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nChrist
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« Reply #150 on: April 09, 2008, 03:47:33 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
"By The Skin Of My Teeth"
by A. Edwin Wilson


"BY THE SKIN OF MY TEETH"

This is an expression we hear so often today when rewards for faithful service, and crowns to wear during the kingdom, are mentioned. Some say, "I am not interested in rewards or crowns - just so I get to heaven by the skin of my teeth will be good enough for me."

The Holy Spirit has been pleased to given us a course of conduct or schedule of growth that will enable us to have an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of our Lord. In II Peter 1:5-11, we read, "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue,' and to virtue knowledge,' and to knowledge temperance,' and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness,' and to godliness brotherly kindness,' and to brotherly kindness charity,' for if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure,' for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. "

Any discussion of rewards necessitates a re-emphasis of the fact that salvation is by grace and grace alone. One does not have to do anything to be saved; one does not have to do anything to stay saved, and one does not have to do anything to prove that he has been saved. Salvation, being by grace, is an inward work and only God knows what is within man.

But there is a definite place for faithfulness and loyalty in Christian living and service; and the result of a godly life is in rewards and crowns, positions of favor, and honor, and glory. These are to be revealed when the Lord establishes His kingdom. There should be no trouble in distinguishing between salvation and rewards if this simple thought is kept in mind: salvation is by grace, and rewards are according to works.

The second epistle of Peter is addressed to the same group as his first epistle (II Peter 3:1) - Jews who have obtained like precious faith with the apostles. This faith is obtained rather than attained. This means it is a free gift of God - not of works - all of grace, plus nothing. The exhortation is that grace and peace might be multiplied to them (1:2) and that they might become partakers of the divine nature (1:4). This is to be accomplished by a simple addition of certain attributes as one puts off the old man and puts on the new man. Beginning with verse 5, one is urged to give all diligence. The giving of diligence calls for earnest endeavor, faithful striving, and zealous yearning after the things of God.

To faith (which has been given to us) we are to add virtue. Ordinarily we think of moral purity and chastity when the word virtue is used, but the real meaning in this passage is manliness, moral courage, and determination to grow in grace and knowledge. This is wonderfully exemplified in the lives of Joseph and Daniel in their determination to live for the Lord. If one is to excel in the Christian experience, there must be a solemn and determined resolve to live for the Lord. This is virtue.

Now to virtue add knowledge. There are many who are very zealous and determined in their service for the Lord. They are very rigorous in their separation from the things that defile; but they may be likened to the Jews of whom Paul wrote in Romans 10:2, "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge." There is always the question, "What is wrong with this and what is wrong with that?" They desire to do right but have not the knowledge. "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God. . ." (John 7:17). Here we learn that obedience to the Word of God is the price one must pay for increase of knowledge. One must live up to the light he now has if he hopes to receive more knowledge in the things of God. The Word of God and the will of God cannot be known apart from obedience.
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« Reply #151 on: April 09, 2008, 03:49:14 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
"By The Skin Of My Teeth"
by A. Edwin Wilson

Now to knowledge add temperance. Again the common usage of the word is misleading. Ordinarily when temperance is mentioned we think of the use of intoxicating liquors. This is a very small aspect of the word. It really means self-government or self-control. The Apostle Paul speaks of this in his own personal experience: "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (I Corinthians 9:27). This is also exemplified in the experience of Esau and the bowl of pottage (Genesis 25:27-34). Temperance, or self-control, applies to every realm of our human experience - not only what we drink but also what we eat, our pleasures, our labors, our relationship to our fellowman, and even our worship.

To temperance we are to add patience. Possibly a better word in this connection would be endurance. In II Timothy 2:12, Paul says if we suffer we shall also reign with Christ. The word suffer means endurance and has the meaning of exercising patience; that is, if we endure patiently we shall reign with Christ. Many times when we, through knowledge of the will of God and the exercise of self-control, find ourselves living a life different to those around us, we become impatient with them because of their way of life. But we need to exercise patience. In my own personal experience, when I become impatient with fellow-Christians, the Lord has a way of causing me to look back over my own rough and rugged path, and it enables me to be a little more patient toward them.

To patience we are to add godliness. Strictly speaking, godliness is being godlike. The world has utilized two approaches in its vain attempt to become godlike. First, the negative approach. This consists entirely of quitting this and quitting that; not doing this and not doing that. This is a different experience to putting off the old man. The second approach is positive: do this and do that; if one is saved he will do this and do that. This is also a different experience to putting on the new man. The Bible way of becoming godlike is entirely different. In II Corinthians 3:18 Paul says, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory, to glory, even as the Spirit of the Lord." We learn in this verse that one becomes godlike by gazing upon the face of the Lord. Since mortal man cannot look directly on the face of God, he must look at Him as in a mirror; that is, he will have a reflected view rather than a direct one. The mirror into which he looks and sees the face of the Lord is the Word of God. By gazing continually upon the face of the Lord we are changed into the same image. In the realm of human experience we have noticed men and their wives who have lived together for decades, and having spent so much time together they come to look alike. God's method for us to become godlike is that we spend much time gazing upon Him in His Word.

To godliness we are to add brotherly kindness, or love. As one grows in the knowledge of the Lord he learns to love other Christians. In fact, in I John 3:14, we are told that we know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. Here we have love of the brethren as an individual test of the genuineness of our Christian experience. Some are bitter and ugly toward other Christians because of a difference in belief or practice. Such should not be. As we grow we should add to brotherly love, love. This not only means that we love the brethren but our enemies as well. (See Matthew 5:43-48.)

Now if these things be in us and abound, we will be fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord.

Peter says that the Christian who does not have the above named attributes has three things wrong with him: 1) He is blind; that is, he cannot see the future blessings that are to be realized in the coming kingdom of our Lord. 2) He is nearsighted; he cannot see very far even in this lifetime, and consequently, misses most of the blessings the Lord has for him here and now. 3) He has suffered loss of memory and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins; therefore, he misses the assurance of his salvation and cannot have the peace of God in his heart.

The way to make certain our calling and election is to give diligence in adding these attributes. If we do so we shall never stumble. The word fall in verse 10 really means to stumble as we walk along the Christian pathway.

Those Christians who have been faithful and diligent in the growth and in the knowledge of the Lord, will have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of the Lord - not just by the skin of the teeth - but an entrance with the acclaim, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" - with the reward, "thou hast been faithful over a little, I will make you ruler over ten cities" - and with honor and glory: "enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

If God has blessings to offer to us in crowns and rewards, the ambition of our Christian life should be to earn them.
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« Reply #152 on: April 09, 2008, 03:50:52 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Missing The Kingdom
by A. Edwin Wilson


MISSING THE KINGDOM

Did you know it is possible for a person to be saved, have eternal life, and yet miss the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Recently we encountered one who tried to explain that after a person is saved it does not make any difference what he does, how he lives, or what sins he commits, that G9d will not call him into account because all his sins are under the blood. Holiness, obedience and faithfulness are words that have been expunged from his vocabulary and they have no part in his Christian experience.

It does make a difference how one lives. His part and place in the thousand year reign of Christ is dependent upon it. The judgment seat of Christ has been established in order to judge Christians for their good works and for their evil works. It is there that the terror of the Lord is going to be revealed against Christians who have sinned and have not confessed those sins (II Corinthians 5:10, 11).

In Galatians 5:17-21, we have a partial description of the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit. Before man becomes a Christian he is, in the terms of Scripture, a natural man. He has but one nature and that is a sinful nature. He sins because he cannot help it. Being a sinful creature he must of necessity sin. After man is born from above, he receives a new nature and becomes the possessor of a dual personality; that is, he still has the old natural man and he also has the new Spiritual man. Now the conflict begins. The flesh strives against the Spirit and the Spirit strives against the flesh. Paul gives a good description of this conflict in Romans 7:15-25. One day the flesh is in the ascendancy and the next day the Spirit is uppermost; but the conflict is present. And the Word of God tells us that the conflict will continue until our bodies have been redeemed (Romans 8:22, 23). The old flesh has its appetites and one can minister to that appetite or one can starve the fleshly nature, thereby weakening it and rendering it ineffective. Our Spiritual nature has an appetite and it can be nurtured so that it will grow in grace and knowledge, or it can be starved and stifled and made powerless. No wonder the Apostle Paul cried out, "0 wretched man that I am. Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

In Galatians 5:19-21, we have a list of the works of the flesh which are possible experiences for Christians if they let the flesh gain the ascendancy. The Spirit of God tells us through Paul that all who indulge in these works of the flesh shall not inherit, or enter into, the kingdom of God. (The kingdom of God, or of heaven, or of our Lord, which a Christian inherits, is the millennial reign of Christ and is not eternal life.) Such individuals described in this passage are Christians. An unsaved person does not have this conflict.

Let us consider briefly these sins against which God warns Christians. There are seventeen in all and they are resolved into five classes. The first class are sins against the body: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. The second group are the sins of worship: idolatry and witchcraft. The third group of sins are the differences between Christians in their worship: hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions and heresies. The fourth group are sins of selfishness: envyings and murders. The fifth group are sins of excessive pleasure: drunkenness, revellings, and such like.

Let us look at these briefly: 1. Sins of the flesh. It is well to keep in mind the fact that God never warns His people against sins unless they are capable of and liable to commit such sins. When He warns His children against the sins of adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lasciviousness, it is because they are possible. David, a man after God's own heart, was guilty of adultery and murder. There are ministers who have been guilty of these sins. There are leaders in church activities, Sunday School teachers, youth workers and such like who have been guilty of these sins. Is a Christian lost because of the failure here? David said, "I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." The Lord Jesus Christ says, "Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." What is the penalty for a Christian who commits these sins and does not confess and forsake them? He misses the kingdom.
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« Reply #153 on: April 09, 2008, 03:52:53 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Missing The Kingdom
by A. Edwin Wilson

2. Sins of worship. Idolatry is worshiping other gods rather than the one true and living God. Christians have long been guilty of idolatry. The Lord warns against covetousness which is idolatry. There are those who make an idol out of their family, that is, put their family ahead of God. Some do the same with their business; others with their pleasures. Many, many things become idols to Christians because God is relegated to the background when the two come into conflict. The other sin of worship is witchcraft which simply is seeking by magic, necromancy, divination, or fortune telling, to gain knowledge which God has not revealed in His Word. Many pet superstitions of Christians come under the heading of witchcraft. God hates it; and in the days of the Law, on one occasion, He commanded the children of Israel to exterminate whole nations because they were given over to witchcraft.

What happens when a Christian commits these sins of idolatry or witchcraft and does not confess and forsake them? He misses the kingdom.

3. Sins in worship. (a) Hatred means to dislike or feel an aversion to; (b) variance is deviation or discrepancy in belief and practice; (c) emulation is an endeavor to equal or excel; (d) wrath means violent anger or rage; (e) strife is contention for superiority; (f) sedition is resistance to the authority of God and His Word (in civil life this is called treason); (g) heresy is a promotion of a division because of doctrinal difference. What happens to a Christian who is guilty of these and does not confess and forsake them? He misses the kingdom.

4. Sins of selfishness. (a) Envying means a disregard for another's property or possessions; (b) murder is a disregard for another's life. According to the Scripture, if one hates another he is guilty of murder.

What happens to the Christian who is guilty of these two sins and does not confess or forsake them? He misses the kingdom.

5. Sins of pleasure. (a) Drunkenness is the drinking of too much intoxicant; (b) revellings is wild, boisterous, unrestrained hilarity which marks many entertainments given by Christians; (c) and such like. This includes all kinds of worldly pleasures indulged in to an unrestrained excess.

What happens to a Christian, given over to such, who does not confess and forsake them? He misses the kingdom.

Hear ye the Word of the Lord: ". . . of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

Saved? Yes. But all their works are burned and they have no place in His kingdom. After the thousand years they will enter into life everlasting; but for one thousand years God is going to make a difference between Christians who are faithful unto Him and those who are not.
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« Reply #154 on: April 09, 2008, 03:54:18 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
A Castaway - Or Missing The Kingdom
by A. Edwin Wilson


A CASTAWAY - OR MISSING THE KINGDOM

In I Corinthians 9:27, the Apostle Paul speaks of keeping his body under subjection lest that when he had preached to others, he himself should be a castaway. Many have erroneously interpreted this to mean that Paul was fearful of losing his salvation; however, a study of the context makes clear the thought that Paul was not afraid of losing his salvation but of being rejected as a ruler in the coming kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The preferred translation of the word castaway in the King James Version is "disapproved" or "rejected." The same word is used in Hebrews 12:17, where Esau is rejected as the firstborn. The latter part of I Corinthians 9 and the first part of I Corinthians 10 speaks of rewards that can be won or forfeited by Christians. In I Corinthians 9:24 he likens the Christian life to a race that is run by athletes at the Olympic games. In the race, many ran but only one received first prize. Christians are engaged in a race in which all may win the prize. Paul speaks of men disciplining themselves in order to excel in running and thereby win first prize. This prize was a corruptible crown like a laurel wreath; but we as Christians are striving for a crown that is incorruptible. Therefore, Paul says, "When I run this race I do not run all over the race track, but I press straight toward the goal. Neither do I waste time shadow boxing, but I really keep my body in subjection."

Paul was not fearful of losing his salvation because he said, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day" (II Timothy 1:12). He also wrote the eighth chapter of Romans, which is a classic on the security of the believer. No, he had no fear whatsoever of losing his salvation, but he was afraid of losing his reward.

All rewards are for faithfulness and all crowns for loyalty. All positions of trust and honor will extend through the millennium and will be meted out to Christians on the basis of their faithfulness. (See II Corinthians 5:10; Luke 19:11-27; II Timothy 2:12.) In I Corinthians 10:1-15, the Apostle Paul draws an analogy between the children of Israel and the Christians of this dispensation. He tells us in the sixth and eleventh verses of this passage that the things which happened to the children of Israel, happened as types and that they are written particularly for our admonition. Let us now consider the example of the children of Israel in this passage: "Moreover, brethren, 1 would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,' and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat of the same spiritual meat,' and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (1 Corinthians 10:1-4). This description leaves no doubt whatsoever concerning the relationship between the children of Israel and God. They were all under the blood; they were all baptized unto Moses; they were all delivered from Egypt (a type of sin and the world); they were peculiarly God's own people and shared and enjoyed the blessings that accrued unto them as such. But with many of them God was not pleased and He overthrew them in the wilderness. The fact of the matter is, only two of that particular generation, Joshua and Caleb, entered into the promised land. Some erroneously think that the promised land is a type of eternal life, but it is not. All those who were overthrown in the wilderness were saved. One does well to call to mind that Moses himself did not enter the promised land. God permitted him to view it (Deuteronomy 34:1-4) but would not let him enter in. That was because of the sin Moses committed toward the end of his career. This reminds us that a man may be a faithful servant of the Lord for years, yet sin in his closing days and lose his rewards. (See Revelation 3: 11 .)

Faithfulness unto the end is part of the task of serving the Lord. We know Moses was saved because he appeared with Elijah and Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. He is also listed in the "Hall of Fame" in Hebrews 11:23ff. What then is the significance of his being barred from the promised land? Just this: The promised land is a type of the millennial reign of Christ; and the truth we want to emphasize in this particular article is, though the children of Israel were saved and had eternal life, yet because of their unbelief in the Word of God pertaining to the promised land, all but two were barred from entering into that land to enjoy its blessings.
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« Reply #155 on: April 09, 2008, 03:55:57 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
A Castaway - Or Missing The Kingdom
by A. Edwin Wilson

The teaching which the Apostle Paul was emphasizing in I Corinthians 10, is that whereas a person may be saved and have life everlasting, it is still possible for him to miss the millennial reign of Christ because of disobedience, unfaithfulness, and sin; and when Paul says he keeps his body under subjection lest he be disapproved, he simply means that since he has been saved he is trying to live and serve in such a way that he will not be cast away as was Moses and the majority of the children of Israel. He wants to be approved and enter into the reign of Christ just as Joshua and Caleb entered into the promised land.

Too long Christians have been content to accept the grace of God for salvation and then, on the supposition that all Christians share alike in the coming kingdom of our Lord, give themselves over to live in the flesh. God says in His Word that He will make one a ruler over ten cities; another, a ruler over five cities; and there will be still others who will not rule over any city. In I Corinthians 3:14, 15, He says, "If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

One can see from this passage that a person can be saved and have no good works to his credit, but he shall suffer loss. In I Corinthians 11:30,31, we learn that if a person waits until he is judged at the judgment seat of Christ, he must undergo chastisement at the hand of the Lord. Matthew 16:27 teaches that every man is going to be rewarded according to his works. In Hebrews 2:1-4 we see that every disobedience of a Christian is going to receive a just recompense of reward. In Matthew 3:11 we learn that the Lord Jesus Christ who baptized in the Holy Ghost, will also baptize those who have received the Holy Ghost, in fire, and their works will be manifest. This passage teaches that fruit-bearing is the condition of blessing.
 
If the Apostle Paul had occasion to be disturbed over the fact that he might be disapproved as one of the kings in the coming kingdom, how much more should he be exercised over the fact that we can be saved and yet lose all our rewards and have no part in the coming kingdom.

What then can a Christian do? Just this: Go to that secret chamber of prayer, fall on his face before the Lord and claim the promise of I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,"
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« Reply #156 on: April 09, 2008, 03:58:09 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
The Doctrine Of Balaam
by A. Edwin Wilson


THE DOCTRINE OF BALAAM

"But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication" (Revelation 2:14).

As the end of this dispensation closes we learn of a religious state of affairs coming into the forefront that grossly dishonors our Lord. Jude 11: "Woe unto them for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core."

1. Cain's bloodless sacrifice is the first one mentioned. When God demanded a sacrifice of blood for the atonement of sin, Cain preferred to bring a bloodless offering of the fruit of the field. The earth was under the curse of God and that which Cain brought would likewise be under a curse. Though the Lord gave him ample opportunity to take back the bloodless offering and bring a blood sacrifice, he refused to do so. God still demands atonement by blood, and that demand was satisfied at Calvary by the death of His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Today this is denied by man, and on every hand he is urged to do the best he can and hope for heaven.

2. The second deviation from the plan and purpose of God was exemplified by the error of Balaam who was prepared to compromise the principles of God for wealth and worldly position.

He was a priest who placed a price upon his services and would attempt any sort of religious exercise if the pay was sufficient. Today both the church and the minister too often place a price on the services of the servants of the Lord. Many are willing to teach and preach if it means worldly success and social attainment. Many refuse the call of God today because in many instances the remuneration seems to be very little.

3. A third characteristic of default in Christian circles is called the gainsaying of Korah.
 
He was a priest who stood in the midst of the people of God and publicly opposed the truth. Today in the highest places of Christendom there are religious and denominational leaders bold enough to stand up and oppose the fundamental Truth of the Word of God. Instead of teaching and preaching the Word of God they are teaching and preaching the wisdom of man.

You will notice in the Scripture quoted - Revelation 2:14 - that attention is called to the doctrine of Balaam rather than the error of Balaam. Few of the commentators have distinguished between the error of Balaam and the doctrine of Balaam. Therefore, the teaching pertaining to the doctrine of Balaam is practically nil.

The doctrine of Balaam was that which he taught which was contrary to the Word of God. His error was willingness to prophesy either good or bad for money. To understand the doctrine of Balaam, which was that to which God objected in the church of Pergamos, it might be well for us to review briefly the background of Balaam's doctrine.

Balak, a king of Moab, was advised that the children of Israel would soon be coming through his country. He did not want them to do so because he thought they would despoil all of his land. He knew that he could not defeat them because of the power of Jehovah, their God. He also knew that defeat could come to the children of Israel only if he could separate Israel's God from them. He conceived the idea of employing Balaam to come and curse Israel, thereby incurring the anger of God so that the defeat of Israel would be comparatively easy.
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« Reply #157 on: April 09, 2008, 04:00:55 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
The Doctrine Of Balaam
by A. Edwin Wilson

Balaam (of whom we know practically nothing) was perfectly willing to hire out to Balak for his ungodly scheme. However, God warned Balaam not to accept the offer of Balak, neither attempt to curse the children of Israel. However, Balak's money was so great that he was persuaded to start the journey to the country of Balak with the intention of pronouncing a curse upon Israel. In the course of his journey an angel appeared, and after the unusual experience of being warned and then hurt by his ass, he offered to return home but the angel insisted that he go on to Balak.

When he arrived in Moab, Balak took him to a mountain where seven sacrifices were offered but Balaam could only speak words of blessing upon the children of Israel. Balaam was then taken to another mountain where another seven offerings were offered on altars and again, nothing but words of blessing came out of his mouth. Balak took him to a third mountain and once again seven other sacrifices were offered, but when Balaam opened his mouth nothing but beautiful prophecies concerning the children of Israel came forth. Balak was so angered that he hastened to get rid of Balaam, who returned to his home.

As far as I have been able to ascertain, as far as most students of the Word are concerned, this is the end of Balaam. But in Numbers 25:1-3 we read: "And Israel abode in gotcha2tim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel."

Herein we learn of the children of Israel eating meat sacrificed to idols, bowing down and worshipping the gods of Moab, and committing fornication with the daughters of Moab. What happened? How could Israel sink so low? What was the occasion of her indulgence in these gross sins which so angered the Lord that twenty-four thousand of the children of Israel perished under the judgment of God?

In Numbers 31:16 we have the answer: "Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord."

In the battle against the Midianites in which Israel took all of the women captive, God had Moses save all the women alive; but there were further orders for them to kill every woman that had been involved with any of the children of Israel. These women were to be put to death because it was the counsel of Balaam - that is, the doctrine, the teaching of Balaam to the children of Israel and the women of the Moabites - that caused the children of Israel to sin so wickedly.

Balaam, having failed to curse Israel, did succeed in seducing them by the wiles of his counsel to eat meat sacrificed to idols and commit fornication. After he had counseled the children of Israel to commit these sins, the women of Moab then lured the children of Israel into sin.

The children of Israel were the covenant people of God; the children of Israel were God's chosen people; the children of Israel were called God's firstborn son. No matter what the children of Israel did, their covenant relationship could not be broken. And the DOCTRINE OF BALAAM broadly stated is that, since Israel was God's covenant people, that relationship could not be altered or changed; that is, no harm could come unto them for any sin in which they cared to indulge.

That is the doctrine in the church today so hated by our Lord - the doctrine of Balaam. As expressed in common terminology, the doctrine of Balaam is that, since salvation is by grace, and one, having become a Christian through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, is eternally secure, then nothing that a Christian does can alter his relationship with the Lord.

The doctrine of Balaam is also expressed in these words - very artless and seemingly guileless but filled with tragic potential - that every Christian is going to rule and reign with the Lord, regardless of the kind of life the Christian lives.

There is no acceptance of the truth of God that some Christians will reign over ten cities and other Christians will reign over none - that some Christians will overcome and other Christians shall be overcome - that some Christians shall inherit the birthright and other Christians will forfeit their inheritance - that some Christians will enter into the joy of the Lord and other Christians will suffer weeping and gnashing of teeth. "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Revelation 3:11).
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« Reply #158 on: April 09, 2008, 04:02:23 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Salvation Of The Soul - The Whole Armour Of God
by A. Edwin Wilson

RESURRECTION

There is progression in the teaching of the Word of God relative to resurrection. Prior to the resurrection of Christ there was mention only of the resurrection OF THE DEAD. Greek: "anastaseos te nekron"; translation: "and of resurrection of dead ones" (Hebrews 6:2). This is the teaching of the kindergarten, primary but elementary.

As the Lord was coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration He charged Peter, James and John not to mention the experience till Christ had risen out from among the dead. These disciples who had heard only of the resurrection OF THE DEAD could not understand what Christ meant by the expression THE RISING FROM AMONG THE DEAD. Greek: "ek nekron anaste"; translation: "out from among the dead ones should be raised" (Mark 9:9-10).

Paul in the letter to the Philippians describes his sole-ambition, the burning desire of his heart, his magnificent obsession, and calls it "the out-resurrection from among those who have been raised from among the dead ones" (Philippians 3:11). Greek: "ek-anastasin ten ek nekron"; translation: "the out-resurrection (further selection) from among those who have been raised from among the dead ones." Paul was assured of rising from the dead in case he died; he was assured of being raised from AMONG the dead in similar circumstances; but he was not sure of a further rising or selection after being raised from among the dead, because further selection was DEPENDENT upon faithfulness, obedience, and had to be attained, earned, merited and won as a PRIZE. So Paul said, "THIS ONE THING I DO." He would do all in his power to win the prize of the out-calling from among those raised from among the dead ones and thereby rule and reign with our Lord in His coming kingdom.

Note the progression: First, all the dead will be raised. Second, the dead in Christ will be raised from among the lost dead ones before the Tribulation begins, the Old Testament saints will be raised at the end of the Great Tribulation, and the rest a:f the dead will not be raised for a thousand years. See I Thessalonians 4:13-17; Daniel 12:1-2, and Revelation 20:4-6. Third, after the resurrection of the Christians and their elevation to the judgment seat of Christ in the heavens THERE IS A FURTHER RISING OR SELECTION on the basis of works, possession of the wedding garment which will constitute one a member of the Bride of Christ, the Church, and the privilege as well as responsibility of reigning with Christ.

All Christians will be raised from among the lost dead, but only those who are further selected will receive rewards and reign with Him.
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« Reply #159 on: April 09, 2008, 04:04:03 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
The Resurrections
by A. Edwin Wilson


THE RESURRECTIONS

Throughout the Old Testament there is the apparent teaching of a general resurrection. The truth of several resurrections did not come to light until the experience of our Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration. In Mark 9:9, the Lord speaks of the Son of man rising from among the dead. Verse 10 reveals that the disciples did not know what He meant when He spoke of rising from among the dead. In Hebrews 6:2, the resurrection of the dead is spoken of as one of the principles of the doctrine of Christ from which they were to go on to perfection. And perfection, so far as the doctrine of the resurrection is concerned, is grasping the truth of several resurrections rather than believing in a general resurrection. Before enumerating the different resurrections, let us define the word resurrection. Webster says it is "a resumption of vigor; restoration; revival, which means to live again." Man is body, soul and spirit. When a man dies only his body dies; therefore, all that can live again or be resurrected is the body of the one who dies. In Job 14:14, the question is asked, "If a man die, shall he live again ?" Technically speaking, this means if a man ceases to have a physical existence of flesh and bones, will he in the life to come, have a physical existence of flesh and bones? That question is answered in Job 19:25-27. Job, through the Spirit of God, says that though he dies and the worms eat his body, yet in his flesh shall he see God, and he will see Him with his own physical eyes. In order for Job to do this, his body must come back from the dust and exist again in flesh and bones. The present body of man is called a natural, or soulical, body because it is animated by the soul, that is, the blood. The resurrection body of man will be a spiritual body, that is, a body of flesh and bones animated by the Holy Spirit. See Luke 24:39 where we learn that Christ's resurrection body consisted of flesh and bones animated by the Holy Spirit. He Himself was not a spirit, neither is God a spirit, though both are Spirit. I Corinthians 15:50 tells us that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; but Scripture is at one in teaching that flesh and bones are to inherit the kingdom of God. Blood is corruptible and cannot enter into the kingdom of God, but the bodies of resurrected flesh and bones, given life through the Holy Spirit, will enter into the kingdom of God. The entire fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians sets forth the fundamental truth that the bodily resurrection of Christ is the foundation stone of Christianity. The truth is also given that because Christ's body of flesh and bones arose from the dead, so too shall all mankind arise from the dead in their bodies of flesh and bones. (See I Corinthians 15:20-23.) The desire to disbelieve in the physical resurrection of the dead is based upon the pagan philosophy that matter is evil. But such is not the truth, for God created matter and saw that it was good. It is the abuse of matter which produces evil.

I. The first resurrection is made up of three phases:

A. Christ, the firstfruits. I Corinthians 15:23 tells us that each man is to be raised in his own company, and that Christ is the firstfruits. According to the laws of the harvest in the Old Testament, there are three aspects: firstfruits, harvest and the gleanings. The firstfruits is plural. In Matthew 27:51-53, the graves of many were opened at the time of the rending of the veil of the Temple, but the bodies of the saints stayed in the graves three days and three nights. They did not come out until after the resurrection of Christ. Since they were restrained until after His resurrection, we can only conclude that they came forth in their resurrection bodies, never to die again. Others in both the Old and the New Testaments were raised from the dead prior to this, but they had to die again. Ephesians 4:8 says that when Christ ascended on high He led captivity captive. This could well be those saints who arose immediately after His resurrection and who ascended with Him, comprising the firstfruits. Manifestly, this is the firstfruits.

B. The main harvest has its counterpart in those who are Christ's at His appearing (I Corinthians 15:23). This group is divided into two sections as described in I Thessalonians 4:13-18. (1) The dead in Christ. (This is a new Testament experience and can therefore mean only the New Testament saints who have died in the Lord); (2) Those who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord. Both of these groups will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. This takes place at the time of the appearing of the Lord, and it precedes His return to the earth by about seven years. The expression in Christ is not an Old Testament expression at all; so this main harvest at the resurrection does not include the Old Testament saints.
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« Reply #160 on: April 09, 2008, 04:05:48 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
The Resurrections
by A. Edwin Wilson


C. The next in order of the resurrections is Old Testament and the great tribulation saints. Daniel 12:1 tells of the great tribulation and describes it as a time of trouble for his people Israel. (Do not try to get the church in the great tribulation because it is the time of Jacob's trouble and not Christ's bride.) In verse 2 we see that following the great tribulation there is a resurrection of Old Testament saints, or Daniel's people. The tribulation, as such, lasts for a period of approximately seven years, and the main harvest resurrection takes place when the Old Testament saints plus the tribulation saints are resurrected at the end. (See Revelation 7:14; 20:4) This is the third phase of the first resurrection, and is the fulfillment of the type called "The gleanings."

To recapitulate, the first resurrection is comprised of the firstfruits - Christ and some of the saints who arose just after He did; the harvest, which includes the dead in Christ and those who are alive at His return. This takes place about 2000 years after the firstfruits. About seven years later come the gleanings, or the resurrection of the Old Testament and the tribulation saints.

II. The second resurrection is described in Revelation 20:5, 6, 11-15. This is called the resurrection of the dead, for all who appear before the Great White Throne are dead physically, and they are dead also because of their separation from God. They are separated from God because they did not receive Christ as Saviour. This takes place at the end of the Millennial reign of Christ, and since they are already lost, the purpose of their appearing before the Great White Throne to be judged out of the record books is to determine the extent of their punishment and suffering in the lake of fire where they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (See Revelation 20:10, 14, 15; 21:8.)

"Blessed and holy is he who hath part in the first resurrection" - either among the firstfruits, the harvest or the gleanings!
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« Reply #161 on: April 09, 2008, 04:07:13 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Three Resurrections
by A. Edwin Wilson


THREE RESURRECTIONS

In developing the doctrine of the resurrection there is a progression in the Word of God from a general teaching to specific doctrine. Of course, when I mention resurrection, I mean that which the Bible teaches - the resurrection of the physical body of one who was alive but died. Resurrection cannot apply to soul or spirit since neither dies.

The first teaching pertaining to the resurrection was what may be termed a general resurrection OF all of the dead. There seemed to be no discrimination between saved and lost. This is brought out in the conversation between Jesus and Martha in John 11:23, 24: "Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." When Jesus speaks of Lazarus' resurrection, Martha expresses belief in the resurrection at the last day. Up until this time, Jesus had not introduced the teaching of selective resurrection - that is, some being raised and others left in the graves.

The teaching of a resurrection FROM AMONG the dead is introduced in the experiences on the Mount of Transfiguration. In Mark 9:9 Jesus speaks of the Son of man to be raised FROM AMONG the dead. This was so contrary to the thinking of the apostles that in verse 10 the disciples continued to discuss possible meanings of the Lord's statement "rise FROM AMONG the dead."

In Hebrews 6, as the Spirit of the Lord encourages believers to go on from drinking milk to eating of meat - to go on to full maturity in Christian growth - we read in verse 2 that they are to go on from the doctrine of the resurrection OF the dead. The only progression to be made from the doctrine of resurrection OF the dead is from the teaching of the general resurrection to selective resurrection. This selective resurrection is stated again in I Thessalonians 4:16, which states "the dead in Christ shall rise first." Those not in Christ shall not rise for a thousand years. "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection" (Revelation 20:5).

There is still a further step in the progression of the teaching pertaining to resurrection. In Philippians 3:11 Paul says, "If by any means I might attain unto the OUT-resurrection FROM AMONG the dead." Here Paul uses a word for resurrection that is not used any other time in the entire Bible, just here in this one place. The immediate context of this particular resurrection truth is that Paul is saying that he knows he is going to be raised with all Christians at the time of the translation and rapture of the saints, but he is looking forward to a further separation FROM AMONG the risen saints, which he calls the OUT-resurrection. This OUT-resurrection is the prize which Paul mentions in verse 14 - a prize for which he is working and toward which he hopes he is moving - a prize dependent upon and conditioned by his faithfulness as a Christian.

Whereas many types of the Bride of Christ reveal them being chosen FROM AMONG the families of the bridegrooms, the Bride of Christ, in the antitype, is chosen OUT FROM the family of God, the Body of Christ. The very word CHURCH (which means "called out from," or "chosen out from") emphasizes the fact that she is chosen OUT FROM the family of God. Just as there are numerous scholars who refuse to move on from the truth of the general resurrection OF the dead to that of resurrection FROM AMONG the dead, so are there very few, who appreciate the truth of the resurrection FROM AMONG the dead, who have any appreciation of the OUT-resurrection FROM AMONG those who have been raised FROM AMONG the dead.

Here is the summation of the Bible doctrine of resurrection: 1. There was revealed first to the people of God that there would be a resurrection OF the dead (John 11:24). 2. Christ revealed that there would be a resurrection FROM AMONG the dead (Mark 9:9, 10; I Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 20:5). 3. The Holy Spirit revealed that there would be an OUT-resurrection FROM AMONG those who would be raised FROM AMONG the dead (Philippians 3:11).

There is for every Christian the privilege and opportunity to strive, as did the Apostle Paul, to attain to the OUT-resurrection. If you are interested, study carefully Philippians 3:7-14.
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« Reply #162 on: April 09, 2008, 04:08:40 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Importance Of The Resurrection
by A. Edwin Wilson


IMPORTANCE OF THE RESURRECTION

The Alpha and Omega of the gospel of the apostles was that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. When one must need be chosen to take the place of Judas they said, "One must be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection." On the day of Pentecost Peter, preaching to the multitude, spoke of this resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh. Peter and John were taken before the council and tried because they taught the people and preached through Jesus Christ the resurrection from the dead. When they were set free it was with great power that they gave witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and great grace was upon them all.

At Athens Paul preached that Jesus Himself was raised from the dead and they mocked and laughed at this teaching and preaching of the resurrection of the dead, saying, "We will hear thee again of this matter." Paul stood before the council of the Pharisees and Sadducees and said, "Concerning the resurrection of the dead I am called in question." And in that great, incomparable chapter of I Corinthians 15 Paul says, "If Christ be not risen from the dead, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is vain and ye are yet in your sins." Concerning the importance of the resurrection of the dead, read I Corinthians 15:12-19: "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."

There were those at Corinth who believed in the resurrection of Jesus but denied the ascension of His body into heaven. They denied all future resurrection. I must call to your attention once again that here Paul and the apostles and others, treating of the resurrection, do not speak, do not think, do not talk of the immortality of the soul. The soul is not mortal; the spirit is not mortal, that is, subject to death; only the body is mortal and only the body can put on immortality. God's witness is that the whole man - body, soul and spirit - shall yet be restored. You will remember that when God created Adam in the garden of Eden body, soul and spirit, Adam was to eat of the tree of life and be preserved eternally in that body, soul and spirit. That was God's original plan and purpose and that has not been changed. The redemption of God includes the body, includes the soul, and includes the spirit; and for that Paul prayed in I Thessalonians 5:23. Look at our Lord Jesus Christ when He died. He yielded His Spirit to God the Father; His body went into the mausoleum and His soul went down into Hades. In the death of the Lord Jesus Christ the three component parts - body, soul, Spirit - were separated and went into three different places. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ involved the bringing back of the Spirit, the bringing back of the soul, and the putting of them in the body and the raising of the body once from the dead. And when we talk about the resurrection, that is what we mean: body, soul, and spirit.

Here Paul is contending that if we preach that Christ rose from the dead, how can anybody say then that there is no resurrection of the dead, because if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ did not rise from the dead; and if Christ did not rise from the dead, He is still in that tomb, and that tomb is not an empty tomb. The greatest testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the empty tomb. One day I asked a brother minister (who was denying the resurrection of the body of the Lord Jesus Christ), "Where is the body of the Lord Jesus Christ?" (And my beloved friends, you who deny the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, this same question is asked you which I asked this minister, "Where is the body of the Lord Jesus Christ? Where is that body that was born of the virgin Mary, that walked the shores of Galilee; where is that body that suffered and bled, hung on Calvary's cross, died and was buried; WHERE IS THAT BODY?") After a moment's hesitation he said, "Well, I guess it went back to the dust." Imagine, Beloved, someone preaching the so-called blessed hope and telling us that our Hope has dissolved and is in the dust and that our Hope is in the grave. No wonder so many people are buying burial lots, building fallout shelters, looking for a hole in the ground. The Hope of the Christian is in the heavens, from whence we look for Him and from whence we shall see Him.
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« Reply #163 on: April 09, 2008, 04:10:09 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Importance Of The Resurrection
by A. Edwin Wilson

Continuing in I Corinthians 15:13: If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ did not rise; and if Christ be not risen, then we who preach the resurrection of Christ are preaching in vain, and you who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ have believed in vain; you have wasted your time, energy and efforts; because the Word of God is that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is the Lord and believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Weare told that unless you believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, and unless you believe that Jesus Christ is coming again in the flesh, you are of the spirit of anti-christ. Paul says, "If Christ did not rise from the dead, I am a false witness, I am preaching falsehoods, I am preaching lies, I am misrepresenting God's truth to you because I have testified of God that He raised up Christ from the dead."

You may wonder why the emphasis here is upon the name Christ rather than the name Jesus. It is significant that the name Christ is used here, lest someone should deny that Jesus and Christ are the same - God manifest in the flesh. It was Christ who took a body, it was Christ who died in that body, it was Christ who rose in that body, it was Christ who ascended in that body, it is Christ who is present at the right hand of God the Father interceding for us, it is Christ who is coming again - the Man Christ Jesus. Do not try to separate Jesus and Christ and make two persons because they are not two persons, they are one Person. And here in this fifteenth chapter we have the emphasis on Christ that you may know He who was God from eternity became flesh and dwelt among us . . . Christ.

If the dead do not rise from the graves, then Christ did not rise from the dead. We cannot imagine the results, the consequences, had not Christ risen from the dead! In the 17th verse Paul says that if Christ did not rise from the dead, your faith is nothing and you are still in your sins. That peace that you imagine you have because of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the result of self-hypnosis, your sins are not forgiven, you have no peace, you have no joy, you have no happiness, you have no hope, you have no prospects unless Christ rose from the dead. You are still in your sins, you are lost, doomed, damned, you are on your way out into oblivion - a land from whence there is no return, from whence there has come no word, an experience of which nobody knows anything - unless Christ be risen from the dead. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Jesus are perished, the dead in Christ shall not rise if the dead rise not, and all of your loved ones, all of my loved ones, all of the Old Testament saints, all of the New Testament saints who died in the faith are perished, gone forever, doomed, never again to be seen or known by anyone else - unless Christ rose from the dead. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, if Christ just means a little peace and a little joy, a little forgiveness and quiet of conscience in this life, if that is all there is to Christianity, then we are of all men most miserable. But the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is for eternity; and our hope, our prospect is in heaven, is in the future and is wrapped up and bound up in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." But Paul does not allow and I am not going to allow this message to come to a close on that note. Look at the first part of the next passage: "BUT NOW IS CHRIST RISEN FROM THE DEAD." It is an established, historical, documented fact that Christ arose visibly, bodily, literally, tangibly from the dead and ascended into heaven in that same way; and from thence we look for Him in that visible, bodily, literal, tangible return when He comes to claim His own.
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« Reply #164 on: April 09, 2008, 04:12:08 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Word Became Flesh
by A. Edwin Wilson


WORD BECAME FLESH

We are continuing the study of the resurrection of the body, of life beyond the grave in a physical nature. The proof of God Almighty that such is the case is in the physical, literal, visible, tangible resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. I want to write of the incarnation of the Lord, about our Lord taking unto Himself a body of flesh, blood and bones, of His presence on the earth in that body, of His ministry in that body; and then in days to come we will discuss the death of that body, the resurrection of that body, the ascension of that body, the presence of that body in heaven and the return of that body to the earth.

When the Lord Jesus Christ came in the flesh, He had a body, He received a body, He took a body that is to be His forevermore. That body was seen in heaven by Stephen; that body was seen by Paul on the road to Damascus; that body was seen by John on the Isle of Patmos, and in that body Jesus reached out and touched John with His right hand. When the Lord returns to the earth, the nation of Israel shall see Him coming in that body; and the startling thing of that revelation shall be that as He approaches earth, they shall see that their Messiah has wounds in His hands and shall cry out, "Lord, whence receivest Thou Thy wounds?" And He will reply unto them (now mind you, this is still in the future), "These are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends."

Notice now John 1:10-14: "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made (or better still, the Word became) flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. That was necessitated by virtue of the fact that He was in the world and the world knew Him not. All of the theophanies, all of the manifestations of the Godhead in the Old Testament were in the Person of Christ.

The first mention we have of that is that He appeared in the garden of Eden unto Adam and Eve and the serpent. It was He who covered their nakedness with the coats of skins. It was this Christ, the Jehovah, who later became Jesus. . . or let us say, was revealed as Jesus the Christ. He appeared unto Abraham, accompanied by two angels: He appeared again announcing the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was this Christ, Jehovah, who appeared as the mysterious man to Jacob and wrestled with him at Peniel. It was as the Angel of the Lord that Christ appeared unto Moses in the burning bush. It was this same Christ who guided the children of Israel in a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. It was this same One who appeared unto Joshua, captain of the Lord's hosts. It was this same One who appeared unto Manoah and his wife and told them of the approaching birth of Samson. It was this same One who appeared unto Isaiah, who caused him to cry out, "Woe is me." It was this same One who appeared unto Ezekiel; it was this same One who appeared unto Daniel. All of the manifestations in the Old Testament were the second Person of the Godhead. No man hath seen God the Father at any time. It is the Son who has revealed Himself. He was in the world and the world knew Him not; He came unto His own and His own received Him not, and because of that, we read that the Word became flesh. The Word became flesh.

We read in Hebrews 10:5, "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me." This body was prepared for Him that He might atone for our sins. This body was prepared for Him that in the flesh He might sit on David's throne. Acts 2:29-31: "Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell (or 'Sheol' as the Old Testament expresses it; 'Hades' as the Greek in the New Testament expresses it; that is 'His soul was not left in Hades'), neither his flesh did see corruption.;' The Lord God Almighty promised David that He would raise Christ from the dead, that He in the flesh might sit on David's throne; and for that reason (along with other reasons), the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ did not see corruption.
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