Grace Bible Church of Rolling Meadows

Matthew Highlights


Presented by Steve Walker

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Matthew Highlights

Nov 01, 2020

In yesterday's Bible Study Fellowship, we returned to Matthew 9 and saw Jesus giving final instructions for how the believing remnant was to carry out their ministry, especially in the light of His physical departure from them. From the time Jesus left them to the time He will return, they were to minister by freely dispensing forgiveness and mercy, and in Mat. 9, Jesus shows them how to do both, preparing them for a practice run on ministering without Jesus being physically present with them (Mat. 10).

On the Cross, the Lord Jesus reduced the charge against fallen humanity from 1st degree murder, which would have called for immediate judgment and death, to manslaughter, which under the Law provided a means of escape, escape to the city of refuge that God the Holy Spirit created in the ministry of Peter and the 12. After the Cross everyone needed forgiveness. It wasn't just Judas that betrayed Christ. Peter did too. The believing remnant's main ministry was to dispense the forgiveness anywhere faith was present. This is what would carry the nation away from the vain religious system and to Christ at His return.

Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

In the difficult time between Jesus' absence and return, the believing remnant, who were the first fruits of the Nation of Israel, needed to know that as they go through the great trials of the final installment of the 5th Course of Punishment, the Tribulation Period, God would provide them with a foretaste of Kingdom and New Covenant blessings. And this is seen clearly in their beautiful little communal prayer that they were to pray as the first fruits of the nation of Israel. God is going to use this believing remnant to display the glory of His Name. That is why God created the Nation of Israel in the first place way back at the Exodus: I have raised you (Moses) up, that I may show My power in you and that My Name may be declared in all the earth (EX. 3; 9:16). What happened only in part back then, will happen in Israel's future Kingdom. In the Kingdom, God's will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Until then, they were to operate during this time of increasing tribulation by relying on God for their daily provisions. If they did, their Father would give them a foretaste of the Kingdom blessings by providing food. Until then, they were to operate by freely dispensing forgiveness anywhere faith was present (Mat. 9; Acts 2-3). If they did, their Father would give them a foretaste of Israel's New Covenant blessing of national forgiveness of sins, supplying the believing remnant with peace and unity (Jn. 20:19-29). And until then, they were to pray that God would not lead them into trials but deliver them from evil. And if they did, their Father would give them a foretaste of the deliverance in accord with the Davidic Covenant.

Jesus identified Himself with national Israel in its hopeless predicament of NATIONAL sinfulness that has caused them to fall under the curses of the Law (Mat. 1-4). He of course had no sins of His own that needed to be forgiven. But identifying Himself with Israel, He identified Himself with her NATIONAL sins. Just as Daniel did in Dan. 9. As a matter of fact, He would be the One who would take all the nation's sins upon Himself so that God can give NATIONAL forgiveness to the nation of Israel and use her to spread His Glory over the earth. Therefore, in His humanity He availed Himself of this prayer as well. He availed Himself of it when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Mat. 4:1-11), and He availed Himself of it in the Garden of Gethsemane during His great time of need there (Mat. 26:39). In both instances the Father's will was accomplished on earth and the Father supplied Him with supernatural sustenance (Mat. 4:11; Lk. 22:43). He demonstrated this prayer in action when He and His people were fed by a supernatural foretaste of Kingdom blessings from their Father (Jn. 6:11). In freely dispensing forgiveness and mercy to all those of faith, Jesus and His people received from the Father a foretaste of the New Covenant blessing of national forgiveness of sins, uniting them in peace and righteousness as they endure to the end (Jn. 20:19-29).

The “Lord's Prayer” is a perfect prayer for the members of the believing remnant in national Israel's Prophetic Program. As they go through the final installment of the Curses of the Law, they will be strengthened with the provisions this prayer, making it possible for them to endure until the end when Christ returns, when He will bring the faithful into full participation in Israel's national salvation. Jesus the King will use this faithful remnant to re-create the nation of Israel, making it the head of the nations, and then all nations of the earth will be blessed with Israel and through her Rise, fulfilling the Abrahamic Covenant.

This is not a prayer that will work today for members of the Body of Christ in God's Mystery Program. The Body of Christ is not under the same manifestation of Satan's Policy of Evil as the believing remnant will be when they go through the Tribulation Period. The Body of Christ's role is not to re-establish God's Glory on earth, but His Glory in the heavenlies. Therefore, God is not giving physical and material blessings today, but He is giving ALL spiritual blessings in heavenly places today! And that is a perfect provision for what God has designed us to be and do in Christ.

Today we are not operating in accord with the Grace of the Abrahamic Covenant. We are operating in accord with the Riches of God's Grace in Christ. Today, we are not looking for the 2nd Coming of Christ to the earth. We are looking for His appearance above where we will meet the Lord in the air and take us into the Heavenlies. Today, we are not looking for a seat in Israel's earthly Kingdom. We have already been seated together with Christ in the Heavenlies! Today, we are not forgiving others to obtain the national forgiveness God gives to the Nation of Israel. Today, we forgive because we have already been forgiven according to the Riches of Christ's Grace (Eph. 1)!

Matthew Highlights

Nov 08, 2020

Yesterday we continued our study in Mat. 9. We used Matthew's reference to Jesus telling the Pharisees that I will have mercy, and not sacrifice (Mat. 9:13 from Hos. 6:6). On our way to Hos. 6:6, we stopped to do a refresher on the Courses of Punishment (COP) that placed Israel under the Curses of the Law. Because I didn't have this information in the notes, several of you asked if I could put it together in a summary. So, here are the major points that will make your study of the non-Pauline Scriptures much easier and more enjoyable:

  1. According to Lev. 16, there are 5 Courses of Punishment (COP) that the nation of Israel would fall under because of their refusal to obey the Law. Here is the historical account of each:
    1. 1COP: Judges-1 Sam. 16
    2. 2COP: 1 Sam. 17-1 Kings 11
    3. 3COP: 1 Kings 12-22
    4. 4COP: 2 Kings 1:1-10:32
    5. 5COP: 2 Kings 17:1-25:30
    To read a complete explanation of the Courses of Punishment, see the May 2020 Issue of the Bold To Speak The Mystery Bible Study Newsletter.
  2. God placed the 5th and final Course of Punishment (5COP) on a time schedule. He gave that time schedule to Jeremiah and Daniel. This time schedule is made up of 5 major events or what we will call “installments.”
    1. In the 1st Installment, the Babylonians take the Southern Kingdom, Judah, out of the land of Israel and into captivity. This would last 70 yrs. (Jer. 26:33-35).
    2. In the 2nd Installment, the Medo-Persians allowed a remnant of Jews to return to the land of Israel. Their rule lasts 49 yrs. The Israelites are now back in the land, but they remain under Gentile control. (Dan. 9:25)
    3. In the 3rd Installment, God goes “back to His place” and remains silent with the Nation of Israel. This lasts 400 years. (Dan. 9:25-26; Amos 8:10-11)
    4. In the 4th Installment, God breaks His silence and begins talking to the Nation of Israel again through the ministry of John the Baptist. This is the 34 year earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. (Dan. 9:25-26)
    5. The 5th Installment is the Tribulation Period. With the conclusion of the Tribulation Period God will end the Courses of Punishment with the Nation Israel by saving His friends (the Jews in the believing remnant and the friendly Gentile nations associated with them) and destroying His enemies (apostate Israel and the enemy Gentile nations).
  3. Then God will usher believing Israel into her long prophesied earthly Kingdom where God will raise up the nation of Israel, make her the head of the nations and with and through her all the nations of the earth will be blessed in accord with the Abrahamic Covenant.

With this little bit of information that I just summarized in one short page, we can now go to any Old Testament passage and its meaning will open up before us. We can leave God's meaning in the text and enjoy it.

Without this little bit of information, we will throw away the meaning God put in the text and replace it with our own vain imaginations. Contrary to what Historical Christianity says, to throw away God's meaning and replace it with our own isn't spiritual, it is carnal. It is treating the Bible like a “christian” Ouija Board. It is nothing more than pagan superstition. National Israel's prophets aren't talking about anything that God is doing today in the Dispensation of Grace, in God's Mystery Program with the Body of Christ.

Of course, this doesn't guarantee that every conclusion we draw is going to be correct, but it does guarantee that we will at least be working with God's things and thoughts rather than our own vain imaginations or the vain imaginations or man-made religious and theological systems. So let's look at a test case from Hosea. To conserve space, we will need to use abbreviations:

One final piece of information before we continue. Hosea is a 4th COP prophet. God raised him up to declare the sinfulness of the nation in their rebellion against God, and that they were worthy of God's further discipline beginning with the Northern Kingdom being carried off by the Assyrians and then the Southern Kingdom being carried off by the Babylonians, which began the 5th COP.

Now let's jump into Hos. 5 and see how this little bit of information can open up the non-Pauline Scriptures for you.

Hos. 5:1-4 The religious and political systems have brought the whole nation into ruin. ProphetsDay
Hos. 5:5:a The Northern Kingdom (Ephraim) will fall (to the Assyrians). AC
Hos. 5:5b The Southern Kingdom (Judah) will be threatened by the Assyrians and fall (to the Babylonians). 5COP1I
Hos. 5:6 They will return to the land of Israel from Babylon to seek the Lord 5COP2I
Hos. 5:6b But the Lord goes back to His place and withdraws from them leaving silence. 5COP3I
Hos. 5:7-9 Hosea returns to the people of His day: the Northern Kingdom (Ephraim) has dealt treacherously with God and His children and will be devoured in a short time. ProphetsDay ---> AC
Hos. 5:10 The Southern Kingdom will follow later and be carried off by the Babylonians. 5COP1I
Hos. 5:11-14 Both Ephraim and Judah will be torn out of the land and be carried away unto the Gentiles. AC ---> 5COP1I
Hos. 5:15a God will return to His place and leave all Israel in silence. 5COP2I ---> 5COP3I
Hos. 5:15b God will remain silent until He breaks His silence through John the Baptist who calls on the nation to acknowledge their sins and repent. 5COO4I
Hos. 5:15c-6:1a When God re-starts His Prophetic Program with Israel they will enter into the Tribulation Period of affliction. At this time they will acknowledge their sin, repent and return to the Lord. 5COP5I
Hos. 6:1b-3 At that time, God will heal and bind the nation of Israel, reviving them and raising them up from the dead to be His Own Nation and He will be with them. KINGDOM

You can see how easy and enjoyable reading and studying the non-Pauline scriptures become when you have this little bit of biblical information. It leaves God's meaning in the text and stops us from inserting our own meanings into God's Word. God meant what He said, and as we see Him faithfully working in Israel's Prophetic Program we can count on the fact that He will be just as faithful with believers today in the Body of Christ's Mystery Program, which results in strengthened patience, renewed comfort and enhanced hope.

Here is the Timeline Hosea and the other prophets saw in the non-Pauline Scriptures:

And here is the timeline of the whole Bible with the Body of Christ's Mystery Program made known through the Apostleship of Paul in the Dispensation of Grace (Col. 1:25-28):

One of Satan's most successful tactics for leading believers astray is to get them to confuse God's Prophecy Program with His Mystery Program. My recommendation is to TUNE OUT all those so called prophecy teachers, which God is not doing today, and TUNE IN to those who teach the Mystery, which is what God is actually doing today. We should major in the Mystery and only minor in Prophecy. These verses or the verses of any other prophet cannot be applied to any other sinful country. They can only be applied to the Nation Israel. Israel was the only nation God gave the Law to and, therefore, she is the only nation that can fall under its curses. You CANNOT apply this passage to USA or Europe or anywhere else because of their sin. These judgments that God puts on Israel's sinful cities are not being put on sinful non-Israeli cities today. Hurricanes and earthquakes and terrorist attacks are NOT God's judgments on His enemies today.

Today, God is saving and blessing His enemies! Today God is NOT fulfilling these prophecies that the prophets had spoken about since the world began with regard to national Israel in any way, shape or form. Today God is fulfilling His Mystery Program, which had been kept secret since the world began with regard to the Body of Christ. Today, God has set aside national Israel and has placed individual Jews on the same level as the Gentiles so that He can dispense His mercy to all to save as many as possible through His Grace and Peace before He returns to destroy them in His wrath and judgment. (Rom. 11)

Matthew Highlights

Nov 15, 2020

In yesterday's Bible Study Fellowship, we wrapped up the important chapter of Mat. 9, important because right after this in Mat. 10 Jesus is going to send the 12 apostles out to minister on their own, without Him being present. Remember in Mat. 5-7 (the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus began calling out a believing remnant and taught them about their role in upcoming events that would lead through the rest of Christ's earthly ministry, through the Tribulation Period and on into Israel's Kingdom. Then, in Mat. 8-9, He showed them through miraculous signs and wonders what God would need to do with the nation as a whole to make her into the people He intended them to be: A kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Ex. 19:6), a nation not reckoned among the other nations (Num. 23:9), the head of the nations not the tail (Deut. 28:12-13).

In Mat. 8, Matthew demonstrates for the religious leaders, disciples and the 12 what God will need to do to make Israel into the nation He created her to be. He will need to cleanse her of her leprosy, heal her of her sicknesses and restore her to His service. Then in Mat. 9 he expands upon this by demonstrating that God will also have to provide Israel with national forgiveness of sins and mercy along with cleansing, healing and resurrection. And when God finishes this prophetic work, Israel will be restored, the Lord Jesus Christ will sit on David's Throne in Jerusalem, and His earthly Kingdom will be established. At that time all the nations of the earth will be blessed with Israel and through her Rise.

So, what is the 12's and the believing remnant's role in all this? In its rebellion against God and rejection of His Word, the Israel had fallen into sinful ruin. It was the believing remnant's job to bring the paralyzed, unclean, dead nation to God for forgiveness of sins, mercy, cleansing, healing, resurrection and restoration. All of this reaches its complete and ultimate fulfillment when Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation Period to save His friends and destroy His enemies. At that time, the believing remnant will present the nation to Christ, and together they will look on the one they pierced, ask Him to treat them graciously and Christ will bring them into the Kingdom blessings.

Mat. 9 is one final forceful demonstration for the believing remnant that: Israel's Messiah had arrived! Israel's long-prophesied Kingdom was at hand. The Son of Man (Mat. 9:6; 10:23), Son of David (Mat. 9:27; 15:21-28), Israel's Bridegroom (Mat. 9:15; Hos. 2:14) and Shepherd (Mat. 9:36; Ps. 23) had arrived! He was ready to begin the implementation of the New (national forgiveness of sins Mat. 9:6), Abrahamic (banqueting and rejoicing Mat. 9:10-15) and Davidic (Mercies of David Mat. 9:27) Covenants! And He didn't come to mend the old but to replace the old with the new (Mat. 9:16-17). God was going to take the Nation and Kingdom away from the old unbelieving Vain Religious System and give it to the believing remnant, and it was the believing remnant's great privilege to participate in this by bringing the nation to God for cleansing, healing, resurrection and restoration.

Matthew Highlights

Nov 22, 2020

Yesterday we entered Mat. 10 and listened to Jesus instruct the 12 on what their ministry in His absence would look like. You could call this is a “practice run” for when Christ leaves them after His Death, Resurrection and Ascension, beginning in early Acts and continuing all the way through the Tribulation Period when they will be ministering in Christ's absence until His return at the 2nd Coming.

This chapter has a cinematic, Cecil B. DeMille feel to it. Jesus begins by looking down at the 12 and the multitudes that were before Him at that time (Mat. 9:36-10:10). Then He shifts His look up a little into the near future where He sees the 12 carrying out their ministry in the neighboring cities (Mat. 10:11-15). Then He raises His eyes a little more, looking further into the future and sees them being increasingly exposed to Satan's Policy of Evil in early Acts and on into the Tribulation Period. At that time, they will be brought before Israel's vain religious leaders and Gentile rulers, which will drive a wedge between God's believing remnant and Satan's unbelieving Nation of Israel, a wedge that will penetrate all the way down into the most basic social unit of all, the family: “Brother will deliver up brother and the father will deliver up the child unto death, and they will be hated of all men for Christ's Name sake.” But for those who steadfastly endured until the end of that 7 year Tribulation Period by remaining faithful to Christ and His people, would be saved from its persecutions by the 2nd Coming of Christ, who will deliver His friends, ushering them into the Kingdom, and destroy His enemies (Mat. 10:16-22).

Then Jesus lowers His gaze back to the 12 as He is about to send them on this “practice run” for what they will carry out in the cities of Israel in earnest after Christ leaves them in early Acts. But, of course, we know that the 12 never did this. They never went out to all the cities of Israel. In fact, they didn't go beyond Jerusalem (Acts 8:1)! This is because first Jerusalem needed to be converted then the 12 would go out and convert the cities of Judea then the 12 would go out and convert the cities of Samaria and greater Israel, and then the restored Nation of Israel would go out to the cities of the whole world. But horror of horrors: Israel's leaders in Jerusalem refused their King and Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, at the stoning of Stephen, which shut down God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel, and the ministry of Peter and the 12 came to a grinding halt. (Of course, we know through Paul that God simultaneously began a new previously unrevealed plan and purpose: God's Mystery Program for the Body of Christ during the Dispensation of Grace for the Gentiles through the apostleship of Paul (Rom. 11)).

They were not to be surprised by increasing persecution, especially out in the Tribulation. For if suffering and persecution were good enough for the Master, it was good enough for His servants (Mat. 10:24-25). Then Jesus raises His eyes once again, looking out to the distant time of His 2nd Coming when all things would be revealed for what they truly are. Therefore, they were not to fear but to speak boldly, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom. Their ministry would not only drive a wedge between believers and unbelievers unto death (as mentioned earlier in Mat. 10:17-22) but it will also drive a wedge between the faithful and unfaithful members of the believing remnant itself.

Remember, every true member of the “believing” remnant has already been personally justified unto eternal life before the tribunal of God in the Pauline sense. They believed God's Good News to them (the Gospel of the Kingdom) and, just like what God did for Abraham, God counted their faith for righteousness–Personal Salvation from sin and spiritual death. But in God's Prophetic Program members of the believing remnant could be justified (declared right or wrong) again before Christ at His 2nd Coming for participation in Israel's National Salvation from persecution and life in the Kingdom. As we saw in the Book of James, the believing remnant will have a faithful element and an unfaithful element and these two elements will be driven apart by the increasing persecution, causing division within their assemblies that would penetrate all the way down to the basic family unit (although not unto death--Mat. 10:26-36 compare with 10:21). The faithful will receive the rewards of a faithful prophet and a righteous man, and they shall never lose it. For those of the believing remnant who remained faithful to the end, relying on God for everything, supporting one another as friends, they would be rewarded with entrance into the Kingdom and given privileged positions for life in the Kingdom (Mat. 10:37-42).

Of course, if we don't “rightly-divide” the Bible, we will make a mess of this chapter. If we think that this is the way we today in the Body of Christ's Mystery Program in the Dispensation of Grace are to carry out missionary service, well then, this chapter becomes sheer nonsense. We will have to spiritualize all God's meaning out of the text and then fill it back in with our own vain imaginations. Let's look at some of the plain statements in this passage and ask: Is this how missionary service occurs today?

Missionary Work Israel's Prophetic Program Body of Christ's Mystery Program
What did they preach? Gospel of the Kingdom (Mat. 9:35, 10:7) Gospel of the Grace of God, Paul's Gospel (Rom. 16:25)
What did they do? Cast out demons, heal sick and raise the dead (Mat. 10:8) These things have ceased. (1 Cor. 13)
Where did they go? Only to the Jews of National Israel (Mat. 10:6) Jews and Gentiles alike but especially the Gentiles. (Rom. 1:5; 11:13)
What did they take with them? Basically nothing. (Mat. 10:9-10) Plan ahead for financial and material provisions. (Rom. 15:22-33)

In claiming that this passage applies to us today in the Body of Christ, Historic Christianity has had to throw away God's meaning and fill it in with their own. When God says “House of Israel,” for instance, He doesn't really mean the House of Israel, they say, but the Body of Christ. And when He says Jerusalem and the “cities of Israel,” He doesn't really mean the cities of Israel, they say, but your hometown and the cities surrounding it. And when God says take nothing with you, not even bronze pennies, God doesn't really mean that. They say it is just an exaggeration to encourage general dependence on God. And when He says to “cast our unclean spirits, heal ALL manner of sickness and disease and raise the dead” (Mat. 10:8), He doesn't really mean it, they say. He is speaking figuratively for social and spiritual ills of society. We could go on and on.

What a bunch of nonsense. This is to throw away God's meaning and then trivialize the Bible by filling it back in with our own vain imaginations. No, we must, to the best of our ability, use the tool of right division so that we can leave all God's meaning in text and adjust our thinking to it, not the other way around. These are all things that God really means, and they will be completely and literally fulfilled in the future.

Matthew Highlights

Nov 29, 2020

Based on the comments I have been hearing, it sounds like we are all enjoying our study of Israel's Prophetic Program from the Gospel of Matthew. In Mat. 10, Jesus gives a cinematic foretaste of how Peter and the 12 (and the whole believing remnant) will minister during what was left of Israel's Prophetic Program, especially that final 7 year period of Daniel's Time Schedule, what we call the Tribulation Period.

But we must remember that before we got to Mat. 10, Jesus had been equipping them doctrinally and through miraculous signs and wonders (Mat. 1-9). The believing remnant will be perfectly equipped and empowered for faithfully going through the early Acts Period, on through the Tribulation Period and into the Kingdom. The believing remnant is the “first-fruits” of the restored Nation of Israel and as such they will receive a “fore-taste” of the Kingdom and New Covenant blessings. They will have access to all the promises Jesus gave to them in the Sermon on the Mount (Mat. 5-7). The Law Jesus purified in the Sermon on the Mount will be engrafted into their hearts, and they will be given the Holy Spirit to cause them to do it. They will be “fore-dispensers” of the national forgiveness the whole nation will receive at Christ's 2nd Coming. They will be accompanied with miraculous signs and wonders.

As a group, Jesus called on them to stay together, relying on God for everything (not the vain religious and political systems or the pleasures of the world), operating together on the friendship principle–if they were the friends of God, they must support and help God's friends–and together enduring tribulation by watching and waiting for Jesus Christ to return with the Clouds of Heaven–the angelic armies and glory of the Father–when He will save His friends and destroy His enemies.

God has arranged for them to have a perfect provision for getting through the Time of Trouble. But of course, they need to access it by faith. If, however, because of deception or willful disobedience they didn't, and instead compromised with the vain religious system and Satan's policy of evil in the world at that time, Jesus explained in Mat. 10 that this will impact how they participate in Israel's National Salvation.

So pop some popcorn, take a seat and let's follow along in our Bibles as we watch the movie:

Scene One: Mat. 9:36-10: The camera zooms in close on the people with Jesus at that time, especially the 12 disciples, who were about to become the 12 apostles (sent out ones). Jesus is sending the 12 out to minister in His absence. This is a “practice run” for their ministry after His death, resurrection and departure via the ascension in early Acts that will extend to His return at the end of the Tribulation.

Scene Two: Mat. 10:11-15: The camera rises a little and looks out into the near future where we see the 12 ministering to the cities and households of Israel (ONLY ISRAEL! Mat. 10:6), marking them for judgment. Christ will hold these cities accountable at His 2nd Coming based on how they received His messengers. Those cities who receive the Gospel of the Kingdom and its messengers (thereby receiving their Master, the King of the Kingdom), the 12 will mark with their peace, and they will be blessed at Christ's return. For those who didn't, the 12 will mark them by removing their peace, shaking the dust of their feet, and they will be cursed at Christ's return.

Scene Three: Mat. 10:16-31: The camera rises higher, zooming out, looking further into the future, giving a panoramic view that begins at the death of Christ on into the early Acts and on into the Tribulation Period and the Return of Christ. The 12's ministry of marking the unbelieving element in Israel for a curse and the believing element in the nation for a blessing will drive a “wedge” between these two elements, producing friction that results in increasing levels of persecution for the believing remnant. The 12 needed to be aware of this–they were to be wise to the serpents, wise to Satan's policy of evil against them, and harmless as doves relying on the DOVE: the Holy Spirit (Mat. 3:16).

  1. This “wedge” ministry of the 12 will result in their being brought before the Vain Religious and Political Leaders of Israel.
    --God's Provision: The Holy Spirit will “bridle” their tongue and tell them what to say. (Mat. 10:17-20).
  2. This “wedge” ministry of the 12 will penetrate down into the most basic unit of society, the family unit. Unbelieving members of a family will hand believing members of that family over to death.
    --God's Provision: No matter how bad the persecution gets, it is based on a time schedule that will end in deliverance (salvation) for those who are present at Christ's return (Mat. 10:21-23).
  3. This “wedge” ministry of the 12 will result in the servant suffering the same things their Master suffered: name-calling, persecution, death.
    --God's Provision: Fear not: All will be revealed and made right when Christ returns. God knows the hairs on their heads. Therefore, they should just continue to boldly proclaim what Jesus and the Spirit told and are telling them from the housetops (Mat. 10:24-31).

Scene Four: Mat. 10:32-42: Now the camera comes back down to Jesus and the 12, who are present with Him in His earthly ministry. How the believing remnant headed up by the 12 carried out their “wedge” ministry would impact how they would participate in Israel's National Salvation. Let me emphasize: How they carried out their ministry would NOT impact their participation in personal salvation from sin and spiritual death, justification unto eternal life WITHOUT WORKS before the Tribunal of God. NO! By very definition, the “believing” remnant is made up of those who had believed God's Good News to them, the Gospel of the Kingdom, whereby (just like Abraham in Gen. 15:6) God counted their faith for righteousness WITHOUT WORKS. But now they can be justified again in Israel's Prophetic Program. They will be declared right or wrong before Christ at His 2nd Coming (NOT the Tribunal of God!) for participation in Israel's National Salvation of life in the Kingdom (NOT personal salvation unto eternal life!).

Their “wedge” ministry and the persecution it produced would not only drive apart the believing from the unbelieving elements in Israel but would also drive apart the faithful from the unfaithful elements within the believing remnant itself. For those in the believing remnant who obeyed and did not fear, but kept on proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom from the housetops and confessing Jesus Christ before men; for those who continued to value their relationship with Christ above all other human relationships; for those who recognized that their suffering what the Master suffered is an honor and a cause for rejoicing (Mat. 5:11-12); for those who valued the things of God above even their own lives; and for those who received God's people in the believing remnant and helped them: His prophets and His righteous ones, even meeting the basic needs of even the lowest disciple by giving them a glass of cold water (contrast with James 2:14-16) ... If they do that, Jesus will confess them before the Father at His 2nd Coming, and give them rewards for privileged positions and roles in that Kingdom.

But for those who feared and compromised with Israel's Vain Religious System, thereby stopped proclaiming Christ, perhaps even denying Him (like Peter did 3 times); for those who valued their human relationships more than their relationship with Christ; for those who preferred to suffer for sin's sake rather than righteousness's sake; and for those who sacrificed God's things in order to preserve their own lives ... If they do that, Jesus will deny them at His 2nd Coming before the Father, and they will lose the rewards of the Kingdom.

Of course, we saw in James 5:7-20 that it is not hopeless for those who are enticed to leave the believing remnant and compromise with the vain religious system because of persecution. There was a procedure for their return to the believing remnant and restoration through healing and the forgiveness of the sins they committed as member of that believing remnant (the true Nation of Israel). That's what friends do. They do whatever they can to help their friends not fall into traps in the first place, and if they do fall into a trap, they help them get out. And they do this in good times and bad (Prov. 18:24).

Matthew Highlights

Dec 06, 2020

If we don't rightly divide the Scriptures, we will have to throw away most of what God says in Mat. 10 and replace it with whatever we want it to say. In order to make Mat. 10 apply to the Body of Christ in the Dispensation of Grace we will have to “spiritualize” God's meaning out of the text and then “trivialize” it by adding back our own vain imaginations. Let's look at a few examples:

  1. God and Matthew say Jesus sent the 12 out to preach the Gospel of Kingdom for the Nation of Israel (Mat. 9:35). Is that God's Gospel for today? No, today we preach Paul's Gospel (Rom. 16:25), the Good News of the Death and Resurrection of Christ (Rom. 5:1-11), the Gospel of the Grace of God, especially for the Gentiles (Acts 20:24).
  2. Jesus told the 12 to heal all manner of disease, cast out devils and raise the dead (Mat. 10:5-6). Is this the common practice of missionaries today? Obviously not (Phil. 2:25-30)
  3. Jesus told them to not go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans but only to the house or nation of Israel (Mat. 10:5-6). Today, we are to go to Jew and Gentile alike, and especially among the Gentiles.
  4. Jesus instructs the 12 to take no money and the only provision is basically the shirts on their backs. Does any missionary ministry send people out into the field without financial support and a plans for future material needs today? Of course not.
  5. Jesus sent the 12 out to mark the cities based on how they responded to their ministry. To those who rejected them they were to mark for judgement and wrath at Christ's 2nd Coming (Mat. 10:11-15). Do missionaries today call down judgment on non-receptive cities? I hope not. They just keep on extending God's Grace and Peace to their enemies through the Gospel of Grace (Rom. 5:1-11).
  6. Jesus explained that the 12's missionary work would occur during a time of severe persecution, trials and tribulations like the world has never seen before (Mat. 10:16-22 with Mat. 24). Without diminishing the persecution and tribulation that Christians have suffered throughout Christian history, it has never been as extensive and as extreme as what is described by Matthew and Revelation: The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord, the Tribulation Period (Rom. 8:18-25).
  7. Jesus instructed the 12 that during this time of severe persecution, they were to not prepare what to say. The Spirit would speak through them (Mat. 10:19-20). Today missionaries prepare what they are going to say ahead of time.
  8. Jesus' promised that before the 12 covered the cities of Israel He would return (Mat. 10:22-23). This never happened because God set aside His Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel to fulfill another program called His Mystery Program with the Body of Christ through the distinct apostleship of Paul (2 Peter 3). Today we are not awaiting the 2nd Coming of Christ to the earth but the coming of Christ in the clouds to remove the Body of Christ from the earth through the Rapture.
  9. Jesus explained to the 12 about the conditional blessings they would receive based on Faith Plus Works before Christ at His 2nd Coming for participation in Israel's National Salvation for life in the Kingdom (Mat. 10:32-42). Today, however, the Gospel of Grace provides for Unconditional blessings based on Faith Without Works for participation in personal salvation from sin and spiritual death unto eternal life before the tribunal of God.

It is clear that forcing Mat. 10 onto the Body of Christ in the Dispensation of Grace just doesn't work. To try to do so dishonors God and rejects His Word. Instead, we must leave God's words and meanings right in the text where they belong and correct our thinking by rightly dividing the Bible. These instructions apply perfectly to the remnant of believing Jews who will suffer extensive persecution under Satan's Policy of Evil against them when God re-starts His Prophetic Program with Israel in that final 7 year Tribulation Period. This is a perfect and complete provision for that time, and it will lead them right into their long-prophesied Kingdom on earth where God will fulfill all the promises He ever made to them.

By looking at the 7 Churches (assemblies of the believing remnant of Jews in Asia during the Tribulation Period) in Revelation 1-3, we can see Jesus' teaching in action.

Matthew Highlights

Dec 13, 2020

Our little foray from Mat. 10 into Rev. 2-3 generated quite a lot of response and the overriding ideas behind the questions asked were 2-fold:

  1. Based on Matthew and Revelation, it sounds like believers can lose their salvation.
  2. Or, the flip side of that: It sounds like believers have no assurance of salvation.

This is an extremely important thing to understand. Confusion about it brings in much defeat and despair. Most will acknowledge that Paul's Epistles teach that believers are eternally secure and cannot lose their salvation. The Gospels, Revelation and other non-Pauline Scriptures, however, can be read in a way that seems to teach that believers are not eternally secure and can lose their salvation. Of course, theologians, who for the most part have thrown away Paul's distinct apostleship, come up with all sorts of nonsense to try to harmonize these apparent contradictory teachings of Scriptures but that doesn't solve the problem; it just hides it.

But when we approach this problem from the standpoint of Paul's distinct apostleship, things clear up immediately. If I ask you what the most basic distinctions in the Bible are, I might receive a few different answers. Those associated most closely with Acts 2 Dispensationalism will probably answer that the most basic distinctions are between God's Law and Grace and God's peoples the Nation of Israel and the Body of Christ. Those who associate most closely with Mid-Acts Dispensationalism will likely say God's Prophecy and Mystery Programs and God's Earthly and Heavenly Purposes. Well, as important as these distinctions in God's Word are, there is an even more fundamental and basic distinction that is preliminary to all of these.

That most fundamental distinction is this:

  1. The non-Pauline Scriptures manifest the Righteousness of God in SAVING HIS FRIENDS (the believing Nation of Israel) and DESTROYING HIS ENEMIES in accord with the Abrahamic Covenant. Open your Bibles to almost any non-Pauline Scriptures and you will see Moses, David, Isaiah and the Prophets, Peter and the 12, all looking for God to display His Righteousness by saving His/theirs FRIENDS and destroying His/theirs enemies (Is. 51; Ps. 69. etc.)! THESE SCRIPTURES EXPLAIN HOW A BELIEVING FRIEND OF GOD'S WILL PARTICIPATE IN ISRAEL'S NATIONAL SALVATION UNTO LIFE IN KINGDOM BEFORE CHRIST AT HIS 2ND COMING. This is by FAITH PLUS WORKS as James talks about in James 2:14-26.
  2. The Pauline Scriptures, however, manifest the Righteousness of God in SAVING HIS ENEMIES (ungodly sinners on enemy status before God, Jews and Gentiles alike) because HE HAS NO FRIENDS and, therefore, in accord with the Riches of His Grace (Rom. 3:21-25; 5:1-11; Eph. 2, etc.)! PAUL'S SCRIPTURES EXPLAIN HOW A BELIEVING ENEMY OF GOD'S WILL PARTICIPATE IN PERSONAL SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE BEFORE THE TRIBUNAL OF GOD. This is always by FAITH WITHOUT WORKS as Paul talks about in such passages as Rom. 3:21-4:25.

So, when we read Matthew and James we need to realize that they are not manifesting, revealing, making known, how an ungodly sinner on enemy status before God is justified before the Tribunal of God, justification unto eternal life by Faith Without Works. Paul explains that. Rather, they are manifesting how a Jew who believes the Gospel of the Kingdom (and is, therefore, already justified in the Pauline sense!) will be justified again at Christ's 2nd Coming for participation in Israel's National Salvation by Faith With Works. In Revelation, these Jewish believers heard the Gospel of the Kingdom and when they believed it, just like Abraham, their faith was counted for righteousness. Instantly and eternally they were Personally Saved, justified unto eternal life by FAITH WITHOUT WORKS. Once Personally Saved, God then placed them into the believing remnant of Israel where they could justified again by FAITH PLUS WORKS for participation in Israel's National Salvation.

In other words, those believing Jews who remained faithful would be justified again, this time before Christ at His 2nd Coming, where they would receive rewards that would determine NOT whether they would participate in Personal Salvation unto eternal life, but how they would participate in Israel's National Salvation unto Life in the Kingdom. Those true believers in Israel's Prophetic Program who had been unfaithful to Christ, would not lose their participation Personal Salvation unto eternal life, but they would lose or have diminished roles for their participation in Israel's National Salvation for Life in the Kingdom.

So when John talks about unfaithful believers being cast out or put to physical death or chastised in other ways, he is not saying they have lost their Personal Salvation. Rather he is saying that they will play diminished roles in Israel's National Salvation in the Kingdom. Those who remain faithful will be given the rewards of the prophet and of the righteous (faithful) (Mat. 10:32-42). They will be appointed to rule the nations (Rev. 2:26), walk with Christ in the Kingdom (Rev. 3:4), banquet with Christ and sit with Him on His throne (Rev. 3:20-21) . They will be appointed to positions of honor in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 3:12), and many, many other such privileges for Life in Israel's long-prophesied Kingdom on earth. Those believing Jews who were unfaithful, however, while remaining full participants in Personal Salvation unto Eternal Life, they would have a diminished participation in Israel's National Salvation, missing out on these opportunities and privileged roles in the Kingdom.

When it comes to how God justifies and saves ungodly sinners on enemy status before Him for Personal Salvation unto Eternal Life we must always go to Paul. There we read that this is always and absolutely based on FAITH WITHOUT WORKS, going all the way back to the Fall of Adam and Eve (Rom. 3:25). In Personal Salvation, God seeks out His enemies, preaches Good News to them through no cause of their own, and for those who believe God, their faith is counted for righteousness (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 3-4).

This brings up a good question. Why couldn't God manifest His Righteousness in Saving His Enemies Because He Has No Friends before the distinct apostleship of Paul? Why couldn't the Old Testament, or Jesus in His Earthly Ministry or His friends, Peter and the 12 after His death and resurrection have manifested it? Why did it have to be revealed by the Apostle Paul? First, since it is based on the Good News of the Death and Resurrection of Christ (to state the obvious) it could not, therefore, be manifested until after the Death and Resurrection of Christ. But there is a 2nd reason why it had to be Paul. God, in His infinite wisdom determined that this Righteousness of God in Saving His Enemies had to be manifested through an ENEMY OF HIS NOT A FRIEND OF HIS!. This ruled out Peter and the 12, Jesus' friends. And it ruled in Saul/Paul, who was the chief persecutor of Christ, the 12 and the believing remnant of Jews. He was not just a persecutor. He was the leader of the persecutors of Christ and His people. He was the chief sinner and God's worst enemy (1 Tim. 1:12-16). And God chose His enemy Saul, made him the Apostle Paul, and gave him the distinct apostleship of manifesting this Righteousness of God not just throughout the whole world but throughout the whole universe as well!

Matthew Highlights

Dec 27, 2020

One of the highlights from yesterday's message came from answering the question: Who Is John the Baptist? This is an important question because the Vain Religious System (VRS) in Jesus' day insisted that Elijah needed to come before the Messiah came. John insisted that he was not Elijah (Jn. 1:21). Therefore, according to the counter-doctrine of the VRS, if John was not Elijah, then the messenger of Mal. 3, the forerunner of the Messiah, had not come either. And, if the forerunner of the Messiah had not come, then the Messiah could not come either. By conflating the 1st and 2nd Comings of Christ and by conflating the two messengers of Malachi 3 and 4, the VRS could not only do away with the necessity of John the Baptist's ministry but with the necessity of Christ's earthly ministry at His 1st Coming as well.

Let's take a closer look at the argument. In Mal. 3:1 the LORD said: Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me. Then in Mal. 4:5 He said: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the Lord. The VRS said that Elijah, in the latter reference, was the same person as the messenger in the former reference. This allowed them to do away with the possibility of two messengers, who would come before two separate Comings of the Lord. According to Mal. 4:5, Elijah will come before the dreadful and terrible Day of the Lord. This is a reference to the end times, the last half of the Tribulation Period, just before Christ's 2nd Coming in Wrath and Judgment to restore all things. But in Christ's 1st Coming, He did not come in avengement to restore all things for National Israel but to suffer all things, therefore, according to the VRS He could not be the true Messiah. And if Jesus is not the true Messiah, then John's ministry to prepare the way for the Messiah could not be true either. With two swings of the blade, this counter-doctrine of the VRS tried to do away with the ministries of Jesus the Christ and of John the Baptist.

So, this is an extremely important question: Who is John the Baptist? Let's put together the pieces of the puzzle from the Gospel accounts. As mentioned earlier, John, when asked by the VRS if he was Elijah, he said definitively and straightforwardly NO (Jn. 1:21)! Let's say it again: John said he was not Elijah in fulfillment of Mal. 4:5.

But who does Jesus say he is? In Mark 9:11-13, the disciples, after coming down the mountain where they had just witnessed the transfiguration (where, by the way, they just saw Moses and ELIJAH! (Mk. 9:4-5)), some of the apostles asked Jesus about Elijah and his relationship to John the Baptist: Why do the scribes (the VRS) say that Elijah must come first? Jesus answered them: Indeed, Elijah comes first and restores all things. But Jesus goes on to explain that that was not what was happening at that time (His 1st Coming). All things were not now being restored. Rather The Son of Man that He must suffer many things, and be set at naught. According to Jesus' answer, Elijah is to be God's messenger just before the restoration of all things at Christ's 2nd Coming, which accords perfectly with Mal. 4:5-6. So, whoever John was, he was not the Elijah of Mal. 4:5 because John hadn't come before the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord when all things would be restored at Christ's 2nd Coming. He came before the suffering of all things by the Son of Man (the Lord Jesus Christ) when He would be regarded as nothing at His 1st Coming!

But then, Jesus, says something surprising: But I say unto you, that Elijah is indeed come, and they (the VRS) have done unto him whatsoever they wished (they put him in jail and will kill him) as it is written of him. So, which is it? Has Elijah come or hasn't he come? And what does this have to do with John and his ministry? To get another piece of the puzzle, we need to go to Mat. 17:10-13. Like Mark 9, this account is right after they witnessed the transfiguration on the mountain: Why do the scribes (the VRS) say that Elijah must come first? And Jesus answered: Elijah truly shall first come and restore all things, and that Elijah is come already, and they (the VRS) knew him not but have done unto him whatsoever they wished. Likewise shall also the Son of Man suffer of them (the VRS). So far, both accounts say the same things, and then Matthew gives us an additional detail: And the disciples understood that He spoke unto them of John the Baptist.

But we do still not have a completely clear answer with regard to our question: Has Elijah come, or hasn't he? And what does this have to do with John and his ministry? We find one more piece of the puzzle in Mat. 11:7-14. This time Jesus asks the multitudes about who they went out to see when they went out into the wilderness to see John. And at this time Jesus quotes Mal. 3:1, and He quotes it in reference to John the Baptist: Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee, unequivocally identifying John as that messenger who fulfills that prophecy. Jesus closes the discussion by saying: If you will receive it, this is Elijah, who is to come.

Based on these verses, the overall picture of John is beginning to be seen. Let's summarize. First of all, John himself says categorically that he is not the Elijah of Mal. 4:5 (Jn. 1:21). Jesus said that while Elijah is to come before the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord at Christ's 2nd Coming to restore all things in accord with Mal. 4:5, that is not what is happening at this time. At this time, Christ is suffering all things and will be regarded as nothing, and it is Elijah in the person of John the Baptist who comes before that in accord with Mal. 3:1.

So, how can this be? How does Elijah come in the person of John? To answer this question we need to put in place the final two pieces of the puzzle of who John is, and that will bring his ministry into full clarity. We find these pieces in Lk. 1:13-17 and Mat. 3:1-4. In Luke 1, the angel explains to Zacharias that his wife, Elizabeth, is pregnant, and that she will be giving birth to a son, whom he was to name John. The angel went on to say that through John's ministry, many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. Elijah will do the same thing in the future when Christ returns to restore all things. Finally, the angel explains that John shall go before Him in the SPIRIT and POWER of Elijah. We can add to this Matthew 3:1-4 where we read that John also comes in the appearance, in dress and diet, of Elijah, calling on the Nation of Israel to repent just as Elijah did in the past when he called on Israel to repent and leave Baal worship and return to the Lord (1 Kgs. 18).

So the answer to our question is that John is Elijah in the sense that he comes in the spirit and power of Elijah, doing many of the same things Elijah did in the past and will do again in the future at Christ's 2nd Coming. If anything, John is more like Elisha, the successor to Elijah, than to Elijah himself. Remember when Elijah was translated and removed from the earth, he left his mantle behind. Elisha took the mantle and received a double portion of Elijah's spirit and power (2 Kgs. 2:8-9). In fact, Elisha did two times the number of miracles that Elijah did. John is not Elijah anymore than Elisha was Elijah. He came in the spirit and the power of Elijah, calling the nation to repentance and to prepare the way for Christ at His 1st Coming as the Suffering Servant on behalf of His people the Israelites in accord with Is. 53.