QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM
Group Number 49
What has the God's Word revealed to you about where we have come to call "the rapture" will occur during all of this?
Nothing apart from the Scriptures, which, I understand, provide the sum-total of God's revelation on the subject of end times. The whole doctrine of "the rapture" is a contrivance of men. Although I do not question the integrity of those who developed this teaching, they have assumed the deliverance of God's people before the end of the world--and that is something not taught in Scripture, or supported by spiritual reasoning.
Peter affirms 'the day of the Lord" will be attended by the passing of the natural order (2 Pet 3:10-12). He says that will occur when Jesus comes "as a thief" (verse 10). Paul makes the same comparison (1 Thess 5:2,4). Paul also declares the punishment of the wicked will occur WHEN Jesus comes to be glorified in His saints and admired by all them that believe (2 Thess 1:9-10).
The reference to being "caught up" is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. It has nothing whatsoever to do with saints being removed before the wicked, but with saints who are alive when Jesus returns joining the resurrected saints to meet the Lord in the air. That event will be attended by The Lord Himself descending from heaven with a shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God (verse 16). That can hardly be a secret rapture that goes undetected by the world.
While I realize the word "rapture" does not appear anywhere in the Bible....the Bible does speak of a time when one will be taken and the other left. When will this occur?
The references to which you refer to are worthy of notice. The ones who are "taken" are not the saved, but the lost. The parallel Jesus gave was the flood. "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and TOOK THEM ALL AWAY; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matt 24:38-39). It was the sinners who were "taken away," not the godly. This is because they are the intruders, not the godly.
A similar reference is made by Jesus in the parable of the tares of the field. Although highly disruptive of some theology, this is what Jesus said. "Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together FIRST the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn" (Matt 13:30). In explanation of this circumstance, our Lord affirmed, "The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matt 13:39-42).
As to a chronological time-table, your heart is speaking correctly to you, even though it causes trouble for your mind. You must remember that your heart is superior to your mind, and does not need the details the mind requires. God has not taken the chronological approach to the end times because it robs the heart and tends to detract people from preparation. In my opinion, all of these things will occur almost simultaneously, as men count time--"in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor 15:52). God can and will give us grace to think about these things as He does. I already know that is what you want to do.
WHY DO WE BELIEVE IN PREDESTINATION.
We do believe in predestination, but in the God who does the predestinating--and there is a big difference. The Bible makes clear that God predestinates, or predetermines. 'Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will" (Ephesians 1:5). "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11). "For whom He did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified" (Romans 8:29-30).
Each of these texts speak of God's determination of how things would conclude--how they would turn out. In the end, what God has purposed will come to pass. In brief, those who have believed on Jesus will be made like Him--or conformed to the image of God's Son. God determined they would be His children. That is what will happen to those who believe. It will not happen for anyone else.
We should not expect the mighty God of heaven to work in a way that can be completely understood by us. After all, His wisdom cannot be searched out, and His judgments are "past finding out" (Romans 11:33). That is why HE is God, and we are not. But one thing is certain. God will save men without violating their will, or compromising His own character. That takes wisdom--the kind of wisdom He alone possesses.
We must believe that God will do what He has predetermined, and that He will do it in a right way.
IF A PERSON HAVE BEEN PREDESTINATED TO GO TO HELL WHY IS IT NOT POSSIBLE FOR HIM TO GO TO HEAVEN.
The Scriptures do not say individuals were predestinated to go to hell. For that reason, we cannot say it either. It is really just that simple.
I'm a Christian who is counseling a friend whose husband is demanding and she has only heard preaching that says... "the marriage bed is undefiled". What does that mean biblically?
The meaning of the Hebrews text is that in marriage, things otherwise termed "whoremongery" and "adultery" are sanctified--that is, between the husband and the wife. Thus, it is not sinful for a man to desire his wife, while it is for him to lust after or covet another man's wife. What is otherwise called adultery, is pure in marriage. I know that is general, but that is how the Spirit has left it.
The difficulty you bring up is not covered specifically in Scripture. It falls into two realms: conscience and principle. These are particularly compounded in a hedonistic society, such as the one in which we live. Scripture does not pose deviate relationships between husband and wife. That does not mean there is no such thing. It does mean the relationships are governed within the framework of conscience and principle, both of which are made meaningful within the framework of fellowship with Christ (1 Cor 1:9).
First, there is the matter of conscience--conscience toward God. The Lord does not allow the violation of that tender aspect of our nature. The individual, in this case the wife, must resolve the matter with the Lord. The Scripture presents no scenario that suggests sinful relations exist between husband and wife. Little good will come from seeking counsel from one of her peers, because God has not spoken on the subject. She will only hear opinion. But in her heart, and in faith, she can bare her soul to the Lord. He will work through her faith to provide an answer that will not violate her conscience.
Second, there is the matter of principle. In scripture, self-gratification is never to be our motivation. The Lord declares of marriage, "Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does" (1 Cor 7:3-4). As you can see, the matter is reciprocal, with each spouse seeking the interests of the other. The Spirit does not allow a dictatorial and imposing attitude toward the wife, or vice versa.
It is my personal opinion that the decadence of our society, and the corruption that has pervaded it, has driven some of the desires of married people--the husband in this case. Both the husband and the wife do well to seek a close and productive relationship with the Lord. Within that framework, they will be mindful of one another, and godly in their relationships.
One personal word on this matter. It is not good that the wife has shared this concern. It provides more of an open door for the devil than for the Spirit of God. This is greatly compounded by the absence of a specific word from God on the subject. Like many difficulties believers encounter, this is one the lady is going to have to share primarily with the Lord. If her faith is too weak to do this, then your role is to build her up in the faith, not give her an
See I live in a foster home and it is a requirement to go to their church, but I'm not that religion and I want to go to mine, but they say they wont take me there--but I have a ride. They still say no and if I don't like it I can move on. What should I do.
I can see you have a little problem on your hands, but it is not too difficult. There are several things to consider here. First, the important thing is whether of not the church they are attending teaches God's Word, and encourages people to grow in Christ. If that is the case, even if there are some things with which you do not agree, God can help you to be considerate of them, and honor them for receiving you into their home. You can go with them and get the most you can out of the services. Once you have shown a cooperative spirit, you will be able to bring the matter of attending your church up again. If the church does not teach the Word of God, then you need to speak politely with them about the matter AFTER you have asked God wisdom and the ability to please Him.
If you prefer another congregation that is really helping you to live for Jesus, consider asking if you could attend services there in the evening, or on alternate Sundays. Try and show them you really do want to be cooperative, and appreciate what they are doing for you. Perhaps they would even consider going with you, and see for themselves you have made a good choice.
You must try and avoid conflict. God has called us to peace, and tells us His work is best accomplished in a peaceful environment. The Lord knows it is not always possible to achieve such a surrounding. That is why He tells us, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Rom 12:18). If you put your best foot forward to please them, they will be more likely to be more considerate of you.
Here is something I have been mulling over, and that is, I don't understand what the Spirit meant when he told us about David eating the show bread. I always thought that David was wrong in doing that, or I guess I should say I was always taught that.
The passage involved (Matt 12:3-4; Mark 2:25-27; Lk 6:3-4) has long been a controversial one among Bible students. There is a lesson here concerning the letter and the spirit of the Law. In it Jesus shows that the ceremonial law must give way to human need -- that it was never intended to create misery, but bring honor to the Lord.
The actual incident is not as simplistic as first appears. Not only was the need of David and his men accentuated. They had not eaten for three days, and David required a modest amount of bread to refresh them -- five loaves. The priest stated he had no ordinary bread, but only hallowed bread. This, he allowed, could be given to David and his men if they had at least "kept themselves from women."
Having confirmed this was the case, the priest gave them the requested loaves. But he did not take them from the holy place, where they were originally placed before the Presence of the Lord. The bread was placed before the Lord every Sabbath (Lev 24:8), where it remained untouched for seven days. After that, the bread was removed and replaced with twelve fresh loaves.
The text in First Samuel tells us the priest gave David and his men bread from the loaves that had been removed and replaced. "So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the LORD and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away" (1 Sam 21:6, NIV). While this bread was technically to be eaten only by the priests (Lev 24:8-9), the mercy of God allowed for this unusual circumstance. But even then, David and his men did not eat the bread that was placed before the Lord--only of the bread that was removed and could be eaten by the priests.
This incident falls into the same category as pulling a sheep out of a pit into which he had fallen on the Sabbath day (Matt 12:11), or doing good on the Sabbath day (Matt 12:12). It is an example of mercy taking the precedence over judgment (James 2:13), as with the woman taken in adultery (John 8:3-12).
My question is, what was the purpose of the sackcloth and ashes referred to in several scriptures?
The practice of "sackcloth and ashes" is mentioned several places in Scripture. When the Jews were threatened in the days of Esther, they "lay in sackcloth and ashes," weeping and wailing and seeking the face of the Lord (Esther 4:3). God told sinful Israel He required them to lay sackcloth and ashes under them and humble themselves before Him (Isa 58:5). When Daniel understood from the book of Jeremiah that the Babylonian captivity was about to end, he set himself to seek the face of the Lord with prayer, petitions, fasting, and sackcloth and ashes (Dan 9:3). Like those of Esther's day, his fasting was an act of humility. In this circumstance he sought understanding from the Lord. Jesus also said if ancient Tyre and Sidon had witnessed the mighty things done in Chorazin and Bethsaida, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes (Matt 11:21; Lk 10:31).
Scripture also refers to "sackcloth WITH ashes" (Esther 4:1), sackcloth and "wallowing in ashes" (Jer 6:26), and being covered with sackcloth and "sitting in ashes" (Jonah 3:6). All of these refer to the same general description: "sackcloth and ashes."
I understand "sackcloth and ashes" to signify two attitudes of mind. First, sadness and morning, and repentance when required. Second, a strong sense of unworthiness, and an unwillingness to consider oneself respectable or eligible before the Lord. The external appearance of the individual was thus intended to reflect the feelings of the soul.
Aside from these very general observations, the Scriptures provide no other details about the involvements of "sackcloth and ashes."
Do people who don a sackcloth and ashes always fast?
Putting on sackcloth and ashes did not necessarily require fasting, although it was implied. The state of mind reflected in sackcloth and ashes did involve refraining from adorning self, or attempting to appear comely before either God or man. Abstinence from food would fit into that frame of mind, although it was not a requirement. Jesus did not mention fasting in connection with the scenario He gave of Tyre and Sidon.
When were the dinosaurs alive, before Adam, After, The flood has always been my belief due to sea dinosaurs found in the desert, am I correct, where do I go from here?
The particulars of this are not revealed in Scripture. It is generally understood dinosaurs were existent prior to the flood, and eventually became extinct after the flood. We have abundant evidence of the previous existence of dinosaurs in fossil remains, and some significant archaeological finds throughout the world. The Scriptures, however, provide no details on them.
After the flood there were "cold and heat, and summer and winter" (Gen 8:22), which apparently were not prior to the flood. The earth was all united in both temperature and productivity until after the flood, which involved enormous upheavals in the earth (Gen 7:11; 8;2). The change in earth, we assume, no longer permitted these great beasts to continue.
Some websites that may be of assistance in your study are as follows.
My 19 year old daughter has been unrelenting in her pursuit to get my blessing to get tattoos and body piercing. I spent hours in research & prayer at Bibles.com to try to have a scriptural view and explanation.
My heart goes out to you. I also encourage you to be strong in faith, giving glory to God.
I examined the site you forwarded (http://www.jesusfreak.com/hea/seal.html), and was quite alarmed at both its tone and content. Take, for example, the following which appears on that site.
Seal Of The Living God Tau-toos is marking the Lord's elect,
By taking the tribes from the nations with seals, signets, shields, and standards. Specializing in Judeo-Christian artwork, tribulation tribal,
and dermagraphics for the millennium.
First, it assumes their knowledge of the elect, which Scripture affirms is known only to God (2 Tim 2:19). Second, it assumes that a distinction of God's people is denoted by an external mark. Scriptures affirms inner traits, recognized by the Lord (Col 3:12-14). Third, the combination of Jewish and Christian is nowhere declared in Scripture. The body of Christ, while uniting both believing Jews and Gentiles into one body (Eph 2:15), is distinct from both, as affirmed in 1 Corinthians 10:32.
While the marking of the body has become popular in our time, there is not the slightest hint--not even a syllable of Scripture--that supports such an practice. In fact, under the Law, such activity was strictly forbidden. "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD" (Lev 19:28). The NIV reads, "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD." These were traits of heathen nations, and were to be avoided by the people God chose. That should be enough for any honest person.
Add to this that our bodies do not belong to us, but to the Lord. This is the express statement of the Spirit. "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? . . . you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body" (1 Cor 6:15-20). While the particular prohibition in this text is fornication, the principle remains the same. We are not at liberty to give our bodies to someone other than the Lord, (unless it be within the Divinely ordained institution of marriage). I understand that to apply to someone who places permanent marks upon our body.
There is nothing about a tattoo that is harmonious with faith, loving God, or living for Him. It is an expression of absolute selfishness and conformity to the practices of others. Once that is seen, and a desire to please God enters into the heart, the desire for tattoos will come to a grinding halt.
My father died in May. My Mom and sister have a pastor that keeps saying Dad is watching them and that he was there when my sister had her baby in June. I think he is giving my dad qualities that only God has. I think in Heaven we will not be able to watch who ever we want. I do not think we will see here on earth at all. What do you think?
The answer is not as simple as that. There are indications in Scripture that some knowledge of earthly affairs exists in the unseen world. In hell, for example, the rich man knew about his brothers upon earth (Luke 16:28). In the same passage, Abraham also knew about the brothers of the rich man, and of their access to words of Moses and the prophets (Luke 16:29). In Revelation, we read of some who were martyred for Jesus who knew their blood had not yet been avenged by the Lord (Rev 6:10). In some sense, those in Christ also have been brought into fellowship with "the spirits of just men made perfect" (Heb 12:23). Both Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration, speaking with Him about His imminent death (Luke 9:31). Neither of them referred to Christ's coming death when they were upon the earth, yet knew of it after they had left it.
These accounts are not enough to form a crystallized theology about how much those on the other side know about this world and the activities that go on in it. They are enough, however, to confirm they are not oblivious to the affairs of this earth. No one can be dogmatic in this matter, saying that those in Christ who have passed on behold all that occurs here. However, it is equally unwise to say nothing of this world is known to them. We should be willing to let the matter rest there, allowing for views of others, while not feeling obliged to see things exactly as they do.
I would like to get a clear understanding of how you feel the last days of
earth will be and what you base this believe on.
It certainly was refreshing to be with you last weekend. I rejoiced to behold your faith in Christ and love for the saints, two qualities that endear you to the Lord Himself. Please greet sister Melody for me. I trust her surgery was successful, and that her spirit is strong.
As you know, the people of God have been widely divided on the matter of last times or days. Much of the disagreement fails to take into account that much of revelation is tiered, containing more than one reference. Thus, there is a sense in which Jesus appeared in His birth "in the end of the world," or "end of the ages." That very appearance was also the beginning of "the year of the Lord" (Luke 4:19), or the "day of salvation" (2 Cor 6:2), during which men could be inducted into fellowship with God.
In giving what is commonly called "the great commission," Jesus promised He would be with the proclaimers of the Gospel until "the end of the world" (Matt 28:20), using precisely the same words as Hebrews 9:26.
In Matthew 13:49, Jesus declared He would send forth the angels to sever the wicked from among the righteous in 'the end of the world." Again, the expression is precisely the same as the previous two references.
The Spirit, therefore, does not give a fixed meaning to "the end of the world," or "end of the age." In Hebrews 9:26, the event described has already taken place. In Matthew 28:20, it is in the process of taking place. In Matthew 13:49, it is yet to take place.
The term "last days' is used much in the same way. Isaiah prophesied of the day of salvation as taking place in the last days (Isa 2:2). On Pentecost, Peter associated the events of that day with the last days (Acts 2:17). Paul related "the last days" to a time of apostasy, when a form of godliness would be embraced that rejected the power of God (2 Tim 3:1;8). Peter makes the same association (2 Pet 3:3). Hebrews 1:3 identifies "the last days" with the entire era of salvation, when Jesus if directing the sons of God to glory. James connects "the last days" to the time of the ultimate reaping of what we have sown (James 5:3).
"The last time" also has similar associations. Peter relates the fulness or culmination of our salvation with 'the last time" (1 Pet 1:5). John associates 'the last time" with a Satanic initiative of delusion, affirming it was already under way (1 John 2:18). Jude does the same (Jude 18).
Jesus related the final judgment to "the last day" (John 12:46). Martha correctly associated "the last day" with the resurrection of the dead (John 11:24), as well as did Jesus (John 6:39,40,44,54).
All of this is points out that God's great workings have a conclusion as well as a start, an ending as well as a beginning. I understand the Spirit has identified some things that will occur at the conclusion of time. They will be of an even more epochal nature than the things that attended the beginning.
First, none of the things spoken by the holy prophets since the foundation of the world will go without fulfillment. In fact, the Spirit affirms Jesus will not leave heaven until these things have all been fulfilled (Acts 3:21). God is going to "restore all things," not only by fulfilling the words of His prophets, but by joining all things together into one, both which are n heaven and which are upon earth. This is His revealed purpose (Eph 1:9-10).
That the Jews play a vital role in this matter cannot be denied. The New Covenant which we presently enjoy was, in fact, made with them (Jer 31:31-34; Heb 8:8-13). Immediately following the prophecy of that marvelous covenant, the Lord said, "This is what the LORD says, He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-- the LORD Almighty is His name: Only if these decrees vanish from my sight," declares the LORD, will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me. This is what the LORD says: Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done, declares the LORD." (Jer 31:35-37, NIV).
I understand the restoration of Israel to God's favor to be on the horizon of Divine purpose. It is both logical and revealed. If God could graft unnatural branches into the natural olive tree, He can surely graft natural ones in again -- in fact, it makes more sense for Him to do so (Rom 11:23-24). What is even more, He has promised this will happen. He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob (and the church is nowhere called "Jacob") in strict accord with His covenant with them (Rom 11:26-27).
That all of this could occur without some indicators is, to me, inconceivable. Notwithstanding, care must be taken not to define things with too much precision. God has not done so, and neither must we.
Jesus set a limit on the destruction of Jerusalem. It would be "trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). After revealing this fact, Jesus spoke of times that would be followed by the visual appearance of Himself. He declared "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken." Then, He said, men would "see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" (Lk 21:25-27). He also declared the beginning of these things would be perceived by some, and that seeing them, those with faith should stand up and lift up their heads, for their redemption was drawing near (v 28).
In our time, there are global upheavals taking place in nature, governments, and religious structures. Just as surely as the mighty angel of Daniel 10, overthrew a spiritual ruler over Persia, thus allowing the displacement of Persia by Greece, so it appears powers of darkness that have reigned over nations are being displaced in heavenly realms in our time. These are all indicators, or more specifically, confirmations, that time is running out. It is my persuasion that the "times of the Gentiles" is about to close. Paul said Israel had experienced "a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in" (Rom 11:25). I understand this to mean the Gentile church has miserably failed in its custodianship of the truth of God (1 Tim 3:15). Much of the crumbling of traditional churches in our time appears to be but a prelude to the fall of false Christianity that so dominates our world.
I have personally researched the geological data available today. Such things as earthquakes, wind forces, volcanic eruptions, and extraordinary floods are on a dramatic increase. I understand many of these to be trumpets of warnings, and preludes to Divine judgment.
As you must know, these are not matters on which the children of the King perfectly agree -- and it is not necessary that they demand unity on these things. However, every child of God must adopt a view that allows for God to conclude what He has started. They must perceive Him as preceding epochal events with some type of word or warning, for that is His manner (Amos 3:7). They must also strive to cut themselves loose from any view of God that confines His working to history, for God has not so revealed Himself. Also, we must zealously shun views that confine God to the present, as though there was neither past nor future. Equally, we cannot perceive God as only doing something in the future, ignoring the past and the present.
All of this assumes an intense interest on the part of believers. It also assumes a working God, fulfilling His purpose, and bringing His determined intentions to fruition. It also assumes that alertness on our part will bring us the advantage, and help us to prepare for our ultimate confrontation of the Lord Himself.
I have written a lengthy treatise on he subject of "The Role of Israel in the Latter Days." It is on my website, and can be accessed as follows.
What are your thoughts about the "Rapture"?
As you have observed, this word "rapture" is not found in Scripture, even though a great body of doctrine has been developed around it. The doctrine, which I hold to be false, is based on First Thessalonians 4:17: "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
Those who embrace the teaching of the "rapture" refer to this verse, saying that it announces the secret removal of all believers prior to the great tribulation, and before the end of the world. No such teaching can be found in this verse, or any other Scriptural passage. This verse is addressing the misconception held by the Thessalonians that those who had died would miss out on the coming of the Lord (verses 13-15). Paul told them when Jesus returned, the dead believers would all be raised, and join those who remained alive at the Lord's coming, rising to meet the Him in the air.
Verse sixteen says the Lord's return will be a noisy affair. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first." The word, "first" is in regard to living believers who will be "changed," receiving their new bodies, to ever be with the Lord. The very notion that the shout of Jesus, the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God could be secret, stretches the imagination, and is unworthy of finding a place in the minds of God's people.
We are elsewhere told the return of the Lord as a thief in the night will bring an abrupt and fiery end to the entire natural order. "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (2 Pet 3:10-12). Second Thessalonians says Jesus will return "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ," stating that this will occur "When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe" (2 Thess 1:8-10).
The teaching on this is quite clear. Yo
I have been looking into study material or research material regarding "Communion" more of what is Communion and is significance. Basically what is it's meaning, images or notions. Can you help shed some information on the intent or meaning of this . . . I guess I do not know or really grasp the meaning of communion; as stated in (JC) God entering through his son into full communion with us, who are in the state of three fold alienation, so that we may enter into full communion in the spirit through the son with the father. . . . I am basically curious and have done a lot of Internet research but have not found any thing on communion specifically.
First, you have evidently exposed yourself to a great deal of human philosophy on this subject. Such things as "hypostatic union and sacrifice," threefold alienation," and "full communion" carry a lot of philosophical baggage. They are expressions men have concocted to contain their personal perceptions, and have little, if anything, to do with God's revelation in Scripture. Exposure to this kind of reasoning will bring a lot of confusion and no confidence before God. We can afford neither of these things.
In the Word of God, "communion" denotes fellowship, accord, likemindedness, and the absence of friction. Partaking of the Lord's supper, for example, is called a "communion of the blood of Christ" -- or a "participation" in it, as more contemporary versions read. The meaning here is that we partake, or participate, in the benefits of the blood Christ, which include forgiveness (Eph 1:7), peace (Col 1:20), and reconciliation to God (Col 1:20), as well as numerous other benefits.
"Communion" is also used in the sixth chapter of Second Corinthians to show the lack of accord or harmony between the holy and the profane. "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?" (2 Cor 6:14-16). Here "communion" emphasizes something held in common--two or more that work together in harmony.
Second Corinthians 13:14 refers to the "communion of the Holy Spirit," which speaks of the harmony created between the human spirit and God's Holy Spirit. This is the result of being reconciled to God. There is no longer enmity between the person in Christ and God.
Interestingly, the word "communion" comes from the Greek word KOINONEA, which is generally translated "fellowship." It speaks of the merging of personalities in a common purpose. In the case of God, those who are reconciled to Him through Christ are brought into fellowship with Him and Jesus (1 Cor 1:9). They work together with God (1 Cor 3:9), and obtain His values.
This is a profound unity, and cannot be satisfactorily explained in words, or expressed fully in philosophical terms. It is comprehended in the relationship which it reflects, and is realized in things such as prayer, fruit bearing, and receiving the promises of God--among other things. Jesus spoke of it in a remarkable way in John 14:21,23. ""He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him . . . Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."
I have been studying the Bible for years and have 2 questions. 1) Are we obligated by God according to the New Testament to follow the 10 Commandments written in the Old Testament? Or because Jesus "fulfilled the law" are we no longer obligated?
Jesus did not fulfill the law FOR us, but in order that He might be a perfect and sinless sacrifice for us. He did not relieve men of the necessity of being holy, or obeying the commandments of God. If men break the Law, the Law will condemn them, as taught in First Timothy 1:9-10. "knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine."
When we come into Christ, our nature is changed, and
we desire to obey the commandments. This is because they are written upon our hearts, as declared in Hebrews 8:10; 10;16. This means our nature is so changed that we are in agreement with the Law, and have a desire to obey it. Scripture refers to this as fulfilling the righteousness of the Law, declaring that is why wen have been reconciled to God. "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Rom 8:3-4).
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