Monday, August 2, 2010


Grotto of The Apostle Paul

"But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
(2Timothy 3:14-17)

Here the Apostle Paul is writing his second letter to Timothy and he reminds Timothy that he has known the holy scriptures from childhood.
How is this possible?
The New Testament was written down until years after all of the events took place. The holy scriptures that Timothy has known from childhood is what we now call 'the Old Testament.' Some would have my readers to believe that some (if not all) of the things written in the Old Testament does not apply to Christians, or 'the Church'.
According to Paul, when he wrote to Timothy, the Old Testament (holy scriptures) makes you wise enough to receive salvation, if you have faith In Jesus the Christ...

So Let's Explore...

"And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question... And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name... Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day." Acts 15:1-21

There are several points of argument in this set of scriptures. And if left at face value, I can even understand that if you focus on only this chapter you would conclude that circumcision is not necessary. Unfortunately in concluding doctrine on only this chapter you would also have to admit that we are able to steal. According to Only this chapter the Gentiles (and subsequently the entire Christian Church) were/are permitted to kill. To blaspheme the Holy Spirit, or to take the Lord's name in vain, not honor mother & father, etc.

That sentence is highlighted in blue, so that we may remember 4 things the Apostles agreed the Gentiles should stay away from.
Why would the followers of Jesus say this? Knowing that Jesus is quoted as saying, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil" (Matthew 5:17).

1st we must explore the theory of circumcision first in conjunction with the human psyche. 

In the United States the majority of males are circumcised by default. Imagine however, becoming a grown man, maybe never having even heard of circumcision. Foreigners come from far away lands and preach the Gospel of the coming of the Kingdom of God. You hear about the wonderful works of Christ, about He and the Father's love for mankind, and eventually you decide to follow Christ to receive salvation. Imagine that soon thereafter others that preach Christ, come and tell you that in order to follow Christ, i.e be saved,  "I GOTTA CUT YA!"

Complete turn off right? As a man I can testify to how attached I am to my genitals. It has to be a very serious concern for anyone (especially male) to be anywhere near my manhood. I'm talking like prostate cancer serious!

First of all it should be noted that, these restrictions were permitted for babes in the Word of God. The commandments highlighted in blue was something that you could tell someone whom has only heard about Christ's life (not how His life relates to Abraham, Israel as a nation or the world as a whole), that they had to adhere to without reading them the entire Bible. 4 things that would in essence put you on the road toward salvation. 
Not the end-all, be-all.
It was not necessary then, nor is it necessary now as ministers of the Gospel, to impose the law of God. That is what the Word was printed for. So that everyone could see for themselves and make their choice to everlasting life, or the 2nd deathAlthough during this time period the people did not own their own copy of the Scriptures, James recognized that they do have preachers. This he pointed out in the sentence highlighted in Red. Every week on the Sabbath they people who preach the law of God. That which Moses wrote, and what the prophets wrote. So in time as they lived their lives with the milk of the Word and continued to abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood, eventually their respective preachers would get around to teaching the importance of the circumcision as well as all the other topics contained in the scripture (as will I).

Did Paul live his life by those standards? No. In the very next chapter of Acts, he circumcises Timothy, who was a Greek.
"Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek." (Acts 16:1-3)
Some take the last verse to mean that Paul circumcised Timothy for 'fear' of the Jews. If that thought popped into your head while reading this, I would encourage you to do a deep research on Paul (Saul of Tarsus) to do so start here. I will just say that Paul was extreme in all that he did and showed no signs of fear toward anyone else, including Caesar. The fact that Timothy was a Gentile was of no matter as Timothy was to be Paul's assistant and eventual preacher, and church leader.

Throughout the New Testament Paul goes beyond the original four that they agreed upon
"I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat" (1Corinthians 5:1-11).

Now in his letters to "the brethren of the Church" those whom believe in God and His Christ, he says that you should not even eat with someone who is covetous, a railer, drunkard, or an extortioner. Way past the original four rules that they set for the Gentiles.

The Apostle Peter also did not leave the requirements for salvation at those highlighted in blue. "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings" (1Peter 2:1).
None of these were agreed upon in Acts 15.

FOOD 4 THOUGHT (you do the dishes): Conversely all of these things mentioned by Peter and Paul are ALL quotes from the Old Testament. This is, because of course, Genesis-Malachi  was their there ONLY source of refrence. The only way to preach Christ. This is why every statement of or about salvation, doctrine, or the latter days can be verified and substantiated by Moses and/or the prophets. It would be therefore impossible to contradict the Old Testament. Doing that would by default contradict the very foundation that the 'Church' was built upon.

May The Lord add a blessing to the study of His Word...



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