Aug 12

STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD (4)

Do you desire to be a “workman that needeth not to be ashamed” unto God? What child of God would not so desire? Of course, what faithful child of God would not desire to study the word of God? These thoughts come from 2 Timothy, chapter two, verse fifteen. Thais is where the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, and the verse reads: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The American Standard has the words: “Give diligence;” where the King James Verse has “study.” It would be impossible to truly “give diligence” without studying the word of God!
In this fourth article on the subject: “studying the word of God,” we shall once more look at the words of Peter. However, having noticed a few truths in 2 Peter 3:3 – 7, it is necessary, to get the context, that we recall verse seven: “but the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” First, notice that Peter is writing about the “heavens” and the “earth” that were present in his time and our time. He wrote that they: 1) “by the same word have been stored up for fire;” and 2) they are “being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” Answer this question: “What are the heavens and the earth waiting on? They are, even at this present time, waiting, as they are now in a state of being “reserved!” The Greek word is “tēreō” and means: “to reserve: to undergo something!” Peter is pointing to a time of change: “reserved, waiting to undergo something.” Just what are the “heavens and the earth” waiting to undergo? Peter wrote: “against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men!” Here, notice the word Peter used, “against,” which is the Greek, “eis,” which means: “towards.” So, the heavens and the earth are “reserved,” as they look “forward,” to undergo something! Just what is this something? Let Peter, by the Holy Spirit, answer our question. He wrote: “the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” However, Peter calls on us to be aware of a great truth: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (verse 8). In other words, don’t be like those who are “scoffers,” who are “willingly ignorant” as we wait! Let us do our waiting with knowledge we have gained through “studying the word of God!”
Here your attention is called to Peter’s words in verse 9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; …” As we live, it is so important that we see things, not from our point of view, but God’s!” As we look at our “world,” we see evil on every side, yet, more than likely today is not as bad as it was in Peter’s time. The Roman “world” was known for its evil! Then, we know for sure our “world” is not as evil as it was in the time of Noah! Here is another thought, read with thought Peter’s next words: “but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” In every day, that passes and the Lord has not come; we should see the love of God, as he is waiting for one more lost soul to “come to repentance!” Here is a question: Do we see one more day as God sees one more day: “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance?”
Peter now turns his attention, to what this should mean to us; he wrote: 1) “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness;” and 2) “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” The keys words are: “what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.”
So, unlike what took place in the days of Noah; wherein the people, the “kosmos,” “perished;” Peter is telling us “the heavens” and “the earth,” which are now, will be no more; therefore, Peter questioned: “what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” This is one of the most important questions that we can put our minds on; and answer it! Therefore, in conclusion, the same question comes to each of us! How do you answer?

Frank R. Williams

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Aug 05

STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD (3)

The word “world” and understanding how it is used in the New Testament is most important, as one is “Studying the word of God!” Does it refer to the earth, people, or a limited period of time? Of course, in answering these questions, in our efforts to understand the New Testament, it is necessary to start with the Greek word used by the inspired writers!
The apostle Peter will help us in our study. First, it is critical in any effort to understand a text, that we know who is being written about. Peter answers this question in these words: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (2 Pet. 3:3). Therefore, as we continue to read what the apostle wrote, we must understand he is addressing “scoffers.” The Greek word “scoffers” is the “empaiktēs” and Strong gives this: “a derider, that is, (by implication) a false teacher: – mocker, scoffer.” Strong also pointed out, that the word comes from: “empaizō.” This helps us, as this Greek word means: “to jeer at, that is, deride: – mock.” The words these jeering mockers said, should never be used as truth! They did not know the truth! Peter followed with: “And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (verse 4). The jeering mockers were questioning the very truthfulness of Jesus; for it was Jesus who “promised” that he would come again (John 14:1-3). Yet, not even seventy years had passed from the time of the “promise” and there were “scoffers!”
Now, please notice with care, just what the “mockers” were saying: “for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” Here they revealed their own lack of understanding of the subject! Had all things continued, “since the fathers fell asleep,” “from the beginning of the creation!” Peter takes them to task, as he replied; first, “For this they willingly are ignorant.” It is not that they did not have the necessary information, but that they were, “willingly” “ignorant!” In other words, they deliberately put themselves outside of the truth which was readily at hand! Second, Peter takes them to the truth: “that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.” Did you notice that Peter did not use the word “world,” but the word “earth?” He is describing creation; as Moses wrote: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen.1:1). Had “all things” continued from creation until the time of Peter? No, they had not! Third, Peter states: “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (verse 6). Now, it is most important for us to see a change in words: 1) earth and 2) world. Question: what does Peter say, “perished?” Was it the “earth,” or was it the “world?” Before continuing, look at the word “perished;” the Greek “apollumi,” which means: “1) to destroy, 1a) to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin.” Did this happen to the “world” or to the “earth?” Here we have personal evidence, as we are presently living on the “earth!” Therefore, Fourth, Peter used the Greek word “kosmos,” in identifying what “perished, which means: “an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government.” The word “kosmos” can also mean: “the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family;” and this is what Peter wrote that “perished.” It was “the inhabitants of the earth” that was “destroyed,” that was “put out of the way entirely.”
Fifth, Peter informs us, it is necessary that we see that the people “perished,” they were no more! On the other hand, Peter wrote: “But the heavens and the earth, which are NOW by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” It is true, that “the heavens and the earth” of Noah’s day, were changed, but they did not “perish!” However, the people, “the world,” “the kosmos,” did “perish!” Sixth, Peter gives us some most important information, as he addresses the “heavens and the earth,” in his time and our time; that they are: “kept in store.” Just how are the “heavens and the earth” “kept in store?” Friends, get this please: “by the same word!” The word of God! It was God who brought to an end those living in Noah’s day. The “heavens and the earth” are now “reserved unto fire against the day of judgment!”
In this limited study, it is impossible to cover all that is needed, but it is our trust that these three articles, have brought to your mind, that we must be careful when “Studying the word of God!” It is necessary, to notice the words, to pick up on the fact, that the writer has changed words. To understand that the words: 1) world and 2) earth, are not the same and do not refer to the same thing!

Frank R. Williams

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Jul 29

STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD (2)

Study, a word that implies work and sometimes long-lasting and hard! Yet, this is the nature of the inspired word of God. For instance, in reading the first twelve chapters of Genesis, you can follow the years lived by the “patriarchal,” as Moses reveals how old they were when the first male child was born; then, how many years they lived afterwards. By taking graph paper, you see how many years their lives overlap each other. It is a most rewarding study.
The name Noah is known all the way around the earth! People may not know much about him, other than he built the ark, but they know the name: Noah! After the whole earth flood, Noah planted a vineyard and became drunk from the fruit of it. Some charge Noah with deliberately drinking an alcoholic drink, but this is an aberration in the life of this godly man. “Some have suggested that Noah did not know his grape juice would ferment so quickly or so extensively in the post-flood atmosphere.” (quoted from: Genesis Park produced by Dave Woetzel, the article appears on the internet). So, what does this do to our efforts to study the word of God? It reveals that we can profit from the reading and thinking about the writings of others! This does not mean, that we take everything written as truth, but it does mean that we can learn from what others have written! Had you thought about what Woetzel wrote before? You might also read, A Study of the Biblical Flood written by Marion R. Fox and see what he says on this subject.
The point in the above is to show that we need to study! Reading is necessary as it gives us a general knowledge of the context. In fact, it is good to read what we are about to study, more than once! As you are reading, pick out words that need to be studied!
Here your attention is called to the word “world.” When you read the word “world” in the New Testament, what do you think of? Do you think of the earth? Well, let us look and see what the Greek word means. When Jesus commissioned the apostles, in the second part of it, as Matthew wrote: “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28:20). Here we have the word “world,” but what is the Greek word and what does it mean? The Greek word is, “aion.” More than likely, you were thinking of another the Greek word, “kosmos!” This would be natural, as Carl Sagan made it so popular. Well, now we have two Greeks words: 1) “aion” and 2) “kosmos,” which will be studied in another article. Of course, these two words have different meanings. “Aion” means:” 1) forever an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity 2) the worlds, universe 3) period of time, age (Thayer). Now that we know what the word means, the context, wherein the word appears carries great weight as to how it is used in the verse; as we can see it has several meanings. The context is Jesus talking with the apostles. First, how would Jesus be with the apostles “forever?” Jesus would be with the apostles by means of the Holy Spirit! Do you remember the words Jesus said to those who would be his apostles? He said: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). More time is required to fully understand the idea, but Jesus said, he would give them “another Comforter,” that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). Notice the word “another,” as it comes from the Greek, “allos,” which means: “another of the same kind” (Strong). The one Jesus sent was another of the same kind as he: Deity! He would be with the apostles. “forever,” until the end of the age. What age, you ask? We simply call it the “miraculous age.”
Now, this is what Jesus was telling the apostles, when he said: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (aion)!” Until “the end of the age;” the miraculous age! Do you think the Holy Spirit was to be with the apostles “forever?” As in a never-ending time! Here is a simple question: Was Jesus with the apostles “forever,” as in a never -ending time? Just where did Jesus go, when he was taken up, from the earth? He went to heaven, and sit down on the right hand of the Father (Heb. 1:3). So, was Jesus, personally, with the apostles throughout the “age of miracles,” wherein the apostles were confirming their preaching? Jesus himself said that they were to receive: “another Comforter!” Did the apostles need two “Comforters?” Or, is Jesus telling them, the first “Comforter,” Jesus himself, would go away and they would receive “anther Comforter,” the Holy Spirit who would be with them “forever” (aion), the end of a time? Friends, the Holy Spirit would be to the apostles, what Jesus had been to the apostles! He was with them until the end of a certain period of time: the miraculous age!

Frank R. Williams

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Jul 22

STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD (1)

What could be simpler? Studying the word of God? Can you remember your first efforts at studying the Bible? Please note, the words are, “your first efforts at studying the Bible,” not just reading it. It is true, that reading is part of studying but just reading is not studying! I can remember my first efforts to “read” the New Testament, as I was in the Army, stationed in Wilmington, OH. Folks, I understood nothing! Why was it that my first efforts, just to read, the New Testament brought no understanding? Maybe you had the same results! Why was this?
Here is a little information about my first efforts at just reading the New Testament. Do you know why I was reading the New Testament? More than likely, few have the same reason as I had, but I was reading the New Testament every night, because I thought my dear and beloved aunt, Aileen, wanted me to do so! She had given me a very small copy of the New Testament before I left home. I still have this New Testament! Any wonder I did not understand anything I read? No! However, I was very faithful in my efforts!
We are aware of what Paul wrote to Timothy: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). However, the first word study, “study,” has been questioned and rightfully so! The American Standard Version, reads: “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.” Allow me to point out, if we are to shew or present ourselves unto God, “study” of the word of God is required! In other words, in giving “diligence to present” ourselves to God, we must study, as in there is no other way, to present ourselves “approved unto God!” If there is no reading and studying the word of God; there is no “diligence” in our efforts to shew ourselves approved to God! Therefore, “study” is in the word “diligence,” and “diligence” is in the word “study!”
Now, I also remember my first efforts to “study” the word of God. Do you remember your first efforts to “study” the Bible? “Study,” requires effort, to read, to study, and to have some plan in doing so! Picking up a Bible, reading just here and there, is no plan! More importantly is the fact, you will never understand the word of God. A little here and a little there, bringeth no understanding! Nevertheless, reading, even reading more than once is required, if we are really studying! Some folks appear to have the idea, of just reading, and suddenly, they understand the Bible! It just does not work this way! Sorry, to “burst your bubble!” The Bible unlike any other book, is “the Book,” the one book which answers our questions: 1) Where did we come from? 2) Why are we here? 3) Where are we going? and 4) Can we change where we are going? Do you not desire to have the answers to these four questions? The word of God, the Bible, is the only book on earth that, can, in truth, answers these four questions! However, to get these answers, study of the One Book is required!
Here is an interesting thought! How much time and effort are you willing to give to a true study of the word of God? The way you answer, depends on how much value you put on the salvation of your eternal soul/spirit! Therefore, the subject before us, is eternally important to us! We are not dealing with just a question, but one of the most important questions, we will ever come “face to face” with! The simple words, in what Paul wrote to Timothy, reads: “approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,” stand before us as an objective! Do you desire to be “approved unto God?” Do you hope of being “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed” before God?
Friends, it starts with reading and advances to a study of the word of God! As we stand before God, on judgment day (2 Cor. 5:10), it will not do for any of us to say, “I never had the time, I am a slow reader, or it is just too hard for me to understand.

Frank R. Williams

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Jul 15

WALKING BY FAITH? (3)

In this third and last article on the subject: “Walking by faith” we will continue our efforts at understanding the text: 2 Corinthians 5:7. Of course, these are the inspired words of the apostle Paul: “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:).” There are varying “views” on the meaning of the apostle’s words; thus, a need for study!
Let it be understood, these are very important words, as the word “walk,” is so large it engages the total of one’s life. “Walking” is a figurative word, expressing one’s manner of life. The question before us at this point is what is the authority, what is guiding our manner of life? The apostle gave us two manners of life: 1) a manner of life that is lived according to “the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3); and a manner of life that is lived according to “sight.”
If one has a manner of life, wherein he is living “by faith,” he is one who must have his authority sit in divine revelation: “the teaching of Christ” (2 John 9). Remember Paul also wrote: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written: “The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17). The words, “from faith to faith,” simply means, that our “faith” is produced and is in harmony with, “the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints.” It should go without saying, the apostle would never be encouraging anyone to have a “faith” which was/is not produced by anything else than “the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints!” Therefore, to “walk by faith” means that one’s manner of life, that which is the guide to his manner of life, is “the faith!” “The faith” is simply understood in “the teaching of Christ!”
This brings us to the second half of Paul’s statement: “not by sight!” Just what does the word “sight” mean. What is Paul telling us, that we are not to have as our manner of life? First, let us look at the Greek word, “eidos,” which means: “a view, that is, form (literally or figuratively): – appearance, fashion, shape, sight” (Strong). Thayer give us this: “the external or outward appearance.” The wisdom of this world, gives one a view to life, that is totally guided and measured by, this world! Therefore, just what does this world give us? The “rich man” in a parable given by Jesus, says it so clear, it is hard to miss: “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:16- 19). Just what was the “rich man’s” plan, this manner of life; by what was he “walking?” Was not by “sight?” First, “he thought within himself;” Second, he looked at his problem, while only looking at this world: “what shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits;” Third, his answer was: “This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.” Once more, please notice that his answer to his problem was totally of this world! Fourth, he looked and continued according to the wisdom of this world: “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years.” And fifth, his conclusion, is based totally upon the wisdom of this world and not one thought as to judgment and eternity! Let his words reach into your heart; “take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry!”
This “rich man’s” manner of life was based upon what he saw as it relates to this world! He saw only gain but it was in the “appearance” this world gave him! He should have given thought to Paul’s words to Timothy: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:7).” The spiritual blindness of this “rich man” was so totally limited to this world, that he even missed a truth which even this world understands; first, that we come into this world, physically even without clothes; being naked as we enter it and second, “it is certain we can carry nothing out!” This world teaches us as the “rich man” concluded: “thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry!” But, he totally missed the revelation of God, the most awesome thought the human can meditate upon: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecc. 12:13-14).
The question comes to each of us: do I “walk by faith” or do I walk “by sight?” One leads us into the eternal home and blessings far beyond the human’s mind ability to comprehend; the other is so horrifying the human mind will only occasionally allow the thought: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:8). How different from these words: “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness (eusebeia, means: reverence, piety towards God) is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Tim. 4:8).

Frank R. Williams

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Jul 08

WALKING BY FAITH? (2)

The reason for the question mark in the title is because of the misuse of the words. In other words, just what do these words really mean and to what do they relate? Let us recall the number of ways the word “faith” is sometimes used. People use the word “faith” in the following ways: 1) to refer to personal “faith,” as in I believe; 2) to refer to a written code of “faith,” at times which may appear at the front of the auditorium; 3) an unfounded “faith” subject to change at any moment, as it is not based on anything, other than what I believe at this moment in time; 4) it may be used to refer to and identified as “the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3); and 5) it may refer to one’s personal faith, which came by “the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints!
Truly we can see the need to identify just what we mean when using the word “faith!” The text we looked at in the first article was 2 Corinthians, chapter five, and verse seven: “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:).”In the first article, we showed how that seeing, “sight” does not destroy “faith.” This is the right place to determine what the word “sight” means in this text. The Greek word is “eidos” and means: “1) the external or outward appearance, form figure, shape; 2) form, kind.”If we are to understand this word, we must get into our minds, that Paul is contrasting spiritual wisdom with the world in which we live; or worldly wisdom. Worldly wisdom, never sees beyond the physical, “the here and now;” what is to be gained in this world in which we live. “Worldly wisdom” is seen in the attitude of the parable a “certain rich man;” Jesus said: “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:16 – 19). There is worldly wisdom, pure and simple! However, the man’s worldly wisdom, failing to understand there is something higher and this is spiritual wisdom. His ends as stated by Jesus: “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (Verse 20). This rich man failed totally to understand the simple truth: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:7). It was at the end of the parable, that Jesus uttered these words: “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21). Worldly wisdom never makes one “rich toward God,” but spiritual wisdom does!
With the above in mind, it should be one of the easiest things to see, the rich man of Jesus’ parable was “walking by sight” and not by faith! Yes, it is true, he was walking by his personal faith, or belief system; but even here he failed, as he did not see even what life on this earth teaches; which is in harmony with the inspirited text: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:7). His words express worldly wisdom: “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19). This is “sight,” measured only by this world, “the external or outward appearance” of things! “Sight,” as used by Paul is addressed several times by Jesus; such as: 1) “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4); 2) “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matt. 6:19-20). How awesome are the following words of Jesus, as he concluded: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (verse 21).
It does not take much learning, but a willingness to “walk by faith,” to understand the difference between: 1) walking in the wisdom of this world and 2) walking by faith, which in reality is: walking by the revelation from God! But, before we jump to a false conclusion and have a wrong idea how Paul was using the words: “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:);” one, the rich man was living according to what he believed; thus, his personal faith. Two, it might be said of him, that he was living in harmony with the words of faith written in front of his place of worship. Third, he might have been living according to his own set of faith; as I believe it, therefore, it is so! And fourth, it is very clear, he was not living in harmony with the revelation of God; therefore, he was not “walking by faith” as Paul used the words!
This should help us understand Paul’s use of the words, “For we walk by faith, not by sight!” To “walk by faith” is to live in harmony with “the teaching of Christ!” It requires that one surrender his will to that of God: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16). There it is! Do we walk, live, in “obedience unto righteousness;” or do we live, walk, in harmony to the wisdom of this world: “sight?”

Frank R. Williams

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Jul 01

WALKING BY FAITH (1)

If you are “related” to “the teaching of Christ,” then, you have heard the words, “walking by faith!” Just what a person means when using the words, may differ from one to another, however. One of the reasons for this difference is the word “faith.” Here are a few questions that will help us understand how people use and give meaning to the word “faith.”
“Faith” may be used to refer to one’s personal “faith,” as in what is believed, which may vary widely from one person to another. A second person may use the word “faith” to refer to a written document for the church which he is a member; such as the Baptist Church, or the Presbyterian Church, or the Roman Catholic Church. Or a third person may use the word “faith” to mean “the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). Finally, one may use the word “faith” to mean, my “faith” comes from “the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints.”
When Paul wrote, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” (2 Cor. 5:7); just what did he mean? Paul by means of the Holy Spirit used the word “faith” correctly! He used it to contrast, between the two words: 1) “faith” and 2) “sight.” However, our English word “sight” is not the best translation of the Greek word Paul used here. First, Jesus proves that “sight” and “faith” can walk together. Here is what John wrote: “Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed” (John 20:8). The two disciples who came first to the sepulcher were: 1) John and 2) Peter. John out ran Peter to the sepulcher; however, John did not go in at first, but Peter arriving second went right in (John 20:4-5). However, later Jesus would appear to the disciples, but Thomas was not with the ten (John 20:22 – 24). At this appearance, notice what Jesus did: “And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20). Question, why did Jesus show “his hands and his side” to them? Was it not to prove, by means of physical evidence (sight), that indeed, the one standing live before them, was Jesus who had been crucified? Here physical evidence, “sight,” did not destroy faith, but the physical body of Jesus confirmed the faith of the ten. When Thomas does arrive to be with the ten, it is most important to hear his words after being told that Jesus was alive, he said: “… Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). Clearly, Thomas did not think, did not believe, that “sight,” seeing the physical body of Jesus, would destroy faith!
Following this appearance, Jesus appeared again to them, but this time, Thomas was with them (John 20:26). Notice what Jesus did, as John wrote: that Jesus said to Thomas: “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27). Beautiful and awesome are the words of Thomas just here: “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Question: Was Jesus going to destroy Thomas’ faith, or was it he going to create faith in Thomas by this physical body? Thomas did not have to reach out and touch the body of Jesus, seeing he believed! Question: Just how does these two events, stand with the words of Paul: “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)?
First, the event of Thomas, seeing the physical body of Jesus, “sight’ evidence, does not contradict what Paul wrote, but is in total harmony! Therefore, we may have a wrong view of Paul’s words! Let us give thought to what Paul wrote to “the called out” in Rome, as we think about the subject before us. Paul wrote: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). Question: Is Paul not proving that “faith” in the existence of God, can be proven “by the things that are?” Keep in mind, “the things that are,” is physical evidence. Therefore, “sight” does not destroy faith, but creates “faith!”
This naturally brings us to Paul’s words: “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” and what they mean!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/walking-by-faith-1/

Jun 24

IS IT CHURCH OR NOT?

Have you ever questioned where the English word “church” came from? Or, have you just accepted it, because it appears in our English New Testament and you have never thought anything else? Do you know what Greek word is translated into the English word “church?” It may be the case, you have no interest in the word at all. If this is the case, you need to understand, that Jesus said: “I will build my church,” as it appears in our English versions. This statement, standing by itself, makes the word important.
Jesus said: “I will build my church;” but what Greek word did the Holy Spirit put in the pen of Matthew, when he wrote, “The Gospel According To Matthew,” wherein the words of Jesus appear? The word the Holy Spirit had Matthew to use is the Greek, “ekklēsia.” However, if we do not know the meaning of this word, then, we will have little understanding of the true nature of what Jesus promised to build. The Greek word “ekklesia” means: “a calling out” (Strong, E-Sword). It is a compound word: 1) “ek,” meaning; “out of;” and 2) “klesia,” meaning: “to call.” Thus, the word “ekklesia” means, to call out. Now, let us simply put the meaning of the Greek word, into the statement of Jesus: “I will build my called out of!” This gives us two questions that need, must, have our attention: 1) called out of what, and 2) called into what?” No! It is not the “church” that those who “believeth and is baptized,” are added to; but these are the “ekklesia:” “the called out of” Jesus! When Jesus commissioned his apostles in Mark 16:15, he said: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” In these words, Jesus was telling how he would build his “ekklesia;” the “gospel” would be the means and those who “believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” are Jesus’ “ekklesia!” This means, the “ekklesia” of Jesus are the “saved!”
Now, with this understanding before us, we can read with better understanding these words: “And the Lord added to the called out of daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47). As one is being “called out of” the world by the gospel, they are being added to the saved, upon their obedience. It is the Lord Jesus Christ, who calls through the gospel and adds as one has obeyed the gospel. Let us see if we can put what the Greek word “ekklesia” means into a few texts written by the inspired writers. First, “Unto the called out of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1 Cor. 1:2). Second, “And all the brethren which are with me, unto the called out of Galatia” (Gal. 1:2). Third, “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the called out of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:1). This is enough to see that we can put the meaning of the Greek right into the text and it reads correctly and is easy to read. What is all this about, you ask?
Well, let us call to mind one other verse: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the called out of the living God” (1 Tim. 3:15). Now we learn that “the called out of” the world is the collective “house of God, which is the called out of the living God.” Please notice here, that it is one, singular, “house of God; and that it is made of “the called out of God!” Once more, it must be kept in mind, that the calling is by means of the gospel of Christ and those who are “the called out of God,” are those who have obeyed the gospel of Christ; thus, they are “the house of God!” If we put the fact that “the called out of” are also the saved (Acts 2:47), which is “the house of God,” it becomes clear, that all the saved are “the house of God!” That they all got into “the house of God,” by one means; which is the gospel of Christ and obedience to it! If you are having trouble with the word, “obedience” (obey), give thought the Paul’s words: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:8). If one is lost, as Paul says some are, he is the one who does not obey the gospel; then, it is implied, not by me, but by the inspired apostle Paul, that those who obey the gospel are saved! Once more, it is heard: “What is this all about?” It is about understanding the truth!
One more thought! What if we put on the sign in front our building, “The Barnes Called Out of Christ Meets Here?” Would it help those who pass by understand, just who we are, better? Then, there is this, would it express the truth better to those who drive by?

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/is-it-church-or-not/

Jun 14

WHERE DOES THE SOUL/SPIRIT GO AFTER DEATH? (3)

In article number three, we have reached the point, where it is now necessary to take a better, a fuller look at the “hadean” realm. This takes us to the story of “The rich man and Lazarus,” which is recorded in Luke 16:19 – 31. The text says that both, the rich man and Lazarus, died; and though it is not stated that Lazarus was buried, it is understood that he was buried. The text does state that the rich man’s body was buried. In death, their spirits/souls departed the body of each (James 2:26). The question: Where does the soul/spirit go after death; comes before us.
Luke wrote that the soul of Lazarus: “was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom” (verse 22). However, Luke also informs us that the rich man: “in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (verse 23). Clearly, each was in a different place; as one is comforted in “Abraham’s Bosom” (verse 22) while the rich man “in hell (hades) he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (verse 23). Now, here is the key point: “now he (Lazarus) is comforted, and thou art tormented.” The “rich man” was in a place of “torments,” while the spirit of Lazarus was in place of “comfort.” It is here that Luke, records the words of Abraham to the rich man: “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed” (verse 26). The words, “beside all this,” refers to the fact, that Lazarus was in one place and the rich man was in another! However, notice that both are in the Hadean realm, but one is “comforted” while the other is “tormented;” and it is here that Abraham informs the rich man: “between us (Abraham and the Lazarus) and you there is a “great gulf fixed.” Notice the purpose of the “great gulf” which is “fixed:” between the two places, “so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence” (verse 26). To put it in simple words, there was no one-way highway running between the place of “torment” to the place of “comfort; neither was there a two-way street running both ways between the place “comfort” and “torment!” There is no way for the rich man to get out of his “torment!”

HADES
However, in the following illustration by means of the story of the rich man and Lazarus, we have learned, come to a correct understanding of “Hades.” This brings us to the Greek word “tartaroō” as it is used in 2 Peter 2:4: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” As for the purpose of this article, let me put before the reader, that the words: “the angels that sinned,” simply refers to “messengers that sinned” in the Old Testament time. These would have been God’s messengers on earth, who failed in the mission and sinned! Now, what happened to them upon death? Peter informs us, that they were “cast them down to hell (tartaroo).” Now, what was the purpose of this action? Peter answers, these “messengers” were “delivered into chains of darkness.” Which is figurative language meaning they were unable to get out of “tartaroo!” The language is like that of Abraham to the rich man: “so that they which would pass from hence (meaning the place of comfort) to you cannot; neither can they pass to us (the place of comfort), that would come from thence (the place of torments)!” Now, why are the “messengers” in “tartaroo”? Peter answers: “to be reserved unto judgment!” Therefore, judgment follows death and being in the Hadean world, for all those who die before the coming of Christ, go to Hades! The spirits of the just and the unjust, go to Hades upon death; there they are “reserved unto judgment!” Recall the words of the letter to the Hebrews: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). It is not hard to understand where the spirit goes after death!
Finally, we now recall Paul’s words: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). Upon death, all opportunity stops to change one’s eternity. For, all that are in Hades, must come to “the judgment seat of Christ” and be judged! There are only two categories of judgment: “good or bad!”
Friends, today you are determining your own eternal destiny! Should you die before the Lord returns, your body will be buried, your soul/spirit will be reserved in Hades until the resurrection, at which time you will come before “the judgment seat of Christ; where you will be judged “according to that you hath done;” “whether it be good or bad!” On the other side of judgment is heaven, a place of joy and comfort; or hell, a place of eternal punishment! Which will it be for you?

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/where-does-the-soulspirit-go-after-death-3/

Jun 10

WHERE DOES THE SOUL/SPIRIT GO AFTER DEATH? (2)

The question, as we concluded in the first article in this series, was the subject of “hades” and what it means. We learned from David’s prophesy that it was fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus and this was Peter’s subject in much of the first sermon we have recorded. Of course, the text is Acts chapter two! It was in this sermon that Peter said, and Luke recorded it: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (verse 27). With this we are ready to look more closely at this text.
The word “hell,” where Peter said the soul of Jesus would not be left, is the Greek “hadēs” and it means: “the realm of the dead” but not the physical body. Please notice that Peter said: “wilt not leave my soul in hell.” It is not possible to understand the subject of “hell” without knowing that the inspired writers used three different words, which are translated into our one word “hell.” These three words are: 1) hades, 2) tartaroō, and 3) geenna. It is a surprise for many to learn, that each of these three words refer to a different place. Taking each word and learning a few things about it, will go a long way in helping us to understand the subject of “hell.” It is interesting, but few think about it, that two of the words refer to a place of punishment, while the third one refers to the place where there is both comfort and punishment. It is the place that so many have trouble with their understanding of it.
Now having before us the three Greek words which are translated into our word “Hell;” we are ready for verses wherein each appears. Taking the Greek “Geenna” first, attention is turned to Jesus and his statement: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Geenna)” (Matt. 10:28). This is the place of eternal punishment! Thayer gives us this: “Hell is the place of the future punishment call “Gehenna” or “Gehenna of fire”. This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.” Here Thayer acts as both authority and commentator. Nevertheless, he is correct in both fields. Thus, “Geenna” is the final place of eternal punishment. There are some who do not believe in an eternal punishment, but this puts them in a contradiction. Jesus used the same Greek word to describe both eternal punishment and eternal life. He said: “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt. 25:46). The words “everlasting” and “eternal” are the same Greek word, “aiōnios,” which means as used in the text: “without end, never to cease, everlasting.” Therefore, the person who believes in heaven is forced, if he is honest, to accept the fact both heaven and hell are ‘without end, never to cease.!
The second of our Greek words is “hades” and it is necessary to understand this word, so we can have the right concept of the third word. This will be clear as we continue our study. If you will recall that Jesus’ soul was not left in “hades,” which requires that his soul went there! As you cannot be left someplace you have never been! It will help, just here, if you will think of “hades” as being the realm, or a place. It is not a physical place, but spiritual and holds the spirit/soul of man. It holds the souls/spirits, the eternal part of man, between the time of death, wherein the spirit is separated from the body. As James wrote: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, …” (James 2:26). Hades holds all departed spirits, both the righteous and the unrighteousness! Therefore, it is true that Jesus’ soul went into Hades, but was not in the area of punishment. Hades has three parts or areas: Abraham’s bosom, or paradise, being just one of the three. Here it will help our understanding to recall the words of Jesus on the cross, as he spoke to the pendant thief; Jesus said: “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43). Clearly, it must be accepted that “paradise” is not a place of punishment; therefore, Jesus’ soul did not go into “hell” a place of punishment, but into Hades, the part of Hades equaled to “paradise;” which is Abraham’s bosom.”
The third word is “tartaroō” and is used but one time in the New Testament. Peter is the inspired writer: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (tartaroo), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Pet. 2:4). Let me point out that the “angels that sinned” are more than likely, not heavenly beings, but messengers of the Old Testament, as the word “angel” means “messenger.” At any rate, because of their sin, they were “… cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” Now, notice this is a temporary place, as they were being “reserved unto judgment!” So, this means they and all others in the same place, would come out of “tartaroo;” then, they will be judged!
Just where is this place called “tartaroo?” It is a place of punishment, for Peter wrote God: “delivered them into chains of darkness.” It is easy to understand that “chains of darkness” cannot equal neither: 1) a “bosom” or 2) “paradise!” Friends, Jesus was never in “chains of darkness” nor, was he ever “punished!”
It is clear that our subject will require a third article. Therefore, look forward to more study one the subject: “Where does the soul/spirit go after death?”
Frank R. Williams

The question, as we concluded in the first article in this series, was the subject of “hades” and what it means. We learned from David’s prophesy that it was fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus and this was Peter’s subject in much of the first sermon we have recorded. Of course, the text is Acts chapter two! It was in this sermon that Peter said, and Luke recorded it: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (verse 27). With this we are ready to look more closely at this text.
The word “hell,” where Peter said the soul of Jesus would not be left, is the Greek “hadēs” and it means: “the realm of the dead” but not the physical body. Please notice that Peter said: “wilt not leave my soul in hell.” It is not possible to understand the subject of “hell” without knowing that the inspired writers used three different words, which are translated into our one word “hell.” These three words are: 1) hades, 2) tartaroō, and 3) geenna. It is a surprise for many to learn, that each of these three words refer to a different place. Taking each word and learning a few things about it, will go a long way in helping us to understand the subject of “hell.” It is interesting, but few think about it, that two of the words refer to a place of punishment, while the third one refers to the place where there is both comfort and punishment. It is the place that so many have trouble with their understanding of it.
Now having before us the three Greek words which are translated into our word “Hell;” we are ready for verses wherein each appears. Taking the Greek “Geenna” first, attention is turned to Jesus and his statement: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Geenna)” (Matt. 10:28). This is the place of eternal punishment! Thayer gives us this: “Hell is the place of the future punishment call “Gehenna” or “Gehenna of fire”. This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.” Here Thayer acts as both authority and commentator. Nevertheless, he is correct in both fields. Thus, “Geenna” is the final place of eternal punishment. There are some who do not believe in an eternal punishment, but this puts them in a contradiction. Jesus used the same Greek word to describe both eternal punishment and eternal life. He said: “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt. 25:46). The words “everlasting” and “eternal” are the same Greek word, “aiōnios,” which means as used in the text: “without end, never to cease, everlasting.” Therefore, the person who believes in heaven is forced, if he is honest, to accept the fact both heaven and hell are ‘without end, never to cease.!
The second of our Greek words is “hades” and it is necessary to understand this word, so we can have the right concept of the third word. This will be clear as we continue our study. If you will recall that Jesus’ soul was not left in “hades,” which requires that his soul went there! As you cannot be left someplace you have never been! It will help, just here, if you will think of “hades” as being the realm, or a place. It is not a physical place, but spiritual and holds the spirit/soul of man. It holds the souls/spirits, the eternal part of man, between the time of death, wherein the spirit is separated from the body. As James wrote: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, …” (James 2:26). Hades holds all departed spirits, both the righteous and the unrighteousness! Therefore, it is true that Jesus’ soul went into Hades, but was not in the area of punishment. Hades has three parts or areas: Abraham’s bosom, or paradise, being just one of the three. Here it will help our understanding to recall the words of Jesus on the cross, as he spoke to the pendant thief; Jesus said: “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43). Clearly, it must be accepted that “paradise” is not a place of punishment; therefore, Jesus’ soul did not go into “hell” a place of punishment, but into Hades, the part of Hades equaled to “paradise;” which is Abraham’s bosom.”
The third word is “tartaroō” and is used but one time in the New Testament. Peter is the inspired writer: “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (tartaroo), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Pet. 2:4). Let me point out that the “angels that sinned” are more than likely, not heavenly beings, but messengers of the Old Testament, as the word “angel” means “messenger.” At any rate, because of their sin, they were “… cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” Now, notice this is a temporary place, as they were being “reserved unto judgment!” So, this means they and all others in the same place, would come out of “tartaroo;” then, they will be judged!
Just where is this place called “tartaroo?” It is a place of punishment, for Peter wrote God: “delivered them into chains of darkness.” It is easy to understand that “chains of darkness” cannot equal neither: 1) a “bosom” or 2) “paradise!” Friends, Jesus was never in “chains of darkness” nor, was he ever “punished!”
It is clear that our subject will require a third article. Therefore, look forward to more study one the subject: “Where does the soul/spirit go after death?”

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/where-does-the-soulspirit-go-after-death-2/

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