In Mary’s Defense: Proof the Genealogy in Matthew is Her’s

How is it that one genealogy has provoked over 1,900 years of discussion?  And yet Matthew began his gospel with an intended purpose: to not only defend Mary’s character and honor, but to set the record straight regarding the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ conception and birth.  Why was this necessary?  Because there were many rumors and “stories” circulating on what people thought happened.  And even today, when an unmarried woman becomes pregnant, there are rumors and “stories” about what had happened.

A HISTORICAL CONTROVERSY

Now before getting into the evidence, there’s been a long-standing argument between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity.  The Western Branch, comprised of Roman Catholics and Protestant denominations, have traditionally argued that the New Testament was originally written in Greek; however, the Eastern Branch, comprised of the various Orthodox denominations (Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, etc.), have traditionally argued that the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic.  And both sides claim to have the original New Testament – the West with the Greek New Testament and the East with the Aramaic New Testament, called the Peshitta, and both sides having evidence to support their position.  And as I will show, this controversy is an important foundation in exploring the evidence.

THE TESTIMONY OF THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS

However, when we look at the history and writings of the early Church Fathers, we discover that the testimony of FOUR of them is that the gospel of Matthew was, in fact, written in Hebrew and then later translated into Greek.  In Eusebius’ history, he quotes the writings of all four of them –

PAPIAS (60-163 C.E.)
Of Matthew he had stated as follows: “Matthew composed his history in the Hebrew dialect, and everyone translated it as he was able.” (Book 3, Chapter 39:16, page 106)

IRENAEUS (130-202 C.E.)
Matthew, indeed, produced his gospel written among the Hebrews in their own dialect.  (Book 5, Chapter 8:2, page 164)

CLEMENT (150-215 C.E.)
Matthew also having first proclaimed the gospel in Hebrew, when on the point of going also to other nations, committed it to writing in his native tongue and thus supplied the want of his presence to them by his writings
. (Book 3, Chapter 24:6, page 89)

 ORIGEN (184-253 C.E.)
The first [gospel] us written according to Matthew, the same that was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, who having published it for the Jewish converts, wrote it in the Hebrew.  (Book 6, Chapter 25:4, page 215)

Also, Irenaeus (130-202 C.E.) wrote in his writing Against Heresies,

Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia. (Book 3, Chapter 1:1).

But in spite of the clear testimony of these early Church Fathers, going back to Papias, who was a disciple of the Apostle John and lived about the time the synoptic gospels are believed to have been written, the dominant opinion of those in the Western branch of Christianity is that the Gospels, including Matthew, was originally written in Greek.

However, Papias would’ve known about the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, because according to Eusebius, the Apostle John himself had read all three of these gospels and had given “his testimony to their truth,” but there were things which he said they had left out “of the things done by Christ among the first of his deeds and at the commencement of the gospel” (Book 3, Chapter 24:7, page 89), so he sought to “fill in the missing materials,” which is why John’s Gospel is different than the other three.

However, since Papias was alive during John’s time and his disciple, then he would’ve known of Matthew’s work as well, in both of the Hebrew and the Greek.  Consequently, it should be noted that the early date of 58-68 C.E. for Matthew’s Gospel is for the Greek version, which means the Hebrew original, if we accept the testimony of Papias, as well as the other early church fathers, would’ve been written years earlier.

ANOTHER CONTROVERSY – THE DATING OF MATTHEW

Although Christian scholars give the Gospel writings a much earlier date of when they were written, for example, Matthew (58-68 C.E.), Mark (67-68 C.E.), and Luke (58-60 C.E.), many modern scholars date Matthew much later (around 90 C.E.), since they believe the Gospel of Matthew had to have been written after the destruction of Jerusalem since in Matthew’s gospel Jesus prophecies of its destruction.  Obviously, since they do not believe in a God who objectively exists and has revealed Himself to us through His Word, and then in His Son, so then in their mind, since Jerusalem’s destruction was prophesied by Jesus, then they believe it had to have been written after the event had happened.

TWO ISSUES WITH THE GENEALOGY

Now that we’ve discussed some of the historical controversies with the book as a whole, there’s two historical controversies that deal specifically with Matthew’s genealogy.  First of all, it doesn’t match the genealogy with Luke’s (Luke 3: 23-38) and yet, in the Greek versions, both are said to belong to Joseph.  How can Joseph have two very different genealogies?  This discussion has been going on  since at least the early second century, C.E.

Another issue is the contradiction between the number of generations Matthew claims to be in the genealogy and what is given there in the Greek and English versions.  In Matthew 1:17, he writes,

So all the generations from Abraham to David are FOURTEEN generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are FOURTEEN generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are FOURTEEN generations. [Emphasis Mine]

But if we go through and count the generations, the numbers are correct, except for the generations from Babylon until Christ (Matthew 1:12-16):

And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechoniah begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; and Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Now if you count the generations here (not counting Jechoniah since he’s mentioned in the previous verse), then we end up with only 13 generations, not 14, as Matthew stated; however, my argument for why this is Mary’s genealogy, not Joseph’s, will correct both  discrepancies regarding this genealogy.

WHY DID MATTHEW BEGIN HIS GOSPEL WITH A GENEALOGY?

Now that we’ve looked at all the foundational historical controversies, let’s ask the important question: Why did Matthew begin his gospel with a genealogy?  I believe that one of the main reasons for this and with the account of Jesus’ conception and birth was to defend the character of Mary (as I will show), as well as set the account straight as to the events of the immaculate conception and Virgin birth.

MARY’S GALILEAN BACKGROUND

First of all, in looking at the character of Mary, we have to consider her Galilean upbringing in the 1st century, C.E.  The Galilee was a well-known “hotbed” of Zealot activity.  The Zealots were political activists that fought against Roman oppression and desired a “free Israel.”  In fact, there are numerous accounts of local Zealots, many of whom may have been family and friends of Mary and her family dying in battle or being crucified by Romans.  If anything, as I will show, Mary was an Orthodox Jewish woman, but the heart of a Zealot burned within her.  She was “a true daughter of David,” who was much more politically-oriented than Joseph.

THE NAMING OF MARY’S CHILDREN

One reason I believe that Mary was much more politically oriented than Joseph was the names chosen for her children.  Although two of them were named after the patriarchs, Jacob (“James” in the Greek) and Joseph (or “Joses” in the Greek), three of them were named after military war heroes: Joshua, Judah and Simon.

Joshua (or “Jesus” in the Greek), was not only the successor of Moses, but he was the greatest military leader Israel had up through the first century, C.E.   And considering he was conceived during Hanukkah (according to research), the celebration of a war victory against the Seleucid-Greek military, it’s no wonder why people had such military expectations of Him.  I believe He will, indeed, fulfill those military expectations in His Second Coming and during His Millennial reign.

Her other two sons, Judah and Simon, also were well renowned war heroes from the the war against the Seleucid-Greeks.  This war was held up as the ideal among the Zealots, who many of them lived and fought there in the Galilee against their Roman oppressors, just as Judah Maccabees and his brothers did against the Seleucid Greeks of their day.  And since Mary grew up in the Galilee, we can see from the naming of the children that her heart was very much like other Galileans of her time: one that desired freedom from their Roman oppressors.  And therefore, when the angel Gabriel came to her during Hanukkah to tell her about Jesus, I’m sure she probably saw this as an opportunity to contribute largely to the war effort and the freedom of her people.

TESTIMONY OF THE VILLAGERS

And I’m sure that when Mary ended up pregnant, there were many speculations about the identity of the father.   Some might think that they would suspect Joseph of not waiting the one-year betrothal period, but his reputation was such that he was not even suspected.  Instead, it was Mary was carried the weight and suspicion of wrong doing which is why Matthew begins his gospel the way that he does.  But even though there were “rumors” flying around about Mary, Jesus is still called “the carpenter’s son.” For example, in Matthew 13, when Jesus goes back to Nazareth and teaches in their synagogue, it’s significant what the village people ask:

Is not this the carpenter’s son?  Is not his mother called Mary?  and his brothers, James and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?  And his sisters, are they not all with us?  Where then has this man all these things? (Matthew 13:55)

There’s no indication here that they suspected any one specific of being Jesus’ biological father, but there’s a hint that they did suspect it to be someone else other than Joseph.  For example, in the Gospel of John, there’s a hinting of an off-cuff remark made to Jesus, which seems out of place:

Jesus says: “You do the deeds of your father.”
Then they say to Him: “We are NOT BORN OF FORNICATION; we have one Father, even God.”  (John 8:41; Emphasis Mine)

This comment seems like a back-handed insult to Jesus, alluding to the stories of His conception.

THE REPUTATION OF JAMES, BROTHER OF JESUS

Although there were stories circulated about Mary in quiet whispers, they apparently did not interfere with the reputation of the family overall.  For example, according to historical accounts, James was so ultra-Orthodox in his beliefs, practices and lifestyle, that he was called “the Just” or “the Righteous One,” by both followers of Jesus and non-followers alike, and as a result of his “extremely righteous lifestyle,” he was allowed to do what no other non-Levitical Jew was allowed:

He alone was allowed to enter the sanctuary [the Temple]…He was in the habit of entering the temple alone and was often found upon his bended knees, and interceding for the forgiveness of the people; so that his knees became as hard as camel’s, in consequence of his habitual supplication and kneeling before God.  (Eusebius, Book 2, Chapter 23:6, pp. 59-60)

If it was believed that Mary was a known adulteress, as well as a liar, I’m sure this would’ve never been allowed, even with his righteous lifestyle.  But it may have been the result of Joseph and his family living such an ultra-Orthodox Jewish lifestyle, even by the standards of their own day, which we know because Joseph and James are both called “Just” or “Righteous,” that perhaps, their status within the village was respected and this was not discussed, but it didn’t mean that there wasn’t “talk” about how Mary came up suddenly “pregnant” during their one-year betrothal.

However, based on my research, I believe, as I stated earlier, that one major reason for the inclusion of Matthew’s genealogy and the story of Jesus’ conception and birth right at the beginning of his gospel was to address these rumors and stories.  Consequently, once we examine all of the evidence available, it will demonstrate that Matthew was attempting to off-set the rumors in defense of Mary, as well as connect Jesus to the Davidic throne, but at the same time, this evidence also contradicts the traditional view that the Matthew’s genealogy was Joseph’s and the one in Luke 3 was Mary’s.  The evidence for this, I believe,  is the following.

  1.  THE GREEK MATTHEW IS A TRANSLATION OF AN EARLIER HEBREW VERSION

    The overall evidence strongly supports the view that the Greek Gospel of Matthew is, in fact, a translation from an earlier Hebrew and Aramaic source.   It should be remembered that during their seventy years in Babylon, a lot of Aramaic words were adopted into the Hebrew language.  So actually all of the controversies and problems with the genealogies and the numerical contradiction can all be resolved if ONLY ONE WORD that was mistranslated from the Hebrew-Aramaic into the Greek is corrected.  This one word is found in Matthew 1:16,

    And Jacob begat Joseph the HUSBAND of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ.

And within this verse, the problem is the word “HUSBAND.”  You see, in Greek, there’s a clear distinction between the words “father” and “husband,” but this distinction is not clear in Aramaic.

2.  THE ARAMAIC WORD GOWRA

In the Aramaic New Testament, called the Peshitta (pron. “peh-shee-tuh“), the word translated as “husband” is the word gowra (pron. “gow-rah“).  According to several researchers, such as Paul Younan and Andrew Gabriel Roth, both part of the Peshitta translation team, among others online, the word “gowra” can be translated as “man” in the generic sense, or as “husband” or “father” depending upon the context.  For example, in Paul Younan’s article “Use of Orbg in Classical and Contemporary Aramaic Thought,” he writes that in the Aramaic New Testament,

Matthew 1:16 reads, “Jacob fathered Joseph, the hrbg of Maryam.”  The word used here, in verse 16, is Orbg with a 3rd person feminine pronominal possessive suffix or h (i.e., “her gowra“).  [Although] the word has traditionally been translated as “husband,” however, the main Semitic word for “Husband” is f9b (“Ba’la,” or, h19b for “her husband.”)

Examples of the word ba’la can be found in a number of New Testament references, for example: Matthew 1:19; Mark 10:12; Luke 2:36; John 4:16-18; Romans 7:2-3; I Corinthians 7:4, 10. 13, 16, 39; Ephesians 5:33; I Timothy 3:2; and Titus 1:6.

But after establishing this dominant pattern within the New Testament, Younan then asks an extremely interesting question: “Why would Matthew use two different terms, in such a short span of writing (3 verses – 1:16 to 1:19), to refer to Maryam’s ‘husband,’ Yoseph?”  And his answer, based on his research and study of the Aramaic, seems equally valid:

The fact is, he had to distinguish between two different people named Joseph – Matthew is not referring to Mary’s husband in verse 16 at all, but rather to her father!

3.  THERE WERE TWO JOSEPHS?

So there were two Josephs?  Actually, in the first century, C.E.,  there were many Josephs since the name “Joseph” was one of the most popular male names of the time, and therefore, the likelihood that Mary’s father and husband shared the same first name is quite feasible.  Younan, in fact, goes on to say that

Depending on context, it has been shown that Orgb [“gawra”] can mean “man, husband or father.”  The usage in verse 16 would demand that we translate Orgb as “father,” rather than “husband,” since the context is a genealogy.  Verses 18 & 19, however, would demand that we associate that Joseph with her “husband,” since the context is that of a marriage.

Those who are continuing to hold to their view that Matthew was originally written in Greek are dismissing this research as “inconclusive.”  They claim that if Mary was the intended focus of his genealogy, he would have done something unique to indicate that, and they claim that he didn’t.  However, I believe they are in error.  Matthew did do something unique, he added the names of four other women.

4.  THE INCLUSION OF THE FOUR WOMEN.

Although the names of women in a genealogy was not at all customary, if we compare Matthew’s and Luke’s genealogies, we notice something unusual in Matthew’s that we do not see at all in Luke’s, the names of FOUR WOMEN, all with a questionable past.

THAMAR (Matthew 1:3).  In Genesis 38, Tamar, a Canaanite woman (a Gentile; non-Jew) Judah’s daughter-in-law dressed up as a Canaanite prostitute to attract Judah, her father-in-law, to have sex with her since he would not give her his third son, Shelah, to be her husband, as was custom, since her husband, Er, and his brother, Onan, had both died.

RACHAB (Matthew 1:5).  In Joshua 2, Rahab, a Canaanite woman (Gentile; non-Jewish) Jericho inn keeper and prostitute, hid and protected the two Israeli spies from capture by the authorities there, and as a result, she and her whole household were saved and became a part of the people of Israel. (Joshua 2:1-24)

RUTH (the book of Ruth).  Ruth was a Moabitess, a Gentile.  The people of Moab practiced child sacrifice as part of their worship to their god, Molech.  And yet somehow she had married one of Naomi’s sons, who then later died, leaving her a widow.  Ruth returns to the land of Israel with Naomi and cares for her.  Ultimately, she marries Boaz, the son of Salmon and Rahab, herself a Gentile convert.

BATHSHEBA, “The Wife of Uriah” (Matthew 1:6).  Although her name is not mentioned, Matthew does allude to her as “the wife of Uriah.”  David had committed adultery with her, and then when she ended up pregnant, he tried to get Uriah to sleep with Bathsheba to cover up what he had done.  When that didn’t work, he sent Uriah to the front of the battle to have him killed, and then he marries her.  Although their child dies as part of God’s judgment, she does become the mother of Solomon, who would succeed David on the throne.

When we consider who these women are and their “questionable past,” it is clear that Matthew has incorporated them into the genealogy as part of his argument that just because a woman has “a questionable past” does not mean that God cannot use her, nor does it mean that she should be excluded from God’s plan, since all four women make up Jesus’ genealogy.  Now this argument makes complete sense if the genealogy belongs to Mary, since she is the one who is facing the raised suspicions, but if this genealogy belongs to Joseph, then the inclusion of these four women make absolutely no sense at all, since he is NOT the one under suspicion of acting inappropriately.

5.  THE PROMISE GIVEN TO HER BY GABRIEL

Another reason I believe that this is Mary’s genealogy and not Joseph’s is the message given to Mary from the angel Gabriel in Luke’s Gospel,

Fear not, Mary: for you have found favor with God.  And, behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call His name Jesus.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the LORD God shall give unto Him THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID: AND HE SHALL REIGN OVER THE HOUSE OF JACOB FOREVER; AND OF HIS KINGDOM THERE SHALL BE NO END. (Luke 1:30-33)

Now when Mary questions how could this happen since she was not married or been intimate with a man, Gabriel explains:

The Holy Ghost [Spirit] shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that HOLY thing which be born of you shall be called THE SON OF GOD. (Luke 1:35; Emphasis Mine)

This explanation was not penned by Mary, but by a trained Greek medical physician.  If anyone would have been suspicious to an immaculate conception, he would’ve been.  But he was clear in the beginning that he had set these things down, so “you would know the certainty of those things, where you have been instructed” (Luke 1:4).  Obviously, he had done “his homework” to check the validity of these things before setting them down in writing.

JOSEPH – NOT OF THE ROYAL LINE?

Now compare what the angel told Mary with what the same angel told Joseph:

You Son of David, fear not to take unto you Mary your wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost [Spirit].  And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:20-21)

There’s not one mention here of David’s throne, or the fact of Jesus ruling and reigning over the house of Jacob.  If the Matthew genealogy actually belonged to Joseph, as Christians have been traditionally taught, then wouldn’t it make sense for the angel to speak to Joseph about the throne, instead of Mary? But this isn’t what happened.  The angel Gabriel speaks to Joseph about the spiritual – “He shall save His people from their sins -” but to Mary, he speaks to her about the Davidic throne.

The very fact that Mary, who is the ONLY biological parent of Jesus, is spoken to about the Davidic throne and the Kingdom clearly demonstrate that it is she, and NOT JOSEPH, who is the actual true descendant of David and Solomon, NOT Joseph.  Reaffirming again, that the Matthew genealogy belongs to her and not Joseph, and that his genealogy is the one given in Luke 3.

6.  THE CROWNING OF KING SOLOMON

Although both genealogies trace the ancestry back to King David, only Matthew’s goes through the line of Solomon.  And according to the Scriptures, the royal lineage would be through David, and Solomon and his son, Rehoboam (Matthew 1:6-7), but not through David’s other son, Nathan, seen in Luke’s genealogy.  interestingly, when Solomon is born, the Scriptures tell us “and the LORD loved him” (2 Samuel 12:25), a statement that’s not made about any of David’s other sons, giving us an early indication of who would be chosen to succeed David as King.

And although in I Kings, Bathsheba reminds David that he had sworn by the LORD God that Solomon would succeed him (I Kings 1:17), a promise David reconfirms (I Kings 1:28-30), and then makes it happen (I Kings 1:32-53), in I Chronicles 28, we learn that it was God, in fact, who had chosen Solomon to succeed the throne (I Chronicles 28:5).  Therefore, the royal lineage has to go through Solomon, and not through any other of David’s sons.  And since Mary’s name actually appears in the Matthew lineage, and Mary is only human parent that Jesus has, it only makes sense that the genealogy in Matthew must belong to her.

7.  PAUL’S INTRODUCTION IN ROMANS

Another reason that the Matthew genealogy must belong to Mary since it traces her ancestry back to David and Solomon is the statement that Paul makes in his introduction to the church in Rome.

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (which he had promised afore by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures,) concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which WAS MADE OF THE SEED OF DAVID ACCORDING TO THE FLESH;….” (Romans 1:1-3)

This is Paul telling us that Jesus was, in fact, physically descended from David, Solomon, and Rehoboam.  Paul did not say that Jesus was descended from David through marriage or even adoption, but through “the flesh.”  He was a physical descendant and, therefore, He has every legal right to the throne.

7.  THE TEACHING OF GOD’S LAW.

Now Jews have traditionally argued that Jewish nationality and tribal identity come through the father, not the mother.  So since God was His father, and not Joseph, they have argued that Jesus does not have the right to be called “a Jew,” “a son of David,” much less “the lion of the tribe of Judah.”  However, it was Mary, not Joseph, who was Jesus’ ONLY physical human parent.  Therefore, the answer lies, not in adoption, but in God’s law given to Moses.

In the Inheritance Laws in Numbers 27, a case is brought before Moses.  The five daughters of Zelophehad, a descendant of Joseph’s, was dead, and their father had no sons, to continue the family line.  Therefore, their inheritance would’ve been lost; however, God tells Moses that their request that they be allowed to inherit along with the other males in the tribe was a legitimate request and was to be honored.

The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: you shall surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father’s brethren; and you shall cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them. (Numbers 27:7)

This, therefore, provides a legal precedence for Jesus, who does not have a human male parent to be able to inherit His nationality and His tribal identity. In addition, since it is His mother, Mary, who is the true descendant of David, Solomon and Rehoboam, then according to the precedence in God’s law as well, Jesus is the rightful, legal heir of the throne of David and the promised Kingdom, as Paul stated “through the flesh.”

CONCLUSION

There’s more to the genealogy at the beginning of Matthew than to give a list of the names of the family tree.  Matthew wrote it as part of his defense of Mary’s character and also to argue that in spite of a “woman’s questionable past,” God can still use her for His glory and she can even make up the royal family tree of David, Solomon, and ultimately, Messiah Himself.  And finally, Matthew wrote it to substantiate and prove Jesus’ physical legal right by birth to the Davidic throne and to the promised Kingdom of God.

 

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Four Common Deadly Deceptions Being Preached in Today’s Churches (Pt. 2)

In this part of this study, I’ll continue to look at the four common deceptions being preached in the church today.   In the first part, we looked at the deception that “all it takes to get saved is to pray the “sinner’s prayer,” and that “Jesus’ life and teachings are not required for Christians.”  But in this part, we will examine these last two deceptions:

(3) To be saved, we can accept Jesus as our Savior without accepting Him as “Lord”; and
(4) Salvation is an event, NOT a life-long process.

(3) THAT TO BE SAVED, WE JUST HAVE TO ACCEPT JESUS AS SAVIOR
WITHOUT MAKING HIM OUR LORD.

This third error taught by these NTO preachers and teachers is that to be saved, we can accept Jesus as our Savior, but we do not have to make Him our Lord since accepting Jesus as Lord is an additional step beyond salvation.  Why?  Because Jesus has standards that people have to meet to be a disciple of His, and from their perspective, to teach that one must meet these standards to be saved would be adding to “grace” and, therefore, to them, it’s unacceptable.

Many of these NTO pastors and teachers do not really biblically understand “grace,” because they’ve been taught to view it through the perspective of a religion, instead of a Kingdom.  You see, in a Kingdom, the King owns everything: the land, the grass, tress, plants, water, buildings, resources, and even the people.  And not just their bodies, but their dreams, plans, desires, jobs, and all that they produce. So obviously, there’s NOTHING that one can do to “EARN” anything to give to the King, because he already owns it all.  Therefore, if the King decides to do anything for you or me, then it is “unearned” or “unmerited favor,” that is, “grace.”

You see, in the Roman empire, one could pay for one’s citizenship; however, God is the ultimate King of all Kings, and He owns it all, so there’s nothing we can offer Him that He doesn’t already own.  And we can’t buy our citizenship, like in the Roman empire, so that His gift of “salvation” – making us citizens of His Kingdom – comes to us by “grace” [His unmerited favor towards us] through faith [our continuing trust in what Jesus did for us, as well as our continuing trust in God and Jesus as the dynasty of our Kingdom to lead us, care for us, and provide for us.]  Not at all a hard concept when you understand it within the context of Kingdom.

But once we understand “grace” from a Kingdom perspective, we can also understand “works” to be about gaining our citizenship [salvation], not about how we live as citizens.  For example, a person from France can come to the United States and obey all of our laws, but this does not make him a “citizen” of the U.S.  Instead, to become a citizen, he must go through the “naturalization process.”  The same is true of God’s Kingdom.  Obeying all of His laws will not make us citizens of His Kingdom; instead, we must go through His “naturalization process” of believing that Jesus is Lord and that He died for our sins on the cross, that He rose again, and then being baptized in water as part of our repentance for sin.  But once we are saved, God, like the U.S., expects His citizens to keep His laws.

In fact, did you know that nowhere in the Bible does God ever give the right to people to decide what’s required for people to go to heaven?  Nowhere at all.  The very fact that any religious leader thinks that he or she has the right to tell people what they need to be saved at all, based on what they think is right, only proves that they are viewing God and His Word in the context of religion and not in the context of Kingdom.  It is the KING (God) who sets down the requirements one must fulfill to gain entry into His own Kingdom – not anyone else, regardless of who they are.

And God has said in His word that part of the naturalization process to gain citizenship in His Kingdom is that you must “confess” (make a public stand swearing your allegiance and loyalty) that “Jesus is Lord.”  The word “Lord” means “master” or “owner,” and its another term for King.  Jesus is our King, and as our King, He is our Master and Owner.  We BELONG to Him because HE PURCHASED US (OR BOUGHT US) WITH HIS BLOOD, so as His people, He expects our continual love, allegiance and loyalty throughout our lives.

And since He is the KING and LORD, then His opinion, which He has given in His Word, is the ONLY opinion that matters.  He either owns you or He doesn’t.  Jesus doesn’t play this game where you belong to Him when it is convenient for you, but when it isn’t convenient because you want to do something you know He doesn’t approve of, then you are your own boss: “It’s my life, I’ll do what I want to do with it.”  Tell me, where’s Jesus’ ownership of your life in this statement?

(4)  SALVATION IS A LIFE-LONG PROCESS, NOT AN EVENT

The Bible is clear that you cannot be saved simply by saying the “sinner’s prayer.”  Why? Because salvation is a covenantal relationship between a person and God; therefore, as a covenant, it is not a one-time experience, but a life-long journey that BEGINS the moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and then continues on UNTIL we come into the presence of the Lord, either at death or His return.

Salvation happens in three interactive stages:
(1) REGENERATION (or “the New Birth”; “Born Again”; or Justification):  That initial stage when we are forgiven, given a new heart and a new spirit, and we are saved from the penalty of sin;
(2) SANCTIFICATION: The longest stage when we are “being saved” from the control and power of sin in our day-to-day life; and
(3) GLORIFICATION:  The final stage when we come into the Presence of God and Jesus Christ and receive our new bodies, either at death or at His return.

Notice that salvation in this journey incorporates all three of these stages.  It does not all happen in the first initial stage.  This is where it begins!  Just think about the Exodus.  If God told Israel, “I am giving you the Promised Land,” but they chose to remain in their homes where they celebrated Passover, never leaving Egypt, would they’ve ever entered the land and been able to enjoy what God had for them there?  No, because in order to actually acquire the land, they had to leave Egypt (our old lives of sin) and make their journey to the Promised Land.  We must do so, likewise, but our Promised Land is God’s Kingdom.

And what is the ASSURANCE or EVIDENCE that we are on this journey with Christ?  It is a “transformed life” and a lifestyle that is continually improving in living in obedience to God and to His commandments, not just going up front and saying “the sinner’s prayer.”  Nor is it just two commandments that we are to follow, but all of them that apply from Genesis to Revelation.

The two great commandments that Jesus quoted was a SUMMARY of the Ten Commandments, which in themselves, are a SUMMARY of the commandments found from Genesis to Deuteronomy.  A SUMMARY does not take the place of what it is summarizing; instead, it just gives a glimpse of how we are to view the material.  The two commandments given by Jesus reveals that Jesus viewed the commandments as expressions of love – NOT “legalism” or “bondage” or “the ministry of death” that you hear from pastors or ministers today.  The law that Paul called “the ministry of death” was NOT God’s law but “the law of sin” seen and manifested through the Oral tradition, a tradition that Jews to this day trace back to Mt. Sinai.  The first use of God’s law is not traced back to Sinai – but to Abraham (see Genesis 26:5).

Therefore, if we claim that we were “saved,” but we are not any different today than we were before we started 6 months ago, a year ago, two years ago, or even three years ago, then we need to question whether or not we were actually saved.  For example, in 2 Corinthians 13, Paul writes,  “Test yourselves to see IF YOU ARE IN THE FAITH; examine yourselves!” (13:5)  Now why do we have to TEST or EXAMINE ourselves on whether or not we are actually IN THE FAITH if all it takes to be saved is a simple prayer?

In John 8, Jesus is speaking to Jews who have put their faith and trust in Him (John 8:31).  By the standards of NTO preachers and teachers,  these Jews should be considered “saved,” and Jesus should be congratulating them for doing all that they needed to do to be saved and go to heaven.  But is this what Jesus did?  No, it isn’t.  Instead, Jesus tells them,

IF YOU CONTINUE IN MY WORD [TEACHINGS], THEN ARE YOU TRULY MY DISCIPLES INDEED,  and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you FREE” (John 8:31-32; Emphasis Mine).

Notice, these are “Jews which believed on Him,” yet Jesus is clearly telling them that believing on Him ONCE doesn’t make them His disciples, but only if they CONTINUE in His teachings, and only by CONTINUING in His teachings will they come to know the truth that will make FREE.  In fact, by the time Jesus continues speaking with them, these “new Jewish believers” are ready to stone Him!  And if this had been Gentile [non-Jewish] believers, they would have done the same!  They would have acted no differently.

So the question you need to ask yourself is NOT whether you went up to the altar and said the “sinner’s prayer,” that’s step #1, but “ARE YOU CONTINUING IN HIS TEACHINGS?”  Where are you today in comparison to where you began?  But throughout this article, what I’ve been trying to show you is the problem these NTO preachers and teachers have created through their doctrine:

  • If Jesus’ life and teachings are NOT for Christians today, as many NTO preachers and teachers are saying, then how can we “CONTINUE” in them?
  • Therefore, the very basis of what makes us Jesus’ “disciples,” according to Jesus, is NOT for Christians.
  • Consequently, based on their NTO logic, a Christian can not become one of Jesus’ disciples since His teachings are not for them.

I hope you can see the fallacies of these men’s teachings since like the Pharisees in Jesus’ time, they have invalidated the word of God for the sake of their tradition.

Also,  in Paul’s second epistle to the church at Corinth, Paul is sarcastic, while yet seeking to correct them, for falling for those who are preaching to them “another Jesus” and “another gospel”:

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled [deceived] Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  For if he that comes preaching ANOTHER JESUS, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive ANOTHER SPIRIT, which ye have not received, or ANOTHER GOSPEL, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; Emphasis Mine)

And just like at Corinth, the American Church has fallen for those who are preaching “ANOTHER JESUS” and “ANOTHER GOSPEL.” And what is sad is that the majority of people who are calling themselves “Christians” have fallen for these four deceptive errors I’ve discussed.

But if we are going to ignore the damage these NTO deceptions are doing to the Body of Christ, then hey, (sarcastically) let’s just open the doors wide for anyone who has anything to say about Jesus: the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Hindus (who teach Jesus is the reincarnation of Lord Krishna) and the Buddhists (who teach Jesus was a reincarnation of the Buddha, who lived 500 years before Jesus), and anyone else we can include.  Because Christianity isn’t about truth but “love” and making people feel good, right?

Hopefully, you know I’m being sarcastic.  Such a move would not, in any way, be wise.  I mean,  just because someone says that they believe in JESUS CHRIST does NOT make them “saved.”  Jesus again taught this:

Not every one that says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name?  And in Your name have cast out devils?  And in Your name done many wonderful works [or miracles]?  And then I will profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from Me, you that work [or perform or practice] iniquity.  (Matthew 7:21-23)

Jesus makes it quite clear here that calling Him “Lord” is not enough to get into heaven.  There’s going to be MANY in that day of judgment who will do this, and they will even claim to have done things for Him by the power of the Holy Spirit.  But in spite of this, He will tell them to DEPART from Him.  Why?  Because they continued to live in “iniquity” or “lawlessness.”  This is the English translation of the Greek word ANOMIA (Strong’s #458).  ANOMIA means the following:

  1.  Transgression of the law (used this way in I John 3:4; and
  2.  Not having, knowing or acknowledging the law.

Therefore, for people to live their lives either directly transgressing God’s law or simply by not having, knowing or acknowledging the law in their life is ANOMIA, or INIQUITY or LAWLESSNESS.  And these are the people Jesus is going to say, “Depart from Me.”  These are people who lived their lives ignoring God’s commandments, or not doing “the will of the Father” [i.e., not obeying His commandments from the heart], and as a result, Jesus will let them know that He never truly knew them.  So what we can infer from this statement by Him is that Jesus knows those who live in obedience to His commandments, including the Old Testament commandments, by the power of His Spirit, but not those who claim to be His but continue to live their lives in sin.

In fact, right before this, Jesus gave this important teaching:

A good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree CANNOT produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.   Every tree that does NOT bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  So then, you will know them by their fruits.  (Matthew 7:17-20, Emphasis Mine)

Jesus says here that “A GOOD TREE [a “saved person”] CANNOT produce bad fruit [continue in sin].”  So I can see why these NTO preachers and teachers want to eliminate the teachings of Christ from the life of Christians because His teachings contradict their views and ideas of “free grace.”  Therefore, they are willing to sacrifice anything to maintain their pet doctrine, even Jesus Himself.  In understanding this, I wonder in what way, they are any different from the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day?

Jesus says here that “obedience to God” is, in fact, a part of salvation.  Notice, He says here that “Every tree [person] that does NOT bear good fruit is cut down and THROWN INTO THE FIRE.”  Obviously, then, salvation involves more than just the “sinner’s prayer.”  So am I saying that Paul was wrong?  No, I am saying that our interpretation of Paul is wrong.  Although Paul continually taught that our obedience to God’s law does not JUSTIFY us (Stage 1 of salvation), there is no where in Paul’s writings where he teaches argues against the use of the law in our SANCTIFICATION (Stage 2 of our salvation).  In fact, the law’s presence in these teachings is strongly implied or alluded to.  In fact, Paul believed that we and the law has a combined role to play in our own sanctification process.  For example, consider what Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians:

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  (2 Corinthians 16:16)

In this verse, Paul is quoting from Exodus 29:45 and Leviticus 26:12, incorporating God’s law into his teaching here in this passage.  What would be the point of this if the law is no longer valid for the Christian experience?  He then goes on to say,  

Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch NOT the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD ALMIGHTY.  (2 Corinthians 6: 17-18)

In this case, Paul is quoting from Isaiah 52:11 and Jeremiah 31:1.  So again, if the Old Testament is NOT for Christians as the NTO pastors and teachers say, then what’s the point of quoting something that’s allegedly no longer valid?  Also, notice here that Paul is saying that in order for the Lord to receive us, we must “come out from among them [the world and its ways], and be separate,” to NOT engage in sinful behaviors and actions, by “touch[ing[ NOT the unclean thing” [which are those things God told us throughout the Scriptures NOT to get involved in], and God says, “and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you shall be My sons and daughters.”  Just saying a prayer at the altar is NOT enough.  Again, the sinner’s prayer is where salvation BEGINS, Step #1, it is not ALL there is to it.

After quoting these references, Paul then says,

Having therefore THESE PROMISES, dearly beloved, LET US CLEANSE OURSELVES from ALL FILTHINESS of the FLESH AND SPIRIT, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  (2 Corinthians 7:1; Emphasis Mine)

Notice that Paul clearly says that we are to “CLEANS OURSELVES FROM ALL FILTHINESS OF THE FLESH AND SPIRIT.”  Why would any of this be necessary for us to do if ONLY believing in Jesus’ death and resurrection was all there was for us to do?  Obviously, there’s more to this SALVATION JOURNEY than what many NTO preachers and teachers are saying.   And so let’s ask the question: Why is this process of “SANCTIFICATION” necessary?  Because in Hebrews 12:14, the Scriptures teach us that “without holiness, NO MAN [OR WOMAN] shall see the Lord.”  Explain to me how you plan to be in heaven and NOT SEE God?  You living a sinful life will keep you out of heaven; thus, the need for justification AND sanctification.

It’s funny how these NTO preachers and teachers, who don’t believe that ALL of the Bible for today and for everyone, choose those verses which support their doctrines while ignoring other passages like the one here in 2 Corinthians 16:16-17:1.  Paul makes it quite clear that we have a role to play in our own sanctification.  Yes, God does have a role to play, but so do we.  And although these NTO preachers and teachers talk about God’s role, they claim that if we do anything to assist in that work, then it becomes “works,” and it’s no longer “grace.”  But clearly since Paul is telling us that we are to “CLEANSE OURSELVES from ALL FILTHINESS of the FLESH AND SPIRIT,” then it’s not “works” at all, but part of the salvation process.

Let me add one more point.  These NTO preachers and teachers say that our obedience to the commandments is “works” and not “grace.”  Then, if that is true, then believing in Jesus is also a form of “works” and not “grace,” for John writes in His epistle,

And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment.  (I John 3:23)

Obviously, if obedience to any of God’s commandments is a form of “works righteousness,” as these NTO preachers and teachers say, then according to the Apostle John our believing in Jesus is also one of God’s commandments; therefore, according to the NTO preachers and teachers, it constitutes “works” and not “grace.”  Obviously, then, there’s a major problem in what these NTO preachers and teachers define as “works.”

 

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Four Common Deadly Deceptions Being Preached in Today’s Churches (Pt. 1)

In the church today, there’s a great abundance of wolves and dangers, not only from outside the church, but also inside the church, as well as from those behind many of the pulpits in America.  Paul warned us of times like this prior to his final arrival in Jerusalem:

For I know this, that after my departing shall GRIEVOUS WOLVES enter in among you, NOT sparing the flock.  Also of YOUR OWN SELVES shall men arise, SPEAKING PERVERSE THINGS, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of THREE YEARS I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.  (Acts 20:29-31; Emphasis Mine)

Throughout the church’s history, it has been under attack from the outside and the inside, but in these last days, the deceptions and attacks have become more acceptable by the flock, destroying the lives of many.

Yes, the church is being deceived, and my wife and I have been standing up and yelling to the flock, “BE CAREFUL!  THERE ARE DANGERS!  WATCH OUT FOR THE WOLVES AND THE TRAPS!”  Some have listened, but some have not.  “Deceptions” are defined as “half-truths,” things taken out of context and misrepresented, or just lies that are presented as truth, and if you listen to many of the popular Christian New Testament Only (NTO) ministers and Bible teachers, their “deceptions” are being widely received and embraced by many within the church.  What we need are pastors, TV ministers and Bible teachers who believe in teaching the whole Word of God from cover to cover, but unfortunately, those are becoming increasingly hard to find.  So what are these deceptions being taught?  They are the following:

(1) All it takes to get saved is to pray the “sinner’s prayer;”
(2) Jesus’ life and teachings are not required for Christians; and
(3) To be saved, we can accept Jesus as our Savior without accepting Him as “Lord”; and
(4) Salvation is an event, NOT a life-long process.

(1) ALL IT TAKE TO GET SAVED IS TO PRAY THE “SINNER’S PRAYER”

The first error that’s being commonly taught among many Christian NTO pastors and teachers is that all it takes to get saved is to pray the “sinner’s prayer.”  For example, I was speaking to a minister friend of mine who said that he was at a funeral where the man who had died had lived his life as a gang member stealing, killing and raping women, and there in the congregation were many of his friends and family members who were leading similar lifestyles.  The minister who was conducting the service said to these people that he knew that this person was in heaven, because when he was five he had gone forward to accept the Lord.  Imagine what he had just told all these people?  You can steal, kill, rape and destroy all the lives you want, and still go to heaven, as long as you go forward, say the “sinner’s prayer,” and get your free “go to heaven ticket.”

The “sinner’s prayer” has become the modern day version of “circumcision” in the New Testament.  During Paul’s time, there were those who were saying that all one had to do to get saved and go to heaven was to “get circumcised.”  A minor operation for guys, and “bam,” instant ticket to heaven.  In the world today, it’s “the sinner’s prayer.”  Just go to church, or wherever, say the “sinner’s prayer,” and “bam,” instant ticket to heaven!  In fact, I’ve heard many pastors say after leading people through the “sinner’s prayer,” “I want you all to remember that today, at 12:17pm (or whatever time it was), that you’re now a child of God!  You’ve done everything that you need to do to go to heaven.”  But what these ministers don’t think about is what this strongly suggests: that we don’t have to develop a relationship with God and His Son Jesus Christ to go to heaven; instead, all we have to do is simply say the “sinner’s prayer.”  Even though this teaching about the “sinner’s prayer” does NOT line up at all with the teachings of Jesus or the rest of the Bible!

I think many people forget that through most of the history of the church, there were no altar calls, nor was there a “sinner’s prayer.”  Instead, when people wanted to publicly proclaim their allegiance and loyalty to Jesus Christ, they got baptized in water.  This is the pattern we see throughout the New Testament.  In fact, Jesus, Peter, Ananias, and Paul taught water baptism is an important part of repentance (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:12-16; and Romans 6:3-4).  Nor did the water baptism have to happen in church.  For example, Philip shared Christ with the Ethiopian Eunuch and then baptized him, as they were traveling along their journey and came across some water in Acts 8:26-40.

Also, Paul makes it quite clear in Romans 6 that we are not to live our lives any longer in sin.  In fact, Romans 6-8 is Paul’s argument about the fact that since we have died with Christ and been buried with Him in baptism, then we are no longer to live in submission to the control and power of sin.  And then in Romans 8, Paul writes that to be “carnally-minded,” to have your mind on fleshly desires and pleasures (e.g., sex, sensual pleasure, money and material wealth, pride, greed, coveting) “is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is ENMITY [HOSTILE, IN OPPOSITION AGAINST] God; for it is NOT subject to THE LAW OF GOD, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the FLESH CANNOT PLEASE GOD”  (Romans 8:5-8; Emphasis Mine).  And yet, somehow, according to these NTO preachers and teachers, you can go to heaven by simply saying a prayer, even when you continue to live a lifestyle that’s offensive and not pleasing to God.

By these people teaching this, they are discrediting the power of the cross to transform lives from a sinful, me-oriented life to a holy, God-oriented life.  Obviously, if these people continue in sin, even though they prayed the “sinner’s prayer,” then their continued disobedience only proves to others the weakness of the cross – NOT the power of the cross!   Jesus died to free us from the power and control of sin, so we could live a life of holiness before God, not so we could get our free ticket to heaven, while continuing to live in sin.

(2) JESUS’ LIFE AND TEACHINGS ARE NOT REQUIRED FOR CHRISTIANS.

Another error that’s being taught is that Jesus’ life and teachings isn’t for Christians, but it was ONLY for the Jews.  This bogus argument is based on the idea that the great dividing line between the Old and New Testament is the cross.  Therefore, since Jesus’ life and teachings were BEFORE the cross, they don’t apply to Christians.

Consider what this is actually saying:  They are saying that the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord’s Prayer, His parables, His description of eternal life, His warnings against Hell – NONE of this, according to them, is for Christians.  They say that the ONLY part of the New Testament that’s for Christians is from the cross on, or the last 32% of the Bible, which makes up less than 1/3!

But did Jesus ever say that He was part of the “Old Testament” as these pastors and teachers say?  No, He didn’t.  In fact, in Matthew 12, Jesus says in regard to John the Baptist,

Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is GREATER than he.  And from the days of John the Baptist UNTIL NOW the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.  For ALL THE PROPHETS AND THE LAW prophesied UNTIL JOHN. (Matthew 11: 11-13)

This means that according to Jesus, Malachi is NOT the last Old Testament prophet, but instead, the last one was John the Baptist. Therefore, in contrast to these NTO pastors and teachers who again say the cross is the dividing line between Old and New Testament, JESUS HIMSELF said the dividing line was not the cross, but John the Baptist.  So who are we going to believe: Jesus or these NTO preachers and teachers?

I’ve seen these NTO preachers and teachers draw a line between the Old Testament and the New Testament, and then quote 2 Timothy 2:15 to justify their act.

Be diligent [and study] to present yourselves approved to God as a workman who does not need to to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.

However, when Paul wrote this verse, there wasn’t any New Testament.  Paul’s epistles had been written and the book of Matthew, but that was about it.  But they weren’t in any one collection; instead, they were being circulated around to the different churches.  The rest of the New Testament had not been written yet.  Therefore, the idea that when Paul wrote the words that have been translated as “handling accurately the word of truth” (NASB) or in the King James Version, “rightly dividing the word of truth” to mean to divide the Old and New Testament when there wasn’t yet a New Testament cannot possibly be right.

This is an example of them reading into the text – a mishandling of the text – instead of placing the text back into its proper context and understand it from that context.  You see, when we look at the original Hebrew and Greek documents – rather than our modern English translations – we would see in the original documents, no periods, no commas, no paragraphing, and no chapter breaks, so in order to properly know where one idea ends and another one begins, you have to be able to accurately know where to “divide the word of truth,” not just in one place, but every time there’s a change of an idea.

This is much more likely what Paul meant by this statement than this idea about dividing the Old and New Testament.  Their interpretation again only demonstrates that the NTO people who teach this are imposing their own denominational beliefs into the text, rather than placing the text back into its original historical, social, cultural and linguistic contexts.  Therefore, by doing this, they are clearly misusing Scripture, not properly teaching it.

But in looking at their messed-up doctrine, even though they say that what’s for Christians is from the cross on, they ignore Romans 8, and 2 Corinthians 16-17 and other passages like these, which contradict their teaching that salvation is acquired by only saying “the sinner’s prayer.”  So apparently, the part of the Bible they follow is even smaller than 32%.  And when you figure in that 80% of the New Testament is made up of quotes, references or allusions to the Old Testament, which according to them is not for today, then their Bible is down to maybe 15-18%.

But hey, if these ministers and teachers are right (I’m saying this sarcastically), then why not just send everyone in the world a card with the “sinner’s prayer” on it, and say, “Just pray this prayer, and you’ll receive eternal life and a home in heaven!  Nothing else required.”  Think about how much money and expenses churches could save not having to support missionaries at all, right?

But if that was all that it took, why would Jesus commission us to go DISCIPLE ALL THE NATIONS?  Notice, He didn’t say, “Go and make “saved people” or “religious people,” but to DISCIPLE people; therefore, it only seems logical to say that there is no real salvation apart from discipleship to Jesus Christ.  Therefore, we need missionaries, and we need to do all we can to support them.  Because as far as Jesus is concerned, if you are NOT one of His disciples, then you are NOT truly saved.  It’s really that simple.

In part 2, which will come out tomorrow, Friday, March 15, 2019, I’ll discuss the last two deceptions being preached.

 

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