Fred R. Coulter—January 30, 2010

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We can liken much of modern Christianity to a fast-food drive-thru, and you can pick your brand: McDonald's, Wendy's, Carl's Jr., Taco Bell, or whatever. You go in, you get what you want, it's fast, you go out. And just like that food is likely not going to be very nourishing, so what is told within the evangelicals, avoids lot of the Truth of God and matter of fact, rejects it, because one of the foundational things they say is that the law has been done away.

And also some of them go further and say, 'Well, the ministry of Jesus Christ was for the Jews only, and therefore, we don't have to follow what He says.' We have seen how Paul upholds the words and teachings of Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, he said there in 1-Tim. 6:3 that if anyone does not adhere to the sound words, even the words of Jesus Christ, stay away from them.

So what has evolved has been a theology that really sounds good, especially for those who don't know the Bible. They do use parts of the Bible, but here's what happens when you say, 'The law is done away and everything in the Old Testament has been fulfilled.' How many people are going to read it? Very few, because they won't think it's necessary. Just like when you go through a fast-foods place, there's nothing to prepare. You just go get what they give you, and it's all wrapped up and you take it.

They also have what is called 'born again,' which we have an article online and we have it in the appendices of the Bible, 'What Does It Mean "Born Again"?, What Does It Mean "Born of God"? The way they've come to a born again experience is that they are led to Jesus. How is a person led to Jesus? Well, they come to a minister and he asks them:

  • Do you believe that Jesus is the Savior? Yes!
  • Do you believe that He died for your sins? Yes!
  • Do you accept Him as your personal Savior? Yes!
  • Do you open your heart to Jesus? Yes! All right, you've been born again.

Now what happens is brought out by this book, Quitting Church, which is quite a book by the way, by Julia Duin. She says that as many of the new ones come into the doors of the churches, the older experienced ones are going out the other door. So there are 76-million people who are what are called searching for churches or are un-churched. I think it's very interesting that in going through this book and reading it, you find that not only are the parishioners not really getting the Truth, you also find that the ministers don't know the Truth and they don't go beyond what they've been taught in seminary. What they've been taught in seminary is the only thing that they teach. In a Sunday-keeping church that's evangelical, or whatever brand it is, if you come in there and say, 'Well, now, you need to keep the commandments of God, especially the Sabbath,' boy, you are met with such hostility and disdain it's unreal.

Also, if you ask the minister, 'Well, are the laws of clean and unclean foods still applicable today?' You're told no. They go through with their excuses, I'm not going to cover that today, but we can cover that at a different day, and they completely misunderstand 1-Tim. 4 concerning clean and unclean meats.

So as you examine evangelicalism, the foundation that they stand on is not Christ, and the Scriptures that they rely on, based on the King James, have not been properly translated, especially the difficult Scriptures of the Apostle Paul. That's why in the second edition of the Bible, we added a 32-page section, Understanding the Difficult Scriptures of Paul. Some of them indeed are difficult to understand as Peter said, but he also equated it to Scripture.

So let's go back here to 2-Peter 3. Let's see how he explained this, and let's see what it's really telling us concerning what Paul wrote. It tells us more than they are just difficult to understand. 2-Peter 3:15: "And bear in mind that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation, exactly as our beloved brother Paul... [This is after he was corrected in Gal. 2 by Paul. It's very interesting that it's very probable that the epistles that Paul wrote were forwarded on to Peter. Does that not tell us something, when he refers to the Epistles of Paul and his writings? It tells us what? Peter had them, otherwise he wouldn't be able to write about them—correct? Yes!] ...As he has also in all his epistles, speaking in them concerning these things; in which are some things... [not all, but some] ...difficult to understand..." (vs 15-16).

Now if they're difficult to understand, that doesn't mean they cannot be understood, but it means you have to have a grounding in the Word of God, an understanding of the Truth of God, so that when you come to these difficult Scriptures, you may understand them. Now this is compounded in the translation in English, because certain very key things that are in the Greek are not properly translated into the English. So that's why in the Bible you need to read, What Does it Mean to Be 'Born Again'?; What Does It Mean to Be 'Born of God'?] ...difficult to understand, which the ignorant... [Those who are not knowledgeable of the Word of God.] ...and unstable..." (vs 15-16). Meaning, that undoubtedly they don't have the Spirit of God.

I think it's interesting in this book, Quitting Church, they don't talk about the converted or unconverted. They talk about the churched and the un-churched. Nothing is really mentioned about conversion, who is a true Christian, how does one become a true Christian. That's why in this book, Occult Holidays or God's Holy Days—Which? we have a section in there, Who and What is a True Christian? Most people think that you're a Christian if you profess Christ. That's only the beginning. You have to go further.

  • you have repent
  • you have to be baptized
  • you have to receive the Holy Spirit

We'll cover all of those things as we go along in this series, The Bible Answers to Evangelicals.

"...and unstable are twisting and distorting, as they also twist and distort the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.... [Then he gives a warning.] ...Therefore, beloved, since you know this in advance, be on guard against such practices, lest you be led astray with the error of the lawless ones..." (vs 16-17). That's very interesting—isn't it? The lawless ones are the ones who come along and say the law has been done away. So this is why also in the Bible we have the appendices, How Did Jesus Fulfill the Law and the Prophets? Because certain things were fulfilled, certain things came to an end—but what things were fulfilled? How were they fulfilled? and How did they come to an end? You just can't make a blanket statement and contradict the very words of Christ, where He said, 'Don't think I've come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I didn't come to abolish, but to fulfill.'

Now let's look at one of the appendices here just for a minute. That is Appendix I, page 1276. What we're going to review here is very interesting. We have OC, which is Old Covenant; NC, which is New Covenant. Let's examine how things were changed in the New Covenant from this point of view: Were they abolished? or Were they given a higher standard? Did it do away with the physical, but replace it with the spiritual?—and the spiritual becomes a higher standard. I want you to go ahead and study all the way through these things, but what I'm going to do is just briefly summarize them so you understand what happened when Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. Let's begin with the first one, left hand column:

  1. OC: A physical covenant based on physical promises.

Then it lists the Scriptures. With the exception of the prophets, some of the kings, and like Moses, David, and so forth, the promise of eternal life was not given to Israel in general. So when you hear the statement, 'Well, those under the Old Covenant attained eternal life through the law.' If they did, why can't you do it in the New Testament?

NC: A spiritual covenant based on spiritual promises and eternal life (and spiritual requirements).

That's why Jesus said, 'You've heard it said at old time you shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery,' etc. Then He gives a higher standard. He did not do away with them. So what you see when you come to the New Covenant: everything is elevated to a higher standard.

  1. OC: Required physical circumcision.

NC: Circumcision is of the heart through baptism.

A higher standard—circumcision of the flesh has been superseded by circumcision of the heart.

  1. OC: Holy Spirit generally not available; obedience was to the letter of the Law.

NC: Believers have the gift of the Holy Spirit and obey in the spirit of the Law.

  1. OC: Worship at the earthly tabernacle through human priest/mediator.

NC: Directly worship God the Father in heaven through Christ.

Our prayers go directly to God the Father through Christ in the sanctuary in heaven above.

5. OC: Had animal sacrifices, offerings and ritual works of the law.

That all came to an end when the temple was destroyed and the priesthood no longer had any job to do.

NC: Have the ultimate sacrifice of Christ, fruits of the Holy Spirit, prayer and good works.

Entirely different.

6. OC: Transgression of the Law required physical atonement for certain sins, death penalty for others.

NC: Forgiveness for sins upon repentance... [that's directly to God] ...second death for unpardonable sin.

Everything is elevated to a higher level.

7. OC: Had physical ordinances of Divine service and an earthly sanctuary.

NC: Has actual Divine service and a heavenly sanctuary.

Quite different—isn't it? And you can add into that a personal relationship with God—through the Spirit of God through Christ—through having this access to God the Father in heaven above. He hears our prayers and He answers our prayers, because He loves us. So that's why Jesus told the woman at the well in Samaria when she said, 'Well, you Jews say the only place to worship is in Jerusalem,' That was true at that time. But He told the woman what? 'You don't know what you're worshipping. We Jews know what we're worshipping, but the time is coming when the true worshippers of God shall worship Him in spirit and in truth.' So a higher level again.

8. OC: Earthly tabernacle consecrated with animal blood.

NC: Heavenly tabernacle consecrated with the blood of Jesus Christ.

Quite a different thing—isn't it? A higher standard!

9. OC: Sons of Aaron were high priests of earthly tabernacle.

NC: Christ is now High Priest of heavenly tabernacle.

Quite a difference—isn't it? Again, a higher standard!

10. OC: Priests offered animal sacrifices for physical justification and purifying of the flesh; high priest went into Holy of Holies once a year.

NC: Christ offered Himself once as the sacrifice for sin... [That's for all time.] ...spiritual justification is now possible for all.

That's greatly misunderstood by the evangelicals, because they don't really grasp, to the extent that they ought to, that now it's not been done away, but those things, which have been fulfilled, have been graduated to a higher standard.

11. OC: No direct access to God the Father.

Christ came to reveal the Father.

NC: Direct access to the Father through Christ.

We have all the Scriptures there. You can go through and look up all the Scriptures. These are just basic ones to give you a foundation to start on.

12. OC: Could not make one perfect as pertaining to conscience.

That is a vast difference.

NC: Sin is spiritually forgiven; the conscience is purged through the Holy Spirit.

By what is called the washing of the water of the Word.

13. OC: Sacrifices and oblations ceased to be effective at the time the new spiritual order was established by Christ.

However, there was also an overlap of forty years from 30A.D. to the destruction of the temple in 70A.D. as a transition period. But for those who had the Holy Spirit, those ceased to be effective and the only effectiveness intended by the Old Covenant was at the temple.

NC: Christ's supreme sacrifice applies to all who accept it (from the time of Adam to the end of humanity).

Now that also has to be further explained by the Last Great Day, etc.

14. OC: The Old Covenant was made obsolete by the death of Christ.

The key is that didn't make the laws and commandments obsolete.

NC: The New Covenant was established after Christ's death, resurrection and ascension.

So these are very important things, which then give us the guideline as to how we understand how things were fulfilled. Every time you look at something that was fulfilled in the physical realm, then a new standard spiritually was applied.

Let's come back and see something else so that we can understand what Jesus is saying and why we need to follow what Jesus taught. We can't say that it was only for the Jews, because it was prophesied that 'that Prophet,' Who became Christ, had to go first of all to the children of Israel. We'll examine about the Gentiles a little later and how Paul taught and what he did. But let's come to the Gospel of John, chapter 12, and let's see how this not only applies to the Jews, but to us. It applied directly to the Jews at that time, but we're going to see He doesn't say the Jews, He says anyone, because these teachings were to go on down in time.

This becomes basic and foundational. Just put in your notes 1-Cor. 3 that the only foundation for salvation is Jesus Christ, no other foundation. So what is happening is, that even though they have a fast-food Christianity, they're getting their food without any nourishment at all.

John 12:37: "Although He had done so many miracles in their presence, they did not believe in Him... [Miracles never really convince anyone. Just like all the thousands that Jesus healed. Where were they? They were healed and they were happy with that and went on their way.] ...So that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled who said, 'Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?' For this very reason they could not believe because again Isaiah said... [Why couldn't they believe? Because they didn't want to accept it! Think about that very principle. If you don't accept it, you cannot believe. If you don't have the Holy Spirit and you're not repenting to God, then you have a carnal mind and we're going to see some of the questions that this gentlemen wrote which led to this series that I'm doing, Bible Answers to Evangelicals, are very carnal. This is reflective of the problems that evangelicals have and reflective of the problems that they see within their congregations. So what happens if you don't believe?] ...'He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts so that they would not see with their eyes and understand with their hearts, and be converted, and I would heal them'" (vs 37-40). So that's why Jesus said, 'Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life.'

Verse 41: "Isaiah said these things when he saw His glory and spoke concerning Him. But even so, many among the rulers believed in Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue... [Politics involved! Same thing of the denominations of the evangelicals. They don't dare teach anything that does not conform with the denomination. This man here wrote me and he said, 'All you are doing is defending some tradition that has you boxed up and I realize that to give it up you no doubt will lose a lot in this world.' Well, he doesn't know me, he knows nothing about me and yet he's trying to judge my heart. That's not the case. 'Ask yourself the question: Are you preaching to please a system, organization, or men for that matter, so if so, you're no friend of Christ.' Well, if you would have listened to my resignation sermon, he would have understood that that wasn't so. I left because they were not teaching the Word of God. That simple! When you say something, you have to make sure that it does apply. So they were political. They were worried about status, prestige, whatever.

"Then Jesus called out and said, 'The one who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him Who sent Me.... [Now notice, He didn't say theJew. He said the one. And even evangelicals talk to people and ask them, 'Do you believe in Jesus?' So they would have to admit by that very thing that this verse would apply to them.] ...And the one who sees Me sees Him Who sent Me. I have come as light into the world so that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness.... [Here is the key]: ...But if anyone hears My words and does not believe... [Now let's understand something: do we have the quotes of Jesus in the New Testament? Yes! Written by the apostles. They heard these words—correct? Yes!] ...But if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world'" (vs 44-47). He talks about judgment a little later.

Now notice v 48: "'The one who rejects Me and does not receive My words...'" Now let's stop there and think about this for just a minute. What if you accept Jesus, but don't believe His words? Are you still rejecting Him? 'Oh, I accept Jesus, but we don't have to follow anything that He taught in the Gospels, because He was the minister for the circumcision.' So you take a half-truth and you create a lie. So if you don't believe Him and reject His words—see, it's a combination.

"'The one who rejects Me and does not receive My words has one who judges him; the word... [Now the difference between the singular and plural here is this: the singular means His entire message.] ...which I have spoken, that shall judge him in the last day.... [Very interesting. Doesn't sound like Jesus is doing away with anything—does it? Doesn't sound like it applies to just the Jews only, from this point of view: He's talking to the Pharisees as well as everyone else. Do the ministers in evangelical Christianity—are they in the same position as the Pharisees? Yes! Do they have their traditions that they follow? Yes! They have certain Scriptures and certain paths that they use through the Bible. Do they reject the rest of it? Yes, just exactly like the scribes and Pharisees did with their traditions.] (Now here's the reason this is going to happen): ...For I have not spoken from Myself; but the Father, Who sent Me, gave Me commandment Himself, what I should say and what I should speak…. [Of course, this was for all people] …And I know that His commandment is eternal life. Therefore, whatever I speak, I speak exactly as the Father has told Me.'" (vs 48-50).

So this is why we are to search the Scriptures, prove whether these things are so or not. If there are some difficult Scriptures that we don't understand, what we need to do is just remember it, put it on the shelf, come back at it later, continue studying the Bible. You'll be able to understand it if you do.

Let me read his next question here, which I think is quite revealing. Matthew 6:25: "Because of this I say to you, do not be anxious about your life as to what you shall eat and what you shall drink; nor about your body as to what you shall wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" Take the verse in isolation. This violates one of the first rules of Bible study. What does it say? What does it not say? If you don't understand it, what's the verse before, what's the verse after, what's the chapter before, the chapter after?

Here's what he says: 'Christ told these Messianic believers... [Now this doesn't apply to anyone else. Messianic believers.] ...therefore, take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, drink, or what you shall put on.' Do you never give your next day's meal a thought? Do you ever go to the grocery store with a list for the week? If so you are violating this command?' Really?

Let's go back a few other verses here and let's read it, v 24: "No one is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Mammon is anything that's important to you, whether it's money or esteem or whatever. You cannot serve God if you throw away the words of Jesus Christ. That's true, too.

"'Because of this I say to you, do not beanxious... [As we will see, He doesn't say provide. As we will see, He didn't say stay in your house and it'll all be delivered to you—right? He didn't say go and plant. He did not say don't go out and harvest. Don't be anxious!Don't become obsessed with it, that's what it's talking about with anxiety here.] ...about your life as to what you shall eat and what you shall drink; nor about your body as to what you shall wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Observe the birds of heaven: they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor do they gather into granaries; and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?" (vs 25-26).

Well, because He feeds them, did He tell them, 'Well, it's not necessary for you to fly. I'll just bring it to you.' He didn't say that! God provides, but they have to go hunt. They have to find; they have to work, but if they seek, the same thing here. 'Seek and you shall find; ask and it shall be given; knock and it shall be opened.' But you don't have to be worried about it; nervous and frustrated about it.

"And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe the lilies of the field, how they grow: they do not labor, nor do they spin... [But He didn't say, 'You don't have to labor, you don't have to spin.' It's the lilies that don't.] ...but I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. Now if God so arrays the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much rather clothe you, O you of little faith?.... [Now let's see what the lesson is here]: ...Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we be clothed?' For the nations seek after these things. And your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.... [He'll provide a way for you to get them.] ...But as for you, seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow shall take care of the things of itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil of that day'" (vs 28-34).

Now what do we do with that? Quit working? We'll find out here. Here's a very interesting section of Scripture, which we are to have as an object lesson in what we are to do. Proverbs 6:6: "Go to the ant, sluggard; consider her ways and be wise, who having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her food in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest.... [You don't see ants out crawling around on the snow. They take care of it before winter comes.] ...How long will you sleep, O sluggard? When will you arise out of your sleep? Yet, a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; so shall your poverty come as one who travels, and your want like an armed man'" (vs 6-11).

So in what Jesus is saying here, he's [the questioner] not saying at all. You don't work, you don't provide. I've never gone to the supermarket with a list of things and ended up with heart palpitations because I was wondering if I could find these in the supermarket. Never happen! We're not violating the command! We're following what Jesus said. You have to take the Scriptures and put all the Bible together with it.

Let's come to Proverbs 20. Let's see what he says about the harvest. Did these people have to go out and harvest? Yes, they did! Did Paul in the collection for the saints that the Corinthians and the different ones were doing, did he not tell them to sow so they could reap a harvest of crops that they could send down to Jerusalem? Yes! Did they have to work to do it? Was there famine down in Jerusalem? Yes! Did God provide for them? Yes, through the work of other brethren.

By his [the questioner] implication we should do this: Proverbs 20:4: "The lazy one will not plow by reason of the cold... [The Lord shall provide! It shall be delivered here in trucks. I don't have to do anything. I used to plant a garden, but no more. I just rest in my house and everything comes to me. Never happen!] ...therefore he shall beg in harvest and have nothing." Whoa! what about that?

Let's come here to 2-Thessalonians 3. Since the evangelicals believe in Paul's writings, isn't that true? They say, 'Oh, we believe in Paul's writings.' Let's see what he said, and we'll find out that this tells us the other half of the story about not being anxious. We are to work! But notice what Paul wrote concerning those who didn't work.

2-Thessalonians 3:10: "For indeed, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: that if anyone is not willing to work, he should not be allowed to eat…. [How about that? Was he afraid to work? Did he have heart palpitations and wouldn't go out and work? Was he anxious and frustrated? But notice, that's Paul. Now that's very unkind—isn't it? Some people would say that's harsh. God expects us to work and provide, but He doesn't want us to be anxious. He doesn't want us to be worry-warts over it.] …For we hear that some among you are walking irresponsibly, not working at all, but are behaving as busybodies.... [Quite a different situation—isn't it?] ...As for such individuals, we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ... [The one we just quoted back here in Matt. 6—correct?] ...that with quietness they work in order that they may eat their own food" (vs 10-12).

So there you have it. That's quite a thing—isn't it? That should answer that question sufficiently. You can put in your notes Luke 19 about the parable of the pounds. What did Jesus tell them to do? Go out and work with what I've given you to do. The one who increased came back, said, 'Your five pounds has gained five,' or 'your ten pounds has gained ten.' The one who received a lesser amount it gained five. The one who received the one and buried it, he didn't do anything. What happened? Jesus said, 'You wicked and lazy servant.' Much just like the one here who wouldn't go out and work. So we have that principle.

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The comment was made that too many people are studying more and more on less and less until they come to know nothing, which is a good comment. Let's come to 1-Timothy 6, and let's read this again, because this describes exactly where this gentlemen is coming with these questions. These show that he has a carnal-minded approach to the Word of God. Anyone who says that you don't have to follow the words of Christ and that there is a different gospel that was given to the Jews—which there wasn't; there was a forbearance until the temple was destroyed, but there was not a different gospel given—and attacks the Scriptures and the sayings of Jesus like he has in these questions, really fits very clearly with:

1-Timothy 6:3: "If anyone teaches any different doctrine, and does not adhere to sound words, even those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine that is according to Godliness... [the way to eternal life] ...He is proud and knows nothing. Rather, he has a morbid attraction to questions and disputes over words, from which come envy, arguments, blasphemy, wicked suspicions, vain reasonings of men who have been corrupted in their minds and are destitute of the Truth—men who believe that gain is Godliness. From such withdraw yourself" (vs 3-5).

Let's read some more of his questions and see how that fits. Now this is one question that people have all the time, but let's read it and see what it says. So let's go to Luke 10; that's the best place to go and I think this is very interesting, because when you read it and put it all together, and read the verses before and verses after, you get an entirely different picture.

Luke 10:19, let's read that in isolation. "Behold, I give you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you in any way." Very interesting! How many saw Raiders of the Lost Ark? The star, Indiana Jones, and they were searching for the lost ark and one of the scenes was in a pyramid and in the pyramid was a big room full of snakes everywhere, all kinds. Is Jesus saying, 'Go find a den of snakes and go stomp on them?' or of scorpions? Let's see how He Himself interprets it.

Verse 17—this shows the problem when you take a verse out of context and isolate it and then ask a question. "Then the seventy returned with joy.... [Because He sent them out to preach the Gospel, and notice what they said]: ...'Lord, even the demons are subject to us through Your name.... [Now the demons are what? The fallen angels—correct?] ...And He said to them, 'I beheld Satan fall as lightning from heaven.... [Satan is likened to what? That old serpent, the dragon.] ...Behold, I give you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy...'" (vs 17-19).

So that's not referring to literal serpents, literal scorpions, but it is referring to all the power of the enemy. He's liking the demons to other serpents and scorpions—correct? Yes! What is the demonic power? Let's see something which shows some of the demonic power. Revelation 9 gives us an insight. This is why in studying these questions we also have to understand that we need to get various parts of the Word of God to help give us an understanding of it. In ninety-nine percent of the cases we'll come up with the understanding of what it is. Some of those that we don't understand most likely are not salvational doctrines anyway.

Revelation 9:1: "And the fifth angel sounded his trumpet; and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to the earth, and there was given to him... [that has to mean it is an angel] ...the key to the bottomless abyss.... [that's where the demonic fallen angels are imprisoned] ...And he opened the bottomless abyss; and there went up smoke from the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the pit. Then locusts came onto the earth from the smoke; and power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power" (vs 1-3). So this is referring to demons. They look like grasshoppers in this case, but Jesus said, 'I give you power over allthe enemy and they have power like scorpions.' So that's what it's talking about. It's not talking about literal scorpions and literal serpents.

Now what was the prophecy concerning the serpent back in Gen. 3[transcriber's correction]? That there would be enmity between the seed of the serpent and the children that would come from Eve. And human beings for the most part, have an aversion toward serpents, and serpents an aversion toward human beings. In some cases they don't. You go to India and you have snake charmers. You go to Appalachia and you have rattlesnake handlers in church, and they base that upon Mark 16. So let's go there since we're talking about serpents. Let's go ahead and talk about it here, see what Jesus said. If one means spiritually, the other also can mean spiritually, could also be literally or physically, either one.

Let's see what it says and then we will see an example of how it could mean physically. Mark 16:17: "And these signs shall follow those who believe..." And yes, this is in the Scriptures. Now here's the question that he wrote: '...signs to follow, indicates that certain signs and wonders shall follow them that believe. Are all those signs following you? If I mail you some poison or send you a rattlesnake, would you drink the poison or kiss the snake on your U-tube? These verses are in the Textus Receptus, so don't give me that manuscript argument. I know the Sinaiticus and Vatacanis are corrupt manuscripts. Are these gifts still operable today? Can you prove it?' Sound like a little contentious question? Yes!You're not to tempt your God.

Let's see what these signs would be, v 17: "...cast out demons; they shall speak with new languages; they shall remove serpents... [Now the same Greek verb to take up means to pick up, to remove, as well. Not to pick up to worship, not to pick up and have like they have in these little churches in Appalachia where they hold the snakes and they kiss the snakes and they let them crawl all over them and everything. Question: Do you have in the book of Acts any indication that they went out and got literal snakes, that they had them in their worship service? No, you don't! They shall remove serpents. Now the King James says 'take up serpents.' But it means take up to remove, if it is the literal serpent.] ...and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them in any way; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover'" (vs 17-18).

Let's go ahead and do a little proving of this. Let's come to Acts 28. Let's see what happened with the Apostle Paul. It's the only account that we have in the Bible as to how to interpret this. Surely God does not want us, as the comment was made, tempt God and have services where we dance around to wild music and jump up and down in sweat, yelling and screaming, and put serpents all over us. I saw a special on the History Channel where a man was bitten 168 times, and he didn't die. Then he went on a special campaign somewhere and had a service, instead of in Appalachia and the back hills of Tennessee, he went down to Florida and they brought a poisonous serpent into him, and that one bit him and he was gone!

Acts 28:1: "Now when they were safe, they learned that the island was called Melita. And the barbarians showed us uncommon kindness; for they kindled a fire because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold and received all of us. But when Paul gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and wound itself around his hand. And when the barbarians saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to one another, 'No doubt, this man is a murderer... [Immediately you start judging—right?] ...although he has been saved from the sea, justice does not permit him to live.' But he shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no injury" (vs 1-5). Now there is a specific fulfillment of Mark 16, of removing, not reaching down and picking up.

Notice what happened, v 6: "Now they were expecting him to become swollen, or suddenly fall down dead. But when they watched for a long time and saw that no harm came to him, they changed their opinion and said that he was a god"—from one extreme to the other. So that tells you about that. Then Paul prayed for different ones and they were healed.

Another question: 'When did Peter and the rest of the twelve learn about the good news, i.e. the death, burial and resurrection when in John 20:9 it clearly says Peter didn't know what it was all about when he looked in the empty tomb.' All right, we'll answer that in just a minute. 'In the same regard, in Luke 18:31-34, why did Christ hide the news of the cross from even His closest disciples? Now Jesus is being bad because He didn't tell them about it.'

Let's come here to Luke 18:31—Jesus also told them, 'I didn't tell you these things because you were not able to bear them.' Let's see what He says here and let's put it together. "And after taking the twelve aside to Himself, He said to them, 'Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that have been written about the Son of man by the prophets shall be fulfilled. For He shall be delivered up to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and insulted and spit upon. And after scourging Him, they shall kill Him; but on the third day, He shall rise again.' But they understood none of these things, and this saying was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend what was said" (vs 31-34). Now why did Jesus do that?

  1. The event had not occurred yet.
  2. They were probably thinking that Jesus was going to restore the kingdom without any of this involved.

So He told them. But were they converted? No! When were they converted? After the resurrection of Christ. When did they understand it? Well, they couldn't understand it here. Jesus didn't tell them. It's like anything else, if someone doesn't tell you the meaning of it, or if the event hasn't occurred, you won't understand it. But after the event has occurred, then they understood it.

Let's come here to John 20. Peter even said, 'Well, I'm going fishing,' one time. So after Mary Magdalene came and told them that they had taken away the Lord from the tomb, didn't know where they took Him. John 20:3: "As a result, Peter and the other disciple [John] went out and came to the tomb. Now the two ran together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and he stooped down and saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not enter. Then Simon Peter came following him, and he went into the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying, And the napkin that had been on His head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had come to the tomb first, also went in and saw these things; and he believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture which decreed that He must rise from the dead" (vs 3-9).

Even though John believed, he still didn't understand the Scripture. If you saw the linen cloths lying, let's think about this for a little bit. After Jesus was resurrected, as a spirit being He could appear as flesh and bone, as He said. We'll see that in just a little bit. But as a spirit being He could walk through doors and walls and things like this. That's how He appeared to them suddenly in the midst of the room as we find later in John 20. So when Jesus was resurrected, as a witness of the resurrection, He probably rose right through the wrapping. This wrapping was not a shroud. Shroud is an absolute fraud that the Catholics use to keep people bound to idolatry. But the way that they buried them, they had strips of linen, which was in rolls, and then they would take this linen and they would wrap it as they put in the spices and aloe and things. Notice also that in whatever the picture of the shroud is, there is no evidence of any of the spices and aromatics. None!

So they would wrap it and they would put the spices in as they would wrap. So they would start with one foot and wrap up to the thigh; start with the other foot, wrap up from there and then go up the rest of the body and come down over the arms and the hands. So what did they see? They probably saw the form that had been wrapped around Jesus with these cloths, but no body. Now if someone was going to steal it, they would take everything. Now if they didn't want to take the cloths, they'd rip them off so they could get out of there real quick, because remember guards were guarding the tomb—correct?

Now let's ask the question: What does the folded napkin that was on His face signify? It signifies He was alive, and when He got up, came right through the cloths, He took the napkin off His face, folded it up and laid it in another place as a witness that He rose from the dead and was alive. Otherwise, you'd have to believe what? Otherwise, you'd have to believe that napkins can fold themselves. Every housewife would love that, wouldn't they? Yes! 'Napkins, towels, down in the laundry room, all fold yourselves. I'll come back in ten minutes when you're done.'

Comment was made from audience: I read a comment about that napkin, I don't know if it's true or not. It seems that the Jews had a custom at that time that when the master was eating, he took the napkin and just laid it aside and got up and did something else, then come back, pick up the napkin, and finished. But when he was done, he would fold the napkin and set it aside which indicated that he was finished. That struck me as kind of an interesting comment that Christ was saying, 'It is finished.' Do you have any comment on that? I suppose you could add that into it, that would not be wrong to add into it, but I think it was more to demonstrate that He was alive. That would be okay.

Let's come to Luke 24; let's see when they understood. This kind of runs a little counter to the evangelical beliefs, because they believe that there was a progressive revelation through the Epistles of Paul. So you just take the things of the Epistles of Paul, which reflect that progressive revelation, but they don't give credit to Jesus for giving the disciples also coming from nothing down through His ministry and the things that He did, to give them a progressive revelation as well, even though they didn't understand it when He told them certain things, like what would happen to Him.

After the going with the two to Emmaus, and so forth, and they came back and said, Yes, He is alive. Luke 24:34: "Saying, 'In truth, the Lord has risen! And He appeared to Simon.' Then they related the things that had happened to them on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of the bread. Now as they were telling these things, Jesus Himself stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be to you.' But they were terrified and filled with fear, thinking that they had beheld a spirit.... [a demonic spirit] ...Then He said to them, 'Why are you troubled? And why do doubts come up in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I. Touch Me and see for yourselves; for a spirit does not have flesh and bones... [Notice, doesn't say blood. He had the appearance of flesh and bones.] you see Me having.' And after saying this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they were still disbelieving and wondering for joy, He said to them, 'Do you have anything here to eat?' Then they gave Him part of a broiled fish and a piece of honeycomb. And He took these and ate in their presence" (vs 34-43).

Verse 44 is a key and this was probably a quite extended study going on to probably fairly late that night, because notice what it says: "And He said to them, 'These are the words that I spoke to you when I was yet with you, that all the things which were written concerning Me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.' Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures" (vs 41-45). That's when they understood, when it was time for them to understand. Back there in Luke 18, it wasn't time for them to understand.

"And said to them, 'According as it is written, it was necessary for the Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.... [So He showed them the Scriptures. He showed them Isa. 53, Psa. 22; 16; 69—then the prophecies in the rest of it. So it took Him quite awhile to go through that, I'm sure.] ...And in His name, repentance and remission of sins should be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.... [That's why they went to the Jews first, because God promised that it would come to the Jews and the Israelites. Now there's a dual prophecy in Ezek. 12, which says, 'The tents of Judah shall be saved first.' Who did it go to first? The Jews! And on the Day of Pentecost how many were saved on that day? Three thousand! We'll talk about that relationship to baptism, because a lot of them don't believe it's necessary to baptize, based on some Scriptures.] all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (vs 46-47).

Let's come to Acts 1 and let's see something else. Did the apostles get to all nations? No, they got to a lot of them, but not all nations, you have to conclude—correct? Let's see something else here that He told them. Of course, Jesus did not give them all understanding right at first, even after they were converted, even after they saw Him for forty days and forty nights after He had been resurrected, etc. There were other things that He was going to teach them, which we'll show in just a little bit.

Acts 1:4: "And while they were assembled with Him, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem but to 'await the promise of the Father, which,' He said, 'you have heard of Me. For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit after not many days.' So then, when they were assembled together, they asked Him, saying, 'Lord, will You restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?'.... [Remember, He said, 'You're going to sit on the twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.' So they were ready, 'I want to rule now.' Just like some people today. But notice His answer. He said, 'Well, guys, don't worry about it. It'll be over 2,000 years before it happens, so just take your ease and go on.' No!] (He said): ...It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has placed in His own authority; But you yourselves shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses, both in Jerusalem and in allJudea and Samaria, and unto the ends of the earth'" (vs 4-8).

Now they never got there did they? They got to many of the places—didn't they? If you read the book, I forget the author, but Where Did The Twelve Apostles Go?, it shows you that they covered a whole lot of geographical territory. The writings of Paul are what we have, but there are indications where the others went. But how are they going to get to the ends of the earth? Let's understand something: The writings of the apostles are inspired by Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit. These are the written witnesses. They wrote down what they heard, what they saw. We have the Bible, so it is getting to all nations to the ends of the earth—how? Through the Bible, through the written Word. So there's a fulfillment of it. Do we have their words? Of course we do!Yes, indeed! That's how it was done.

Let's prepare for the next section here and then we will end here. They were to go to all nations. He says the same thing here, Mark 16:15. They got around. They did a lot, but they didn't get to all nations. Did they get to North America? No! Did they get to South America? No! Did they get to the islands in the Indian Ocean or any other ocean, for that matter of fact, outside of perhaps maybe England and some of the islands there in the Mediterranean? No! So how is it going to get to the end of the earth? Through the printed word.

Mark 16:15: "And He said to them, 'Go into all the world... [So that's a continuous thing that needs to be done.] ...and preach the Gospel to the whole creation.'" So that was their assignment. Isn't it interesting? What do we have today with the increase of knowledge? Look at all the means of communication. Look at how many Bibles there are. Look at the fantastic thing that an Internet can do. Our websites are up seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day around the world, as well as many other websites. We now have today, in the world, we have over 1500 different churches and organizations that are Sabbath-keepers. We have in all denominations that call themselves Christians, we have the Bible, whether they follow it or not. That's a witness against them if they don't keep it. But it is also instruction for them if they would learn it.

Let's go to Matthew 28, because it talks about baptism. In Bible Answers to Evangelicals #6 we're going to investigate about baptism. I think you'll find that that is a key thing that they are missing. If they don't baptize or baptize correctly, and also keep the Sabbath, the Passover and Holy Days, they're preaching the wrong gospel.

Matthew 28:18: "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples in all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit... [I won't give a complete explanation of that here. That's for another time.] ...Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you always, even until the completion of the age'" (vs 18-20).

So that's quite something—isn't it? Make disciples! How do you make disciples? By baptizing, by teaching and then baptizing. Go into all nations. That's a continuing command—isn't it? Yes, indeed! How long is that command going? Until the return of Christ! So there we have it. Isn't that something? Yes, indeed!

So then why—we'll pick it up here next time—why do many evangelicals believe that you do not have to be baptized? Isn't it interesting how you can take a little here, take a little there, and ignore all of the things that are laid out in the Scriptures that you should also follow and you miss the point.

Now also look at it this way, make an analogy this way: Someone gives you directions to come to a certain location. Now this happened the other day. There was a man who was coming to the office to help us understand a little more about the microphone setup and things like this that we need in the studio to improve the sound and video, and everything. Jim Hyles gave him the directions to get there, but he forgot about the extension of Hwy 25 that went past San Philippe Road. The man came through on Hwy 25, but he was totally lost, because the directions given to him were not correct. Was he confused because he didn't have the right directions? Yes!

Same way with understanding the Bible! If you don't follow all the Bible, you're going to get confused and lost, especially if someone tells you, 'The law has been done away. You don't have to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. You don't have to follow the teachings of the seven general epistles of the 'Jewish' apostles.' What they're not telling you is that they're going back to an old heresy by Marcian who did the same thing. He did exactly the same thing—did away with the Gospels, did away with the General Epistles, and he also went through the Epistles of Paul and picked out all of those things which had to do with law and not grace and dissected those all out. That's precisely what the evangelicals do today. No wonder they're lost. No wonder people come in one door and others go out the other door. No wonder they can't find God in the church, because God isn't there. So this is the Christianity that permeates this world. And no wonder atheists say, 'You guys have a screw loose.' That's true. The Christian religions of this world create more atheists, because they don't know the Word of God. They use it, but they don't understand it. So to help answer his question is this:

  • When will the evangelicals believe Jesus and start following His teachings?
  • When will they believe God and really keep the Sabbath, the only day in the Bible that we are to keep on a weekly basis?
  • When will they reject all of the pagan holidays that they keep and keep the Passover and Holy Days of God?

Then they would understand! Understanding is conditioned upon obedience and belief. When that is done, you understand. Just like this poor man who was lost. When I gave him the directions the other way around, he says, 'Oh, now I know where I am.' Likewise, if we want to get to where Christ wants us to go, we better follow the instruction book.

Scriptural References:

  1. 2-Peter 3:15-17
  2. John 12:37-50
  3. Matthew 6:25, 24-34
  4. Proverbs 6:6-11
  5. Proverbs 20:4
  6. 2-Thessalonians 3:10-12
  7. 1-Timothy 6:3-5
  8. Luke 10:19, 17-19
  9. Revelation 9:1-3
  10. Mark 16:17-18
  11. Acts 28:1-5
  12. Luke 18:31-34
  13. John 20:3-9
  14. Luke 24:34-47
  15. Acts 1:4-8
  16. Mark 16:15
  17. Matthew 28:18-20

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • 1-Timothy 6:3
  • 1-Timothy 4
  • Galatians 2
  • 1-Corinthians 3
  • Luke 19
  • Genesis 3
  • Isaiah 53
  • Psalm 22, 16, 69
  • Ezekiel 12

Also referenced: Books:

  • Quitting Church by Julia Duin
  • Occult Holidays or God's Holy Days—Which? by Fred R. Coulter
  • Where Did The Twelve Apostles Go?