Seeking the Everlasting Gospel

Featuring the Bible Teachings of Ted Roberts

QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

 

Hey folks! I have been asked many Biblical questions over the years, and a lot of them were typed out. Since a lot of these questions were very good, and of which many folks would ask in this day and age, I felt that I should share some of them here in hopes of helping others. I am withholding names of participants for privacy, so if you would like to submit a question to me, simply send it to truthdigging@yahoo.com and I will try and answer as soon as I can. If it's OK to share the question on this page, I will certainly keep your name discreet; else, I will not place it hereon per your request . . . Directly below is a menu, separated out by 'question topics' for easy reference. Simply click on the topic of choice to be taken to my answer . . . Also, and in showing how I feel about my own teachings (of whether I feel that they are from God), please read AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE before viewing the following text. Not only so, but you may also find my personal story interesting, which I get into on the Home Page. I will be adding more questions and answers soon, and will be letting folks know when they are posted via my Facebook page. So, if you aren't a friend to me there yet, please friend me, at: www.facebook.com/truthdigging 

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How Can We Become a Living Epistle?

A lot of folks like to appear very holy on Sundays during church services, but then will take on the attributes of the world during the rest of the week; especially when they are at work. A lot of them not truly realizing, just as the Bible teaches, that we are to be the same during the week as we are on Sunday. When the temple was trampled under foot during the Jerusalem siege by the Roman armies in A.D. 70 [Revelation 11:2], a prophesy (so to speak) of Stephen's had fully come to pass, when he boldly declared: "Howbeit the most High dwells NOT in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet [Acts 7:48]." And not only he, but even as Barnabas declared in his epistle, written in about A.D. 75, after he witnessed the temple fall: "Moreover I will tell you likewise concerning the temple, how these wretched men being led astray set their hope on the building, and not on their God that made them, as being a house of God [Barnabas 16:1]. We, too, should realize that a church building is not the house of God. Paul amply states: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" [1 Corinthians 3:16]. And, again, Barnabas concurs: "Let us become spiritual, let us become a temple perfect unto God [Barnabas 4:11]." And, again: "For a holy temple unto the Lord, my brethren, is the abode of our heart [Barnabas 6:15]." As a modern society, we (like the Pharisees before us), put too much trust into a natural building, as if it's God's temple! Being a spiritual temple, we take God's temple with us wherever we go, no matter what day of the week it is. And with that in mind, we should be mindful of "WWJD" with our everyday situations. Just like the epistles declare the glory of Jesus, our lives should do the same - being read of people, as if we are God's ambassadors, ready to give answers to people with Godly love, or to show kindness with Godly love.

 

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Why Would Eve Eat the Forbidden Fruit?

Why would Eve eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil when God told her not to? Didn't she know she would be kicked out of the Garden?

God initially created us with a fleshly will, so that when we do wrong, He can show us the right path. Therefore, chastisement is not punishment for what we are doing wrong, but is a correction for what we aren’t doing right!

Yes, I believe that God knew perfectly well that Eve would take the forbidden fruit - that is, the fruits of the flesh [for examples, please see Galatians 5:19-21, which are opposed to Galatians 5:22-23]. But just like little kids that we raise, and tell them not to do something, they a lot of times do not listen, and end up doing it anyway; mainly because we told them not to! But, that’s how they learn, and that’s how we learn, too. Just look at your relationship with God in the same way a mother and father are supposed to raise their kids. Kids have to learn through obedience, and so must we! We were pre-programmed to do what’s not right, and now we learn through obedience and corrections. 

 

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Warring Against the Law of My Mind?

Warring against the law of my mind?

Romans 7:22-25
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 

What does the last phrase mean, warring against the law of my mind?

We are seeing yet another demonstration of flesh battling the spirit.

The word Members in scripture can mean one of several things, such as a group of people, or even natural parts of our physical bodies. But, when Paul says here about the 'Law of my members,' I believe he is specifically refering to the parts of our physical body which worship God in a carnal manner, such as ritualistic worship. He's also speaking on a 'form' of the Mosaic Law that, even though the Law changed from natual to spiritual, it nevertheless reflected the Law delivered by Moses, in that folks were still performing rituals instead of delivering spiritual worship.

Again, the reason that it’s called the law that works in my members, is because people use their members to worship God through Carnal, naturalistic Ordinances; not realizing that they are supposed to do “spiritual” ordinances instead, such as loving one another, and the deeds that occupy that love ~ helping one another!

Law of my mind (i.e. mind of Christ) = law after the inward man, called the Law of Christ. As Paul phrases it: “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” From Galatians 6:2. 

Of course, these two laws (two different ideas of thought and living style) war against one another:

Galatians 5:16-17
[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Warring against the law of my mind?

Romans 7:22-25
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 

What does the last phrase mean, warring against the law of my mind?

We are seeing yet another demonstration of flesh battling the spirit.

The word Members in scripture can mean one of several things, such as a group of people, or even natural parts of our physical bodies. But, when Paul says here about the 'Law of my members,' I believe he is specifically refering to the parts of our physical body which worship God in a carnal manner, such as ritualistic worship. He's also speaking on a 'form' of the Mosaic Law that, even though the Law changed from natual to spiritual, it nevertheless reflected the Law delivered by Moses, in that folks were still performing rituals instead of delivering spiritual worship.

Again, the reason that it’s called the law that works in my members, is because people use their members to worship God through Carnal, naturalistic Ordinances; not realizing that they are supposed to do “spiritual” ordinances instead, such as loving one another, and the deeds that occupy that love ~ helping one another!

Law of my mind (i.e. mind of Christ) = law after the inward man, called the Law of Christ. As Paul phrases it: “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” From Galatians 6:2. 

Of course, these two laws (two different ideas of thought and living style) war against one another:

Galatians 5:16-17
[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Warring against the law of my mind?

Romans 7:22-25
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 

What does the last phrase mean, warring against the law of my mind?

We are seeing yet another demonstration of flesh battling the spirit.

The word Members in scripture can mean one of several things, such as a group of people, or even natural parts of our physical bodies. But, when Paul says here about the 'Law of my members,' I believe he is specifically refering to the parts of our physical body which worship God in a carnal manner, such as ritualistic worship. He's also speaking on a 'form' of the Mosaic Law that, even though the Law changed from natual to spiritual, it nevertheless reflected the Law delivered by Moses, in that folks were still performing rituals instead of delivering spiritual worship.

Again, the reason that it’s called the law that works in my members, is because people use their members to worship God through Carnal, naturalistic Ordinances; not realizing that they are supposed to do “spiritual” ordinances instead, such as loving one another, and the deeds that occupy that love ~ helping one another!

Law of my mind (i.e. mind of Christ) = law after the inward man, called the Law of Christ. As Paul phrases it: “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” From Galatians 6:2. 

Of course, these two laws (two different ideas of thought and living style) war against one another:

Galatians 5:16-17
[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Warring against the law of my mind?

Romans 7:22-25
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 

What does the last phrase mean, warring against the law of my mind?

We are seeing yet another demonstration of flesh battling the spirit.

The word Members in scripture can mean one of several things, such as a group of people, or even natural parts of our physical bodies. But, when Paul says here about the 'Law of my members,' I believe he is specifically refering to the parts of our physical body which worship God in a carnal manner, such as ritualistic worship. He's also speaking on a 'form' of the Mosaic Law that, even though the Law changed from natual to spiritual, it nevertheless reflected the Law delivered by Moses, in that folks were still performing rituals instead of delivering spiritual worship.

Again, the reason that it’s called the law that works in my members, is because people use their members to worship God through Carnal, naturalistic Ordinances; not realizing that they are supposed to do “spiritual” ordinances instead, such as loving one another, and the deeds that occupy that love ~ helping one another!

Law of my mind (i.e. mind of Christ) = law after the inward man, called the Law of Christ. As Paul phrases it: “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” From Galatians 6:2. 

Of course, these two laws (two different ideas of thought and living style) war against one another:

Galatians 5:16-17
[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Warring against the law of my mind?

Romans 7:22-25
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 

What does the last phrase mean, warring against the law of my mind?

We are seeing yet another demonstration of flesh battling the spirit.

The word Members in scripture can mean one of several things, such as a group of people, or even natural parts of our physical bodies. But, when Paul says here about the 'Law of my members,' I believe he is specifically refering to the parts of our physical body which worship God in a carnal manner, such as ritualistic worship. He's also speaking on a 'form' of the Mosaic Law that, even though the Law changed from natual to spiritual, it nevertheless reflected the Law delivered by Moses, in that folks were still performing rituals instead of delivering spiritual worship.

Again, the reason that it’s called the law that works in my members, is because people use their members to worship God through Carnal, naturalistic Ordinances; not realizing that they are supposed to do “spiritual” ordinances instead, such as loving one another, and the deeds that occupy that love ~ helping one another!

Law of my mind (i.e. mind of Christ) = law after the inward man, called the Law of Christ. As Paul phrases it: “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” From Galatians 6:2. 

Of course, these two laws (two different ideas of thought and living style) war against one another:

Galatians 5:16-17
[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Romans 7:22-25
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
 
What does the phrase mean, warring against the law of my mind?
 
We are seeing yet another demonstration of flesh battling the spirit. The word Members in scripture can mean one of several things, such as a group of people, or even natural parts of our physical bodies. But, when Paul says here about the 'Law of my members,' I believe he is specifically referring to the parts of our physical body (such as our arms and hands) which worship God in a carnal manner, such as in ritualistic worship [For more information, please see 'Carnal Ordinances']. He's also speaking on a 'form' of the Mosaic Law that, even though the Law changed from natural to spiritual [Hebrews 7:12], it nevertheless reflected the Law delivered by Moses, in that folks were still performing naturalistic rituals instead of delivering spiritual worship.
 
Again, the reason that it’s called the law that works in my members, is because people use their members (arms and hands, for instance) to worship God through Carnal, naturalistic Ordinances; not realizing that they are supposed to do “spiritual” ordinances instead, such as loving one another, and the deeds that occupy that love ~ helping one another [Please see 'Brotherly Love']!
 
Law of my mind (i.e. mind of Christ) = law after the inward man, called the Law of Christ. As Paul phrases it: “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” From Galatians 6:2.
 
Of course, these two laws (two different ideas of thought and living style) war against one another: 
 
Galatians 5:16-17
[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Galatians 5:16-17
[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
 
 
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. 

FAITH vs WORKS

Question:

If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, I thought that you can go to God when you die. But, I recently read that it has to do with the works that you do! I thought it was by Grace, not by Works! I realize that Works are something you do when you have Christ, because you want to show Christ through yourself; but I don't understand that you have to have Works in order to be saved, and to be able to go to God! Can you explain this to me?

 

Answer:

There are many who say that you must earn 'brownie points' in order to not only make it to be with God, but also in order to be in a better position in heaven − you know, managers over other people. I don't agree with that at all. Think about it − we can't hardly manage ourselves, how do we expect to manage others? Even though we should be spiritual parents at times, it's not to be looked upon as a chain of command as the ungodly world views it. Consider:

 

Mark 10:42-44

"But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all."

 

And also:

 

Galatians 3:28

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

 

But, on to faith verses works − Watch Paul here:

 

Romans 4:4-5

"Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."

 

The confusion of this whole matter, however, comes by what James said:

 

James 2:17

"Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."

 

The question then, is to what 'works' was James referring to? Believe it or not, the Bible addresses different kinds of works; but, true to their nature, man's religion likes to have only ONE meaning to all their words, for it simplifies things. Let's see:

 

WORKS (according to man's religion) = things you do to make yourself look good to God and other folks; gain points by being better than other people, and therefore being able to tell people what to do!

 

WORKS (according to God) = St. John 6:29 − "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." Therefore, works = Faith. And, this goes back to what Paul said in Romans chapter 4, verse 3: "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." And then, acting upon belief, we then follow the scriptures with our lives the way that God meant for us to, and not with how man religion teaches.

 

But, how does this fit in with what James said? Is there compatibility? Or is there contradiction? Nay, no contradiction, but compatibility. For, by working the works of faith, you will show that you do have faith in God. However, it's not to build up points, or to show that you are better than anybody else, for we are all bought with the same price, and we have all fallen short of the glory of God. How can we do anything to prove ourselves worthy of life eternal? Nay, we do not prove, but we merely do what we are supposed to do, without any other reward than that same 'penny' that everyone else gets (as in Matthew 20:1-17) − and that reward is life eternal! In fact, let's view some of the last few verses in Matthew 20:1-17:

 

Matthew 20:11-14

And when they had received it [the same penny that the others got], they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

 

What are we to say about that thief on the cross? Did Jesus tell a lie when He said He accepted him into His kingdom? There was no other work from that man other than belief; and then he worked that work of faith by so saying in front of everyone that He was the Son of God.

 

It's not complicated, but people sure do make it so.

 

Also, consider the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13), saying basically, if we do all sorts of works without true agape love, then it means absolutely nothing. If you do all that you do because you think you are going to gain some materialistic, or worldly goods, then you truly don't know the love of God; and you don't know what true gain really is!

 

Matthew 6:19-21

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

 

John 6:27

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

 

But, and at the same time, we aren't to think of this as simply confessing things with our mouths, and then suddenly we are in, and can never be removed! But, calling upon the name of the Lord, is calling upon His nature. His name is the divine nature. Or, much rather, we call upon His nature into our own lives, to live it. The life that we lead does define who we are. In other words, we must live the correct lifestyle, rather than simply confessing with our mouths only - we confess with the lifestyle that we lead! We need to become living epistles, known of everyone that we are truly of Christ, since we live for Him. Therefore, the works that I do is to live the lifestyle that pleases God, and that shows that I believe Him [hence, the true works of God], because I do the works that He wishes for me to do. And, I do this to please Him, not to please others. And, most of the time, what pleases Him is not understood by people - that is, those who do not understand God to begin with. So, in order to follow Christ, we must deny ourselves, and veer away from the status quo! There really is a labor, there really is a work, but it's not what man's religion teaches, but rather what God teaches. That labor is to believe on Him; and I do that by following what He has given me to follow.

 

So, in conclusion, the works of man is to be seen of others, so that they will glory in their flesh, and so that they will be honored by mankind; and the works of God is to deny flesh, and live for Him, despite what others may think - but never to be menpleasers!

 

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Is the Apocrypha Inspired by God?

Question:

Why don't most Bibles contain the 'Apocrypha' today? Aren't they just as inspired by God as the rest of the Bible?

 

Answer:

Yes, there were other Books written after the last book of the Old Testament, and before the New Testament, which are now, collectively, known as the “Apocrypha.” These books, however, were never established as being "heavenly inspired,” and Jesus himself (the living testament [Hebrews 9:14-15]), who quoted many times from the Old Testament, never once quoted from the Apocryphal books. However, since they were written from about 200 to 300 years prior to Jesus until about 100 years after his death, scholars were convinced (and many times still are) – considering their early date, and they being born out of Judaism – that they too must be “inspired by God.” So much so, that many Bibles today still contain the Apocryphal writings. Even the first editions of the King James Version (KJV) contained them. However, and even though at first included in the KJV, many scholars of that day (indeed, many "Puritans") viewed the Apocrypha (being mixed within the scriptures) as an intrusion on the "inspired Books." King James himself wasn’t too sure about them being authentic words of God. Here is a quote from the king:

 

“Some of them [some of the books of the Apocrypha] are as like the ditement [words, statements] of the Spirit of God as an egg is to an oyster.”

 

In other words, they just didn’t fit the Spirit of God, or God’s words, in his view. And, in accordance to the "Puritans" of that time, being in the early to mid 1600’s England, the conference of the KJV had decided that:

 

“Such Apocrypha as have any repugnance [contradictory or inconsistence] to canonical [recognized as being genuine or inspired] scripture shall be REMOVED and not read” in the services of the church.

 

Accordingly, our King James Bibles today do not have the Apocrypha in them at all, since they all seemed to have some non-complementary issues – which really is a big deal – considering any contradictions would cause the entire structure to crumble! Very few times in other translations, however, are the Apocrypha included with the Old Testament, even though the Roman Catholics use many of them as part of their Old Testament scriptures. We must realize that these books were never considered by the Jews of the time of Jesus, or before, as being "inspired by God." The Jews did, however, see good wisdom and instruction in them, but never accepted them as “Godly inspired” [2 Timothy 3:16]. And to back this up, and as I pointed out earlier, even though many of them were around 200 to 300 years before Christ, Jesus never [and neither did any of the New Testament writers] even once quoted out of them. Yet, as far as the Old Testament was concerned, He, and His Apostles quoted out of them many times. Considering all of this, it is safe to conclude that what is considered as to being “Scriptures” (minus the books of the Apocrypha), is what has been handed down to us in our modern Protestant Bibles [Romans 15:4; 16:26], such as the King James Version.

           

To further illustrate how the Jews themselves looked upon the Apocrypha, a passage in 2 Esdras (a book of the Apocrypha) mentions the “24” accepted books of the Old Testament:

 

2 Esdras 14:45-46 (Apocrypha):

Make public the twenty-four books that you wrote first, and let the worthy and unworthy read them; but keep the seventy that were written last, in order to give them to the wise among your people.

 

“24” Books? Yes, the Hebrew Old Testament contains 24 Books; even though the Protestant Old Testament contains 39 Books, they are still the very same books. The Protestants decided to break up the 24 inspired Books into a more readable 39 Books (such as make Samuel, Kings and Chronicles into 2 parts each, and make the Book of “The Twelve” into twelve separate books for each minor [or later] prophet), yet they are the same books. No books were added, nor taken away from the count in 2 Esdras as to what has been handed down to us today.

           

In the quote above from 2 Esdras, we can conclude a couple of things: first, that even the books of the Apocrypha admit that they are books which are set 'outside' the 'accepted' books of the Old Testament, for they were to be made public to everyone; and second, these other “seventy” books were most assuredly the books of the Apocrypha themselves, and saying that they should only be given to the wisest of the people; for, no doubt, these wise would be immune as to placing them next to the "inspired Books" of God, and they would only use them as they were intended. That is, for history’s sake, and for some wise sayings, and for some edification (which, admittedly, they do have!) – but not for doctrine. And that these books also, more than likely, contained human errors – absent from a total “inspiration by God.” And absent from infallibility.

           

Erasmus, a Dutch Scholar in the early 1500’s, and creator of the Textus Receptus (The Received New Testament Text that had become the norm for New Testament translation [including the King James Version] – even to our modern day) had expressed:

 

“It is of great importance to know in what spirit the church [Roman Catholic] approves a thing. It surely does not wish Judith, Tobit, and Wisdom [some books of the Apocrypha] to have the SAME WEIGHT as the Pentateuch [the Books of the Mosaic Law, set in the Old Testament]."

 

And here is a statement written by Walter J. Harrelson, in his Protestant view of the Apocrypha in “The Parallel Apocrypha”, published in 1997, concerning Martin Luther’s views on them:

 

"The literature of the Apocrypha provided one of the contested points at the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. For Martin Luther [Protestant Reformer of the Fifteen Hundreds A.D.], the apocryphal literature had its appropriate place in the Christian Bible, even though it lacked the “authority” of the Old Testament. Accordingly, in his 1534 translation of the entire Bible [into the German language], he collected the Apocryphal writings from their location in the Latin Vulgate [Catholic Bible by St. Jerome, published in 405 A.D.] and placed them together at the end of the Old Testament collection as an Appendix, preceded by an introduction that explained his reasons for doing so. Luther would surely not have spent the time and energy required for rendering these writings into German if he had not been convinced of their value for the Christian community.

 

"Luther’s motivation for placing the Apocrypha in an Appendix is plain. He knew that these writings were not to be found in the Hebrew Bible used by the Jewish community. St. Jerome long ago had made note of this fact and had retained only a portion of the Apocryphal writings then available to him. Luther also recognized that certain texts of the Apocrypha supported, or were used to support, Christian doctrines and practices that he rejected, such as the doctrine of purgatory and prayer services for the dead (1 Maccabees 12:43-46) and the great emphasis upon almsgiving (Tobit). In Luther’s case, however, the critical import of the Hebrew scriptures was their testimony to Christ; what counts in the scriptures of the Jews is “what pertains to Christ.” Theoretically, Luther and the other Reformers could have used the Apocryphal literature to discover “types,” or symbolic foreshadowing, of Christ and Christian teachings, but they did not do so. Nevertheless, Luther preserved the writings, despite their not having the “authoritative standing” that the Jewish Bible [Old Testament] did."

 

However, Scriptural or not (and I personally feel, as I have already pointed out, that they are not), we can (again – for it is an important point!) safely conclude that Jesus did not preach from them, and neither did the Apostle Paul, or the other 12 Apostles: that is, according to the New Testament books that we have. They showed no place anywhere in scripture as to having a place in God’s infallible, Written Word.

 

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Old or New Testament - which do I follow?

Question:

Do we follow all the old and new testament or just the new testament? The reason I asked is because a lot of things in the old testament has stopped, and I am wondering if it's in the new testament. I know sacrifices and things like that isn't done today like in the old testament; but, I noticed you use a lot of the old testament, too. I read it, but am I to follow it also? I'm trying to explain this the best that I can.

 

Answer:

I do understand the confusion. It's a problem that a lot of Christians are having. And a good amount of the reasoning is because a lot of preachers out there don't understand it too much themselves, and aren't able to expound it to those of whom they teach: hence, folks remain confused . . . What we must realize is that there is really only ONE Testament of God, and not two. What was that? Only one? Yes, and it's called, simply, the Testament of God! Well, I really am not trying to add more confusion to this topic, but allow me to explain: There is, again, only one Testament of God, but it is divided into two separate camps of thoughts and lifestyles. What's that? One camp we will call 'natural' understandings and natural prophetic fulfillment. The second camp, we will call 'spiritual' understandings and spiritual fulfillment. And yet, we will find the natural and spiritual explanations and understandings in both of what we call the New and the Old Testaments − simply because they really are both one and the same Testament. What is called the New Testament is simply a flashlight that shines onto the 'spiritual' understandings that are hidden within the Old! In fact, you won't find any new teachings or thoughts within the New that isn't already written in the Old; it's just that the New Testament digs up things that the Old Testament folks didn't even realize was there! And it took Jesus and His disciples (including Paul) to show the world the hidden messages that were locked away in the Old Testament . . . I know that this reasoning may seem absurd to a lot of folks (even those to whom have read their Bibles for years), but I declare boldly that it is the truth! In fact, I'm shifting gears for my second book, for I feel that the very thing that I am speaking on right now needs to be shared to the public before I can really get into deeper subjects; therefore, the second book that I will be publishing in the near future will be entitled: "In the Beginning: The Spiritual Side of Creation, Part I." And, within the pages thereof, I will get deeply into the subject of the differences of the Old and New Testament understandings, and of how one is open and plain for all the world to see (similar to the showbread that was upon the table in the first compartment of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, to where any priest could come in and see it, and to partake of it − which bread decayed after a day's time), and of the other bread (the hidden understandings) was placed within the second compartment and inside the Ark of the Covenant, to where only the high priest alone, and only once a year, could come into that section. That bread, that hidden bread, that hidden manna, was inside the Ark, inside the golden pot, and contained the effects of eternal life! It never decayed, nor rotted, and Jesus compared Himself to that bread that came down from heaven, that doesn't decay! He also said that the folks of the Old Testament only ate of the bread that was on the showtable (that is, shown to the world), that bread that lasted but for a day, and had eaten of it only, and had died. But, if we can but eat of the bread within the Ark, that hidden manna, that heavenly substance, that angel food, we will never die! It's the true body of Christ (spiritually understood), and that bread that's to be eaten in the 'true' communion, and eating of it will give us life eternal − for it is, again, the true body of Christ. That is, it's the Word of God; that is, it's the Living Word of God; that is, it's the spiritually understood Word that will raise us from death unto life (see, also, my first book − Brotherly Love − which also covers this subject), and causes our 'inward man Jesus' to come to life! Can the 'natural' understandings of the Bible do this for us? Is it simply knowing the 'history' of Jesus that will raise us up from death unto life? Or, is it knowing Jesus in the 'mystery' that will do it? This is the main point of understanding what the true Old Testament is about, and understanding the purpose of the true New Testament − that is, what it will do for me naturally, versus what it will do for me spiritually! . . . But, let's come at this from another viewpoint by discussing the 'Carnal Ordinances':

 

Without getting into too much detail about how deep the understandings will go concerning the Carnal Ordinances (for I will just cover them briefly here, but will get into much more detail about them in my upcoming book upon that subject), I will surely imply the importance of the knowledge of them, and how they have effected our 'church' life and existence up until this point. By getting loose of them, and casting them aside, we will then be able to advance in our walk with God, for they belong to the Old Testament lifestyle and existence, and is in opposition to the New Testament lifestyle. By shaking loose from them, as I've just said, we will be able to advance more quickly into the 'true realm' of the New Testament world. I am speaking of our 'worship' of God. How have we been worshipping God, and does that contradict the 'true' worship of God? This will also depend on our definition of what Jesus called 'worshipping God in spirit and truth':

 

John 4:23 − "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him."

 

Again, I will say that I'm not going to get into the deeper meanings about these things here, for I am going to expound at great length on them in my upcoming book (for I will need an entire book to do so!), but let me say here that this type of spiritual worship cannot be done through the institution of carnal ordinances:

 

Ephesians 2:15 − "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity [the enemy], even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace."

 

Now, here is one of the keys to understanding the differences between the Old and New Testaments. Notice how Paul says here that what had become the enemy of both the Father and the Son was − not the law itself − but was the law that was contained in ordinances! Now, we are getting somewhere! But, just exactly what does that mean? Let's expound: First, we need to understand what an ordinance is, for that will be the key to unlock this mystery.

 

Webster's Unabridged Dictionary − ORDINANCE: An established rite or ceremony.

RITE − a formal or ceremonial act or procedure prescribed or customary in religious or other solemn use.

 

Strong's Greek Dictionary − ORDINANCE: A law (civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical): - decree, ordinance.

 

That is, a Law contained in ceremonial ordinances, as Paul had explained . . . And just what were the ceremonial ordinances of the Old Testament? Well, for one, there were animal sacrifices. Well, that one is easy to pinpoint because we simply don't do that anymore today. But, are there others that we still do that aren't supposed to be observed? If an ordinance, in the Old Testament Biblical sense, was an 'outward' act of worship, then shouldn't the ordinances (or, rather, the worshipping of God) of the New Testament be 'inward' observances that aren't to be seen on the outside of us? For further reference to how God got rid of the Old Testament ordinances, please consult Colossians 2:14; 2:20-23.

 

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that the differences of the Old and New Testaments aren't old dusty books, but is rather what kind of a religious lifestyle that we intend on leading. Will we run this race through naturalistic and fleshly means? Will it be observing God through 'Religious Outward Rituals' − that the Bible calls 'Carnal' Ordinances? [see Hebrews 9:10 in the KJV] Will we only know Jesus after the flesh? Or, much rather, through fleshly dispensations, observances, and outward acts? Or, and more to the point, should we know Jesus (and His true kingdom) after they Mystery? To know Him 'spiritually?' Can we really observe ordinances of a heavenly nature, as opposed to what the flesh can see and do? How can we transform into the image of Jesus if we are still stuck in an Old Testament, fleshly kingdom? Do we not know that both the Priesthood and the Law has changed? [see Hebrews 7:12] And if that is the case, then whatever fleshly worshipping that the old priesthood was doing, that kind of fleshly worship went away with them! If the priesthood is spiritual now [1st Peter 2:5; 2:9], then what further need have we of the flesh anymore to worship God? Again, if we are living in a spiritual kingdom, what place has flesh there at all? [see 1st Corinthians 15:50]

 

Now, let's learn about pivoting scriptures. Pivoting Scriptures?? Yes, pivoting, in the fact that we can see both natural understandings and spiritual understandings within the Written Word of God ... If that isn't so, then how do we interpret the following verses 'naturally'?

 

John 7:38 − "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."

 

Matthew 5:29a − "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee..."

 

Ephesians 5:26 − "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word."

 

And, etc! . . . Let's see what Paul says here:

 

1 Corinthians 2:12-14 − "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

 

So, if there is a natural man who can only understand things of a fleshly nature, then there has to be a spiritual man who understands things of a spiritual nature. And, so there are!

 

1 Corinthians 15:40 − "There are also celestial [spiritual] bodies, and bodies terrestrial [fleshly]: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another [from glory to glory]."

 

1 Corinthians 15:45-50 − "And so it is written, The first man Adam [of the Old Testament] was made a living soul; the last Adam [Jesus, of the New Testament] was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural [Adam wasn't spiritual, but natural]; and afterward [that is, Jesus] that which is spiritual [Jesus was spiritual, and Adam of the OT was only natural]. The first man is of the earth, earthy [fleshly]: the second man is the Lord from heaven [spiritual]. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy [OT folks, who are nothing more than 'outward man' are only fleshly, and can see only fleshly things]: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly [NT folks, who are 'inward man' observes things of a spiritual nature]. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [This can and will happen to us, just as it did Adam and Jesus, our first examples!]. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God [an old minded creature, along with his carnal ordinances, cannot enter into the second compartment in a spiritually understood Tabernacle in the Wilderness]; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."

 

And, there you have it! The Old Testament is for an old creature, an old man, an outward man, who will observe things only with a carnal, fleshly mind, and does not understand things of a spiritual nature, and can only worship fleshly, too; whereas the New Testament is for the new creature, a new man, an inward man, who observes the spiritual understandings of the Word of God, applies them to his life as God meant for him to understand in His Mystery, observes them spiritually, and understanding them with the Mind of Christ, and, therefore, worships God in spirit and in truth, without the institutions of outward rituals, called carnal ordinances! Hence, we have our separation of the Old and New Testaments; for, and again, it's not to be seen or understood as dusty old books, but it is to be seen as either living a lifestyle carnally and naturally, or − and much better − as spiritual and heavenly!

 

Just because we know of folks who live a life in an Old Testament environment, they're not to be looked upon with pity, neither to be looked down upon, for that's how we all start off! It takes time, and with the Spirit of God training us, for us to be able to cross the line from Old to New!

 

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Who Were the two Cherubims?

Who were the two cherubims over the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant?

Even though we see that cherubims are spoke of quite a bit in the Old Testament, there are one other set of double cherubims that remind us of the cherubims over the mercy seat of the Ark. These are the two who, seemingly, are protecting the Tree of Life, and the entrance to the Garden of Eden. Of course, this could get into a lot of detail, but I will try and keep my answer limited as to the space of this letter. So, let's begin by describing the two at the Garden, and see if they will help us to understand the other two on the Ark...

 

As far as what cherubims are, the Bible does not give a satisfactory answer. They cannot be angels, for there isn't a single verse in the Bible which makes the connection. In fact, when Ezekiel begins to describe them in chapter 1 of his book (but not actually calling them cherubims until chapter 10), we actually get more confused as to what they really are. If literal and actual Beings, then how strange they would appear to our natural sight if ever we saw one! However, the sight of them is so fantastical, it leaves me thinking that we cannot see these descriptions as literal images, but rather metaphorical. In fact, I would go even further to say that cherubims aren't what most folks feel that they are. In fact, Ezekiel further explains that their appearance is also similar, not only to a man, an eagle, an ox, and an lion, but also to a wheel inside of a wheel!

 

Ezekiel 1:16b

and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.

 

Ezekiel 10:10

And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel.

 

The function of a wheel is quite simple, and that is to go around and around. Similar, in fact, to the flaming sword, which turned every way...

 

Genesis 3:24

So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims , and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

 

But what connection, if any, can we get between a wheel and a sword? Again, both can be turned (that is, according to the passage about the wheels in Ezekiel, and the sword in Genesis). Notice, though, that the 'single' sword, in Genesis, turned 'every way.' What can that mean? Then, there are two wheels in Ezekiel, which may make us consider that one wheel turned one way, and the other turned the opposite direction. Why? Simply because the sword, which the Bible metaphorically describes as the Word of God, has two edges to it (an Old and a New Testament), and one turns one way (into the outward/natural understandings of the scriptures), and the other turns the other way (toward the inner/metaphorical/spiritual understandings). Yet both work together toward one goal − and that is the salvation of the soul! Remember, Ezekiel described the wheel's appearance of the cherubim as also the 'work' of them as well. And that work is in turning every way; or, much rather, 'both ways.' Therefore, if we are to get back into the Garden of God , and on over to the Tree of Life, we have to be able to decipher the riddle of the Sword! That is, to understand how it turns in every way − both naturally and spiritually!

 

But even so, that doesn't explain who the two cherubim are! Even if they are the same two creatures who are on top of the mercy seat (stopping folks from getting inside of the Ark , in the very same manner the other two are keeping people away from the Tree of Life), it still doesn't explain who they are!

 

I agree that these two cannot represent the Father and the Son, but it seems more likely that they should be, instead, the 'perfect stewards' of the Word of God; or, should I say, the two creatures of whom the Bible speaks of as the 'participants' of the Old and New Testaments. In fact, I believe that these two creatures have been hiding in plain sight all these years! And they, just like the wheel and the sword, turn every way − or, and again, more to the point, in 'both' ways. One creature turns with the Old Testament, and it's natural implications and meanings; whilst the other turns with the tides of the New Testament, and its spiritual implications and interpretations.

 

In fact, if the poor Christian were ever to reach for the Tree of Life, it would have to first go through the first creature, and travel the road of the first edge of the sword before it can even get to the second creature, to travel down the second edge. Or, should I say, we have to start with the 'outer' wheel, and turn with its direction before we can ever get to the 'inner' wheel, so that we can turn with the other 'and best' direction . . . If one wheel is 'outer', as it indeed is, the other wheel has to be 'inner.' But let's look at this from another angle: If one creature is 'outer', then the other creature has to be 'inner.' Yes, I believe these two creatures are none other than the Outward and Inward Man!

 

A lot more can be said of this, but I believe that you get the picture...

 

 

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Beyond the Veil of His flesh...

Hebrews 10 verse 20 says that Jesus opened up a new and better way through the curtain, Himself. The question is, did that curtain represent Him?

 

Answer:

The veil in that instance represents His flesh. But, I know that answer is vague, so let's look at it like this: Jesus, who represents many examples to us, can also represent the son of man and the son of God. The son of man can be likened to the outward, fleshly man; and the son of God can be likened to the inward, spirit man.  The fleshly man, in my example here, really represents carnality, fleshly thoughts (i.e. fleshly knowledge, wisdom, and understanding), while the spirit man represents Godly knowledge, wisdom and understanding ... Notice what Paul says here:

 

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

"Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh [carnality]: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [inward man]: old things [fleshly man] are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

 

This scripture can be seen on many levels. Here are a few: To know Christ after the flesh, we can say that we only understand Him 'historically.' Or, rather, we know Him in the history, rather than in the mystery. We recognize and know Jesus the natural man, and the physical acts that He did, but do we know Jesus the spiritual man, and know Him inwardly? There's another Jesus than what we know from history, and that is Jesus in the mystery - on the inside of us. Our inward man is also called Jesus, but it's not that man who walked this earth 2000 years ago. The inward Jesus is a spirit man, born of God, who has taken on the surname of heaven.

 

Ephesians 3:14-15

"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named."

 

If the whole heavenly family have that name, then this means that not only does the man Jesus have that name (well, obviously!), but so does the Father, and so do we when we are born again. Therefore, Jesus is actually the 'surname' of heaven. Again, when we are born again, we adopt the heavenly name unto ourselves (i.e. the new name written [Revelation 2:17; 3:12]; because even though it wasn't a new name in the earth, because others had that name as their first name [Joshua, for instance], but it was newly applied to a deity - hence, a new name; and a new name to anybody obtaining it as a surname). Therefore, seeing as we have this new creature on the inside of us, who has that same name applied to it, then we should know that He needs to live a lifestyle in the same pattern as that first man did, who lived 2000 years ago upon the earth, and who had the name Jesus first. Knowing Jesus after the flesh is simply understanding him historically; knowing Jesus after the Spirit is LIVING Christ. Living a Christ lifestyle, instead of merely knowing the Bible stories, means that we will know Christ no more after the flesh; but that we will live Christ after the Spirit. Therefore, if we go beyond the veil of His flesh, we will shoot past the mere 'stories', and instead begin living the correct lifestyle. We need to crucify our old man, just like Jesus' flesh was crucified on the cross - yet not physically, but symbolically!

 

2 Corinthians 5:16a

"Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh..."

 

This indicates that we, like Christ, aren't to be known anymore as a mere fleshly, outward creature; but, by living a Christ-like lifestyle, our very speech will begin to betray us, and reveal to others that we have been with Jesus! We, too, will go beyond the veil of our own flesh, so that we can obtain perfection - or, much rather, ultimate maturity in Christ. The flesh of Christ, therefore, is - once again - a knowing of Him carnally and fleshly. That is, we only understand Him with our carnal mind; we only worship Him in a carnal manner; we are ritualistic, rather than spiritual; we don't worship Him in spirit and in truth, but we worship Him after the flesh ... Christ dying on the cross represented a cutting away of flesh; a dying out to the flesh; and when He physically died, the veil in the temple rent in two:

 

Matthew 27:50-51

"Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent."

 

This was no mere coincidence! This was all a part of the plan. Something happening in the physical [the natural] that represented something spiritual [which is how parables (metaphors) work in scripture]. It 'symbolically' told the world that the true children of God can now go beyond the veil, and can now enter into 'second heaven,' which is represented by the 'second compartment' of the tabernacle in the wilderness. Before Jesus died on the cross, mankind could only go into the first compartment, where the table of showbread was at. Therefore, symbolically, mankind could only see things in a fleshly, carnal manner. The first compartment in the tabernacle in the wilderness represented, not only the first heaven [or, rather, the first covenant - i.e. the Old Testament], but it was where scriptures could only be viewed with a literal, carnal mind. Hence, the showbread, where anybody could see and understand things at face value, and literally. Beyond the veil [curtain], which separated the two compartments was the holiest compartment; and only the high priest, alone, could enter in once a year. But, those priests, being only flesh, physically died throughout the history of the old testament. They only represented the old priesthood, and therefore could not stay in that compartment. Not only so, but they did not partake of anything in that compartment. What do I mean? Even though there was bread in there, too, they did not touch it! What bread was that? Showbread? Nay, for it was not 'seen' or 'shown', but was 'hidden' inside the ark of the covenant. The priest's job was to simply sprinkle lamb's blood on the lid (or, really, it was a throne [mercy] seat), which forgave the sins of the people - including his own. But Jesus, who was not of the Levi priesthood, came in as a priest, symbolically sprinkling His blood onto the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant (but, physically sprinkling it on there according to archaeologist Ron Wyatt, who said the ark was physically below the cross in a cave beneath - go figure!). That blood, that spiritual blood, made it to where there was no more animal sacrifices needed, for He symbolically represented a lamb, and since He was a lamb without blemish, then His blood ceased the physical offerings once and for all. But, not only so, but Jesus also is represented by the hidden bread (i.e. hidden manna) inside the ark. That bread, unlike the showbread in the first compartment (which the priests of the first covenant did eat), did not decay or rot; therefore, if we can eat of that bread, we, like that bread, won't rot or decay, and will have eternal life! But, before we could ever hope to eat of that bread, or if we are ever to live in the priesthood of Melchisedec, then we have to go beyond the veil of His flesh, not live carnally, not worship carnally, not think carnally, and not look at Jesus after the history, but live Jesus after the mystery!

 

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