OUR DOCTRINAL DISTINCTION
This preface presents the basis for our doctrinal distinction
and is foundational in understanding this web site.
(The articles below are individually searchable in the Index.)
NEW TRUTH from IN TROUBLES OR IN TRIALS,
Maurice Johnson, Los Angeles, 12-03-61.
"I haven't a thing in the world to bring. If it's new it isn't true; if it's true it isn't new
-- so far as Christians are concerned and the Word of God is concerned."
1. Understanding the Book of Acts.
DOCTRINAL DISTINCTION from THE BLUNDERS OF (PAUL) DEHAAN,
Maurice Johnson, Los Angeles, 12-06-69.
"Some of you folks will appreciate, others of you probably are not yet prepared to appreciate what I'm going to bring out now. The doctrinal distinction between 'us' as a group of Christians professing to meet together only in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and professing to want to walk only in Christ Jesus the Lord (is) our ability, under God, to understand the book of Acts first.
"Now watch again please, here I repeat, it is so important that we understand what we profess to believe. I believe; God bless you -- I believe [what] I've been preaching for years. I still believe it. I believe that position that the book of Acts is an inspired history of the overlapping of two programs, the gradual fading out of God's program of... [Jewish Law?]... the historical beginning of the church which is Christ's body...
"Don't forget my dear friend, that the difference between 'us' doctrinally and the Church of the Open Door and the Baptists and the Fundamentalists at-large and the Lutherans and the Roman Catholics that are saved (whatever ones there are that are saved), the difference between 'us' doctrinally and the people that are walking in some measure of Judaism, denominationalism, is the difference in our understanding of the book of Acts. I said, doctrinally."
UNDERSTANDING THE BOOK OF ACTS
from "On So-called Lord's Supper"
Maurice M. Johnson
Long Beach, California
July 14, 1955
But Paul by divine inspiration in 2 Corinthians said, "Henceforth", and we'd have to go back and read the first part of that chapter, all the three chapters in 2 Corinthians, to see the order and the progress of doctrine. In the 3rd chapter he is talking about Israel with the new covenant, and that they are still blinded under the law, and they don't see the truth about Christ the Messiah, and he says up to this time, "I have been an able minister of the new testament". Just like he said in 1 Corinthians 9, "To those... though I'm free from all men by the way, turn to 1 Corinthians 9:19. I think this is a very, very important scripture. Of course, there's a real sense in which all Scripture is important, but I believe from the standpoint of understanding the book of Acts, for instance, and how it was that during that period we have Paul having Timothy circumcised, Acts 16:3, having his-head shaved with a Jewish vow ... by the way, after he established the church at Corinth. In Acts the l8th chapter we read of Paul going to Corinth and his missionary work there and the founding of the church of God in Corinth. And it was during that time that he told them about the new covenant supper, as he expressly says in the 11th chapter of 1st Corinthians, he says, "I have delivered unto you that which I also received of the Lord how the night He was betrayed He took bread", and so forth. So while Paul was at Corinth, recorded in Acts the 18th chapter, was when he gave them what the Lord had said about the last supper.
Now watch. So after he left Corinth, having established a church there and having told them about the new covenant supper, in a neighboring town of Cenchrea he takes a Jewish vow, has his head shaved, proving he's still practicing Jewish religion in some connection. And now letís see why, I Corinthians 9:19, "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more."
There are many Bible teachers and preachers who argue that the reason Paul practiced Judaism during the book of Acts was because he was a compromiser. Some of us heard that "Jesus Only" debater last Sunday contending over and over again that the reason Paul had Timothy circumcised, Acts 16:3, the reason he had his head shaved with a Jewish vow, Acts 18:18, and the reason that he went into the temple to join four men that had a vow that they might shave their heads and wait for the days of purification, water baptism, one of the Jewish water baptisms, God-given, Acts 21 verses 18-25, and wait until a blood offering should be offered in the temple 25 years after Christ shed His blood, doing away with all physical ordinances. Then what's Paul meaning, what does he mean by going into the temple with the veil of the temple sewed up again now?
You remember when Christ cried on the cross, "It's finished", there was an earthquake and we're told the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom, proving by Christ's sacrifice outside Jerusalem God was through with His typical sacrifices. And the veil in the temple which was the last thing between ... that kept the unsaved and the people out from the presence of God where He typically met in the Holy of Holys. The veil you remember was the last thing that separated... the holy place and the outer court from the Holy of Holys where God met the sinner typically when the high priest went in once a year to be alone. But when Christ cried on the cross, "My God, My God, Why ... why has Thou forsaken Me?" then cried with a Loud voice, "Tis finished", there was an earthquake, and the veil in the temple in Jerusalem from top to bottom proving that God did it, going from top to bottom.
But God Let the Jewish priests and rabbis sew it up again. And 25 years Later Paul goes into the temple in Jerusalem, Acts 21 verses 18-25, to wait for a blood offering. Why? Because it hasnít become Godís time to reveal to the Jewish believers the truths we later find in the book of Hebrews. In the book of Hebrews 10th chapter weíre told, "Christ by one offering hath perfected forever them that are sanctified". And it's in that epistle, written after the time of Acts 21, that Paul was inspired to write to the Jewish believers explaining to them that the Jewish program, religious I mean, the Ten Commandments with its system of "meats and drinks, and divers washings," or different baptisms, "and carnal ordinances imposed on Israel until the time of reformation", that that time has now come, so we don't need those physical things any more, Hebrews 9:8-10.
Now notice, "meats and drinks", doesn't that include the Passover supper? Certainly. Well doesn't it include the new covenant supper? Of course, [ ? ? ?] Paul says in Hebrews 9:8-10 that that system was imposed upon Israel until the time of reformation. Now let's see if in 1 Corinthians 9 Paul isnít referring to practicing those things when we come among the Jews as late as ... really after Paul was saved. Look now, 1 Corinthians 9:19,
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew,
I repeat, there are many Bible teachers who want to hold onto the physical ordinances, that is, a part of the Jewish physical ordinances, the new covenant supper and water baptism, when they're faced with what Paul gave in having Timothy circumcised, Acts 16:3, having his head shaved, Acts 18:18, practicing another water baptism as late as Acts 21, and waiting for a blood sacrifice in the temple in Jerusalem, they say, "Well, you know why he did that? Because he was a compromiser, he let down. He didn't want to offend the Jews and so he just went in there, and did what they told him to." But that brings on more trouble to say that, because weíre told in Acts 21 that James and all the elders, Christian Jewish elders in Jerusalem, told Paul to go in the temple ...
(comment from audience)
With a Gentile.
(comment from audience)
So when you accuse Paul of doing that in Acts 21 because he was a compromiser and a smooth politician, didn't want to offend the Jews, and so he went in the temple to practice another water baptism and blood sacrifice, and you accuse Paul of doing that because he was a compromiser, you also bring in James and all the Christian elders at Jerusalem, and not only that but then you're confronted with the problem, why did the Spirit of God have the inspired historian Luke who wrote the book of Acts, humanly, why didn't the Spirit of God have Luke say what you're now saying, that Paul was a pussyfooter and a compromiser and a coward and a politician, and that also James and the elders. Well you see, you're starting a process that'll wind you up in a lot of trouble. Not only that, if you're logical, not only that, it will lead you to deny the inspiration of Scripture.
Now that is proven by this passage; here, 1 Corinthians 9. Paul, why did you practice Judaism among the Jews? Why "that I might gain the more", 19th verse again,
For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a dew, that l might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the Law,
"Practicing the Mosaic system and Jewish religion?" "Yes." "Well don't you know better than that?" "Yes, but the Jews don't." And the Lord is still dealing with the Jews as Jews at this period. And when Paul's among the Jews, and those were the Ten Commandment program, he practiced it. Now watch. "And I do this"
that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law,
I act and, you know, walk as one without law,
(being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak. I am made all things to all men that I might by all means save some. And this I do
"because I'm a coward and a pussyfooter and a compromiser." That what he said?
this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
Notice how he goes on now. Now if Paul isn't telling the truth as the Spirit of God wanted him to, then how are you going to tell what's inspired of God and what's not? How are you going to tell whatís right and what's wrong? Paul gives this as a part of his Christian ministry; notice how he goes on.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainty.
Now put that with the argument that Paul practiced Judaism during the book of Acts because he was a compromiser. Now that was pretty uncertain of him wasn't it? He said,
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air, but I keep under my body,
or keep my body under,
and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
Castaway from what? Well what the runners are running for. If it's salvation, then Paul presents this monstrous contradiction: that somebody dead in trespasses and sin is running to get life.
(comment from audience)
Yeah, but now watch. Somebody dead in trespasses and sin is running to win the prize of life. A dead man running so he can be made alive. See that's the hopeless contradiction that they run a [ ? ] ... "I think this picture is talking about salvation, and if you don't run real hard and real careful, brother, you're liable to lose your salvation. Paul said he was." I was reading that from 'Roman Catholics Today', a Roman Catholic book, [ ? ] ÖPaul ... it was a book entitled "Paul Over All", and the writer undertook to prove that Paul was never sure of his salvation, Paul said work out your salvation with fear and trembling; Paul said, "I run lest I myself be a castaway". And as brother Baker just said, this presents a race where just one gets the prize, but they all run. But according to this then, there shall be one person saved and Paul said "I hope I'll be the one". But above there he says, "Now you run so you can obtain". Looks like he made a bunch of winners. He said we could be as straightened as in a race, we're careful about the way we train and run because we're running for a prize even though it's corruptible. But in this race of life we must be all the more careful for an incorruptible crown. Well the incorruptible crown isn't salvation as a result of how fast we ran, it's the gift of God, it's the gift of God.
Now notice please in the 9th chapter of 1 Corinthians Paul is saying, telling about how he practiced Jewish religion when he was among the Jews, how he observed the Ten Commandment program when he was among those under the law, that he might gain them. Now in 1 Corinthians 11 should we be surprised if we hear him speaking of the new covenant supper, new covenant to be made with Israel and Judah. I started to say awhile ago from Jeremiah 31:31; let me quote it now, "Behold the days come, saith the Lord," Jeremiah writing by inspiration to Israel and Judah, he's an Israelitish prophet, "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I'll make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah". Now the covenant couldn't possibly be made with us Gentiles because we never had the old covenant. "I'll make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah." And certainly the new covenant couldn't be for the church which is Christ's body because it never had the old. If I were to say I have some new shoes and it was the first pair I ever had, it would be more accurate to say I have some shoes. And certainly if I were to also refer to them as second, second pair of shoes, then that would suggest very positively that I had a first pair.
Now in Hebrews the 9th chapter we find the covenant that God made and promised to make with Israel and Judah, referred to as, two: the first covenant and the second covenant, the old covenant and the new covenant. There're just two covenants there: once they're called first and second respectively, and then again in the same context they're called old and new; first or old, new or second covenant. Now could we as Gentiles have the second covenant if we didn't have the first? No, and we're expressly told back in Exodus as well as in Romans the 2nd chapter and in 1 Corinthians 9 that the Gentiles didn't have the Ten Commandment covenant. We never had but the Abrahamic covenant. So if we never had the first covenant, we couldn't have the second covenant as the second covenant. It would be our first covenant wouldn't it? Now those are simple things, but they're simply true; they're the truth, and we need to notice it.
The new covenant supper is to be for the new covenant people. And that's why I'm sure Matthew, Mark, and Luke when presenting Christ primarily in connection with His earth people and earth program, they go into detail about the new covenant supper. But when John the beloved was led of the Holy Spirit to present Christ primarily as the uncreated Eternal, and begins in the very salutation, "In the beginning was the Word". And as I said awhile ago, in the book of John we have all of those wonderful "I am" titles which are dateless. Not "I was" or "I will be" or "I am for the present", but "I am". "I am the bread from heaven", not "I will be when they bake me in a oven and then the priest says hocus-pocus over Me", but "I am the bread from heaven". Brother Arian (?) and his wife said they appreciated very much something I gave on that one day. I said notice here in John the 6th chapter, Christ doesn't stay, "I'm going to be the bread at the next Passover", because that was a year before the last Passover when He said that, John 6. But He said, "I am the bread from heaven. I'm the bread from heaven", not the bakery, "I'm the bread from heaven".
So when we compare scripture with scripture, rightly divide the Word of truth as we're commanded in 1 Corinthians 10:32 and 2 Timothy 2:15. In 1 Corinthians 10:32, and it's interesting that that's in the 10th chapter, before we get to the things about the supper in the 11th chapter, Paul staid, "Giving none offense neither to the Jew, nor the Gentile, nor the church of God". Now the new covenant supper was promised for Israel and Judah. And after the truth of the one body in Christ composed of Jews and Gentiles, they've lost their national identity, after that truth was given we never hear of a mention of the physical supper anymore. Because it's out of harmony with the truth about the one body in Christ, Christ in us and we in Christ. How could a member of my body, and that's what every Christian is in relationship to Christ, we're members of His body, Romans 12:4 and 5, 1 Corinthians 12, the chapter after Paul mentions the supper. He could give some new truth to the Corinthians about being members of the body of Christ, but he doesn't tell them how to walk yet. In the second epistle he says now, "Now we don't know men after the flesh anymore, because if any man be in Christ he's a new creature".
Now how could a member of my body ... take my right foot, could my right foot carry on a program that would show forth the death of my head till he come? Don't you see that's a contradiction of thought, it's a contradiction of terms, and an absurdity. Could my foot, a member of my body, show forth the death of my head until it comes? When you put Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians 11 over with the truth about the one body, you have hopeless confusion of thought. 1 Corinthians 11, "As oft as you do this, you do show forth the Lord's death till He comes". Now that's what the Jewish apostles were to do and the Jewish believers in Christ. They ... as long as they were looking for the Messiah to come back to be the angel of the covenant and to establish the kingdom and make them a kingdom of priests, they were to show forth His death believing He shed the blood of the new covenant. He said, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, the new covenant in My blood".
Now peopleÖ [ ? ] to stay, "Well if you don't have the new covenant supper, then you don't have remission of sins, cause Christ said as recorded in Matthew 26 the night He was betrayed, "This cup is the new testament in My blood which is shed for many for the remission of sins". And you reject the new covenant cup, you reject remission of sins in Christ's blood." And when I first heard that argument it really floored me. I thought, "Whoof! That was pretty strong. I don't want to reject remission of sins in Christ's blood. But wait a minute, let's see what He did say." "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, or new testament, in My blood which was shed for many for the remission of sins." Now which was shed -- the blood or the covenant? Which was shed? The covenant? Was the covenant shed for the remissions of sin? Or was it the blood that was shed for the remission of sins?
Now watch. Christ said, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood which is shed for many for the remission of sins." The Abrahamic covenant is in Christ's blood. The Noahic covenant which guaranteed that ... that was the covenant God made with Noah, and He said, "I'll never send another flood of water -- judgment put on the world. And now the token of My covenant is the rainbow in the clouds. When I see the rainbow ... I'll remember, it's My ... a token that Iíll never send another judgment of water." Well why wasn't God going to send another judgment of water? I believe because of what Christ was going to do for the world in dying for the sins of the world.
And so there's all the blood in connection with the Noahic covenant. God didn't tell Noah to shed the blood of a bullock or a lamb or a goat and Let that blood be the blood of the Noahic covenant. Well what was the blood? Every covenant must have a blood. The Mosaic covenant had to have blood; it's the blood of bulls and goats and lambs; ashes of a heifer that is killed. Well , what was the blood for that Noahic covenant, Noah's covenant? The blood of Christ. What was the blood of the Abrahamic covenant? The blood of Christ. And we read of the covenant made with David, he's going to never want to have a king to reign on his throne. Well what was the blood of that covenant? The blood of Christ. And so Christ said, "This cup is the new testament in My blood". There's the Noahic covenant in Christ's blood. There's the Abrahamic covenant in Christ's blood. There's the Davidic covenant in Christ's blood. There's the new covenant in Christ's blood. And the Mosaic covenant is the blood of bulls and goats. That's why it waxed old. Because the blood of bulls and goats were not effective.
The blood of the (now I'm only going to take a little bit longer, just a little bit longer), please notice that because it's ... in the first place it's plain unforced truth about the different covenants that were all on the basis of Christ's blood. And the one covenant that was on the basis of imperfect sacrifices, bulls and goats and ... We're told in Hebrews 9 that it was impossible that the blood of bulls and goats and all could give a good conscience to the person who brought those sacrifices. Because, the blood of bulls and goats wouldn't satisfy for the death penalty for man. But the blood of bulls and goats were pictures in type of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. So the Mosaic Ten Commandment covenant, we're told in Hebrews 8, waxed old. Why? Because the blood of the covenant wasn't precious blood of a spotless victim. It was the diseased blood of cursed animals. Of course they were without spot and blemish, the lambs were, comparatively, but they were all in the realm of the fall you see, and just another lamb.
And so the argument is given there, the clue, that the reason the Ten Commandment could wax old and be termed the old covenant and vanish away, was because the basis for it was the work of man and they were very imperfect. Keep the Ten Commandments -- that covenant. You keep these Ten Commandments and you'll be all right. "Oh-h, but we can't." "All right, bring a blood sacrifice in your place:." And so their efforts to keep keeping the Ten Commandments was imperfect and the blood of the sacrifice was imperfect. So what value was the Ten Commandments? Was it of eternal value? It was not. That's why it had in it the elements that caused it to wax old. It was a temporary covenant. But every other covenant is everlasting. And some places we read of the everlasting covenant. There's a sense in which you might say, from the Jews' standpoint, that the Davidic covenant will be everlasting, Christ going forever and forever and forever. Sit on the throne of David and reign forever and of His kingdom there shall be no end, Luke 1:33.
Incidentally, that's very important to see with these people that deny that death has been accomplished ... been destroyed, the Universalists. They all deny the eternal reign of Christ. They've got to have Christ deliver up the kingdom in the future. That's another subject, but it's very, very clearly taught in the Word of God that Christ is going to reign as king forever and forever and of His kingdom there shall be no end. People try to argue, "Well that means of the kingdom but His reign will end". Well it won't be His kingdom then.
(question from audience) What does that word 'increase' speak of?
In Isaiah 9, "And of the increase". Thatís good. I never thought of that in this connection. It certainly has some point and place in this line of thought, usually. That was your thought too wasn't it?
(comment from audience) Well I was wondering ... "Of the increase of His government."
(comment from audience) Yeah, how is it going to keep on increasing if the Lord isn't going to keep on reigning.
That's good. That's right. I never thought of that in this connection. The word 'increase' in Isaiah 9, "He sits up on the throne of His father David, and of the increase of His government", so forth, there'll be no end.
Now back for a little bit. Just a few more things about the supper. I haven't of course done more than give a foundation, and shall we say in some respects preliminary, but I know it will lead any honest, humble student on to the right conclusion that members of the church which is Christ's body cannot have, according to God's program, a new covenant supper to observe in the physical realm. Because I as member of the body of Jesus Christ, the church which is Christ's body, I as a member of the body of Christ, cannot show forth Christ's death till He come.
Now watch. In Paul's epistles, we have these two phases or aspects of Christianity, salvation, brought out very clearly over and over again. As to my salvation and my eternal acceptance, I have been made "accepted in the Beloved", Ephesians 1:5. God the Father has made all believers in Christ accepted in the Beloved. In the light of ... in the language of ... Colossians, "we are dead", all Christians are dead as to the old Adamic nature and our life is "Hid with Christ in God". Ephesians 2, we're "new creatures in Christ", "raised up and made to sit together in the Heavenlys in Christ". Philippians 3:3, "We're the circumcision", or the crucified ones, "which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh". Now, there're others ... and "If any man be in Christ, he's a new creature", don't know him after the flesh.
Now those are a few of the passages that speak of the believer in this dispensation being in Christ, in Christ in the glory, in heaven already, seated in the heavens. But I'm on earth temporarily while I'm physically alive to live for Christ in this veil of tears and to be an ambassador of Christ. Well what's the aspect of salvation down here? Christ in me. And that's just as clearly brought out, and as far as I know, it's repeatedly (Iíve never counted the times) as the expression "in Christ". I'm in Christ, made accepted in the Beloved, sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption, and my life hid with Christ in God, so that guarantees my eternal salvation. I'm already complete in Christ by the way too, Colossians 2, complete in Christ and my life hid with Christ in God. Was that ... all in Christ is neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile.
Well I couldn't from that standpoint of my salvation, that aspect, as one in Christ, I couldn't show forth His death till He come could I? Could I, as a new creature in Christ, show forth His death till He come? Not very well, I couldn't possibly.
Well now there's the other aspect to the Christian life, Christ in me. While I'm on earth, down here, with my mortal body, it's Christ in me. 2 Corinthians 13, "Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you be a reprobate?" Paul said, "and I trust you shall know that we're not reprobates".
All right, how can I with Christ in me, now again, just again, 2 Corinthians 13:5, 4 and 5, Galatians 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me". Now can I, and yet not I but Christ in me, show forth His death till He come?
Utterly inconceivable, impossible.
So then what's the meaning, ... how are we going to understand the fact that Paul and some of the Christians at Corinth, they were showing forth His death till He came? They were showing forth His death till He came as Jewish believers who up to that time had not been told but what Christ very likely would come back as the Messiah in their lifetime to establish the kingdom. And so when Paul was among them, 1 Corinthians 9, "To those that are Jews, I became as a Jew, to those under law as under the law", First Corinthians. But in 2 Corinthians 5:16, "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh". Iím through with that part knowledge, through with going to the Jews as Jews. No longer would Paul say as he said in Romans 1:16, "Iím not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it's the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first", I mean that ... that is God's order. It's no longer God's order. After Romans 9th, 10th, and 11th chapters, and then Paul got to Rome and cut the last group of Jews off in ... official Jews in Rome, Acts 28:28, then was no longer Jew first.
Now, Spirit-taught and Spirit-led Christians will not observe the Jew first order in his gospel preaching because he regards Jews and Gentiles alike, and the Jews have no priority, and their Synagogues are not recognized by God at all today except being corrupted Judaism. And the temple has been destroyed in Jerusalem, and the Jews have no place to have their Passover, they have no place for their feast of Tabernacles, they have no place for anything but to go to the cross by faith. And when they go to the cross of Jesus Christ by faith and accept what God's Word says happened there, that Christ died for their sins and our ... us Gentiles' sins according to the Scriptures, and was buried, and rose again the third day, when they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ they're instantly saved, created anew in Christ Jesus, and God makes the believing Jew and the believing Gentile, the twain, one new man in Christ, and the physical ordinances are done away with, Paul says in that same context, Ephesians 2, Colossians 2. And 2 Corinthians 5, "Henceforth", from now on, "know we no man after the flesh, though we have known Christ after the flesh", He was a minister of the circumcision, Romans 15:8, "'but we don't know Him that way any more", minister of the covenant -- new covenant, "donít know Him that way anymore. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he's a new creature: old things are passed away."
2. There are no physical ordinances for Gentiles, under Grace.
THE TRUTH THAT CAUSED ME TO FIRST
QUESTION THE PHYSICAL SUPPER
from COMMUNION VERSUS COMMEMORATION:
The Physical Supper, Is it for today?
Maurice M. Johnson
Los Angeles, California
December 10, 1961
I'm going to develop that carefully maybe in my revision of my study on the supper that I've been working on for 30 years, 25 years, maybe I'll have it in here.
Now, Iíll stop with this. Boys and girls, young people, the first ... and older ... this was the truth that caused me to first question whether the physical supper was for the church which is Christ's body. I was studying and meditating one time when I thought, "Wait a minute. How does it happen that Paul never mentions the physical supper except in the one epistle, First Corinthians 11? And I have already come to see that that's an epistle written to a bunch of overgrown babies." Then I thought, "Wait a minute. Why during that time Paul was practicing Judaism, when he was among the Jews, 1 Corinthians 9, "to those that are Jews, I became as a Jew, to those under the Law, as under the Law", and had speaking in tongues and the gifts of miraculous gifts, the Bible wasn't complete." Then I thought, "Wait a minute, in the 12th chapter he gives us a wonderful chapter about the body, the body of Christ." And then it flashed in my mind, the Holy Spirit I'm sure, helped me, "Wait a minute, can members of the body of Christ show forth His death till He come? That doesn't fit." And after the truth about the church being the body was revealed, and the walk of the believer was revealed, good-bye physical supper. Good-bye day keeping, good-bye physical temple, good-bye physical ordinances.
And I thought along this line, remembering that Christ referred to the church as a body and Christ the head, not that we're to think of Christ as the head in the sense as from the shoulders up, but the head like the head of a corporation, and of course in this case the life of the body of Christ. So back again now, can these members ... now here's some Christians, look here now, here's some Christians illustrated by my fingers, members of this body. Here's some Christians and, reverently, let me ... let my head represent Christ [an apologetic]. These are Christians and this is Christ. Now suppose these Christians get together to show forth the death of the head till he come. "Say, that doesn't make sense." That's right, it's nonsense. It's mystery of iniquity stuff. Can members of this body get together and show forth the death of the head till he comes? That's why, after the truth of the one body was revealed, good-bye any such thing as showing forth Christ's death till He comes.
But Iíll close with this... I started awhile ago, the last ... the next supper, Passover supper, after Christ went back in the glory, let's visualize Peter, James, and John sitting down here (now we'll just kind of wake you up for a minute), Here are Peter, James, and John sitting down around here at the Passover supper (I thought that would a bit), at the Passover supper. And they say, "We're doing this now not in remembrance of passing over Egypt on the basis of the blood of a woolly lamb, which Passover saved the firstborn physically from physical death, but we're doing this because He told in memory of Him, showing forth His death until He comes. Maybe He'll come before the next Passover." Acts 1:11, the risen Christ going up the Mount of Olives where He's going to come back again. What book in the Bible tells us He's going to come back and put His feet on the Mount of Olives again?
(answers from audience) Zechariah 94 ...
... Zechariah 94:4. And He was caught up from the Mount of Olives, and while they were gazing up into heaven, He disappeared in the cloud, two men in white apparel stood and said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which you've seen going into heaven, shall even so come in like manner." Zechariah 94:4, stand on the same mount. So Peter, James, and John the next Passover, imagine, "Weíre doing it in remembrance of His death till He comes. Maybe He'll be with us next year. Maybe He'll be with us next year!" It's show forth His death because He's absent, in that sense. They realized, yesÖ but they were thinking of Him as their absent Messiah, and He wanted them to think of it that way.
Let's stand shall we and bow our heads. Youíve been very ...
(gap on tape)
Letís sing thoughtfully in connection with our relationship with Jesus Christ. As members of His body we physically have His life in us while we're on earth, but spiritually we're in Him in the glory, and He's in us down here. Both truths are given us you remember. Letís close by singing as a prayer, if you want toÖ (MMJ leads in singing) "My Faith Looks Up To Thee".
SAVED BY "DRY BAPTISM"
Did Noah Get Wet?
Buried "With" or "Like"?
Baptized Into Christ
How Can We "Obey The Gospel"?
Christ's Baptism On The Cross
When Was Christ Slain?
Only One Cross For All Dispensations
Christ's Life Was "The Righteousness Of The Law"
All Jewish Religion Extended Beyond The Cross
DID NOAH GET WET?
Let us look for a moment at the beautiful and very simple picture of salvation that is given us in 1 Pet. 3:18-21. In the 18th verse we are told of Christ's having endured the judgment of God in our place. In the 20th verse we are told how the ark endured the water judgment of God in Noah's stead. And how clear it is that the way those "eight souls in the ark were saved by water" is the "like figure" (or the picture) of the way "baptism doth now save us ... by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Noah and his family did not receive a drop of the judgment water from heaven. The ark took their judgment. Likewise, we saved sinners did not get a bit of the judgment "baptism" that Christ, our Ark, "suffered for our sins, the Just for the unjust." And remember that Christ called His death a "baptism". Luke 12:50. Noah's good conscience answered God's invitation to "come thou into the ark," by physically stepping inside that physical ark to be saved from the physical water judgment. And my good conscience answered Christ's tender invitation, "come unto me ... and I will give you rest". by taking the step of faith into Christ, my spiritual Ark and His baptismal death satisfied the Judge of High Heaven, so far as my offenses were concerned. But Christ's death, alone, could not save any of us. We must be raised from the dead in order to give us new life. And this entire need He perfectly met for "He was delivered for our offenses and raised for our justification." Rom. 4:25. Nor is this glorious message of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ a New Testament fact, only, for all who have ever been saved from their sins were saved "by faith without works". This is exactly what Peter meant when he said to Cornelius: "To Christ give all the prophets (the Old Testament prophets) witness that through His name, whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." Acts 10:43. Note, also, that as soon as Peter said "these words" God saved all of those gentiles "who heard the word." And they were saved before Peter had said a word about their being baptized with water, too. (See also Gal. 3:6-8.)
BURIED "WITH" OR "LIKE"?
Sinners are saved today exactly like Abraham was saved. Gal. 3:6-9; Rom. 4:1-13. "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Rom. 10:9-10. The moment a convicted sinner calls upon the name of the Lord he becomes saved "for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Of course, God is the One to determine whether or not the sinner is truly penitent and sincere in his call. When a sinner thus "believes on the Lord Jesus Christ" he is "crucified with Christ, ... buried with Christ, ... raised with Christ" and his new life is " hid with Christ in God." Gal. 2:20; Col. 2:10-12; 3:1-4; Rom. 6:1-5. Note very carefully that the Word of God says the Christian has been crucified WITH Christ, not LIKE Him. Exactly in the same miracle way in which the believing sinner has been "crucified with Christ" he has also been "buried with Christ." No where are we told to be buried LIKE Christ was in the waters of the Jordan but all Christians have been buried WITH Christ in His baptismal death. It is, of course, a miracle. And, by the way, why do not some of our religious imitators, who are so eagerly seeking to imitate Christ in His water baptism, try to imitate Him in His crucifixion?
All are only too ready to admit that "with" means just exactly "with" and not "like" when Paul says: "I am crucified with Christ," but when he says: "buried with Christ", then many are eager to get their sectarian followers to seek to imitate Christ's water baptism. This they do in spite of the plain fact that the apostle is speaking of Christ's burial in death and not His burial in the waters of Jordan. My friends, be well assured of this: Christianity is not our miserable imitation of the earthly life of Jesus of Nazareth as He lived His perfect life of law-keeping under Judaism, Christianity is the life we live after we have been created anew in Christ Jesus: the life of the indwelling Christ who move into all "broken and contrite hearts" the moment His glorious gospel of grace is humbly heard and honestly believed. "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Rom. 5:19. In other words, Adam's disobedience made all of his children like their father, sinners. Now Christ's perfect, law-keeping obedience with His fulfillment of all the physical ordinances is passed on to all who receive Him. With His perfect heart and sinless flesh He obeyed all fleshly tests of character and then "became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Now, that is good news! It is THE good news! It is simply the "gospel of Jesus Christ." I have "obeyed the gospel." That is I have heard with submission, of Christ's perfect, substitutionary life, death, burial and resurrection. He not only died for me. He also lived for me. Therefore his law-keeping and ordinance-keeping obedience is put to my credit as well as His death-obedience. Thank God, as a new creature in Christ I am "complete in Him." Col. 2:10-12.
BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST
And how did I get into this glorious place of salvation and completeness "in Christ?" "With (or by) one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, bond or free, and have been made to drink into one Spirit,: 1 Cor. 12:12-13. This is the same two-fold operation of the Holy Spirit as that referred to in Acts 2:38. The moment a sinner hears the gospel of Jesus Christ believing in the depths of his repentant heart, that moment he is "baptized in (or into) the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" and he personally receives "the gift of the Holy Spirit." Christ is the One who baptizes him with the Spirit and the Father gives him the indwelling Spirit. John 14:16-17; Acts 10:38-46; John 1:33. What must we think any more of those who would say that there is no such thing any more as the "baptism of the Holy Spirit."? Will not the honest reading of these passages surely answer them? John 1:28-33; 3:27-30; Acts 1:5; 11:15-18; 1 Cor. 12:12-13 and Eph. 4:4-6; Phil. 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:16-17.
HOW CAN WE "OBEY THE GOSPEL"?
The Lord Jesus Christ referred to his death as a 'baptism'. Christ was baptized with water, anointed with the Holy Spirit (Lu. 3:16-22) and then, two or more years later, said "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straightened till it be accomplished." Lu. 12:50. How does it happen that today when a preacher announces he is going to speak on "The Baptism of Christ" it is supposed by nearly all religionists that water baptism is meant?"
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the 'good news' or glad tidings concerning what Christ did for the sinner and is not a system of fleshly commandments as to what the sinner must do for Christ. Paul said: "I delivered unto you the gospel ... how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day ... I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; unto the Jew first, and also unto the Greek (Gentile)." 1 Cor. 15:1-5; Rom. 1:16. Therefore, to 'obey the gospel' merely means to trust the perfect, finished work of Christ as you humbly and gratefully believe God's record that "Christ hath once suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (made alive) by the Spirit." 1 Pet. 3:18. Paul wrote the Ephesian saints reminding them of the fact that they were saved when they "trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation ... For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Eph. 1:12-13; 2:8-10.
CHRIST'S BAPTISM ON THE CROSS
Surely every honest reader is convinced that the "baptism that saves us ..." does not have a drop of water in it. It is the miraculous baptism that Christ endured for us and that is put to our credit when Christ baptizes us with the Holy Spirit, thereby uniting us to Himself and everything in the way of law-keeping and ordinance-keeping righteousness, that He fulfilled for us. If you have not already, will you just here and now throw up your hands of rebellion and gratefully receive, by faith, the glorious work the Lord of Glory came to do for us sinners? Just think of the glorious privilege of being instantly accepted in the Beloved, of being miraculously clothed with the righteousness of Christ which is "unto all and upon all them that believe." "He that believeth not shall be damned." Mark 16:16. "Why will ye die?"
WHEN WAS CHRIST SLAIN?
As plainly as God can say it we are told that sinners are saved today exactly like Abraham was. "The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify (save) the gentiles through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." Gal. 3:6-9; Rom. 4:1-12. The Campbellites and other cults that deny "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" ignorantly seek to make the Bible teach two plans of salvation of the sinner. Their preachers demand the right to act as "priests" who must baptize the sinner in water and then and there place him in "The Church of Christ" or - sect. Since these modern "daughters of Rome" are willing to grant salvation to Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, David and others who lived and died before the cross they are forced to manufacture at least two plans of saving members of Adam's fallen family. By jerking verses away from their context they are enabled to "deceive the hearts of the simple" with their "good words and fair speeches". Rom. 16:17-18. But those who humbly read the two epistles that are written to give us the great underlying doctrines of "justification by faith" learn to their heart's delight that God gave the covenant of salvation through faith to Abraham 'four hundred and thirty years before the "works covenant" (law and physical ordinances) was given to Moses; and that God confirmed that "covenant of promise" to Abraham IN CHRIST nineteen hundred years before Christ actually came to this world to literally die. In these two "salvation epistles", Romans and Galatians, water baptism is not once mentioned. (See above paragraph entitled Buried "With" or "Like"? This disgraceful "water-salvation" doctrine is but the teaching of "new gods newly come up." Deut. 32:17. Though sin did not enter until Adam's disobedience had made the whole future family "sinners" (Rom. 5:17-19 our Gracious God Who "knew the end from the beginning" "foreordained from before the foundation of the world" that Christ as "the Lamb of God" should appear in the fullness of time to "take away the sins of the world". Thus it is said that Spirit taught Christians do not butcher God's plan of salvation by a carnal study of man's calendar as to the exact date when the body of our Blessed Lord was actually nailed to the cross for we are taught to "behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of world", "slain from the foundation of the world", "foreordained from before the foundation of the world." John 1:29; 1 Pet. 1:18-20; Rev. 13:8.
ONLY ONE CROSS FOR ALL DISPENSATIONS
Now it is quite true that God has different ages and dispensations and different programs with people but none of the dispensational or racial differences in any way affect the "gospel of Christ" that was foreordained for the salvation of any member of Adam's family that would "call upon the name of the Lord". Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13; Acts 10:43; 15:10-11; 13:38-39. (Please honestly read these.) Though all penitent believers in Christ have His death baptism and His burial and resurrection put to their credit, I believe the Scriptures teach that only since Pentecost (Acts 2) have believers been baptized by the Lord "with one Spirit into one body." 1 Cor. 12:13. The difference between salvation from the penalty of sin and the rewards held out for faithful Christians, is another difference that none of the "water-salvation" cults observe. I will give but one text here. 1 Cor 3:11-15.
CHRIST'S LIFE WAS "THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE LAW"
How plain this is to every unspoiled mind that the only good works that a human being can possibly do always follow his being "created anew in Christ Jesus." Water baptism is either a righteous act or it is an unrighteous act. In Matt. 3:15 Christ calls water baptism an act of righteousness. (See Titus 3:5) Now, all Bible students who have any intelligent conception of "rightly dividing the Word of truth" know that Christ's earthly life was "Made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law." Gal. 4:4-5; Rom. 15:8. Likewise, Bible students who have any clear conception of God's different dispensations know that Christ lived for thirty years as a private, law keeping Jew for He said: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets; I am not come to destroy but to fulfill." Matt. 5:17. Oh how few people seem to recognize that no one but Christ ever did keep the law with its God-given system of physical ordinances, its "meats and drinks and divers washings (different baptisms), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them (Jews) until the time of reformation." Heb. 9:8-10. And it was because Christ was born of a Jewish virgin under the law and the Jewish ordinances and came to "fulfill' them that His Heavenly Father never publicly endorsed Him until He had fulfilled ALL of the DEMANDS of that system of "meats and drinks and baptisms." You remember that it was immediately after Christ was baptized in the River Jordan that the voice came from heaven saying: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Matt. 3:13-17.
In other words, when He had gotten John to baptize Him with water, Christ had "fulfilled" the very last righteous act demanded by the law and its physical ordinances. John the Baptist was the foreordained one to thus baptize Christ so that Israel would know their Messiah and King. And don't forget, that is exactly why Christ was baptized in water, namely, "to fulfill all righteousness" and in order to "be made manifest to Israel." Matt. 3:14-17; John 1:31. When we thus clearly see that Christ's life for thirty years (Lu. 3:23) was lived in, perfect obedience to the law and its physical ordinances we can then begin to see what we have when we, by faith, receive Christ. We have nothing less than the perfect "righteousness of the law" for "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every that believeth." Rom. 10:1-3. Thus, it is that, without our having taken one single step in our vain efforts to keep the law or fulfill its physical ordinances with our weak and sinful flesh, we have put our credit every righteous act that Christ performed during those thirty years of his righteous life lived in perfect, sinless flesh. "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Rom. 8:2-4. There it is. The repentant sinner, by believing the gospel of Christ, has a miracle performed in his heart. All of the "righteousness of the law" that Christ lived in His perfect flesh and blood life is instantly put to the credit of the trusting sinner without his making any effort whatsoever to "walk after the flesh," or try to keep any fleshly tests of character.
ALL JEWISH RELIGION EXTENDED BEYOND THE CROSS
The God-given commands for testing the corrupt flesh of Adam's race were allowed to continue long after Christ had fulfilled them all, [see The Transition in Acts] however, for though Christ had nailed fleshly tests to the cross as He died for us law-breakers (Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:6-17), still it pleased God to allow the Jewish temple to be left standing in Jerusalem and to allow even the Christian Jews to continue practicing all of the Jewish religion including circumcision, head-shaving and blood sacrifices along with the "divers baptisms." Acts 16:3; 18:18; 21:18-26; 1 Cor. 9:19-22. Apparently, God allowed this system of Jewish ordinances to be practiced about thirty years after Christ fulfilled it because, in His patience, God only gradually showed the Jews how it was that His program was changing. But, as careful spiritual students have noticed, about the time Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthians, God was "closing the books," as it were, on all fleshly tests (physical ordinances. How clear this is from 2 Cor. 5:16-17: "Henceforth (from now on) know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh (we knew Christ as Jesus of Nazareth, the properly circumcised Jewish law-keeper, etc.), yet now henceforth, know we him no more. Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Thus it was that after God had slowly led the Christians out of Jewish religion He and Paul finally write these glorious, liberating truths. "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." Col. 2:10-17.
Let us who are saved remember well that water baptism is an act of righteousness that Christ fulfilled. Matt. 3:15. And that the righteousness is put to our credit when we receive Christ as our personal Savior and Lord. Rom. 10:4. "For not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy hath he saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit ... But, let us who ARE saved be careful to maintain good works ..." Titus 3:5-8. This we should do out of love and gratitude to Him Who has so wondrously saved us and made us righteous in Christ.
(Please remember that this study does not pretend to take up the entire question of water baptism.)
3. There is only one true church to which all Christians belong.
Should Christians Belong To Denominations?
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of the 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."
1 Corinthians 1:10
To say, "Well after all, we Christians can't see alike, and therefore we couldn't all belong to the same church," is to contradict the plain Word of God. God has said with the simplicity that any humble heart will understand, that believers in Christ are to be one.
If you and I believe from the heart on Christ, as our crucified and risen Lord, He has placed us both in "The church which is Christ's body." Ephesians 1:22-23. "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." 1 Corinthians 12:13. All Christians are members of the same spiritual body.
Many acknowledge this, but fail to live by it. Hear the prayer of our Lord for us: "That they all may be one; as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." John 17:21. The world can only see our walk. If you "belong" to your "church", and I "belong" to my "church", how is the world to know that we "belong to Christ?" Mark 9:41. The so-called Christian churches that men have made, present to the world a picture of division and confusion of which God is not the author. 1 Corinthians 14:33.
"Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 3:11. Christ's church is built upon the foundation. Matthew 16:18. It is in utter disregard for such plain Scripture as the above that sectarian builders erect counterfeit "churches". How absurd are these high towers and architectural wonders that pass in the world as "houses of God." The Scripture says of believers in Christ during this dispensation: "Ye are the temple of God." 1 Corinthians 3:16. The only church building God has is a group of blood washed believers in His Son!
God's Word has this to say about the "party", or "sectarian" spirit among His children: "Now I beseech you, brethren, (writes the inspired apostle Paul) 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. 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. Is Christ divided?" 1 Corinthians 1:10, 12-13. What more proof do you need to Scripturally outlaw denominations? Yet you hear the same thing today, "I am of the Methodists, I am of the Baptists, etc."
Man's "churches" are "works of the flesh," they all come under the head of "variance." Galatians 5:19-20. "For whereas there is among you (professing Christians) divisions, are ye not carnal (fleshly), and walk as men?" 1 Corinthians 3:3. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: (no man- made church is free from hypocrites - unbelievers) for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial, or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, 'I will dwell in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, said the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. Obedience to the plain command of our Lord will bring us to Him in our walk. We will not forsake the "assembling of ourselves together" but our gatherings will be always and only in His Name (Colossians 3:17) and with the organization of divine love and life.
If you find it quite a shock to learn that God calls your "church" an "idol", remember that "the whole world lieth in wickedness." 1 John 5:19. True, denominations have a "form of godliness," but if you "prove all things," you "will know the truth and the truth will make you free." The whole secret of knowing the will of God is in humbling your heart and reading His Word. As the Lord Jesus Christ said, "Let these sayings sink down into your ears." Luke 9:44. Remember, "To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17.
4. There are no "Holy Days" under Grace,
just as there are no physical "Ordinances" nor any other outward ceremonies.
EASTER AND CHRISTMAS PAGANISM
2000 B.C. TO DATE
"Learn not the way of the heathen." Jer. 10:2
"Prove all things" I Thes. 5:21
Is the name "Easter" of divine origin simply because it is found in our Bibles, in the King James translation of Acts 12:4 - "... intending after Easter to bring him forth"? The Revised Version renders it "after the Passover," as it is given in the original. In reading the following lines every honest mind will be able to discern whether or not the celebration of Easter and also Christmas has divine sanction.
We search our Bibles in vain for any authorization of celebrating the resurrection of Christ. The setting of different dates for Easter from year to year is explained thus, in Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. 2, page 682: "The present variable time was appointed by early Romanism in amalgamation with the very ancient pagan spring festival to the goddess of spring. It was fixed on the Sunday immediately following the 14th day of the paschal moon which happened on or first after the vernal equinox." Please note Col. 2:16, "Let no man judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath." Spiritual Christians do not celebrate the resurrection of Christ; they demonstrate it.
The Babylonian "queen of heaven," Semeramis, the wife of Nimrod, was the original impersonation of the heathen goddesses, Astarte and Venus of the Greeks, Juno, of the Latins, Ashtoreth, of the Zidonians, Ishtar of the Babylonians, and Eostre, the goddess of spring, of the early Anglo-Saxons. The Druids held religious festivities in her honor and of the sun-god in April, calling it "Easter Monath." Hence, the careless insertion of the word "Easter" instead of "Passover" in Acts 12:4 by the King James translators. It is a blot inexcusable on their otherwise excellent work.
This Ishtar, or Eostre, was worshipped as the goddess of love and fertility, and as the life of nature. In Babylonish mythology this "queen of heaven" was worshipped as the goddess of the sexual impulse. In Hastings Encyclopedia of Religious Ethics, page 117, we read of these ancient "Easters": "A spring feast was celebrated. These occasions were marked with great sexual license." The "groves" connected with the "high places" that Israel so frequently "went a whoring with" (Psa. 106:28-39) were the images and places where these filthy "queen of heaven" festivals were carried on. The word "groves," found forty times in our English Bible, comes from the Hebrew word "Asherah" and is always associated with the worship of Ashtoreth, alias Ishtar, Eostre, the goddess of spring.
The so-called "Lent season" is of pure Babylonish origin. The word "Lent" cam from the Saxon word "Lenct," meaning "spring." Pagan Mexicans also celebrate forty days in April. Forty days in the vernal equinox in April were celebrated by the devil worshippers of Koordistan in honor of the sun-god. This was brought from Babylon in 2000 B.C. where it originated in the weeping of Tammuz, the supposed reincarnation of Ishtar's (or Semeramis') husband (Nimrod). In the spring his death and reappearance was celebrated. A time of mourning was followed by one of joy. God condemned Israel's partaking in this celebration as given in Ezek. 8:13-14, "He said unto me turn thee yet again and thou shalt see greater abominations that the do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord's house which was toward the north, and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz."
Modern Easter Customs
One may well ask, What connection have buns, eggs, rabbits and new clothes with the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lord of glory? The origin of modern "hot cross buns" is sufficiently explained in Jer. 7:18; 44:17-19; "The children gather wood and the fathers kindle the fire and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke me to anger." Surely God's anger is still being provoked when Christians take up these heathen customs in connection with the resurrection of His beloved Son.
The custom of giving eggs in April can be traced to the philosophy and theology of the Egyptians, Persians, Gauls, Greeks and Romans, among whom the egg was the emblem of the universe - the work of the supreme Being. The dying of eggs can be traced to the Chinese. Eggs were the sacrificial emblem of the Druids. Rome made the egg to become the consecrated emblem of Christ's resurrection. Pope Paul V taught people to pray at Easter: "Bless O Lord, we beseech thee this thy creature of eggs that it may become a wholesome sustenance unto thy servants, eating it in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Ancient Babylonians believed an egg fell from heaven into the Euphrates River and the fishes rolled it to the shore where the doves hatched out "the Queen of Heaven," or Ishtar. Hence, the egg became a symbol of Ishtar, the licentiously worshipped goddess of the ancients, and is used today be deluded, unthinking Christendom in its celebration of Easter. What an ungodly travesty!
The rabbit fad at Easter time can be traced back to pagan Germany. Children were told that if they were good, a white hare would steal into the house while they were asleep and secrete any number of beautifully colored eggs in odd corners of the house. Here then originated the modern "Easter egg hunt" provided for innocent children.
The hare [Easter Bunny], from ancient times was a symbol of the moon, it being a nocturnal animal. The hare is the only animal born with its eyes open. The Egyptian word for hare is "un," meaning "to open." Thus, the hare was associated with the opening of a new season, spring, in April, at the vernal equinox. The hare and eggs were mutually symbolic in Egypt of the opening of their new year, at which time eggs were ceremoniously broken.
But whence the custom of wearing new clothes at Easter? Answer: In early England it was considered unlucky not to wear some new article of clothing at Easter time.
Lastly, what about Easter sun-rise services? Do the two come under divine condemnation? Regardless of how or when they started, we need only to look to the criterion of God's holy Word, for "faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word" and "whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom. 10:17; 14:23). Hebrews 11:6 states that without faith it is impossible to please God. It is also true that without tradition it is impossible to please men. "God is a Spirit and the that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (the truth of God's Word), we read in John 4:24.
When God's people, Israel, took to the idea of "sun-rise services" God expressed His disapproval in Ezek. 8:15-18: "Turn thee yet again and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house and behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men with their backs to the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east; [[see link to Freemasonry]] and they worshipped the sun toward the east ... and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them." Reading this in God's Word and knowing that the sun-god, Baal, or Tammuz, the "husband-son" of Semeramis (Ishtar) has been given idolatrous homage from the very beginning of all idol worship, the spiritual, God fearing Christian will have no part with a Christ-rejecting world in seemingly innocent and sentimentally "beautiful" Easter sunrise service or in any and all Christ-deflecting customs which are of proved, Satan inspired, pagan origin.
As recorded in Gen. 3:15, the Lord God announced to the guilty pair in the garden of Eden that of the "seed" of the woman the Savior of mankind would appear, by whom "the serpent" (Satan) would be destroyed. After the flood, when the human race was centralized on the plains of Babylon, Satan sought to turn men away from God's plan of redemption by producing a counterfeit Christ. He found a ready tool in an ambitious woman, Semeramis, the widow of Nimrod, "the mighty hunter before the Lord" (Gen. 10:9) who had met with a violent death. Nimrod had been deified as being a deliverer from the menace of wild animals. His wife, seeking to perpetuate his worship and also to retain power over men herself, deceived them into joyfully believing that through a miraculous conception she had given birth to a son called Tammuz, purported to be Nimrod incarnated. Here then, 2000 B.C., was Satan's counterfeit of the promised "Seed" of the woman. This woman with her illegitimate son was thenceforth worshipped as "mother of (a) god" (Madonna) - "the queen of heaven." Thus originated the ancient Babylonian mystery religion, the fountainhead of all idolatry covering the globe. Every idol mentioned in the Bible as well as in mythology, having varied names in different lands, can be traced to this source.
The familiar halo seen in so called pictures of Mary and babe was first invented in ancient Babylon in connection with Semeramis and child. The worship of Mary, by the way, is as abominable in God's sight as the worship of the Babylonian harlot, Semeramis. Strange, is it not, that the expression, "queen of heaven," mentioned five times in Scripture in connection with Israel's idolatry, is so commonly and piously used by Roman Catholics.
Alexander Hislop, in his monumental work, "The Two Babylons," has clearly shown that the papal worship is none other than the worship of Nimrod and his wife, disguised in a garb of falsified Christianity. Concerning the Christmas festival we find these lines on page 93: "The Christmas was originally a pagan festival is beyond all doubt. The time of the year, the ceremonies with which it is celebrated, prove its origin. In Egypt, the son of Isis, the Egyptian title for the queen of heaven, was born at this very time, about the time of the winter solstice. The very name by which Christmas is popularly known among ourselves - Yule Day - proves at once its pagan and Babylonian origin. 'Yule' is the Chaldee name for 'infant,' or 'little child'; and as the 25th of December was called by our pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors 'Yule-Day' or 'the child's day', and the night that precedes it, 'Mother Night', long before they came in contact with Christianity, that sufficiently proves its real character. Far and wide in the realms of paganism was this birthday observed."
The only birthdays mentioned in Scripture are the birthdays of Pharaoh and Herod - both connected with murder. Since God has definitely obscured the date of Christ's birth, a bare clue as to the season of the year only being noticeable is that the Judean shepherds were with their flocks in the open field by night (a practice not customary during the cold winter months) and since He has not in His Word authorized the celebration of Christ's birth, then who induced men to begin doing so, and how was it brought about? For three hundred years the early Church had no such celebration. About the year 230 Tertullian wrote: "By us who are strangers to (Jewish) Sabbaths, and new moons, and festivals, once acceptable to God, the Saturnalia, the feasts of January, the Brumalia, and Matronalia are now frequented, with gifts being carried to and fro."
Since Tammuz was worshipped as god incarnate, that implied also that he was an incarnation of the "lord of the heavens," the sun, and since the sun noticeably began to grow stronger the 25th of December, this date came to be known not only as the rebirth of Nimrod but of the sun as well. In ancient Rome December 25th was known as the "Natalis Invicti Solis" - the birthday of the unconquered sun. Lights were kindled then (candles now) to burn till the 6th of January (Epiphany). The feast of Saturnalia, lasting about a week, was held at this time of the winter solstice, accompanied with the merrymaking, wild revelry and debauchery. To obtain more adherents to Roman Catholicism it was the policy of the papacy to amalgamate the heathen festivals with things professedly Christian. Pope Gregory wrote to Augustine, the first missionary to the British Isles (A.D. 597): "Do not destroy the temples of the English gods; change them to Christian churches. Do not forbid the harmless customs which have been associated with the old religions; consecrate them to Christian uses." Thus Rome retained a pagan form for "Xmas" but could not restrain its pagan spirit - existing to this day. it should be remembered here that rather than representing true Christianity, Roman Catholicism during its gradual growth into a well organized religious hierarchy, absorbed mere nominal professing Christendom at that time. To this can be attributed the existence of the so-called "Dark Ages" (dark in the respect of learning, the oppression of the common people, and the persecution of "heretics").
Sir James Fraser in "The Golden Bough" writes: "Thus it appears that the Christian Church (we would say, the papacy) chose to celebrate the birthday of its founder on the 25th of December in order to transfer the devotion of the heathen from the sun to him who was called the Son of Righteousness. If that were so, there can be no intrinsic improbability in the conjecture that motives of the same sort may have led to ecclesiastical authorities to assimilate the Easter festival of the death and resurrection of their Lord to the festival of the death and resurrection of another Asiatic god which fell in the same season."
The name "Christmas" appeared about 450 A.D. when Pope Julius decreed that all Catholics must celebrate the birthday of Christ at the same time that the heathen were celebrating the Saturnalia, etc. It was designated as "Christe-masse," or Christ's mass.
We know that the so-called "Christmas tree" had its origin in Babylon's mystery religion, where it was used to represent Tammuz (which name means, a sprout) - Satan's counterfeit of "The Branch" - Christ, who was also prophetically called "The Root out of dry ground" (Isa. 11:1; 53:2; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 6:12 - "Behold the man whose name is The Branch"). Ancient coins have been found picturing a tree stump (representing dead Nimrod) and a small tree growing nearby (Tammuz). The Egyptians used the palm tree; the Romans a pine tree. The "Xmas tree" of idolatrous Israelites is described in Jer. 10:1-4, where the modern tree is vividly pictured. Mistletoe and holly figured prominently in the early Anglo-Saxon tree worship of the Druids.
That the origin of "Christmas carols" is traceable to early idolatry is suggested by Virgil's lines: "In jolly hymns we praise god of wine (Bacchus - originally Tammuz), whose earthen images adorn the pine, and these are hung on high, in honor of the vine."
"Satan's Claws" might well be the name for the big clownish, liquor marked, masked lie called "Santa Claus," who robs the children of Christ. What he has to do with Him who said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me"? The popishly canonized "St. Nicholas," archbishop of Myra, Greece (4th century) became the patron saint of children in Europe. They learned to think that "St. Nick" was watching them - not Christ, for on the eve of his memorial day (Dec.6) he was believed to enter the home in disguise, asking each child questions as to behavior. On Christmas day rewards came accordingly. The early Dutch settlers of New York brought this hoax to America. Their pronunciation of "St. Nicholas" accounts for the name "Santa Claus."
The world considers Christmas a good thing in that it "creates good will among men" (besides having a gratifying effect on business). Lasting good will comes only through humbly accepting "God's unspeakable gift" of His crucified, resurrected and ascended Son, involving a new birth - making us "new creatures" in Christ (II Cor. 9:15; 5:17; John 3:3).
To say that it "honors Christ" to celebrate His birthday betrays woeful blindness and ignorance, for any religious work that is not designated in the inspired Scriptures which are "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God might be thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (II Tim. 3:16-17), actually dishonors Christ, in denial of His Word. The same obtains as to sunrise services being "not of faith." The spiritual Christian will not contribute to the perpetuation of Christmas by observing it in ant way whatever; but will withdraw in holy horror from such pagan-born celebrations revered by a world that greeted the infant Christ with Herod's sword, reeking with the blood of Bethlehem's baby boys, and which finally crucified Him in diabolical hatred. The prophesy of Rev. 11:10 may soon be fulfilled when God's two witnesses shall be slain, when "they that dwell upon earth shall rejoice over them and make merry and shall send gifts one to another."
"Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). The birth of the babe is supposedly remembered each year, but the Man (now at God's right hand) is contemptuously set at naught. What hollow sinful mockery!
"Thou shall not follow a multitude to do evil" (Exodus. 23:2).
"That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15).
"Be ye not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may know what is that good and acceptable and perfect (complete) will of God" (Rom. 12:2). See also II Cor. 6:14-18; 7:1.
In II Tim. 2:8 we are told to "remember that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead," but "days and months and times and years" are not to be religiously observed (Gal. 4:10-11).
The apostle Paul acknowledged that he had much "religion" (like multiplied thousands today) but that he was lost until he obtained "through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (see Gal. 1:13-16; Phil. 3:4-10). Unsaved reader, will you not receive the Lord Jesus as your Savior from eternal judgment as did Paul, who explained for us in all its simplicity how to receive Him to be instantly and eternally saved?
Here it is, in I Cor. 15:1-5: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I have preached unto you unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; and He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve."
Believe now! "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).
Ed Stevens (1895-1966)
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