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● John 11:26. “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” How can a believer now hope to never die?
The Rotherham translation gives the sense of what Jesus intended. “No one who liveth again and believeth on me shall in anywise die.” The word “again” is not directly represented in the
Greek, but that is the sense intended. It is similar to an expression about Jesus in Revelation 2:8, which says, literally, “who became dead, and lived.” The meaning is that Jesus died and lived again. Thus, the RVIC reads, “who was dead, and lived again.” The NAS version says “who was dead, and has come to life.”
In John 11:25, 26, the context shows the point Jesus was expressing. The occasion was the death of Lazarus. Speaking with Martha, Jesus said “he that believeth in me, though he
were dead, yet shall he live” — and followed that up with the next step — “And whosoever liveth [again, in the resurrection] and believeth in me shall never die.” DLR
● Galatians 4:5. Are we adopted sons, and not begotten sons of God?
We can be spoken of as both adopted and begotten sons of God.
Paul mentions adoption to the new standing of those called and chosen by God. These were born as descendants of the imperfect Adam into sin and did not possess inherent sonship of God. By faith in the Ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus, these consecrated ones, are acknowledged as God’s sons from the time of God’s
begetting them by His spirit (Galatians 4:1-7, Romans 8:14-17, 1 John 3:1, John 1:12,13).
As sons of God, they hope and have confidence of a heavenly inheritance, guaranteed by the witness of God’s spirit, their spirit begettal to walk in newness of life (Ephesians 1:13-14,
Romans 8:16-17). Their full realization of this privilege as adopted, and begotten sons of God is dependent on their ultimate faithfulness unto death.
When these spirit-begotten sons die, they will finally receive the full realization of their sonship by being resurrected as actual spirit sons of God (Hebrews 2:10-17, Revelation 21:7, 3:21).
Let us work to keep our spirit begettal alive and growing through our sanctification of heart and mind (Ephesians 1:18). BrSw
Editors’ note: Romans 8:15 and 23 show that we are waiting for this “adoption,” but we already have received the spirit of it. The
Greek word (uiothesia) literally means “placement (thesis) as a son (uios).” Galatians 4:1-5 explains, “The heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we … might receive” the placement as sons. That is, when the son has become mature enough to be responsible, his father places him in his position of authority — in our case, at resurrection.
● 1 Peter 1:1-2 vs. Revelation 22:17. Is it election or free grace?
Election and Free Grace are both correct, but not for the same people nor at the same time. Jesus Christ and His church are called and chosen and faithful now during the Gospel Age. When Jesus was baptized, “a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my Son, my chosen [elect]: hear ye him” (Luke 9:35). And of the church, “they also shall overcome that are with him, called and chosen [elect] and faithful” (Revelation 17:14). But when the faithful church class, the Bride of Christ, is complete, then “the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And he that is athirst, let him come” he that will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). It will be free grace for the
whole world during the Millennial Age.
Note: Free grace is to be extended to all people in the Millennium. However, even now, all who hear the message of the Gospel with appreciative hearts have free will to respond. JP
● James 5:15, Mark 16:18. Should Christians expect miraculous cures now?
Before Jesus’ first advent, God used prophets to do miraculous cures. Elijah and Elisha each raised someone from the dead, and Elisha healed a Syrian leper by having him wash in the Jordan River (1 Kings 17:17-24, 2 Kings 4:17-5:14). Jesus, by the power of God, did many miraculous cures, including three raisings
from the dead. Jesus extended that power of healing to the twelve disciples and also to the seventy (Matthew 10:1-4, Luke 10:1,17). Peter and Paul each raised one from the dead
(partial evidence of their apostleship). Miracles reassured the faith of Jesus’ followers and gave the world a foregleam of the work of Christ’s Kingdom. Miraculous cures were done by
prophets, Jesus, and his disciples, not for their own benefit, but for others. Yet Jesus adds, “Rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in
heaven” (Luke 10:20).
Believers should not expect to cast out demons, have immunity from serpents and poison, as Mark 16:9-20 was not in the best and most-ancient Greek manuscripts, nor in Jerome’s Latin Vulgate. (Modern critical editions of the Greek New Testament also reject these words.) If any feels (spiritually) weak, he should call for the elders of the church; they should anoint
him with oil in the name of the Lord, and pray over him: “and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick (wearying), and the Lord shall raise him up” (James 5:14-15). In Mediterranean
countries anointing with warm olive oil is used to de-stress the patient to aid healing, physical and/or emotional. Nothing miraculous from the elders need be inferred, when the weakened one recovers and rises from sick bed. We should
do for others, and not ask miraculous cures for ourselves (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
During most of the Gospel Age, the Heavenly Father and His son Jesus have valued living by faith and not by sight. Jesus told Thomas, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Our faith is to be unmovable, and based on the singular gift of faith Jesus commended. Amen. SH
● Matthew 5:42. “To him who is asking thee, give; and, him who is desiring from thee to borrow, do not thou turn away” (Rotherham). Should we give to everyone until we are bankrupt?
The lesson here is be ready at heart to help others in any way we can. After all, God gave His only begotten son. We do not need to worry that our giving will cause bankruptcy if we lay hold of the promise, “Give and it shall be given unto you” (Luke 6:38). We will always receive more than we can give. We do not need
to worry about any of the cares of this world when seeking first the Kingdom of God. The twelfth chapter of Luke explains that our bread and water are sure and therefore we are to “be
not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.”
However, this does not mean that we should give haphazardly. We must take into consideration the responsibility to provide temporal necessities for oneself and one’s household.
(1 Timothy 5:8). JM
● Matthew 5:44. How can we learn to love our enemies?
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”
Jesus did not just die for us but for our enemies also! We need to work on seeing our enemies as our Lord sees them. Here are a few suggestions to help us learn how:
If we have enemies maybe we should re-evaluate why we classify them as enemies.
(1) Try to understand why they do the things they do. What might be their motive? Where are they coming from? What have they been taught? What is their background and experiences?
What are their talents? What value do they have?
(2) Never mind what a supposed enemy said or did. Let bygones be bygones. We are not living for ourselves but for the Lord.
(3) Picture what they will be like after being rehabilitated from sin. Try seeing them as they will be (separating the sin from the sinner).
(4) Make a conscious decision to be largehearted and generous toward them. David illustrated this in his forbearance toward Saul.
(5) The best way to conquer an enemy is to convert him by kindness into a friend.
(6) Pray that we might be used in breaking any false notions that may exist between you and them, and that all eyes of understanding might be opened. JM
● Matthew 5:32. “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery.” How could a man make his wife an adulteress if she does not remarry?
Most translations ignore the tense of the Greek (aorist [past)] infinitive, passive in best ancient manuscripts); it properly is: “causeth her to have committed adultery.” Of course the man cannot cause anything retroactively. So a proper translation is: “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to be deemed to have committed
adultery.” That is, he causes gossip to begin. (Of course, if the wife actually had committed adultery, then she would be the
cause, not the husband; hence the qualification, “saving for the cause of fornication.”) Then, “whosoever might marry her that is divorced is deemed to commit adultery.” JP
● Ecclesiastes 7:27-29. Are men more righteous than women?
Paraphrasing Ecclesiastes 27-29, Solomon says, This I have found by comparing one thing to another, to find an explanation or a conclusion. The wisdom that I seek and have not found, I have found one righteous man among a thousand, but I have not found a righteous woman among the thousand. We think it appropriate to insert “righteous” here because verse 29 says God made man upright or righteous.
Fascinating words of Solomon that some have misconstrued to mean that men are more righteous than women.
Is this really what he is saying?
Consider the context, Solomon’s life, and other words attributed
to him. In Ecclesiastes 7:26 he says he has found more bitter than death the kind of woman that has ensnared him. Solomon “had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart … after other gods” (1 Kings 11:3,4). Solomon also spoke of virtuous women, e.g. Proverbs 12:4 and 31:10-31; so his own words demonstrate that he did not believe all women were unrighteous.
So the no righteous women among “the thousand” refers to the thousand wives and concubines, not to women in general. And
the one man among a thousand? Given that Solomon had just said in Ecclesiastes 7:20 that there is not a just or righteous man upon the earth, perhaps he refers to the Messiah, whom
he rhapsodized in the Song of Solomon 5:10 as the beloved, “chiefest among ten thousand.”
In summary, Solomon does not say men are more righteous than women. He says there are none righteous save the one among a thousand, the Messiah. BrH
● Jude 9. What is meant by “the body of Moses?”
Jude draws the lesson from Zechariah 3:1-5. “The angel of Jehovah,” “Satan” (Enemy), and “Joshua the high priest Y standing in filthy garments” are (in Jude): “Michael the archangel” (Jesus Christ), “the devil” (the accuser), and
“the body of Moses” (the church). The lesson for us is to not have the spirit of accusation, and so not join the Accuser (Satan the Devil). JP
● Romans 8:16-28. How can the holy Spirit bear witness with our spirit? What is meant in Romans 8:16, “The Spirit itself
beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God”?
The holy Spirit bearing witness results from the gracious operation of the holy Spirit on the mind. A child of God is whosoever cometh unto him by faith, reforms from bad works and dead works, and can answer the following in the affirmative (Hebrews 7:25):
Was I ever drawn to Christ?
Did I ever fully consecrate my life?
If so, I am a child of God.
How does the holy Spirit witness to us respecting our at-one-ment with the Father that we have become sons of God?
If our spirit and the holy Spirit are lookalikes, it is a witness that we are sons of God, just as identical twins are witness of the same parentage. The more we bear the fruit of the root, the better the witness that we are still in the Vine of Jesus Christ. The words of our prayers are feeble, but God accepts the spirit
that motivates them; thus does our spirit make intercession with God.
Are all chastenings the evidence or witness of Divine displeasure?
If we were all absolutely perfect, and had been proven by testing, God would then love us for our perfection and harmony with Himself. Then chastisement and bitter experiences could
be signs of His disfavor. But we all know that all are imperfect, that we all come far short of the divine standard. Our new hearts, our new wills, our transformed minds or spirits, alone
are acceptable with God — and that through the merit of Christ. Trying experiences are to reshape our spirit to look like the holy Spirit. AW
● 1 Corinthians 5:5. What does it mean to deliver someone to Satan?
In Matthew 18, when one rejects reproof from the entire congregation for grievous offenses, Jesus says the person is to be thought of as “a Gentile and a tax collector.” Gentiles could not enter into the temple proper and tax collectors were considered traitors to the nation of Israel, putting both groups outside the protection of the synagogue as a sanctuary from
the influence of Satan. In 1 Timothy 1:20, Paul speaks of two brethren who had gone astray, and how he was delivering
them to Satan to “learn” not to blaspheme. That seems strange — how can one be taught by Satan? If anything, Satan would rejoice in one blaspheming God! The word for “learn” means to educate or discipline (Strong’s #3811).
Thus, delivering one to Satan would seem remedial, rather than punitive. Being outside the sanctuary of God’s protection from Satan’s temptations, Satan’s efforts would likely be more difficult to resist. Apparently they did not learn the lesson, as Paul likens their influence to cancer or gangrene in 2 Timothy 2:17-18. Paul’s desire in 1 Corinthians 5 is to have one learn
that being outside of God’s protection from the wiles of Satan makes a Christian life almost impossible to live, and gives them cause to squash their pride and return as quickly as possible. LG
● 2 Corinthians 12:2. How did the Apostle Paul get into the third heaven? And what is it?
Paul wrote, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago — whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows — such a man was caught up to the third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2 NASB). Paul was the man in verse 2 who was caught up, and he does not know if he was actually
transported to the third heaven — “in the body” — or he saw the third heaven in a vision — “out of the body.” Neither do we know. In verse 4 Paul explains what the third heaven was: “was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak” (NASB). Heavens and earth are
often used symbolically to picture ecclesiastical and civil powers of control respectively. The first heavens and earth together comprised the world (Greek, cosmos or order) before the flood
and were destroyed by it (2 Peter 3:5,6). The second or present heavens and earth-the ecclesiastical and civil powers controlling this present evil world-will be destroyed in the day of the
Lord (Galatians 1:4, 2 Peter 3:7,10,12). The new or third heavens and earth that follows is the spiritual and earthly control of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, “in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13 NASB). Specifically, the new heavens is “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made
ready as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:1,2 NASB). The New Jerusalem, the bride of Christ, together with her head, Christ, will be the new or third heavens, or spiritual control, that brings righteousness to the world in Christ’s earthly kingdom. EK