In The Beginning It Was Not So, Part 2 – 1974, May

1974-05-In-The-Beginning-It-Was-not-So-Part-2

Last month, we concluded Part 1 of IN THE BEGINNING IT WAS NOT SO with the teachings of Christ being presented unto Israel a nation of believers subject to the law and discovered no new teaching or revelation on the subject had been given, instead Christ simply verified the teaching of Moses in Deut. 24:1-4 which Israel had drifted far from. We must realize all Christ’s remarks found in Matt. 5:27-32 as well as Matt. 19:1-9 applies strictly to people who are in a covenant revelation with God and never to wicked, adulterous sinners such as are the gentiles before they enter into a grace covenant with God. HOW POLYGAMY VANISHED Today’s lesson applies strictly to those unbelieving lost heathen gentiles whose moral life had sunk far below the standards given in the holy law of God which Israel observed. The gentiles had no covenant agreement of any description with God until grace came. Israel, being a covenant people, was considered believers having observed God’s law since birth, thus being in the light of the law covenant whereas gentiles were not. Before examining these lost unconverted gentiles to see how one they entered into the family of God under grace, and also observe a law which is called the law of Christ, let us complete a topic we began last month though unable to complete, called POLYGAMY. Recall, God did not institute polygamy (husband and several wives). No, God instituted marriage consisting of one man and one woman only. However, out of the lineage of Cain, Gen. 4, polygamy was introduced and transferred in Gen. 6 unto the sons of God, which resulted in a flood. Generations later we saw not only the heathen gentiles but the true seed of God, Israel, now all embracing polygamy. Abraham, Jacob and many of the children of Israel lived in polygamy as did the heathen gentile and to our amazement last issue we discovered when God instituted a law to Israel, it did in no way undo polygamy. As a matter of fact, there was even a provision made in the law to show a husband what to do concerning polygamy wives. Again I state, we’re not endorsing polygamy. We care little what the religious world thinks of it. Our only desire is to see polygamy through the eyes of God once it was here. No, God didn’t ordain it. Once it was here and began to appear in the lives of his people, I don’t find anywhere in the law he ever broke up a polygamy home. Having not lived around a society of polygamy, it’s difficult for us to see how God put up with it and eventually wherever the gospel of Christ went, in gentile territory, it found it’s own route of vanishing. Recall David, Solomon, Abraham, were all polygamists.

JACOB’S POLYGAMY WIVES

Bro. Branham, prophet messenger to the age, a number of years ago made certain references to this very fact which undoubtedly was misunderstood by some who thought he was endorsing polygamy. However, he was merely trying to show how that through the loins of men who were polygamists came God’s divine will and purpose. Jacob, you recall, with four wives through polygamy fathers the twelve patriarchs, later to be known as the twelve tribes of Israel. We’re not trying to return you to polygamy. That’s not the point. If you think that, you have miserably missed the point. Yet, I repeat nowhere was God ever seen breaking up a polygamy home. Although he seriously chastened acts of adultery. I’ve said all of this to complete our line of thought concerning polygamy as it was among the gentiles when the gospel of Christ came unto them and it began to affect their lives. Yes, our life is not affected by it, thanks to the exampleship of the true revelated Christian church or (bride of Christ) throughout the first generation, as the gospel found itself deep in gentile territory, nevertheless polygamy was a definite way of life practiced 1900 years ago among the realm of gentiles before the christian period of grace came.

POLYGAMY CONFRONT MISSIONARIES

Even missionaries today who are sent from various protestant denominations into Africa and other countries which are still influenced by the Moslem religion find the society of polygamy among natives is still present. Because these denominational missionaries have gone there presenting their own church doctrine, we will say, suppose a Moslem man with several of his wives wanted to be coveted to Christianity. Right there, because of the missionaries church teaching, it seems to draw a line on the poor Moslem man in his situation. He, having 2 two or three wives (living in polygamy) the befuddled missionary refuses to accept him or his family into the christian faith. Now, beloved may I ask you if God in the Old Testament would never break up a polygamy home under the law, why then would any one desire to do so under the grace age? Why do modern day missionaries fail to recognize in the plan of God there is a place for this poor man and his family within the grace age?

EXAMPLESHIP DISCOURAGES POLYGAMY

Even though it is not written in New Testament scriptures, I am nevertheless convinced that wherever the Apostle Paul journeyed and gentile heathens were converted to Christ, Paul never broke up a polygamy home. No, don’t misunderstand me. Paul didn’t teach that there should be polygamy homes, yet neither did he go around breaking them up. No, that way of life found it’s own method of fading out of the christian era through the following generations. Because watch, when Paul presented those requirements and qualifications for church leaders (I Tim. 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9) that is bishops who were overseers of the local congregation of elders holding positions in the five fold ministry, deacons, etc. each office had to be filled by a gentile man who would lead the gentile church; men if you please, who exemplified through that of a moral character the correct christian way of life before they could ever be placed in any position of the gentile ministry of that New Testament church. Therefore, wherever that New Testament ministry traveled into that gentile territory preaching the gospel of Christ, those men chosen to uphold positions in church offices to lead the New Testament church could (1) not be a man who was a polygamist, nor (2) could he be a man who had been divorced and remarried, seeing the main qualification for each was that they should be the husband of one wife (a qualification most difficult for a woman to fulfill would you not agree?). You see beloved, it was through this exampleship of such a ministry that polygamy in the christian circle of the gentile church merely faded out of the picture. However, very likely seated in those gentile church congregations there could easily have been a few men here and there who were polygamists, but believe me, if the law didn’t break up a polygamy home, the neither did the gospel of Christ ever break up a polygamy home either. That way of life was corrected by the perfect pattern of exampleship set forth by that of the early gentile ministry as they lived and preached the gospel. Their exampleship was so much different than the exampleship of the present Babylonian church world, seeing the worldly people of this day have far more weight on the church in life, dress, etc. than the church does on the world seeing the church today follows the world in its dress, habits, customs, etc. but not so in that early church. That early church ministry exemplified such a way of life first through their own qualifications into the ministry that was so weighty upon those young gentile believers that it caused the following generation of gentile Christians who had been influenced through this polygamy way of life to simply follow, not after that route of polygamy in establishing their own homes, but instead to follow the ministry’s exampleship of the early church who, first of all, couldn’t even be in the ministry unless he was the husband of only one wife. Such an influence of exampleship set forth by the gentile New Testament church and its ministry in that way of character and life in living the gospel and high christian standard which they upheld did the job while leading the church on into higher heights and deeper depths of grace. The gentile world, wherever the gospel of Christ was preached, simply became more and more affected as time went on by the life of the church and its ministry (which had only one wife) causing polygamy among so many gentiles to simply be swallowed up. The new oncoming generation would rather follow the life of the christian church as it was truly God’s own way through the character of his church to exemplify before the gentile people God’s perfect moral relationship in marriage between that of one man and one woman (his wife).

POLYGAMY FADED

No, God did not have to insert a written law saying you polygamists break up your homes. That simply wasn’t his way. That’s why you won’t find it written. Nevertheless, I’m convinced that the polygamy way of life was simply dissolved, vanished, or swallowed up through that route of the christian life. The exampleship set forth by the christian ministry was simply so great as the minister upheld his own qualifications of one wife, the little christian gentile polygamy homes were never broken up. However, the oncoming generation born from polygamy christian parents, as they came on the scene immediately followed the image and exampleship set 3 forth in the New Testament ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. By the time you leave the first century coming over into the second, you have a new generation of gentile people whose lives and homes have been affected enough by the christian life in the early church that it has affected lives of gentile law makers and politicians in this respect that the gentile world affected by Christianity made laws in the courts of the land that affected such future actions of polygamy homes.

SINS GENTILES GUILTY OF CHURCH IDEAS

Down through the centuries practically every church system has carried their own idea as to who could or could not be saved when it comes to dealing with this subject referred to as marriage and divorce. They have taught there wasn’t anything a man could do but what the grace of God was not more than willing to forgive. They even declare you could have been a murderer and regardless to how many people you had killed, God would forgive such an act. You could even be a total drunkard and find forgiveness. Yes, according to their teachings you could do anything and be forgiven; however, for some reason or other, that never seemed to apply to anyone’s life who had been fouled up in a double marriage. For some reason that always appears to fall under an entirely different category, because beginning with such cases here is where church creeds take over dictating what one must do or not do in order to be saved from sin. In other words, for this particular situation of remarriages, it appears that it is no longer merely going to require repentance as it would in all of the other cases. Certain other requirements now begin to enter into the picture. Usually, in order for one to be saved whose life has been involved in a double marriage, before the salvation door can be opened and Christ allowed in, that poor lost soul, according to certain church creeds, must first divorce their present mate and return to their first spouse. But recall, to this unscriptural advice we have already seen God’s answer in Deut. 24:1-4. God says positively, I forbid such a thing to be done. Because divorce on the one scriptural grounds forever separates anyone from rejoining their previous mate. Nevertheless, in the minds of certain religious people something other than repentance is required before that poor lost, entangled soul caught up in the web of divorce and double marriage can ever be brought to repentance.

GENTILES SINS INCLUDED ADULTERY

And it is because of this very attitude which has ruled certain church feelings that something other than mere repentance must be done in order for Gentiles to be saved, let us carefully examine the lives of many of the gentiles who were saved and who made up the Corinthian church before the grace of God knocked on their heart’s door offering them salvation. Turn to I Cor. 6:9-12 where we shall discover a picture of life in the raw among gentiles before grace visited them. Gentiles, you recall, lived so extremely far below the law that nothing other than the grace of God could possibly help them.

LIFE IN THE RAW

I Cor. 6:9-11 shows a list of horrible sins (including sexual sins) which the gentile people were definitely guilty of at one time according to Paul. According to Paul, these sins committed by the gentiles labeled the gentiles as unrighteous and unfit for the kingdom of God. Verse 9 declared the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. However, the key to this lies in verse 11 where Paul declared unto the Corinthian church and such were some of you, but you are not any longer because now you are washed, sanctified and justified. And not a one of the many gentiles guilty of adultery had to return to their first mate in order to be saved. Those horrible sins mentioned by Paul filling the gentile world before grace came rescuing some included fornicators (gentiles actually living in sexual immorality), idolaters (worshiper of idols), adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind (homosexual perversion), thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers (slanderers), extortioner, none of these Paul declared shall have any share in the kingdom of God. Be not deceived (or stop being misled) declares Paul, people who commit such horrible acts shall not have any share in the kingdom of God.

JUSTIFICATION – WHAT IS IT?

Paul didn’t stop there but continued on to say, and such were some of you. Before conversion you were just that kind of character; however, now you are washed, sanctified and justified and brought into a right relationship with God. And I remind you, those who were guilty of adultery and fornication, etc., did nothing 4 more than repent and believe the true gospel as did the rest of the sinners. You are washed, sanctified and justified. How? Through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God. Those dirty, sinful, unclean dogs as they were referred to by the Jews were gentile people participating in such wickedness, both men and women, before grace knocked on their heart’s door. Paul said, you are justified. And for someone to be justified means now since they are saved from sin, God looks upon that person who had committed such sins while sinners as though they had never committed any of those sins mentioned in verse 9:10. Remember Paul declared such were some of you, some of you were adulterers, fornicators and involved in other such sexual sins, but you are not that anymore because God forgave you and cleaned up your lives from these horrible sins and now looks upon each repentant sinner as though they had never committed such deeds. That beloved is what justification is all about.

EXAMINING GENTILES THROUGH LAW

Concerning gentiles (saints) always remember this, before they were introduced to grace and discovered that Christ was God in the flesh, these sinners (people of the nations) had always been examined or looked upon through the eyes of the law that none of them were worthy of eternal life. This is correct! Through the eyes of the law all gentile sinners were hopelessly condemned and found unworthy of life. Because beloved, as God looked down through the law upon the poor sinning gentile, stooped in the depth of idolatry and every kind of perverted sexual sin imaginable, those poor gentile sinners had continually trampled or broken God’s law and thus stood condemned. Recall if anyone had broken or offended the law in any one point, as far as God was concerned he or she stood guilty for the entire thing. James 2:10. And without an animal sacrifice to offer, the poor gentile unlike the Jew had nothing by which to reestablish himself in fellowship and grace with the law once he had broken it, therefore his sins continued to heap up upon him.

LAW BROUGHT NO RIGHTEOUSNESS

For that reason God declared in Romans 3:19-28 when grace did come that even the Jew who had done everything in his ability to obey the law, actually none of the time had there ever literally been any righteousness or virtue within the law itself, because the scripture declares that grace and truth came not by the law but by the Lord Jesus Christ. The law could only show man where sin lay and that man himself possessed an inherited evil nature which was responsible for his living in the wicked manner he did. Rom. 7:7-14. Therefore, in order to keep this inherited evil nature somewhat in check, at Sinai God added to Israel (his people) the law. Through that law man learned where sin lay. Through the knowledge of the law and its penalties, the Jew’s heart or shall we say his old nature, fearful of judgment as a penalty, was kept somewhat under control or from getting out of hand, whereas in the case of the wicked gentile who had no law covenant with God to control his evil nature until grace and truth could come to him through the teaching of Jesus Christ, had absolutely nothing whatsoever to curb or help control his old evil inherited nature. Hence it tended merely to run wild as shown in I Cor. 6:9-11.

COVENANT MADE ISRAEL – BELIEVER

An interesting note concerning the law among the Jewish people was that both man and woman through their physical birth had automatically been placed under the law, its requirements and penalties as well, thus causing the Jew to automatically become a believer under that dispensation of law. In order to be under this covenant with God, God instructed Abraham that all male children were to be circumcises eight days after birth, Gen. 17:9-14. Therefore, being a male Israelite seed he grew into manhood a believer from his physical birth. Jewish man by birth was born into the covenant, thus his natural Jewish birth made him a believer. Therefore, when Christ addressed Israel in Matt. 5 and Matt. 19 on marriage and divorce, reemphasizing Moses’ teaching in the law (Deut. 24:1-4) Christ was addressing believers. The only way of ever getting out from under that commitment of this covenant would be deny that law, deny Jehovah as the only true God.

NO COVENANT FOR GENTILES

Israel, although many wicked and sinful people made up the nation, was never regarded as strictly unbelievers seeing they did worship the One true God and observed his law, etc., whereas the gentiles had nothing whatsoever to do with the law of God in Old Testament times. That lost gentile had nothing; he had no law 5 which said “Thou Shalt Not”. He was totally ignorant of the law and was nothing more than a cold, hard, calloused sinner and because of his ignorance to the law in that period God could in no way merit his salvation to ward the gentiles on any basis of the law. Nevertheless, the scripture reveals God had not forever forsaken the gentiles. No, he had only held them in reserve for centuries waiting for the hour when a perfect sinless one would come who could do something, not only for the poor unbelieving heathen who was alienated from the grace of God, Eph. 2:11-13, but for the Jew as well as who had observed this law age or who had been a believer embracing the law covenant. (Rom. 11:1-25) I repeat, concerning the immorality of the hard, cold gentile heathen sinner before grace touched their lives through this grace dispensation, we are clearly shown a list of sins recorded in I Cor. 6:9-11 for which the gentile was well known. Paul declared, such were some of you but thank God because grace came you are no longer that anymore seeing he has justified you. God doesn’t even look upon you as having ever committed any of these sins.

NOTHING TO SUPPRESS EVIL NATURE

Paul did not capitalize upon merely a few of the sins revealing the horrible condition gentiles were in before the word of God was offered unto them. Paul hit the entire catalogue of sins of which gentiles were guilty, revealing what a horrible corrupt condition this gentile world had sunk into where no law of God was present to help curb or control that evil nature of lust and sin. The gentile’s life, before Christ came offering his salvation, would fit somewhere in that category of sins shown in I Cor. 6:9-10. Therefore, if this was a general picture of the gentiles and if those who commit such unrighteous deeds according to Paul cannot inherit the kingdom of God, then what hope did the poor gentile have? Watch. Paul did not end the picture of gentile depravity here, leaving them helpless. No, he doesn’t finish the picture until he gives the remedy for all that evil, sinful gentile nature acting the way it did. Aren’t you glad Paul did not specialize or capitalize on just a few special cases here? Instead he declares, and such were some of you (who now make up the Corinthian church), although you are not that any longer. Verse 11 declares, you have been washed.

BLOOD WASHED

How were these gentiles washed? Through none other than the precious sinless blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Lamb. But you are sanctified. See, not only washed by the blood of the Lamb, these gentiles had been set apart for service into the grace of God and justified. Oh, I love that because it shows regardless to how sinful you may have been, once you turn away from sin and come to Christ, no matter how much adultery you may have committed, no matter how many times as a sinner you had married, God looks upon that gentile who turned to Christ as having been washed, sanctified and now justified or looked upon through the eyes of God as having never committed any of that category of terrible sins of which they had been guilty. Therefore, the gentile sinner coming to Christ is totally free from his past sinful life regardless to whatever he has done.

DOUBLE MARRIAGES IN SIN

Someone will say, Oh, Brother Jackson, that no doubt is true in certain cases. God does look upon certain people’s sins (provided they are justified) as though it never happened but you see according to the way I believe it and the way I have been taught, someone who has been out in the world and lives so immoral, double married, etc., not that is a different story. God doesn’t see those adulterers, etc. in the matter as he does others. Someone please read me chapter and verse where God sees it any different. I repeat, do you now see where those church creeds enter into the picture and begin dictating or start talking to people? You have heard it said, it doesn’t matter how many banks you have robbed, God’s grace can forgive a robber. However, suppose someone said to the poor repenting robber, before you can be saved you will have to pay back every cent you ever stole. That beloved would be placing a condition on salvation, would it not? Suppose someone said to the poor drunk who had drank a barrel of whiskey in his life time, sure God can forgive you but before he does you will have to vomit up all that whiskey. True, where restitution can be made in a material way it should be done. It would help clear the conscious on the part of the individual. Yet beloved, where it is impossible to make any sort of restitution then may I say when a repenting person, regardless to what he has done, has truly repented before God and is willing to take God at his word, God is ready to take that person unto himself and clean him up. You hear testimonies of people traveling across the country who have been delivered from gangsterism, 6 drugs, alcoholism and even a life of prostitution. As far as the penalty for what they committed is concerned, not one of them had to go back and undo all those dirty wicked things which the grace of God had undone for them. But oh, when it comes to that part where some poor soul has been involved in double marriages. Watch out! Everything is now thrown in reverse. The things that church theology has produced on this one subject, the precious souls desiring to find Christ who have been injured or destroyed because of unscriptural teachings is pathetic. Perhaps you better reread that terrible list of immoral sins in which the church at Corinth had once been guilty of but was now converted from. Paul said there were believers in this church who at one time were fornicators, that is married and single people who had once lived sexually immoral. There were idolaters, adulterers, effeminate. Yes and even there were people who had also been guilty of living with their own sex. What a class to make up a church. There were also extortioners, thieves, drunkards, etc., None of these as sinners could ever inherit the kingdom of God. Nevertheless, Paul said some of these evils were found in you or to make it still plainer, these were just the kind of characters you people in the Corinthian church use to be. However, because of what the grace of God has accomplished in your life in washing, sanctifying and justifying you, you are no longer that, furthermore God doesn’t any more look upon you as ever having committed any of those terrible sins. And I remind you, fornicators and adulterers were in the group, but God doesn’t look upon you as that kind of people anymore. Living in sin and unbelief is where many married people’s lives (especially) have been trapped, tormented, wrecked and ruined by Satan while out there in the world of unbelief. Somewhere in unbelief they simply failed to reach a place of actually accepting Christ and becoming born again thus allowing the grace of God to lead that life (whether married or single). Out there in a world of sin and unbelief to often married couples become victims of divorces and double marriages then once they desire to leave that life of sin and be born again to serve Christ, they will always run into someone telling them in order to be saved they must do certain things which boils down to this. Leave your present companion and return to the first companion, which God’s word in Deut. 24:1-4 explicitly forbids for a believer much less a sinner.

GRACE FORGAVE ALL SIN

As an illustration, say a young man marries and he and his spouse, both unsaved, live together for a few years. Somewhere Satan entered that marriage and planted something detrimental which later resulted in divorce with both going their separate ways. Later in life still as sinners living in darkness they remarry and after they are well adjusted in their new marriages the day comes when one of those who was divorced (or maybe both) hear the gospel preached. The Holy Spirit convicted them of sin, and for the first time in their life they feel the real need of Jesus Christ. However, once it is discovered that one or both of these repenting sinners have previously been married, immediately they fall under the eyes of the critic. A drunkard could stagger down the aisle for salvation and wouldn’t receive half the criticism this particular case will receive. Finally, being prayed for it is evident they have taken God at his word that he has done something for their hearts. They are sure their past sins are forgiven. However, it won’t be long until the religious critics have formed a council and without any true knowledge of the word of God dealing with this subject for lost sinners on marriage and divorce, and furthermore being totally ignorant of God’s true feelings as he expressed what he did in Deut. 24:1-4 affecting that believing Israelite and not a gentile sinner, critics will begin to say now the way I see it, in order for John and Mary’s salvation to be workable and in order not to be living in adultery they will have to separate and Mary or John (whichever the case may be) will have to go back and pick up their first companion from whom they are divorced, because to these religious critics Mary and John are strictly living in adultery. Beloved, had Mary and John been true believers when their separation occurred and their divorce had been based on something other than fornication as the law of Moses prescribed to a believer and as Jesus verified in Matt. 5:27-32, 19:9 and as Paul taught the gentile believers church in I Cor. 7:10-11, they truly would be living in adultery. Nevertheless, I hope you realize that Mary and John were sinners (not true believers) when this happened. Their’s was a life of spiritual darkness and ignorance, having never experienced the grace of God, they being dead in trespasses and sins were not only guilty of committing adultery, but having offended the law in this one point as James indicated they like all sinners and law breakers were also guilty of breaking the entire 7 law, making them guilty of every commandment. (James 2:10). Having naturally broken the whole law, John and Mary stand guilty of the penalty of the law which is death and judgment. However, don’t forget Christ died to pay in full the penalty (of adultery) of the law and all past sins in behalf of John and Mary and even while in sin they did remarry, that is not anymore charged against them seeing they came as repenting sinners to Christ who died to pay the penalty for all their sins and who promised to save, sanctify and justify the two whereby he will no longer look upon Mary and John as adulterous sinners who had committed adultery anymore than he would still look upon a believer in the gentile church at Corinth as an adulterer or fornicator, etc. For recall, Paul declared unto the Corinthian church, and such were some of you but you are not that anymore. Now that you have come to Christ and been born again, you are not even looked upon as ever having committed such a terrible act. In God you now have a new life before you, your slate is wiped clean. No sin, no mark of adultery is against your new life in Christ. In Christ you have a fresh beginning. Why? Because you have been justified by the grace of God and it would be wisdom on the part of the critics not to overlook this most important fact.

GRACE COULD FORGIVE

Are you still listening? Keep in mind beloved that grace had to do something for that gentile believer which the law that ruled over the life of Jewish men and women from their natural birth could not do. What could grace offer that the law could not? The law could only condemn the Israelite who sinned. When a Jew became guilty of breaking the law, he could find no salvation, or help and no forgiveness through the law itself. Oh no, the atonement for law breaking could only come about through animal sacrifices offered yearly on the day of atonement for all the Jewish believers. Only one man, and that one man was Israel’s high priest who went into the Holy of Holies with an offering of blood unto Jehovah, Heb. 9:7. After this sin offering the guilty sinning believing Israelite could now once again for another period of time be restored back into a proper relationship with the law. However, remember also those animal sacrifices could not in themselves take away or do away with sin, instead it only served to push ahead Israel’s sins for still another year (and year after year) until Christ the Messiah would finally come and pay in full the sin debt. The yearly animal sacrifice only served, shall we say, to pay the interest on the huge note or sin debt until Christ could come and pay the debt, marking it paid in full.

TOTALLY FORGIVEN – PAID IN FULL

Since the poor sinning gentile was totally ignorant of the law, but nonetheless stood guilty of committing every sin in the book, they were hopelessly guilty (in debt) with nothing to offer in payment for their wrongdoing. Therefore, the only thing God could ever do in order to start these sinful gentiles out in a way as a true believer wherein their past sins would not be held against them was to simply forgive them. In other words, mark their slate paid in full and justify them seeing their sinful lives were so dreadfully far below the moral standard of the law that everyone stood unmercifully condemned. Therefore, there was nothing that could be done but through grace offer them a free pardon and simply declare, I forgave them and saved them from adultery as well as all those other immoral sins mentioned in I Cor. 6:9-10. Seeing the gentile’s huge debt was simply too staggering to pay and with nothing to offer, there was nothing to do with these poor gentile people but simply forgive them. Therefore, through grace God freely cancelled out their high sin debt. God’s grace, through the blood of Jesus Christ paid for that sin of every man and woman born into the family of God regardless to which of the horrible sins they had been guilty of in the list of I Cor. 6:9-10. As far as salvation was concerned God forgave them and looked upon every repenting gentile sinner who was willing to walk in his word and revelation of truth as though he had never sinned, as though they had never been guilty of doing any of those sins whatsoever.

CHRISTIAN AND LAW OF CHRIST

Remember, I said as far as salvation was concerned because when it comes to holding some office within the fivefold ministry or becoming a deacon, that is different. The man is to have had only one wife. (I Tim. 3:2-12, also Titus 1:5-6). Now that these gentiles have come to Christ for salvation, the one who died and paid for the penalty of their sins in order they might be free as gentile believers they also have become subject unto a law, even as the Jewish believer was subject to his law. The believer (both Jew and gentile) under the grace age 8 becomes subject to the law of Christ. These are not merely free from part of their past sins. No, they are now free from all their past sins. Their slate which was stained with wicked sinfulness is now clean before God. God simply forgave them of every past sin of that old life and made new creatures out of them and placed each one on the status of a righteous man or woman subject to a law also. No, the true Christian believer’s law under grace is not the Levitical covenant law of commandments given to Moses at Mt. Sinai on tables of stone (Heb. 10:16-18) but is the law of Christ written on the tables of their heart. Therefore, they who once had no law to help curb their appetite to sin openly, now has one in which they also must become subject unto.

CONTINUE IN PRESENT MARRIAGE STATUS

Bearing in mind the terrible background of the gentiles when grace came to them will better help us to grasp more clearly the fuller meaning of Paul’s statement in I Cor. 7:18-27 where he declared unto them, whatsoever status (marriage wise, etc.) you were living in when grace came unto you, abide or remain therein. In other words Paul said, were you loosed from a wife when you were saved then seek not a wife. Notice, Paul never once told any gentile converts to leave their present mate and return to their first one, as a matter of fact he told the believing Christians not to leave their mates as we shall later study. No. Were you bound to a wife when you were born again, then seek not therefore to be loosed. And never forget, with such a sinful background as these gentiles came from there is no telling how many women these heathen gentiles had lived with in their lifetime. But if you had one when saved, stay with her was Paul’s instructions. I repeat, many of these gentiles have even been living in polygamy or had in their sinful lives lived with several women as wives, however Paul says seek not to be loosed. Later we shall examine why some perhaps thought since coming into Christ they should now perhaps be loosed, especially if their companion happened to now be an unbeliever. Allow me to give you another quick example to show how contrary certain people’s thinking is toward the marvelous grace of God in this matter dealing with sinners, I was asked a question while in Africa in 1973 involving a poor sinner African girl whose life had become involved with a man and the result was an illegitimate child had been born. The man had promised to marry the girl but left her to the mercy of the world, unmarried and with an illegitimate child on the way. Nevertheless, the day came this broken hearted girl, still unmarried but scarred by the stains of sin, reached the point in her life she desired to be saved and live for Christ. The answer certain church people gave her was enough to make you sick. Their answer was totally unscriptural and pathetic, to say the least. Desiring salvation, she spoke to certain preachers or some “suppose to be Christians” telling her desire to be a Christian, the advice she received was this: she could become a christian, but she would never be able to marry. I would like for someone to read me the scripture that such a ridiculous statement of ignorance could be based upon. That poor sinner, gentile African girl was not a harlot, she had been deceived into what she did thinking as she gave herself to this man she was actually giving herself to her future husband. But the point is, he didn’t marry her, he refused.

HARLOT WIFE

If we were to place the case of this girl in the Old Testament let’s see if this poor young girl had done so badly as a sinner that someone could tell her, yes you may be saved, but you can never get married. I call your attention to Hosea and Gomar which we have previously studied. In the book of Hosea, you recall Hosea was a godly prophet and hat the Lord instructed him to do. Go choose a wife of whoredom and marry her. No, this terrible harlot woman was in no class with the young African girl who had been deceived into her act of sin. The woman Hosea was to marry was of a terrible character. Nevertheless, did you know God saw something honest even in that harlot woman which in the end would truly turn alright or stand. For that reason God permitted such a marriage between Hosea and Gomar to prevail in order to show forth a shadow of his personal relationship to that of his own national wife, Israel, who was nothing herself but a harlot. Beloved, if God will permit his prophet to do this and even use such an event as a type, who then is the man, whether he be a doctor of divinity or what, has the right to tell a young girl in Africa who has merely been deceived and trapped by that smooth talking devil, she could come to Christ but would have to live the rest of her life unmarried. Why it is a natural human instinct for that young girl to desire to have companionship and rightly so. Remember this, whatever the devil ha done to that young girl will never change her desire to have a companion even though she 9 gives her life to the Lord Jesus Christ. Though it is not written, should such a person of like circumstances who has given their life to the Lord, seeing now they are subject to the law of Christ they had better find themselves a Christian companion for the devil would enjoy nothing better than wrecking that life all over again once it had a clean slate with Christ. We bring out such incidents to show only that many people without scriptural permission (no doubt well meaning) are guilty of placing certain unscriptural requirements upon people who are involved in such problems once they turn Christ, especially those who had their marital life fouled up while in the world of sin and unbelief. If the poor soul is a drunkard, they don’t care. If he is a bank robber, they don’t care. Nothing is ever said about paying back one penny. Oh sure, God can forgive all of that they say, but let it be a poor woman or man who comes to Christ with marital problems and certain people have to start making an issue out of that. What a terrible thing to tell people who have been divorced and reestablished homes in other marriages. Perhaps children have now been born to this second marriage and then for someone to say you can not accept Jesus Christ unless you leave that man or woman (whichever the case may be) and return to your first companion from whom you are divorced and who, no doubt, has remarried and established a family also, for someone to say this, is ridiculous.

CHILDREN AFFECTED BY DIVORCE

If you break up that home what will you do with all those children? There are already enough children in this world who don’t have the slightest idea who mother and daddy are. Statistics released recently showed in 1972 alone over 800,000 couples in America were divorced, whereas in 1973 and estimated 913,000 ended indeed in divorce, a figure which doubled from nine years ago. Think of the countless children roaming the streets today who are products of a broken, divided home, having no idea where mother or daddy have gone. Studies who 60 percent of all children affected by divorce range between 13-18 years of age and have the dreaded feeling that their marriage will also fail as did their parents.

PROOF GENTILE SPIRIT RETURNING

Statistics showed 3 percent of these marriages between the ages of 50-55, accomplished by 1970 had been married as many as three times. No doubt about it, ours is a gentile world rapidly returning to the same old spirit of the age which ruled the world some 1900 years ago before Christ came to the gentiles. Should God permit time to continue another 15 years only the Lord knows the kind of morals that generation of young people would produce. It is nothing today to pick up a newspaper and read, as was reported by the Indiana University Residence Life Office that by 1971 as much as 75 percent of the 315 U.S. colleges already had some form of coeducational dormitories in operation which simply means college boys and girls moving in as roommates. It was further stated of the Harvard swimming pool that those who desire to wear bathing suits should swim during scheduled hours to avoid the nude coed swimmers. McCall Magazine recently published startling statistics showing 50 percent of American teenagers between 13-19 years of age are engaging in premarital sexual activity. The Sunday Oklahomian declared America is undergoing a sexual revolution. Four years ago, 2 out of 3 Americans polled on the subject felt premarital sex was wrong; however, a recent Gallup Poll revealed less than half now believe premarital sex is wrong. Church ministers, contrary to the scripture in Rom. 1:26-32 and I Cor. 6:9 which shows sins gentiles were guilty of before grace came, continues to endorse homosexuality. Two liberal religious magazines, Christian Century and Christian Ministry, dated Jan. 1972, both defended homosexuality saying it was not a sin. A poll taken by Texas Methodist on the subject of acceptability toward homosexual behavior, 60 percent of clergymen responded by saying that a practicing homosexual could also be a Christian at the same time. Does not these shocking statistics show loose flesh in the raw, exactly as flesh was in the raw among gentiles before the gospel f Christ came to them. Ours is a gentile world rapidly returning to that same kind of loose living spirit. It only goes to show beloved, the days among the gentiles are numbered and the Holy Spirit conviction is leaving the gentile. These same old evil lustful spirits which possessed the gentiles lives 1900 years ago are moving back in to occupy the place they previously occupied. While the Holy Spirit worked mightily among the gentiles there was even enough conviction in our high schools and colleges as well as our courts of the land to keep these loose, lustful spirits suppressed, even though occasionally they had been known to rear their ugly heads, only in that hour there was 10 still enough moral conviction even among the unsaved to forbid such activities to continue.

MARITAL PROBLEMS OF BELIEVERS UNDER GRACE DISCUSSED

Remember, Paul is addressing the Corinthian people and all the gentile churches as well who had once been guilty of those terrible sins, a number of which involved adultery and other perversions of sexual immorality. However, all of you who were once guilty of any such sins had been freely forgiven and therefore should remain marriage wise as you are.

SEXUAL PROBLEMS WITH BELIEVERS

In I Cor. 7 we shall see Paul begin to answer certain marital questions that have become a serious problem to these new believers especially in this 4 year old Corinthian church, marital problems they now face since coming into Christ and becoming subject to the new law; The law of Christ. What to do about unbelieving partners in marriage who simply refuse to be saved is one of the major problems. They simply don’t have the answer to cover such problems, therefore they are writing to Paul (their first pastor) asking him how they should handle certain situations. Although you will read statements in chapter 7 which at first glance might cause a person to believe Paul actually frowned upon married life; however, this is not true seeing in Heb. 13:4 he declared marriage to be honorable (or to be looked upon as honorable) and the bed undefiled but whoremongers and adulterers God would judge. No, had Paul simply been a man opposed to marriage placing far more virtue simply on virginity as some have taught saying Paul implied anyone who would marry in order to avoid fornication was strictly because of the weakness of their flesh, however, we shall show this was not what Paul taught and furthermore, whenever Paul does simply place higher emphasis upon virginity than he did marriage it was strictly for two reasons: (1) He, as well as the early church, felt time was very near the coming of Christ and (2) because of the present distress the church was entering into, Paul thought this good advice to pass on. These two factors must be kept in mind and not that Paul felt one who married was weak in the flesh throughout the remainder of the study whenever it seems Paul is implying that the unmarried (unattached) are better off than the married there in the church. Had Paul been a man who actually frowned on family life he could not have declared openly in Heb. 13:4 marriage was honorable and the bed undefiled, meaning the marriage bed unpolluted or is pure and sacred, free from stain, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge, meaning fornicators and adulterers or those who practice vice in adultery or shall we say those who sinned sexually, whether single or married, whether single or married, God will surely punish. If a man or woman continually lives in that realm of wicked immoral living as sinners, never seeking the face of God to be saved and cleansed in order that they might be justified then God will surely judge and punish that guilty sinner with hell fire and brimstone. Paul taught in I Cor. 6:9-11 fornicators, adulterers, etc. could not inherit the kingdom of God.

TOUCHING THE WOMAN

We now approach some marital problems confronting the church, problems involving both the unattached as well as the married. Paul’s answer stems from certain disturbing questions asked him as declared in verse 1 now concerning certain things you asked about, it is good for man not to (sexually) touch a woman. (1) This is more than a mere normal touch. The word touch implies that passionate touch which leads to relationship between two parties. (2) Often in the Hebrew text, touching is at times used to represent sexual union, Gen. 3:3, Prov. 6:29, Gen. 20:6-7. Why do you suppose Paul would declare such a statement seeing in Heb. 13:4 years later he declared marriage was an honorable thing and the marriage bed unstained. Remember, his remarks in I Cor. 7 stemmed from two things: first, his feeling concerning the nearness of the Lord’s coming and secondly the present distress into which they were entering. Paul simply did not think it wisdom to become involved in the material and financial responsibility which accompanied marriage in that hour. If a person could possibly avoid this step and remain unattached, Paul felt he was better off, many mental pressures would be avoided. Paul, therefore, declared it is good for a man not to (sexually) touch a woman. Surely all would agree there. All of Paul’s statements on this subject must be placed in order and proper alignment to see Paul was perfectly consistent in his belief pertaining to the subject. No, Paul cannot place spiritual value on one 11 thing there and reverse it over in Heb. 13:4. Remember, merely being single will never produce virtue, as a matter of fact, single persons, if not extremely careful, can become selfish and self-centered. One thing a home life consists of is having to give and take. In marriage your life becomes a part of others. Therefore, you share your life with others.

MARRIAGE PREVENTS FORNICATION

Remember, you don’t complete Paul’s line of thought by merely reading verse 1, his next four verses are included in that particular line of thought which paraphrased means. It is good for a man not to sexually touch a woman; nevertheless, to avoid that dreaded sin of fornication (which is the only grounds for divorce) Paul says let every person have their own (married) companion and render unto that companion what is sexually due then and defraud not yourself from this act only when it is agreeable and permissible with both of you to do so, in order that you may give yourself to prayer and fasting and then resume relations as before in order Satan won’t tempt you in your fleshly passions to sin (commit fornication) or tempt you through your lack of self control. Paul declares to the husband and wife to come together again that Satan tempt you not to sin (that is to commit fornication). That is paraphrasing the first five verses of I Cor. 7.

WHAT FORNICATION INVOLVES

The English word fornication is taken from the Greek word porneia where also we derive another English word, pornography (illicit pictures or writings). Two translations, 20th Century and Amplified, both use the word “impurity” instead of fornication. Scripturally the Greek word “porneia” means to prostitute one’s body to the lust of another or to give oneself to unlawful sexual intercourse. Fornication, as found in I Cor. 7:2, is a word which involves far more than merely sound advice to the unmarried because scripturally it means strictly immoral sexual relations, either with someone of the opposite sex other than one’s own mate or someone of the same sex, covering sexual sins and all kinds of gross immorality, whether natural or unnatural (perverted). Jude 1:7 declares God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them who had given themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh. The Greek word “porneia” also refers to all kinds of gross immorality or lewd conduct such as one might find in a house of prostitution. The Bible covers it all in the ten commandments by saying, thou shalt not commit adultery. What is adultery? It is simply the right act perverted. I Cor. 6:18 declares one who commits fornication sins against their own body. Flee fornication, the word cries out in I Cor. 6:18. The church which ruled through the dark ages referred to as Thyatira was instructed to repent of her spiritual fornication and because she would not repent of her fornication God declared he would cast her into a bed along with (all) them who had committed adultery with her into great tribulation, Rev. 2:20-22. Here again shows the interlocking affect of the word fornication with that of adultery. Seeing we are warned to flee fornication in I Cor. 6:18 where Paul actually began discussing fornication, Paul in chapter 7 tells us how and by the way, he is the only writer who actually tells us how to avoid this immoral act of fornication. Recall, in Israel it was the only grounds for legal divorce which also freed the guilty woman, permitting her to remarry and not be guilty of adultery herself. Here in I Cor. 7:2 Paul, answering their question, declares it is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid the sin of fornication or sexual immorality, let both the man and woman have their own mate. Remember, all the people, both Jew and gentile, coming into the Corinthian church now approximately 4½ years old were not all married. Since having entered the faith, from what Paul says, some believers were no having problems with their unbelieving companions. Some in the church were widows. Every question discussed by Paul in I Cor. 7 pertains to one of these three groups. Some were even searching for Christian companionship and Paul, knowing the many temptations Satan could throw at the young adult, resulted in him making his blunt statement recorded in verse 2. Nevertheless, Paul declares, to avoid fornication or to avoid those trials and may temptations of sexual immoralities which would surely confront those young people, especially approaching adulthood, the apostle says, to avoid that trap of fornication let every man have his own wife and let every woman have her own husband.

VENUS, GODDESS OF LOVE

What a great temptation this immoral living was in the days of old Corinth. I stood in the ruins of old Corinth 12 in 1968 where Paul had established and pastored for 1½ years this very church. High on a mountain peak above old Corinth, approximately five miles away on a rocky cliff, stands the remains of the walls of an ancient temple dating far back into the B.C. period. That magnificent religious temple was called the temple of Venus, the goddess of love. In the hour the Corinthian church was establishes, as many as 1,000 young maidens lived there who were called priestesses to Venus, the goddess of love. Corinth, a beehive of activity, was a seaport town, much like Los Angeles, Norfolk, Virginia or New York. The harbor was continually watched to know when ships would come into her port bringing merchandise from different nations. These priestesses knew Corinth would be full of young sailors. The method of maintaining the expense of upkeep of this great religious temple of Venus, along with the needs of these young priestesses (as many as 1,000) being supplied was, they would come down from the temple into the streets and approach these young men to make love or to worship the goddess, Venus. Naturally, this love making to Venus brought about a certain charge and the price paid was placed in the treasury to beautify, enlarge and the general upkeep. Corinth, in al probability was a city built most around such immorality, therefore you see why Paul would write to the church such a statement; nevertheless, to avoid fornication (this sexual immorality) this church no doubt was receiving many young people who sooner or later would definitely be brought in contact and tempted with this great evil. To prevent any temptation of this immoral act Paul suggested every man have his own wife and every woman have her own husband. For what purposes, as Paul declares, to avoid this temptation of fornication. No, it doesn’t change the thought of his subject. You can’t make one verse read, he is discussing washing clothes while in the next verse declare he is ironing them. The man was to have his own wife and the wife was to have her own husband, Paul said to avoid fornication. Bear this in mind, marriage prevents fornication.

COUPLE FACE EQUAL RESPONSIBILITY

Please observe from here on we shall be hearing some things uttered never before heard as Paul addresses the gentile church. Furthermore, Paul will be placing the man and woman both on the same equal grounds or basis concerning the matters he is ready to discuss. When Paul mentions one, he will also mention the other. Therefore, we must recognize the grace dispensation has certainly done something for mankind which the law could never do. With the ushering in of the grace age, certain shadows and types of the law dealing with the relationship between man and woman vanished. Verse 3, referring to those sexual duties each toward the other, Paul declares, let the husband in return render or shall we say give to the wife what is due her. Why should this be done? To avoid the affects of verse 2 or avoid the danger of immorality. Render unto each other what you should since there is so much immorality. And the wife too must do so for her husband. King James calls it rendering due benevolence. Note, in this manner of giving themselves in these sexual duties, one to the other, Paul has placed equal responsibility on both sexes, you will have to agree, in order to avoid fornication. Allow me to illustrate this way, Paul was making no difference between the two sexes as he openly discusses both their roles in the sex act. No, Paul is not saying in verse 3 the husband should wash the clothes and in turn the wife should fry the potatoes. I word it in this manner to keep your minds alert to that which Paul has begun to discuss in the first part of the chapter. He will continue discussing that one subject of how to avoid this loose living. This immorality, this fornication until he completely closes the 7th chapter.

VERSE 2 – KEY TO CHAPTER

Another reason I must keep this thought ever before you is because once we reach I Cor. 7:15 I don’t want anyone to become guilty of merely setting aside this one verse from the overall subject Paul has been discussing throughout the entire chapter. Beloved, the theme or thought of all these verses must be kept together and the key word must be kept as the foremost in mind. Paul is teaching, through marriage, how each of these various groups, single married and widows there in the church is to avoid fornication or sexual immorality. Therefore, as he addresses these groups separately in the church in I Cor. 7, the forefront thought, or key words whereupon all the rest of the chapter hinges is to avoid fornication. Whatever Paul says to any of these classifications of groups in this manner or taking a mate will be for the purpose to avoid fornication.

SEXUAL DUTIES AVOID IMMORALITY

As we continue in verse 4, bear in mind what it is we are trying to avoid through marriage, the effects of 13 fornication. Again I remind you, Paul has placed the woman as well as the man on the same equal footing when he declares the wife hath not power (or authority) of (over) her own body, but her husband. Likewise also, the husband hath not power (authority over) his own body but the wife. The Williams translation, which by no means changes the meaning says, the wife does not have the right to do as she pleases with her own body. The husband has his right to her. In the same way the husband does not have the right to do as he pleases with his body, the wife has her right to it. Why? To avoid this prevalent immorality. Verse 5, You husbands and wives must stop refusing (implied) each other what is due unless you agree to do so just for a while so as to have plenty of time for prayer and fasting and then to be together again so as to keep Satan from tempting you because of your lack of self control or as the Moffitt translation reads, less through your lack of self control Satan begin to tempt you to sin. Bear in mind Paul’s purpose for each group he addresses in having their own mate was to avoid fornication (verse 2).

MARITAL GUIDELINES

That marriage must not be a life of selfishness is easily analyzed from Paul ‘s statement in verse 5 when he declares to both sexes to defraud not the other in that of the marital sexual relationship. Don’t cheat yourself out of that role which keeps immorality away from the door of your marriage. No doubt because couples reach that point where there is no affectionate love in their relationship accounts for so much of the cheating on each other which leads to divorce. It is a marital guideline to avoid sexual immorality for saints only to keep them in the will of God and not become guilty by neither thought or deed of fornication, uncleanness or open prostitution, Matt. 5:27.

PROPER GIFT TO REFRAIN

Verse 7 already having stated what to do to avoid fornication because Paul is fully aware that all Christians within the body of Christ simply to not possess his (Paul’s) kind of gift to restrain in this manner as he (Paul) has graciously received from God we hear him say in verse 7, I would that all men were even as I myself. (But Paul was fully aware they were not) And because they were not was the reason he told them to get married. Still pertaining to that of the sexual realm Paul continues by saying, nevertheless every man hath his (own) proper or natural God given gift (in this manner) meaning God placed within man’s physical makeup at the beginning of creation this gift. Paul says every one has their normal proper gift, one after this manner and another after that. Therefore, we note in the discussion of verse 7 this desire is a proper, normal gift which relates to our discussion and that it was placed in the human physical makeup, nevertheless it must be closely guarded against until marriage. You see, it could lead to fornication.

ADVICE TO UNMARRIED & WIDOWS

In verse 8 we begin to witness Paul addressing the individual classification of believers within the gentile church facing this problem. First group to be addressed of the born again is the unmarried and widows within the family of God. To the unmarried and widows, Paul declares, it is good for them if they abide (unattached or unmarried), even as I but if they cannot contain (if they cannot practice self control, cannot restrain and control their passions themselves) if you can’t, then by all means get married. For it is better to marry than to burn (that is to be aflame or consumed with passion). Better still, the Phillips translation declares it is better for them (the unmarried and widows) to be married than to be tormented by unsatisfied desires. Weymouth translation, for marriage is better than the fever of passion. Every translation consulted appears to be using clearer words to that of the original Greek text than dos the 16th Century King James Version. The wording of the King James Version has led many people to believe Paul was actually saying it is better to marry than to burn in hell. This is not his meaning whatsoever. The word “burn” does no imply burn with literal hell fire, instead he discusses burning with an excitable passion which truly can be excited, be aflame and burn in lust which can lead to fornication in thought and deed. Therefore, we hear Paul’s instruction to his first group of believers, the unmarried and widows, to avoid fornication let each man have his own (lifetime) wife and let the wife have her own (lifetime) husband and let each render unto the other what is to them to avoid the effects of verse 2. You see, if they at times were overcome with burning passion or lust they might easily become guilty of fornication. Getting married was the route to avoid fornication and I repeat should be done if the individual personally felt 14 they should. Paul has not declared everyone would have to, because no doubt some would possess a God given gift or ability similar to Paul’s in this manner. However, Paul knew everyone did not possess this ability therefore to the unmarried and widows within the church who feel they cannot restrain has received Paul’s instructions to marry. Paul’s only concern in anyone remaining unattached (provided they could avoid the effects of verse 2) was simply to be free from all those extra added anxieties and worries such as grocery bills, doctor bills, bank notes, etc., which certainly accompanies marriage life. I repeat, remaining unattached was not the only way of life Paul was exhorting.

ADVICE TO THE MARRIED

Paul continues on to the next group, the married. Remember, he is sticking right to the point of the questions asked him and his purpose through marriage is to show each group how to avoid fornication or sinful immorality which was prevalent among the carefree gentiles of that day. Having spoken rather bluntly, Paul moves onto this next special case of believer, the married people. Well, what seems to be their problem? They had several.

(1) BELIEVER (HUSBAND & WIFE) NOT TO SEPARATE

Therefore, beginning in verse 10 we hear Paul giving scriptural instructions now unto the married groups is where both partners are believers. Please note, these instructions to the 2nd class is not Paul’s, it is the Lord giving the instructions, showing beloved, Paul never changed what Jesus had already stated to the believers there in Israel Matt. 5:32, 19:9 watch, Paul is about to address two married people, both believers in the church. The man is a christian and so is the woman but apparently for some reason are having marital problems and Paul says it is not I who is about to give you this advice. No sir, it is the Lord and the advice affects the two believing partners. A wife (who is a believer) Paul says, according to the Lord’s word is not to leave her believing husband. However, if she does leave her christian husband, she must remain single or better still be reconciled back to her husband. The Lord’s instructions to this believing husband is not to divorce his believing wife. How could he, seeing there is no legal grounds. I ask you, why should two believing revelated people, both in the same church or body of Christ not be able to prayerfully settle any of their differences? If both believing parties are willing to submit to Christ allowing him to be their first love in their life, there is simply no problem too great that Christ cannot work out, provided both believers have submitted to his will. But regardless whether you let Christ work out your difficulties or not, you are believers and therefore the Lord says no remarriage for you. Now note, Paul’s first advice given here is to the married husband and wife who both are believers, walking in the light of God’s word, therefore without the only ground to separate you stay together to avoid fornication. Matt. 5 & 19. It is very important you understand this special married case which Paul first addresses is not a case where an unbelieving mate is involved whatsoever, both are believers and therefore this is the word. If the wife does depart from her believing husband, she can never remarry, she must remain unattached for the rest of her life. Therefore, in order for her to avoid the effects of verse 2, she should be reconciled back to her husband. Who gave this order, the Lord. Paul next instructs the believing husband and husband don’t you divorce that wife. You are both suppose to be Christians and you certainly don’t have the grounds to do such a thing because how can fornication, the only grounds available for divorce, be involved in a true christian, Holy Ghost marriage? Recall, there has never been but one ground whereby a believing couple could possibly be divorced under the law. To simply not be able to get along is no grounds for divorce when two revelated, believing Christians are involved.

UNTO THE REST – VERSE 12

Note verse 12, but to the rest of the people (those who have not been addressed before, a different class). That advice of the Lord dealt with the believing mates in the church. Now don’t get these classifications confused. Unto the rest of the people in the church I myself would say though the Lord himself had nothing to say concerning it.

(2) BELIEVER & UNBELIEVER NOT TO SEPARATE

The following things Paul mentions concerns where a believing mate (man or woman) is involved or joined to an unbelieving companion. Here beloved we are about to see Paul who has already stated the Lord didn’t 15 mention anything in his statements concerning this next case, seeing the Lord gave advise strictly to believing men and women of Israel and thus had no cause to bring in such a case as will be implied in verse 15. Thus, Paul steps out on sheer revelation and says something that the Lord nor Moses had any cause to say seeing God dealt with Israel as a nation of believers from birth subject to the law. Nevertheless, Paul as a Jewish apostle, assigned to the gentiles by the Holy Spirit is authorized to say the following. Paul is the man who set the gentile church in order in all its belief and doctrinal practices. I remind you again, only under the grace dispensation could you ever have a married couple involved such as are involved here where one was an unbeliever. Therefore, I repeat again as it is most important that what Paul is about to say in verse 15 has absolutely nothing to do with a believing husband and believing wife, walking in the same revelation of truth as was being presented in the early church under the fivefold ministry of Eph. 4:11.

UNBELIEVERS UNDER GRACE

And now Paul’s instructions regarding a companion. This meant one partner in marriage was a believer, walking in the revelation of truth and attended the Corinthian church while no doubt the other mate was still caught up in some dark, pagan religion or philosophy. In the day the gentiles were coming into the grace age program, you must realize the church was being made up of some Jews who were departing from their old synagogues teaching of the law dispensation as well as gentile pagans who were leaving pagan temple worship coming over into Christianity. However, so often both companions did not come into the new faith and this created real problems in the home. The law of Moses controlled the marital life of both the Jewish man and woman. Therefore I repeat, being born an Israelite automatically classified one as a believer under that law. Not so in the grace age for so often even as it is today, the two (gentiles) having early entered a marriage vow while living in sin and unbelief, both partners did not enter the faith thus proving quite a burden on the believer. A divided home where Christ rules one heart and Satan rules the other so often through some false religion can become a heartbreaking burdensome problem. Many homes have even broken up over this one factor. How marvelous it is when both the husband and wife can affectionately live together without any reservations whatsoever, then that marriage should be one of real love, true happiness, peace and contentment as God intended and not in constant division, strife and turmoil as is so often the case.

UNBELIEVER MAY REMAIN

Here is where an unbeliever enters the picture who has been sharing their life with a believer. Yes, here is where God will permit Paul to give a revelation to the gentile church in this matter as he did grant Moses the permission, by revelation, to resent Israel with what he did in Deut. 24:1-4. Paul is granted by divine authority of his office to make the following statement which shall affect only the one case where a believing partner is involved with an unbelieving companion, seeing they are joined together in marriage. Here was Paul’s advice, advice that had never been stated in the history of the world (seeing Israel had no cause for such advice). If the christian man hath an unbelieving wife and she be pleased to dwell with him, in other words if the two partners are not having any special marital difficulties, she actually loves him and other than the fact she can’t understand the odd belief he is in, everything else is fine and she, the unbeliever is so pleased to dwell with him, willing to live with him fulfilling her role as a wife (that he may avoid immorality), by no means should the believing man divorce or put away his wife. Why? Because she is willing to live with him and be his partner to avoid the effects of verse 2. Or the believing wife who has the unbelieving husband, Paul says, if he be pleased to dwell with her and is willing to fulfill her needs as should be in a marriage, do not leave him. Note, allowing them to stay applies to both the man or woman who is the believer. In other words, if your unbelieving mate is pleased to remain with you, let them stay is Paul’s instructions.

FEAR GOD IS DISPLEASED

Verse 14. It appears here that the gentile believer or perhaps it may have been more so the Jewish believer in the church at Corinth, realizing his background, would have been more affected by this than a gentile’s before the Jew left Judaism for Christianity. Under law what is quoted in verse 14 would have truly been something to be concerned over. It appears in verse 14 that the believer, whether Jew or gentile (perhaps both) had the feeling that perhaps because they were united with an unbeliever that their marriage union bringing forth 16 children into the world would not be looked upon by the almighty as being holy or blessed. In other words, the believer feared God might frown upon their offspring produced through a marriage with an unbeliever. Now you will understand the reason I said perhaps this affected Jewish Christians more so than gentiles for under law and under the true Old Testament setting God would have frowned at such a marriage involving a believer with an unbeliever. We saw ane example of this when the believing Jew returned from Babylon, after 70 years of captivity, and had to put away all their strange, unbelieving gentile wives acquired in Babylon. You see, God wouldn’t bless such a relationship of a believer under law with that of an unbeliever who worshipped other gods. God looked upon such a relationship of a believer united with an unbeliever (gentile) as an open act of fornication.

UNBELIEVER SANCTIFIED

Examining this more closely, we see some had this feeling in the Corinthian church that their sexual union with an unbeliever might now result in the same, as God might not accept such a relationship in marriage with that of an unbeliever seeing they had entered the faith. But Paul said don’t fret over that, don’t give that a second thought. If that unbelieving mate is pleased to stay with you then let them remain and here is why, because under your grace dispensation the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the marriage relation by the dedicated wife or as Goodspeed translation of verse 14 says, for the husband who is not a believer is consecrated through that union with his wife. Vice versa, the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband in that of their sexual union. As I stated, had such a thing occurred under law there would be reason for great concern; however, this is not law, but grace and under grace there may be cases where believers and unbelievers are united in marriage) because to be in God’s family one must be born again. Therefore, God assures the believer not to fret concerning their union wherein children are born, for their children are not unholy or unblessed in his sight. He does not look upon their relationship as one of open fornication against him as he did a believing Israelite from birth who deliberately violated the open command of God’s word which declared they should not take an unbelieving gentile unto themselves in marriage, nor give their children unto gentiles in marriage. All Israelites were affected by this law. That is why those believing Jews during that stirring revival in the word in Nehemiah and Ezra’s day had to rid themselves of all those gentile wives they acquired while in Babylon. The Levites as well as the Jews looked upon this situation that their children from this kind of union with unbelievers would surely be unblessed. With that kind of relationship in mind the Jewish apostle assured the believer under grace this was no threat to him. God would accept their marriage and not look upon it as a relation of open fornication as perhaps some in Corinth thought. Recall, the gentile church in that hour was made up of both jew and gentile and the marriage union of the believer and unbeliever is set apart for the glory of God.

(3) WHEN UNBELIEVER DEPARTS

However, I now call your attention to Paul’s following statement found in verse 15 where we shall examine Paul’s revelation to the church concerning what the believer could do provided the unbeliever chose not to remain with the believer. And remember this advice applies to no other group. It discusses what to do provided the unbeliever decides not to stay as Paul had declared earlier they could stay if they so chose. However, the unbeliever is going to depart, leaving the true believer stranded and totally undefended against the evil effects of verse 2. Remember, it was through a revelated message that brought about this family division in the first place, as one was a true believer in the message while the other was not. Paul says in verse 15 if the unbeliever (man or woman) depart, let them depart. In other words if the unbeliever departs on their own and forsakes their marriage, let the separation stand.

NOT TIED TO MARRIAGE

A brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases. Or as Moffitt translation reads, not tied to that marriage. Paul said it, are you able to accept it. See, it is strictly a revelation from the office of the Apostle Paul, given by the Holy Spirit seeing the Lord had spoken nothing in the gospels concerning this case while dealing with believing Israel under the law He had no cause to speak along this line (seeing both husband and wife in Israel were considered believers). It is what can be done only in this one particular case where the unbeliever leaves 17 the believer. I repeat, we are not dealing with two believing Christians, here as in verses 10-11 because in that case the man and woman both were considered believers, we saw what the Lord himself told them to do. Verse 15 deals strictly with a believer and as unbeliever tied in marital bonds.

UNBELIEVER NOT TO BE RUN OFF

First Paul declared in verse 13 if the unbeliever was pleased to stay, let them remain. However, here in verse 15, if the unbeliever does not choose to stay but decides to depart let them depart. Understand you are not to run them off because if they choose to stay, let them stay, but if the unbeliever departs, let them depart. It is the unbeliever and not the believer who is dissatisfied now with the marital arrangement, no longer desiring to remain with the true believer. Therefore, when the unbeliever decides to depart, Paul says to the true believer, let the unbeliever depart. Remember, Paul didn’t say for you to run the unbeliever off. No, that won’t work for God knows the heart, but rather let them on their own accord or free will depart, let the unbeliever bring about the marital separation. And if they do, Paul says, don’t you try to hold on to the unbeliever because in such a case as this only, let the unbeliever depart for a brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases, or as Moffitt translation says, in such cases the Christian brother or sister is not tied to marriage, Lamsa translation records, but if the one who is not a convert wishes to separate, let him depart. In such cases a converted man or woman is free. For God has called us to live in peace. Williams translation of verse 15 reads, but if the unbelieving actually leaves let the separation stand. In such cases the Christian husband or wife is not morally bound, God has called us to live in peace.

A QUESTION

Now may I ask you a question? What is this innocent believer who has been left stranded going to do to avoid the effects of immorality found in verse 2 when Paul has declared that the purpose of marriage was to avoid this immorality? Verse 2 bluntly declares, to avoid fornication let the Christian man have his own wife and vice versa. Why? To avoid immorality or fornication of course. Yet, I ask you if the unbeliever chooses to depart, as Paul says, and Paul informs the believer to let them depart, what on earth will the believer do to avoid or escape the effects of immorality found in verse 2? Paul told the unmarried and widows in verses 9-10 what they had better do if they saw they could not control or restrain their passion, better to marry than to burn in that passion or lust seeing it could lead to immorality. Marriage was the route given to avoid the possibility of fornication. Verses 10-11 declared how the two believers in marriage would avoid fornication and even if the wife departed she couldn’t marry again, but she could return to her husband which would be far better. That would be their way out of the effects of verse 2.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATION

Verses 12-14 showed the converted believer is not to put away the unbeliever if they desired to stay which showed how the believer would escape the effects of verse 2. However, once people reach verse 15, they simply become stumped. Suddenly, their revelation goes blank. I realize when I make this statement, I shall become an open target for attack. Nevertheless, I ask you if Paul was so interested and concerned in Christians in each case having their own companions in order to avoid the immorality or fornication, why is it when we reach verse 15, everyone wants to forsake this helpless case where an innocent believer, who I remind you has done nothing other than become a Christian, that is all they did to injure their marriage. One partner accepted Christ while the other refused. Why then do people want to take this one helpless case where an unbeliever left home, separating themselves from the true believer and merely hang this pathetic case out to blow any direction in the wind. Beloved, you can’t forsake this helpless case, leaving it with no protection against the possibility of immorality of verse 2. Remember, verse 2 was the key in every case and here Paul told the believer to let the unbeliever depart.

BELIEVER MAY REMARRY

Now what can be done to avoid the effects of verse 2 in the believer’s life? Remember, this advice is only applicable where the unbeliever does the departing, because spiritual wise the unbeliever is not under God’s control seeing God is not the God of the dead but of the spiritual living. That unbeliever is dead in trespasses and sin, although wasn’t it wonderful that God was willing to look upon that marriage provided the unbeliever 18 chose to stay as a marriage being blessed or set apart in his sight. If the unbeliever chooses to depart rather than stay married to the believer Paul says, the brother or sister (note Paul said sister also) is certainly not under bondage in such cases. The word bondage means far more than mere social bondage. Paul is speaking concerning that marital bondage between the believer and that unbeliever. The unbeliever, who is already Godless will no doubt remarry, but what about the true believer who is left helplessly stranded. Beloved, if you say the believer who may either be a brother or sister cannot remarry, how then will they possibly avoid the effects of verse 2 which Paul has been discussing. No, beloved when Paul reaches verses 15-16, he has by no means changed his line of thought, nor has he run out of revelation. He still continues even here in these verses to discuss how each group in that church was going to avoid the effects of verse 2. Once he reaches verses 15- 16, he doesn’t switch to another thought which would simply mean well, I am sorry. I just don’t know what the poor stranded believer whose mate has departed is going to do to avoid the effects of verse 2. I am truly sorry.

BELIEVER FREE

It is very simple. Paul in this one case and in this one case only says the believer is free and in order to avoid the effects of immorality the believer who was made a victim of marital circumstance is now granted through Holy Ghost inspiration, the only grounds other than immorality or fornication which, I repeat, applies only where a believer has been left stranded when the unbeliever walks away from the marriage. That stranded believer, if they deem it necessary to have another companion to avoid the effects of verse 2, may feel free to choose companionship with another although this companion cannot be an unbeliever but must be one in the revelated word of God.

STRANDED BELIEVERS ANSWER

Therefore, we see Paul’s revelation for the grace age believer, whether Jew or gentile applies to this deserted innocent believer whether brother or sister, in order to avoid the effects of verse 2, if they do deem it necessary may feel free to choose a revelated believer for Christian companionship. No beloved, God simply will not leave the innocent believer (whether brother or sister) a victim of marital circumstance. God won’t leave that honest hearted believer to the mercy of falling into immorality; therefore, the deserted believer may feel free to choose companionship, only in the Lord.

VICTIM OF MARITAL CIRCUMSTANCE

I remind you in Deut. 24:1-4 under the law God would not even permit the guilty Israelite woman guilty of committing at least one or more open acts of prostitution or fornication to be made a victim of marital circumstance when her Israelite husband, because of the hardness of his heart, divorced her. No, God would not make her a victim of circumstance seeing he permitted the guilty who man to go be another man’s wife. How then beloved, can you possibly tie the hands, spiritually speaking, of a poor innocent believing woman under grace, a woman who I remind you was not guilty of immorality, who did not commit one act of indecency and who certainly never gave her unbelieving companion any cause to divorce her. The unbeliever simply didn’t want to be tied down any longer to anything like this. Therefore, he simply leaves his believing wife stranded and helpless against the effects of verse 2 (in thought or deed). If you say this poor soul can never remarry, you have left her helpless and without a single defense against the effects of verse 2. And I repeat, God will not make any helpless, innocent believer a victim of marital circumstance.

NOT COMPELLED TO REMARRY

No, the believing woman is not at liberty to divorce her unbelieving husband seeing she is a type of the church and the church could never divorce Christ. But when he leaves her and when he divorces her for someone more his kind she has been set free. She is then set at liberty by his actions to marry again, only this time to avoid the same trouble she must marry a true believer in the Lord. If you say the woman is in adultery if she remarries then out of all these other cases Paul discusses in I Cor. 7, this is the only case Paul could not give an answer when it came to showing how this particular helpless innocent case will avoid the effects of immorality in thought or deed in days to come. But thank God Paul did have an answer, he had a revelation that would affect this case and if you say she can’t remarry under grace you would be saying that God had been far more lenient to a guilty, adulterous woman in Deut. 24, giving her far more liberty under law than he would be granting to 19 this helpless, innocent believer, stranded in a world of immorality or a believer simply caught up in this situation having become a victim of circumstance when her unbelieving mate departed leaving her stranded. I repeat, God would be far more lenient to a guilty adulterous woman in Deut. 24 than he would be to this helpless woman in I Cor. 7:15 if he would not allow her to remarry.

HARLOT WOMAN COULD REMARRY

Recall in the Garden in (Gen. 2) God joined man and woman together and said, what I have joined together let no man put asunder or tear apart. However, several thousand years later God did permit Moses to grant to Israel’s men through the law age on legal grounds for a written bill or divorcement to put away a wife, unfaithfulness, open prostitution or fornication. All these imply the same. The woman had simply no grounds for divorce. Therefore, seeing women could not divorce Jesus, speaking to believing Israel said in Matthew, chapters 5 and 19, the believing man who divorced his wife except it be on the grounds of fornication and married another committed adultery and caused that divorced wife to do the same when she remarried. That was true with Israel, they were believers from birth and knew these things were wrong. Recall, they had Moses’ teaching. Therefore, we see divorce permitted on this one scriptural grounds which you recall always freed the guilty wife.

PERMITTING HER TO REMARRY

That beloved, is why I have stressed it in this manner all the way through, for remember Moses did not declare in Duet. 24 that the husband who found some uncleanness or open prostitution in his wife had to put her away. Oh no, by no means did he have to put her away. He could do so if he so chose, seeing that he found it impossible in his heart to forgive her for what she did. It was because of the hardness of his heart he put her away, it was because of his unforgiving spirit. Therefore, God knowing there would be nothing but trouble in this home over this thing, instructed Moses to allow this believing Israelite who was subject to the law as a believer from birth to put away his wife legally by giving her a piece of paper which plainly stated this marriage is over, my wife played the harlot. It was an open, valid document to the public stating he had separated himself from this woman because of uncleanness or open prostitution. Therefore, I am no longer obligated to her physically, materially or maritally. I separate from her because of her disloyalty and unfaithfulness to me. And remember the guilty woman could remarry and not be living in adultery. Divorce on any grounds other than that one thing would certainly be open adultery.

BIBLE – GOD’S TEXTBOOK

Therefore, you mean to tell me that under grace God won’t permit an innocent woman as much privilege as he would one under law. No, he wouldn’t even permit the guilty woman to be made a victim of marital circumstance but told her she could go and become the wife of another man, although remember she could never return to her first husband who divorced her. Yet 90 percent of the people today would interpret that because of their church traditions to declare, no that guilty woman must remain single the rest of her life and if she ever did remarry she certainly would be living in adultery and if she didn’t want to be living in adultery she would have to return to her first husband that divorced her. The unscriptural things that theology has taught concerning this subject would wreck the human mind. This one subject has been taught every way imaginable. When will people wake up and recognize this Bible is God’s textbook. Do you believe, that under grace God is going to be far more severe and less understanding toward an innocent believer, especially a sister who had done nothing worthy of her situation in causing her unbelieving husband to leave her than he would a guilty woman under law.

MOST TORMENTING

What can be more tormenting for a young couple than for one partner to desire to serve God while the other refuses. Satan enjoys nothing better than ripping apart the life and home of some young believer who desires to serve the Lord. Satan can use that unbeliever who intentions are to live and lust after the things of the world and finally after a continuous period of bickering, generally the unbeliever themself will simply declare, I have had enough of this king of marriage. Therefore, I am divorcing you. I am getting out of here. Such a pathetic circumstance leaves the true believer stranded and defenseless unless they are at liberty to remarry. That is 20 exactly what they are permitted to do, but only in the Lord.

FEAR OF DISOBEDIENCE

Nevertheless, here is what often happened. Paul declares the believer is free and no longer under marital bondage to this unbeliever provided the unbeliever desires to depart. However, down through the ages the believer, not knowing just how to cope with the situation or how to stand on God’s word when their marriage to the unbeliever has collapsed will try to hold on to the unbeliever and many a young believer in Christ becomes greatly distressed as they have been forced by a physical circumstance of which they are totally innocent (Paul said if the unbeliever desires to stay, fine, let them stay. If they choose to depart, let them. Don’t worry about it, if you are not under marital bondage any longer, you are set free. However, fearful of divorce and remarriage, thinking they will be eternally condemned and rather than face that kind of life of uncertainty by remarrying they struggle through life alone. Many believers, rather than face life lone have been known to stop serving God in order to be reconciled back to their own unbelieving partner. All because they feared what might happen were they to face life alone.

CALLED TO LIVE IN PEACE

Praise God Paul was not stumped, he had an answer for the poor deserted believer there he did not have to say I can help all the rest of you, but I simply don’t have a word for this innocent believing party who is now stranded. No, Paul doesn’t say that. Instead he says, let the unbelieving depart. For in that case only the brother or sister is not under marital bondage. They are free. But God has called us unto peace or better still God intended that we live in peace. I ask you, how in this world is that innocent believer going to live in peace when they are constantly being tempted by this terrible circumstance or condition which has been forced upon them or how will they ever live in peace seeing they’re trying to hold on to that unbeliever and all he does is continually make life miserable for them. I grant you, gospel wise up to a certain point, it is a good thing to have to endure certain things; however, after a period of time, when it is definitely proved through patience and long suffering on the part of an honest, humble, dedicated, revelated believer that it all seemingly is in vain and avails nothing, instead it doesn’t seem to make the unbeliever conscientious of what they are doing, things only tend to grow worse. Eventually, it reaches the point if the believer is to have any peace of mind what so ever, they will simply have to do what Paul says here, let the unbeliever depart. A brother or sister is not under marital bondage, they are free.

HUSBAND’S SALVATION

However, note and this is beautiful, Paul goes down into verse 16 saying to the church, for what knowest thou, oh wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Meaning, if he stays, if he chooses to stay, you may be the very means of becoming your husband’s salvation and naturally that should be the first hope and concern of any true revelated believer. The gospel shows the route the believing mate should go about in order to break down the resistance of the unbeliever. This is, this believer should live a humble, Christian life in respect to patience, long suffering, etc., as much as possible. Perhaps by doing so, if the unbeliever won’t heed to the gospel preached by the ministry, who knows perhaps by watching and living with a true genuine humble, dedicated, Christian believer, it may just happen that through their testimony of life the unbeliever may become born again. However, Paul says, over a period of time if all of this sincerity has not done the job, God has not planned that this true dedicated believer should live the rest of their life in literal torment and turmoil, seeing He has called us to live in peace. After a while, there has to be a victory over this entire problem. See, beloved that is why Paul wrote to the church that in such cases the believer is no longer tied in marriage to that unbeliever. When Paul stated the believer was free, he doesn’t only mean free from all the turmoil that had been produced through this marriage, he means they are free, period. They have no marital ties to this marriage and are set at liberty in the Lord. Why? Because the unbeliever did the leaving himself. The unbeliever left. Paul said, let him leave the true believer and because it happened in this manner, this sets the believer free. Remember, the believer was not compelled to remarry. Nevertheless, were the occasion to arise, for the true believer to avoid the effects of verse 2, they are at liberty to choose new companionship, but only in the Lord. To marry another unbeliever would not only violate the word of God, but would only be asking for trouble to 21 repeat itself. No, beloved the new companionship if chosen must definitely be chosen in the Lord. The grace of God which was given or permitted to the gentile church concerning this one type of marital situation would certainly never permit a Christian believer who had previously had an unbelieving companion to leave turn right around and fall in love with still another unbeliever. Remember, Christ will not make the innocent party a victim of circumstance, such as in this particular case. I am fully aware too often people bring these situations upon themselves and when people bring such situations upon themselves, situations which produce such cases, then all I can say is somewhere their flesh will have to pay the bill for what they themselves have promoted and done in life to bring it about. Bear in mind this entire chapter 7 is dealing with marriage and the steps to be taken to avoid fornication. The purpose or key to unlock each question Paul answers are found in verse 2. Verse 2 is the focal point of this entire chapter. Remember, Paul touches each situation in respect to that of verse 2, as well as in regards to the shortness of the hour in which he felt they lived (verse 29). Paul, as well as the other apostles in the early stage of the church believed that time was running out for his day, and that the Christians did not have long in which to prepare. James even declared for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh (James 4:8) John further stated in I John 2:18 Brethren, it is the latter times, etc. Yes, many scriptures reveal this was the general trend of thought of that early church and that everyone’s lives should be in proper order for the coming of the Lord (Rev. 22:20).

REMAIN IN SAME STATUS

It is from the next two verses 17-18, Satan found the ground work in order to project a certain spirit toward the church in this thing of marriage declaring virginity or being unattached was a high holy order, etc. Believe me, in this statement Paul had only one thought in mind. Satan wanted to start a long range program where later he could produce a program of celibacy. Remember, whenever Paul mentions that one should remain unattached, his thought was merely thoughts of wisdom in order to guide the church in keeping them in that hour to be a free as possible from becoming tied down to the things of the world. Satan desired to twist Paul’s statement and cause another situation to arise, which in latter years developed into a teaching in the church called celibacy. It’s such phrases as this which furnished the ground work for that unscriptural teaching.

CONTINUED LINE OF THOUGHT

In verse 17, Paul has not changed his line of thought as he deals with the social structure of life, but as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord has called everyone we now hear Paul say, so let him walk. What is Paul saying? Because of the nearness, he feels, to the coming of the Lord and the present distress into which the church is entering as he later states, whatever the status of man was, when God called him to salvation and has so ordained for him, let him walk in that status. Paul says this I have ordained (or teach) in all the local gentile churches. When you consider that gentile man in his respective walk of life while a sinner, the status of many was they were already married while still others were not. Therefore, as the gospel of Christ crosses their pathway, some were called living a married life, others of course were still single and perhaps still others were called during that period of separation as divorce had split their homes (you will see Paul’s thought more clearly in a moment). Yes, while perhaps others could have easily been living in polygamy as it definitely was a most accepted way of life among gentiles as well as the Jews in the Old Testament period and even later. Already we have observed how through the exampleship and the lives lived by that early gentile ministry polygamy slowly faded out of the picture. Yes, in verses 17-18 Paul is dealing with the social structure of life including certain marital problems. Building his thought around the marital relationship Paul said, but as God hath distributed to every man (of his physical necessity or condition) let him abide in that particular walk or calling of life. I teach this in all the churches Paul says.

WISE COUNSEL

Understand this one thing, in saying let him so abide, Paul is by no means promoting or establishing a doctrine of celibacy. Paul is not placing higher honor or more virtue on virginity above that of marriage in the sense, we shall say, he was implying marriage in order to avoid fornication or immorality was showing nothing but a weakness of the flesh. No beloved, Paul did not feel that way. Had that been his true feelings he would never have declared in Hebrews 13:4 that marriage was an honorable thing or that marriage should be looked upon as 22 an honorable thing. The reason for his following remarks is because of his own feelings as well as the early church’s concerning the shortness of time and secondly the fact they were already witnessing a distressful situation which was at hand. Moreover Paul feels stirred to give the following advice to the gentile church and mind you, that is all it was ever meant to be, merely good sound advice or wisdom for the present hour in which they live. Certainly, it was not his intention to promote celibacy as some have interpreted him to mean. Let a man be as free as possible from every unnecessary obligation. Keep yourself free from the obligation of the world. Don’t get tied to anything. Why, in order that you may better consecrate your thoughts on serving the Lord. Here was the only attitude in Paul’s mind.

BODY NOT FOR IMMORALITY

If we can visualize that, perhaps we are ready to move on into verse 18. Remember, Paul has by no means left his original thought as to how these various cases in the church are to avoid sexual immorality or fornication which he first begins to speak freely of in I Cor. 6:13-20 when he stated the human body had not been created for sexual immorality, but for the Lord. However, not until I Cor. 7:2 did he tell how they should avoid this sexual immorality. No, Paul has not left his original thought, here he is only going to bring in certain other types of illustrations which he uses to widen or better clarify his thought which he is trying to get over to the church. First, he says is there any believing man having been called while being circumcised. If he has, Paul declared, let him not (change his status by) becoming uncircumcised. Why would Paul address such a statement to a gentile church? Because, if you recall there were quite a few Jews in that gentile church and it was for certain they had been circumcised. Bear in mind, every saint in the Corinthian church Paul writes unto discussing how they may prevent sexual immorality or fornication which was so prevalent in that hour, was either a Jew converted out of his old synagogue beliefs or a gentile converted out of his old pagan religious belief. Corinth was a city of many customs given heavily to idolatry and immorality. Therefore, here Paul addresses the believer who was already circumcised when called to Christ and says let him not become uncircumcised. Watch Paul, he is leading up to something in verse 27 as he instructs the church to remain in whatsoever status they were in when called. In other words, don’t be concerned in trying to undo your particular status in life you were living in when called to salvation, were you loose from a wife when Christ called you, (verse 27) then seek not a wife. In other words, it is not necessary to change that status of your life of being unattached while as a sinner when you came to salvation. To still another group he says if any (gentile) was called in uncircumcision, let him not change his status and become circumcised. It’s unimportant. Circumcision is nothing verse 19 says and uncircumcision is nothing. But there is something that is important Paul says and that is the keeping of the commandments of God. And recall beloved, you definitely saw in verses 10-11 a very clear command of God concerning the relationship of marriage between that of two believers, didn’t we? That was if a believing wife left her believing husband he has two choices, (1) remain unattached the rest of her life (till the death of her husband) or (2) she may return unto her believing husband she departed from which Paul declares is far better. No, that believer can never remarry. Beginning in verse 17 Paul is showing all these things do have their place. However, now it’s time that every man should forget his past life, those situations, and circumstances he was in while living in sin or unbelief and draw close to the living God, as the church felt time was short for all believers. And that a present distress is moving in on the church. Man should now consider one thing only and that is setting himself aside for the glory of God. Verse 20 and again we hear Paul declaring henceforth let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Were you called being a servant? Therefore Paul declares, were you called to Christ while being a servant, care not for it. In other words, don’t be spending time trying to be loosed from your slavery, but if you can be free, Paul says, use it rather (or choose it rather only to serve) for he that is called in the Lord being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman. In other words, Paul says was your status that of slavery when you were called to Christ, if you are a slave and you find it impossible to get free from your master, simply realize that in the Lord Jesus Christ and your new found faith you are already a free man. BOUGHT WITH PRICE Continuing on, Paul says, were you called while being free, then he who is free, is Christ’s servant. The pint is 23 you are still a servant, even if in the flesh you are free you still have a mighty master above you this is certainly going to hold the line on your life verse 23. You are bought with a price, therefore irregardless to whichever the situation may have been, be ye therefore servants of Christ, be not ye the servants of men. Let’s hurry on through this part and get to this main thought Paul declares in verse 24, as he continues speaking to the church, brethren let every man wherein he is called, there in abide with God. See he continues to hammer away at this one point, abide as you were when called and remember Paul has no intentions in mind of beginning a program of celibacy.

FURTHER WORD TO VIRGINS

Coming into verse 25, Paul returned to still another illustration which definitely deals again with the marital situation. Now concerning virgins, recall as Paul has already discussed fully the marital program for the married in every situation, he now turns his attention for still another word to the virgins. It is from this statement, believe it or not along with certain other scriptures, that the Catholic church take and made themselves a celibacy doctrine for her priests and nuns. It was from this setting St. Clement, the first bishop of Rome, began to teach and uplift virginity as being far more virtuous among men and women than marrying. Reading his writings, one gets the impression his idea to be a married man revealed a kind of weakness of the flesh and only people of virginity were classified as being saintly. No, Paul had no intentions of promoting the doctrine of celibacy when he discusses what he does concerning virgins. Nevertheless, Satan used Paul’s very words by slowly twisting his statements into a doctrine. Even there within the first church age that spirit of Satan was already present.

ADVICE ON PRESENT DISTRESS

Concerning virgins, Paul says, I have no commandment of the Lord, yet I give my judgment. Bear in mind, he has already told the unmarried and widows it was better to remain as he; nevertheless, if they could not contain themselves it was better to marry than to burn (in Passion). Paul is giving his judgment concerning the virgins, as I’ve already stated a number of times in the light of his feeling that time was very short for the believer. In other words, there simply wasn’t much time left. If the Lord was returning somewhere in the near future, as all first believed, there wasn’t time to tie oneself down to the burdens of family life. This was simply a word of wisdom for such an hour. Later we see where Paul gave another kind of advice concerning virgins marrying and raising a family (I Timothy 5:14). Here he said they should. Therefore, Paul was not seeking to establish a doctrine, it was only a word of wisdom. Give my judgment, Paul says, as one that hath attained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. Verse 26, referring to the hour, they presently lived in, Paul says I suppose therefore that it is good for the present distress, for the what? The present distress. I say that is good for a man so to be, be what? Be single. Be unattached. Why? Because of the present distress. On the other hand, verse 27 declares just the opposite, are you bound to a wife, seek not to be loosed. In other words, don’t run off and leave your wife in order to spare yourself a number of worldly obligations, even if you do feel the coming of the Lord is near. Please understand, what is being taught in this verse has no connection with that which was first written covered in verses 10-15. Paul isn’t changing his thought, he only seeks to give wise counsel. Art thou loosed from a wife, seek not a wife.

TIME IS SHORT

(Because of the hour, it is better to remain single) But if thou marry, thou hast not sinned, and if a virgin (girl) marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless, such will have trouble in the flesh, but I spare you (or I would like to spare you). What he means is this, and oh, how true it is. The very minute they settle down in the family life, the old grind begins. Paul knew that somewhere in that hour just ahead there were certain hardships to be faced where if you were single or unattached, you could better face these hardships. It’s difficult for Americans to anticipate such a thing. Nevertheless, many of the Corinthians (such as people in certain countries today) lived in a constant daily struggle for survival. Verse 29. This I say brethren, (and once again we see Paul’s feelings concerning time re-enter back into the picture as he says the time is short. Proving beyond any doubt all of his statements have definitely been hinged around his feeling from verse 17 on that time is short. Therefore, this good sound advice and wisdom to the believer is in order that he may keep himself free to seek a more 24 dedicated closer walk with the Lord. Watch him bring out still another thought concerning the shortness of time. As he says it remains that both they that have wives be as though they had none. No, God forbid, Paul is not saying for a man to get rid of his wife. He is only declaring that a man and his wife should both set their sights so much higher above all the natural material things of earth not living as though life itself existed here in only what you could and could not have. Instead Paul says get your eyes set on Jesus and the soon coming of the Lord. This no doubt is what Jesus meant when he said as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the son of man. For they married, built houses, and were busy eating and drinking. See, that’s the normal social picture today. People have simply become so earthly minded that they haven’t time to lift their eyes unto the Lord and follow him. Paul continues on in verse 30 with still that feeling time is short and as he says, they that weep, as though they weep not. In other words, whatever you are doing, don’t become so involved in it that you can’t change and look once in a while unto the Lord and do something for Jesus. They that rejoice as though they rejoice not and they that buy as though they possess not. Paul recognizes there were certain necessities of life that every mortal man needs while traveling this journey of life. Nevertheless, don’t permit your eyes to become so earthly centered in whatever you are doing that you can’t once in a while look up and say, father guide my soul and help me to ever live pleasing unto you. Keep me separated, Lord, and allow me not to become so tied down or so involved with natural things that I can’t truly see thee God and know what you would have for me to do today.

ADVICE FOR ENDTIME

Verse 31, And they that use this world as not abusing it, for the fashions of this world passeth away. Notice beloved this is good, sound advice for even us today because e are actually that people living in the hour he spake of, where time is short. In actuality what Paul is saying in these scriptures are actually pointing to our day. Nevertheless, Paul and these other brethren wrote all these scriptures as though the end time would come rolling in upon them at just any time, but those scriptures apply unto us. Oh, there are so many things we are going to see, (in time) once we do really move into such a setting as was spoken in these two verses. Here we will reach in and pull our different things that the apostle Paul said in respect to the overall situation. I am so glad that Paul stated this in all these various places because by using these various situations which caused him to write and say what he did, it helps us to better diagnose what he meant in these two verses. Verse 32, but I would have you without carefulness, meaning I would have you so, in order that you would not be bound down with many of these worldly cares of life. That is it beloved, all his statements made here concerning (remaining as you are) is because he didn’t want the individual bound down with all these worldly cares of life. He wanted people to be free, not worried, in order that they might worship the Lord. What a torment it is when two young people start out in life and become so financially burdened, we’ll say they have gotten their necks staked down to something, which reminds me of a cow tied to about a five foot chain and can’t go anywhere. So worried, so bothered, so burdened down that about once in six months, they may wake up to the fact, you know it has been a long time since we prayed. Paul goes on to say, he that is unmarried cares for things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord. In other words, being unmarried Paul says, the persons mind tends to be more on the spiritual matters, as Paul is writing this to benefit the unmarried Christian men in the Corinthian church who have not as yet taken the trip to the marriage altar, and not to the man out in the world seeing he doesn’t have his mind on the Lord. But he that is married, verse 33 says, careth for the things that are in the world how that he may please his wife, why? Because he not only has taken a companion, but they will be bringing children into the world and this creates more worldly obligations. It means that he will have to now look unto the world for still a greater opportunity to meet those needs of these necessities that have now been placed upon him.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WIFE & VIRGIN

There is a difference between a wife and a virgin, verse 34 declares, and remember it is only Christians that Paul is speaking of, not worldly people. Whoever heard of an unmarried worldly woman or sinner woman caring for the things of the Lord, how that she may be holy, both in body and in spirit, ridiculous. Yes, that’s what Paul says the desire of the unmarried Christian woman is, but she that is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. No truer words were ever spoken. Remember this, he hasn’t said any 25 of this to establish a doctrine but merely to give wise counsel in relation to the hour in which they live. Because note in verse 35, Paul now declares why he has spoken all this in the manner he has, as we hear him say, I speak this for your own profit, not that I may case a snare upon you, but for that which is comely and that you may attain unto the Lord without distraction. Therefore, we can plainly see since verses 17-34 Paul has taught none of this to lay down any doctrine, has he? Paul had already laid down his doctrine from verses 10-15 as to what should be done in respect to those who were married. Concerning the overall situation within the church which certainly involved many individuals, Paul has said all of this, not to cause any disappointment toward the person’s feeling, concerning that which they wanted to do (referring to getting married) but rather that he might show them how they could better live for God and serve him without begin all chained down to all of those worldly obligations they would definitely become involved with once they are married. Paul is not a man who speaks out of both corners of his mouth, he can not go against his own writing. If anyone does think Paul was implying celibacy here, let us search the scriptures to see if there is any other place virginity or celibacy was taught. Observe what Paul says as he writes Timothy many years later when he lays down the doctrine and rule of discipleship, etc. Do we not hear Paul saying he would that the young christian women marry? (I Tim. 5:14) How then could Paul make two opposing, conflicting statements. To Corinth he wrote what he did in the light he felt that time was very short and he believed the church was approaching the nearness of the coming of the Lord. Whereas in Timothy, he is writing with a different line of thought altogether. Here he is showing the young women how to stop being busybodies, his answer is, get married and raise a family. Just remember concerning virginity, whatever Paul spoke in I Cor. 7, which at first glance might appear he preferred virginity to marriage, was spoken, with his conviction that time was short and the coming of Christ was at hand, else how could Paul declare later in Heb. 13:4, marriage is honorable in all or is to be looked upon as a honorable thing and then turn around and in a few scattered phrases in I Cor. 7 be teaching a doctrine of celibacy such as the Catholic church feels he did?

FINAL WORD TO CHRISTIAN WIVES

Verse 39, In closing the discussion, Paul reminds the Christian woman she is bound by the law of wedlock unto her believing husband as long as he lives but if her husband is dead, making her a widow, she is at liberty to be married unto whosoever she will, only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide after my judgment (found in verses 8-9) and I think also that I have the Spirit of God. In closing ay I say verse 39 in no way alters Paul’s advice to the Christian wife married to a Christian man found in verses 10-11 because were she to leave him or be put away from him on any other grounds other than fornication, uncleanness or open prostitution and were she to remarry, she would most assuredly be living in adultery as declared unto all believers subject to Deut. 24:1-4. AMEN

In The Beginning It Was Not So, Part 1 – 1974, April


PERFECT ORDER OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIP

 

When Jesus stated, “in the beginning it was not so”, it must be remembered Christ was by no means trying to establish that a man himself must return to things as they were in the beginning before sin entered into the picture. No, you will never be able to return to that setting, as things were in the beginning, until after your body has been changed from mortal to immortality. When Christ stated “in the beginning it was not so”, He was simply in the process of answering a question asked him by religious leaders (Matt. 19:1-9) concerning that of the moral issue on Marriage and Divorce. Hence, Christ takes these Pharisees back to the very beginning and shows them once God had made male and female and joined them together He said, let no man put asunder (ever separate) what I have joined together. Nevertheless, Jesus shows how much later in his program God did permit Moses to add into the law a clause or one provision whereby divorce may be granted, Deut. 24:104. A grounds which, by the way, even freed the guilty wife, allowing her to remarry, though under no circumstances could that which was once joined together and later divorced, ever be joined together again. Beloved, whenever you desire to know God’s true feelings on any subject, always go back to the beginning of that subject and follow it through to the very end and this is what we must do with our subject. Following the dreadful fall in the Garden of Eden, the scriptures show the moral structure of mankind began to crumble. Here through various stages, especially before the flood, we must pause to observe the moral issue in question as it passes through time up until the flood, then more through time all the way out to Mount Sinai, hundreds of years later, where God gave unto Israel a marital law to guide their relationships. We must observe what the law actually did for the moral question involved or shall we say, what God placed within the law which affected the moral issue at hand. Next, we shall examine some 1400 years later, at the close of the law age, what Jesus taught upon the subject, what He said concerning it, and later how He handled the same issue whenever confronted by religious people who were guilty of trying to cover up their way of living by using a private interpretation of what they wanted to believe Moses actually taught. Last of all, we shall discuss what Paul, by the authority invested in him, had to say concerning Marriage and Divorce as it applied to the gentiles, a people living far below the law. Jesus’ remark was “in the beginning it was not so”. Christ started at the very beginning and came up through Moses’ law concerning the subject of the marital relationship between man and woman. Hence, we shall do the same. In Genesis 2:23-24, we begin with the scriptures where God placed Adam to sleep and removed from his body a rib and from the rib which the Lord God took from man made He a woman and brought her unto the man. Adam looks at this beautiful creature and he seems to know exactly what is taking place. No, he doesn’t say, Lady, who are you and where did you come from? Adam knew exactly where she came from.

 

MADE MALE AND FEMALE

 

She came out of him! In other words, God removed, along with his rib, a little flesh and all the feminine attributes which sometime before had been placed within this one body (called Adam) along with those attributes of man. Because the scripture declares the two (male and female attributes) dwelt in the same flesh, attributes which the Lord God had created long before He ever placed them together in this one body of flesh, calling their name Adam. Genesis 1:27 declares at the time God created man in His own image He created He him; male and female created He them. Later, after their creation, first as spirit beings, God fashioned a male body from the dust of the earth, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and placed within this created fleshly man both the complete attributes of the masculine and feminine beings. How long Adam remained at this manner no one knows; nevertheless, after a thorough search had been made to find Adam a help mate, none was found among the animals nor any living creature. No beloved, God didn’t suddenly decide to divide the masculine attributes from those feminine attributes which both existed within the same body. Certainly not! He knew all along what He was going to do because a close study of Genesis 1:26-28 reveals within that heavenly realm when God created these attributes (male and female) created He them, yet at that time neither one possessed a fleshly body in which to live.

 

CREATED AND COMMISSIONED

 

Nevertheless, verse 28 declares at that time they (both the masculine and feminine attributes) were given a commission that some time in the future must be fulfilled. The commission was be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it and have dominion over all living things that move on the earth. Here was a commission given unto the two spirit beings in eternity long before God ever placed the masculine and feminine attributes into that fleshly body. We pick up the story where God causes a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and these feminine attributes have now been removed and placed into her own separate body of flesh. Adam awakens and sees this beautiful creature, who is a type of the bride of Christ. No, he doesn’t wonder where she came from, he knows. He knows where she has been all this time, inside of him. There hasn’t been an argument or war between the two and there certainly hasn’t been any division in their thinking or feeling while the masculine and feminine attributes dwelt together in this one fleshly male body.

 

DIVIDING ATTRIBUTES FOR A PURPOSE

 

God has now separated them in order that they may carry out the divine plan of marriage which must transpire between two fleshly people in order to fulfill His commission to be fruitful and multiply which was given the moment of their creation, Genesis 1:28. In order for that commission to be fulfilled, those two attributes (masculine and feminine) must somewhere be separated and placed into two separate bodies. Here we see that separation being accomplished and the first words we ever hear Adam utter was a prophecy concerning the purpose of the female creature as he says, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man, henceforth shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife (singular) and they shall be one flesh”. No, Adam was not prophesying, in order to be one flesh they must once again become one body as was the picture before God separated the masculine attributes or characteristics from that of the feminine. Why then did Adam declare man and his wife shall become one flesh? For the purpose of reproduction, to fulfill the commission to multiply or bring (more) life into the world. Recall, that prophecy came forth long before mankind ever fell in the Garden of Eden. Jesus made reference to this in Matthew 19:5-6 the same as did the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 5:31). Here in this beautiful perfect environment of the Garden of Eden (or Paradise) upon this earth, it all began with one man and one woman or one husband and one wife. Here in the beginning, we observe God’s perfect order concerning the subject we will investigate. In the very beginning, God ordained that the one man should have only one wife (not several) and likewise the one woman should have only one husband (not several). This would be forever and ever because in this hour not even death could separate the young couple, seeing they possessed only eternal life. They were not filled with death until after the fall in Eden. Our marital setting changes as more people become involved in the picture. God’s ordained purpose of marriage between one man and one woman is clearly seen and remains unchanged as we move on out into the line of Adam’s (Seth’s) lineage, that is, until they reach an entirely different setting found in Genesis 6:1-2. Not until this time do we see where any of Adam’s line of descendants ever took unto themselves more than one woman for a wife. However, this cannot be said for the lineage of Cain who fathered the first civilization after the death of Abel, who was truly a seed from the loins of Adam, the son of God. Cain was a man of mystery who at not time ever walked with God nor did any of his descendants. Cain was a man whom the scriptures refused to recognize as a son of Adam yet was born into Adam’s family (home). Watch, had Cain been a son from the loins of Adam (who was the son of God) or truly been in Adam’s lineage, then the scriptures could not have recognized that Enoch was the seventh from Adam, instead it would have declared Enoch the eighth (not 7th) from Adam.

 

POLYGAMY INTRODUCED

 

Genesis 4 gives the complete story of how Cain left the presence of the Lord and dwelt in a land east of Eden called Nod. Out of this lineage of marriage between Cain and his one wife (Adam’s daughter seeing Adam had sons and daughters, Genesis 5:1-5) came an entire line of wicked, ungodly people who not only were responsible for every kind of sin imaginable and introduced every kind of attribute of evil, but they also introduced into the world the plurality of wives, better known as polygamy. Cain had a son called Enoch and in Cain’s lineage some five generations later, a man named Lamech, according to Genesis 4:19 appeared on the 3 scene and took unto himself two wives thus introducing for the first time unto the world that which is known as polygamy; one man having more than one wife. We who have always lived in a western society of culture, who have never lived around any area of the world where polygamy was practiced would find it most difficult to even accept God’s own attitude toward polygamy once it did begin to be practiced. No, God did not institute polygamy. God instituted a program whereby one man and one woman would live together as Adam prophesied (Genesis 2:23-24), not one man and two or three women living together under one roof. Nevertheless, as we study polygamy as shown from the scriptures, I pray not to be misunderstood over certain statements I must make in regard to polygamy. So please understand, none of the statements I shall make dealing with the subject of polygamy means I am telling you to go out and marry two or three wives and keep them all under the same roof, raise children and provide for them. I am not saying any such thing. I am just simply trying to deal with the subject of polygamy as well as marriage and divorce, strictly as shown from a scriptural viewpoint.

 

SONS OF GOD WERE MEN

 

Therefore, scripturally Cain’s lineage introduced polygamy. That act of polygamy will not, until much later, appear in Adam’s lineage, a lineage which does not go through Cain, but instead comes down through Seth, right on down into the seventh from Adam who scripture declared was Enoch who begat Methuselah, the oldest man who ever lived on earth. Perhaps not until many hundreds of years before the flood will polygamy be introduced into his lineage. Genesis 6:1-2 declares at sometime after men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born unto them that the sons of God, who were not fallen angels as some have thought seeing angels have no sexual ability (Matthew 22:30) but instead these sons of God were men out of the lineage of Adam who himself was the son of God (Luke 3:38) as his lineage was definitely called generations before the flood.

 

PERFECT RELATIONSHIP DISRUPTED

 

Not until Genesis 6 do we begin to see Adam’s lineage (sons of God) approaching the realm of polygamy. Genesis 6:2 declares once the sons of God began noticing these women from Cain’s line, they began to take from the daughters of men wives of all whom they chose. Who got their eyes on these women? Sons of God! Up until Genesis 6, you have the complete separation of the two strains of mankind. Not only had polygamy been introduced through the Cainite line but murder and every other immoral practice or act was also introduced through this wicked ungodly group. Cain himself had only one wife; nevertheless, all these evil attributes or characteristics which were in Cain’s loins were passed on to his wicked offspring and later, after the time in Genesis 6:1-4, were passed on into the bloodstream of the sons of God through that of intermarriage. Before Genesis 6, Adam, Seth, along with Adam’s other children, produced a lineage or race who lived strictly loyal unto God even though they, like their father Adam, carried in their blood stream that death penalty because of the disobedience of their father Adam; nevertheless, they still upheld the revelation of truth before their God. An act which was continued into the period of Genesis 6 whereupon developed a genetic breakdown within the bloodstream and lineage of the sons of God who eventually lost their spiritual bearing, giving themselves over to strange flesh and the flood of judgment was on its way.

 

CROSSING TWO STRAINS OF HUMANITY

 

Not until the time period of Genesis 6:1-2 does Satan make his second successful stab at the program of God in that of marriage between one man and one woman within Adam’s line of descendants. As Satan made this second attack on God’s divine program he used much the same approach as was used in the Garden of Eden hundreds of years prior although at this time Satan had no manlike creature to inspire, called the Serpent, to work through. Instead, in Genesis 6 he chose to inspire women out of the ungodly Cainite line. Satan instructs these Cainite women how to dress, walk, talk and even look in order to attract the attention of the sons of God unto themselves. This they did and slowly they began to approach the sons of God lineage. May I state this lustful approach of flirtation or fraternization among these women toward those sons of God wasn’t a program accomplished overnight. No, it was a gradual process of acquaintance, a gradual deception and beguiling which eventually led to the breakdown of the resistance and the will of these individual sons of God to no longer 4 restrain themselves from taking from among men women as many as they chose for wives. However, as we shall see the children produced by these marriages were extraordinary. GIANTS BORN The Lamsa translation of Genesis 6:4 declares “there were giants in the earth in those days (before intermarriage) and also after that for the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men (who belonged to this giant race and they bore children to them and they (offspring) became giants, who in the olden days were men of renown”. Note, you have giants in the earth before intermarriage, you have also children from these marriages who grow up to become giants as well as outstanding figures, no doubt brilliant scientific minded as was their Cainite ancestors before them. They were outstanding in every manner except that of fellowshipping God. Renown in everything, but spiritual matters as were their fathers from Adam’s side.

 

GENETIC DISTURBANCE

 

From the crossing of these two separate genetic strains of characteristics in that of mankind there resulted a dreadful genetic disturbance which affected mankind in a way he never before had been affected. While at the same time, these two strains of mankind (one being of giant structure) began to mix bloodlines and produce offspring into the earth, children were born unto them who were giants. Why were giants born unto the sons of God? Because the genetic structure of both the male and female, each designed to carry 24 chromosomes (a total of 48) is used by the Almighty for the purpose of transferring parental characteristics into that of their offspring and with each passing generation these characteristics from the giant structured Cainite race overpowered the characteristics carried through the 24 chromosomes of the male into the fetus, thus, resulting in the offspring with each passing generation resembling more and more to that of the Cainite race which at no point in history can it be shown that one descendant of Cain ever reverenced the Lord. Thus, in the offspring of these sons of God who were to carry on their lineage there developed a total collapse in the offspring’s ability to receive spiritual, revelatory faith or their ability to hear God speak through His word. For without this revelatory faith, Hebrews 11:6 declares it is impossible to please God. And now with the bloodstream of the offsprings of the sons of God corrupt, which up till Genesis 6, the bloodstream of the sons of God was carrying only the death penalty, now slowly begins to be filled with all the evil characteristics clearly shown in the Cainite lineage as their intermarriage continues. Genesis 6 introduces that gradual breakdown of what had once been a high moral standard found in the sons of God lineage. That total breakdown and genetic disturbance destroyed especially the high standards of the sons of God as more and more their offspring tend to express Cainite characteristics, producing upon the earth still more and more wickedness until the flood came and took them all away.

 

ENOCH WITNESSES BREAKDOWN

 

Enoch (7th from Adam) began to witness this moral breakdown which was rapidly polluting the relationship of marriage between that of one man to one woman as God originally intended and Adam’s descendants had always so beautifully exemplified. Enoch was a witness to this terrible breakdown in genetic structure of both strains of mankind as the two strains slowly dissolve or vanish into that of one, their offspring. He cried out against such evil and then something happened in his life that caused him more than ever to draw closer to God; a sign was given unto him. At the age of 65, some 965 years before the flood, God gave him a little son from his own pure seed (other than the death penalty which was transferred to the lad and like many other children in the sons of God realm, this child’s name also prophetically meant something). Methuselah, which prophetically means when he is gone then it will come. Enoch, knowing the meaning of such a name but not aware at what hour Methuselah might be taken in death and God’s judgment would fall, walked even more closely to God, not aware his son would live to be 969 years old before death claimed him and the judgment would come. Knowing his son was a sign, Enoch had 300 years to continually draw closer to the Lord as this madness produced by this intermarriage continually increased. God, seeing Enoch’s heart, allowed him to have a vision of the coming of the Lord with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment (Jude 14-15). Enoch, the 7th from Adam, warned this degenerate generation of humanity, rapidly now becoming nothing but a fleshly minded mass of humanity following only that of their own instincts. Through the polygamy intermarriages, 5 more giants were born into the earth, continually filling the earth before the flood.

 

VANISHING OF TWO STRAINS INTO ONE

 

Generations before the flood, God is heard in Genesis 6:2 to refer to one strain of mankind as the sons of God. This group, though death flowed in their bloodstream, did possess the ability to receive revelation from God whereby they could be led seeing they walked by revealed faith. While on the other hand, he referred to the gigantic structure of people in the Cainite race simply as men, meaning men with no spiritual mentality whatsoever, no relation or no fellowship with God. Yet, by the time the flood arrives, mankind is not referred to as two different strains, instead it is only one and God refers now to man as flesh or simply a purely carnally minded man who has always been at enmity with God (Romans 8:5-8). As I stated, the strain of mankind to suffer the greatest or to receive the greatest setback through that of this intermarriage was those revelated sons of God because Cain’s line already polluted with death and every evil attribute or characteristic had nothing to lose other than the disappearance of their own race eventually into that of the offspring who were eventually drowned in the flood. No, Cain’s lineage had no moral or spiritual breakdown to transpire, they never possessed any. Naturally, as the two strains continually crossed through polygamy intermarriages, as generations pass, there could not remain those two separate distinct strains of humanity. Both with all their attributes and characteristics will be absorbed into one lineage of mankind. The offspring of the sons of God generation after generation completely lost their ability to hear what the Spirit had to say to His people of the hour. Proof that no one could hear God through the preaching of His word by the time the flood came is proven in the fact Noah preached 120 years and is the only man who could hear God concerning the warning judgment. If others could hear, why did they drown when they could have gotten on the ark. God sees man before the flood after Genesis 6 now so fleshly minded that his constant thoughts deal only with satisfying that of his fleshly lower nature. That high moral standard once found within the Adamic race is now gone. Enoch seeing Methuselah almost 300 and thinking any day he might be taken draws still closer to the Lord as polygamy through intermarriage has now become the acceptable thing of society with mankind as God lifts Enoch off the earth through translation, Hebrews 11:5.

 

NOAH BUILDS ARK

 

Methuselah, a sign to the age, is still alive when God tells Noah to build his ark. Yes, God found one man, Noah, in that generation before the flood who still possessed the ability to hear God speak. Through revelated faith, Noah built an ark to the saving of his household, yet no one Noah preached to in the 120 years had the ability within their spiritual makeup to even hear the judgment warning of God in Noah’s message.

 

 PERVERSION OF SEX

 

Bypassing polygamy momentarily, something we are fully aware was transpiring in that hour. Let us discuss something else of which Jesus spoke in Matthew 24. Noah’s age was also an age of perversion of the sex life, even to that of a Sodomite condition of homosexuality. As it was in the days of Noah, declared Jesus, so would it be in the days of the coming of the son of man. Yes, Christ compared the endtime moral condition to be that condition found in Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities in the plains of Jericho destroyed by fire in Abraham’s day, which were given over to perversion of sex. Therefore, is there any wonder that clergy of various movements are now moving away from their hard core stand of scripture on homosexuality, saying it is now only a way of life that must be accepted, not only by society, but the church as well.

 

GENETIC DISTURBANCE REVEALED IN NOAH

 

However, in spite of this terrible breakdown in genetic structure which began through polygamy and resulted in the flood, watch how God still worked in that of his perfect order or original plan in marriage of one man to one woman as the flood came. Noah lived in the climax of an age of this dreadful genetic disturbance, a disturbance genetically which began generations before Noah’s time, but had now succeeded in polluting the blood stream of all mankind with Cainite attributes or characteristics. Noah was 500 years old before he begat three sons: Shem, Ham, Japeth, each who maintained enough of their father’s characteristics to grow up to marry only one wife each. However, to show you how by this hour the genetic structure of mankind had become so confused and fouled up through that of intermarriage look for a moment into Noah’s own family and see that born from 6 his own loins came a son whose name was Ham which in the Hebrew means burnt black. I’ll comment no further on this only to say that although some very strange characteristics or attributes broke through in Ham’s life after the flood when he saw his father’s nakedness (Genesis 9:20-25). Nevertheless, Ham, like Shem and Japeth, was truly a legitimate son of Noah, and Noah along with his three sons, married to only one wife each, got on board the ark, was spared from destruction and were used to repopulate the earth.

 

PERFECT IN HIS GENERATION

 

God started the race of mankind out with only one man married to one woman and even though the marriage relation between that of one man and one woman became polluted many times over. The flood washed that all away and all that was saved aboard ship was Noah and his one wife, his three sons and their one wife each. When God looked upon Noah and declared only Noah had found grace in His eyes and was a perfect and just man in his generation (Genesis 6:8-9), God was not comparing Noah’s righteousness unto that of previous generations of sons of God such as Enoch or generations before the age once it had become so horrible. No, God is comparing Noah not by Enoch and Seth’s generation, but by the standards of his own generation (Genesis 7:1). Hence, God declared Noah just and perfect man in comparison to that which was going on around him.

 

GOD CHOOSES HUMANITY NEAREST ORIGINAL

 

The fact Noah, who only had one wife, was chosen out of his generation, found grace in the eyes of the Lord shows God, as near as possible, had chosen the man whose moral character could best exemplify, under extreme present conditions as to what it had all been in the beginning with one man and one woman.

 

LOADING THE ARK

 

(ONE MALE, ONE FEMALE) Please observe for a moment in Genesis 7:2 even the arrangement of the loading of animals into this ark of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by 7’s, the male and his female and the beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. The fowls of the air, God said to Noah, thou shalt take by 7’s the male and the female to keep seed alive upon the face of the earth. Yes beloved, even in the loading of the animal kingdom we notice how it is, the male and his female, carried on board for the new age exactly as it was in the original beginning with the animal kingdom. No, it wasn’t one stallion and 4 mares put on the ark, but one male with his one female perfectly in line with the choosing of mankind, straight down the line. God chose Noah to be the pregenerator of the new race. God said, as for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation (Genesis 7:1). Noah had one wife as did his 3 sons each only have one wife. Spiritual-wise, they would truly fall short in that of their great contact and understanding as to what God’s divine will was as that will and purpose was understood by Seth and other great leaders who followed him in a much greater hour before this dreadful crossing of the two strains of humanity began in Genesis 6:1-2. Nevertheless, Noah was God’s man for that hour. The moral picture and character which they represented was as close to the original picture as God could possibly find in that degenerate hour of flesh . Please remember, that which is now in the ark is one male and his female to be used for mating, giving unto mankind another beginning upon this planet. This does, by no means, imply once everything starts out all over afresh and new, that this will bring them back to the beginning as things were in Eden before the fall. No, beloved, that would be totally impossible seeing especially what mankind did to himself after the fall. Nevertheless, it did provide mankind another new start, to undo the extremes mankind had brought into the earth.

 

POLYGAMY AFTER THE FLOOD

 

Follow our subject on marriage with one man to one woman, polygamy, etc., now on across the flood. Noah and his family with all the animals are back down safely upon the earth and mankind once again begins to multiply. Along with this multiplication, what do we see still remaining in the picture. Polygamy. Polygamy is seen once again springing forth within the righteous line which God intends to use for His glory. It is shown to be a way of life some 9-10 generations past the flood as we pick up our first major biblical character. This man lived in the land of Mesopotamia in a city called Ur. His name was Abram, who would later be called Abraham and who no doubt could remember Shem (Noah’s son) in his olden days. Recall, when Abraham was first called upon to leave his homeland and go into Canaan, Genesis 12:1-3, God promised him a son. Sarah, 7 Abraham’s only wife, was barren.

 

SARAH INTRODUCES POLYGAMY

 

Abraham reached 90 years of age and still had no child. After waiting so long for the promised son, Sarah thought it her duty to help God out somewhat by giving unto Abraham Hagar, her Egyptian handmaid to also be his wife. From this union, Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:1-16). Here, through the very man God has chosen to propagate a special race of people who would worship him, we see in our first biblical patriarch who was a prophet of God, polygamy being brought into his household. No, don’t jump the track and do something foolish, because polygamy was never God’s ordained route. As we saw in the beginning of the Garden of Eden, His ordained route was one man and one woman living together, not one man and two or three women. We saw also at the close of the age when polygamy and every other evil was raging that God chose to propagate the new world through a man who had only one wife as well as did his 3 sons in turn have only one wife each. Nevertheless, it goes to show that once polygamy had been introduced to mankind through Cain’s line as Lamech took himself two wives (Genesis 4:19) polygamy was still being practiced on the other side of the flood and Sarah was willing to be used in introducing it unto Abraham, Genesis 16:3. Years later, God gave unto Sarah the promise she would conceive and bare a son and Isaac would be his name. Had Sarah only known the will of God, she would have known polygamy was not the answer to give unto Abraham his promised son. (Genesis 10:9-10).

 

WHAT EGYPTIAN BONDAGE DID TO MARRIAGE VOWS

 

From the birth of Isaac, down into the period of Egyptian bondage, we note the spread of polygamy through Abraham’s seed once they began to multiply. Polygamy became a normal standard practice of life with many of the biblical patriarchs who followed. Jacob, for instance, who worked 14 years for 2 women, Genesis 29:11- 35, was also given by Leah and Rachel, their 2 handmaidens, Genesis 30:3-9. From these four women were born 12 sons who were destined to become the 12 tribes of Israel and it was these 12 sons with their children who were led into Egyptian captivity 430 years. Following that long 430 years of Egyptian bondage, we finally reach an hour when a law dealing with moral problems was at last given to Israel wherein God now begins to deal with the subject of adultery and fornication which is the complete extreme to that which was in the original plan in the beginning. The children of Israel having been forced to remain in Egyptian bondage over 400 years had produced children by the multitudes of thousands and no doubt under these unfortunate circumstances in which they were placed while in bondage, by the hour God delivered them the moral scene of the children of Israel was pathetic. Bound in slavery, home life of the married Israeli couples was continually disrupted and torn apart by circumstances beyond their control and secondly because Israel, 400 years in bondage, had been without the knowledge of God’s perfect will in this sacred matter. Certainly by now there was a moral situation existing in Israel of such a nature that God must do something about it. Following their deliverance out of Egypt through the Red Sea and into the wilderness, God led them to Mt. Sinai where He presented unto them a law which began dealing, among other things, with the moral sin of men and women. Beloved, a man through the ages has played with this law; nevertheless, with God’s help, let us study it in its true light pertaining to our subject. Recall how in Eden it all began. The picture started out being one man married unto one woman didn’t it? Then Cain’s lineage interrupted that picture by introducing polygamy, something that still remains and I want to call your attention to the fact that once we come to the law age of Mt. Sinai we do not see God doing one thing in Israel to undo polygamy. Why didn’t God touch polygamy? Watch close, polygamy, even though it was not the true order of the beginning, is alive and it is here and wherever that Israeli man had taken a 2nd or 3rd woman into one family to be his wife, it at least provided those children born to that polygamy union a home to live in and someone to call mama and daddy.

 

TYPES AND SHADOWS

 

Approaching the inspired law of God for Israel, we must examine it exactly as Moses taught the law to the Israelites, yet still bearing in mind that certain things placed within the law can serve only as types and shadows which project a beautiful picture into the grace age affecting only the relationship between Christ and his one bride or wife-to-be, the revelated, virgin word church. Crossing out of the law age into the grace age, we are 8 able to see those types, which under law were exemplified between that of the natural man and women in their relationship toward each other. Their relationship to each other projected that relationship of Christ in a spiritual capacity to that of the virgin word church and vice versa. Moreover, we must recognize the effects of those types (in the law) which deals with that of the moral situations and circumstances, how that once man, through the new birth, comes under the grace age covenant these things all lose their grip upon mortal man seeing he is now governed by the law of Christ. Many things in the Old Testament law which involved the relationship of the woman to that of her husband points straight to the gentile church who is pictured also as the female species, the bride and wife-to-be of this man Christ Jesus therefore hold no bounds upon mortal man and woman once borne into the grace age.

 

NEW MARRIAGE REGULATION UNDER LAW

 

In the law connected with our subject, we desire to now look into the two offices of the Levitical priesthood as well as the man in the Israelite congregation in relationship to him taking a wife or, in other words, who he may or may not choose as a wife. For that study we begin in Lev. 21:1-3, however before we deal with that ministry of the priests, may I remind you there are two orders or two bodies of Levitical priests represented in the Levitical priestly body of Leviticus 21. First, the scripture addresses its statements to that of the ministering priests of the temple and secondly, it will address its statements unto that office of the high priest. First off, in Lev. 21:1-3 Moses declares there shall none of these ministering priests (not the high priests) of the temple which are many, be defiled for the dead among his people only to that of his nearest kin. Exactly what is Moses saying? A young Levitical priest can visit only the dead corpse of his immediate family which would include his mother, father, brother, son, daughter or virgin sister, no distant kin or any other. Now God forbid that we should attempt to bring such requirements over into the grace age upon a New Testament ministry. Moreover, we must recognize this had to exemplify a certain character in Christ himself, because Jesus as a prophet in Israel never attended a funeral where He did not change death into life. However, bear in mind this requirement concerning the visitation of the dead (close kin) has no reference whatsoever toward that office of the high priest. It speaks strictly concerning that of the ministering priests who carry on many functions around the temple in behalf of the people of Israel. If you will read verses 4-6, you will find still more qualifications for the ministering priests only concerning things he couldn’t do; however, in verse 7, Moses begins to discuss who it is that this ministering body of priests could take or not take unto himself for a wife and remember again, this is not the qualifications for the high priests whose qualifications we shall examine next. Verse 7 declares the ministering priest could not take unto themselves a wife who was a harlot woman or profaned, neither shall they take a woman put away from that of her husband because remember, as we shall later study, Moses gave the one qualification for a man to put away a wife (she could be divorced only on the grounds of unfaithfulness in her relationship of her husband) she could marry another man, but she could never marry a priest for the priest is holy unto his God. Verse 8 declares he offers the bread of thy God; therefore, he is holy and sanctified unto the Lord. Verse 9 declares a daughter of any priest if she profanes herself by playing the harlot she has profaned her father and shall be burned with fire. We might also add one more qualification to that of a woman which a priest could marry. According to Ezek. 44:24 the ministering priest could marry a widow of another priest as well as a virgin woman.

 

QUALIFICATIONS OF A HIGH PRIEST

 

Bear in mind the above qualifications of the ministering priest office in marriage to a woman does not apply to that of a high priest office. Watch carefully as we see the qualifications now laid down for a high priest of Israel. Remember how in verse 1-3 the ministering priests could only go unto their nearest of kin who had died; however, according to verse 10 the office of the high priest among his brethren whose head has been anointed with one and is consecrated to wear the garment of the high priest shall not uncover his head or rent his clothes, neither shall he go into any dead body. No, not even his father or mother. See, the high priest can’t even be around the dead no matter who they are.

 

HIGH PRIEST FORESHADOWS ANOTHER OFFICE

 

Why was there such strict restrictions or qualifications laid upon the high priest of Israel in the law age? 9 Because that high priest characterized the man Christ who is the high priest of the grace age and at no time could Israel’s high priest stand in the presence of death, only that which had life. Why, because the high priest is the only man of all the ministering priests anointed to stand in the Holy of Holies within the temple where certainly there is no death present. Watch what he exemplifies. He exemplifies the man Christ Jesus who was a prophet in this world, became a sacrifice on the cross and ascended into heaven where according to Heb. 9:1-15 as well as Heb. 10:19-22 the man Christ filled the office of that high priest, standing in the Holy of Holies on the right hand of the majesty of the power on high where beloved, there is no death, ever. The man Christ Jesus, our high priest, is the perfect example of eternal life standing, ministering in the Holy of Holies in behalf of those within the grace age where nothing exists but eternal life. Therefore beloved, Israel’s high priest was a foreshadow of another high priest office which would be ministering in the heavenlies. That is why the high priest of Israel, representing the law, could never stand where death was present. He exemplified Christ our high priest.

 

A WOMAN THE HIGH PRIEST COULD MARRY

 

Now please note in verse 13 the only kind of woman Israel’s high priests could ever take for a wife, he shall take a wife in her virginity. Don’t get the two offices confused. This was not the requirement we saw for the ministering priests of the temple. I am sure you are already aware of why. The high priest of the grace age, the man Christ Jesus will one day leave his office as high priest in the Holy of Holies and return to take unto himself a wife, a church who is strictly a virgin. Christ, who is now our high priest in the grace age, will one day come and take unto himself a virgin bride, revelated Word, hallelujah! Therefore beloved, can you now see the difference in the qualifications between those two offices of those two kinds of priests among the Levitical priesthood represented under the old covenant as to who they could and could not marry. It is only the high priest who must marry a virgin because he represents the high priest of the grace age who shall take unto himself a virgin word church which is referred to in the feminine species. Nothing was said concerning the ministering priests absolutely having to marry only a virgin. They were even permitted to marry a deceased priest’s wife, Ezek. 44:22. We must see this high priest office of the Old Testament exemplifies the Christ our high priest of the grace age; therefore, he can marry no one other than a virgin to exemplify Christ will marry only his virgin church. Hence, wouldn’t it be rather foolish to try to take this virgin qualification over into the grace age and tack it onto the local ministry in the grace age today.

 

PRIESTS & POLYGAMY

 

Furthermore, we note within the law whenever Israel was not in apostasy, but walking upright before God, obeying the law to the letter, we do not find the role of polygamy stated as being a practice among that Levitical priestly line. Perhaps not until you reach the time of the Judges, during that terrible hour of apostasy in Israel’s history when every man was doing what was right in his own eyes, will you ever find polygamy being practiced among the Levitical ministering priests, although as I stated, in the true order of the priestly line polygamy was seldom ever practiced. KINGS & POLYGAMY Nevertheless, not so with the case among the period of the kings. Many kings of Israel, as well as devout men referred to as prophets, inspired and guided by the Lord, practiced polygamy. David, King of Israel, a man God considered after His own heart and one who was somewhat in the minor capacity of the prophetic line of a prophet had no less than four wives about whom we know. Yes, many kings of Israel practiced polygamy and beloved, never once in holy scripture, although it is not God’s divine plan, do we see God tear up one of these polygamy homes. Understand, I am not advocating polygamy. We are merely examining it and making our comments as it appears within the scriptures. Recall, when David looked down and saw Bathsheba and desired her, the scripture declares God angrily frowned upon their act of adultery in so much that when she brought their child, born out of wedlock, into David’s palace, God refused to allow the child to live. He refused to allow the child to live because He would not permit that child to follow in the royal line of the kingship of Israel. However, David’s second legitimate son, Solomon, by Bathsheba after he had taken her unto himself as one of his wives, was perhaps the greatest polygamist of all times with his 700 wives (I Kings 11:3). However, 10 at no time do we ever find God condemning or destroying any one of these polygamy homes. Yet, in each case He thoroughly punished every act of adultery. WHY VIRGIN? Having studied the requirements of the two offices of the Levitical priesthood concerning the women each office of men might marry, we saw the high priest was required precisely to marry a virgin only. Why? Because he represented the man Christ, the high priest of the grace age, who one day shall marry strictly a virgin church.

 

PROVISION MADE IN LAW FOR DIVORCE

 

Turn with us now to Deut. 22 where we shall begin with a number of different examples according to the law dealing with the subject of marriage and divorce among that level of the Jewish men who merely attended the congregation. (1) In Deut. 22:13-29 we are shown our first illustrations and some of these illustrations you may find most shocking, especially the last case we will thoroughly study found in Deut. 24:1-4. You who are interested in this subject should read carefully Deut. 22:13-19. Here we are shown a case wherein a man wanted to put away his wife, but had no legal grounds to do so; therefore, he was stuck with her. As would all similar cases be when Israel observed the law to the letter.

 

GUILTY WOMAN STONED, NOT DIVORCED

 

Now that you have carefully read the scripture, let us paraphrase it for clarity. Say a Jewish boy takes a Jewish girl to wife and lives with her for sometime. Then for some reason he discovers now he no longer loves her; therefore, he begins searching for the needed, acceptable excuse whereby he can rid himself of her. The idea comes to him to spread a falsehood concerning her virginity which, if proven, would free him seeing the elders would stone her to death. Therefore, he declares he came in unto her and to his amazement he found she was not a virgin; however, her parents bring before the city elders the token (blood stained cloth) proving her virginity on her wedding night. The husband’s charges are proven untrue and he is charged 100 shekels of silver which must be paid to the girl’s father. Now get this, seeing he has no acceptable grounds to put her away, this girl must remain his wife till death separates them. The scripture declares he may never put her away all the days of his life. Why? Because he could not produce grounds to show unfaithfulness to him and he is bound to her the rest of her life. There isn’t anything he can do because his charges were false and there wasn’t any other grounds in Israel for a separation when the Jewish rabbis heeded the letter of the law. However, let us say the charges brought against the wife were proved to be true. What happens to the woman then? Verse 21 declares who shall then be taken by the men of the city and shall be stoned outside her father’s house that she die because she hath wrought folly in Israel to play the harlot in her father’s house. BOTH PARTIES STONED Continuing on in Deut. 22:22 with out next example, if a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both the guilty man and woman shall die, that evil may be put away from Israel. Note, the scripture declares both man and woman shall die, not merely the woman who was taken in adultery, such as was the case in St. John 8:1-11. Why did Jesus not condemn this woman taken in the very act of adultery, John 8:4? Recall, Jesus on one occasion called those scribes and Pharisees a generation of serpents and vipers. A viper is a poisonous reptile whose nature is, in order to get at its victim it will go ahead and lie in the path waiting for the unsuspecting victim. That is exactly the spirit these scribes and pharisees showed toward Jesus. They had laid a trap for their victim. They had taken a woman in the very act of adultery and brought her unto Jesus declaring, Master, Moses’ law demands us to stone her (Deut. 22:22) but what do you say? This they did tempting him, hoping that somewhere they might have something whereby they could accuse Him of speaking out against Moses’ law. I repeat, nowhere on this subject did Christ ever speak contrary to Moses, instead he always vindicated what Moses had already stated. However, this was not a scripture of Moses. Moses declared both the man and woman taken in the act of adultery should be stoned. Where then was the man? Why wasn’t he brought for stoning also? Why was only the woman brought? See, a serpent’s spirit simply can’t obey the scripture if it had to. Moses had not commanded the woman alone be stoned, but declared both to be stoned.

 

WRITING IN SAND THAT CONDEMNED

 

11 When the Pharisees asked, but what do you say we do with her, Jesus simply stooped down and began to write in the sand. What do you suppose he wrote that so condemned every one of these religious leaders until, one by one, they left? (Strange, none of his preaching ever condemned them, but here something did.) After He remarked, let him who is without sin cast the first stone, He just kept on writing something in the sand. It may be purely speculation, but I feel it definitely merits thought. I believe whatever He was writing on the ground was condemning and shaming these men causing them to all leave. When He said he that is without sin, He could have been writing a certain sin they wanted to condemn the poor woman on. In other words, how could the pot call the kettle black? This alone should have proven to the Pharisees He was no ordinary man. Christ knew the law and furthermore, He knew they had not observed it seeing they had brought only the woman. No doubt, had they brought both the man and woman, they would have been stoned, but this was a trap to force Jesus to speak against the law, which He never did. Hence, we often hear people today saying, oh, but Christ forgave that adulterous woman. Sure, but I ask you, why? This was no ordinary case, for scripture had been broken by these Pharisees and Scribes in refusing to bring the guilty man along also. Our third case appears in Deut. 22:23-24. If a girl is engaged to a man and another (a different man other than her fiancé) lays with her, both shall be stoned. Such as was Joseph’s first impression as what would happen to Mary, his espoused wife, before the angel told him she was with child of the Holy Ghost. Matt. 1:18-20. However, Mary had done nothing worthy of being stoned nor being put away privily (secretly divorced). Yes, if a girl, engaged to a man, lays with another man, Moses said bring them both outside the city gate and stone them to death. Why? Because the girl, being in the city, did not cry out and the man is stoned because he humbled his neighbor’s wife. This was an open and shut case of adultery. However, watch verse 25. If the man find a girl who is engaged to a man and he forces her to lie with him, then the man only shall die. Why? Because this is definitely a case of rape, but we have still another case shown to us in verse 28. If a girl is not engaged to anyone and she is a virgin and a man finds her and lays with her, then the man shall give unto her father 50 shekels of silver and must take her for his wife and note, he may never put her away all the days of his life. Here beloved, we see what Moses declares God says in His law concerning the guilty as well as the innocent involved in the intimate relationship.

 

ONCE DIVORCED, FOREVER DIVORCED

 

Having discussed these cases and seeing what the law actually declares concerning each case, we turn to Deut. 24 to see where a legal divorce can enter into a Jewish marriage and I ask you to observe closely the most shocking truth concerning the woman who is actually guilty of uncleanness. See what happens to her, how it is possible, though she did commit an act with another man other than her husband, this is the only ground whereby she may be legally put away by a bill of divorcement from her first husband and note, she shall be free to go marry another. This may startle you, but we are now ready to touch and perhaps jar the gentile mind with a few scriptural statements which even our Lord Jesus Christ himself vindicated and declared to be the only possible grounds for a divorce and this divorce provides the guilty woman the right to go and be married unto another man and if this man, for some reason, hate her or her second husband dies, she may, under no circumstances, ever return to her first husband and become his wife. Why is this impossible? He divorced her and must now remain separated from her.

 

WHAT HAPPENS ONCE DIVORCE IS GRANTED

 

Deut. 24:1 declares when a man hath taken a wife and married her and it comes to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath (actually) found some uncleanness (unfaithfulness or open prostitution) in her then let him write her a bill of divorcement and give it into her hand and send her out of his house. (The rest we must examine carefully for this is the part Jesus continually verified). Yes, here is the very verse that was the base on which Christ later stood in His teaching on the subject of marriage and divorce. Verse 2 and when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. And if the latter husband hate her and write her a bill of divorcement and giveth it in her hand and send her out of house or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife, her former husband which sent her away (the first time) may not (ever) take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled for that is an abomination unto the Lord. See, that first husband, having 12 divorced her can never under any circumstances ever receive her back as a wife. Why? Because it is what that bill of divorcement represents. Later, we shall see what the bill represents spiritually.

 

ONLY GROUNDS WHEREBY WOMAN COULD REMARRY

 

Now much is needed to be said here to clear up several points in our puzzled minds before we actually approach the teachings of Christ on this subject, for here will be the main point throughout Christ’s ministry He is seen defending. True, Moses never heard the actual Greek word (recorded by the King James translation) found in Matt. 5:32 except it be for fornication, which is of course adultery. The King James version records Moses as having used the phrase, found some uncleanness in her. However, the Lamsa translation reads, “if a man take a wife and lie with her and if she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some evidence of open prostitution in her, then let him write her a bill of divorcement.” But what happens to the guilty woman? She is then free to go be another man’s wife. She could remarry. Did you hear what God said? She who was actually unfaithful in her marriage vows may be put away through a bill of divorcement, leaving her free to go be another man’s wife, however if the second husband puts her away or dies, under no circumstances could she ever return to her first husband to be his wife. Beloved, how often have you heard religious people declare, oh, if she is married to a second husband, in order to ever be right with God she must return to the first husband. Why beloved, that is totally contrary to what the Almighty God did say. He said just the opposite. God said she may never return to her first husband who had put her away on the only ground for obtaining a divorce, that of open prostitution or uncleanness.

 

HUSBAND COULD FORGIVE

 

Bear in mind, that first husband, although he did find open prostitution in his wife, he didn’t have to put her away. He could have forgiven her if he so desired and she would have remained his wife. Remember, when Jesus was asked that followup question by those religious leaders, why then did Moses grant us the right to put wives away (Matt. 19:7)? Remember, Moses only declared a man could, if he wanted to, put away his wife if he had found open prostitution or unfaithfulness in her. Jesus said unto those Pharisees in answer to their second question, Moses granted you this one right or one ground because of the hardness of your heart to put your wife away and if it was on that one ground she could go be another man’s wife without being an adulteress.

 

ADULTERY – SINFUL YET FORGIVABLE

 

Let it be understood, this verse is not endorsing adultery. Adultery is sinful, but adultery is not the unpardonable sin as some think. It is forgivable. No, the Jewish man didn’t have to put his Jewish wife away, it was in his own power to forgive her. Yet, because the Lord knew even though the woman had done wrong that her husband, because of the hardness of his own heart, could never find it in his heart to forgive his wife for her act of open prostitution, rather than see this man and woman living under such terrible circumstances in the home, God says, all right because of the hardness of your heart (man) you go ahead and write her a bill of divorcement thereby she may go and be another man’s wife, but I will tell you one thing, once she becomes another man’s wife, you will never get her back. She will never be able to return to you after this and ever be your wife again. Beloved, contrary as it may seem to what we have always thought, I ask you what could be more clear than what this scripture is actually teaching? The Jewish man could not divorce his wife for just any cause, as people were guilty of doing some 1400 years after the law came when Jesus arrived on the scene and rebuked them for their loose way of living for just any and every cause and telling them they could not do this for any other cause except it be for fornication (sexually unfaithful). If you do, you cause that woman to be guilty of adultery in remarrying. Jesus, like Moses, declared if she be put away for any cause other than uncleanness or open prostitution against her husband and she is married to another, she would definitely be in adultery, only the grounds of uncleanness (adultery) could keep the woman from being in adultery. Divorce, for any other cause, would mean she would be in adultery should she marry again.

 

 DIVORCE FOR “ANY CAUSE” FORBIDDEN

 

No, he couldn’t simply get angry with her and obtain a divorce like so many were doing some 1400 years later when Jesus arrived on the scene. She couldn’t refuse to cook his meals and other things and him obtain a 13 divorce. Those are simply not grounds for a divorce. However, if a divorce was granted on grounds other than unfaithfulness and the woman remarried, then she would be in adultery. Nevertheless, on any grounds was the way they were interpreting Moses’ law 1400 years later and Jesus was pulling them back to the truth of the scripture saying there never has been but one ground for a divorce. And remember this point, he may give her a bill of divorcement on that one ground of open prostitution or unfaithfulness. Yet, once that first husband divorces that woman, divorce has forever separated the two. That is thus saith the word unto the Jewish people under the law age. I am sure most of us would declare, because of what we have been taught, that the woman would surely be an adulteress having married the second time and if she ever hoped to be in fellowship with God, she would most assuredly (by religious standards) leave that second husband returning to the first one who divorced her. Religion says that God says I forbid her to ever go back to that first husband (even though she was guilty). The only chance of not being in adultery with her second husband was that her first husband had put her away on the only legal grounds, uncleanness or open prostitution or as Jesus said, the grounds of fornication. But if he does, he can never have her back. The true teaching found in the law of Deut. 24:1-4, that open prostitution by a married woman was the only grounds whereby Moses’ law granted a divorce as shown in the inspired word of God and that divorce then was only granted because of the hardness of the man’s heart in the face he simply could never forgive her for her unfaithfulness.

 

 WHY GOD COULDN’T DIVORCE ISRAEL

 

Another illustration that we should touch upon showing forth the putting away of a woman, but not divorcing her wherein at a later time she may be received back into the marital program as a wife is illustrated through the life and ministry of Hosea the prophet. In the story that Hosea and his harlot wife portrays, shows the relationship of God to Israel, who in the spiritual sense, had taken as a wife but had lived adulterously with other lovers while in His house or land. God chooses Hosea, a righteous prophet, to portray a role which tells a story of Israel’s history once God found her and spread His skirt over her, taking her unto Himself as His wife. Our setting is around the 8th century B.C. and the 10 tribes of Israel have become polluted in their adulterous ways. May I say, that among God’s prophets such men as Hosea, Isaiah, prophets of this caliber, most of them were married men. However, they never practiced polygamy. Hosea, a godly man, will prophesy through his role in this picture something that will ring through the ages and beloved, its fulfillment is even taking place today because God is calling His wife Israel back home. How can God receive her back unto himself. Simple, he never divorced her, only sent her away. However, had divorce been granted, God could never receive her back unto himself in a wife relationship.

 

WOMAN CAN’T DIVORCE HUSBAND

 

The woman, you recall in Israel’s history, women of that nationality, could be put away by their husbands; however, if they ever divorced they might never under no circumstances return unto them. This, of course, was a setting of the natural, illustrating that of the spiritual realm wherein God could put Israel away. However, if she was ever to return to Him, He couldn’t divorce her. Once that divorce was issued, that was the final separation between the first husband and his wife forever. Women under the Jewish law, under no circumstances could divorce her husband; however, only on one ground he could divorce her. This too is to show the role of Israel with God. Israel may never put the eternal Spirit God away. However, God could put her away for a period of time, which He did. Although now, since 1948, she has been returning unto Him, the process is not over dealing with the nation Israel even yet. We won’t see that beautiful reunion until the millennium when all lovers forever will be cast aside. No, God has simply cut her away for a period of time. He didn’t divorce her in order that she one day would return to Him when she is through playing the harlot. All this transpires in the relationship of Israel and God as it is exemplified and characterized by the dedicated life of Hosea the prophet, who God instructs to take unto himself a wife of whoredom. How terrible, yet if Hosea is to play the role of God in the natural that Israel may see something, he can by no means take unto himself a virtuous wife. Because to portray Israel she has to be a woman of a low moral character. God desires to show Israel, through this story, what he is prepared to do unto her, this adulterous woman who is guilty of playing the harlot with many lovers, meaning many kingdoms, gods or deities. Israel, as a nation, had committed against 14 God every kind of relationship possible with that of her lovers. And that is exactly why the nation Israel had to be dispersed for thousands of years (beginning with the dispersion of the 10 tribes). Here throughout the story of Hosea and his harlot wife is God’s way of saying to Israel, all right you go out and make love to these fellows, but while you are doing to stay out of my house (his land). So God gave them up, no, God didn’t divorce her, he merely sent her out declaring while you are running around being an unfaithful wife, don’t come back here to me. It is all God’s way in his treatment of his wife Israel. To make a long story short, Hosea took this no good woman to wife in order to illustrate God’s qualities in his own relationship with adulterous Israel, even through the birth of children, born unto Hosea and this harlot woman. The children’s names further imply God’s relationship in his dealings with Israel his wife, showing that through a long period of time she would be away from him, but finally she would return as a true wife. Keep in mind Deut. 24:1-4. Had God divorced Israel she could never have returned unto him. See, Deut. 24 etc. was God’s natural laws set up to govern the local Jewish families which, in return, illustrated Israel’s relationship toward God in that of husband and wife. Remember, God could not put Israel away by divorce as was illustrated by the family life of the people of Israel in that of wife and husband relationship. The woman could never put the man away, showing Israel could never put God, her husband, away anymore than the church could put Christ away. Yet once divorce enters the picture, that finishes it for that particular couple. On the one proper ground for divorce, the male of the Old Testament, whether it be priest, king, prophet or the man of the congregation, the man could always put away the woman; however, one thing rings loud and clear, absolutely no where in the law was a provision made whereby a wife could divorce her husband. Were she to do that, she would in turn destroy or spoil her natural type which she portrays of the spiritual. Not even the grace age would permit a woman to divorce her husband; however, the one thing God did permit Paul to say under grace in this behalf will be revealed once we touch I Cor. 7.

 

WHY WOMAN COULDN’T PUT AWAY HUSBAND

 

Although this is one thing people surely enjoy hammering on, we might ask the question why did God characterize that the woman could never put away the man? Simply because the Jewish man, though born under the law and subject to the law and all its penalties, was none other than a type of Christ and shows in this captivity that if the church goes a whoring, Christ could put her away but never divorce her seeing once she is divorced nothing in history could ever return her to him to be his wife. Therefore, we note the same with God and Israel, he merely put her out, not divorce her because of her whoredom. Therefore, one day she shall completely return unto him, never again to look at another lover.

 

CHURCH CAN’T DIVORCE CHRIST

 

Bear in mind, although the Jewish man was given permission to put away his Jewish wife because of her unfaithfulness, she could by no means ever put him away. As we said, this was done to show forth that exampleship how the church may never divorce Christ. This by no means implies that Jewish man is lifted upon the same level to that of Christ. God forbid! History proves many of those men have been as wicked as can be. That is unfair to the woman, someone will say. No, it isn’t unfair because she must play that role in her type also and remember the same law which would not permit her to put away her husband would also protect her in the fact that if she truly upheld in her heart humbly the true ordinances of God and for some reason she had a no-good husband, as shown illustrated in I Sam. 25:3-39, God will free that woman by having that nogood man killed and leave the godfearing woman free to go and choose herself another mate. God is just God. Don’t think for a moment, under the law, God was going to make an Israelite woman hew the line and allow the Sanhedrin court to crack the whip over the head while the man, as no-good as he could be, let him get by. God forbid! In that law, it meant this: A no-good man got the goods the same as did the woman. However, when there was no Sanhedrin court in the land to execute judgment or who wouldn’t treat the man as he, under the law, should be treated, why then should God allow the same law to be executed on the woman? This I state in order to show you what the courts of the rabbis were doing in the day of Jesus Christ. Why, they were doing exactly the same thing with God’s law as the modern gentile church world and her national courts of the land are doing today.

 

CHRIST TEACHING ON DIVORCE

 

Turning now to the New Testament, a period still some three years under the law age before the grace age begins, and perhaps some 13 years or more before we will begin seeing gentiles converted to Christ and coming into the grace age (Acts 10). Our story now jumps 1400 years, up to the hour of Christ’s ministry. It has been roughly 1400 years since Moses received the law and penned the inspirational passages of Lev. 21, Deut. 22 & 24, passages we have studied. Don’t forget the Spirit of Christ or the Holy Spirit here in Christ is the very same spirit called the Father, speaking out of this vessel of clay named Jesus (who is both Lord and Christ) in that sermon on the mountain is exactly the same eternal one Spirit who was with Moses at Mt. Sinai and inspired him to write the law. THE SAME SPIRIT Hence, do you think the Holy spirit of God could possibly cause Moses to say one thing and here 1400 years later in the ministry of Christ, his son made under the law (Gal. 4:4), possibly allow him to speak something contrary to what Moses said 1400 years earlier. No beloved, He is the same Spirit who gave to Moses the law, now in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself He is the same, He is a consistent God.

 

NO NEW DOCTRINE FOR ISRAEL

 

Christ will have no new law to present the people of Israel on this subject of marriage and divorce. Instead, He will vindicate Moses’ law teaching on the subject, declaring exactly as Moses did, there is only one ground whereby a man may obtain a divorce from his wife, Deut. 24:1-4. If she is put away for any other cause, Christ declares as did Moses, she would be an adulteress, however (both said) if she is put away on this one ground of uncleanliness (amplified version translates indecency) and remarries, she is not an adulteress. Beloved, there are many words which could be used (that are identical in meaning) along with this word used by the King James translators called fornication.

 

DIVORCING ON ANY GROUNDS

 

Are you aware when Christ preached that sermon on the mountain, He was not asked one question concerning marriage and divorce? No question prompted him, He simply knew what was going on in the society of His day. Furthermore, recall He who knew the thoughts of all men never needed anyone to ask him a question in order to declare something. He knew what was in people’s minds. The scripture declares Christ would often make certain statements prompted from the thoughts in people’s minds. It is the thoughts of the people here as they listen to Christ and knowing the Jewish society of His hour, how they had forsaken the true interpretation of Moses’ teachings concerning the subject of marriage and divorce that prompts Christ’s statement. The rabbis are now issuing divorces for any grounds. No longer did divorce merit the only grounds of open prostitution which is uncleanness, fornication, adultery, now it was divorce for any cause. Why? Because this is what the present Jewish society was doing and we must remember any answer Christ gives to religious leaders after He brought in adultery in His sermon on the mount was never contrary to any of Moses’ teachings on the subject, although to some it might appear so. There will always remain under Jewish law governing Jewish people that one legal ground stated throughout the law age for a man to divorce his wife which could keep the woman herself free from adultery allowing her to marry another man. Beloved, Jesus never changed that ground.

 

PREACHED ONLY ONE SERMON

 

Matt. 5 through 7 brings out that lengthy sermon. Matt. 5:1 declares, he seeing the multitude went up into a mountain and his disciples came unto him then opened he his mouth and began to teach. After giving forth what is called The Beatitudes and other statements dealing with that of social life connected with the law, he assured the people he had not come to destroy the law. Therefore, his statement will not be contrary to the law as he speaks much about what the commandments declare as he also gives a true interpretation of their meaning. Yes, it was because of what the present society was doing which prompted many statements in this sermon as to how they were observing it in their own present day living. The same is true in what he said concerning marriage and divorce and perhaps so subject he ever touched on was as provoking as this one subject, marriage and divorce in the Jewish family under the law. Our setting in Matt. 5 for Jesus’ only sermon on the subject of marriage and divorce is somewhere in the early part of the first year of his ministry and here 16 he is in the process of delivering a sermon unto the multitudes from the Galilean slopes overlooking the Sea of Galilee. I remind you again no question had been asked him concerning marriage and divorce. It’s the thoughts of the people listening to his sermon which is prompting his statements as he is well aware of the loose society that exists in his hour concerning their interpretation of the law, and there shall be statements made in his sermon that struck home so deeply into their interpretation of Moses’ writings as well as their own loose living in that hour 1400 years later that many will never recover from. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he constantly rebuked the religious leaders for their private interpretation of the law (Matt. 23). However, perhaps nothing he ever preached was as rebuking or stinging as his one sermon which struck at their private lives and interpretation of the law on marriage and divorce.

 

BRIEF HISTORY LEADING TO CHRIST’S GENERATION

 

No, Christ had not been asked any questions pertaining to the subject. In fact, it is he who brought up the subject through his sermon. Christ well knew the society of Jews that he faced; furthermore, he knew Israel over the past 400 years had witnessed some very dark spiritual hours seeing they had no inspired prophet with holy writ to carry them on until 400 years later when John the Baptist, Christ’s forerunner appeared on the scene. No, perhaps not since those great revival days under Ezra and Nehemiah as Judah returned after 70 years of Babylonian captivity back to her homeland had she experienced such a great revival of all places at a place called Watergate. (Neh. 8:3) Ezra the scribe found the word of the Lord and for over a half day read to these spiritually starved Jews who wept and shouted at the reading of the long lost word which resulted in the Jews putting away their strange gentile wives acquired while in Babylon. The second temple was built and the priesthood was reestablished and set in motion perfectly as the law indicated; however, as always, the effect of the great revival didn’t last over one generation (40 years) seeing that Malachi the last inspired prophet Israel ever had for 400 years is seen in his hour prophesying bitterly against the priests of the temple who, less than 30 years ago, had reestablished God’s law and everything was placed back in its proper perspective as the law demanded. Malachi thoroughly rebukes the entire priesthood and ministry who guided Israel, for their carelessness, their looseness, in drifting away from the law and the true temple worship seeing in that hour they offered polluted bread upon the altar of God. Yet, he prophesied unto them (of Jesus), the messenger of the New Covenant who one day would come to this temple (Mal. 3:1). Following the days of Malachi’s prophecies, Israel for 400 years received no prophet to lead and inspire her until finally John the Baptist (who introduced Christ) clothed in the power and spirit of Elijah appeared on the scene for a brief ministry. Beloved, if you think the priests and rabbis of Malachi’s day, some 30 years after a mighty revival, had drifted off course from the truth of the Mosaic law you should see what Israel is doing 400 years later as they are presently interpreting the divine law of Moses when Christ comes on the scene.

 

 RELIGIOUS PARTIES

 

Israel’s religion of one God and temple worship had roughly, for 50 years before Christ’s coming, been divided into three religious parties known as Pharisees, Sadducees and Zealots. Although the scripture mentions nothing concerning the Zealots, Jewish history does, revealing their belief on the interpretation of the law, etc. The party of the Sadducees were known to be less orthodox than even the Pharisees seeing they didn’t believe in angels or the resurrection. However, the group to continually buffet Christ on the interpretation of the law and etc. came mainly from the order of the Pharisees who no doubt felt their party (denomination) was the closest to that of the original interpretation of Moses’ law. It was this group Jesus referred to as the generation of serpents and vipers, seeing the nature of the viper, if need be is to lay in wait for its victim, which truly was the spiritual nature of those Pharisees who continually sought to trap Jess through statements on the law in every turn of the road. By the time Jesus appears, there are three main schools of thought on the law which is well planted in that Jewish generation mind. And this idea of divorcing a woman for just any cause was truly on the rampage. Hence, Christ in his very first sermon elevated high up in the Galilean mountains above the multitudes wherein his voice might echo down across the valley unto where stood the multitudes listening to a man deliver his first sermon. This gives a brief picture of the setting of Jewish society Christ must approach with the true interpretation of the law. True, the Jewish people through their three party religious system was 17 still holding onto their one God religion as his temple worship; nevertheless, as we learn from Matt. 23 and other scriptures, they had totally lost sight of what his law actually declared on practically everything surrounding the ten commandments. Jesus in his sermon was in the process of informing the people what they must do in order to be his disciples. Recall what a disciple is, one who follows explicitly the teachings of another. To be Christ’s disciple one must follow exclusively the teachings of Christ.

 

ISRAEL’S SORE SPOT

 

Many subjects have been touched upon in his sermon concerning the social life, etc. when suddenly he touches upon what will prove to be Israel’s sore spot. What he says, as they listen to a man who has authority to speak, will now cause eyebrows and tempers to raise among many within this religious group as they hear him ripping deeply into their theology seeing they also had their own interpretation concerning the subject he was approaching. When individuals such as these reach a pathetic place scripture carries no more authority over their individual lives and they begin to interpret certain things to fit their own choosing, not only have they lost their convictions and stability they’ve reached the point they could care less who says what, how or when. Such setting as this is exactly what Jesus is facing. He knew all things concerning every life standing before him as well as how they interpreted the scripture. He even knew how many times each one had been divorced under this new theology which they declared was the true interpretation of Moses’ teaching, whoever divorces his wife let him give her a bill of divorcement. Certainly, if Christ in John 4:16-19 knew how many husbands the woman at the well already had and the man she now lived with wasn’t her husband, don’t you think he knew what all these people had been doing as well? Furthermore, he knew exactly how to word every statement wherein it would hit their theology the hardest? Israel, divided now into her 3 major religious parties, was provided with 3 slants of interpretation on the teachings of Moses and believe me, this society was a terrible society (as well as our own) to try to preach truth to, seeing their theology continually buffeted his true revelation of Moses’ law. Furthermore, Christ is aware while preaching that he stands before a divided religious people in their thinking who knows practically as much about the true revelation of the scriptures on what Moses taught as did a horn toad know about water skiing across the Mojave Desert. Up until this hour, perhaps this multitude had never realized how much impact and authority the holy scriptures did actually carry seeing they had been so busy concentrating more so in the rituals and ceremonies of the present day. Sure, no doubt on certain things they hewed to the very letter, while other things they could care less which way it went.

 

MARRIAGE IN THE FINAL GENERATION OF LAW

 

One such attitude was found concerning the moral side of the family picture. Those rabbinical courts had twisted the moral side to such an extreme (much as our own courts have done concerning the matter of divorce) for just any cause. As Jesus preached the sermon on the mount (Matt. 5:27) you could obtain a divorce in Israel for just about anything as it is in our day. Recently, an article in the paper told of one man who obtained a divorce because his wife didn’t spread the mayonnaise properly on his sandwich. How ridiculous can you get. The situation of Israel was just about anything as it is in our day. The situation of Israel was just about that pathetic. Marry a person, live a little while with them, lay so much money down for the rabbi and obtain yourself a divorce, remarry another and etc. When Moses clearly taught that open prostitution of that wife which is unfaithfulness to her marriage vow was the only grounds God would permit a Jewish man to ever divorce his wife. Although now the law was being twisted to interpret (much as it is in our day) to fit an apostate society. Yet, all religious parties of Israel referred to themselves as devout followers of Moses.

 

LIVES, AN OPEN BOOK

 

Therefore, as the Lord of Glory, robed in the flesh, stood before these people, their lives were before him an open book. He knew the immorality in the life of each person present as well as those who weren’t present but who would definitely hear about his sermon through the mouth of others. He knew how many wives various men present had as well as how many husbands various women had also.

 

REBUKED PRESENT THEOLOGY

 

Suddenly, out of his mouth comes ringing words across that crowd to this effect. “You have heard it said by them of old times thou shalt not commit adultery.” And on the basis of how the religious leaders had 18 interpreted Moses’ teaching on the subject of adultery, the majority of the people could no doubt say amen. No doubt, there stood some in that vast multitude who still remained with the deep conviction over what Moses taught concerning the subject. In heir hearts no doubt they were saying, Jehovah help me to walk with a pure heart before you like your olden saints did. Many old gentile saints today, even in those old denominational systems also once lived that way, that is until the church systems decided to amend their by laws, constitution, and etc. Those old timers who loved that word, had definitely heard it said with conviction. Thou shalt not commit adultery. (Ex. 20:14) They could no doubt recall history over 440 years prior there at Watergate under Nehemiah and Ezra, the great revival in the word which sprang forth in their ancestors’ hearts as they wept and repented, putting away their strange gentile wives acquired in Babylon. However, now some 440 years later, the descendants of those Jews stood listening to Jesus and hearing him declare “You have heard it said by them of old, thou shalt not commit adultery”. However, watch now his following statement as he is ready to expose the filthy carnality which dwelt within their lustful, filthy minds, seeing that they are a people who now live in such a loose society, and no longer hew to the mark in respect to what Moses taught. Now, they respect nothing sacred of God other than their own theology which they believe to be of God. Whenever you lose your true convictions on the teachings of the scriptures, you can’t help but have loose, contaminated mind and spirit. Shaking their minds by saying something showing them exactly where they live as well as what was in their lustful minds, as he says, “But I say unto you (this time not addressing the old timers who still remain with conviction in their hearts) that whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” With this statement he stung that crowd worse than if he had smashed them over the head with a hammer. In this great multitude stood some men who still had only one wife. There stood others also who, because of a loose society, no longer maintained with conviction on what Moses actually taught. Their society, like ours, had reached a point you could obtain a divorce for any kind of disagreement. Because of that loose society, there were religious men continually looking around at someone else’s woman, desiring her. Sure, that’s what you encounter when mora laws lose their sting and a convicting power is no longer present in the minds of people. You have loose minds and loose spirits looking around, lusting after other women, declaring in their hearts, now if I can only get rid of mine, I’ll get that one. In their heart, what have they done? They’re already guilty of committing adultery. Not necessarily in an outward sense. No fleshly act of adultery has been committed by mere lustful thoughts. Yet, because of that loose living society, God sees their lustful filthy minds what they are thinking and Jesus says, “Whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already in his heart”. (Matt. 5:28) Leaving them jarred and shaken by this statement, and giving his statement time to sink deep into their carnal minds, Christ continues on by saying in verses 29-30 whatever part of your body offends you, cut it off, etc. for it is better that member of the body perish and not the whole body be case into hell, etc. Now watch, he’s ready to rock them straight back on the revelated word of what Moses actually taught as he continues on preaching and may I remind you, these are the statements dealing with this moral issue which so stung, flabbergasted, and angered the religious leaders, they were never able to recover from his sermon until his dying day. Bear in mind it’s 31 A.D. in the first portion of the year of Christ’s ministry, and it’s the only time Jesus ever preached upon this subject of marriage and divorce. All other comments found later on are made by Jesus only because certain deceptive questions have been asked him in the latter part of his ministry concerning that one sermon he preached way back in the first part of his ministry. This one message echoed from that mount by word of mouth, from Jerusalem to Capernaum, until the effects of his statements in that one great message echoed all the way across Israel striking every phase of religious life. During those final six months of his ministry those religious leaders were so stunned and agitated, that modernistic adulterated generation of Pharisees and Sadducees, continually hounded him with questions relation to statements found in this one sermon. Yet, I remind you, nowhere at any time did Christ ever change his mind concerning what Moses had declared. Certainly not. Back to his statement in the sermon on the mount, Christ is aware His first two statements (Matt. 5:27-28) have actually stung as it ripped into their theology. Sure, they are more so shaken by that second statement, whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already with her in his heart. They knew Moses never said that. It is 19 true Moses never said that, that is Christ’s teaching. He showed them what they had on their minds. You will never find Jesus teaching contrary to the true revelation of Moses’ teaching. Jesus made that statement simply because this modern day society stood guilty of wrongly interpreting Moses and applying the effects of Moses’ teachings to fit their own adulterous way of life. That is exactly what has happened within every apostate church system under the sun. Watch your newspapers. Whenever you hear about the various large denominational conventions being held, sooner or later they will have something on their agenda concerning the very subject we are now discussing. In every case they always feel we must update our views on this subject. Marriage and divorce in their movement must be revised and note, the revising they seek to introduce in updating their amendments, constitutions and laws of faith will be as unscriptural as can be. Why? Because our religious society has reached a point they could care less whether their amendments are made to fit the scripture or not.

 

VERIFIED MOSES’ TEACHING

 

Ready now for his third powerful statement in his sermon, a statement (Matt. 5:31-32) which lines up identically with what Moses taught in Deut. 24:1-4. “It has been said (see this had been said) whosoever puts away his wife let him give her a writing of divorcement”. Watch out now, he is going to stab their theology in the heart as he seeks to correct their line of thought and bring it back into the word on what Moses actually did teach. He never changed Moses’ teachings. He only sought to correct their ideas as to how they were now applying Moses’ teaching and rebuked the way they were living. He continues by saying, “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving (or except it be) for the cause of fornication (exactly what Moses said) causeth her to commit adultery and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commiteth adultery.” This isn’t some new doctrine, that is exactly what Moses taught. Divorcing a wife for some cause other than fornication (unfaithfulness or open prostitution) would certainly cause that poor woman when she marries another man to be committing adultery as well as would her new husband. Let me repeat that, that we may fully understand Jesus’ total endorsement of Moses’ teaching to Israel under the law in Deut. 24:1-4. A woman divorced on any grounds other than that one ground, if she goes and marries another man she is an adulteress, Jesus said. However, if she was guilty of open fornication or prostitution and there could be no reconciliation between the man and his wife because of the hardness of the man’s heart, he could never forgive her for what she had done; there would always be trouble in the home. God said, then let her go by giving her a writing of divorcement whereby she may go be another man’s wife but she can never return to the first husband who put her away. Jesus said, you divorce your wife for any other cause than fornication and she goes out and marries another, you (the man) have caused her to commit adultery as well as the one who she marries. Why? Because you divorced her on some other grounds other than fornication. Say a young Jewish man married a young girl in the environment of Christ’s day. They lived together two or three years but can’t seem to get along, can’t get adjusted, can’t bring their spirits under control to agree with one another; therefore, they go to the rabbi and say we want to get a divorce. Sure, we’ll give you a divorce, but the inspired law of Moses didn’t say to give them a divorce for any cause. What then should have been done? That old Jewish rabbi should have taken both of them and give them one good tongue lashing and sent them back home, saying you shut your mouth and start living right or the next time we’re going to throw you both in jail. Oh, no. The rabbis of Jesus’ day were saying just the opposite. We’ll give you a divorce for anything. Therefore, not only is Jesus sternly rebuking them for their loose theology by giving them thus saith the Lord he is also declaring what Moses taught. That is, if you send that woman away through a divorce on any other grounds other than fornication, you’ll cause her to commit adultery when she marries another. Why? Because in that society it was much different from our day. Say a man divorced a woman for just any cause other than unfaithfulness, ninety-nine percent of the time, that woman would choose companionship elsewhere. It was much harder for a young woman in that day to make a living for herself than would in this hour. This is the day they want to give young women as much authority to work in the plant, etc. as that of the man. However, not so in that hour of society. It was dreadfully hard for a young woman to make a living. Therefore, most women had to choose a man to be her provider hence she who is divorced (for some other cause) is going to choose companionship. She’s going to choose a 20 home life and to do so, she must be remarried to still another man. Circumstances in that hour especially throughout that law age and most of the grace age as well, would force that young woman to choose married life with that of a second companion and I remind you, were she to have been divorced by her first husband on some other grounds than fornication, she in return will be forced by what that man did unto her to live in the physical state of adultery. Why? Because she was illegally put away because of their own private interpretation of the law. That religious society of Jesus, now broken up into at least three separate religious parties of interpretation on the scripture, was a society full of divorce, for just any cause. They were living in adultery as though God or anybody else didn’t even care. Here’s what a modern loose society faces, once they lose all fear and respect for God’s true moral law. Therefore, do we hear Jesus say, “Lest it be for fornication, you cause her to commit adultery and whosoever marries her that is divorced commits adultery.” Why? Because she wasn’t legally put away. Her divorce was unjustifiable. Moses in Deut. Permitted divorce on one ground only.

 

ROME SAYS “NO GROUNDS”

 

Here is the true teaching of Christ as he endorses what Moses taught, as well as tries to bring this loose society back to the scripture. Read it again, first in Deut. 24:1-4 then Matt. 5:27-28, 31-32, and still there will be people who say, I just don’t believe it that way. If you can’t believe the Bible, what will you believe, your own ideas and opinions of the scripture? God forbid. You know why people refuse to believe what they are reading in this Bible? It is contrary to what they have always believed or heard? It is because the Catholic Church, being the mother of all organized religions, over a process of time destroyed the true meaning by refusing to grant divorces on any grounds and it has been the Catholic church, through the ages, wherever her powers have gone, first especially throughout Europe, who greatly affected the courts of that land. Because the courts made their laws to comply to the doctrines, teachings, and approval of the Catholic Church in Europe. For absolutely no cause, would they grant a divorce.

 

ANNULMENT, IS IT SCRIPTURAL?

 

Yet, watch this. Later on, this church became the first one who is guilty of cooking up this unscriptural idea referred to as granting an annulment. You can’t show me one place in the Bible where annulment is in the program of God in dissolving the marital life of two people. There was nothing in scriptures other than that one ground of fornication, which is unfaithfulness or open prostitution found in the life of a wife that can possibly merit a divorcement or separation of two married people. Jesus said except it be for fornication you divorce her and you’ll cause her to commit adultery. Meaning, a husband putting away his wife on any other grounds once she goes and marries another, (he) causes her to commit adultery. Moses said the same thing in Deut. 24:1-4.

 

AMERICA 200 YEARS AGO

 

However, 1400 years later, they had misinterpreted it, saying it was perfectly all right to divorce for any cause. You need a divorce, can’t seem to get along, go down and get separated. That’s all it took. 200 years ago, when this country was founded and our constitution was born in a prayer meeting, even though those founding fathers didn’t have the scriptural revelated light, we today do, nevertheless, these great God fearing men possessed enough spiritual ability to know and respect the moral side of God’s book. 200 years ago, it was most difficult for anybody to obtain a divorce. Why? Because young America had so much respect for the moral laws of God’s word. However, this is a day you can live together six hours, six days, six weeks, or six years and for any cause merely go down to the courthouse, pay a lawyer so much and he will start you a procedure on a divorce. Furthermore, it seems they could care less what the word of God declares concerning the matter. Beloved, as the devil brings into our hour a modern atheistic, loose living society this causes the courts of the land to be forced to change their old established laws to comply with that of a modern backslidden society. That in turn is causing the church world, rather than to lose their congregations, to break down their own convictions also to fit a worldly loose standard. Instead, the rabbis were doing exactly what this disrespectful slack, undisciplined people wanted. They wanted what they wanted, when, where and only how they wanted it. Once you are faced with such a society as this, you are bound to produce a society full of divorces, one that will have much trouble in their home life. When life itself becomes filled with only what I 21 want, when I want it, and how I want it, mark it down, that society is headed for a lot of trouble.

 

 CHRIST’S TEACHING NEVER CHANGED

 

Recall, back in the early part of that first year of his ministry, Matt. 5 records the only time Jesus actually preached a sermon on this subject. Therefore, Matt. 19 is the period of only a few brief weeks before his crucifixion in 33 A.D. possibly as much time as 2½ years had expired since Christ preached his unforgettable sermon on the mount wherein he dug deeply into their theology and upset the apple cart. Accusing questions were continually thrown at Christ by religious leaders who failed to rejoice in his view or interpretation of scripture. Matt. 19 shows him beyond Jordan having already left the territory of Galilee making his way steadily toward Jerusalem for his trial and crucifixion. Assaulting him with question and seeking as usual to trap him, the Pharisees still with that chip on their shoulders, over the sermon delivered several years prior approaches and tempts him. Matt. 19:1 says Jesus, finishing his sayings departs from Galilee and comes into the coast of Judea beyond Jordan. A familiar spot for Jesus, seeing this is the area where John had baptized him where also the woman taken in adultery was brought to him and also where he was when word reached him concerning the sickness of Lazarus. With his mind heavy pressed with the burdens confronting him with Calvary, the Pharisees make it no easier on him with their questions, which are continually bent on trapping him into saying something against the law. Verse 2 declares he is beyond Jordan, the multitudes are following him and he heals them. The question that is about to be asked did not arise from his followers who would sincerely seek to know the truth. Instead it stems from the Pharisees who were among the crowd always trying, testing, or tempting him. The question they asked is not in order to get their theology straight, it’s only to aggravate him because that sermon preached several years ago still gnawed and ground away at them. The scripture reveals nothing he preached in this area would stir up their theology to ask such a question. No, their theology had been stirred constantly since his sermon over two years ago. They couldn’t get over it, like many of my critics will be once this message is released to the world.

 

THE QUESTION

 

Therefore, the marriage subject seemed to be the most disturbing of all his subjects because this hit more into the home area where they lived seeing over ninety percent no doubt lived in adultery, having divorced their wives for any cause. Now they sneakingly approach Jesus thinking they can outsmart him with this question. Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Why should they ask him such a question? They knew his position on the subject. They knew his position hadn’t changed from two years ago when he preached the sermon and openly declared unto them whosoever putteth away his wife save it be for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. They knew where he stood and that was their problem. Nevertheless, they just had to come back and ask him again. Let’s paraphrase their question in our language, it would mean, can I divorce my wife for anything that I want to? Those deceptive religious crooks wouldn’t quote scripture correctly to save their lives. However, watch Christ who is now going to make these men through his conversation, acknowledge there is something written in this Bible. Some people are simply afraid to face the word as it is. Is it all right to divorce her for any cause, they asked? Watch his answer closely as he begins to answer them with a questions, saying, “Have you not read”, see how he throws the word straight at them? Jesus is going to make those brilliant, religious law students acknowledge what he is about to say is in the scripture and if he is about to show them something written in the scripture, they should be able to tell him what is written, seeing they are such students of the law. He’ll make them acknowledge, yes, I’ve read it. Then beloved, if they have read it, why in the world should they be coming to him with such a question of deception. Have you not read he said, sure, they certainly had read it, but one thing certain they had no intentions of obeying it, like many people today who’ll change this or that in order for it to read another way. The Pharisees were doing that. Have you not read he that made them in the beginning made the (one) male and (one) female, and then he proceeded to quote Gen. 2:23-24 unto these well read theologians. This you will recall, was the prophecy of Adam concerning the purpose of woman. See, in his process of answering their questions, he is making them acknowledge that something is written and they ought to acknowledge what is written rather than embrace their own private interpretation of the law. People are the same today. They’ll absolutely place a 22 church tradition above that of the scripture and swallow it hook, line and sinker. Cleverly, Christ is making these Pharisees acknowledge there is a few things written and since you’re such scholars of the word, why don’t you inform me of what it says.

 

AT THE BEGINNING

 

Therefore, instead of beginning his conversation with what Moses taught. Christ took them all the way back to the beginning to bring them up into Moses’s writing where he will answer their question. They came tempting him, not desiring to learn anything seeing they didn’t actually think he could teach them anything. Therefore, he is carrying them on a long trip through the word, the word by the way, which they’re already supposed to know, being such scholars. When he came to that part of Adam’s prophecy which declared they will be no longer twain, but one flesh, for what purpose would they be one flesh, reproduction of course that of bringing life into the world. Let me paraphrase briefly what God is saying. Since this is God’s plan and not man’s then whatsoever God had brought or joined together for this purpose, don’t let any man tear it to pieces like you’re doing every time you grant a divorce for any cause you want to. As he reached that part, what God hath joined together, let no man put asunder, this he quotes to stir up their minds because he knows now they’re going to ask him something and they are going over to Moses’s writings to get something from Moses’s teachings to throw back at him, because he is getting too close to home. They don’t want to acknowledge that this is truth. Watch him make them bow to scripture every time. Naturally, these poor deceived souls, already in error, seeing they don’t know what the scripture teaches, will quote the portion they are so adjusted to quoting, in other words, they will quote it like they are living it. That’s the working of a hypocrite in the scriptures every time, partly quoted truth.

 

JESUS HIT WITH QUESTION

 

Having said, let no man put asunder, these agitated leaders now hits him with a question. Recall their question was, can a man put away his wife for anything? A question based on how the society was treating the subject and what they wanted him to say was, sure, what you’re doing is perfectly all right. However, they could never get that answer out of him. One thing was sure, those Pharisees don’t want to stop in that scripture which read, let no man put asunder. They would be trapped there. What are they doing? They’re searching for an answer to get out of the trap he has brought them into. Each time he gets them a little closer to the scripture. In their minds they’re thinking, no man is to put asunder, therefore his remarks of this scripture opens the door for them to ask him the following question. Why then did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement and put her away. Still, they’re avoiding the issue. Moses never stated any such thing. He said unless it be on the grounds of uncleanness or unfaithfulness (fornication) in the woman’s marriage to her husband you couldn’t divorce her without facing charges of adultery in that of remarriage. What are these Pharisees seeking to do with the scripture? They’re trying to justify the manner the Jewish public is actually living the scripture in that hour. They’re living as though in God’s eyes he is just as pleased with what they’re doing as he was in what Moses actually taught. However, they failed to recognize the one who was addressing them was the same Eternal Spirit who gave Moses that law and he want’ pleased at all.

 

 HARDNESS OF HEART

 

Watch what Jesus said following their question of why did Moses grant them to write a bill of divorcement and put her away. Christ takes them straight into Deut. 24:1-4 for his answer. Oh, I don’t want you to miss this. Note carefully that Jesus never changed what Moses said, after all he had been challenged over what Moses taught. It had been in his sermon several years ago that he defended to Israel openly what Moses taught and vindicated it to be the truth. In the light of apostasy being taught in that hour, Christ is challenged by these supposedly bible theologians who are actually nothing but apostate Jews and they, of all people, asked him a question which they completely took out of context of a true teaching of Moses (not divorce for any cause, unfaithfulness or fornication only). Having carried them the long way around in order to make them bow to the authority of the scripture whether they desired to or not, Christ at last reaching the end of his goal says, Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered or permitted you to put away your wives, but let me tell you from the beginning which I just quoted to you, it was not so. No, in the original intention of God, it wasn’t to 23 be that way because God says what he joined together, let no man touch.

 

ADDING ONE GROUND

 

However, in the history of Israel, God inspired Moses to add this one exception whereby a divorce could be granted and as Jesus said it was because the man, if his wife ever committed such an act of this nature, he probably would never forgive her though, he should, seeing God had forgiven him for things far worse. Nevertheless, rather than there always be trouble in the home, God permitted Moses’ authority to say except it be for open prostitution. If it be on this ground and because of the hardness of his heart he may therefore grant her a bill of divorcement whereby she may go and marry another and not be in adultery. However, under no circumstances could she ever return to him who put her away. Christ, being God in the flesh is the Spirit who granted Moses this permission, and here he tells these Bible scholars exactly why Moses was told to issue this one ground because of the hardness of your heart in the fact that you couldn’t forgive such a thing. No doubt many couples in Israel over the 1400 years had faced that similar situation and forgiven and made a go at their marriage. Whereby in their behalf, no rabbi had to touch their marriage with divorce. Jesus said, for the hardness of your hearts Moses suffered you to put away your wives but from the beginning it was not so. Now watch him with his last statement say something to correct their theology as he quotes this, but I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife except it be for the cause of fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery. And whosoever marries her which is put away, (doeth also) commit adultery. Don’t you see it. That’s exactly what he preached several years ago in his sermon that he delivered on the mount in Galilee where he stirred up the devil in these religious people and they never got over it. The Bible is a book that is consistent in the picture that it paints for mankind. Seeing Jesus was none other than God himself in the flesh, it is he then who in the first place caused Moses to write some 1400 years ago what he did in Deut. 22 and 24 and certainly now that he is standing here in flesh 1400 years later, being that same Spirit, who spoke to Moses, standing here in the flesh of his own person he can’t help but confirm what he told Moses to say. What else could he do, seeing the Pharisees had confronted him on his own law concerning his own word. He couldn’t go contrary to his own word especially seeing that the people of his hour were subject to the law and not to the grace age which is just ahead especially for the gentile who had no law of God to govern them at this hour. No, Christ never changed a word of his original sermon and I’m not changing a word of mine and I might add that the Apostle Paul in his teaching of the subject to the gentile church never changed what Jesus said although Paul through the anointing of the Holy Ghost was given further revelation which would surely touch the personal needs of the gentiles under grace because bear in mind, every one of these Jews of the law age we are now studying about from their physical birth was subject to the law of Moses. However, no gentile can be subject to the law of Christ until he has first been born into the family of God. Hence, in no way can you possibly make I Cor. 7 apply to merely some gentile man living out in the world. No, that applies strictly to the gentile church along with the added revelation Paul received for this age and the only possible way you could make I Cor. 7 apply to a worldly gentile person is, once he or she becomes a part of the family of God through the new birth, when that happens there’s something somewhere said in I Cor. 7 that shall definitely touch their life.

 

MARK EXPRESSING SAME TRUTH

 

Continuing on, let’s watch Christ in defense of his challenge from those Pharisees not recorded by Matthew but by another writer, Mark. Remember, Mark 10 is the identical setting at Matt. 19. The only difference is that Mark worded his writing slightly different, yet it lines up perfectly with the way Matthew who was present and who recorded the event of which we just mentioned. Mark’s recording of the event shows the setting to be still in 33 A.D., on Christ’s final trip to Jerusalem for crucifixion. Mark 10:1 is identical with Matt. 19:1, speaking of how he left the territory of Galilee coming over into the coast of Judea by the far side of Jordan. These Pharisees are the same ones who approached Christ asking him if it was lawful for a man to put away his wife, tempting him. No, it isn’t a sermon he preached down there which aggravated these Pharisees with this question. For a long time, they have been looking for something to hang on him and no doubt here they feel through this slick way of asking him something they may trap him. Seeing the setting is identically the same. 24 Master, Moses said such and such but what do you say? Mark 10:1-9. What did Moses command you (see this is how Mark recorded it. He isn’t interested in bringing out all the fine details as is Matt. Mark is only hitting the high spots of the conversation.) Moses suffered us to write a bill of divorcement and put her away. See, they slid right over the truth of the scripture. To themselves they are thinking, oh boy, he’s asking us what Moses said and we are going to tell him what Moses said. What a poor excuse for such law students. They no doubt knew what Moses said. However, the problem was, they were living so far below what Moses taught that they’re going to quote Moses’s statement back to Jesus exactly in the manner they’re applying the scripture or the way that they are living the scripture in that hour 1400 years later. Like the church world today, who no longer allows the word of God to be their compass, and must interpret the word in the manner they live in order that they feel it won’t condemn them. Again we see Jesus, according to Mark, declaring for the hardness of your heat Moses wrote you this precept, etc. Yet from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female, etc. Remember, Jesus quoted Gen. 2:23-24 as Matt. Declared he did. And then followed that by saying, therefore what God joined together, let no man put asunder. In the house, his disciples asked him again the same matter. Recall, they were present, they heard all of the conversation as recorded by Matthew and Mark only Matthew went into detail declaring Jesus gave the one grounds for a divorce. However, according to Mark here in the house, following that discussion, he records him as saying, (and by the way this is what so many people will read and never read anything else and form their own opinion on one passage) Mark said whosoever puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery against her and so forth. Without ever stopping to link all the scriptures together. Some will simply say that is what Jesus said and they will never look at anything else concerning what he said. That’s the reason I have pointed out to you and stressed throughout this message what Moses said, Jesus endorsed. First it was vindicated in his sermon then as that accusation was hurled at him by the Pharisees he followed it up by saying, but I say unto you whosoever puts away his wife save for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery as well as he who marries her. That beloved, is established throughout the word of God and simply because Mark didn’t record the identical setting that Matthew spoke of in exactly the same words, please don’t get all confused. This is merely Mark’s way of expressing what Christ said. There has no new revelation come to Christ concerning this subject once he was inside the house with his disciples. He was God in the flesh, how could he receive a revelation, he was the revelation. Every incident we have seen in Christ’s ministry, whether it be the one time he preached on the subject or whether it was at the end of his ministry when he was being confronted with these questions to aggravate him concerning his stand by those who did not hold his viewpoint, his answer remained the same. Matthew recorded the full quotation each time which was always identical to Deut. 24:1-4. Sure, any other grounds positively placed the woman as well as the man who would marry her in adultery. Therefore, I repeat, simply because Mark, who wrote his gospel years after Matthew, though not word for word, it is the same, it does not change Jesus’s position on the subject seeing the setting is identical with Matt. 19, and may I say, it is not Mark’s intention to try and change the meaning to be different. That is why beloved, you can not read one verse of scripture and always get the true setting. Each writer had his own method of writing and he recorded only that part the Spirit required of him. No, it doesn’t make any contradiction whatsoever.

 

TAKING SCRIPTURE OUT OF CONTEXT

 

However I repeat, some people would read that one verse, and go haywire disregarding every other statement Christ ever made and stand there saying, because this verse doesn’t say, except it be for the cause of fornication, etc. I have scripture to prove there are no grounds for divorce. You may have a scripture, but you have sure taken it out of context. You can’t make your line of thought fit in the continuity of the truth which flows through this word. May I remind you, this is not a contradiction either. Mark is simply not impressed to record in detail, as did Matthew.

 

ONE MORE STATEMENT

 

Turn to one more little statement where no setting is seen other than the fact we know it was spoken sometime on that last journey going up to Jerusalem. Whether Luke is recording the same incident or not, is not clear. That is immaterial; nevertheless, there is one brief statement which I want to examine with you before passing 25 out of Christ’s earthly life and the law age as well which governed Israel some 1400 years. Again Luke, like Mark, goes into no detail concerning this setting of statement. It is found in Luke 16:14 and it is a statement thrown out by Jesus to the religious leaders who are in this crowd deriding him. Luke shows no detail, yet here again is a verse along with Mark’s statement that some will lift completely out of continuity with what all the other scriptures on the subject is clearly declaring. Nevertheless, Jesus said it, someone will say and irregardless to all other scriptures that is exactly the way it has to be. No beloved, that is not the way it has to be either. Remember dear soul, Jesus did not teach two lines of thought. Nor did he ever speak against his own law. Keep that in mind also as you read this statement. The statement recorded by Luke is definitely make in reference to the way the religious leaders of that hour are living and applying Moses’ writings. Therefore, Christ rebukes them in the light of how they are applying Moses’ teachings. According to Luke, Jesus is going along teaching (Luke 16:14) and the Pharisees also who were covetous heard all of these things and they derided him. Note Luke’s statement, they derided him. They were agitating him. Trying to aggravate Jesus, confuse him in his thought. See, standing there in the crowd were those Pharisees deriding him, throwing silly remarks. The sermon he preached in the first part of his ministry was brewing in their hearts and with their tempers up they searched for something, any kind of statement they might use against him to get rid of him. Yes, they were angry. Their theology had been blasted to bits.

 

DERIDING HIM

 

Men have been known to be carnal enough to fight because someone attacked their theology. No, they could never shake themselves from the position which he held. Standing in this crowd deriding him or throwing silly remarks which could be to this effect. Hey, preacher, got any more good sermons on marriage and divorce? See these men were placed in that multitude of people for the sole purpose of agitating the crowd, making life miserable for Christ who was on his way to Jerusalem to be crucified, ridiculing him, fun-making and so forth. He has been preaching a parable and even this has gotten next to them. Luke 16:16, the law and the prophets were until John. Since that time, the kingdom of God is preached and every man presses into it. It’s easier for heaven and earth to pass than for one title of law to fail. Why would he say that? Because they were living so far below the law. They didn’t even know what the truth of the law was. Therefore, I repeat on the basis of the manner in which they’re living and representing the Mosaic law, the statement I am about to read is one he simply tosses out into the open at them. “Whosoever putteth away his wife and marries another, commits adultery, and whosoever marries her that is put away, from her husband commits adultery.” Why did he say it this way, when he never said it that way before? Simply because possibly over ninety percent of them were living in adultery in that hour. Their divorces hadn’t been on the grounds of fornication as they were supposed to be seeing that is the only grounds. Naturally, they were living in adultery and it was whosoever put away his wife and marries another commits adultery and so forth. That’s exactly what they had done. Hence, he stated it just on that basis. Again, I repeat, he had not received some new revelation that suddenly there is now no ground. Since they lived it that way, since they are deriding him he just threw it out that way. Believe me, he wasn’t suddenly disputing what Moses taught. He never did that. Matt. 5, as well as Matt. 19, links identically with the correct interpretation of Moses’ teaching to the law age, which I remind you these people are still under. Therefore, this is not a new revelation. It is merely the way the writers have worded their statements. Every accusation brought against Christ on this subject derived from that one sermon preached somewhere in the first year of his ministry. It’s not until the ending of his ministry that these questions are thrown at him showing they never got over his sermon. Irregardless to how it’s worded in Mark 10 as well as Luke 16, we must always remember these are mere statements, not sermons and they are by no means to be used to change his original position found in his sermon on the mount. A sermon which started all of his trouble. You can’t change one scripture around to make it mean one thing one day and turn it around six months later and make it say just the opposite. Scripture is always consistent with God, he doesn’t work that way. When Moses said something it was consistent. When Jesus says something it is consistent and when we turn into I Cor. 7, we are going to discover that Paul said was always consistent in everything which he showed forth on the subject. Remember, Jesus did not change what Moses said and if we get that established in our minds, it will then begin 26 to give us grounds for something to work toward, once we reach I Cor. 7 because remember the law that Moses wrote was for the children of Israel. It was given to govern their moral and social life in all of their spiritual and social activities. However, note the poor gentile who Paul deals with could not be saved or helped by observing the law. In fact, the bringing in of the law to a gentile would have been pathetic seeing the gentile’s structure of life was already so far down in the gutter of sin and corruption that when God looked through the law at the gentile people, they were so unclean so unworthy. Therefore, the law already had them condemned. Hence, only grace could now come and lift that gentile up, placing him in a realm before he could ever possibly have fellowship and contact with God.

1974-04-In-The-Beginning-It-Was-not-So-Part-1

The Things Of Christ – 1974, March

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INTRODUCTION

WHAT WERE THE THINGS OF CHRIST WHICH WERE FIRST IN GOD AND LATER PLACED BY THE SPIRIT INTO CHRIST’S MYSTICAL BODY ENABLING THEM TO DO GREATER WORKS THAN CHRIST IN HIS EARTHLY MINISTRY?

PART 1 – NEW HOLY GHOST OFFICE

We are approaching a subject which we entitle “THE THINGS OF CHRIST.” Our scripture setting is found in John 16 and deals exclusively with Christ’s final teaching session only hours before His crucifixion. Perhaps no other teaching session in all His ministry will prove as enlightening and invaluable to the disciples as this final one (John, chapter 14-16) which deals strictly with the office work of the Holy Ghost in that of the believer, a lesson which transpired sometime after the Last Supper and before the arrest in Gethsemane.

Note carefully, the Truth revealed especially in John 16:12-15 concerning the Holy Ghost or Comforter who is to be sent in Jesus’ name (John 14:26), and how this Spirit referred to as the Spirit of Truth or Father is shortly to take the THINGS OF CHRIST and show them unto the disciples. Matthew, you recall, was the first writer to openly declare the Holy Ghost to be Father of Christ! (Matthew 1:18-25) John 16:12, Jesus in His final teaching session, after Judas had left the fellowship, (John 13:30) informed His disciples He yet had many things to say unto them, however, they couldn’t possibly bear them now. Howbeit (however) when He the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all the Truth.

TWO THINGS HOLY GHOST DOES

Notice especially two statements found in Part B of John 16:13 declaring what the Holy Ghost will do once He is in His office. (1) He will not speak of Himself but shall speak of only that which He shall hear, (2) And He shall show you things to come! Jesus, referring to the Holy Ghost Father God – says when He is come into His new office work He will never speak of Himself. Why, Beloved, will He never speak of Himself? Once the Spirit of God enters His new office work (the 3rd) He will never speak in any respect to draw attention away from the man Christ, as though giving you the impression there is still yet another Spirit or Person to be glorified, but instead will seek to devote or draw all your attention to the fleshly man Christ, His only begotten Son born of a virgin womb from the seed of God, (Galations 4:4). The Holy Ghost’s attention is forever centered around this man Christ, the only Person of God of whom the gospel story itself is centered around, (I Corinthians 15:1-4).

CHRIST IN SPIRIT FORM

Therefore beloved, the only way possible for Christ to ever be seen in the life of believers must come through that of the Spirit (of Christ) – else how could Colossians 1:27 be correct in declaring, Christ in you, your hope of glory. Seeing the impossibility of an embodied, fleshly man called Christ dwelling in you, the only other alternative for Christ to personally dwell in you would be through His Holy Spirit!

The Bible declares each believer, baptized by the Holy Ghost into this one mystical body of Christ on earth has within them the Father, Son and Holy Ghost through this One Eternal Spirit. If I were trinitarian minded and said I believe what the Bible taught, when various verses indicate the Father is in us, the Son Christ is in us and the Holy Ghost is in us as believers, I would have to interpret that to be three different and distinct persons in the believer.

FATHER, SON & HOLY GHOST IN ONE SPIRIT

However, I am convinced God is not three separate and distinct persons but instead is only one inseparable Spirit who fulfills three office works of God, and once that inseparable Holy Spirit comes into our life John 16:13-15 declares He will: (1) show you things to come, (2) glorify Jesus the Christ only. Beloved, it is only through this Holy Spirit taking the THINGS OF CHRIST and placing them in the believers life are we allowed to see Jesus Christ living in the midst of His people for whom He came to save and redeem, (Matthew 1:21).

SHOWING GODLY CHARACTERISTICS

No Sir, not until the departure of Judas Iscariot into the night to betray Christ does Christ, now having only His true devoted disciples alone, present to them His final teaching session on the Holy Ghost as we hear Him declare that the express purpose of the Holy Spirit working in a believer’s life would be for none other purpose than to draw our fullest attention to the very Godly character of Christ Himself. The Spirit which was in Christ (II Corinthians 5:19) will draw our attention to the godly characteristics, traits and attributes of Christ, those godly attributes which portrayed within Him the nature of Deity or ability to be godlike and secondly, the Spirit when He is come into that new office work will show to the revelated believer the power of Christ, that power which demonstrated the works of Christ.

PURE & GODLY LIFE MAKES HIM DIFFERENT

John 16:14 – (14) “He shall glorify Me for He shall receive of Mine and show it unto you. (15) All things that the Father hath are Mine therefore He will take the things of Mine (THINGS OF CHRIST) and show it unto you.” The Holy Spirit, whom we know to be none other than the Spirit which dwelt in Christ (Romans 8:9-11) as well as the Father, when that one Spirit is come into His new office work He shall take those certain things which were invested in the man Christ and present them unto the Church, His mystical body. The Spirit will take those things which made Christ stand out or be set apart from all other mankind things which made Him to be the God man or godly man He is, and present these things to the revealed Church in order that they one day might become the same as He. Remember THE THINGS OF CHRIST which made Him different or stand out were not found in some particular outward mode of dress or appearance. No, because John 4:9 declares the woman of Samaria recognized Jesus as a Jew apparently from His appearance and dress. By no means did His outward appearance make Him different from others. Dress wise He looked as any other man of that hour. Hence, Christ was no oddball or hippie in His society as some think, yet what made Him different from others was in the pure life He lived and godly nature while here. Jesus who was declared both Lord and Christ was the Son of God, born of woman into a pure sinless body of flesh in which the Eternal Spirit chose to dwell and manifest His Eternal attributes through in order to draw mankind’s attention unto the only route mankind could return to God, I Corinthians 5:19.

Hence, it is important to recognize, first of all, that the Spirit of Truth called God the Father was in this godly fleshly man on earth! Once the Sonship role was finished, Jesus declares that the Spirit of Truth (another Comforter) would come into that third office work of God and now take those things which had made Christ different and make them known unto the revelated believers. I repeat, these things to be shown of THE THINGS OF CHRIST unto the believer was not found on the outside of the man Christ but instead was inside! For without these THINGS OF CHRIST being in the mystical body of Christ which the Spirit is going to take and show unto every revelated believer, you simply wouldn’t have the Spirit of Christ in the believer at all but would be some other Spirit instead. Moreover in order for that same identical Christ to live in the mystical body of Christ through the Eternal Spirit, would require those same attributes or characteristics which were first placed in Christ to now be placed in the revelated church.

ATTRIBUTES OF FATHER IN CHRIST

Verse 15 declares, “All these things that the Father hath are Mine and the Spirit will show them (all these things) unto you.” Let us examine this statement. (1) Whatever the Eternal Spirit, God the Father is in all His Eternal attributes characteristics or makeup has now (every bit) been placed in the Son, Jesus the Christ, born of woman. Therefore, whatever Christ is in His makeup, attributes, characteristics or traits which He received from the Father will all be taken by the Holy Ghost (the one Eternal Father, Matthew 23:9, in this new office work and emptied into His mystical body left here upon earth to carry out His divine will and purpose. Moreover beloved, when that happened you can’t help but see God in the midst of His true revelated church, those people whom God the Spirit has placed the THINGS OF CHRIST within in order they might be reconciled back to Himself, making them also the sons of God, even as God was in Christ on earth. The objective of God, in order for you to become a son of God and have a hope of glory through the Eternal Holy Spirit, is that Christ (your only hope of glory) in Spirit form might dwell in you. A work accomplished only through the office work of the Holy Ghost as He convicts you of your sins and makes a true revelated believer out of you. Beloved, you can by no means split up the THINGS OF CHRIST into certain sections or parts declaring that part which you have chosen in Christ. The THINGS OF CHRIST which you may have chosen can well be a part of Christ, although by no means is it Christ in the fullness of God As He has purposed to be in us, the Church!

PART 2

FULLNESS OF GODHEAD – WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

Turn to Colossians 2:9, which declares all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily in Christ. What did Paul mean by “all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ?” Simply this, everything God the Father is, was placed in the man Christ here upon earth. No, not in His bulk Spirit form which fills all space, but in every attribute or characteristic that God the Father is, that attribute in its fullness was placed in Christ, the Son. Hence, Christ could honestly declare, all things (attributes or characteristics) the Father hath are mine. True, else how beloved could Christ remark to Philip in that final teaching session, he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father, John 14:16:11.

How could this be? Remember first off, the Father is not a person having hands, feet, etc., as Christ, who was a man, has. Furthermore the man Christ was not Eternal, seeing He had a beginning but the Father Spirit, which is this one Eternal life giving Spirit is Eternal whose shape no one has ever seen, who fills all space and heaven is declared to be His throne while earth is His footstool.

NOT JESUS ONLY

Therefore in Christ what do we see, some second person? GOD FORBID! We see in Christ everything that the Eternal Father ever was, in all His Eternal attributes. An attribute is defined as a characteristic of a person or thing. God, who is made up of many attributes, invested them all in this earthly sonship office of God which originated here on earth through Jesus the Christ who was born of woman. Attributes might be a difficult word for some to grasp, but remember an attribute is a characteristic of a person or thing. Just as you were nothing but attributes once, laying there in the loins of your father before being transferred from your father’s loins unto the womb of your mother, where approximately nine months later you were introduced unto your earthly father as a person! No, the Eternal Spirit in His bulk Spirit form was not in Christ, that would make Him Jesus Only. Instead the Father God being in Christ was there in every Eternal attribute or characteristic which Father God is, else how could Paul declare, it pleased the Father (Spirit) that in Him (Christ) should all the fullness of the Godhead dwell bodily? (Colossians 1:19, 2:9) For the fullness of the Godhead to be bodily in Christ did not require the heavens to drain nor empty themselves of the Spirit and presence of God, thus requiring His entire bulk Spirit form to be placed into a mere body of flesh, called the Christ! Only those Eternal attributes or characteristics which God is, was there in that man.

GOD NEVER SEEN

The Eternal Spirit called God, in all His entirety of attributes or characteristics had never been seen by man at any time, John 1:18. In other words, no man had ever seen God’s eternal abode. Israel had often been privileged to see various manifestations of Him, Hebrews 1:1. They had witnessed the mountain vehemtly shaking at His presence; they knew He was there but could not see Him. They even saw the Red Sea split and felt the sensation of the wind blowing all night. Truly Israel had seen all these manifestations of God although again I repeat, they were never privileged to see His Eternal being. Moses saw his hinder parts, and Abraham had lunch with Him as he entertained three angels, one of the three was the Lord in an visible manifestation to appear unto Abraham. Yet no one had ever seen God in His Eternal being of attributes or makeup. Israel could not possibly perceive what this omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere), Spirit called God was actually like! No beloved, not until the fullness of the Godhead (everything God ever was) appeared bodily one day in this one man called the Lord Jesus Christ.

ATTRIBUTES OF GOD IN CHRIST

This life-giving, invisible Spirit called God the Father in every attribute that He is was now in Christ on earth. Every attribute the Father is in LOVE, POWER, TRUTH and everything else you could think God to be is all there in Christ! That is why Christ could declare to Phillip after 3½ years, have you been so long time with Me Phillip and still don’t know who the Father is? He that hath (truly) seen me (through revelation of the Holy Spirit), to know I am truly the Lord, hath seen past this vail of blood, and flesh, seen past this earthly role of sonship into the Eternal realm of those godly, divine life-giving attributes, within my own life and makeup, if you have seen past all that Phillip you have seen the eternal Father. No, not until Jesus who was made both Lord and Christ was born from that pure, perfect seed of God as well as the pure created egg of the virgin womb which God borrowed to form that perfect, sinless little body of flesh which would hold all these Eternal attributes that God is, would grow into manhood and walk this earth. No, not until this event had Israel ever seen God. If you can’t see Him through the revelation of the Spirit in Jesus Christ, you will never see Him. Eternal life of God with naked eyes, their hands were also privileged to handle Him, I John 1:1-2. This life-giving Holy Spirit. God the Father Himself, who is made up of all these divine attributes and characteristics, chose one day to walk among men in order that mankind could see God the Father living and ministering through a perfect sinless obedient vessel of clay and it was this vessel of clay, heard to speak to mortal men saying, he that hath seen me hath seen the Father! Why then say show us the Father and it will satisfy us, John 14:9? And then declare in John 16:15 shortly before the cross that all things the Father hath are mine and get this, all things will the Spirit take and give unto you! Therefore, all that mankind could every hope or conceive in HIS THOUGHTS CONCERNING God the Father’s love, power, etc., every characteristic and attribute of God the Father was all in Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Everything concerning the expression of God in power to meet every need of mankind; every attribute of God or characteristic of God was found in that one fleshly, perfect, sinless man, Jesus who was both Lord (God) and Christ (anointed one).

CHARACTER GOD DESIRES IN CHRIST

For what purpose, that God now as a man, could illustrate to fallen mankind exactly what kind of character or nature that He, as God desires sinful fallen mankind to be. Christ the perfect man, was the very fullness of the Godhead bodily, that is, in every attribute dwelling in Him, to demonstrate to mankind, exactly how God had always wanted mankind to live, since the first Adam was placed on earth. That exampleship God desired had been lived and portrayed in a perfect man called Jesus, the anointed one (Christ), who is standing here declaring unto His chosen disciples, all that the Father hath are mine and these things that are mine will soon be taken by the (Holy) Spirit in His new office work and shown or distributed unto you!

FURTHER ILLUSTRATION

It could be illustrated further in this manner, the Eternal Spirit says to fallen mankind, LOOK, you have never seen what I expected from mankind. How could you seeing the first Adam (your daddy) fell and by taking on a sinful nature of unbelief and death was only able to father into this planet a fallen human race of disobedient humanity of flesh filled with death!! However, you watch this man I sent, the second Adam who was born of a pure seed of God, who is My Son and is also a new order or new breed of mankind, not like others that are filled with death, instead he is full of ZOE (God’s Eternal Life)! Take a good look at this man’s life, see His loyalty and obedience to do the perfect will of the Father. Look at His exampleship in life and you will see what order of man I desire you to be like. Therefore, unto the revelated mystical body of Christ, the Church, I will give you all these things that made Him what He was as a perfect, obedient Son, full of Eternal Life. I will empty Him and present all the THINGS OF CHRIST unto you, that you in turn one day shall be like Him at the end of the age.

CHRIST OUR OLDER BROTHER

Remember in order to be Christ-like doesn’t mean we run a race with Him, oh no, that kind of Spirit would destroy the very objective we were seeking. Isn’t it strange how some people simply can’t bear for anyone to get ahead of them. Nevertheless, I am glad in the family of God we do have an older brother, the second Adam, who was our example, yet strange to say in natural families one thing that irked the other children was to have an older brother. For some reason they seem jealous of him. In God’s family, as God the Spirit presented Himself in the office of His sonship, the man Christ Jesus was born of the seed of the Holy Ghost, His Father, must in a family relationship be recognized as your older brother, our example. Yet, as very God He is the manifestation of your Saviour and Redeemer in order to reconcile you back to that great Eternal Holy Spirit called Father. The Holy Spirit, who is not some third person but is very God Himself in His future work, is using that supreme sacrifice of the Lamb to regenerate mankind or shall we say, renew, quicken or restore mankind back unto Himself.

CHRIST, HIGH PRIEST

Hence, once Christ became the resurrected Christ, He commissioned His disciples with the great commission and ascended into glory to accept His new office work of High Priest before the mercy seat (Hebrews 9:8-15), while the Holy Ghost would take the things that were in this man Christ, things that made Him what He was, and manifest these great characteristics or attributes unto the Church which is seeking to return to God.

GREATER IN WHAT CAPACITY?

Approaching that statement in John 16:15, the things of Mine (Christ), did Christ mean to imply when He said, “these things (or signs) shall follow them that believe”, Mark 16:17-18, that future Christians would be in some way different than He Himself had been – CERTAINLY NOT! How could you be Christlike or have the Spirit of Christ within you and be different? Moreover when Christ in Mark 16 stated, “These signs shall follow them that believe”, He was linking that statement up with another previous statement He made when He said, “These things (deeds) that I do, ye shall do also and greater works than these, shall you do.” (John 14:12) How could they do greater works than Christ? Greater works than these in the respect that Christ was speaking in reference to His many membered mystical body on earth, which even at that hour the statement was made, already potentially stood before Him a plurality of disciples. Later as the THINGS OF CHRIST was taken by the Spirit and distributed into the mystical body of Christ as He saw fit or as it pleased Him, watch those works of that first generation after Pentecost, 40 years or so, as those disciples allowed the Holy Ghost to work through them in whatever capacity the Spirit so chose as He had distributed all these THINGS OF CHRIST within the body that all could see Christ in the mystical body continuing on with His work! Therefore, as a many membered body of Christ now scattered over a larger area, the body would do far more deeds than Christ did in the sense they would now have His attributes (gifts) within them as they could cover a far wider area than the one man Christ could possibly cover! GREATER IN THAT SENSE ONLY!

PART 3 – WHAT ARE THE THINGS OF CHRIST?

With these thoughts in mind concerning THE THINGS OF CHRIST, how the Spirit is to place these things in the body of Christ, let us find out what these THINGS OF CHRIST are, because whatever these THINGS OF CHRIST are will produce a character of Christ-likeness in the revealed Church.

SIGNS FOLLOWED COMMISSION

The THINGS OF CHRIST to be distributed to the Church are better known as the nine gifts of the Spirit recorded in I Corinthians 12:1-31, a period of time which is well covered within the Book of Acts, a book which we must accept to be the history that covered roughly the first 45 years of the early church, and that entire book is a confirmation of what Mark declared in Mark 16:16-18 concerning signs following believers. Mark declares through verse 20 that after the day of Pentecost the disciples went everywhere preaching, not signs but the gospel of Christ which was the death, burial and resurrection of Christ thus baptizing converts in the name of Jesus Christ in order to identify them with the death, burial and resurrection of the one who died, was buried and rose again! No, they didn’t preach signs, they preached Christ who was the Truth; they preached the Great Commission, and they preached the Great Commission in exactness of revelation and understanding as Jesus had declared after His resurrection. Because of their loyalty to the Commission, to cherish it so obediently in their hearts, God worked with the revealed Church in signs and gifts of the Holy Ghost. (Hebrews 2:4)

CARNAL ATMOSPHERE IN HUMAN THINKING

I Corinthians 11:1-31 was a portion of a letter written by Paul in answer to certain timely questions which were disturbing an established church at Corinth, Greece, a church Paul established on his second missionary journey. Since the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost had been distributing the THINGS OF CHRIST unto the body of believers. Thus, the gifts of the Spirit to the Church was not only in the church at Corinth, but were in all the established churches of the First Age in this truth. Paul, in his letter, is by no means writing to undo any of the virtues or THINGS OF CHRIST as some without the Spirit have taught. Instead Paul’s interest was only to correct the error, the mis-practice or the ignorance upon the part of the church, ignorance which was keeping them from fully or truthfully understanding the true objective and usage of these THINGS OF CHRIST. However, probably within the little young church a spirit of spiritual competition had developed. The abundance of the grace and power of God being poured out on the Corinthian people, shall we say, had developed a carnal atmosphere of human thinking which was trying to blend itself into the grace of God. This carnal spirit resting on many of those precious saints causes them to sort of run a spiritual race of competition. In other words, I have more gifts or THINGS OF CHRIST than you do. Some people not even in the family of God wants no one else to get ahead of them, no, not even in spiritual matters. Such carnality should never be entertained in Christians.

Imagine believers running a rat race against each other in the things of spirituality, treating the THINGS OF CHRIST as though it is something you gamble with, something you compete against or play with. No beloved, these things of Christ are to be lived in, walked in! In order to walk closely in the family of God every child must recognize what he is supposed to be and do; recognize what, he, through the Spirit, has been given, the potential opportunity or ability to do and do that beloved and no more! Simply being willing to walk with God. Once people reach the place they are just as happy, contented and thrilled to see God using or blessing another believer as they are to see that blessing resting upon themselves, will we then begin to see a people actually showing a Christlikeness in every respect.

The first three verses of Chapter 12 Paul uses to exhort the Corinthian Christians to be thankful for that which the Word of God had accomplished in their lives, seeing how in times past they had been so superstitious (or religious) being led away after all these useless, vain dumb idols by so-called gifted priests or teachers who were supposed to have various gifts from the (planetary) gods. To understand such a statement one would have to be aware of the idolatry which existed in the city of Corinth before Paul came, and see the numerous heathen temples of planetary gods built to Apollos, Venus, Jupiter, etc.. Signs of such idol worship are still visible today. Paul informs the Corinthians no man under the influence of the true Spirit can ever say Jesus is accursed, neither can any one declare Jesus is the Lord, but in the Old Testament is Jehovah God and Paul taught in Ephesians 4:4 there is only ONE LORD!

3 OUTSTANDING WORDS

While studying this chapter on gifts three words used by Paul in verses 4-6 to express certain thoughts seemed to jump up before me. The three words are SPIRIT, LORD AND GOD. Why would Paul choose these three separate words (SPIRIT, LORD, GOD) to express the officework of the Holy Spirit in the distribution of the THINGS OF CHRIST! Paul is dead, yet his revelation of truth lives on, therefore let us consult that revelation in order to see what Paul had in mind when he penned these three separate words, SPIRIT, LORD AND GOD.

To Paul they are not three separate persons. Paul, even in his Jewish religion, believed only in one Eternal God and that truth did not have to change once he came over to Christianity. In the faith he learned the redemptive name of his Lord God (Acts 9:5) was JESUS.

DIFFERENCES IN THE NINE GIFTS

In Verse 4, Paul is ready to show the Corinthians various things concerning the true gifts as he first declares there are diversities of gifts or (THINGS OF CHRIST). True, there are nine different gifts and we desire to study each of them at least enough that we may recognize their various functions within the body of Christ. Paul declares there are diversities of gifts which simply means all different, not one of the nine gifts are alike. For example, tongues is not like prophecy, yet both gifts originate and operate, by one and the selfsame SPIRIT. Wonder why Paul didn’t stick with this word SAME SPIRIT in his next two verses as he does in verse 4?

LORD OF EACH OPERATION

Verse 5, Paul refers to the differences in the administrations or functions of each separate gift and says it was accomplished by the same LORD, not SPIRIT. The reason Paul uses LORD here is because the word SPIRIT itself doesn’t signify that the SPIRIT is LORD or master of every operation of the gifts. In other words, you don’t do what you want to with the gifts, since He is LORD and master of each operation, He operates the gift whenever, wherever and however it pleases Him! Different administrations or functions show that in each person a gift operates through can operate in a number of different ways, therefore, you can’t have a certain rule how it is to function, it simply functions as He wants it, He is the LORD of each operation! It is the Holy Ghost’s administration throughout this one grace age. As a matter of fact, He is the only one who will have an administration in the true body of Christ. We think of presidents in America who have had various administrations in running the country, we refer to Nixon’s presidency as the Nixon Administration. Therefore, in God’s kingdom it is the Holy Ghost’s Administration!

CLIMAX OF GIFT – GOD IS PRAISED

In verse 6, Paul refers to the different operations of the gifts but it is the same GOD who works all in all. Paul uses the word GOD here because God is the highest word that could be used to show the SPIRIT is God, and God means an object of worship. Therefore it is the Spirit as God who deserves the highest admiration and praise for what these gifts have accomplished through their different operations once the gift has reached its fullness or climax. Then in verses 7-28 where ever Paul mentions these gifts or THINGS OF CHRIST he returns to his former expression of THE SAME SPIRIT distributing them throughout the body of Christ as He sees fit! In order for people to catch his meaning in different expressions of the Spirit concerning these gifts he had to use the word LORD and GOD as well as the same SPIRIT showing this one Eternal Spirit was LORD and GOD. Don’t forget, according to verse 3, an entire verse which deals with Jesus, says no man calls Jesus Lord, but by the Holy Ghost!

SPIRIT WON’T LEAVE YOU IGNORANT

Therefore, we know in John 16:14, when Jesus told His disciples when He the Spirit of Truth is come He would be the one who is giving out these gifts. Furthermore, He is also to be Lord over them, and thirdly He is God seeing He is the one to be praised for them; His name is Jesus, He shall take the things of mine and show them unto you. He will never speak of Himself but of Me; He will glorify only Me. Isn’t that what the Spirit is doing here in I Corinthians 12? It is the same Spirit of God who is Lord working in the new office work, distributing the THINGS OF CHRIST after that He, the Spirit of Christ, (the father) in His new office work has first wooed and convicted you of your sin of unbelief, John 16;8-9, bringing you to a realization that you should accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. It is this Spirit of God who is Lord that baptizes you into the mystical body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13) and beloved, that Spirit of Truth will not leave you ignorant as to the objective of God in your life. Recall that objective of God is that you be conformed to the image of His dear Son (Romans 8:29). However, if you don’t know that His dear Son was Lord God Almighty in flesh and that the Spirit now in you is not some third person but is the very Spirit of Christ who distributes all things of Christ into the mystical body, then all you would know is, there is a Spirit in me, I don’t know where it came from or what it is doing! All I now is I feel it about me. HOGWASH! When the Spirit of Truth is come, He testifies of Christ, telling you all about Christ. He doesn’t leave you in ignorance as to who Christ is, (John 15:25, John 16:13-14). And through a demonstration of these nine gifts, the Spirit distributes throughout the mystical body you see a demonstration of Christ in the earth throughout the Book of Acts.

EVERY BELIEVER GIVEN SOMETHING

Leaving verse 6, Paul now drops his Holy Ghost thought down on to the level of the individual through which the gift will operate. No longer does Paul use the phrase Lord or God to carry over a certain emphasis. Instead he returns to his original phrase, the same Spirit. Once these nine gifts of the Spirit or THINGS OF CHRIST have equally been distributed throughout the entire body of Christ, verse 7 declares, and please remember this following statement in verse 7 can only be applied to a setting similar to Paul’s day in the first church age, the spiritual manifestations of the Spirit is given to every believer (Paul says) to profit withal. Note that, given to every believer, not to profit the individual the gift operates through, but instead is to profit everyone is the body of Christ, according to the Apostle Paul.

EARLY CHURCH CONSISTED OF TRUE BELIEVERS

What a truth is concealed in this small verse! However, in order to grasp such a statement one must recall fully the setting of that early church in Paul’s hour, some 30 years after Pentecost. Here Paul teaches two facts: (1) All believers of that hour had been baptized into the mystical body of Christ, not by water baptism but by the baptism of the Spirit. True, once the early church believer had embraced the gospel of God as taught by the apostles this one Spirit of God baptized every believer into the body of Christ. (2) Every believer once baptized into the mystical body by the same Spirit was also given, along with his portion of the Holy Ghost, a gift or his portion of the THINGS OF CHRIST!

HAD GOSPEL NOT GOTTEN OFF COURSE

However, remember this can only apply to the revelated born again Holy Ghost filled believers who made up this mystical body of Christ on earth in Paul’s day! Had the gospel of Christ not gotten off course after the first century, this setting could still continually have been applied! The same Spirit of Christ which ascended on high, returning ten days later to take up His permanent abode in the church, which at that hour consisted of only 120 believers, however, before the day was finished, according to Acts 2:37-42, 3000 more precious souls were added to that mystical body. Several days later 5000 more Jews we know were added (Acts 4:4) making at least a grand total of 8120 souls filled with the Holy Ghost as the gifts of the Spirit are distributed equally among the body. And get this, not a tare nor unbeliever was in the midst! And so, on down through the centuries of time as people have been truly converted to truth, the same Spirit has given to each his portion of the THINGS OF CHRIST as He baptizes them into the body. For what purpose, that this mystical body, made up strictly of Holy Ghost filled revelated believers might live Christ, teach Christ and demonstrate Christ on the earth. (John 14:12-16, 14-15)

However, one must not forget, according to the revealed scriptures and history itself, everything did not remain under the beautiful leadership of that same Spirit of Christ as was in that first generation of the grace age! No, another Spirit took over to guide the church! By the time the true church had passed out of the Apostolic Age, which overlapped well into the second Century, the church was slowly losing her ability to carry the true Word seed or revelated knowledge of the Word of God as they had so beautifully accomplished within the first generation, that Jesus was truly the Old Testament God in the flesh! Nevertheless, by the time the church reaches 325 A.D., and that man-made Nicean church council called by the Roman Emperor Constantine, the church was now no longer the kind of spiritual church she was when Paul was writing to the Corinthian church during that first age when she was fed by the early five-fold ministry. Instead the church in the 3rd Century was rapidly being filled with carnal, unconverted pagans who had left their religion within the Roman Empire and had come over to Christianity since Constantine had made Christianity a state religion.

The Bible declares in Matthew 13:24-30, that even as early as the 2nd Century, after the death of those first apostles and five-fold ministry, Satan had succeeded in sowing false doctrinal seed among the mystical body and had already begun to implant certain personalities who continued to sow false doctrine. Naturally once such teaching began to take hold of the people’s minds, this automatically wrecked the framework of true revelation as taught in the early church and slowly began brainwashing the minds of the 2nd Century saints causing them to lose that fervency for revelatory knowledge, and the power of God was also beginning to diminish from their midst. Why? Because God will not confirm error! God confirms only the truth as shown in Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3-4. Sure, for a while no doubt these believers within the 2nd Century continued to live and exemplify Christ in that of Christian character, rejoicing over the fact they are saved from their sins. Nevertheless, once the devil was permitted to enter into the midst of believers sowing his false doctrine, doctrine which many saints in the 1st Age had already been battling according to the scriptures. Satan, finally entering their midst, led to the warping of their spiritual revelation, the framework of their thinking concerning the fact God is One. Instead Satan slowly now implants into their minds that God is 3 persons. Note, as long as the church was made up of true born again believers, as they were in the days of Paul, Satan could not penetrate the church. Not until 325 A.D., was Satan successful in turning his theory into a creed or church doctrine. Once this promoting of a teaching began what do we see, the diminishing of the power of God as it leaves their midst, for the setting is now no longer as it was in the day of Paul, when He wrote I Corinthians 12:7.

The true revelation of Christ now seems to slowly deteriorate and with it also deteriorates the power of God, because the power of Christ or THINGS OF CHRIST must feed into the framework of the true revelation. God’s presence leaves what is called the church of that hour. Why? Because God cannot confirm error. On and on this deterioration of Truth continued until you reached about 500 A.D., and the church which is now scattered over Europe filled mostly with unbelievers is approaching the threshold of the dreaded 1000 years of Dark Ages or Satan’s Millennium. Christianity, as known during the first age when Paul addressed the Corinthian church in chapter 12, simply did not exist! Therefore, I Corinthians 12:7 could not apply to this type of people. No beloved, THE THINGS OF CHRIST Paul spoke of concerning how the Holy Ghost operated these gifts in the body and further said every man was given a gift of the Spirit could now no longer be applied to such a church.

GIFTS DEMONSTRATED IN DARK AGES

Nevertheless, here and there during that Dark period, God by His grace would raise up certain men who possessed only a dim vision of what little spiritual light was available in that hour and God would be seen to confirm and bless that, through certain gifts and demonstrations of His power. No, by no means, was God confirming this well organized belief of God in three persons of a trinity or any other carnal church doctrine. God merely confirmed their spirit of love to detest this evil corruption within a blinded religious system! No where did God ever confirm with signs following the doctrine of the Catholic church!

That beloved is the position the church world lay in once the first dawning light of Protestantism, around 1500, broke over the horizon and slowly through time God began to restore certain basic doctrinal apostolic truths to the church. However, around the opening of the 20th Century the believers are brought back unto a Holy Ghost experience wherein once again in great measure do we see the gifts of God begin to automatically function wherein the gift might once again profit withal, according to I Corinthians 12:7, and on the end of that final gentile Laodicean church age came a gentile church age messenger to restore within Laodicea all Truth which had been embraced by the apostles, but lost through these various church ages. Yet God returned this Truth to restore a potential bride of this hour shortly before Christ returns. Through this God-sent messenger the believers could now make a full return to the teachings of that first church age or first generation after Pentecost and experience, once again, that same Pentecostal new birth experience thereby embracing the one Spirit who distributes al these THINGS OF CHRIST into the mystical body, whereby the body might demonstrate Christ once again in the earth as Paul had taught.

However isn’t it strange, now that God has given us this restoring message to place us back whereby I Corinthians 12:7 might operate in our lives as effectively as it did in the first age, that now we have people who declare they are a part of this message, who when they were out there in some Pentecostal church, they fully believed in these THINGS OF CHRIST! And no doubt occasionally, or quite often, God may have used them in different operation of these gifts to a certain measure. However, it seems as if the very moment they stepped outside the doors of that carnal organizational system and stepped over into this glorious revelated message of apostolic truth, which places us in perfect alignment with I Corinthians 12, suddenly it seems all their electrical wires from glory have been cut lose and everything spiritual in the way of gifts suddenly stopped! Beloved, it should not be that way! Nevertheless such a condition does exist, although I am sure somewhere God will change the situation even if He has to use a world condition to do so.

NOT BELIEVERS AND TARES

During that early hour the church, or mystical body which had a setting such as I Corinthians 12, was not filled with tares and true believers as you see once the church approaches the 2nd Century. And in the hour of I Corinthians 12:7, everyone who was being added to the church by the Spirit not only was baptized with the Holy Ghost, but it was this baptism of the Holy Ghost which placed revelated believers in the mystical body of Christ, thus completing the New Birth. Hence the baptism of the Holy Ghost is not something optional, IT IS A MUST!

HAVE I A GIFT?

Does that mean, someone in the body of Christ may ask – that I have a gift in my life? Certainly! Isn’t that what Paul said! Now I remind you the setting, gospel-wise, must be the same as in Paul’s day to make this scripture, I Corinthians 12:7, apply in your life. Remember, when the Holy Ghost baptizes you into His mystical body, He is already fully aware of your capacity as you dedicate your life obediently unto His will. That Spirit of Grace within you called the Father, called the Spirit of Christ, called the Holy Ghost, knows the ability you possess in allowing the Spirit of God to work His will and purpose in your life. Therefore, according to Paul’s teaching there is the potential of some gift lying in every Holy Ghost filled child of God (though bear in mind the setting of I Corinthians 12:7 was within that first generation of saints in the grace who embraces all the truth to their bosom, in an hour when a congregation lived holy and clean, not resembling the man of the world whatsoever.)

PAUL NOT ILLUSTRATING HOW TO GET GIFTS

Note these nine gifts, even though the church did not fully understand their spiritual operation, they were nonetheless already operating in their full capacity within the body of Christ on each during that first church age as Christ had promised in John 16:13-15 that they would be! Christ had kept His promise! The evidence was most visible among the body of Christ!

Isn’t this beautiful, Paul isn’t writing to the Corinthians church as well as the other churches who would read this letter also, explaining unto them anything about how or what to do in order to get the gifts started to operating in their life. No, they needed only an understanding of the gifts which were already operating. They needed to know how to treat and respect these things of Christ now operating in His body. It wasn’t a question of how many of these things they could have, provided they could pray and fast, because Paul tells them the gifts were distributed by the same SPIRIT, as He saw fit, NOT ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY WANTED! As the person was baptized into the body of Christ by this one Spirit, that potential, or THING OF CHRIST, came with the believers portion of Christ! And Paul declares to one is given one thing and to another is given something else. Paul is showing the church they must not get in the way of these gifts with carnal ideas toward them, because they are only the vessel through which the gift operates. The Holy Ghost, who is Lord of the operation of the gift, will operate it whenever He Himself so chooses! It can not ever be operated wherever or whenever we choose, says Paul.

PART 4 – RECOGNIZING THE 9 GIFTS

Having informed the Corinthian church, everyone in that church age up to the hour within the first generation of believers had already received the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal. Paul begins with verse 8 to name the various, different nine gifts of the Spirit. Beloved, these THINGS OF CHRIST are given by that Spirit who will never speak of Himself, but seeks only to glorify and exemplify Christ through these nine gifts. Therefore, to make a foolish statement as some are doing today, saying there is no gift of the Spirit within the true mystical body of Christ today, is the same as to say, there is no Christ in the body of true revelated believers as was found in the first generation of the revelated saints! A statement of such caliber is to further admit that as a people of the end time you have never even been returned through the message of the prophet to the true apostolic teachings of the apostles, for the teaching here according to the Apostle Paul is, that once the Holy Ghost placed you into the body of Christ He gave to each believer a certain potential of the THINGS OF CHRIST, else how will Christ be lived and exemplified to this age!

NO. 1 – WORD OF WISDOM

Having clearly stated in verse 7 everyone in the body of Christ (up to that hour) had received something in the way of the manifestation of the Spirit, Paul begins by saying in verse 8, “for to one person in that body is given the WORD OF WISDOM.” Notice, the Spirit did not give to everyone the Word of Wisdom because Paul further states, to another He gave the Word of Knowledge to another something else, etc. This thing of wisdom is seen continually in Christ’s ministry. Read especially Matthew 21:23-27. Wisdom kept Him out of many traps set by religious leaders. Wisdom gave Him the correct answer. Read Matthew 22:15-46. This wisdom was one of the THINGS OF CHRIST to be placed in the body!

WHAT IS IT?

What is wisdom? There is only one book on earth that can show us what Holy Ghost wisdom is like and that is the Bible. In this book we have a beautiful account which portrayed what wisdom is or the manifestations of what wisdom is. The Bible speaks of Solomon, who in his day did not desire silver and gold, instead asked for the wisdom of God in order to know how to lead his people in Israel. Jesus himself referred to the wisdom of Solomon declaring how the Queen of Sheba came to hear and see the wisdom of Solomon (Matthew 12:42) and Jesus said, “Behold a greater than Solomon is here!” Two women appeared before Solomon. (I Kings 3:16-28). Both had given birth to children and even shared the same bed. One woman apparently had smothered her baby and out of her grief for a live child stole the other woman’s baby. An argument arose which brought in the elders of the city, who after examining the situation, declared it was one which required Solomon’s wisdom to unravel. Listening to both women’s stories, Solomon drew his sword to divide the living child in half. Watch the wisdom of God in operation. Wisdom can be cruel, yet it never fails to get the job done. Solomon knew the real mother would give up the child rather than see it killed. One woman cried out to spare the baby’s life and give it to the other woman, thus Solomon knew who the real mother was.

Sometimes the wisdom of God may not appear ethical and at times appears quite crude, nevertheless, it is always effective in assisting you to make the right decision or judgment. Your case in needing wisdom may never be like that of Solomon’s, yet you may have a decision which you cannot possibly know what to do or what decision to make without God’s wisdom to assist you. What then is the operation of this gift of the word of wisdom? It is the impartation of Godly wisdom that God Himself imparts to you through His Spirit, which is already in you if you are a member of the true revelated body of Christ. Wisdom often serves as guidance! Suddenly you are faced with an important decision, you need an answer pondering the situation which confronts you, it appears through one line of thought the thing could go one way while looking at it from another angle it appears it would go another way. Sooner or later it is something you must face and when you do it will require action on your part in making a decision. It may be a decision of such nature there is no book you can consult, not even the Bible for an answer. Recall, the Bible records only the action of wisdom portrayed in others of by-gone days as situations and conditions affected their individual lives. There might be a similarity to fit your need, then again there might not. Remember, there is not a situation which God cannot handle.

A LITTLE WISDOM IMPARTED

God is unlimited in wisdom, therefore, the Word of Wisdom referred to by Paul as a gift given by this same spirit who is also God and Lord does by no means imply that God gives to the believer of this particular gift all the wisdom which God possesses. No! It is only a Word of Wisdom. Sometime in your life a condition arises where it appears Satan has you hemmed in, nevertheless, if you walk humbly before God, He won’t allow that situation to last forever without revealing to you what to do.

Seeing that this godly wisdom which was first in Christ is now in the mystical body of Christ, God may choose to give you the answer you need personally, or on the other hand, He may give your answer through another believer, and that Word of Wisdom pertaining to the certain situation you are in will show you exactly what to do. The answer is the imparted Word of Wisdom needed to meet that particular situation. Remember in our study of the gifts or the THINGS OF CHRIST we are only seeking to identify the gifts that are definitely within the true body of Christ in order that we may recognize their function. Our purpose is not to show how they operate within a believer, they will operate however the Holy Ghost wants them to operate.

Wisdom may appear simple, nevertheless it works. Was it quite simple in Solomon’s case, he simply picked up a sword to divide a living child. It doesn’t even have to be a huge task in order for that gift, the Word of Wisdom, to manifest itself. The situation at hand may be very small and requires only a small word or deed to work out this problem, nevertheless, whether large or small whatever the answer comes be sure to give God glory. If you can’t thank Him for the small things, you will never recognize Him in the large things. Paul teaches in I Corinthians 14:1, that we should desire the cultivation of the spiritual gifts in our life. If we desire this gift of the Word of Wisdom of this God who is unlimited in wisdom, then beware we be not a person prone to much gossip. Gossip and the Word of Wisdom would surely somewhere take our lives off balance.

NO. 2 – THE WORD OF KNOWLEDGE

The second gift or THING OF CHRIST mentioned by Paul, also recorded in verse 8, presented to (still) another person in the body of Christ by the same Spirit (which never spoke of Himself) is the Word of Knowledge. Yes, definitely within the body of Christ some (not all) whosoever the Spirit chooses to receive this gift are given the Word of Knowledge. The Word of Knowledge was seen in Christ’s ministry in John 1:47-51 and Matthew 17:27. How do we recognize the Word of Knowledge in operation? Again when the hour arrives that you are confronted with something, shall we say a situation develops and you need to know what course to take, you are faced with two lines of thought. Seeing God’s knowledge of everything including the future is unlimited and shall we say, somewhere in the future unbeknown to you, you are about to be involved in a car accident. Through this Word of Knowledge God may speak and warn you as a believer concerning this accident. With the Word of Knowledge there is a good chance you can avoid this accident, provided you heed what you are shown concerning the accident. Either God Himself, who is on the inside of you, may choose to show you personally through your own fleshly vessel what will happen if you do a certain thing, or He may choose to use another believer to warn you concerning the wreck.

LEVELS OF OPERATION

Recall in verse 5-6, Paul declared there were differences of administrations concerning the gifts as well as different functions or operations of the gifts, nevertheless, it was the same LORD controlling it all. There are differences in the operations of these gifts. The Word of Knowledge can appear on 3 levels: (1) VISIONS – which is the highest order of the Word of Knowledge. Many people observed Bro. Branham under the anointing of the Holy Ghost as he would inform people of the secrets of their hearts and people thought this was a gift of discernment in operation. No, that particular part operating in the prophet was not discernment, or as Paul said, the gift of discernment of spirits. No beloved, that working within the prophet to inform him of the secrets of people’s hearts was none other than the operation of the Word of Knowledge! You will see the difference between the two gifts once we study the discernment of spirits. When Bro. Branham looked upon a person and told them their names and such, that wasn’t discernment, that was Knowledge! God who has all knowledge knew all of that, didn’t He? Therefore, when the prophet told people all these things to build their faith, that was a Gift of Knowledge drawing off the past tense. When he said I see through the vision that you are up for an operation, that is knowledge drawing on the future tense. And remember beloved, as we stated, visions are the highest manifestations of the Word of Knowledge. Knowledge is that gift which you always read about being in the lives of the prophets. (2) DREAMS – is the secondary level of Knowledge while (3) IMPRESSIONS – is the third level of Knowledge. God may choose to simply impress upon you something so heavy that you literally, without a vision or dream, feel it in your soul so strongly this is what will happen if you pursue the plan you have in mind. In a prophet’s life, such as Bro. Branham’s, the gift of Knowledge was continually working on one of the three levels – through visions, dreams or impressions.

IMPRESSION THE 3RD

Back to the car wreck, say you’re planning to do a certain thing in the future, for instance take a trip and the very moment plans are made, suddenly inside of you have that feeling or impression, no, it’s not a dream and it’s not a vision, it’s the 3rd level of operation and God is going to permit you to draw off of His unlimited knowledge of the future, and concerning that trip you have an impression that if it is carried out something is going to happen. That something inside of you is the Holy Spirit operating through the WORD OF KNOWLEDGE, because He possesses all knowledge of all things and it is through this gift that God imparts knowledge, either by vision, dream or impression, and here by the 3rd level of the operation of the gift, an impression, you have received warning if you take that trip something will happen. You see, God knows that and He further knows how to press this upon your Spirit. What is it all about? God the Spirit is merely allowing you, through this gift, the ability to have just a little foresight into what He already knows. He does that to equip you with a little understanding whereby we may prepare ourselves to either avoid, in this case, the accident or once it happens whatever the situation may be you will have prepared yourself for nothing drastic to come out of it. Irregardless to which of the three levels; visions, dream or impression, it is the Spirit of God through this gift seeking to guide His children, because as we saw in verse 7, the manifestation of the Spirit (in some manner) is given to every true believer to profit withal.

EXAMPLES OF KNOWLEDGE OPERATING

Several examples of the gift of the WORD OF KNOWLEDGE I would like to mention. First that great 2nd Century martyr Polycarp, John the Beloved’s loyal student who lived among the 2nd Century disciples, in an hour when the truth was deteriorating away from the right revelated, apostolic standard as it was in the first age, was shown in advance concerning the martyr’s death he would die. Peter the apostle also testifies how he could see himself leaving the scene of life, and Paul, did not he also declare how he knew his own departure was getting close. It is because they lived so sensitive to the Spirit of God, the people allowed the Holy Ghost to guide their lives. Returning from Asia Minor to Jerusalem, Paul testifies how he would go to Jerusalem bound in the Spirit. Paul had that feeling in his soul how he would meet trouble in Jerusalem. Paul declared how the Holy Ghost bore that same witness in every city that bonds and afflictions awaited him in Jerusalem. (Acts 20:23)

NO. 3 – REVEALED FAITH VS. PRESUMPTUOUS FAITH

The third thing of Christ Paul mentioned is referred to as THE GIFT OF FAITH. Note if you will how Paul groups these 9 gifts in groups of threes. WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE and now FAITH makes up what is referred to as the thought (or mind) gifts. Out of all 9 gifts FAITH is the one gift which truly affects us more perhaps than the others, because of the necessity of FAITH even for conversion and the new birth. I sincerely believe this gift of FAITH, though on different levels, absolutely lays in each believer’s life and no doubt when conditions are perfect, if we walk with God as we should, we will see the gift of FAITH more in operation to produce the purpose in which it was placed with the body of Christ to accomplish.

What is scriptural FAITH and what does it feed from? In short, scriptural FAITH (though it appears on different levels) is a revelatory faith or is something you can believe in because it is something that has previously been revealed unto you by the Spirit to do, then BY FAITH you do it! It is a promise of God whereby you may link your FAITH up to. Hence, revelatory faith is something far more than merely blind belief. It is not having faith in something when there is no assurance that something will happen once you have believed. REVEALED FAITH is not blind reaching out in the unknown, hoping you made the right decision or choice!

By examining Hebrews 11, we will better understand what scriptural revealed FAITH is. By the way, Hebrews 11:6 declares without this kind of faith it is impossible to please God! Verse 1 declares, “Faith is the substance (or the assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence (or the conviction) of things not seen.” Then we are presented with a list of Old Testament saints showing how their lives had all been motivated through revelatory faith where both conviction and assurance played a great part in their faith. In verse 1, the original word for substance means assurance, hence revealed faith is an assurance of the thing hoped for and it is the conviction of things not seen. Inside every believer is that certain feeling which produces certain convictions. Therefore, revealed faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Throughout that 11th chapter of Hebrews, we are confronted with patriarchs the writer uses to exemplify that kind of revealed faith.

As we have often stated, not one of these men mentioned here who walked by faith, from Abel on down, suddenly came up with some wild notion or idea (which they called faith) that they wanted to travel or journey the route they embarked upon. No, not one of them one day suddenly had a wild notion, strike them to do what they did and call that action on their part faith! If they themselves or some other human prompted them to believe what they did, then where did that particular desire originate?

In each case God spoke before they acted – AND HERE IS FAITH IN ACTION! Once God had spoken to their inner being, that planted within them an assurance and a conviction needed to move out in the direction they were told. Faith on their part was merely obeying the voice and holding on until what was supposed to happen, did happen. It was by no means a presumptuous faith on their part. In each case God had spoken!

REVEALED FAITH IN NOAH

Watch the scripture portraying this revealed faith in Noah and others. And remember, without this faith it is impossible to please God! This faith that pleased God is not a presumptuous faith. Verse 7 declares by faith Noah built an Ark! Beloved, this doesn’t mean Noah was sitting around one day watching the growing evil of the hour and suddenly decided it would be wisdom on his part to build a boat, seeing that when it rained a flood would come and all would be drowned if he didn’t! Yet that is about the idea of our modern teaching of faith, simply take it by faith, move out by faith and God will honor etc…. He honored Noah, Abraham and others because they moved by faith. Beloved, a revealed Bible faith does not work that way. Suppose Noah had taken it all by presumptuous faith, that God was going to destroy the world by water and he built himself a boat without having previously heard one word from God concerning a flood? No, God never told Noah, you simply take it by faith! God told Noah what to do! Noah’s test of faith was this, how do I know or what proof do I have it is going to rain? The assurance and conviction in him that a flood was coming was in the fact God had spoken and said it will (and God can’t lie).

Noah had never seen rain nor a boat that large, nevertheless, Noah’s test of faith came over whether to build such a thing, seeing there wasn’t that much water around to float it. But by faith Noah built an ark! If a voice speaks to you which you are convinced is the voice of God to do something which you have never previously thought of doing, and secondly you recognize the natural impossibility of the thing ever happening, would that not be a test to you to do it? What assurance would you have the thing would ever happen? Yet if you are positive the voice which spoke was God’s voice (As Noah was) and you act by faith upon what that voice said, then you are acting upon revealed faith and not presumptuous faith or as we hear of today, simply take it by faith. Your very action in doing what the voice has commanded you becomes the expression of assurance and conviction inside you that once you perform this deed which you were instructed to do (irregardless to how the voice came) it is because your convictions which motivate you to do this, acting on this revealed faith means you are just as positive what you are doing once it is finished or promised, that is acting on faith (revealed faith)! And remember, it is the only kind of faith that can please God! Noah wasn’t a man who looked upon the evil of the day and knew what to do. Oh, no, he did not know what to do until God spoke to him! Recall, Genesis 6 declares after God looked upon the evil situation He then saw Noah, a just and perfect man in his generation. However, now until the Eternal Spirit approached Noah did he know what to do. Yet Hebrews 11:7 declares, by faith he built a boat to save his household. Building a boat so long and so high wasn’t something Noah had thought about. I repeat, what Noah did was not presumptuous thinking and then moving out on his own thoughts saying, I will do it by faith, God will honor it. Noah acted on the only kind of faith that pleases God – REVEALED FAITH!

ABRAHAM – BY FAITH

Another example of a man acting on the only kind of faith that can please God was ABRAHAM. In verses 8-10, Abraham wasn’t sitting outside his tent one day when suddenly he got the thought or notion in his mind he would, by faith, move to a strange land, therefore, he would simply move out by faith and God would honor his move. No, God spoke to Abraham and told him to move! Verse 8 declares by faith Abraham sojourned in a strange land. Where then does Abraham’s faith enter into the picture? How do I know as I move out this is a move in the right direction, what assurance do I have this new land will be a good land? How do I know the outcome? The Bible declares Abraham believed God and staggered not at the promises, yet by no means was the move one of presumptuous faith. He acted on revealed faith – the only kind that can please God! Even though he was tested every step of the journey, it was still revelatory faith, God spoke to Abraham to make the move! Abraham, like Noah, was guided by that assurance and conviction he felt inside his bosom. His testing along the way was to build within him that type of spiritual character God desired to instill in Abraham, seeing he was to become the father of faithful. Father of all those who through the centuries would also walk by revealed faith, in other words, acting upon what God told them to do.

Speaking of presumptuous faith of which we hear so much about today, just move out by faith and God will honor you, I am ruling out the fact God, often in His mercy, does honor what we do through a mere presumptuous faith, yet remember, that is not walking by revelatory faith, the only kind of faith that pleases God and without it it is impossible to please Him! God is not obligated to honor presumptuous faith as He is revealed faith.

SAVING FAITH – WHAT IS IT?

Seeing the scriptures boldly declare in order to be in the kingdom of God we must first be saved by that kind of faith that pleases God, that revelated faith – without it it is impossible to please God, don’t you think we should establish just what saving faith is and what God expects from it! Remember it is not the gift of faith spoken of in I Corinthians 12:9. Why did Jesus declare, no man comes to me except the father draw him (John 6:44)? No, you cannot be saved whenever you choose, there must first be that convicting or drawing power of the Spirit called Father. Jesus, referring to Isaiah, declared all that should come to me will be learned of the Father. Therefore, before you can ever know God in revelatory truth as to who He is, it is going to require revelatory faith of the Spirit to be imparted to you as it was in Hebrews 11. After God has convicted you of your sins, it will require a revelatory faith to start you out walking in faith with God.

THE GIFT OF FAITH – WHAT IS IT?

Having briefly explored several aspects of the revealed faith, along with presumptuous faith, let us now examine the gift of faith in I Corinthians 12:9. This gift of faith is not that tried and tested faith of which we spoke. No, instead it is that special anointing or operation of the body of Christ. The gift of faith is the anointing or the demonstration of that imparted faith to be exercised only in an hour when it is needed, mainly to minister to someone standing in need of prayer or simply a word wisely spoken through that particular anointing of faith. Regardless to whatever manner that gift of faith in the believer operates, it will always accomplish God’s purpose. Remember in the discussion of these 9 gifts it is not my intention to tell you how they operate, seeing the scriptures declare there are diversities (differences) of operation. Our desire only is to show their identity as they have been scripturally placed in the body of Christ. The point is, irregardless to public opinion concerning these THINGS OF CHRIST, if He placed one gift in the body He wouldn’t stop until He placed all the gifts in the body! And once that hour arrives for the body of Christ to actually take on the full measure of the stature of Christ, as recorded in Ephesians 4:12-16, I assure you it won’t only be in the stature of the revelatory part of Christ, it will also be in the expression of portraying or showing forth the THINGS OF CHRIST! After all beloved, wasn’t that God’s entire objective of having a mystical body in the earth to begin with, to represent Jesus Christ here on earth!

The gift of faith is something you have not worked for, had you done so it would not be a gift! It is that special anointing which rests upon us that when we look at a situation which often seems hopeless, we nonetheless have that unshakable assurance inside of us that everything is going to be all right. (Luke 8:49-50 is one example where the gift of faith operated in Christ’s ministry.) There have been many men of faith in this century greatly anointed of God to pray for afflictions of divers kinds of diseases. No, it wasn’t the gift of the WORD OF KNOWLEDGE that assures them everything will be all right; it wasn’t being able to tell the sick who they were, what city and state they were from, their house number etc., no, none of that! Nevertheless something inside these men God was using, when they came in contact with such an afflicted person, it is that special gift of faith that rose upward and assured the man of God as he lay hands on that incurable disease that every thing would turn out all right.

Let us bring this gift of faith down to your level. Say we are faced with a situation or circumstance which seemingly there is no way out. If God has not, through the gift of knowledge, already fore shown us the way out then once you are under this kind of pressure it is then this gift of faith will shine. Whether it would simply be God anointing or inspiring you to give you that needed assurance that everything will be all right, although in that hour things couldn’t look darker, or whether God might simply impress upon another believer, operating through the gift of faith to say unto you – the Lord impresses me to tell you not to worry over this situation because everything will be all right. Don’t you think for a moment, beloved, that somewhere out there in front of us there is not going to be all kind of room for this gift of faith to operate!

NO. 4 – GIFTS OF HEALING

Verse 9, Paul mentions another gift, only here he refers to it in the plurality – the GIFTS OF HEALING – not the gift of healing. Yes, there are many (kinds) of gifts of healing placed throughout the true body of Christ. Remember we are not discussing how any of these gifts operate, we are not even identifying the effects of them upon individuals through which they operate, we are seeking only to identify them in their operation. The gift of healing is that special anointing of God placed inside a vessel of clay which may or may not be accompanied with outward physical manifestations.

Concerning this endtime message of revelated truth, we witnessed a man who possessed a gift in his life which I seriously doubt such a gift has ever been seen in all church history, including the Book of Acts outside the life of Christ. However, don’t you try to compare other gifts on the same level with the gift in this man! That attitude does the program of God injustice! Maybe by illustrating with a quarter I could better show you what I mean. A quarter is equivalent to 25 pennies, isn’t it? Yet you wouldn’t belittle the penny simply because it wasn’t a quarter, would you? I grant you, a penny won’t buy much, yet you can get a penny’s worth and if you had 25 pennies you would buy the same thing you could with a quarter, wouldn’t you? Therefore, never belittle God’s spiritual monetary program. True, He does have certain gifts within the 9 which stand out far above and beyond the others, even as you have certain organs within the human body that also stand out far above other organs, yet you don’t belittle uncomely organs simply because certain ones are not a noticeable as others.

Keep in mind, when Christ placed Himself in the New Testament church He distributed Himself by His Spirit whereby there is going to be different levels of His representation, characteristics, demonstrations illustrated throughout His mystical body. And certainly it would be wrong to pick one gift above the other. Yet sorry to say, this is what we find today. Back in the 50’s we had a true deliverance move of God. God anointed men with faith and through them He also places the gift of healing, because it was God’s hour to present to the world a demonstration of His goodness and mercy through that of healing, etc. Men who knew little of the Truth of this hour, yet out of a simple prayer of faith prayed for multitudes of sick and God honored their prayers. Bear in mind we are not discussing the disobedience of any individuals who fail to walk further along in Truth, we are only discussing these gifts and how you can’t pivot one against the other because each one has a particular purpose and objective given by the Spirit to produce a certain ultimate goal or objective which the Master and Lord placed in His mystical body.

OUTWARD MANIFESTATION

Concerning the gifts of healing, they can be manifested through that of some kind of physical sign to the individual they operate through. Outward physical sensation can even accompany the gift whereby the individual may know their vessel is being anointed for that particular gift of healing to operate, since I don’t possess the other person’s anointing or sensation I cannot possibly explain the operation of the gift in someone else’s life, only that individual through which the gift operated would know that. Our purpose is to examine strictly from the point of identification. The individuals themselves will recognize their own anointing. How could a person declare God had given them a gift of tongues if they never heard themselves in another language, the same would be true with the gift of divine healing.

FALSE IDEA

Beloved, here is the sad, pathetic attitude or feeling among many who declare they follow this true revelated message, and until God creates some world shaking event to shake such people into a different frame of thinking they, no doubt, will continue on in this frame of mind. That lopsided thinking concerns the gift God placed in Bro. Branham’s life, and no doubt what God did through that man’s life He will never repeat in that measure again. Nevertheless, we must realize many men prayed for the sick with great results years prior to any of Bro. Branham’s meetings. Therefore, don’t think for a moment as some do, that there wasn’t divine healing before the prophet came to the age! To those with that kind of attitude I would have to ask, where on earth have you been? In early Pentecost there were such men as Wigglesworth, Charles Price or Bosworth, etc. True, these men in their respective hour did not see the truth revelatory wise that many of our readers are walking in, and I would have to say that you wouldn’t be seeing any more truth today than what they saw had it not been for a church age prophet messenger who was sent to the age! Nevertheless, chapters could be written concerning the early years those men ministered to the sick and God confirmed their action by healing the sick. True, their healings were not on an outstanding world-wide scale, national or city scale later demonstrated throughout those years of 50’s. However, healing was evident in those early Pentecostal years leading into the late 40’s and 50’s.

GIFT IN PROPHET

My personal feeling why God placed such an outstanding gift in this one man’s life we call Bro. Branham, the messenger to Laodicea, was because there was a message he had to preach and the gift in his life was truly a higher anointing to draw special attention to the vessel of clay who was going to declare that message. Believe me, the demonstration of that gift in his life wasn’t to declare to the world; Look, you have never seen healing until this hour! It is sad when people look at it that way and furthermore will go off and declare nobody even had the Holy Ghost until Bro. Branham brought the teaching to the age! God forbid such silly teaching of carnality! Beloved, when God declared to another He gave the gifts of healing, you will have to accept it whether you want to or not, because He, by His Spirit, distributed plurality gifts of healing throughout the body and you can’t interpret it on the basis of what you heard and saw demonstrated in the prophet’s life. That great anointing was strictly a vindication of a message as well as a messenger. And no doubt you will never see it again performed in that fashion. It was not even in the Book of Acts, which portrayed the life of the apostles and early church as well, but only in the life of Christ. Yet at no time in the apostles’ lives did anyone ever line up people in prayer lines and one by one they were told their names, addresses, illnesses, etc. True, the gift of knowledge operated throughout Peter marvelously when he told Annanias and Sapphira what they did and God vindicated it with death. A similarity is seen in the Apostle Paul’s ministry when he spoke to a man who was trying to lead astray his converts, God rebuke you, be blind for so many days and unable to see, declared Paul! No one speaks in that manner unless first he knows in advance that individual is going to be struck with blindness, yet no where in the Book of Acts or in church history do we see those men forming prayer lines and telling one after the other their names, addresses, etc. Most of the miracles recorded were performed through the prayer of faith or the gift of healing.

Even the gift of miracles lay in the lives of those men, yet no where on record did the gift of the word of knowledge ever operate in any believer as it operated in the life of Bro. Branham. However, don’t belittle God’s gifts as some have because you don’t see them operate in others in this fashion!

SPECIAL ANOINTING

Bro. Branham had a special anointing upon him which worked through his hand against diseases and afflictions unto such a point if he did not remove his wrist watch the power of God was known to have shattered his unbreakable watch crystal. Remember beloved, the gifts of healing can either be accomplished by physical manifestation or certain other sensations which only that individual through whom the gift operates will know and understand.

To another, God says, the gifts of healing – And how would any man know that these gifts lay there in his life, placed by this same Spirit, unless somewhere they are evident through certain sensational healings! Only the person in whom the gift operates will know the anointing of God as the gift itself is being stimulated in behalf of someone who is to receive the benefits of the gift. Don’t misunderstand, I am not telling you how to operate the gift, we seek only to identify it and remind you that somewhere either some physical or emotional sensation would accompany the gift, however, it is up to the person alone who possesses the gift to become acquainted enough with the operation of the gift itself to know its operation.

NO. 5 – GIFT OF MIRACLES

The next gift given to still another believer yet by the same spirit, of whom Jesus declared will never speak of Himself but only show the things of Christ – is the WORKING OF MIRACLES. With this gift we will definitely see the difference between a divine healing and a miracle in healing, although we can associate the working of miracles along in the same category with the gifts of healings much the same as we would associate speaking in tongues with that of interpretation, because without the gift of tongues the true benefit to the hearer would never be understood.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEALING & MIRACLE

Understand there is a difference between a healing and a miracle. Say someone has TB who received prayer and over the period of weeks the doctor checks the patient declaring something is happening, in other words the reaction of the tests if showing less and less positive, yet still minor traces remain of TB. He instructs his patient to return in 2 weeks. This next checkup shows TB is lessening and this time he instructs his patient to return in 3 months where upon this checkup shows a completely negative test, no sign of TB whatsoever. That beloved, was a healing but not a miracle. What is healing in relation to a miracle? Healing is God’s own act of slowly allowing you to recover from something, whereas a miracle is instant. For example, say a man is totally blind and all functions of his natural eyesight have completely deteriorated, either destroyed by accident or disease, and doctors declare an eye operation would in no-wise be successful. Here is the difference between a healing and a miracle. If the person is prayed for and the power of God begins to undo slowly through a process of days, weeks, months and etc. that damaged eyesight until vision has returned, that is a healing! However, if the eye was prayed for and the individual instantly saw, the divine act of God immediately reversed the entire situation of the eye and made a miracle out of it.

Another instance of miracles would be if a person had a cancerous growth on the side of the face, prayer is offered and the cancer immediately disappears. That would be the work of the Gift of Miracles whereas had the cancer, over a process of time, eventually disappeared as it continually shrank, that places it under the category of healing. There are many evidences of miracles in our generation granted to people through the prayer of faith, through the Word of Knowledge and through the expression of the Gift of Healing. Miracles are whenever God immediately reverses the order of the situation or immediately undoes the existing condition.

GIFT OF MIRACLES MEETS NEEDS

Too often we want to associate miracles with the opening of the Red Sea or Jesus calming the stormy Sea of Galilee or perhaps Christ raising the widow’s dead son. True, these are great miracles which immediately changed the present tense condition unto just the opposite, didn’t it? Although throughout the New Testament area miracles are more closely associated with that of meeting the physical needs of mankind such as Peter and John on the way to the temple where lay the lame man, placed daily at the gate to beg alms. Peter and John no doubt had often times passed that poor man, nevertheless, on this particular morning they were anointed with the Gift of Miracles. No, we are not aware of the particular anointing resting on those men or what began to transpire in Peter’s life shortly before he commanded the lame man to rise and walk, Acts 3:1-11. Commanding the lame man to rise and walk, Peter took him by the right hand (verse 7 declares) and lifted him up and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength as he went leaping off unto the temple ground, praising and glorifying God. THAT BELOVED WAS A MIRACLE! Furthermore, it was the Gift of Miracles in operation. That miracle produced and instant healing for the lame man.

PHILLIP’S MIRACLE UNUSUAL

Let us examine another miracle which happened in the life of a deacon by the name of Phillip, Acts 8:39, when Phillip was given a free air ride after baptizing a eunuch of Ethiopia. However, this type of miracle could never be classified as the gift of miracles operating in the body of Christ as spoken of by Paul. Here was a miracle of God yet it wasn’t a miracle in the nature of a gift of miracles spoken in I Corinthians 12:10. Bear in mind, through this study our only purpose is to identify the function of these gifts whereby we may recognize their presence in the body of Christ seeing the Spirit has placed them there to operate.

NO. 6 – GIFT OF PROPHECY

To another person, Paul declares, is given another of THE THINGS OF CHRIST, which you recall was in His corporeal body and which this time He refers to as PROPHECY. What is Prophecy? It is God expressing His thought to you personally or to two or more persons in an understandable language of the people who are listening. For instance, if you had a congregation of only French speaking people, then God’s gift of Prophecy would address them IN FRENCH, not in English as they could only understand French. In prophecy, the Holy Spirit is using some person’s vocabulary to get this inspired point across. The inspiration for the operation of the gift would come upon the individual to be used, and since there are diversities of a variety of operations within different people (according to verse 6) that anointing would come upon the person and as the gift operated it would be God expressing His own thoughts in an understandable language of the people He desired to address.

3 REACHES OF PROPHECY

Remember a prophecy can have three reaches. God can be speaking (1) in the present tense, and within the prophecy He may choose to reach (2) into the past tense, to bring out an example or illustration and then if God so chooses that prophecy can project its thought (3) into the future tense. Prophecy, according to Paul, is for edification, exhortation or comfort (I Corinthians 14:3). Yes, God can be speaking in a present tense and reach into the past calling your attention to a former time where He has done something for Israel, etc. The highest degree of prophecy is when that prophecy reaches out into the future and speaks of things yet to come. However remember, simply because a person prophesies does not imply they are a prophet, because prophecy can also rest upon a woman as well as a man, I Corinthians 11:5.

MISTAKEN IDEAS ABOUT PROPHECY

Some have the mistaken idea that a Gift of Prophecy only reaches into the future tense of time and if it doesn’t it isn’t prophecy, while still others – because the dictionary defines prophecy as preaching, has the mistaken idea that prophecy is preaching the gospel. Therefore, when the scripture declared in Acts 21:8-9 that Phillip the evangelist had four virgin daughters, all of whom prophesied, to them this meant Phillip had four women preachers in his household! Beloved, I am not a woman hater but there were no women preachers in the early church! Paul, the Apostle to the gentiles, declared in I Timothy 2:11-12, he would not suffer woman to teach (the scriptures) or to usurp authority over a man but to be in silence, or to learn in silence, with all subjection! The only offices available in the early church for the ministry of the Word set in by the Holy Ghost is recorded by Paul in Ephesians 4:11-16 where he declares the Spirit gave to some men the office of apostles, some he gave prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and some teachers and note – they were all men! Their qualifications are found in I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9 and furthermore these five offices, according to Ephesians 4:12, is the only thing that can perfect the church here at the endtime!

PROPHET OFFICE NOT SAME

Back to the thought, does merely prophesying declare a man to be in the office of a prophet? NOT NECESSARILY! There is a vast difference between the office of a prophet in the Old Testament and one who merely fills a New Testament office of prophet. No where in the Book of Acts was any of these people, who merely prophesied, ever referred to as New Testament prophets! Paul told the Corinthian Church they could all prophesy, one by one, as shown under the gift of Prophecy, I Corinthians 14:31. No, a gift of prophecy, I Corinthians 12:10, does not merely prophesy concerning things in the distant future. Nowhere recorded in the Book of Acts did any of those men referred to as New Testament prophets such as Agabus (Acts 11:27-28) Barnabas, Simion, Lucius, Manaen, Judas, and Silas (Acts 15:32) prophesy far reaching events to transpire in the future.

NOT FAR REACHING

Agabus came to Antioch and through the gift of prophecy, which did not reach out too far into the future tense when he signified by the Spirit there was going to come a great drought into the land, which you will notice was fulfilled in the days of Claudius Caesar, Acts 11:28. This event transpired not too many months or years out into the future. As we stated, the office of the New Testament prophet was no where near the caliber as was the office of that Old Testament prophet. Therefore, don’t confuse the Old Testament prophet office with that fivefold ministry office of a New Testament prophet. (Ephesians 4:11) The only outstanding marvelous ministry we note in the New Testament prophet was his gift or ability to prophesy, however, recall the record shows his prophecies did not have that far reaching future tense as was quite common within the ministry of the Old Testament prophets! Therefore, none of these men referred to as New Testament prophets prophesied of things centuries in advance. John the Revelator, the last of the original apostles marooned on Patmos, through visions was given a higher degree of prophecy, (seeing the distant future) although even with John the Revelator he did not receive those far reaching future tense events through the Word of Prophecy! His prophecy concerning the distant future was shown to him through a VISION. Prophecy therefore may come through three routes: VISIONS, DREAMS OR EXPRESSION OF THE WORD OF PROPHECY. Naturally whichever way prophecy comes, in the final analysis, it is going to come through the word being expressed, either spoken prophetically or written, isn’t it? If it is a vision or dream showing something is going to happen, in order for others to understand, it would have to be in the expression of words. If what was shown was not a vision or dream and it is to be catalogued under the spirit of prophecy, it has to be an expression of word in an understandable language to the hearer. The spoken word of prophecy is where God simply takes over the mentality of the person’s thinking and inspires that person to speak the thoughts of God, and in so doing we associate it with the gift of prophecy, one of the THINGS OF CHRIST which was seen continually in the ministry of the Lord Jesus, and has now been placed within the mystical body of Christ by the same Spirit. However with Christ, prophecy was not some special anointing, His words were simply prophecy. See Matthew 24:1-51 for example.

GENERALLY NOT FAR REACHING

The gift of prophecy placed within the body is usually a prophetic utterance dealing within a present tense situation which can easily reach back into the past as well as reach somewhere into the very near future of time (if God so chooses), reaching perhaps not more than 5 to 6 years in advance. Although in certain isolated instances I have heard of God speaking in somewhat a more distant future tense than what the mere word of Prophecy usually presents. Usually when God does that it is being done in relationship to a particular group of people. I will illustrate. I once read an account concerning the European Armenians back before the turn of the century being mightily blessed of God in an outpouring of the Holy Ghost in their part of the world. God spoke through prophecy telling these people to prepare to flee to another land. Eventually through a period of years they wound up in America and by wagon train they traveled across this country and was in California when the Holy Ghost fell in 1903. Here was prophecy spoken somewhat in advance covering a span of time, though not a half century seeing all the prophecy transpired in a generation of time, yet it was spoken a number of years in advance and was on behalf of a certain people.

JUDGING PROPHECY

Often I have heard it said, prophecy should be judged. I agree! So does Paul in I Corinthians 14:29, yet beloved there is only one way you can judge prophecy and that is by the Holy Scriptures, not by how you feel or what you think about it! To some people if they hear someone prophesy a prophecy which the scripture declares is for edification, exhortation and comfort, I Corinthians 14:3, and if that prophecy didn’t say something was going to happen tomorrow or in three months or next year (something future tense), they would declare that was not prophecy, seeing their idea of prophecy involved only what to be aware of tomorrow, etc. Prophecy can and will on certain occasions do just exactly that, however, don’t you limit prophecy to only that!

NOT ALL SPOKEN IN FUTURE TENSE

Are you aware the biggest percentage of the prophetic writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah and men of that caliber when prophesying did not speak concerning the future whatsoever! True, many of their prophecies dealt with the present tense rebuking the children of Israel and reached only into the past tense bringing out certain examples showing the goodness of God toward them. Concerning prophecy in the Old Testament we note the old prophets lived in an hour when certain spiritual conditions had developed in Israel, hence when the prophet wrote or stood to prophesy there was a present tense rebuke and this present tense rebuke did not dip into the far future! No, it was often rebuking a present tense situation, although God often speaking of the present tense hour, would reach into the past tense saying, did not I bring your fathers out of the land of Egypt and blessed them and did thus and thus….

PROPHECY CAN

Therefore beloved, that is why prophecy in the body of Christ can: (1) carry a rebuking thought from God or (2) can bring forth words of edification, comfort and exhortation seen in I Corinthians 14:3, or (3) prophecy can reach those high peaks wherein that gift reaches out into the future and pulls the future into the present hour concerning certain things for people to be watching for in days ahead.

NO. 7 – DISCERNING OF SPIRITS

To another by the same Spirit is given the DISCERNING OF SPIRITS. That gift is the ability to know whether or not an individual speaks or is motivated under the anointing of the true spirit or the false spirit. As I explained earlier under the Word of Knowledge, many people thought while watching Bro. Branham’s ministry telling the people they had certain diseases or came from certain places as he through the Spirit was seeking to build the faith in the believer – all this they associate with discernment. In some far flung identification you might consider it all in a category like that, however, to me that was not the discerning of spirits of which Paul is referring to here. Instead that was the gift of the Word of Knowledge operating through the prophet, and to me that is the highest demonstration of the operation of God we have in the entire Bible. For a prophet such as Elisha to sit in his room and instruct a man called Naaman, whom he had never seen, to go down to the old muddy Jordan River and dip 7 times and he would be healed, such a thing for a man to do in his own carnal thinking would be foolish. Elisha did not sit in a little room and cook up such an idea. The story is recorded in II Kings 5:1-27, yet when Naaman finally obeyed what the prophet said, he was healed. I want you to know, the prophet did not even look at that big shot. Today he would be considered most unsociable and many preachers of today would jump over backwards to have the privilege of working with such a guest personality as General Naaman. Jordan may have been a dirty river, nevertheless, it was the pride of Israel. Naaman naturally would rather have gone to a much cleaner river in Syria to bathe himself and he was infuriated by what the prophet said. I say all this to show you how much God thought of this great personality coming to meet HIS PERSONALITY.

PERSONALITIES IN EARLY CHURCH

We are living in an hour when especially within this glossolalia, charismatic move you are seeing all kinds of great worldly personalities linking up with ministers of this hour. It is strange how the religious world flocks after a worldly personality of stage, screen or television simply because they testify to some kind of glossolalia experience! We are living in a day unless you are some kind of converted snake in the grass you don’t have any influence on people. You have to be some crook or low-down scum of the earth and suddenly make a change in your ways and when you do, the whole world runs after you like a little puppy dog doing tricks. May I say, it wasn’t so in the beginning! Great personalities of that hour had little to do with the true church and shocking as it may sound, if they were converted they were converted to TRUTH. The Holy Ghost they received in that hour showed them WATER BAPTISM IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST for the remission of sins and led them on into deeper truths. No, it didn’t allow them to continue to live in sin or be worldly, living and looking like the world! You just don’t see those renown personalities being used in the scripture!

RELIGIOUS WORLD DECEIVED

The prophet Elisha wouldn’t even come out and talk to his great visiting personality even though he had brought all kind of wealth to reward him for his healing. Big personalities in the days of the scriptures, when converted, were not pushed out in front but had to sit in the services with the rest of the congregation. Not so in this hour, when the religious world cares nothing about the Truth, all they are interested in is hearing about some of these big personality who got converted. Yet if God were to reveal truth to the man and he walked in it and dared testify to it they would say, throw that poor misled devil out! No beloved, this religious world is deceived! It is not truth they are looking for, it is only an escape route out of hell for which they are searching!

NO ESCAPE WITHOUT TRUTH

However, I am afraid without the truth of His Word there won’t be much of an escape route for them. HEAR ME! The revelated Word of God is the only acceptable escape route! Our generation is headed rapidly into the wrath and destruction of God, therefore, some seek an escape route through dope, others try a route through immorality, while some say let us try it religiously, only don’t get too involved. Old Babylon therefore presents every kind of door of teaching imaginable and in the end of their analysis of the interpretation of Christ’s escape route is that you can believe anything you want to just as long as you believe in Jesus! ACCORDING TO THIS BIBLE THAT IS NOT TRUE! There is truth in this book you must identify yourself with and embrace, and furthermore, this Bible informs us of the deceiving hour in which we live and declared an hour of even greater deception where the spirit of deception or seducing spirits would be so close to the real truth that it would deceive even the very elect if possible! But remember beloved, if the grace of God has saved you He won’t stop until He brings you to the full knowledge of Truth!

DISCERNMENT IN CHRIST

Therefore, if ever there was a gift needed to operate within the body of Christ, truly it is this gift of discerning of Spirits. There are numbers of instances where this gift operated in Christ to discern Spirits, one particular incident in the life of Christ (Matthew 16:23). Christ told His disciples He would have to go to the cross. Peter, before being converted, (Luke 22:32), declared Lord, be it far from thee, you don’t have to go to the cross. And Jesus looked at Peter with discernment and said GET THEE BEHIND ME SATAN, THE THINGS YOU SPEAK ARE NOT THE THINGS OF GOD. Jesus wasn’t calling Peter a devil, yet He was speaking to the spirit influencing Peter to have to look at what is going on under the cloak of Christianity to discern most of it is of the devil for the purpose of deceiving. The devil in the honky tonk, beer joint, etc., isn’t going to deceive you. His attempt to deceive you will come religiously, therefore, we need the grace of God in this respect to be able to look at what is going on under the cloak of religion and identify it as to whether it is motived by the right or wrong spirit.

DISCERNMENT IN PAUL

When the woman who followed Paul and Silas for so many days continued crying out, these are the servants of the most high God who have come to tell us the words of life (Acts 16:18), the first few days Paul didn’t say anything. After all, what she was saying was Truth, however beloved, she was motivated by the wrong spirit! About the third day the same thing happened and no doubt the Apostle Paul said, somehow that just doesn’t have the right ring to it! I must say today there is an awful lot of things going on in certain circles of Christianity dealing with this high pressure personality evangelism that just doesn’t have the right ring to it, yet sooner or later if this thing is of God (which I doubt) it must come to the whole Truth of the Word. As they say in the court room, do you solemnly declare that what you are about to say is the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. To this deceived religious world who claims Christ, I would like to say, do you confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord and truly the Saviour of your soul and do you solemnly declare you will submit yourself to the understanding of His whole Word of Truth! Because if you won’t it could be because some old religious seducing spirit has gotten hold of you and allows you to hear just barely enough of the bible to deceive you and never allow you to walk on in the Word of Truth!

What the woman is saying is Truth, we are man of God and we have come with a truth yet somehow it doesn’t carry the right ring! The Spirit of Discernment came upon Paul and he declared, no wonder it didn’t sound right, it sounds religious enough but it is motivated by the spirit of the devil! Come out of her you devil in the name of Jesus Christ and from that time the evil spirit which troubled the girl departed. What let Paul know the girl operated under the wrong spirit even though what she said was truth was that DISCERNING OF SPIRITS Christ placed in the body whereby the church would not be deceived by spirits – that they might know the working of the true Spirit from the false when it speaks, I John 4:1. We most assuredly need that gift to operate in its fullest capacity in this hour!

We are down to our final two spiritual gifts or THINGS OF CHRIST in the body and remember, we are not discussing any particular operation of them seeing they operate different through different vessels of clay. Our purpose is to seek only their identity and declare to all God set these nine gifts in His body on earth and nowhere has He ever removed them from His true body. No not even in the darkest hours within church history when it appears they ceased to operate, because church history proves that even through the Dark Ages in certain scattered isolated areas of Europe there would be a few scattered remnants of people who simply could not tolerate the present religious evils of their hour, and usually it was under such dire circumstances of oppression and severe hardships of pressure that drove these scattered remnants to seek God for survival and existence, in that hour certain spiritual gifts would be moved to operate, to lead and encourage these people. And what about this hour or restoration in these last days, if the church is to be restored back to her original apostolic teaching she must also be restored back to that same degree and identity of having all these gift ministries operating through her as she closes out the present age, ready to leave for glory.

NO. 8 – DIFFERENT KINDS OF TONGUES

To another DIVERS KINDS OF TONGUES. What does the Apostle mean? He is saying to another different kind of languages of tongues are given. In other words, we would say a gift of speaking in other languages is in certain people, just as other gifts which Paul declares in I Corinthians 12:27-31, in this many membered body of Christ also. And God set some (not all) in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, gifts of healing, helps, government and last of all he mentions diversities of tongues. Then Paul, as he was noted for doing, answered a question by asking a question. Watch Paul ask this question, Are all who are set in the body of Christ apostles, are all prophets, teachers or workers of miracles; do all have the gift of healing, do all speak with tongues, do all interpret? THE ANSWER TO EACH QUESTION IS NO! Because if you will note from verse 7-11, Paul is constantly showing that the same Spirit of God is dividing the THINGS OF CHRIST as He sees fit, or as it pleases Him to place them throughout the body. He therefore gave to one, one thing and to another He gave something else and to another He gave still another gift and so on. When did the Spirit give this believer his portion of the THINGS OF CHRIST, when he received that portion of His Spirit that completed his new birth and he was added to the mystical body of Christ.

And to another the Spirit of God gives divers Kinds of Tongues. On one occasion you may hear the individual speaking and it will sound like one language and the speaking may sound as if it remains in that language for a while, and then you will notice a slight change in their vocabulary of tongues. Here I want to pause and say, tongues are not prophecy, although tongues are a manifestation of the power of God placed in the mystical body of Christ to represent that part of Christ which was 1st here in the corporeal body walking on earth.

3 OCCASIONS CHRIST SPOKE IN TONGUES

When Christ was on earth we have a record of 3 different times He spoke in other languages. Mark 7:34, was one event where He spoke in tongues praying for a deaf and dumb person. Mark 5:40-41 is another time He spoke in tongues raising a dead girl, and the third time was in Matthew 27:46, while hanging on the cross. Remember Christ had within Him the THINGS OF GOD, the Father, and it was the operation of the Spirit that would take those THINGS OF CHRIST which had been manifested through His corporeal body and later place them all in the mystical body of Christ.

TONGUES A SIGN

Therefore, the GIFT OF TONGUES or languages is in the church. They are not necessarily for the edification of the believer, on the contrary, the gift of tongues is the one gift which portrays a sign among the body of Christ not toward believers, but toward that of the unbeliever, I Corinthians 14:22! Beloved, just the operation of the gift of tongues alone spoken of in a congregation (without interpretation) does not edify the believer at all. Furthermore, Paul declared if there is no interpreter in the congregation, keep silent.

TONGUES IN PRIVATE PRAYER

Although, may I say, when a person is in his prayer closet praying in the Spirit as shown in I Corinthians 14:2, many times revelated believers pray in languages which they themselves do not understand. It is an anointing of the Spirit to the person in secret prayer and it builds up their own spirit and in this kind of praying, there is edification to the believer, yet in a congregation it would be of no edification, and unless interpreters are present this should not be used, I Corinthians 14:27-28. Tongues is placed in the body of Christ so it can be manifested to the unbeliever as he hears. Verse 22, the case in the early church the unbeliever would no doubt be associated enough with tongues to know the individual speaking in tongues or languages did not know other languages, and he will wonder why that person could speak in another tongue. Tongues is a sign to unbelievers, not believers. How often do we hear people say, if I don’t hear someone speak in tongues I don’t believe they have the Holy Ghost. YOU ARE AN UNBELIEVER because Paul said tongues is not for the benefit of believers but for unbelievers! Think about it and prayerfully read verse 22 again. It is only when tongues is accompanied with the sister gift of interpretation that it can benefit the congregation, because as we shall later see the gift of interpretation places the unknown language in the language of the listener whereby they may rejoice over what was uttered in the other language.

The gift of tongues was placed in the body as a sign to the unbeliever! However I would say the gift of tongues, even though it is accompanied with interpretation, is not a gift that is ever going to take the place of the Word of Knowledge. While it is true, when the interpretation of tongues is declared, often times details about a certain condition are brought into the open which brings about the same understanding in pointing to a future condition as would the Word of Knowledge. Nevertheless remember, it can never take the place of the Word of Knowledge, even though at times it brings about an understanding that the Word of Knowledge alone would produce. No, the gift of tongues with interpretation can never take the place or do away with any other spiritual gift, because God wants all of these gifts kept within His mystical body and seeing there is difference of operation in different vessels, I am not telling you how any of them operate other than say, let us get acquainted with all of them and be able to recognize their separate functions as they are going to definitely be in operation within the endtime church! Tongues as languages are expressions of the power of God through individual believers which enables them to speak in other dialects as that ability was in the corporeal body of Christ.

NO. 9 – INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES

Now to the last of the nine gifts or THINGS OF CHRIST placed in His mystical body by the Holy Spirit and that is to another person is given the INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES. Remember according to verse 11, that all these gifts differ and have different operations, although they are all placed in the body of Christ and distributed by that self-same Spirit as it pleases Him. Paul began in verse 4 declaring, there are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit, and in verse 11 He winds up this part of this subject by saying, the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. See beloved, that takes this out of our hands. It is the work of the Spirit who divides to every man severally as He will. That is why I mentioned early in the lesson when Paul spoke concerning the distribution of the gifts he used the phrase, THE SAME SPIRIT, then when he left that thought and came to the administration of various functions of all these gifts, he refers to these as being under the administration by THE SAME LORD, shown as Lord, the Spirit is the headship and through the anointing of that leadership He works in the believer. Yes, He is master of it in every operation, and when any of the gifts have completely fulfilled its purpose in its operation it is then the term THE SAME GOD is applied in verse 6. The Word GOD means an object of worship and shows the highest order of admiration, praise and worship that can be attributed to the Spirit whereby in the final analysis, or in the end, it is God who is glorified for what was accomplished. Yet remember SPIRIT, LORD AND GOD are all one and the self-same object of worship and Jesus is His name!

VARIOUS VIEWS

Now to the GIFT OF INTERPRETATION, different people seem to hold various views as to what interpretation is. Some declare the interpreter knows in advance what he is to say, while others will declare he doesn’t. Both can be right seeing the Bible declares there are differences of operations in these gifts. A person knowing in advance the words of interpretation could be every bit as true as the one who doesn’t, depending on the manner the Spirit chooses to operate through the person. However, don’t go to seed on that! If there are diversities of tongues then the gift of interpretation has to be in like manner also! That is, as God has spoken through a language, He knows what He said and since the Holy Ghost spoke it the Holy Ghost may interpret it anyway He sees fit. Is not God the author of every language?

WITH TONGUES CAME UNDERSTANDING

Think back a bit before the tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1, everyone spoke the same language and to halt the erecting of the tower they had intended to stretch into heaven to protect them from a flood, which God declared would never again destroy all mankind, He simply gave them different languages. However don’t forget, as God confused the languages that night He also had to give understanding of these languages at the same time. What a terrible situation this would have been had a wife, husband and children all in one family gone to bed speaking another and could not understand each other. They wouldn’t have even known what was going on in their own families. You see, it is one thing to say He changed their languages, which was true, but I say He had to add some understanding to their own tongue also. I don’t believe God broke up any homes; He broke up their languages because they were all trying to settle in one geographical area in the land of Shinar. Earlier God had told Noah to go out into the earth and re-populate it, but here several generations later they wanted to stop and build a city and tower that would reach into heaven and build a name for themselves, lest they be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth. See, they didn’t want to fulfill God’s commission, therefore by changing their language they were scattered abroad throughout the earth, seeing they could not understand each other.

INTERPRETATION GIFT DIFFERS

Therefore, when God came down in the power of the Holy Ghost in the early church and manifested tongues, He also brought the gift of interpretation to go along with the tongue gift. Hence, it is not necessary that the person interpreting have foreknowledge of what is to be said in order to interpret the tongues. Some people interpret tongues with eyes closed, seeing the words before them, while others hear a voice saying those words and they repeat them. Some say just a few words are in their mind and when they speak those words more flows into their mind and they continue to speak. All these methods stem from the fact there are diversities of operation. It is all God’s way of giving the understanding of what was said in tongues.

GIFTS NOT REMOVED

Furthermore, when Paul declared in I Corinthians 13:8, that tongues shall cease and prophecies shall fail, he didn’t mean they would cease out of the body of Christ! By no means, they are the THINGS OF CHRIST which are in His Spirit distributed into His mystical body, thus to say the THINGS OF CHRIST would cease is the same as to say Christ would cease to exist in His body! No, it simply means they shall cease to fulfill the purpose they were placed in the body for in the first place, not that they would not still be in the church! He also declared knowledge in the Bride of Christ would vanish away! Are we to interpret this to mean there is no knowledge? Amazing how people can go to seed on certain points! Prophecy and the Gift of Interpretation is associated together and in operation often produces the same effect of edification and understanding to the congregation, I Corinthians 14:5, just as knowledge and wisdom are two parallel gifts which work and are associated together operated by the Holy Ghost as they are ministered to the person or persons, often times they accomplish similar edification and understanding.

Beloved, nobody can give you a gift! It is God who does the distributing of the things He has taken from the corporeal body of Christ and placed in His mystical body on earth to represent Christ. Therefore, to have a gift you must first have the baptism of the Holy Ghost, then it is up to us to walk humbly, become more sensitive to the Spirit of God and become a praying person that God in His own way might lead and direct us through these gifts He has chosen and ordained to guide His mystical body through the earth wherein they may, in turn, represent Christ in the earth.