt sources: (1) the very questionable Greek translation (LXX) of the Hebrew Old Testament in which the Egyptian based ‘translators’ put “baptism” in every Hebrew text for “washing”. Gullible and careless handlers of the word of God say, “See, there is proof washings are baptisms.” (2) The second source, founded on the first error, replaced the KJB’s translation of ‘baptizo’ (and its various forms) with a Greek definition from secular Classical Greek. The Greek of the New Testament was not written in Classical Greek; the NT Greek is what is called ‘koine’ (common) Greek and was not the Greek of the secular Greek authors such as Homer, Sophocles, Euripides, Hippocrates, etc. God, in the Bible, set His own definitions and interpretations apart from man.

NT Greek was the language of the common man and not the language of the ‘scholars’. Not only that, NT Greek has properties that go beyond the normal speech and usage of the koine Greek. The KJB is based on what is called “Biblical Greek”. Even the English of the KJB has certain elements not used or spoken in the English language by anyone from 900-2015 a.d.; therefore, the KJB is Biblical English and one only finds the definitive meanings of terms in their usage and context in the KJB.

For several reasons, I believe the error of substituting or transliterating baptismois as “baptisms” instead of the translation of “washings” in Hebrews 9:10 is a glaring example of ignoring Bible usage and context. It is simply the result of ‘uniform translation’ (the assumption that all Greek words that are the same, must have the same meaning.) In following this assumption, all ‘modern translations’ such as the NIV, have perverted the meaning of critical Bible words.

The word baptism (along with all its various grammar forms) is not found in the Hebrew or English Old Testament. There are “divers washings” involving water just as the KJB says, but there is no usage of “baptisms”. The KJB recognizes the problem of transliterating baptismois as “baptisms” in Hebrews 9:10 and employs the translation, “washings” which is defined on the rule of biblical context.

Here is the reason: if the OT “washings” is synonymous with NT baptisms, a doctrinal error of extreme importance is introduced. The various ‘water baptisms’ of tents, pots, pans, cups, toes, and animal guts would be on the par with not only the baptism of NT believers, but also John’s baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ!

God reveals seven baptisms in the NT with a variety of recipients, messengers, modes, and meanings—not a single one is named a baptism in the OT text.

Baptism from the beginning (Exodus; 1 Corinthians 10) was identification with Moses as God’s spokesman and professed agreement with his message from God. The waters of the Red Sea never cleansed or even touched those under Moses leadership—they all went through on “dry ground”. Remember, this “baptism” at the Red Sea was never called that in the OT. Paul brought it into the Corinthian letter because of their misuse of the purpose and meaning of water baptism. A single baptism (Red Sea) existed before the Law and God never confused baptism with “a purification rite” under the Law. Baptism superseded the Law dispensation and involved a “mixed multitude” that included Jews and Gentiles, some truly dedicated to Moses leadership and some mere professors, as was proven later when times got hard and they rebelled. The rule of first mention establishes the meaning.

The use of water in such Law matters as the priests, etc., was a dedication and identification to their office and duties. Water took no sins away nor did it immediately remit any sins; water if used, was a part of several elements and actions: a process.

God “sent John to baptize” and he followed no OT Law instruction or traditions of the Jews. (John 1:33).

WHAT ABOUT ANANIAS?

Ananias remarks about baptism came from his previous religious training and not from God. God never told Ananias to ‘wash away Paul’s sins’ by baptism. Here is what God said:

Acts 9:10 ¶ And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

Acts 9:11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

Acts 9:12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

Acts 9:13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

Acts 9:14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

Acts 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

You will notice that Ananias ADDED baptism to the word of God. Paul, in Acts 22:16, simply gave accurate testimony of what Ananias said, and by no means should be assumed to be Paul’s present agreement with the Jews religion or Kingdom doctrine. In addition, Paul was ALREADY A CHOSEN VESSEL (Acts 9:15) before Ananias ever met him or imposed the washing! Had Ananias never showed up, Paul would still bear the Lord’s name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.

(There are two more parts to the question: John’s mode of baptism and what justification we have to make water baptism a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We will deal with those in the remaining installment that follows next week.) —August 16, 2015.

Psalm 12: Preserved Men or Preserved Words?

A student wrote:


Dr. Reese,
I have heard/read Dr. G and Dr. R say that Psalms 12:7 in the Hebrew texts means a preservation of the word of God, but then I have seen where non-KJB believers say that it does not. For example.

“The Hebrew of the verse allows the pronoun to be first person plural (us) or first person masculine singular (him) but not third person plural (them).”

I know some say that verse 7 is referring back to verse 5 rather than verse 6. When you have time could you give me a brief exposition of the 8 verses in the passage and what it means in “the original Hebrew text”? (Alexandrian lingo)

Thank you very much. –EHC


Psalms 12:
[1] Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.
[2] They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.
[3] The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things:
[4] Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?
[5] For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.
[6] The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
[7] Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
[8] The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.

Answer

Dear EHC: Here are my final remarks on Psalm 12. If you received an earlier one, replace it with this.

Psalm 12:7 does refer to the words of God: all of God’s words from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21.
The critics of a present inspired Bible that can be held in your hand must attempt to deny any passage that states such an infallible authority exists. They do not believe inspiration went past the original; all modern scholars hold that only the originals were inspired, but that any preservation was left entirely in the hands of human instrumentality. This is a humanistic attitude toward the word of God and treats His Book as any other book. This provides the “need” for these Bible scholars to decide which Hebrew and Greek MSS and readings are accurate. None of them believe an exact copy of the inspired words of God is in existence anywhere. They are still searching for the truth.

In an attempt to appear scholarly, many who profess to believe the King James Bible meet the critics halfway. They claim that only the originals were inspired, citing the supposed present tense error of the KJB in 2 Timothy 3:16 “is given” and correcting it to the past tense (“all scripture was given by inspiration”), and that certain OT texts (Hebrew Massoretic Text) and Greek MSS were superintended by God’s providence to keep His words. They call the superintendence “Preservation”. In this way, they are able to say inspiration was confined to the originals but that God superintended His word so that in the Hebrew Massoretic text and the Greek Majority Text, we have the preserved (but not inspired) words of God in Hebrew and Greek. This allows Biblical scholars to determine the correct translation of the merely “preserved” Hebrew and Greek words. Of course, this means the King James translation as all translations, are susceptible to error. This allows the “Bible believing scholar” to determine the translation since “the KJB did miss the correct translation in a few places.”

Their problem is this: In hundreds of places throughout the OT and the NT text in your hand, the King James Bible claims to be the very word of God. There is no biblical statement or example of any person in the KJB text that even hints that all translations are subject to error. Every preacher in the KJB, including Jesus, believed the Bible in his hand and did not mention “a translation” of any kind.
if the KJB is not God’s inspired words, the King James Bible in English, it is the greatest fraud ever in the history of mankind. In treating the Bible as any other book or even as only the preserved word of God, the “scholars” conveniently justify their offices and deluded men provide them with a livelihood. To admit that God’s word is the KJB so that we have all of His inspired words today, would put 99% of all higher critics along with the KJB “scholars” out of their easy chairs onto the street.
This is why you will find modernist and professing KJB “believers” critics of Psalm 12 that claim the Hebrew can not support the third person “them” but will support the first person masculine singular “He”. They think they have it all sewed up. However, God put fox traps in the Book for every critic with a heresy. The Bible critic can’t see these because of their spiritual blindness. Unless a man approaches the King James Bible with childlike trust, believing it is God’s word, it remains a closed Book. Attack the word of God and it reveals your sin. Once the critics learn from a real KJB believer where the trap is, if they don’t repent of their sin, they won’t ever really spiritually see or receive it, but with a head (not heart) knowledge, they simply adjust their position to go around it.

One trap for the “Hebrew expert” here in vss 6-7 is that although there are a plural number of “words of the Lord”, it is also true that all of these words are bound into a singular unit and also called, “the word of the Lord” or “the word of God.”

For example:

“3 And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying,…( then follows the covenant promises to David–many “words of The Lord” in several verses to vs 15)….
15 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.” (‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭17‬:‭3, 15‬ KJB).

“After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” (‭Genesis‬ ‭15‬:‭1‬ KJB).


The Bible is: “the word of God” “the words of God” “the words of the Lord” “the word of the Lord”, plural yet also singular!

Not only that, the words of the Lord are called “scripture” (an emphasis on the writing of the words) and are designated with Personality: “HE”.
HE speaks (before we can read) and HE raises men up and shows HIS power in them for a designed purpose. HE has mercy on those with childlike faith and HE hardens the reprobate’s heart. A foolish man can not see that the Bible is a present living, life giving Book with Personality because his sin blinds his heart and mind.

“17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” (‭Romans‬ ‭9‬:‭17-18‬ KJB).


(This, no doubt, had to be Moses’ words, who knew both Hebrew and Egyptian, translated into the Egyptian language to Pharaoh, who did not know Hebrew–a translation that was called “scripture”).

“The Hebrew” who was consulted by the critics on Psalm 12 did not know enough Bible to be qualified as an authority on the words of the Lord.

Like all interpretation of Bible verses, verse 7 must not be studied apart from the context of Psalm 12. A major theme of the Psalm is “words of the Lord” versus the words from the lips, mouths, tongues and words of vanity from wicked men.

As far as vs 7 being a reference to preserving God’s people, I have always wondered since hearing that argument, why does the Psalm refer (vs1) to the godly man ceasing and the faithful failing–if vs 7 means God PRESERVES THEM FROM CEASING AND FAILING?

And, why would a critic allow that God could keep a man but think that something is wrong with God keeping His words? How does God save, bring about a new birth, and keep a man, apart from the ever present living word of God?

“23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (‭1 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭23-25‬ KJB)

Obedient Righteousness of Christ: Could He Sin?

The question is grounded in doubt. It would be understandable from a lost man who has not read much or any of the Bible, and we should gladly show him what the Bible says about Jesus. The same question from a professing “Christian” makes us wonder who he has listened to or what he has been reading. One thing is sure: the only people in the Bible who ever question the righteousness of Christ are unbelievers or those who “know not the scripture.”

Some who teach that the Lord Jesus Christ could have sinned, mean well in their effort to have Him identified with sinners. But good intentions do not always teach good Bible doctrine. Rather than accept His Whole Person, this idea separates the two Natures (Deity + Humanity) and diminishes His Person by treating His Humanity as though His Humanity could act apart from His Deity. That effort to magnify His Humanity at the expense of His Deity, actually separates the One Person and diminishes the efficacy of His perfect life and sacrificial death as the Perfect Substitute.

1. In the Old Testament types, the sin sacrifice was to be (as much as possible) without blemish. There was to be no offering of the blind, lame, or that with some doubt as to its value. The best was the accepted one. All OT types of Christ, His life and work, only point to His absolute perfection. To hold that the Humanity of Christ could have sinned, at the very onset makes one look for a blemish. We read “God was manifest in the flesh” but then treat Him as an OT TYPE RATHER THAN THE ANTITYPE, is a skeptical, unbelieving approach and potentially lowers His Human Nature to that same possible fault of an OT lamb or ox.

2. There is no efficacy in a death by someone on some cross. There were many crucified by Rome and two thieves were crucified on crosses at Calvary. It was not the cross that saved, it was the Person on the cross. We do not preach a crucifixion, we preach CHRIST crucified; the sinless Person on one cross made that particular death meaningful. We should never place the inanimate wood into a golden idol; the impeccable PERSON made that place memorable, the instruments and location were secondary to the Prince of Glory!

3. Scripture exalts the perfection of Christ in all aspects. Infidels lower the Person of Christ to make Him a mere man. We do not deny His Humanity but we must not forget that In His life and atoning death, His Deity cannot be diminished at the expense of His flesh, He was God manifest in the flesh, He was not just “a good” or even “great man” or a “possible sinner”.

The following verses prove that The Lord Jesus Christ could not and did not sin.

Consider these statements by Jesus in His prayer to the Father. At the appropriate place we will add comment relative to this study. To avoid loss of context, several verses are quoted although the entire prayer is testimony to His Person: God in the flesh.
JOHN 15

“1 THESE words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”

“…power over all flesh” is certainly an amazing statement. If He had “power” over all flesh this not only meant others but His own. Some may argue that “authority” is meant here but the conclusion must be the same,

“3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”

In this statement (v3) the Lord equates Himself with the Father–no ordinary mortal who could sin would place himself in such a position. In v.4 He has “glorified” His Father and “finished” the work He gave Him to do. To say that at any moment He could have sinned would make Jesus a questionable Savior from the beginning, the rest of His life on earth a possible failure, and His very words “I have finished” not those of Eternal Deity—beyond the past, present, and future tenses–but one of the doubtful future, “I may finish the work between now and my death”. Compare Jesus’ statement to questions as to who He claimed to be: “before Abraham was, I am.”

“5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”

This is not a speech by only His Deity–that is impossible–His Person is going to the cross, both God and Man inseparable in the incarnation, an event unparalleled by any mortal reason or thought.)

“6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.”

God’s name has been “manifested” and “all things known”, not by them reading the OT or by a mere speech; all was done by His impeccable life before them–which means by contextual definition–that Jesus could not sin and leave an ungodly example in any aspect of His Being.

“10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 14:10)

There is no question as to Jesus’ past and future sinlessness in this statement: “I have kept” (past) and “abide in his love.” ( now, continually) To all men who can possibly sin, the conditional “IF” always exists. For a person who could sin, the statement “I have kept and I abide” is presumptuous.

“30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” (John 14:30)

The devil had no place, power, influence or potential in the Person of Christ –that includes His Humanity.

“29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” (John 8:29)

If Jesus COULD have sinned, His statement should have been, as ours must be: “I hope I can do always those things that please Him.”

THE LAST PARAGRAPH MARK (ACTS 20:36)

“…in the 1611 publication. Interestingly, however, these pilcrow marks disappeared after Acts 20:36. (One wonders of the printer just ran out of pilcrows.)”
(The Story Behind the King James Version. Article by Dr. Ron Rhodes. www.cbn.com)

WE should expect this from a “700 Club” (CBN) website. The statement by Rhodes is frivolous and unsubstantiated. To suggest the printer “ran out of pilcrows” reveals parroting what he read by others as well as a lack of knowledge regarding the importance of printing for the Crown in 1611.

THIS is the last pilcrow in the KJB: ” ¶ And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.” (Acts 20:36 KJB)

THERE actually are several who suggest the printer ran out of the pilcrow type at this point–if he did, it was an ordained lack. However, considering the extensive use of the mark throughout the OT and the Gospels, as well as the meticulous care in typesetting, etc.-under the King’s orders and the scrutiny of the translators—-it seems to me that idea of running out of type is silly. Unfortunately (?) we have very little of the KJB translators’ notes to see their reaction. There are no records of objections by others at the time. The “last paragraph mark” was noted without a known reason several years later and since has been a mystery—but the pilcrow absence survived all the reprints. Why?

LIKE other unusual features in the KJB such as the sixth book in the NT (R-O-M-A-N-S six letters with MAN in it) that means “according, or having to do with man”, there are exactly 6 verses where the 6th word in each verse is “man” with the last being Romans 6:6, the missing pilcrows actually defy normal explanation.
A question regarding the last paragraph in the KJB was asked by a Bible believing pastor. Here is my answer to this mystery: another one of the many “coincidental” features of the KJB.

FIRST: As used in English, the pilcrow was not at a mere paragraph marker but also a MARK OF ORDER OF EVENTS, for example, in a service in which certain people were to perform an action or a particular change was made in events. It was also used to mark off discourse changes. Today’s usage is extensive in legal writing to mark off various parts and it is still used by many in formal writing.

THE personal and direct statement by Paul is made to the Ephesian church in vss. 28-35. This final pilcrow is NOT just the last paragraph of Acts, it is the final one in the Bible. Most miss that the final paragraph begins in v 36 and has not yet ended! Of course the argument could be made that the next chapter automatically begins a new paragraph but the fact remains there are no more pilcrows in the Bible.

I believe the pilcrow at v 36 is connected with the prison epistle truth found in Ephesians-Philemon. The charge by Paul to the Ephesian church is in the same structure as his letters: doctrinal content is first and the practical applications are at the end of his charge.

IF my observation is accurate, then what we have is a significant change noted here from Paul’s Acts ministry which purpose was to gather out a remnant of Israel (… to the Jew first… Romans 1:16) by grace into the Body of Christ (Romans-Galatians: Acts epistles) to his prison ministry that goes without distinction to all men without any advantages to anybody (Ephesians-Philemon. See Philippians 3 ).

ONE key is “see his face no more” (v. 38). The “ship” in Acts 21 thus removes Paul from the Acts ministry and eventually leads to Jerusalem where the rulers of Israel confirm their rejection of the gospel of grace, then unto Rome where those Jewish rulers scattered abroad confirm the nation’s total rejection, thus commencing his prison ministry, the final order of things for the Church. (Acts 28:17-31)

“And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.” (Acts 28:17 KJB)

“And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.” (Acts 28:25-29 KJB)

CONFUSION among believers today is the result of failure to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) and acknowledge that Acts is not the final book of doctrine for this age: Acts is a book of transition from the Twelve Apostles led by Peter, to the Apostle Paul: a change of message from man’s faith that works, to the faith of Jesus Christ that finished the work: a change from the gospel of the Kingdom to the gospel of Grace: a change from Jew only, to Gentiles also, to all men every where without distinction.

THOSE who insist the Jew has an advantage over all others today are judged by the Book they profess to follow: Paul writes to the Gentile church at Philippi:

“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith”(Philippians 3:3-9 KJB)

THAT is a PRISON epistle written by the same man who gave the circumcision an advantage over a Gentile in Acts who now says that any ministry which gives an advantage to one flesh over another is a ministry of DUNG. It was right to go “to the Jew first” in Acts but it is a ministry of DUNG now. Those who fail to listen to Paul (2 Timothy 2:7) or use their Bible like a smorgasbord buffet will have to ignore, spiritualize, or explain away why they DO NOT AND CAN NOT OBEY ALL of the examples of the Apostles’ practice in the book of Acts.

NOT one person goes to the Jew first with signs to prove their ministry today as it is done in Acts, and NO ONE FOLLOWS the doctrine and practice of the “early church” in Acts 1-10. Those who claim they do are liars, spiritualizers, or certified nuts.

A Jew can be saved today but he is saved just like every other person is saved. The NATION is without an advantage, has no prophet, no special revelation. Israel will be blessed only AFTER the final 70th week (7 years) of Daniel’s prophecy. After the Body of Christ is caught up to meet the Lord in the air, that final 70th week begins. At the end of it Israel will repent and call upon the Lord, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”. It is then, and only then the Lord will bless Israel again and set up His earthly Kingdom in Jerusalem for 1000 years of peace on earth.

The last paragraph mark in Acts does not stand as a simple omission by a printer but is a Divinely imposed mark to give the Bible believer another affirmation of its miraculous content.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJB)

Confession of Sins

A short answer on “confession of sins” and “forgiveness of sins”:

Our sins have all been paid for by Christ’s death–past, present, future and we are now seated in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 2). That is a POSITIONAL, eternal guarantee of never needing any more of anything to PAY that debt and have this position.

The longer answer…
However, the problem is that we are still down here on earth and drag around an old man who can get us in a lot of trouble (he can’t get us out of Christ down here because we are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day God redeems this flesh. ( Romans 8; Ephesians 4:30). Because of this many try to deal with this problem and pull anything they find to answer it. Of course without right division, there is confusion and error.

When we sin NOW, after being saved, we are walking according to the flesh. We are acting just like the old man before we were saved and sealed. The old man (what the Bible also calls “the flesh”) is running the show.
Ephesians 2 gives us our eternal security question answer. Ephesians 4 gives us our what happens when we sin AFTER salvation question, which sin is more often and other than most people think!!
Ephesians 4 says “put off the old man” and “put on the new man”. How do you do that? Reading the chapter makes it clear that we must do this not only daily but continually. IT IS NOT GETTING OR KEEPING SALVATION BECAUSE IF THAT IS SO–ALL THE OTHER SAID IN EPHESIANS 2 IS A LIE AND CHRIST’S WORK WAS IMPERFECT TO SAVE AND THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK OF SEALING UNTO THE DAY OF THE BODY REDEMPTION IS WEAK.

Putting off the old man and putting on the new man–the NEED and RESULTS are described in detail in Ephesians 4 but details on HOW are broadly given. Why? I think because men are not the same in many ways although they are in others. For me, I may need to pray for one hour to get done what you only need to pray for 10 minutes. I may need to read many verses and pray, meditate, seek, plead, whatever for some time before I can have confidence my attitude and action is right. Does this involve asking God to forgive you for disobedience? YES. Does it mean that if you do not do it, you are lost? NO. Scripture forbids us in this age of Grace to think our prayers and works of righteousness save us in addition to Christ’s work and Righteousness. (Titus 3:5). In other ages a man’s faith was his righteousness (Hab 2:4) and required for salvation because he was not sealed by the Spirit and he was only under the blood of bulls and goats. Romans 11:5-6 is clear that salvation is NO MORE of works, which is a good indication it WAS OF WORKS in the past. And, indeed when you read the passages regarding those times, faith with works were required. God tells us in Eph 2:8-9 that salvation in “NOT OF WORKS” in Romans 11:6 “NO MORE OF WORKS” and Titus 3:5 “NOT BY WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS”. Praying, living right, going to church, etc., etc., are WORKS of righteousness.
For ALL MEN, idolatry, lying, adultery, murder, etc are sin but for other men sin can be as “insignificant” as eating and what is one man’s sin may not be another’s! (Romans 14:22-23). Anything not done in faith is sin. To whom much is given, much is required.

The problem with the word “confession” is that in the Bible context, “confession” requires not only a saying, “I have sinned” but also requires a restitution and some offering to complete it. Confession is a very technical term under the Law that requires faith plus a work or works.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9). The passage is written by John who was a minister of the circumcision (Acts 15; Gal 2). His letters therefore fit with that doctrine BEFORE Paul’s revelation of grace in the Acts period as well as the Tribulation Period. (Hebrews. James, John, and Peter’s writings are after Paul’s books ;Romans thru Philemon, the Church Age epistles, in the KJB because they will be the doctrine for the Tribulation saints after the rapture when the Body of Christ is no longer on earth.)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” ( 1 John 1:9)
Other verses fit the Tribulation period under the world domination all under the program of the Beast:
“15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17). (For another dispensational difference cf John 3:16 with 1 John 2:15-17. Those who rejected the gospel of grace in the Church Age do not get another chance in Trib to be saved. They might try to claim John 3:16 but just because it is in the Bible does not mean it is to them. (See 2Thess 2: 8-ff.) John 3:16 is no longer TO them.

Back to the subject of confession.
You see a careful reading says confession of sins does not only forgive sins but ACTUALLY CLEANSES UNRIGHTEOUSNESS! The verse includes not only “fellowship” but RELATIONSHIP. This is different from what you read in Romans through Philemon. (doctrine to the age of Grace). I know that many do not know this and that they don’t mean that their work is equal to God’s work on the cross. But the Bible is a very precise book and God calls teachers to keep practice correct. I can only hope that I am one of those and only God will prove me to be so.

The verse only covers remembered sins, specific acts, and requires specific action of restitution. It does not cover all disobedience. Actually, it is a Kingdom doctrine intended for the period covered in Hebrews-Revelation.

If a man uses this 1 John passage in a simple PRACTICAL but NOT DOCTRINAL sense, that is– he knows that Christ paid it all and that he is eternally secure, seated in heavenly places, a member of the body of Christ and can not be separated from Him by himself or any other creature (Romans 8) and is asking God to forgive him: that is–to learn from this sin, help him do it no more and avoid the instances that led up to such, putting off the old man and putting on the new man, being a better Christian– I have no difference with him other than to say he needs to go further in his Bible study and depend upon the plain scripture statements made to this present age. But if he is “confessing” IN ORDER TO REMAIN SAVED, then he is not only “confessing” his sin but he is confessing that the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit are all in vain, God’s grace is a farce, and the word of God is full of mistakes and errors, a book of men with no power at all and that his actions are as good as God’s.
The only “confession” a child of God in the age of Grace makes is of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
And, of course the KEY to understanding what we are and where we are in this present age is found in the Apostle to the Gentiles ministry–Paul, a sinner saved by grace but God’s spokesman to us. I am as Timothy was admonished by Paul:
“Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” (2 Timothy 2:7)
This is only a short answer and a very poor one at that. No man can teach without the Holy Spirit in His power, correcting our meager efforts in the hearer’s heart and mind.

Here are a few additional remarks on the subject:

What does it mean “to confess” in the OT and under the Kingdom gospel?
The Hebrew word translated by the KJB as confess is “yadah”. Literally, it is to use (i.e. hold out) the hand; physically, to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands). There are 11 occurrences in the OT) and “yadah” is translated consistently “to use the hand.”
This is why some work of the hand is always mentioned in the OT confession. There is no confession without a work of worship (towards God) or restitution of goods (towards man).

Leviticus 5:5-6
“5 And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing:
6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.”

Numbers 5:7
“7 Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.”

Confession usage in New Testament
In the NT “homologeo” is translated “as confess”. Homo (same) logeo (to say) to say the same. Nothing is given regarding the hand.

Mark 1:4-5
“4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins”
Nothing is said at the baptism regarding doing something with a hand but the submission to baptism involves a definite action of the whole person–outwardly, and under the hand of John the Baptist. In the physical submission to the baptism of John, they were confessing. Previously, they had corrected their bad works (see Matt 3:7-10; Luke 3:7-14) before John would baptize them.

Matthew 10:32-33
“32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
Again, this is an outward act before men.

James 5:16
“16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Again, this is outward confession, not of sins here but of “faults” to men.

1 John 1:9
“9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
An argument can be made that this is only to God, without any works but the problem is that it is only an assumption; plus, the verse DOES NOT SAY THAT! In view of all the above clear usage of “confess” in relation to sin, to force this interpretation is shaky. Besides, the context of the statement carries right works :
“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.” (1John 1:7)
Not only that, but to force this 1 John passage to be Church Age doctrine means that in reality there is no power in the grace of God to cover future sins AFTER salvation but that it all resides in the sinner himself to be sure that before he dies he has confessed each and every sin completely and absolutely. This is nothing more than “Protestant last rites” and is only a small step from the Roman Catholic heresy. It is a “grace plus works” error that if applied doctrinally to the Church Age makes “grace no more grace”.
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)

The one critical event for the believer in the Church Age is below. There are no other references to “confession” in the Apostle to the Gentiles’ writings:
Romans 10:9-10
“9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
The verses state confession is not about US, what we DID or DID NOT DO but totally what Christ has DONE.
Furthermore, the confession of grace is the mouth of the HEART, physical lips and tongue do not count.

This is only one of many differences between spiritual things in the Bible. We are told to compare spiritual things with spiritual things (1 Cor 2:13) and then rightly divide them (2 Tim 2:15). Rightly divide the Bible, get the doctrines in the right place, believing what the Bible says, where it says it, and the wonderful harmony of the entire 66 books is readily seen. Take a verse out of context and ignore to whom it is addressed and disregard the age in which it occurs and force it to say the same thing found in all other passages, leads to doctrinal error or Bible correction. Doctrinal errors make Christianity a flimsy carnival of competition among clowns and bring damnation rather than salvation. Bible correction erodes the foundation of sound doctrine and leaves sinners without any sure word of God. We have too many of both at work in our generation.

Therefore, I can find no scriptural direction to “confess” sins for forgiveness and be cleansed from unrighteousness in Church Age doctrine. I do gladly confess my belief in the finished work of Christ.

–Dave Reese

SELLING THINGS IN CHURCH

The question asked:
“The one time in the Bible that Jesus was angry is with the money changers selling goods in the temple. My queston is what is the difference in preachers selling CDs and such in the foyer of the church. Please reply”

Dear Friend:
Thank you for your question. There is no doubt that, like you, many others have wondered about this practice.
My personal feeling is that some of this may indeed overstep the bounds of propriety and the liberty under grace has been at times abused. However much we agree or disagree with the practice, the rule must always be “What saith the scripture?”
I do not read in the Bible that Jesus was “angry” in the Temple although it is evident He was highly displeased. The one time in the Bible where Jesus is said to have been angry is:
“1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. (Mark 3:1-5 KJB)
The only reason I mention this is because every WORD of the Bible is pure and must be carefully read. The subject of Jesus’ anger in the Bible is another study altogether and those verses above are important to it. And, it is very important to note Jesus’ reactions to things and various people. Those He is angry with above are RELIGIOUS LEADERS who deliberately rejected the word of God and had hardened their hearts toward God. The Temple people were ordinary people “trying to make a dime”. You might say, “Well how can a person drive out people from the Temple with a scourge and overthrow tables without being angry?” Jesus could. Good parents correct and even switch their children without anger but in love.
The Temple account says:
“13  And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
14  And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15  And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;
16  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” (John 2:13-16 KJB)

(notice that it was POSSIBLE that Jesus used the scourge “of small cords” to primarily drive the animals out–how else could oxen be driven? And, He was kinder to “them that sold doves” since they were helping the poor people with their sacrifice. Mark 11:17 below says “And He taught” indicating that He saw the ability of these common men to learn by the rebuke of their practice. He did not try to teach those RELIGIOUS LEADERS who had already rejected God. I say “possible”–NOT “probably”)

“15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Mark 11:15-17 KJB)

“45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,
48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.” (Luke 19:45-48 KJB)

Reading the text carefully and comparing His actions toward common people in the Temple passages, might even change our opinions of the artists who typically make the Lord look very angry, picturing almost a battle in the Temple! Art pictures sometime add things that are not in the Bible and do not correctly interpret scenes. One glaring example is the long haired, feminine Christ that is usually portrayed in art.
In order to adequately cover the question, I think we need to get some background. The Temple was in the city of Jerusalem and the needed sacrifices were not available to the worshippers coming from not only the city but also others from various towns and parts of Judea.
The Passover is the greatest of all holy feasts for the Jew. It began the Jewish years in which there were all kinds of holy feasts, sabbaths and holy days. In Exodus 12:11 the scripture said it was “the LORD’S passover.” We can see that many centuries after, the Bible calls this feast “the passover of the Jews”: that description is significant. First given, the Passover belonged to the “LORD.” After centuries of apostasy it is the “Jews'” passover and all kinds of practice was inserted after the traditions of man. The practice developed to meet the needs of these people who did not have a “farm” or those who traveled long distances to get to the Jerusalem Temple and could not bring animals such distances. The “money changers” were there to convert the different currencies needed to purchase the sacrifices. All of this combined to make the business of selling the animals a very profitable business. No doubt the money changers were also thriving—by charging a fee to exchange the money.
There were no provisions under the Law to allow these practices in the Temple, even if they were honest. Had the buying and selling been conducted outside the Temple, Jesus would not have bothered them. But the Temple was “holy” and these practices were not sanctioned under the Law. In addition, these men were thieves (Mark 11:15-17). Therefore, Jesus drove them out. It is significant that, even though the Temple worship had been corrupted, along with the feast days, Jesus did not allow that to stop the proper worship of the LORD, under the Law of Moses. It was not apostasy as such that set aside the Law, it was the death of Christ on the cross and His fulfillment of the Law that instituted this present Age of Grace. Our “passover” in this Age of Grace has already been accomplished: Christ alone. (1 Corinthians 5:7)

Are we to demand the church building and practice in its use in this Age of Grace be what the Temple was under the Law? Everything depends on whether or not the church building is as much the “holy place” as the Temple was under the Law of Moses (Jesus earthly ministry was under the Law) and whether we are still under the Law of Moses or now under Grace.
Under the Law the Tabernacle and the Temple were “holy places” with “holy things” and “holy activities” even though they were “made with hands” of men. God gave specific instruction regarding all the activities and articles and who could be in certain areas. The articles and instruments were all for the worship of God. In fact, the very center was “the holy of holies” and only the high priest could enter it but once a year on the Day of Atonement–and when he entered, he had to bring blood and sprinkle it on the Mercy Seat.
By the work of Christ on the cross we are no longer under the Law; we are “dead to the law” (Romans7) and no longer under bondage to sacrifices, holy furniture, holy days, or holy buildings. These things were all shadows and types of the True. We are to no longer live in the shadows but in the Light. (Hebrews 8:5; Colossians 2:17) The “temple of the Holy Ghost” is the body of the believer–the “temple” is no longer a building..
“19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
In other words, every day and every activity in every place is to be treated by the believer in Christ as the same. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Sunday is no different from Tuesday and 11AM is not holier than 7PM. There are no holy days under grace. “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:” (Colossians 2:16)
In this present Age of Grace there are no holy places made by the hands of men and God is not worshipped by priests entering in a “holy place” to make sacrifices and offerings.
“24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; (Acts 17:24-25).”
A “church building” is nowhere commanded to be built or used to worship God in this present Age of Grace. The early churches (groups of saved people) were small groups and met in their houses. (Philemon 3). A church building is a matter of convenience for large groups of people to meet–it is sensible to not want 200 people in your house.
As a matter of personal preference I might sell my CD’s at some other place than the church foyer but the word of God will not allow me to put my brother under the Law and demand that he not do it because the foyer is a “holy place” just like the Temple was in Jerusalem. In that case, we would have to insist on observance of  the Feast of Passover, Pentecost, Day of Atonement, Sabbath observance of the seventh day (Saturday), circumcise all the males, never plant tomatoes with beans in the garden, and refuse to eat barbecued pork, fried catfish, etc.
To lay attention on the building because it is a “holy place” is wrong. To treat the place where you meet (even a “brush arbor” or a rented hall or a million dollar complex) as a group to worship God as you would a ball park or Walmart is also wrong. These things should be decided by the “big picture” on Law and Grace in the Bible and common sense in practice.
Is it “wrong” to sell things in the meeting house? It might not be the most practical and it might not be the best choice, but to condemn the practice as unscriptural, the answer is, “No.”

–DR

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