Part 20 of 22
A Hermeneutic Error That Confuses the Truth for Today
Bible hermeneutics simply means “the methods of Bible interpretation”; how one may approach and interpret the Bible. (See the writer’s series “How to Approach the Bible.”) Without a proper understanding and approach, the Bible may easily become misunderstood, misappropriated and misused; sometimes out of ignorance and other times intentionally in order to make the Bible seem to prove or fit ones personal preconceived notions or beliefs.
In the Bible “leaven” metaphorically speaks of something that corrupts. The church today has largely adopted leaven that corrupts the fine four of the pure and simple “grace gospel” the ascended Lord Jesus “gave to Paul for us today” (Gal 3:1-4). The Roman Catholic Church, from its organizational roots under the Roman Emperor Constantine around the year 315, accommodated many pagan practices of the empire, which served to leaven the truth of “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Today it has infected almost the whole church at large.
Constantinegave Christianity state patronage, including considerable financial assistance and the might of the Roman Empireto enforce “the system.” The RCC willingly admits that it does not stand on the Bible alone*; that it adds tradition and the authority of the Papacy. Much of Christendom today still adheres to many of the RCC’s false doctrines, traditions and practices.
Many of these errors are rooted in a single core hermeneutic error – an error in “how they approach the Bible.” That great error is this.
Most of Christendom erroneously assumes; “If it appears is anywhere in the Bible, then it applies to Christians today.” There are three (3) classes of people that are often addressed individually in the Bible. Most Christians ignore whether the text specifically addresses or concerns the Jews or Israel and its patriarchs; or if it addresses or concerns the Gentiles, or the body of Christ (1Cor 10:32). We might then ask, if there is a difference between
and the Gentiles in God’s eyes, and there is; shouldn’t we then be careful to always note “what was spoken to or concerning whom”? Israel
What of Jesus of Nazareth’s words and ministry on earth? We need to consider Jesus of Nazareth’s ministry to “the lost sheep of the house of
” in its Biblical context. What most Christian religious leaders and teachers and their followers do not understand or believe is that while Jesus of Nazareth was on earth, He was ministering only to Israel , and specifically NOT to the Gentiles. We must always test or interpretation by the word in context, so to prove this we need to note Jesus’ own words. Israel
Matthew 15:24 But he (Jesus) answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of
Jesus had also instructed His Jewish disciples to go only to “the lost sheep of the house of
.” Matthew 10:5-6 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, GO NOT into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But GO RATHER to the LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL. Israel
Thus, Jesus’ acts and words were primarily intended for the eyes and ears “the lost sheep of the house of
.” Jesus’ ministry was to the Jews. Jesus did in fact appoint Peter to lead the early Jewish Messianic church, which Paul referred to as “the circumcision,” (Gal 2:7), not the uncircumcision, (Gentiles). Israel
We need to note the dispensational differences wherein Israel has one relationship with the Lord, which now is set aside for a time (Rom 11:25), while The Gentiles have a grace relationship with the Lord under Paul’s “dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph 3:2). Dispensational truth is not concerned with the core fundamentals of the faith such as sin and death, which is effective for all those who will ultimately believe to receive Christ, but with difference in calling, sphere of blessing and the outworking of the purposes of the ages. Jesus came to die for the sins of the whole world, for all mankind. The Jews were then intended to become God’s vessel of blessing to the nations, the Gentiles, in the promised Kingdom; so the Jews first needed redemption in Christ in order to become right with God. Only then would Jesus could become
’s King on earth, bringing the peace and blessing of His kingdom to earth. This was the subject of all Jewish (Old Testament) prophecy – The King and a heavenly kingdom would come to earth – “Thy Kingdom come… on earth” (Matt 6:10). That kingdom would be led by the children of Israel so as to bless “all the nations (Gentiles)” of the earth at that time. Genesis 18:18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. Israel
So, Jesus came specifically as “minister of the circumcision” (Rom 15:8), to children of Israel only; then why does the non-Jewish Christian church at large today adhere to the words, works, and ministry of “Jesus of Nazareth”?
Interestingly, while the church heeds Jesus of Nazareth earthly ministry, they seem to marginalize the one true Apostle that Jesus Himself later saved and sent specifically to the Gentile “body of Christ, the church”, to be their apostle – the Apostle Paul. Romans 11:13 For I (Paul) speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles…
It is a great error for Christians, the members of the predominantly Gentile “body of Christ,” to follow in Jesus words and message since He was speaking to
ONLY. Yes, we all certainly can learn of God’s character, nature and prophetic words concerning Israel Israelas we read the four synoptic gospels; but Jesus’ instruction was specifically for . Israel
With regard to Jesus’ earthly humiliation that is past, the Apostle Paul says, by divine inspiration: “God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name” (Phil.2:9). Jesus is no longer to be known as “the lowly Jesus,” but rather as the exalted “Lord” in heaven. Thus Paul could say; “… Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh (in His humanity), yet NOW, HENCEFORTH, KNOW WE HIM NO MORE” (2Cor.5:16). Our blessed Saviour is now to be known as the glorified Son of God, the great dispenser of “grace” (John 1:17) to lost humanity; Jesus, in His love and mercy “tasted death for every man” (Heb.2:9).
Why would Paul say “HENCEFORTH, KNOW WE HIM NO MORE”? Paul wanted “the body of Christ” to know Christ as He is today – the “Head” and Lord of the body, living in each member of His body! When the “body of Christ” attempts to follow the external Jesus of Nazareth’s ministry to
it only leads to error, confusion, and contradiction. Israel
You see, Jesus’ and Paul’s messages are different for two different people.
E.g., Jesus message to
says “you must forgive in order to be forgiven” (Matt 6:12), while Paul says to us today “forgive as God hath (already) forgiven you” (Eph 4:32). Israel is promised the kingdom “on earth” while Paul says “the body of Christ” has its citizenship “eternal in heaven” (Philip 3:20). Israel and the predominantly Gentile “body of Christ” have two different gospels and two different eternal destinies. There are many more items I could site to indicate the massive differences between God’s economies of “the Law” for Israel as compared with God’s new, heretofore secret “dispensation of the grace of God” for “the body of Christ.” Israel
Paul also says he and the members of “the body of Christ” need to cling solely to Jesus’ cross - His death, burial, and resurrection, as their whole gospel message for their salvation and their changed lives. While Paul says we no longer heed Jesus of Nazareth, Paul says we need to experientially know Jesus as He is today – Jesus now is “the resurrected Lord”; He is the crucified, resurrected, indwelling “Spirit of life” within the spirit of every believing member of “the body of Christ.”
“For I (Paul) RESOLVED TO KNOW NOTHING (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you EXCEPT JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED.” (1 Corinthians 2:2 (AMP)
“THAT I MAY KNOW HIM, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death (Philippians 3:10)
Christians, the members of the predominantly Gentile “body of Christ,” are “ambassadors for Christ” (2Cor 5:20). They have the heavenly Christ-given, different, gospel message that the ascended celestial Christ gave to the Apostle Paul for us today. Paul’s words in his thirteen 13 epistles are the core of the message of God for those who are saved and live “by grace through faith …not of works” (Eph 2:8-9). Paul’s gospel is in stark contrast to Jesus’ earthly ministry, where Jesus said “the commandment” would not pass away for
(Matt 5:3-5, 17-20). Paul says we are “not under the law” (Rom 6:14); Colossians 2:13-15 And you…hath he quickened together with him (Jesus), having FORGIVEN YOU ALL TRESPASSES; 14 BLOTTING OUT THE HANDWRITING OF ORDINANCES THAT WAS AGAINST US, WHICH WAS CONTRARY TO US, AND TOOK IT OUT OF THE WAY, NAILING IT TO HIS CROSS Israel
Yet, most of Christendom clings to “the law” given to
Israeland that which concerned Jesus of Nazareth in His earthly ministry to Israel; then trying to claim the promises given to Abraham, the Patriarchs, and in the Old Testament under the covenants of “promise” and “the law.” This great hermeneutic error is the root of many external things they cling to in their “empty form.” Israel
E.g., Most of Christianity yet clings to the ceremony or tradition of “water baptism” given to
. Prior to the appearing of Jesus of Nazareth in His earthly ministry to Israel Israel, ’s practiced baptisms (washings). John the Baptist preached the “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” because the King was coming. Jesus taught the children of Israel saying “repent, the Kingdom of (from) heaven is at hand” (Matt 4:17). Yet by contrast, under Paul’s ministry of “the gospel of grace of God,” there is only “one baptism” (Eph 4:5) – and that is the dry and invisible baptism whereby the Holy Spirit places or immerses each believer into “the body of Christ” (1Cor 12:13a). Israel
Some then may say “Well, baptism is just a tradition or a ceremony,” but this then is an affront to the real work of the Lord and confuses the truth. Consider the matter of circumcision in Paul’s time. It is difficult if not impossible to determine from Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, just what the Galatian believers thought the rite of circumcision would accomplish for them spiritually. We doubt that they knew themselves, but the Judaizers had come in among them and had captured their attention so that Galatians, who had been so gloriously “saved by grace,” now “desired to be under the law” (Gal. 4:21). These Galatians did not necessarily deny the worth of the finished work of Christ, but they perhaps were just interested in submitting to a religious ceremony. Adding ceremony in this dispensation would be a denial of the all-sufficiency of Christ’s redemptive work (Gal. 3:1; 5:2-4). The result was that the blessing was already vanishing from the Galatians (5:14) and the Apostle had to warn them: “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (5:9). You can’t admit a little leaven and expect it to stop there, the implications are far reaching.
Who did Peter preach to at Pentecost, fifty days after the cross? Peter preached to “Ye men of
Israel” (Act 2:22, 3:12) and “Ye men of Judea” (Act 2:14); saying “ye…killed the prince of life.” Peter at this time knew nothing of the spiritual meaning of Jesus’ death, the precious cross, the blood, redemption, justification, or any fruit of the cross. Peter preached of repentance and water “baptism for remission of sins” (Act 2:38) to prepare to receive the promised Kingdom (Act 3:19). Israel
Peter continued to preach to “Ye men of
Jerusalem,” saying God would “send Jesus” (Acts 3:20) back if they ( ) would “repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” (Act 2:38), for rejecting and killing Jesus of Nazareth. Christ would then have returned to set up His Kingdom on earth. The only non-Jews present at Pentecost would have been the Gentiles who had earlier converted to Judaism, there in Israel for the Holy Days of Jewish tradition. Jerusalem
After the four Gospels, which give an account of Jesus of Nazareth’s earthly life and His physical death, we come to the book titled “The Acts of the Apostles.” Several years after the cross and Jesus ascending to heaven, in the tenth chapter of Acts, Peter, the head of the Jewish Messianic Church, is charged by God for the very first time ever to visit non-Jews at the house of Cornelius. He reluctantly did what He was told. Peter’s experience was to prepare him to later accept Paul’s unique ministry to the Gentiles (2Peter 3:15-16). It was about the same time when Peter went to the Gentiles that an unusual thing happened. Jesus came down from heaven and saved a man to be His special Apostle to the Gentiles, Saul of Tarsus, later to be called Paul (Read Acts 9). Paul had been a persecutor of the Jewish Messianic believers. Jesus saved Paul and sent Paul into the world with an entirely new gospel that had been “kept secret since the world began” (Rom 16:25). That secret was called “the mystery” (
Col1:27), the offer of the new gospel Paul called “the gospel of the grace of God,” which is unrelated to “the Law” of works, baptism, or the circumcision that bears. Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to MY (PAUL’S) GOSPEL, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of THE MYSTERY (MUSTERION, SECRET), WHICH WAS KEPT SECRET SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN, Israel
As preparation by God, Peter had already been sent of God to the Gentile Cornelius. Peter then defended Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles when the other Messianic Jewish leaders disputed with Paul over whether circumcision should apply to the Gentiles. (Read (Acts 15:6-11). Paul’s new grace gospel was non-Jewish and for “the body of Christ” (Gal 3:28). It declares that now in this age of “the dispensation of the grace of God,” there is no holy land, no ritual, no ceremony, no special nation, no holy days, no special dietary laws, no class of mediators between God and man (no priest), and no special buildings (no Temples made with hands (Heb 9:11)).
Paul says there now is no difference between “male and female, Jew and Gentile, bond or free” (Gal 3:28) for those “in (union with) Christ.” Paul says there is no amount of good works that you yourself could possibly do to make your self right with God (Eph 2:8-9). Now, since Jesus died on the cross, there is no more sacrificial work to be done in order to reconcile man with God – men need only to believe in Jesus (meaning to trust in, to cling to, and rely upon Jesus’ work), His death, burial and resurrection. Jesus fully accomplished His mission of redemption on behalf of all men – not just believing Jews.
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a MAN IS NOT JUSTIFIED BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW, but BY THE FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST, even WE HAVE BELIEVED IN JESUS CHRIST, THAT WE MIGHT BE JUSTIFIED BY THE FAITH OF CHRIST, and NOT by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
During the Acts period God sent men to the “Jew first.” But after Israel rejected Christ for the last time, the Lord then turned His focus to the Gentiles with Paul’s new gospel (Rom 11:25, Act 28:28) that he gave to Paul for us today.
Ephesians 3:1-3 (AMP) FOR THIS reason [because I preached that you are thus built up together], I, Paul, [am] the prisoner of Jesus the Christ for the sake and ON BEHALF OF YOU GENTILES— 2 Assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace (His unmerited favor) that WAS ENTRUSTED TO ME [PAUL, to dispense to you] for your benefit, 3 [And] THAT THE MYSTERY (SECRET) WAS MADE KNOWN TO ME and I WAS ALLOWED TO COMPREHEND IT BY DIRECT REVELATION (from Christ), as I already briefly wrote you.
This heretofore “hid” gospel (
1:26) message that was given to Paul says we are all sinners, and Jesus gave up His life to pay for our sins, because we cannot do it for our selves. Salvation by grace through faith alone is a free “gift of God.” Col
Ephesians 2:8-9 For BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is THE GIFT OF GOD: 9 NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.
So there are no good works required in order to become right with God or to be “saved.” All God asks of us is to “believe,” that is trust in that fact that Jesus was crucified to make us okay with God. This free gift is the expression of God’s unearned, undeserved, unconditional love toward lost mankind. The very moment you understand and believe God has forgiven you, you are washed by the Holy Spirit with an invisible waterless washing (Titus 3:5a), and placed into the “one body” of Christ (1Cor 12:13). You are then immediately indwelled by “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” Christ’s Spirit is born into every believer’s human spirit.
Romans 8:9b …IF ANY MAN HAVE NOT THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, HE IS NONE OF HIS.
1Corinthians 6:17 But he that is JOINED UNTO THE LORD is ONE SPIRIT.
When a believer receives Jesus Christ’s resurrected Spirit he becomes “a new creation in Christ.”
2Corinthians 5:17 Therefore IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW.
At this point a new believer should know something has happened, even while he may not yet be able to explain it. The believer should have a sense that his conscience is cleared; he can enjoy a sigh of relief. The guilt is gone. There is no more fear of God or death anymore. 1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
*”The Catholic holds that the immediate or direct rule of faith is the teaching of the Church; the Church in turn takes her teaching from the divine Revelation – both the written Word, called Sacred Scripture, and the oral or unwritten Word, known as “Tradition.” The teaching authority or “Magisterium” of the Catholic Church (headed by the Pope), although not itself a source of divine Revelation, nevertheless has a God-given mission to interpret and teach both SCRIPTURE AND TRADITION. Scripture and Tradition are the sources of Christian doctrine, the Christian’s remote or indirect rule of faith.”Source: www.catholicapologetics.info/apologetics/.../sola.htm