Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


Search HBS Bible Lessons

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Covenant Gospel and Paul's Gospel of Grace - Part III


Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(II Timothy 2:15)

The Covenant Gospel and Paul’s Gospel of Grace
Part III

Why are we here?

We continue to review and respond, in depth, to this question put forth in our Bible study a few weeks ago.  Is there more than one gospel in effect today? 

I have decided to lecture on this topic because of its significance and because there is a great deal of confusion in the church today in relation to this subject matter. 

We have not drifted away from teaching the book of Revelation.

*****
Before Jesus substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection, mankind was divided into two groups: Jews and Gentiles; and this at the Creator God’s good judgment.

The Old and New Testaments both make this very clear and give cause for this distinction.  It was the covenants the LORD God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and with their descendants through Moses.  These covenants were for the nation of Israel alone and these covenants separated her from all other nations on earth, making God’s chosen people absolutely unique in their standing and relationship with their Creator God. 

The nation of Israel was segregated from all other peoples by the Mosaic Law and by her special relationship with the One who calls Himself the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

The important distinction between Jews and Gentiles is maintained consistently throughout the Bible:

Exodus 33

16: For is not the fact of your going with us the sign that I and this people have grace in your eyes so that we, that is, I and your people, are (what) separated from all other people on the face of the earth?  (Bible in Basic English Version)

And:

Leviticus 20
16: And you are to be holy to me; for I the Lord am holy and have made you separate from the nations, so that you may be my people.  (Bible in Basic English Version)

And:

1 Chronicles 17

21: And what other nation in the earth, like your people, did a god go out to take for himself, to be his people, making his name great to be feared, driving out the nations from before your people whom you made free and took out of Egypt
(Bible in Basic English Version)

The Apostle Paul reaffirms this Bible teaching in the New Testament:

Ephesians 2

11: Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands;

12: that ye were (read now carefully) at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the (what?) covenants of the promise, (therefore in a position) having no hope and without God in the world.

That’s as plain as daylight is to darkness my friends.
Gentiles are not, never were, included in the covenant promises God made to Israel.

God divided mankind into two groups, Jew and Gentile, and this actually began when He called the man Abram, to leave his home, and his family, and directed him to go to, “the land which I will show you.”  (Genesis 12:1-3) 

Abram took God at His word.  He believed God. 
This is not the same as believing in God.  Even Satan believes in God people.
Abram acted on faith.  To say this differently, his belief became a “living faith.”

So if you’ve been following the previous Bible lessons, then you’ve read this information before.  Jesus did not have a ministry to gentiles during His earthly ministry.  There are a few gentile exceptions recorded for posterity in the book of Matthew and other places in Scripture, but that is exactly what they are EXCEPTIONS. 

For those who are not sure what an “exception” is: an exception is someone who is NOT included in or does not fit into a general rule, pattern, or judgment. 
Previous lessons cover this in greater detail and are available for viewing @ HBSGROUP.Blogspot.com

Now I know this teaching may be difficult for some of you to understand.
I get that.  Believe me.  You’re not alone and take comfort in knowing this. 

The twelve apostles were puzzled concerning salvation apart from the Law and Paul’s writings to the gentiles especially.  Peter wrote:

II Peter 3

14: Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,

15: and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother (who is this) Paul, according to the (what) wisdom given him, (Paul did not receive the doctrines of grace from the twelve or from any man.  Paul received the revelation about salvation by faith alone from the risen Lord) wrote to you,

16: (read carefully) as also in all his letters, speaking in them of (what) these things, (these things which Peter and the other eleven were not privy too and were not indoctrinated with) in which are some things hard to understand, (now pay attention) which the untaught and unstable (do what with) distort, (but they don’t stop there) as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, (to what end) to their own destruction.

17: You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the (what’s the next word) error of unprincipled men and fall away from your own steadfastness.

18: but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

There is much wisdom in that last verse and more than a hint for the rest of us.

*****
From Adam to Abraham is roughly 2,000 years.
From Abraham to Jesus Christ, where the LORD God is interacting primarily with His elect, the Jews, (with some exceptions), is approximately another 2,000 years.

Therefore, all the Old Testament prophets are writing to the covenant nation of Israel.

After the LORD God promised King David that his throne would be established forever in the Davidic Covenant, what do you suppose every God-fearing Jew was earnestly seeking?  Answer: the promised Messiah

Old Testament passages such as these which follow speak of the promised King and Kingdom.  And, once again, every God-fearing Jew was aware of them!

Isaiah 9

7: There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of (who) David and over His kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then and (for how long) forevermore.  (Who shall accomplish these things?) The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

And:

Jeremiah 23

5: “Behold, the days are coming,” declared the LORD, “When I will raise up for (who) David a righteous branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land.

6: “In His days Judah (the nation of Israel) will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’

And:

Daniel 2

44: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure (how long) forever…”

But once the Messiah arrived, these devout Jews believed the Messiah would:

Be a descendant of King David
Gain sovereignty over the land of Israel
Gather the Jews from the four corners of the earth and return them to the land
Restore them to full observance of Torah Law
Bring peace to the entire earth

Knowing this may help you understand why the Jews rejected Jesus as their king.
He did not fit the “mold” of King David.   

So, when Pilate asked the angry crowd, “Shall I crucify your King?” 
The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”    (John 19:15)

Throughout the gospel accounts, Jesus Christ and His disciples went throughout the land, “preaching the gospel of the kingdom,” (Matthew 4:23; 9:35), and promising that the kingdom is at hand to the Jew only.  (Matthew 4:17; Matthew 10:7)

The point I’m making is this.  The preaching/teaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom continued long after Jesus accession, as I’ve shown you beginning with the previous Bible lesson.  Fifty days after Jesus’ crucifixion, the twelve are still preaching the Covenant Gospel to Jews only at the Feast of the Pentecost.

And this practice continues well into the book of Acts.

(To be continued)


© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved
















Monday, May 21, 2012

The Covenant Gospel and Paul's Gospel of Grace - Part II

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(II Timothy 2:15)

Revelation 20:7-10

Bible Question – Follow up

Part Two

Welcome back participants and thank you for taking the time to study God’s Word.
This question came up during a home Bible study session a few weeks ago.

Is there more than one gospel today?

The short answer to this question is NO there is not.

I began this series by introducing you to the Gospel of the Kingdom.
This is how Jesus Christ referred to it in Scripture.
For teaching purposes only I prefer to identify it as the Covenant Gospel.

Why?  It links it to the unilateral agreement between the LORD God and Abram known as the Abrahamic Covenant.

I’m not going to re-teach that subject material in this lesson today.
Today we are continuing our study of Scripture to discern the differences between The Covenant Gospel and Paul’s Gospel of Grace.

*****
Teaching Tool
Always remember one of the basic rules of Bible study.  As you begin your begin you’re Bible reading or Bible study ask yourself this question.
Who is doing the communicating and who are they communicating to?
Usually within the first few lines of the text this information is given or made known.

Here’s an example:
Please open your Bible to James chapter 1.

James 1
1: James, a bond-servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad:  Greetings.

(Ask yourself a question.  How many gentiles will you find in the twelve tribes of Israel?  
The answer: not one.  James is writing to Jews; from covenant ground.)  

Now please don’t be confused about one thing, after reading the above.
I know I need to hit this topic again and again and that’s o.k.
All Scripture has merit.

II Timothy 3

16: All Scripture is inspired by God and (is what) profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

17: so that the man (Believer) of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

You don’t omit, reject, or toss out any word or section of this book.
Even though some of it may not have been written directly to us gentiles, we certainly can “learn” from it and apply its teachings, if applicable, to our lives.

*****
Let’s begin.

I want to expand on a teaching point from my previous lesson.
I took you to Scripture references where it clearly reported that the Gospel of the Kingdom was preached, “To the Jew only.”  (Matthew 10:1-7; 15:21-28).

This is Jesus commentary - not mine.
Scripture explains the purpose for this ministry to the Jew only, at this particular time in history.  Jesus came to “fulfill the promises made to the fathers.”  (Romans 15:8)

However, this practice did not cease after Jesus’ resurrection and you need to know this.   
The Gospel of the Kingdom continued to be preached to Jew only long after Jesus’ resurrection and His accession.  Please turn to the book of Acts chapter 2.

If you’ll recall, Jesus was crucified just prior to the start of Passover.
The feast day of Pentecost commences fifty days after Passover.

The apostles were obedient.  Jesus commanded them to remain in Jerusalem (Acts 1:4).
Jesus told them that they would be “baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”        (See Acts 1:5).  So this is one of the reasons they were gathered together in the upper room on the day of Pentecost.  To refresh your memory you may opt to review it.

For our purposes we are going to drop in on Acts chapter 2 at verse 14 where the Apostle Peter defends himself and the eleven other apostles who were together, as the Lord commanded, when the Holy Spirit descended upon them in “tongues as of fire.”

You see, “Jews” who were living in Jerusalem, and “devout men,” who were also Jews from every nation under heaven (see Acts 2:5-13) were mocking them.

Acts 2

14: But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them:
(Read carefully) Men of Judea and all of you who live in Jerusalem (We know from the previous verses that these “men of Judea” and all those who “live in Jerusalem” were of what nationality?  Come on now.  What did the book tell you?  They were Jews?  Right!  Peter was addressing a crowd of Jewish men from Jerusalem and from every nation under heaven – this is what the book says.  Why were these “devout Jewish men from every nation under heaven gathered together in Jerusalem at this time?   Why would these men travel to Jerusalem at this time?  They came to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast day of Pentecost.  The Law commanded it.  Now answer me this question.  How many gentiles celebrated the feast day of Pentecost?  The answer is: ZERO.  Therefore, Peter was not addressing gentiles.)

Skip down to verse 22.

22: (Peter continues his declaration to whom specifically) “Men of Israel, (that’s right and you won’t find one single gentile in that opening remark so keep this in mind) listen to these words:

I urge you to read the following verses.  
For the sake of time and brevity we are going to skip to verse 36.  
We’ll come in after Peter has delivered his testimony.
I want to once again reaffirm Bible truth.
You need to recognize who Peter is addressing.

36: “Therefore (what does the book say) let all the house of Israel (there isn’t one single gentile to be found in the house of Israel.  Peter’s comments are directed to Jews only) know for certain that God has made Him (Jesus) both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now some of these “Men of Israel” were moved by Peter’s words.
I believe the Holy Spirit is the only One who can change the heart of man.
But these men asked the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
What do you suppose Peter’s response was?
a)  Believe that Jesus Christ shed blood paid the penalty for your sins?
b) Believe in His death, burial, and resurrection, on the third day, according to the Scriptures!

Nope.  What does the book say?
Please skip down to verse 38.

Acts 2

38: Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins (what sins…unbelief.  They each had a hand in Jesus crucifixion); and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Note:  Peter did not mention faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ for salvation.
Peter never mentioned the need for faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord, according to the Scriptures for one’s salvation.

Why is this?  Peter and the eleven are still operating under the Law of Moses folks.

And baptism/ceremonial washing(s) were required under the Law.
Please re-read verse 38 above one more time please.

Peter and the other eleven apostles are good Jews.
They are NOT going to abandon the Law of Moses.
They have NOT been instructed or commanded to do so.

GENTILES ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE COVENANT PROMISES.
GENTILES ARE OUTSIDE OF THESE COVENANT PROMISES.

Are you with me?

Understand this about the Law of Moses.  It was strict.
In many cases, disobey it and you forfeit your life!
Here’s an example:

Exodus 28

42: (This is the LORD God commanding Moses) “You shall make for them linen breeches  to cover their bare flesh; they shall reach from the loins even to the thighs.

43: “They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they enter the tent of meeting, or when they approach the altar to minister in the holy place, so that they do not incur guilt and (what’s the next word) die.”

No second chance.  No plea bargain.
Forget or make an error in judgment and you die.
This is what the Law dictates.

Skip down to chapter 29 please.
Here we have an example of what the Law demanded before the Jewish priest(s) could approach the Lord God in His service.  I’m not going to highlight ALL that was required.
We are only looking at the rite of “baptism.”

Baptism under the Old Testament Law

Exodus 29

1: (Again – this is the LORD God speaking) “Now this is what you shall do to them (Aaron and his sons) to consecrate them to minister as priests to Me:  (meaning: set apart for a specific purpose; and a divine ritual to be accomplished each time prior to ministering before the LORD God.  Skip to verse 4.)
 
4: “Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting and (what’s next) wash them with water.”

According to Scripture, the washings of the priests and the sacrifices (see Leviticus 1:9 as an example of this practice) were baptisms.  These religious practices were put in place primarily to instruct the Jewish people about ceremonial cleansing, which was required prior to “coming to the LORD God.”   Are you still with me?   Are you beginning to see the connection?

When the Jewish men, in Acts chapter 2, who were moved by the apostles words, asked what they must do Peter said, “Repent, and each of you be baptized…”

Peter simply reminded these devout Jewish men about what was written in the Law.
Let’s go to the book of Hebrews at chapter 6 to follow up on this subject.

The Bible verses that follow are discussing the Old Testament tabernacle and sacrifices and say that “various washings” were a part of this Old Testament system.

Furthermore the phrase “various washings” is the word translated “baptisms” in Hebrews 6:2.

Hebrews 9

8: The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing,

9: which is a symbol for the present time.  Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshipper perfect in conscience,

10: since they relate only to food and drink and (here’s the phrase) various washings (baptisms) regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.

Peter and the eleven apostles were still operating under and within the confinements of the Law in bringing the Gospel of the Kingdom (The Covenant Gospel) to Jew only some fifty days after Jesus resurrection.

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved