The Apple Of God's Eye

April 14, 2011

God’s Holy Days In The New Testament

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What do you mean, “New Testament Holy Days”? Weren’t the “Holy Days” Old Testament, Jewish observances, done away with at the cross?

It is logical to begin at the beginning, so we must check to see what days Christ observed. There was no record that He ever observed any of the well-known holidays observed by this pagan world.

What did He observe, then? When Jesus was 12 years old His parents took Him to Jerusalem to observe the Passover:

“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast” (Luke 2:41-42).

Notice here that His parents traveled to this Feast annually; therefore, Jesus had been to this Feast several times before. He continued this practice with His parents as He was subject to His parents (verse 51).

And not only did they stay for the Passover day alone, but “fulfilled the days” (verse 43) — the seven Days of Unleavened Bread associated with the Passover (see Leviticus 23:4-6).

Why did His parents do this? Because they were devout Jews who “performed all things according to the law of the Lord [God’s law]” (Luke 2:39). Most Jews of that time were really not devout in their religious worship, but the parents God the Father chose to rear His own Son were.

About 18 years later, when Jesus was about 30 years old, we find that He was still continuing His parents’ practice as prescribed in the law of the Lord.

Notice John 2:13: “And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.” Some people wonder why this is called the “Jews’ passover” when it is one of the feasts of God (Lev. 23:2). Two possible reasons exist: 1) Only Jews observed these days (gentiles did not), and 2) the Jews had made some changes regarding Feast observance since it was given to Israel in the time of Moses. (more…)

March 10, 2009

Is Baptism For The Dead Biblical?

The practice of being baptized for those who have died is based upon a wrong understanding of I Corinthians 15:29.

The inspired New Testament Church did not follow this practice, and the apostle Paul did not teach it. This custom was introduced into the professing Christian world about A.D. 150 by Marcion, a man who created his own religion and established his own church in Rome in A.D. 144. The Bible clearly shows that before a person may be baptized, he must first repent (Acts 2:38) and believe (Mark 16:16; Acts 16:31, 33). The dead are not able to repent or believe, because “the dead know not any thing” (Eccl. 9:5).

Baptism is for the living. Baptism is a symbol whereby the living acknowledge their sins, figuratively die with Christ in a watery grave, and rise out of that watery grave to live a new (righteous) life through Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:4; 8:9; Gal. 2:20). Baptism is also a symbol of the resurrection. To rise up out of the watery grave is to acknowledge belief in the resurrection of the dead (Rom. 6). To surrender one’s life to Christ now, to crucify the self now, to be baptized — all this is foolish unless there is a resurrection of the dead. If there were no hope of the resurrection, life could be summed up this way: “Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.” Please compare I Corinthians 15:32. I Corinthians 15:29 now becomes clear.

The subject of the entire 15th chapter is the RESURRECTION. Paul cites the example of those who were baptized as one proof of the resurrection. Their actions symbolized their hope that they would live again. The resurrection is THE HOPE OF THE DEAD. “Why were they baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not?” seems to be Paul’s question in the King James Version. But, this verse is not correctly translated from the original inspired Greek. Paul is not talking about being baptized “in the place of” the dead, or “on behalf of” the dead, or “for” the dead.

The Greek word translated “for” is HUPER. This word has several meanings and can be translated “above,” “over,” “instead of,” “for the realization of,” or “for the hope of,” depending upon the context in which it is used. Notice the following example. Paul declared, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). The Greek word translated “of” in this verse is HUPER, the same word used in I Corinthians 15:29. In Philippians 2:13, HUPER cannot mean “instead of.” It would be senseless to say, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do INSTEAD OF His good pleasure”! Correctly translated, this verse says, “God worketh in you both to will and to do FOR THE REALIZATION OF His good pleasure.”

This is the translation given in “The Analytical Greek Lexicon”. What is God’s “good pleasure”? “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” declared Jesus (Luke 12:32). God works in us “in the hope of” giving us His Kingdom! Thus, the Greek word HUPER in I Corinthians 15:29, according to the context, should be translated “for the hope of.”

Notice the verse again: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the hope of the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the hope of the dead?. What is the hope of the dead? It is the resurrection! Paul is writing about baptism; baptism illustrates the hope of the resurrection. Baptism — arising out of a watery grave — is a symbol of the hope of the dead, which is the hope of the resurrection. This verse, then, has nothing to do with the false doctrine of baptism on behalf of the unbaptized dead.

February 22, 2009

Is the Eating Of Unclean Meat Condoned In NT Times?

In I Corinthians 10:27 it says, “If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.” For many, this seems to clearly indicate that God now allows the eating of unclean meats. But if you carefully observe the context of the subject under discussion, you will find that this verse is actually addressing whether it is appropriate to eat meat that has been offered to idols.

We have to understand that Paul was speaking to newly converted Corinthians, whose daily ritual comprised sacrificing to various idols. The sacrificed meat from the pagan temples was usually eaten by the person who brought it. But if any was left over, the priests would sell to the local butchers.

Paul was teaching the Corinthians to abstain from these pagan sacrifices to devils (I Cor. 10:20), which was a sin. But, as he told them, there was no special significance to either the idols [made of wood or stone], or the meat that was being offered to them (v. 19). Therefore, the Corinthians did not need to ask if the meat they were buying at the market, or eating at the home of a non-believer, had been offered to idols. In fact, Christians were admonished not to ask, “for conscience’ sake” if the meat they were served had been sacrificed to an idol, as then eating it made them appear to compromise their beliefs.

Paul deemed the history of the meat, tied to pagan idolatry, as irrelevant, not the eating of unclean meats. This distinction must be made clear, as God’s dietary laws of Leviticus 11 are still applicable today.

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