To Understand God’s Words in the Bible is a Gift

5/18/2019 , 1 Comments

Who should interpret the Bible


People who are in search of the truth are usually concerned about finding out which among the religions, and who among the so many preachers, has the genuine understanding of the Bible.

It has been a common observation of many that different religious organizations vary in their interpretations of the Bible. So, they couldn’t help but ask if there is a right approach that will lead a reader to the proper understanding of the Bible. In the first place, is anybody, by his own wisdom and intelligence, capable of understanding the Bible, and would he be able to arrive at the correct interpretation of what the Bible says by himself alone?

This early on, let me say it straight: The Bible has its own interpretation, and understanding the Bible cannot be achieved by man’s own capacity alone. No amount of human understanding could be enough to know the real meaning of God’s words.

PSALMS 94:11 says,

The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

The thoughts of man are all vanity in the sight of God. They are nothing.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:19 says,

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

No matter how prudent a person is, his understanding is nothing when it comes to the word of God. Understanding the word of God is not acquired from institutions of learning established by men; neither is it handed down from one person to another by anybody. The ability to understand God’s words in the Bible is a gift from God; in short, it is God-given. We can never comprehend the complete meaning of God’s words in the Bible unless God gives us the understanding.

PROVERBS 1:23 says,

Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

For us to know the word of God, we need the Spirit of God. Why do we need the Spirit?

1 CORINTHIANS 2:11 says,

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

The things of God are known to the Spirit of God, and by the Spirit we will understand God’s word.

1 CORINTHIANS 2:10 says,

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

Man could understand the deep things of God only through the intervention of God’s Spirit.

The approach that other religions employ in their study of the word of God is but a human approach. They rely mainly on their own wisdom. No wonder they are all misled. Actually, they will never arrive at the proper understanding and correct interpretation of the word of God if they would just rely on their own wisdom.

1 CORINTHIANS 1:20-21 says,

20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Because of the wisdom of the world, they had not known God. Apparently, human wisdom is even a hindrance to understanding God’s will. You cannot use human wisdom alone to understand the will of God. God’s word could be understood by men only through the intervention of God’s Spirit. It is the Spirit that interprets the Bible, and not anybody else.

That is why we in the Church of God, always rely on the guidance and intervention of the Holy Spirit. Thank God that through the intervention of His Spirit, we are never misled in our understanding of His commandments and teachings, as well as His holy will.

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To Eat, or Not to Eat Pork?

5/11/2019 7 Comments

Animals that are forbidden in the Bible

Is it an abomination to eat pork? This is a common question of people who had been misled and had been made to believe that the law of Moses is still in effect despite the fact that we are already in the Christian dispensation.

Indeed, the Israelites had been prohibited from eating certain meats, and one of which is pork.

LEVITICUS 11:2-8 says,

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and chewed the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
5 And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven-footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
8 Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.

If you are going to look closely at the verses, you will realize that the Lord instructed Moses to speak to and teach the children of Israel His commandments. In other words, the commandments that God gave to Moses were meant for the Israelites, and not for all people.

During the time of Noah, they were also given a commandment concerning what they should eat.

GENESIS 9:3 says,

Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

God did not make any exclusion to the meat that Noah could eat. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you, He told Noah. So, he could eat pork.

The only prohibition given to Noah was not to eat blood. So, if he was to slaughter a beast for his food, he must let the blood of that beast be poured on the ground. The same thing was true during the time of Adam and Eve.

 GENESIS 1:28-30 says,

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

Adam and Eve, and their descendants, had been told by God that every living thing that creeps upon the earth was given to be meat for them.

But when God had chosen the Israelites as His people, when He brought them out of their slavery in Egypt, there were specific commandments that God gave them. And one of those commandments was a prohibition from eating pork.

We must remember that the Israelites lived in Egypt for 430 years without the law of God. They were used to eating the kinds of food that the Egyptians ate, like pork, for instance. But when they had been liberated from the tyrant pharaoh, upon reaching the Holy Land, certain prohibitions concerning what they could eat and what they should not eat were pronounced by God for them to observe. And the eating of pork, or the flesh of swine, was one of the prohibitions given to them.

But according to the Apostle Paul, those commandments given to the Israelites were only temporal commandments they were not meant to last until forever, or even until our dispensation. They were considered temporal commandments for their efficacy had limitations.

HEBREWS 9:10 says,

Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

The prohibitions on meats, drinks, divers washings, and carnal ordinances were imposed on them only until the time of reformation.

There was an appointed time that those commandments would be reformed. By whom? By no less than the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself. When the Lord Jesus Christ came, He cleansed all those that had been regarded as abomination and unclean during the time of the Israelites — which means that the prohibition from eating pork had ceased to take effect.

As written by the Apostle Paul in 1 TIMOTHY 4:4-5, it says,

4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

To determine the efficacy of a particular commandment, it is important that we consider the time element. It is true that eating pork was an abomination among the Israelites during the time of Moses. However, the dispensation of the Israelites is over; we are now in the Christian dispensation. The commandments and teachings that are now in effect are those of the Lord Jesus Christ.

COLOSSIANS 2:16 says,

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days:

The time of Moses is over. ACTS 13:39 says,

And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Justification will not come from the law of Moses, but from the law of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is why we regard the law of Moses now as obsolete because it had been replaced by the law of Christ.

The law had been changed when the priesthood was changed.

HEBREWS 7:12 says,

For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

Let me reiterate that the law concerning the prohibition of meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, was imposed only until the time of reformation, which refers to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. And it was the Lord Jesus Christ who changed the law.

7 comments:

In the Christian Era, Our High Priest is the Lord Jesus Christ, Not Moses

5/04/2019 , 8 Comments

Jesus and the Law of Moses

It is quite frustrating that even if we are already in the Christian dispensation lots of people are still affected by the laws of Moses, to the point that if they find the said law to be inconsistent with the state of things, in reality, their tendency is to question the authenticity of the Bible.
For example, under the law of Moses, the hare had been classified as unclean and, therefore, should not be eaten because “it ruminates and it is not cloven-footed.” In line with that prohibition, somebody asked me if such a pronouncement would not jeopardize the authenticity of the Bible inasmuch as, in reality, hares are cloven-footed and they do not ruminate.
First of all, allow me to give you an insight about the laws given by God, through Moses, to the Israelites – they being the first people who served God.
In the epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Hebrews, one of the important things he wrote concerned the prohibitions on what they should and should not eat or ingest.
HEBREWS 9:10 says,
Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
There were ordinances regarding meats, drinks, and diverse washing, or cleansing of the body that were imposed on them until the time of reformation, implying that there was an appointed time that these laws would be reformed. There was an appointed time set by God that these laws would be superseded by another set of laws. And that appointed time had come, according to the Apostle Paul in HEBREWS 7:12, which says,
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
So, it was necessary for the law to be changed because there had been a change in the priesthood. HEBREWS 3:1-3 says,
1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.
3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honor than the house.
The verses clearly tell us that the high priest that had been replaced was Moses, and his replacement was the Lord Jesus Christ. In those verses, the Apostle Paul was speaking to the Hebrews who were converted to Christianity during the first century of our era, and not to the Hebrews who remained in their Jewish religion. He was telling them that our Apostle and High Priest of our profession is the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ was found to be more glorious than Moses as a priest. So, He was called the High Priest of our profession.
When the priesthood was changed, there was a necessity to also change the law. And the law that was replaced was the law that was administered by Moses. It had been replaced by another law.
ACTS 13:39 says,
And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
The law of Moses was found to be insufficient for the justification of believers in the Christian era because, in the Christian era, justification rests on the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, the faith of Christians must be based on the law of Christ, and not on the law of Moses.
Let us be definite. What is being referred to as the law of Moses?
MALACHI 4:4 says,
Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.
So, it was the law given by God to Moses in the mountain. Specifically, what was that law?
EXODUS 31:18 says,
And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
They were the laws that were contained in the two tables of stone, which were written with the finger of God. And those laws included statutes and judgments.
DEUTERONOMY 4:13 says,
And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
Therefore, the law of Moses being referred to was the ten commandments. And these laws, together with the statutes and judgments, were meant for the Israelites. For instance, there were statutes regarding what to eat, what not to eat, what to drink, and what not to drink which the Israelites had to observe.
But in our dispensation, we do not have problems about what to eat and what not to eat. In the New Testament, there is another law that was explained by the Lord Jesus Christ.  
In MARK 7:19, it says,
Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?
The Lord Jesus Christ declared that the type of food that the Israelites had been forbidden to eat did not go to the heart, but only to the belly. And He had purged, or cleansed, all of those. The Apostle Paul explained in 1 TIMOTHY 4:4-5,
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
So, even if it is pork, which was regarded as unclean during the time of the Israelites, in the Christian dispensation, when the priesthood had been changed from Moses to the Lord Jesus Christ, those meats that had been declared as unclean had been purged, or cleansed, by the Lord Jesus Christ. They are sanctified by the word of God, by the decree of God, and by prayer. Through the power of prayer and by the word of God, those things which had been considered abominable then are cleansed. Therefore, there is no longer any problem with eating pork, or any meat from those that do not chew the cud, or from those that have no cloven feet.
Bear in mind that we are in the Christian era. Our teacher is the Lord Jesus Christ, and not Moses. If we are truly Christians and we believe that we are living in the Christian dispensation, we have to refer to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, and not of Moses.  Moses is no longer our high priest but the Lord Jesus Christ. The revelation that the Lord Jesus Christ carries with Him is the revelation that we must receive now.
HEBREWS 1:1-2  says,
1 God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
God had spoken to the fathers through the prophets, but in these last days, He speaks to us through His Son. So, if we want to know about God’s words and teachings we will learn them through His Son, not through Moses. But if you keep on observing the laws of Moses, you are at the wrong track. You are out of time; you are out of place.
LEVITICUS 11:1-7 says,
1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
If you are a meticulous reader of the Bible, as early as verse 2, you will realize that, if you are an American or a Filipino, you are not a concerned party because those words were only meant for the Israelites.
3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
5 And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be cloven-footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
At this point, allow me to give some clarifications concerning verse 6 because this is the part being questioned by one reader of the Bible. According to him, what the verse states is a challenge to the authenticity of the Bible because what it said is contrary to reality. It stated that the hare should not be eaten because it chews the cud and is not cloven-footed when in truth, hares have cloven feet and they do not ruminate or chew the cud.
Let me make it clear that what the Israelites were forbidden to eat were animals, or beasts, that ruminate and are cloven-footed. Those two characteristics must be present in one particular beast. If one characteristic is absent, then, it should not be eaten. In the case of a hare, its hooves are divided but they do not ruminate, so the Israelites were forbidden from eating it.
But, granting that Leviticus 11:6 should have described the hare the other way around, that is, it does not chew the cud and it has cloven feet, still, that would not make the prohibition wrong. It, still, should not be eaten because one of the characteristics of a beast or animal that should be eaten is absent.
Indeed, there are people who challenge the authenticity of the Bible. They are those who do not consider human error. They always blame the Bible for errors which could have been committed by the people who did its translation.
Actually, people who question the authenticity of the Bible would never run out of issues to raise against the Bible. Let me cite an example. The Bible classified bats as birds because birds fly by their wings, and bats fly because they are also winged. So now, people who try to discredit the Bible accuse the Bible as speaking of lies because, according to them, bats are not birds but mammals. Let us accept that a bat is classified as a mammal, the question is, who did the classification and when was the classification made?
Remember that when the Bible was written there were no classifications yet as to whether a creature is a mammal, or a reptile, or a bird. The classification happened only very recently, specifically, thousands of years after the Bible was written. And the classification was made by man only. Who knew about mammals during the time of Moses? The word “mammal” was coined by Linnaeus only in the 18th century, whereas the book of Leviticus was written more than 3,000 years ago (1512) by Moses at the wilderness of Sinai. So how would you expect the Bible to classify bat as a mammal when the word mammal was coined only in 1758? So, that time, the Bible was absolutely correct when it classified bat as a bird because it flies.   
But whether or not there were pronouncements in the law of Moses which do not jive with the actual characteristics of certain animals in reality, like the case of hare, for me they are immaterial. Still, the hare was rightfully included among the animals that the Israelites should not eat because its characteristics fail to meet the qualities of a beast or animal that they could eat. Although the hare is cloven-footed, yet, it does not chew the cud, so the Israelites should not eat it.  
But inasmuch as we are not under the law of Moses but of the law of Christ, there is practically no need for us to be troubled about the kinds of food that the Israelites had been prohibited from eating.  First, we are not among the Israelites that Moses led so the prohibition does not concern us; second, Christ had cleansed all that were regarded unclean during the time of the Israelites; and third, through the power of prayer, our food could be sanctified.  
Let us not forget, our High Priest today is the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is best not to doubt the authenticity of the Bible.

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