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Bible Studies: Matthew, Mark, Luke & John

This study examines the scriptures for a comprehensive understanding of whether the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John are in the Old Testament or the New Testament.  I do not look to the commentaries of men for my understanding, but to the Bible itself, as my desire is that we all walk righteously before God, not according to traditions of men.  Bernie Parsons

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Matthew, Mark, Luke & John--

Old or New Testament?

Copyright 1999 By Bernie Parsons

There is a controversy within the church about where the Old Testament ends and the New Testament begins. I have come to understand that this is not about wanting to understand God’s will, but the protection of favorite doctrines. To substantiate these doctrines (see the Endnotes), certain of the brotherhood think it necessary to designate the Bible books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as Old Testament writings. They remove them from consideration, saying that they are teachings from the Law of Moses, therefore they do not apply to Christians. In their world, the New Testament writings begin with the Acts of the Apostles. The problem is that these brothers miss the overall picture of God’s plan for the universe—they can’t see the forest for the trees, as it were.

Their first mistake is trying to divide God’s plan into "Old" and "New" Testaments. The plan is eternal and universal.

Ephesians 3:9-11: "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:"

John 1:1-4 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men."

1 John 1:1-3 "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."

Revelation 3:14 "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;"

Revelation 13:8 "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

1 John 3:8 "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."

Hebrews 1:1-4 "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they."

Matthew 13:35 "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world."

1 Peter 1:18-21 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God."

By the above scriptures (and there are more!) we see that Jesus participated in the creation, and was there with God in the beginning of our world. This may shed more light upon the often controversial explanations of:

Genesis 1:26 "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." and Genesis 3:22 "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:"

The plan that Jesus would come to the earth, live in the flesh, die on the cross, and establish the church was formulated in the mind of God before this world was created. Separating the Christian life from the entire plan of God is not just ridiculous, it is downright dangerous. It blinds us to the ultimate, supreme plan of God and leads us into an arrogant, "holier than thou" attitude.

This self-righteousness causes us to think less of everybody else, eventually leading us to think that no one else is deserving of our company.  It also causes us to disregard what others see in the Bible, what they think, and what they say! We bog down in disagreement, infighting and bitterness, all of which are not true to the spirit of Christ.

Since this is one continuous plan, without a break or an end, why do we have "Old" and "New" Testaments? To answer that, we need to understand God’s entire plan. To do that, we must understand God's promise to Abraham -- originally known as Abram.

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The Promise To Abraham

Genesis 12:1-3 "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

Genesis 17:3-7 "And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee."

Genesis 18:17-19 "And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."

The Israelites themselves -- the descendants of Abraham -- failed to accept and acknowledge the plan of God. In this arrogance, from which we should learn an important lesson, they lived in disobedience to the will and ways of God. They ignored the Messianic prophecies, thinking that to be a descendant of Abraham was enough to make them special in God’s eyes.

Matthew 3:7-10 "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."

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A Promise Kept 

Jesus is the fulfilling of that promise to Abraham.

Hebrews 2:9-17 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."

John 8:56-58 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."

Jesus was before Abraham, appeared to Abraham, and is now the culmination of the promise God made to bless all nations of the earth through Abraham’s seed. If our thread jumps from Abraham to Jesus, where does the Law of Moses come in?

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The Law of Moses

Exodus 2:23-25 "And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them."

Exodus 6:2-5 "And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant."

Exodus 19:3-7 "And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him."

Exodus 19:16-20 "And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up."

Exodus 20:1-12 "And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."

Exodus 20:18-20 "And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not."

In following through with His promise to Abraham, God "shook the earth" while delivering the law to Moses. What God set forth here were His expectations for the offspring of Abraham. Notice that He said: "for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." What He asked was what He has asked from the beginning, starting with Adam and Eve: that we all worship Him and obey His commandments. This is summed up in the book of:

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."

1 John 2:3-5 "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him."

1 John 5:3 "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous."

God has always asked that we obey Him. He asked Abraham to obey Him, and asked the offspring of Abraham --- the Israelites -- to obey Him. He gave the Law of Moses until the world was ready for the promise to be kept. Keep in mind that the Law of Moses was a reaffirmation of the original promise, not some completely "new" agreement or covenant, totally divorced from the covenant with Abraham. The Law was designed to keep the people pure in bloodline and in spirit until the promise should be fulfilled in Jesus. It was never intended as a law for all people, for all time, but as a law for a particular group of people, living within the promise, for a limited period of time. Paul bears this out when he writes:

Galatians 3:6-18 "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

"Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator."

Galatians 3:21-25 "Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster."

Romans 10:1-4 "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

The apostle Paul writes that the Law of Moses was couched in the promise to Abraham, an addition due to transgression. It did not replace or supersede the promise, but was an addendum to it. It was bracketed by the promise, contained within it. The promise made to Abraham was kept in Jesus. Jesus was the fulfilling of the promise. The Law served as a "schoolmaster" to prepare the hearts of the Israelites for the coming of the Savior of the world. When the Savior came, there was no need to continue under the tutelage of the schoolmaster. We see that there were not two separate events here, but one continuous promise flowing from beginning to end. Within the confines of that promise came the Law of Moses.

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The Law Fulfilled

The Law helped maintain the pure Abrahamic bloodline and reserved a "peculiar" people in God’s grand scheme of things. That is why Jesus was able to make the following statement:

Matthew 5:17-19 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

Jesus did not come to say that the Law of Moses was a bad idea, but rather that it had fulfilled its purpose, which was to see to it that all nations of the earth would be blessed through the seed of Abraham, which means through Jesus! Once Jesus lived on the earth, taught the people of all nations the will and ways of God, died to take away our sins and reconcile us to God, the promise was kept! Praise God! With the coming of Jesus, not only did the earth shake as in the day when God gave the commandments to Moses, but both heaven and earth shook!

Hebrews 12:25-28 "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:"

With this unprecedented and unparalleled shaking of heaven and earth, all things changed, in heaven and in earth. Old things passed away, everything became new. Because the original promise to Abraham was kept, the Law had performed its intended function and was thereby finished. This sheds new light on the words of Jesus as He died:

John 19:30.10 "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."

Jesus had come to do the Father’s business, and that business was concluded:

Luke 2:46 "And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"

This was the Father’s business—to fulfill the promise to Abraham, and to reveal the love of God that was manifested in Jesus. Once more I repeat, the Law of Moses was finished because the death of Jesus fulfilled the ancient promise to Abraham that through his seed (Jesus) all nations of the earth would be blessed. The law of Moses was nailed to the cross with Jesus, as Paul writes:

Colossians 2:8-11 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."

The entire chapters of Romans 3 & 4 deal with the Law of Moses, and its relationship to the promise to Abraham, his faith, and how it all flows together in the being of Christ. A careful study of these and other chapters in Romans allow us to see how the plan of God, from the beginning, unfolded over the millennia, culminating in the death of Christ on the cross. Now that we understand that the Law was appended to, and contained within, the promise to Abraham (which was Jesus), we better understand how "Old" and "New" Testaments relate.

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A New Will & Testament

Jeremiah 31:31-34 "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."

Matthew 26:28 "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

2 Corinthians 3:6 "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

Acts 3:23-26 "And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." 

The new testament is not here referring to a collection of writings, like Matthew through Revelation or Acts through Revelation. It is referring to a covenant, or binding agreement, between two parties -- in this case, between God and man. The old agreement was between God and Abraham, and was renewed in the Law of Moses, between God and the offspring of Abraham. Realize that in a covenant, or binding agreement, both parties have to keep their part of the agreement. If one party violates the agreement, it is broken and a penalty must be paid. The new covenant was between God and all of mankind, brought into effect by Jesus Christ, the son of God.

Hebrews 9:14-18 "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood."

The writer of Hebrews expresses this covenant as a will, a testament, that is written while one lives, but is not enforced until after that person dies. The writer is not saying that there was one collection of writings called the Old Testament, and that they were made ineffective when replaced by a collection of writings called the New Testament. Rather, he is saying that the new will, or testament, replaces the previous one, just as one might do with his or her will today. This new one was sealed -- became effective, was put into force -- by the death of Jesus.

Hebrews 8:5-9:20 "Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

"Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you."

Compare this to:

Exodus 24:8 "And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words."

Note that the words "covenant" and "testament" are used interchangeably by the writer of Hebrews. The former covenant with Abraham was continued through the Law of Moses, fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus introduced the new covenant that God had promised in the old one, then died on the cross to seal it by "the death of testator". Just as the old promise, the old covenant, the old testament was being completed, the Lord ushered in the new promise, the new covenant, the new testament. This new agreement was part and parcel of the old covenant—that all nations of the earth would be blessed in the seed of Abraham—Jesus Christ!

That Jesus was involved in the Law of Moses that was given to the children of Israel is made plain in the following passage of scripture:

1 Corinthians 10:1-4 "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."

Again we see that Jesus was involved in the beginning of the promise, the middle of the promise and the end of the promise! Jesus is truly, "Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End". He was not some distant being who showed up suddenly one day as "Jesus, of Nazareth", to perfectly live and teach the Law of Moses, as some mistakenly assert. He is the author and finisher of our faith!

The old promise and covenant having been successfully carried through, the new promise and testament took effect. The continuous plan of God contained both the old and the new promises, and both the old and the new testaments.

Hebrews 10:16-17 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."

Hosea 2:23 "And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God."

Romans 9:23-26 "And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he saith also in Osee {Hosea}, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God."

1 Peter 2:9-10 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy."

Isaiah 42:4-7 "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."

Luke 4:14-21 "And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."

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One In Christ Jesus

Romans 15:8-12 "Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust."

Acts 13:45-48 "But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."

Ephesians 2:11-22 "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

With the ending, by way of fulfillment, of the law and prophets came the emergence of the world’s salvation through the death of Christ on the cross. Jews and Gentiles merged into one in the eyes of God. There was no longer an Israel after the flesh, worshipping in the Jerusalem temple. Now there was a spiritual "Israel", a holy nation of both Jews and Gentiles, molded together in one spiritual temple for the Holy Ghost, under a new covenant, or testament.

So, where do the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John fit into the scheme of things? Are they part of the "Old Testament", or are they part of the "New Testament"? First of all, note that they were written after Jesus died on the cross, and had ascended back to heaven! The testator had died, the new testament was sealed.

When and how did Jesus "write" His new testament, or agreement? Not after He died, but before! He did not actually "write" His will and testament, but rather spoke it, which was and still is an acceptable way of making a last will and testament in many countries, as long as there are adequate, qualified witnesses. Did Jesus have sufficient witnesses?

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The Preaching of the Gospel

Luke 24:46-49 "And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."

This passage confuses some—they say that this is evidence that the kingdom of God did not begin until the preaching at Pentecost. Therefore, they reason that anything that was taught prior to Pentecost is under the old testament Law of Moses, which puts the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John under the "Old Testament". Not so! The witnesses were already in place and witnessing -- that is,  beholding, observing, seeing, hearing -- before Christ died. Thus, they were able to bear witness, or verify the truth -- the facts -- after Christ died!

Acts 1:6-8 "When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

Luke 16:16 "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it."

The preaching of John signaled that the kingdom was near. Jesus preached that it was also near. And Jesus pointed out that it did not come with observation, but began within the people! By saying that it does not come with observation, Jesus indicated that it comes upon us more subtly, from within.

Luke 17:20-21 "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

So, when my brothers in the Lord say, "Lo, it started here!", or, "Lo, it started there!" , they, in essence, make our Lord and Savior out to be a liar. He said it cannot be pointed out in that manner. So why do we try? Why do we imagine ourselves more informed and intelligent than the Son of God? I don’t presume to be either.

What was the promise that came at Pentecost? Peter made no secret about the fact that it was the promise of the Holy Spirit, promised under the covenant with Abraham and carried on in the Law of Moses, and the prophets.

Acts 2:16-22 "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:"

The promise here mentioned was that the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon the people. This happened at Pentecost.

Acts 2:32-33 "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."

To what did the disciples bear witness, at Pentecost?

Not only the death of Jesus,

Acts 2:23-24 "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it".),

but also His life, speech and activities (Acts 2:22 "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:").

Acts 10:34-41 "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. Acts 10:42 "And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead."

The gospel did not begin to be preached by the apostles at the feast of Pentecost, as some contend, but was preached by Jesus prior to His death on the cross! My brothers mistake the fulfilled promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to be the first preaching of the gospel. I might add, many preachers used to say that it was the "first gospel sermon in the name of a risen Lord", but that doctrine has been shortened by most to "first gospel sermon". Period. And they are wrong.

Matthew 4:23 "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people."

Matthew 9:35 "And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people."

Matthew 11:4-5 "Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them."

Luke 19:47-20:2 "And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him. And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders, And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?"

Matthew 26:12-13 "For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her."

We see from this scripture that the gospel included not only the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, but also the things that He taught, the things that He did, and things that were done to Him. It is all the gospel message.

Matthew 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

Matthew 28:18-20 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

Mark 16:15-16 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

My brothers who say that the gospel did not begin to be preached until Pentecost are sadly mistaken. Their contention is that it was not preached until the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, and the gospel consists only of what the Holy Spirit inspired the apostles to say after that event. This is a blatant refusal to accept what the Bible teaches, and what the Lord Jesus Himself said, as is evidenced in the above scriptures. The gospel was actually preached from the time the promise was made to Abraham.

Galatians 3:8-9 "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham."

1 Peter 1:10-12 "Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into."

Acts 28:23.34 "And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening."

My brothers might say, "But that is a gospel cloaked in mystery, the gospel concealed." Maybe so, but the gospel that Jesus shared with His disciples was the gospel revealed!

Luke 10:23-24 "And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."

Luke 12:2-3 "For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops."

Since the kings and prophets saw and  heard the Law of Moses, then what Jesus was teaching the disciples was not the Law of Moses, but the gospel of the kingdom! This is exactly what Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are about—those things that Jesus taught them while with them, that they later shouted from the rooftops!

Jesus commanded the apostles to teach all nations to observe all the things that He had commanded them. These were the things they had seen and heard throughout His ministry. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Mark makes it plain as he begins his account of the life and teachings of Christ, that this is the beginning of the gospel of Christ!

Mark 1:1-3 "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."

Romans 1:15-16 "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

Romans 16:25-27 "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen."

Here we come full circle. From the mind of God, before the world began, through the promise to Abraham, the Law of Moses, the words of the prophets, now manifest -- plainly and clearly seen -- through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ! One plan, perfected and brought to fruition and culmination in Jesus, the Son of God.

Mark 2:1-2 "And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them."

Mark 4:33-34 "And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples."

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The Gospel Is The Word Of God

What was the gospel that was preached? It was the word! What is the word? It is the word of God.

Luke 3:2-4 "Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."

2 Corinthians 2:17 "For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ."

1 Thessalonians 2:12-13 "That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

How did we humans receive the word of God? Through Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God in the flesh!

Revelation 1:1-2 "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw."

Revelation 19:11-16 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

John 1:1-18 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."

1 John 1:1-7 "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

John declared that Jesus Christ was the living word of God, the word in the flesh. John did not say that Jesus was the Law of Moses made flesh. John pulls no punches when he speaks of seeing, hearing, and handling the word of God in the flesh! He proceeds to say that this that they had seen, and heard--the living Word, Jesus—is what the apostles had declared, or preached! In fact, John distinguishes between Jesus as the Word of God versus the Law of Moses.

John 1:17 "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

Some of my brothers teach that Jesus taught the perfect Law of Moses, but John differentiates between the Law of Moses and the grace and truth that came by Jesus.

Let us look at the testimony of Jesus Himself:

John 5:43-47 "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?"

John 15:15.29 "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."

John 8:28-29 "Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him."

John 8:38-40 "I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham."

John 10:36-38 "Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him."

John 14:6-7 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him."

John 14:23.18 "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."

Matthew 26:6-13 "Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her."

How ironic that Jesus proclaimed that this story would be told everywhere the gospel was to be preached. Yet, my brothers, who would separate Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John from the gospel of Christ, would prevent this proclamation from taking place, because this story is not recounted in Acts through Revelation! Again, they presume to defeat the very teaching of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! This alarms me, as I regard this attitude as "anti-Christ", and an endangerment to the soul’s salvation!

If we relegate Jesus to the status of "just another Jew" living under the Law of Moses, we do Him a great disservice, and find ourselves in the company of the unbelieving Pharisees who rejected Him. He was, and is, the Son of the Living God! From His own testimony, He came to deliver the word of God to the world. He is the way to heaven, He is the truth of God, and He is the eternal life we seek. How can any of my brothers say that we cannot listen to Him because He lived under the Law of Moses? There is no other way but Jesus!

As I previously stated, Jesus was "writing His will" while He lived and taught. Once He died upon the cross, the last will and testament was binding. The apostles preached what Jesus had taught them. Before Pentecost, Jesus was given all power in heaven and earth:

John 20:21.12 "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:"

The mission of Jesus was passed on to the apostles. They were to teach all nations all the things that He had taught them. These were the things that He taught while he was among them, and these were the things about which John and the others witnessed and testified.

Matthew 28:18-20 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."

John 14:15-26 "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

This clinches the entire discussion. Jesus brought down the word of God, lived it, and taught it. He told the apostles before His demise that the Holy Spirit would come to remind them of the things that He had already taught them! Therefore, the apostles were to go into all the world, and assisted by the Holy Spirit, to teach all the things that Christ had already taught them while He was alive among them upon the earth! So we see that the apostles taught the same message that Jesus did, not a different one!

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The Four Gospels

Where does this place the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? Some of my brothers say, "In the ‘Old Testament’, for Jesus was born a Jew, lived a Jew, and died a Jew! Since they describe the life of Christ, they are Jewish books pertaining to the Law of Moses." These brothers say that the "New Testament" did not take effect until the day of Pentecost, when the apostles were endued with the Spirit from on high. They say that the apostles were then inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the "New Testament". They thus intend to set aside Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as irrelevant to the Christian life. They say we are to live only by those things written from the Acts of the Apostles through the Revelation to John.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written after the death of Jesus, about the life of Jesus. As I stated before, the gospel was not just about His death, burial and resurrection--but about His life, His teachings, His miracles, His activities, and His death, burial, and resurrection.

Yes, we can say that Jesus was "born a Jew", for that was indeed the fulfilling of the promise to Abraham—that through his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed. They say that He lived under the law of Moses, keeping all those commandments.

Galatians 3:26-4:7 "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 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. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."

Paul writes that Jesus was born under the Law in order to redeem the Jews from the Law, making them adopted children of God. Jesus was not sent to show the Jews how to better keep the Law of Moses, as some of my brothers contend. He came to show them a better way.

Hebrews 8:6-7 "But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second." He did not come to shore up the old law, but to replace it with the better way. Until the replacement testament was written, the previous one was binding. He came to knock down the wall of partition between Jew and Gentile, combining them into one body, one flock of sheep!

Hebrews 13:20-21 "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Some say He was only the shepherd to the Jews, and they quote:

Matthew 15:24 "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

They misunderstand this scripture. Jesus came to reunite the ten tribes of Israel that had been separated from Benjamin and Judah, and it was this mission that He was addressing.

Consider the following:

John 10:14-16 "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

1 Peter 2:25 "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."

There is no need to separate the "four gospels"—Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John-- from the New Testament writings. In fact, they are the actual gospel that the apostles and disciples carried into all the world! They deal with the life, teachings, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. 

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Endnotes

The main three doctrines that are being protected by the suggested removal of the "four gospels" from the New Testament are: (1) the doctrine of one marriage until death (sometimes dubbed "death only"), (2) the doctrine of salvation by baptism only ("the thief on the cross") and (3) the doctrine of when the church was established ("the day of Pentecost" doctrine). Since the four gospels make it messy to prove their doctrines, they remove them from consideration, saying that they are teachings from the Law of Moses, therefore they do not apply to Christians. The problem is that these brothers miss the overall picture of God’s plan for the universe—they can’t see the forest for the trees, as it were.

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Marriage

I treat the subject of marriage, divorce, and remarriage in a specific, in-depth article. Read it here.

Matthew 19:9 "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."

Jesus, the Son of God, who had helped with the construction of our world, was there when Adam and Eve were made. He knew what God intended marriage to be.

Matthew 19:3-12 "The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."

What Jesus emphasized here was not divorce, but rather marriage. Those who love and fear God should not be seeking to sunder the arrangement formulated by God Himself. The Jews had developed a hard-hearted tradition of putting away their wives for any cause, and used the Law of Moses to justify the practice. Jesus was pointing out that they were abusing the marriage relationship by seeking and giving writings of divorcement for just any reason. This is not acceptable to God, who from the very beginning -- Adam and Eve -- intended that husband and wife stay together in marriage.

At this point, my brothers have a problem. They don’t like the fact that Jesus said that a writing of divorcement could be given in cases of fornication. Most of those who champion the doctrine of putting Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John into the "Old Testament" seek to do so in order to nullify this doctrine. So they take an "anti-Christ" position, saying we cannot heed the words of Jesus, only the words of the apostles! What a slap in the face of the Son of God Almighty!

They run instead to Romans 7, and lift out of context a discussion of whether the Christian is to observe the Law of Moses, as part of the Christian life, applying it as their sole basis for the role of marriage.

Romans 7:1-4: "Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."

They lift out the portion in bold above: "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man."

They say that this is the "New Testament" doctrine on marriage. In doing so, they make very obvious mistakes. If they were honest, they would acknowledge this.

Mistake #1: While they say we cannot take the words of Jesus in Matthew because it is part of the "Old Testament", and applied only to the Jews living under the Law of Moses, (even though Jesus Himself testified that His doctrine predated the Law, all the way back to the creation), they blatantly ignore Romans 7:1, which addresses "them that know the law"!  In other words, Paul called upon their familiarity with the Law of Moses to make the point that they were now free from that Law. Therefore, this particular doctrine that my brothers say is the true "New Testament" teaching is actually, instead, from the Law of Moses!

Mistake #2: This is not an attempt to clarify God’s expectations regarding marriage, or divorce, as were the words of Jesus in Matthew. In keeping with the rest of the book of Romans, and the balance of this chapter, it is Paul’s way of using his reader’s knowledge of the Law of Moses to show why, as married to Christ, we are no longer bound to live according to the dead law of Moses!

Mistake #3: No one with whom I have ever studied, or discussed, this subject has ever paid close attention to what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7! I have had several preachers, when I mentioned Paul's discussion of marriage in 1 Corinthians 7, actually say that they did not realize that Paul addressed the subject there! Once I do persuade them to read it, they come back later and say that it changes nothing! Therefore, a doctrine which they have formulated without consideration of 1 Corinthians 7 is maintained, while the Corinthian letter is ignored!

Key eye-opening verses from that chapter shed much light upon the subject, although the whole chapter needs to be read and considered. Note the following verses:

1 Corinthians 7:10-13: "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him."

Paul states that Jesus addressed this situation of two believers, married to one another—they are not to get a divorce. If they separate, they are to remain unmarried, or be reconciled. Where is this commandment written? Try Matthew 19:9 "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."

We see by this that what Jesus had commanded was not the Law of Moses, but the law of God intended for the Christian (believer). That law of God that predates the Law of Moses states that a man is to cleave to his wife! Jesus said it, and Paul testifies that Jesus said it. Yet, in that same discourse, Jesus stated that this law of God applies, "except it be for fornication"!

Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, addresses the situation not covered by the commandment of Jesus, that is, regarding the believer married to an unbeliever. "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him."

1 Corinthians 7:15 "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace."

1 Corinthians 7:27-28 "Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you."

1 Corinthians 7:39-40 "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God."

What Matthew 19, Romans 7 and I Corinthians have in common is that they all recognize that the sincere believer in God should do everything within his or her power to make the marriage work. Where they differ is that, in Matthew 19, Jesus says that fornication is an exception, Romans 7 is dealing with subjection to Christ versus subjection to the dead Law of Moses, and 1 Corinthians 7 deals additionally with believers married to non-believers. Even in this third case, the believer—or Christian—is to stay with the unbeliever if that is what the unbeliever wants. If the unbeliever chooses to depart, the Christian is not bound (not under bondage; unbound; loosed). The loosed (unbound) Christian may remarry. The same doctrine carries through all the way—the sincere, dedicated believer in God is to make every attempt to hold the marriage together. If the other partner, through their unbelief and disobedience, chooses to destroy the marriage, the innocent victim is not penalized.

The innocent believer whose spouse commits fornication is excepted, as is the innocent believer whose unbelieving spouse departs, leaving him or her unbound, or loosed. What my brothers often overlook is that God sanctioned the marriage relationship, and God determines the rules and boundaries that govern it, not man. God made a man and a woman to desire one another, with that desire to be consummated in marriage.

Matthew 19:5 "And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?"

Hebrews 13:4 "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge."

Jesus, and the Apostle Paul, both verify several important facts:

  1. God instilled in men and women the desire to be one in the flesh.
  2. Some have control over this desire, and find it more suitable to remain single and celibate, dedicating their lives to the service of God.
  3. Others have a need to be married, to avoid lust and fornication.

Regarding point three above, both Jesus and Paul recognize that not all men have this self-control. Jesus said it in Matthew 19:11-12, when the disciples had complained that it would be better never to marry, if unable to divorce for any reason. Jesus replied that some could accept this, and some could not. He said some would make themselves eunuchs, others could not. Either state is acceptable to God.

Matthew 19:9-12 "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."

Paul addressed exactly the same subject in his first recorded letter to the church at Corinth.

1 Corinthians 7:1-2 "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband."

1 Corinthians 7:7-9 "For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn."

1 Corinthians 7:35-37 "And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well."

Jesus said that not every man can accept marriage, not every man can make himself a eunuch (celibate), nor can every man accept the commitment required in marriage. Paul went into deeper detail, saying that some will commit fornication if not married. He called the act of celibacy a "gift", stating that not all have the same gift. Being in an unmarried state was never intended to be a snare, a trap, for those who "cannot contain". He further elaborated by noting that it is better to marry than to burn, as in "to burn with passion" or lust, as in "looking upon a woman to lust after her in his heart".

If both Jesus and Paul state that not everyone can refrain from marriage, why do we make up a doctrine that says that someone not gifted with celibacy must remain single if the spouse leaves for fornication with another, or if an unbeliever departs? I find the opposite taught by the Lord, and by the famed and inspired apostle Paul. My brothers, who wish to devise counter-doctrines to what the Lord taught, say we must set aside Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as "Old Testament" books in order to support their doctrines that are against ("anti") what Christ and Paul both tau

My brothers and sisters in the Lord are always looking for where I "personally stand" on select subjects that they consider more important than all others. This, although Jesus said that we are to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. As of the 2009 update of this text, I have been married to my first and only wife for 37 years. When I married, I said that I was committed "Till death do us part", and meant it. There is no doubt that God desires us all to stay married to our spouse until one of us dies. But when our Lord, and His inspired apostle Paul tell us that God does not punish the innocent spouse, I do not intend to create my own doctrine that says that they are wrong, and I am right!

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The Thief On The Cross

Luke 23:39-43 "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

This is a "non-issue" if the brotherhood would just see it for what it is. It, again, necessitates understanding the eternal plan of God and the role of His son, Jesus, in that plan.

Since Jesus plainly said that baptism is a necessary part of moving toward the salvation of the soul, why would He then save the thief on the cross, who may not have been baptized? The scripture does not say that he had, or had not been, baptized. He knew the doctrine of the kingdom, and that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah--it is possible that he had been baptized. Assuming that he may not have been baptized, how could he be saved?

Matthew 9:2-6 "And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house."

It is as though we forget who Jesus was! And no wonder, if we are to consider Him as "just living under the Law of Moses", rather than the Son of the Almighty God of heaven and earth. Jesus could forgive sins, if He so chose! Therefore, this is not an issue at all! It has no bearing on what we are told to do!

Romans 14:4 "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand."

I prefer to let God judge the thief on the cross. I am not his maker, nor his master.

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The Church

In the efforts of the brotherhood to establish a definite time period for the beginning of the church, they quote the following:

Matthew 16:13-20 "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ."

My brothers refer to the future-tense statement of Jesus "I will build my church" as evidence that it did not start until the day Peter preached at the feast of Pentecost. This ignores many other scriptures and undermines the eternal plan of God. This is one of the reasons they feel it necessary to disassociate the "four gospels" from the New Testament. They say that the kingdom and the church are equivalent words, to be used interchangeably. Then the following verses get difficult to deal with:

Luke 16:16-17 "The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail"

Luke 17:20-21 "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

What these brothers fail to realize and acknowledge is that though the "church" was not yet finished being "built", it was already begun. The chief cornerstone had been laid, and the foundation was in place:

1 Corinthians 3:9-11 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

Ephesians 2:19-22 "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

Acts 4:10-12 "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

1 Peter 2:6-8 "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed."

Revelation 21:10-14 "And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."

Christ was the chief cornerstone and the apostles were the foundation under this building, this temple, this household of God. The cornerstone and foundation were laid before Pentecost. On Pentecost, the building grew with the addition of thousands of believers.

Acts 2:36-41 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."

Acts 2:47 "Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

1 Peter 2:4-5 "To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."

And so, the building begun by the laying of the cornerstone, Jesus, and the foundation, the apostles, was built up by the addition of believers in Christ. Actually, the construction continues to take place with each new Christian added, since the apostle Peter declares that we are all living stones!

There is no conflict here, just the need to understand the eternal plan of God! Neither is there any need to push the writings by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John into the "Old Testament". 

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I trust that this scriptural study has been of benefit to you. There are more online articles available on other interesting and important Bible topics on Christian Universe.

Copyright 1999 By Bernie Parsons

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