Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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November 21, 2010
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November 21, 2010
Jesus Posed A Threat To Jewish Religious Control Over Masses, God Calls Saul Of Tarsus, Jewish Elders' Problems Continued, Apostle Paul Preaches God's Grace Above Works Of Mosaic Law, Influx Of Gentile Christians Posed Problem To Christian Jews, Peter's Vision And Acceptance Of Salvation For The Gentiles, The Salvation Of Roman Centurion Cornelius And His Family, Peter's Actions Are Questioned Upon His Return To Jerusalem, Jewish Propaganda And Self-Righteous Attitude Of Superiority, Christians Are Not Second Class Citizens In Kingdom Of God, Cleansed And Saved By The Word Of God Who Is Jesus Christ, Misguided Desires For Jewishness, Flesh Profiteth Nothing, Our New Spiritual Man Is The Only One That Matters To God, Using Endless Genealogies To Legitimize Jewish Superiority, Ongoing Battle To Preserve And Affirm The Jewish Identity, Discussing Endless Genealogies Is Vain Jangling Empty Talk, Beware Of Heretics And Sowers Of Discord, Closing Remarks
Returning to our earlier discussion, not only did the Jewish Elders view Jesus as a serious threat to their precarious relationship with the Roman authorities, but He also posed a threat to their dominance over the common Jewish masses. As I explain in other articles, the way that these oppressive Jews maintained control over their fellow Jews, was through their legalistic and heavy-handed imposition of the Mosaic Law. As you may recall, Jesus, of course, thoroughly exposed their hypocrisy, their devilish nature, and their lack of love and mercy, in such chapters as Matthew twenty-three. Ironically, while certain denominations within modern Christendom do the same thing, at the same time, an extremely dangerous wave of doctrinal liberalism has swept through the Church as well.
When God called Saul of Tarsus -- later to be known as the Apostle Paul -- on the road to Damascus, and Saul soon became a firebrand for the Lord, and the Apostle to the Gentiles, this by no means helped the cause of the legalistic Jews who were residing in Jerusalem, who still maintained their grip on power, now that Jesus was gone. Paul's many speeches and Epistles which emphasized the Grace of God above the works of the Law were obviously a threat to the Jewish Elders in Jerusalem. In fact, as I point out in other articles, once Paul began to win Gentile converts to the nascent Christian Church, and began to instruct them in the freedoms of the Spirit -- without the Law -- even the Christian Elders and Disciples in Jerusalem began to question Paul's doctrines. Of course, we know from Acts chapter fifteen and elsewhere, that Paul and his Gentile followers eventually arrived at a doctrinal agreement with the Christian Elders in Jerusalem.
But the point I wish to impress upon you is this: With such a great influx of Gentile believers into the faith, due to the untiring work of Paul, Barnabas, Silas, John Mark, and other New Testament Apostles and Disciples, the legalistic Jews obviously felt very threatened. In their minds, their faith was beginning to be overrun by unclean "heathen". As we read in the Book of Acts, even some of the First Century Christian Elders initially had difficulty in accepting these new Gentile brethren into the Church. Again, as I explain in other articles, it wasn't until God gave Peter a heavenly vision in Acts chapter ten, that Peter was finally able to truly comprehend that Christ had died for all men, including for the Gentile nations, as we see here:
"On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven."
Acts 10:9-16, KJV
As a result of Peter's submission and obedience to the Lord's Will, we read in Acts chapters ten and eleven that Cornelius, who was a Roman centurion who resided in Caesarea, was saved, along with his entire family. But guess what? The legalistic Law-bound Jews, including some of the Christian brethren who resided in Jerusalem, initially were not very happy regarding this wonderful development. Consider the following verses where their displeasure with Peter is made quite plain:
"And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them."
Acts 11:2-3, KJV
It is interesting to note that in the previous verses, the word "contend" is translated from the Greek word "diakrino". Consider what the Greek lexicon has to say about this word:
----- Begin Quote -----
1) to separate, make a distinction, discriminate, to prefer
2) to learn by discrimination, to try, decide
2a) to determine, give judgment, decide a dispute
3) to withdraw from one, desert
4) to separate one's self in a hostile spirit, to oppose, strive with dispute, contend
5) to be at variance with one's self, hesitate, doubt
----- End Quote -----
In other words, despite Peter's status as one of the leaders of the Early Church, these self-righteous Jews argued with him, and in fact separated themselves from him, as if Peter had the plague. They were so certain of their own holiness, that they treated Peter like an unclean thing which had been contaminated by unholy Gentile dogs.
You need to remember that for thousands of years, the Tribes of Israel had been concerned with both their genetic, as well as their spiritual purity. In fact, it becomes obvious from reading the Scriptures that, just as still occurs in our own day, the Jews viewed themselves as being genetically, as well as spiritually, superior to all other humans on the face of the planet. They -- so they like to claim -- are the chosen race, and the elect of God. This type of Jewish propaganda has been so successful, that today, in countries such as the United States of America, entire governments bend to the will of the Jews, and many American Christians view themselves as Christian Zionists. One is not even considered a patriotic American, unless he or she is pro-Israel; at least so say certain politicians, Christian leaders and other misguided people.
Please do not fall for this devilish deception; and remember this: If you are washed in the Blood of Jesus Christ, who is the spotless Lamb of God, then you have been made every whit clean, and your sins have been made as white as wool. As we saw earlier in this article, you are a full-fledged, saved, adopted Child of God, and a bona fide member of God's Royal Household, and nothing is ever going to change that, because God's Word stands forever, and He most certainly doesn't lie. The flesh Jews of this Earth are in no way superior to you; so don't let them convince you that you are a second class citizen in the Kingdom of God, and that they somehow have a spiritual edge over you, because they most certainly don't. In fact, in God's eyes, it may well be that you are superior to them, because you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, while most of them have not. Please consider the following verses:
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Isaiah 1:18, KJV
"Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all."
John 13:10, KJV
"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
John 15:3, KJV
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin . . . If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:7, 9, KJV
You know, I will confess to you now that there have been a few times in my life when I have thought to myself how it would really be wonderful if I possessed some Jewish blood in my family's genealogies. It would make me feel so much closer to the Lord, I reasoned. It would provide me with a closer connection to the events and history of Israel, etc. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some of you who are reading this series have felt the very same thing. Well, if you have thought this, please don't, because in my view, it is wrong, and totally unnecessary. As Jesus plainly taught us:
"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."
John 6:63, KJV
As I noted earlier, what we are genetically and ethnically in the flesh is of very little importance. It is who we are in the Spirit that matters, and our birthright is in Heaven, thanks to the atoning Sacrifice of our Blessed Savior, Amen?
In light of this misguided Jewish mentality of superiority, it has occurred to me that this may possibly be yet another reason why certain Jews, including an unspecified number of the Christian Jews, became embroiled in debates concerning "endless genealogies". In other words, as a result of the great influx of so many Gentile converts into the Christian Church during the First Century, perhaps some of these Jews, Christian and non-Christian alike, felt threatened; and so by pointing to "endless genealogies", they were still trying to legitimize their alleged superiority over other races. At the very least, perhaps they were trying to use genealogical records as a way to preserve and to affirm their own Jewish identity. In fact, I think it is fair to say that this is a battle which has been waged for the past two thousand years, and still continues today.
If this is the case, as I said before, this would certainly give the Apostle Paul good reason to admonish them to desist from such activities; because they were non-productive, and they did not build up the Body of Christ. They in fact tore it down, divided it and detracted from the oneness that we Christians have in Jesus Christ. In his Epistle to Timothy, the Apostle Paul went on to say that those who engaged in such activities were guilty of "vain jangling", as we see by these verses:
"From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."
1 Timothy 1:6-7, KJV
That phrase "vain jangling" is derived from the Greek word "mataiologia" which means vain talking or empty talk. To put it another way, Paul was saying that such people were simply legalistic troublemakers who didn't know what they were even talking about. It is interesting to note that in referring to the writings of Paul, and these same kinds of troublesome people, the Apostle Peter made a very similar comment when he wrote the following:
". . . even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."
2 Peter 3:15b-16, KJV
Finally, in the third chapter of his Epistle to Titus, where as we saw earlier, Paul also mentioned the problem regarding arguing about genealogies, he as much as said that those who engaged in these divisive activities were akin to heretics, as we see by verse ten below:
"A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;"
Titus 3:10, KJV
Let me also add that in the Old Testament Scriptures, we are also told that the Lord hates those who sow discord amongst the brethren, as we see here:
"These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."
Proverbs 6:16-19, KJV
In conclusion, it is my earnest hope that you can now see that physical bloodlines and human genealogical records have little relevance in the Kingdom of Heaven; because as God's Word makes rather clear, we are all covered by the Blood of Jesus Christ, and that is truly all that we need. We are all one in Christ Jesus, and we are all members of the Household of God without genetic distinction. Amen? Furthermore, as the Apostle Paul so wonderfully informs us in his Epistle to the Corinthians, flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, so what does it really matter?:
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
1 Corinthians 15:50-52, KJV
With these inspiring thoughts I will bring this series to a close. I pray that you have found it informative, and that it has been a blessing in your life.