Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
March 30, 1998
Last Updated :
December 23, 2012
Composition Of Modern Bible, Time Shall Be No More, A Common Standard, Prohibiting Marriage, Catholic Abstention From Meat, Catholic Acts Of Contrition And Penance, Eternal Insecurity, The Eternal Word, A Personal Relationship, The Holy Spirit
As I concluded in part one, what we have today in our Bibles is more than likely not the full body of Inspired Texts which were available to the Apostles and Disciples of the First Century Church. Many ancient manuscripts have already decayed. Others were purposely destroyed. Some are probably intentionally being kept from us by certain powers that be. Some old manuscripts may even still be waiting to be discovered.
Despite all of this, we do know that we possess enough of the ancient manuscripts in order to understand such topics as God's Plan of Salvation, ancient Jewish history, the formation of the Early Church, the Lord's model for good Christian living, and even some of the future which is yet to unfold. So we really do have a lot to keep us busy. What we also know is that the Old Testament has God's personal stamp of approval. The very fact that Jesus often quoted from it, and in fact fulfilled many of its prophecies, is proof enough of this. In reverse manner, we also know that the New Testament is inspired of the Lord due to the simple fact that it reveals the fulfillment of what was prophesied in the Old Testament. Thus, these two complement each other. To take these points a step further, Christians today are continuing to fulfill what was already written almost two thousand years ago. We are not adding anything new to it; we are simply fulfilling Jesus' own commandment and prophecies found in the following verses:
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Mark 16:15, KJV
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
Matthew 24:14, KJV
It is easy to see then that we are fulfilling some of the predictions of the Old Testament Prophets, of Jesus, of the Book of Revelation, and of the writers of the Epistles. We are bringing some of these things to their conclusion. If this is the case, then why do we need any new Scriptures? It doesn't make any sense, does it? Our God is a logical orderly God. While He definitely has plans for making all things new, that cannot happen until what has already been written has been fulfilled. Once that is accomplished, then we are told:
"And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful."
Revelation 21:5, KJV
As I point out in "The Manipulation of Time and Space", there is going to come a time when there will be a new beginning. In fact, there is going to come a time when time will be no more; it will cease to exist because we will be living in Eternity, but that time is not yet:
"And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:"
Revelation 10:6, KJV
The main point of this article is that once we begin to accept post-First Century writings as new Scriptures, there is no end to it. If we open the floodgate to anything and everything which agrees with what has already been given in the Old and the New Testaments, where do we stop? There has to be a set standard with which everything else must be compared. As I explain in such articles as "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth", for me personally, that standard is the Authorized King James Bible. In my view, the safest approach is to be content with what we have already been given in the past. The Lord knows that we have a difficult time following that as it is. King Solomon summarized my thoughts quite well when he said the following:
"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us."
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10, KJV
If there is something important which the Lord has wanted to say to humanity regarding Salvation, human conduct, the future, or any other topic, I believe that He has already said it. What we Christian writers are doing today is merely trying to help people to better understand what the Lord has already said in the past. We aren't saying anything new. We don't need to say anything new. It has already been said by those who have gone before us. In the Book of Acts, this was one of the weaknesses of the philosophers at Athens. They were so bored with life that they only lived to hear some strange new tale to pique their curiosity:
"Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)"
Acts 17:18-21, KJV
At this point, some of you may be thinking to yourselves, "Well wait a minute! It sounds like you are preaching a dead God! Are you suggesting that God does not speak anymore?" No, I am not saying that by any means; however, what I am saying is that if the Lord does choose to speak to us today, either on a personal level, or else to a Body of Believers through one of His prophets, I do not believe that He will contradict Himself. God is not the author of confusion. As such, I don't believe that He will confuse us by going against something which He gave us earlier through one of His Prophets or Disciples. For example, earlier I mentioned how the Roman Catholic hierarchy prohibits their priests and nuns from marrying, plus they practice abstaining from eating meat on certain days such as during the Lent season. Both of these practices are in total contradiction to what was taught by Jesus and the Apostle Paul. In the case of marriage, they said:
"The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
Matthew 19:3-6, KJV
"Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband."
1 Corinthians 7:1-2, KJV
While they both encouraged marriage, Jesus and the Apostle Paul also mentioned that some men abstain from marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of God; so that they can dedicate themselves more fully to the Work of the Lord; however, this is a voluntary action that they take, and not something that is forced upon them by an overbearing spiritual hierarchy. Many of the leaders of the Early Church were married men contrary to the current practices of the Catholic Church:
"For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."
Matthew 19:12, KJV
"But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn . . . Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you."
1 Corinthians 7:6-9, 27-28, KJV
"Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?"
1 Corinthians 9:5, KJV
"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach . . . Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well."
1 Timothy 3:2, 12, KJV
"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly."
Titus 1:5-6, KJV
As we all know, it is because the Roman Catholic Church has failed to follow the pattern of the First Century Church, and has made celibacy a stiff requirement in order to enter the priesthood, that she is now plagued with many cases of homosexuality, lesbianism and pedophilia.
Concerning the abstention from meat on certain Catholic holy days, while I can appreciate the noble intentions, and the inner desire to practice a small degree of personal denial in the hope of drawing closer to God, it nevertheless seems like a useless work of the flesh to me. While Jesus did encourage fasting in order to cast out certain demons, this is not why modern-day Catholics abstain from meat during the Lent season. In my view, this is just one aspect of a larger Catholic mentality which revolves around acts of contrition and doing penance for one's sins. It is based upon the false doctrine of eternal insecurity, which is the opposite of Eternal Salvation. Within the Catholic world, one never quite knows if he is saved or not. He might be saved one day, but then fall from grace the next day due to some sin in his life. This is in direct contradiction to many promises found in the Bible such as the following:
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
John 6:37, KJV
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
John 10:28, KJV
"He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."
1 John 5:12-13, KJV
As I state in the controversial article entitled "Are We Once Saved, Always Saved?", at this current time, I am not convinced that our Salvation can be lost. In my view, to believe that this is possible would be, as the Apostle Paul writes, to crucify the Son of God afresh, as we see by these verses:
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
Hebrews 6:4-6, KJV
Through falsely making the "holy mother church" the only dispenser of Eternal Life, the Catholic faithful are placed at the mercy of the church, and are forced to earn their way into Heaven, and to prove their worth for the Kingdom of God, by performing all of these different Catholic rituals. Like Martin Luther who quoted from the writings of the Apostle Paul, the Catholic faithful need to realize that:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV
So once again we see that all of these false practices and beliefs are a result of not only not taking heed to the inspired Word of God found in the Holy Scriptures, but it is also due to what basically amounts to writing new scriptures in the form of different church laws, doctrines, traditions, catechisms, and erroneous interpretations. As Jesus said to the misguided Scribes and Pharisees of His day, these all make the Law and Commandment of God of none effect. They totally neutralize the true Word of God by either totally ignoring it, or by twisting its meaning to fit their own corrupt belief system, or by greatly reducing its impact upon the masses:
"Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."
Mark 7:13, KJV
These things apply not only to the Roman Catholic Church, but to any church, organization or self-styled prophet who feels that they have a newer revelation, or a better way to understand the Word of God. This idea can also be extended to include some of these more modern interpretations of the Bible. Personally, I find some of them highly suspect as in some places, words or entire verses are omitted, meanings are changed, and in my view, the spiritual impact of what the author originally intended has been minimized. The Basic Truths of the Bible have been established for literally thousands of years. There is no need to add to them or to reinterpret them, or to try to say them a better way. They have remained unchanged since the day they were given. As we are told in the Scriptures, God's promises and the Truth of His Word are immutable. They are firmly established and unchangeable, just as God is Himself:
"For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
Malachi 3:6, KJV
"LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven."
Psalms 119:89, KJV
"I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name."
Psalms 138:2, KJV
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
Hebrews 13:8, KJV
Because of the Eternal Steadfastness of God's Word, we are assured of our hope for Eternal Salvation. The Apostle Paul clearly explained this in his Epistle to the Hebrews, where he discussed the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Eternal High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, and the Firstfruits of the Resurrection of the dead:
"Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;"
Hebrews 6:17-19, KJV
In conclusion, I believe that our main challenge today as Christians is to take the firmly established Word of God, and to apply it in our daily lives. To assist us in our understanding of His Word, the Lord has seen fit to provide His children with a unique tool called the Holy Spirit. Rather than trust in some cold rigid worldly religious structure which has buried the Truth under piles of theological rubble, or in some Bible huckster who is only interested in making a profit from the gullible masses, or in some self-proclaimed prophet who claims to possess a new insight into the Scriptures, all we really need is the in-dwelling of God's Holy Spirit to open our spiritual eyes and understanding. This is precisely what Jesus told His first Apostles in the following verses:
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."
Matthew 7:7-8, KJV
"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
Luke 11:13, KJV
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John 14:26, KJV
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."
John 16:13, KJV
Our God is indeed a Living God, and when He speaks to you by His Holy Spirit, it will be through His proven Word, and not through the questionable doctrines and teachings of men. Why take these other dangerous routes when you can personally go straight to the source? The Wisdom of God's Spirit is not restricted to the Roman Catholic clergy, or to any other religious body on this Earth as some people have been led to believe. I discuss this topic more fully in such articles as "The Only Credentials You Need!" and "The Wisdom Of God Versus The Philosophy Of Men". The Apostle James tells us quite plainly that the Wisdom of God's Spirit is for anyone who will ask for it; it is for all men, including you:
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
James 1:5, KJV
So again we see that it is just a matter of asking for it. God will liberally, or freely, give you of His Spirit if you sincerely ask it of Him. He wants you to understand His Word and His will for your life. If you are spiritually hungry for the Truth of God's Word, Jesus promised that you would be filled. All you have to do, as the Apostle Peter wrote, is to sincerely desire the spiritual milk of God's Word:
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."
Matthew 5:6, KJV
"Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh."
Luke 6:21, KJV
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"
1 Peter 2:2, KJV
"Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food."
Job 23:12, KJV
On the other hand, those who erroneously believe that they already know it all, those who are satisfied with their lives of false religiosity and physical comfort like the spiritually-dead church of Laodicea, Mary tells us that He has sent empty away:
"He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away."
Luke 1:53, KJV
There is nothing like the pure unadulterated Word of God. I truly hope that you will take the time to read it for yourself today! It will fill your soul, inspire your heart, and give you peace of mind.
With these thoughts I will bring this article to a close. I trust that you have enjoyed it, learned something from it, and I pray that it has been a blessing in your life. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc, I would really appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thank you so very much! May God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this article, or which contain topics which are related to this article. All of these articles are likewise located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:
A Biblical Cafeteria, or the Whole Course?
Are We Once Saved, Always Saved?
Elijah: Where Are the True Prophets of God?
Noah's Flood: The Urantia Book Exposed Again!
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
The Kings of the North and the South
The Manipulation of Time and Space
The Only Credentials You Need!
The Urantia Book: A Dangerous New Age Doctrine
The Urantia Book: Attack on the Blood Atonement
The Wisdom of God Versus the Philosophy of Men