A principal rule in understanding Bible doctrine is often overlooked in 1 Corinthians 2:13:
These things we also speak, not in words that man’s wisdom teaches but that the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual [things].
It is most likely overlooked since it is overshadowed by the primary rule of biblical interpretation, which is expressed in this verse by the words, “the Holy Spirit teaches.”
The Primary Rule
This primary rule was given to man by Christ Himself when in John 14:26 He said:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
Again, in John 16:13a, He said:
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth . . . .
And the apostle John restated this primary rule in 1 John 2:27:
But the Anointing [the Holy Spirit] that you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same Anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as He has taught you, you will abide in Him.
The Christian life is nothing if not a life of faith. One becomes a Christian, i.e., “born again [from above] . . . born of the Spirit” (John 3:3, 6), by faith alone in Christ alone (John 3:16-18, 36; Ephesians 2:8, 9). And a successful Christian life, i.e., to “walk in” Christ, must be accomplished in the same manner that one becomes a Christian, by or through faith (Colossians 2:6).
Faith is “believing God’s Word,” i.e., simply believing what God has to say about a matter. And as one absorbs (studies) the Word of God, one’s faith is strengthened and spiritual maturity ensues (Romans 10:17). It is the Word, which alone is the spiritual food for the one who is no longer spiritually “dead in trespasses and sins” but has been “made alive” (Ephesians 2:1) and who is then in a position to “receive the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14, 15). And it is the Word, when studied under the tutelage of (trusting in) the Holy Spirit, which alone can bring spiritual growth (maturity) to the child of God by the “renewing of the mind” causing him to be “transformed” (Greek: metamorphoo, creating within him a “metamorphosis”) to be “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (Romans 12:2; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Ephesians 2:10).
Metaphorically, in John chapter six, this is the point Christ, who indeed is the “Word” (John 1:1, 14), attempted to convey to those who sought Him the day following His feeding the five thousand upon the mountain. In answer to their evident quest for more physical food, Jesus emphasized their need for spiritual food.
And to this end, He plainly stated:
I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst (v. 35).
And to make it more confusing to those gathered around Him, he later said:
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him (vv. 53-56).
This was truly a “hard saying” (v. 60), which even His disciples had great difficulty in accepting. Because of this, many of His disciples “went back and walked with Him no more” (v. 66); although a few remained.
Those that remained may have done so because they managed to grasp the true meaning of what He was endeavoring to teach, which was explained by Christ in verse sixty-three:
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
It is only in the assimilation and acceptance (i.e. study and belief) of God’s “implanted Word,” going from its “milk” to its “meat” (“solid food”) that transforms an immature baby Christian into a mature adult Christian — truly sanctifying the Christian (i.e. sets him apart to holiness).
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)
I have given them Your Word . . . Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth. (John 17:14a, 17)
It is this process, going from an immature to a mature Christian, that brings about the “salvation of the soul (Greek: psuche, life),” which is not to be confused with the “salvation of the spirit” (a person’s eternal salvation obtained only by faith alone in Christ alone and which can never be abrogated [revoked, nullified, abolished, rescinded, invalidated, cancelled, voided] by God or man), for “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).
Soul-salvation, a salvation that mirrors the inheritance of “firstborn” sons as depicted in the Old Testament and is the predominant salvation proffered by the apostle Paul and others within the New Testament, comes to play only from issues and determinations at the Judgment Seat of Christ and impacts the Christian only in the coming Millennial Kingdom, a one thousand year period of time. It is a salvation that may only be achieved by fruitfulness (works that emanate from faithfulness to God in accordance with His Word) in the Christian’s life. And since it depends on the way a Christian lives his life (as opposed to spirit-salvation that is dependent solely upon the work of Christ), it is a salvation subject to the possibility of failure, which is to say that not all Christians will obtain it.
But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life . . . . Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:11, 12a, 18, 19)
Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)
But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:39)
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)
Receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:9)
A comprehensive treatment of soul-salvation, as opposed to spirit-salvation, may be obtained by activating the link “Salvation of the Soul,” which may be found on the home page of www.bibleone.net. Furthermore, a fairly complete picture of these two subjects, in light of that which will follow, will be discussed in the postscript to this study.
The Overlooked Principal Rule
But what of the often overlooked “principal rule” in understanding Bible doctrine embodied in 1 Corinthians 2:13 and mentioned in the opening paragraph of this study? This rule is expressed by the phrase “comparing spiritual things with spiritual [things].” The root word for the words “spiritual” in this verse is pneumatikos, (pertaining to or proceeding from the Holy Spirit; of things spiritual that are communicated or imparted by the Holy Spirit). Linguistically, and also contextually, the rule could be stated “comparing Scripture with Scripture.”
To be more explicit, the principal rule means that one may be helped immensely by comparing scriptural passages with other scriptural passages where there is a nexus (connection). As Dr. Chuck Missler of www.khouse.org often says, “The New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament and the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament.” In his book, Learn the Bible in 24 Hours, he has also said:
Although the Bible consists of sixty-six separate books penned by over forty authors over a period of several thousand years, it is an integrated message system. Every passage, every word, every number, and every place name is there for a specific reason. A skillful design pervades the whole.
Essentially, his point is that God has precisely structured every portion (word, number, etc.) of His Word in such a fashion that it reflects an intricate mosaic of truth, all parts being connected, with one grand design and purpose; which is to reveal God’s redemption plan for His creation (the priority of which is man), a plan that centers on one Person, Jesus Christ. And to fully know this redemption plan, the Bible student must be able to apprehend the relationships between both Testaments in order to come to an accurate interpretation of doctrine.
This was the message of Christ when He said in John chapter five:
Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you — Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? (vv. 45-47)
Arlen L. Chitwood of www.lampbroadcast.org, in chapter one of his book, The Study of Scripture, says essentially the same, but in these words:
Old Testament leads into the New after an inseparable fashion. The
latter forms a continuation and completion of that which was begun in the
former; and both together constitute one continuous, complete
revelation that God gave to man over a period of about 1,500 years through
some forty different Jewish writers, revealing His plans and purposes in
relation to man, the earth, and the universe at large.
. . . not in words that man’s wisdom teaches but that the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:13b)
part of the Word (at any point in the Old or New Testaments) is compared with
another part of the Word (at any point in the Old or New Testaments) under the
leadership of the indwelling Spirit.
And later in chapter eight, Chitwood records the following:
The manner in which God revealed Himself, His plans, and His purposes in His Word (a God-breathed revelation, penned as the Spirit moved men to write) is what makes Scripture different from all other writings. Scripture stands in a category solely by itself,
completely alone; and all other writings stand in a completely separate category (ref. chapter 1 in this book).
Then, in the process of giving to man, through man, the God-breathed Word, at the very outset God set forth a skeletal structure covering the whole panorama of revelation that was to follow, along with foundational building material. And if a person would understand Scripture correctly, he must begin where God began and follow that which God has set forth, after the manner in which He Himself established the matter.
The person must follow the skeletal structure and build upon this structure after the manner in which God Himself began and set matters forth, establishing them in a particular manner at the outset. At any point in the whole of Scripture, any teaching must have a connection with and be in complete agreement with the God-established skeletal structure and subsequent foundational material set forth at the beginning (ref. chapters 2-4 in this book).
Then, beyond that, God structured His revelation to man after a particular fashion, alluded to in Luke 24:25-27, 44 and stated in so many words in 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11. Scripture not only deals with a completely accurate history of certain events surrounding God’s dealings with the earth, angels, and man, but biblical history has been recorded after such a fashion that it is highly typical as well. God has established His primary means of teaching, not through history per se, but through inherent types (seen in past history) pointing to antitypes (seen in later history and/or prophecy).
The manner in which God revealed Himself to man is as stated in 1 Corinthians chapter ten:
Now all these things happened to them for examples [Greek: tupos, for “types”] . . . . (1 Corinthians 10:11a)
The reference is to events during Moses’ day, drawing from the wilderness journey of the Israelites. But the reference would, of necessity, have to go far beyond simply the specific events listed in verses one through ten, preceding the statement in verse eleven. In the light of other Scripture, as becomes increasingly evident when one views the whole of Scripture, the reference would have to be enlarged to encompass not only all biblical history during Moses’ day but all biblical history beginning with Genesis 1:1.
That would be to say, God has structured His revelation to man after a fashion in which not only true, correct history is presented but this history is presented in such a manner that it is highly typical in nature. God, within His sovereign control of all matters, brought things to pass after such a fashion (within the history of the earth, angels, and man) that He could, at a later time, have these events to draw upon in order to teach His people the deep things surrounding Himself, His plans, and His purposes. And this would be accomplished mainly through types and corresponding antitypes.
Thus, God draws not so much from history per se as He does from the spiritual content set forth in the historic accounts — the great spiritual lessons, taught mainly from types pointing to corresponding antitypes.
Anyone can understand facts within revealed biblical history (saved or unsaved man). This would pertain more to the letter of the matter. But only saved man can go beyond the letter to the spirit of the matter (2 Corinthians 3:6-16). Only the saved can understand the spiritual lessons drawn from history. Only the saved can look within biblical history and see spiritual content (1 Corinthians 2:12-16).
For the unsaved, things beyond the simple, historical facts are completely meaningless. They can’t see these things; nor can they know them. Spiritually, they are dead; and these things are “spiritually discerned.” They can view Scripture only from a “natural [‘soulical’]” standpoint (1 Corinthians 2:14).
But for the saved, the matter is entirely different. They, through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, have been made alive spiritually. The Spirit has breathed life into the one having no life, and they have “passed from death unto life.” And they have this same Spirit — the One who gave the Word to man through man — indwelling them to lead them “into all truth” (John 16:13-15; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19, 20; 1 John 3:24). Accordingly, the saved possess the ability to see beyond the facts of history and view the spiritual lessons inherent therein.
This is what is meant by “comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” It is within this facet of Scripture that man can see the things which “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard . . . .” It is within this facet of Scripture that “God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).
And it is within this complete, overall thought that one finds the whole of biblical history filled with types and meanings. This is the manner in which God has structured His Word. It has been given to man after this fashion, and if man would properly understand that which God has revealed in His Word, he must study it after the fashion in which it was given.
Christians, as they “search the Scriptures,” which all testify of Christ (John 5:39), are to do so by “rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15); which can only be done by consulting the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), comparing Scripture with Scripture. Even the Lord Jesus Christ after His resurrection, in order to reveal Himself to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, did so by using the Old Testament:
Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” . . . And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:25, 27)
The use of Old Testament historical events in order to convey truth (doctrine) is prolific throughout the New Testament. One cannot begin to understand the book of Hebrews without understanding the numerous Old Testament references within it. Such comparative technique is used throughout the various books of the New Testament, and is made a point of emphasis by the apostle Paul in his first letter to Corinth:
Now these things became our examples (historical events of the children of Israel under the leadership of Moses) . . . Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition (instruction) . . . . (1 Corinthians 10:6a, 11a)
But what is true between the Testaments may also be found solely within the New Testament. There are companion passages of Scripture, which when compared, reveal the correct meaning of the doctrine at hand. This study will examine two doctrines using companion Scriptures to this end: (1) The Filling of the Holy Spirit and (2) The Coming Judgment of Christians.
Filling of the Holy Spirit
Ephesians 5:18-20 & Colossians 3:16
Contrary to the charismatic teaching that the filling of the Holy Spirit is a “second work of grace,” which comes upon a Christian much like the initial giving of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two, there is no such teaching in the Word. Although the Holy Spirit has been instrumental in the affairs of man from the restoration of the earth as seen in the first chapters of Genesis until now, and, for that matter will always be, the filling by the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (and in a couple of other subsequent occasions as recorded in the book of Acts) was for a specific purpose, which was to announce and effect the birth of the Church, the body of Christ, in fulfillment of specific Old Testament prophecy (Acts 2:16-21), and to once again confirm to Israel the Foundation of this new creation (Acts 2:25-36).
It should also be affirmed that the evidence of this particular filling of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was not the speaking in some form of heavenly “unknown” tongue; rather, those who were filled were granted the ability to speak in other known earthly languages for the specific purpose of spreading the gospel message (Acts 2:5-12).
While Christ was on earth He forecast the coming of the Holy Spirit to be associated with believers after an entirely different fashion than that which existed before (John 14:15-18; 16:7-15). At the salvation experience a person is immediately, instantaneously and permanently subject to several actions of and by the Holy Spirit; they follow:
These actions of and by the Holy Spirit are permanent, never to be retracted under any circumstances by God or nullified by man. In addition with these permanent actions of and by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is available to the believer to lead and guide, and in fact “work through,” the believer in the Christian life.
It is this influence (guiding, leading, and working through) by the Holy Spirit that is the meaning of being “filled with the Spirit.” A Christian who is able to turn over the controls of his daily existence to the Spirit is indeed “filled with the Spirit.” It is a matter of who is in control. The “trick,” so to speak, is how this is accomplished.
A Christian may “grieve” (Ephesians 4:30) and thereby “quench” (reduce) the Spirit’s control in one’s life (1 Thessalonians 5:19) by giving in to the carnal or fleshly (soulical) nature, which exists along side the spiritual nature in every believer (Romans 8:12; 13:14; 1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Galatians 5:16, 17; Ephesians 4:20-24; James 4:1; 1 Peter 2:11). And when this is done, there is only one remedy that will allow the Christian to return to being filled (controlled) by the Spirit:
If we confess [own up to; agree with God concerning] our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Then there is the matter of faith, the substance of which must govern throughout the entire Christian experience, from birth through maturity to spiritual adulthood. Not only is faith the only means by which a person may apprehend eternal (spirit) salvation (Acts 16:30, 31; Ephesians 2:8, 9); but it is also the only means in which a Christian may live biblically and successfully throughout his Christian life (Colossians 2:6; Hebrews 10:38ff).
But what is little understood by most of Christendom is that it is the object of faith that makes faith efficacious. In terms of spirit-salvation, the object is in the living Word of God, Christ Jesus and His work on Calvary (John 1:1, 14; 3:14-18; Acts 16:30, 31; 1 Corinthians 2:2; 15:3, 4). And in terms of soul-salvation, it is quite similar. The object is the written Word of God, which also is alive (God-breathed) and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12).
Chitwood, in chapter four of The Study of Scripture, has this to say about the Christian life and faith:
. . . faith comes by [Greek: ek, out of] hearing, and hearing by [Greek: dia, through] the Word of God (Romans 10:17)
Faith is simply believing that which God has to say about a matter. Thus, walking by faith is walking in accordance with that which God has said; living by faith is living in accordance with that which God has said, etc.
And it all comes down to this:
To act, “by faith,” in any realm of life, one must know and understand that which God has said relative to the matter at hand. In other words, such a person must be conversant with the Word of God; and the more conversant he is with this Word, the better equipped he will be to act “by faith.”
The pilgrim walk is a walk solely “by faith,” never by sight. There is only one hope for victory, and that is a continuous walk by faith with one’s eyes fixed on the goal out ahead.
There will be attacks by Satan time after time after time throughout the Christian life, and the only recourse that Christians possess to assure victory is a knowledge of the Word of God, an ability to use the Word, and an adherence to that which the Word states. Otherwise defeat can only be inevitable, with the Christian being overcome by the enemy rather than overcoming the enemy.
When Christ walked the earth, He was the present tangible Word of God to man. But prior to and after His birth, death, and resurrections, Holy Scripture was and is the present tangible Word of God to man. The written Word is the indelible revelation of the mind of Christ. To intimately know Christ is to intimately know the written Word. One cannot exist without the other. When one believes on (in) Christ, he initiates a spiritual state that can take either of two directions. He may progress from immaturity to maturity; or, he may remain immature. The following comments from Chitwood, from chapter three of his book, Salvation of the Soul, apply:
The Word of God, because of its very origin and nature, is the only thing that the Holy Spirit, who gave the Word, can use to effect man’s spiritual growth toward maturity. The Neshamah of God (the Holy Spirit) who imparted life uses the Neshamah of God (the implanted Word) to feed, nourish, and properly develop this life.
The Word of God alone is able to make one “wise unto salvation” (2 Timothy 3:15). That is to say, the Word of God alone can be used by the Holy Spirit to bring about the Christian’s walk by faith (cf. Romans 10:17), ultimately resulting in the salvation of his soul.
The filling of the Holy Spirit is inextricably linked with the Christian’s path toward maturity, the salvation of his soul. And as not to “reinvent the wheel,” the following portion from chapter four of Chitwood’s Salvation of the Soul will reveal how the companion passages of Scripture of Ephesians 5:18-20 & Colossians 3:16 demonstrate this association along with its inevitable outcome:
The Breath of God
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath [Neshamah] of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
All Scripture is God-breathed [theopneustos] and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV)
(Background material for “the breath of God” can be found in chapter 3.)
Man’s “life” following his creation in the beginning was produced by “the breath [Neshamah] of God” (Genesis 2:7). This establishes a first-mention principle in Scripture concerning “life” in relation to man, and this principle remains unchanged throughout all subsequent Scripture. Man’s life throughout time and eternity, as in the Genesis account, must emanate from God; and this life cannot be generated, continued, or sustained apart from the Neshamah of God.
In scriptural terminology, the Neshamah is identified with both the “Holy Spirit” of God and the “Word” of God. Life, which comes from God alone, is always produced through “breathing in.” Remaining within basic teachings drawn from the types in Genesis 1:2-5; 2:7, God, through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit, “breathes life into” unredeemed, lifeless man today. Once imparted, with the man possessing spiritual life (having been redeemed), this life is then continued and sustained through the same principle — the breath of God remaining with man (past dispensation) or remaining in man (present dispensation), and the breath of God continuing to be breathed into man.
Through the abiding presence of the breath of God (which, during this present dispensation, is through the Spirit indwelling the one in whom He had previously breathed life), the believer remains secure in his positional standing before God; and through a continued impartation of the breath of God (the Word of God flowing into man’s saved human spirit, with the indwelling Holy Spirit leading the individual “into all truth”), the believer receives living nourishment for spiritual growth unto maturity.
“Scripture,” unlike any other writings, is alive:
For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword . . . . (Hebrews 4:12a).
“Life” can be attributed to Scripture only on the basis of the fact that the “oracles of God” emanated from the Giver and Sustainer of life. Scripture is “God-breathed.” It is the Neshamah, the “breath” of God.
This is what sets Scripture apart from all other writings. That which God has to say in His Word is alive, not subject to error, and will endure forever. But that which man has to say is, on the other hand, lifeless, subject to error, and will endure only for time.
Thus, the Holy Spirit today initially imparts life to man who is “dead in trespasses and sins,” continues this life through His abiding presence, and sustains this life via the living Word of God flowing into man’s saved human spirit. The indwelling Holy Spirit takes the Word of God received into man’s saved human spirit, and, through man’s spiritual perception, changes the water to wine (cf. John 2:1-11). A continued process of this nature — revealing the things of the Spirit to the man of spirit through man’s spiritual perception — progressively results in growth unto maturity.
The great difference between redeemed man and unredeemed man is possession or non-possession of spiritual life derived from the “breath” of God.
Unregenerate man, who is spiritually dead, is alienated from everything associated with the “breath” of God in this respect, for that which has no life is completely incompatible with that which has life. Thus, the living Word of God is not for him; it is alien to his fallen nature, the only nature that he possesses.
Regenerate man, on the other hand, possesses spiritual life that was “breathed in.” He possesses a new, non-alienated nature; and, on this basis, there can now be a continuance of life “breathed in.” Thus, the living Word of God, because it is the very life-giving “breath” of God, is for redeemed man alone.
Redeemed individuals are divided into two classes in Scripture — “spiritual,” and “carnal” (1 Corinthians 3:1, 2). Both possess spiritual life that was “breathed in,” both are capable of spiritual discernment, and both are in a position to allow God to continue “breathing in” life.
The carnal Christian though rejects the leadership of the Spirit. He follows the fleshly man rather than the spiritual man; and, although his eternal salvation remains secure through the “breath” of God remaining in him (based on Christ’s finished work at Calvary), he experiences no growth. He does not allow God to continue “breathing in” life.
But the spiritual Christian governs his life in an entirely different manner. He follows the leadership of the Spirit; He allows God to continue “breathing in” life; and, through his spiritual discernment, as led by the Holy Spirit, he is able to begin grasping the great spiritual truths of the Word of God, progressively growing from immaturity to maturity.
A continued inflow of the breath of God into man’s saved human spirit in this manner, following his salvation, will result in what Scripture calls “the filling of the Spirit” and “be transformed” (“the metamorphosis”). These are actually two different experiences in the lives of Christians that occur in a progressive, concurrent manner. These experiences, however, are so closely related that one cannot occur without the other, and neither can occur apart from the Word of God and the Spirit’s work in the life of a believer in relation to this Word.
The remainder of this chapter will be taken up with “the breath” of God producing a Spirit-filled Christian and, at the same time, working the metamorphosis in his life.
Filled with the Spirit
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is an experience that occurs after one has been born from above. At the time of the new birth, an individual is immersed (baptized) in the Holy Spirit, and, through this immersion, becomes part of the “one body,” the “one new man,” in Christ (cf. Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13 [“with” and “by” should be translated “in”]; Ephesians 2:15). The Holy Spirit, from this point forward, indwells the believer, forming a “temple of God” — an earthly tabernacle in which deity dwells (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; 6:19, 20).
But the Spirit filling the tabernacle is an experience in the life of a Christian that occurs subsequent to the Spirit indwelling the tabernacle. Christians, ones in whom the Spirit dwells, are commanded to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18); and the biblical manner in which this is accomplished is clearly revealed to be in connection with life continuing to be “breathed into” man following the initial “inbreathing” that generated life at the beginning.
Scripture reveals an inseparable relationship between being filled with the Spirit (the Neshamah) and dwelling deeply in the Word of God (the Neshamah). This is clearly taught by comparing “scripture with scripture” in Ephesians and Colossians — companion epistles, which parallel one another in a number of places.
One such parallel can be seen in the section in Ephesians where Christians are commanded to be filled with the Spirit and in the section in Colossians where Christians are commanded to let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly in all wisdom.
In Ephesians, Christians are told:
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18-20)
In Colossians, Christians are told:
Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:16, 17)
Note the contextual parallel between the commands, “Be filled with the Spirit” in Ephesians and “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” in Colossians. Both have to do with the same thing. One is substituted for the other in its respective, parallel counterpart. And the clear inference from this parallel, in conjunction with related scripture, leads to only one conclusion: A Christian who is filled with the Spirit is one who has allowed the Word of Christ to dwell in him richly in all wisdom.
The indwelling of the Spirit is consummated at the time God initially “breathes life into” an individual, and the filling of the Spirit is progressively accomplished through God subsequently continuing to “breathe life into” that individual. The “God-breathed” scriptures flowing into man’s saved human spirit — a continued impartation of life into man — progressively produces, through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit (John 16:13), a Spirit-filled Christian.
Relative to the filling of the Spirit, note further the relationship to one another of husbands and wives, children and parents, and servants and masters in the verses immediately following these two sections in Ephesians and Colossians.
Wives show that they are filled with the Spirit through their submission to their husbands, “as to the Lord” (cf. Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18).
Husbands show that they are filled with the Spirit through their love for their wives, “even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it” (cf. Ephesians 5:25-33; Colossians 3:19).
Children show that they are filled with the Spirit through their obedience to their parents, “in the Lord” (cf. Ephesians 6:1, 2; Colossians 3:20).
Fathers show that they are filled with the Spirit through not provoking their children to anger, but bringing “them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (cf. Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).
Servants show that they are filled with the Spirit through being obedient to their masters according to the flesh, “with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as to Christ” (cf. Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25).
And masters show that they are filled with the Spirit through treating their servants just and equal, “knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with Him” (cf. Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1).
God desires that all Christians be filled with the Spirit, and the manner God uses to bring this to pass is clearly revealed in His Word. There must be a continued “breathing in” of life into the one who has initially been given life through the “breath” of God, and this cannot be accomplished apart from the “God-breathed” Oracles.
In view of this, it is no wonder that the living Word of God — the Neshamah — remains under constant attack by Satan, his emissaries, and those who do his bidding.
The Word of God is either what it claims to be or there can be no continued “inbreathing” of life into redeemed man. And, apart from this continued “inbreathing” of life, redeemed man can not grow spiritually, for only that compatible with spiritual life can provide nourishment for this life, resulting in growth. Apart from the God-breathed Word, every Christian, throughout his entire pilgrim walk, would remain in a carnally immature state rather than grow in a spiritual manner to maturity.
Such a Christian would be indwelt by the Spirit, but, apart from the living Word, he could not be filled with the Spirit. He would remain carnal, immature, and powerless. Nor could he ultimately realize the salvation of his soul, for there would be no continued inbreathing of life to bring this to pass.
Consequently, apart from this continued “inbreathing” of life, God could not ultimately bring “many sons” unto glory to occupy the numerous positions of power and authority as joint-heirs with Christ in the coming kingdom. The “many sons” whom God will bring “to glory” are those who will be adopted — placed as firstborn sons — at the end of the present age. And occupying positions of this nature as sons — occupying positions as firstborn sons, with “sonship” implying rulership — will be entered into only by those Christians who realize the salvation of their souls.
The Metamorphosis — Present
And do not be conformed to this world [‘age’], but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)
In this verse there is a negative command followed by a positive command: “Do not be conformed . . . but be transformed . . . .”
1. Be Not Conformed
The Greek word translated “conformed” is sunschematizo. This is a compound word with the preposition sun (“with”) prefixed to the verb form of the word schema (“outline,” “diagram”). The English word “scheme” is an Anglicized form of the Greek word schema. The word has to do with a schematic outline, and the thought inherent in this compound Greek word along with its negative command is to not outline or diagram your life in accordance with the present age.
During the present age there is a world kingdom in which the Gentile nations rule the earth under the control and dominion of Satan, the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Fallen man is ruling the earth, which is under a curse, directly under the one who has disqualified himself to rule (Satan, along with his angels — ruling from a heavenly sphere over the earth through the Gentile nations [cf. Ezekiel 28:14; Daniel 10:13-20; Luke 4:5, 6; Ephesians 6:11, 12]).
Everywhere one looks there’s something wrong with the structure of the present kingdom: The Gentile nations are out of place, Israel is out of place, Satan and his angels are out of place, and Christ and His co-heirs (those destined to occupy regal positions with Him in the kingdom) are out of place. These conditions have continued unchanged, in part, for the past 6,000 years (since the fall of Adam, which resulted in the entire creation coming under the curse produced by sin); and they have continued unchanged in their entirety for the past 2,600 years (since the beginning of the “times of the Gentiles” [Luke 21:24], with Israel being scattered among the nations). And no change will occur until Christ returns and takes the kingdom.
The rightful place for Satan and his angels is in the abyss and ultimately in the lake of fire; the rightful place for Christ and His co-heirs is ruling (from the heavens over the earth) in the stead of Satan and his angels; the rightful place for Israel is dwelling in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, within a theocracy, at the head of the nations; and the rightful place for the Gentile nations is dwelling in their respective lands, out from under the dominion and rule of Satan, in a position subservient to and blessed through Israel.
When Christ returns and takes the kingdom, He and His glorified followers, rather than Satan and his angels, will rule from the heavens over the earth. Satan and his angels (cast out of the heavens slightly over three and one-half years prior to this time) will be chained and imprisoned in the abyss (awaiting consignment to the lake of fire 1,000 years later), the curse will be lifted, and Israel will be placed in her own land at the head of the nations. And all the Gentile nations entering the kingdom will then occupy subservient positions to Israel and be under the dominion of Christ and those who rule as joint-heirs with Him.
Presently, “the whole world lies in wickedness [lit. ‘in the evil one’]” (1 John 5:19b). The positional standing of the believer is “in Christ,” and the position occupied by the world is “in the evil one.” These positions are diametrically opposed, one to the other. Scripture clearly commands the believer, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world . . . .” (1 John 2:15a). Why? Because the world lies “in the evil one.”
The entire present system is under Satan’s control and sway; and, whether the world realizes it or not, the programs, aims, ambitions, and aspirations of the incumbent ruler are being carried out within the present system. All of this will one day reach an apex under the reign of the “man of sin,” during the coming Tribulation. And, from that apex, it will come to a sudden and climactic end. Then, in conjunction with this end, Satan and his angels will, by force, be removed from their present position — that of ruling the earth through the Gentile nations.
Thus, it does not become Christians to involve themselves in the affairs of this present world system, during the present age. By so doing, they are, in effect, defiling their high calling “in Christ” through stepping down into an arena occupied by those “in the evil one.”
Christ, rejected by the world, is in a place removed from the world. And Christians are to share this rejection by and separation from the world with Christ. It is not possible for Christians to involve themselves in the affairs of this present world system, during the present age, and, at the same time, share Christ’s rejection by and separation from the world.
(The preceding is dealt with at length in the books of 1 & 2 Samuel, in the typology surrounding Saul and David. Refer to the author’s book, Judgment Seat of Christ [revised edition], chapter 12, “Crowned Rulers,” for a discussion of this type in the light of the antitype.)
2. Be Transformed
Following the command in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this age,” the Christian is commanded to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The Greek word translated “transformed” is metamorphoo. This is the word from which the English word “metamorphosis” is derived. This word refers to an inward change brought about completely apart from the power of the individual himself. The individual Christian is powerless to bring about this metamorphosis.
In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Satan is said to be “transformed into an angel of light” and his ministers “transformed as the ministers of righteousness.” In the Greek text the word “transformed” is not the same in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 as it is in Romans 12:2. The word used in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 is metaschematizo, referring to an outward change; and, textually (v. 13), this change is brought about through an individual’s own power.
Satan, thus, seeks to counterfeit the work of the Spirit by substituting an outward change in place of the inward change. And the nature and source of this pseudo change often go unrecognized.
Christians who seek to bring about the change of Romans 12:2 themselves will always effect a metaschema (outward change) rather than a metamorphosis (inward change). At the time of the birth from above the Spirit of God began a work in the Christian that He will continue “until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). No effort on the part of Christians can help the Spirit of God effect this change.
Man’s way finds man actively involved, seeking spirituality through either quitting certain things or doing certain things, subsequently producing a metaschema. But God’s way finds man passive, and God performs a work in the individual, ultimately producing the metamorphosis.
The endless list of “do’s” and “do not’s,” taboos formed by Christian groups; invariably have to do with a metaschema, not a metamorphosis. Any effort on the part of Christians to help the Spirit of God bring about the transformation of Romans 12:2 will always result in pseudo-spirituality. God’s way is an inward change accomplished through the power of the Spirit, not an outward change accomplished through the power of the individual.
3. The Renewing of Your Mind
Note according to the text how this inward change, the metamorphosis, takes place: “. . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The word “renewing” is a translation of the Greek word anakainosis; and the action of the preceding verb (“transformed”) directs attention to a continuous renewing process, one which is to keep on taking place. In 2 Corinthians 4:16 we are told that “the inward man is renewed [lit. ‘is being renewed’] day by day.” This renewing process is to keep on taking place day in and day out for the entire duration of the pilgrim walk here on earth.
Then, Colossians 3:10 reveals how the renewing of the mind is accomplished:
And have put on the new man, which is renewed [lit. ‘is being renewed’] in knowledge after the image of Him that created Him.
Note the word “knowledge” in this verse. The regular Greek word for “knowledge” is gnosis, but the word used in Colossians 3:10 is epignosis. This is the word gnosis (knowledge) with the prefix epi (upon). Epignosis, thus, means “knowledge upon knowledge,” i.e., “a mature knowledge.” The word translated “renewed” is a past participle of anakainoo (the same word used in Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 4:16) and could be better translated, “being renewed.” The only way a Christian can acquire this mature knowledge, which allows the Spirit of God to work the metamorphosis in his life, is through receiving the living Word of God into his saved human spirit.
Christians must allow God to continue “breathing in” life. The living, God-breathed Word must be allowed to flow into man’s saved human spirit or there can be no metamorphosis. The renewing of the inward man “day by day,” through receiving “the implanted Word,” producing the metamorphosis in one’s life, is the manner in which the salvation of the soul is presently being effected.
As previously seen, receiving “the implanted Word” in James 1:21 and 1 Peter 2:2 is preceded by “laying aside” everything opposed to purity (ref. chapter 3). It is the same with the metamorphosis in Romans 12:2. The words, “do not be conformed to this age [lit. ‘stop being conformed to this age’],” appear prior to the words, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Those “in Christ” are commanded to remove themselves from that which lies “in the evil one” prior to receiving “the implanted Word,” which will effect the metamorphosis in their lives.
Thus, Romans 12:2; James 1:21; and 1 Peter 2:2 all teach the same thing relative to laying aside everything opposed to purity prior to receiving “the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls.”
The Metamorphosis — Future
Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;
and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 16:28-17:5)
The change presently taking place in the lives of Christians is inward. But within the culmination of the work of the Spirit in that future day of Jesus Christ, the change will include the outward also. The metamorphosis actually cannot be completed apart from this culmination, outward change. The Spirit of God “who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
The day will come when we will put off “the body of this death” (Romans 7:24). That will be the day when He will “fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory” (Philippians 3:21a, ASV). The work of the Spirit in this part of the metamorphosis is set forth in Matthew chapter seventeen.
That which occurred on the Mount, when Jesus was transfigured, is a fore-view of things that are yet to occur. The same Greek word translated “transformed” in Romans 12:2 (metamorphoo) is translated “transfigured” in Matthew 17:2. As Peter, James, and John appeared with Jesus on the Mount, Jesus was transfigured before them; and Moses and Elijah appeared and stood in His presence.
In Matthew 16:28, Christ had revealed that certain disciples would not die until they had seen “the Son of man coming in His kingdom.” Then, in Matthew 17:1-5, after six days, on the seventh day, certain disciples (Peter, James, and John) saw “the Son of man coming in His kingdom.”
Peter, as he wrote years later concerning this experience, said:
. . . we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty [His greatest regal magnificence — a superlative in the Greek text]. (2 Peter 1:16)
Peter then went on to state that the time this eyewitness account occurred was “when we were with Him on the holy mountain” (v. 18). Biblical revelation leaves no room to question or wonder exactly what is being foreshadowed by the events on the Mount, recorded in Matthew 17:1-5.
The “six days” (Matthew 17:1) foreshadow the entire time comprising Man’s Day. “Six” is man’s number. These six days extend from the creation of Adam to the beginning of the Messianic Kingdom. Each one of these days is 1,000 years in length (2 Peter 3:1-8). This 6,000-year period comprises Man’s Day, and at the end of Man’s Day the Lord’s Day will begin.
The seventh 1,000-year period dating from the creation of Adam comprises the Lord’s Day. “Seven” is God’s number. It will be “after six days” — after 6,000 years, at the end of Man’s Day — that the Son of man will be seen “coming in His kingdom,” beginning the Lord’s Day on the earth.
The “high mountain” (Matthew 17:1) foreshadows the coming kingdom. A “mountain” in Scripture, when used in this sense, refers to a kingdom (cf. Psalm 2:6; Ezekiel 28:14; Daniel 2:35). And, in this section of Scripture, the coming kingdom of our Lord is not referred to by just any mountain, but by a “high mountain.”
Jesus appeared in a transfigured body. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, also in transfigured bodies. Moses had died, and had been raised from the dead. Elijah had never died, but had been removed from the earth alive. Peter, James, and John, out from the nation of Israel, appeared in natural bodies and were elevated above all those at the foot of the mount. And “a bright cloud,” the Glory of God (cf. Luke 9:31, 32), overshadowed them all.
In the coming kingdom, Jesus will appear in this same transfigured body. Just as Moses (who was raised from the dead) and Elijah (who was removed from the earth without dying) appeared with Christ in transfigured bodies, so will Christians in that future day appear with Christ in transfigured bodies like unto the body of Christ.
When the Lord Himself descends from heaven to take His Church out of the world, “. . . the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we that are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in clouds, to meet the Lord in the air . . . .” (1 Thessalonians 4:16b, 17a).
Christians associated with Christ in the kingdom will possess bodies like unto the body of Christ (a spiritual body — a body of flesh and bone, with the life-giving, animating principle being the Spirit of God). These Christians will be comprised of resurrected believers (typified by Moses) and believers who have never died (typified by Elijah). And these Christians will rule from the heavens over the earth as co-heirs with Christ.
Then, the nation of Israel (typified by Peter, James, and John) will be here on earth. And the individuals comprising this nation will be present in natural bodies (soulical bodies — bodies of flesh, blood, and bone, with the life-giving, animating principle being the blood [cf. Leviticus 17:11]). As Peter, James, and John were elevated above all those at the foot of the mount, the nation of Israel will be elevated above all other nations. And the Glory of God, the “bright cloud” that overshadowed those on the mount (cf. Matthew 17:5; Luke 9:32), will be restored to Israel (cf. Isaiah 2:1-4; 6:1-10; Joel 2:27-32).
One day when the Lord returns for His Church, the Holy Spirit will complete the metamorphosis. Christians will be delivered from “the body of this death” and will receive bodies that will possess an entirely different life-giving, animating principle than the bodies that Christians possess today. The Neshamah of God — the Holy Spirit Himself — will provide this life in the completion of the metamorphosis (1 Corinthians 15:40-45).
All Christians will be changed in the outward manifestation of the metamorphosis, for the resurrection and rapture, with the accompanying change of the body, are not contingent upon the inward change during the present time. The outward change is conditioned upon one’s positional standing (“in Christ”) alone.
But Christians experiencing the outward change apart from the prior inward change will realize the loss of their souls/lives. They will enter into the presence of the Lord with redeemed spirits, changed bodies, but forfeited lives. Consequently, they will occupy no position among the many sons who will be brought unto glory.
(At the end of the present dispensation, Christians will be resurrected, or removed from the earth without dying, in the same type body in which Christ was raised from the dead. Christ was raised in a spiritual body, not a natural [soulical] body [cf. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44]. He was raised in a body of flesh and bones, with the life-giving, animating principle of the body being the Spirit of God rather than the blood [which He had previously “poured out” (Isaiah 53:12)].
Christ though was not raised in a glorified body. He was raised in a type of body that possessed capabilities outside the scope possessed by a natural [soulical] body [e.g., He could appear at a certain place and disappear from that place, moving to another place, at will (Luke 24:31, 36)]. But there was no Glory connected with His resurrection body until “a cloud” received Him out of the disciples’ sight at the end of His forty-day post-resurrection ministry, when He was “received up into glory” [Acts 1:9; 1 Timothy 3:16].
This can be easily seen, for example, through noting the differences in two of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances. He appeared to the two disciples on the Emmaus road later on the same day that He was raised from the dead [appearing apart from His Glory (Luke 24:13-31)], and He appeared a few years later to Paul on the Damascus road [in connection with His Glory (Acts 9:1-5; 26:12-15)]. At Christ’s former appearance, it is apparent that there was nothing visibly different about His overall appearance that distinguished Him from any other man. However, at His latter appearance, there was a major difference in this respect. There was a brightness surrounding His appearance that was above that of the noon-day sun [Acts 26:13; cf. Revelation 1:16].
When Christians are removed from the earth at the end of the present dispensation, they will receive bodies like unto Christ’s body at the time of His resurrection — a spiritual body of flesh and bones, apart from the Glory. The “redemption” of the body will then occur at a later time, in connection with “the adoption” [Romans 8:23], not in connection with the removal of Christians from the earth at the end of the present dispensation.
The adoption of Christians can occur only following events surrounding the judgment seat of Christ, for the adoption has to do with the placement of sons in a firstborn status — something that cannot be done preceding a separation of Christians [the overcomers from the non-overcomers], based on decisions and determinations rendered at the judgment seat. Christians having been shown faithful at the judgment seat, realizing the salvation of their souls/lives, will be adopted as firstborn sons. But such will not be, for it cannot be, the case for unfaithful Christians, those having forfeited their souls/lives.
According to Romans 8:18-23, adoption as firstborn sons is in connection with rulership [in the human realm, only firstborn sons can rule in this manner within the theocracy]. And the unfaithful, though possessing spiritual bodies of flesh and bones, will be in no position to rule and cannot be adopted into a firstborn status. They can only appear as the ones seen in Hebrews 12:8 — as individuals who had previously rejected God’s child-training [vv. 5-7] and cannot now be His sons [the sons seen in Romans 8:19, adopted into a firstborn status in v. 23].
[The word “chastisement” (KJV) or “chastening” (NKJV) in Hebrews 12:5-8 is from the noun and verb forms (paideia, paideuo) of a Greek word that means “child-training.” Then, the word translated “bastard” (KJV) or “illegitimate” (NKJV) in v. 8 is nothos in the Greek text. The word, contextually refers to those who reject God’s child-training and cannot be His sons.
“Sonship,” with a view to rulership, is in view. And only those capable of spiritual perception, only those “born from above,” would be in a position to reject God’s child-training. Thus, the unsaved cannot be in view; nor is eternal salvation even the subject at hand.]
Only following the adoption can the Glory be connected with the body, with man brought back into a full realization of that which Adam forfeited at the time of the fall [at the end of six days, at the end of 6,000 years]. Man, following the adoption and the corresponding restoration of the Glory will once again be enswathed in a covering of Glory and in a position to be further clothed in regal garments [refer to the text in parenthesis on page six in chapter one of this book for additional information in this realm].
Thus, the redemption of the body in Romans 8:23 can have nothing to do with the change in the body that will occur when Christians are removed from the earth at the end of the dispensation. As shown by the context, the redemption of the body in this verse can only be a reference to that future time when “the glory . . . shall be revealed in us,” in Christians; it can only be a reference to that future time when “the sons of God,” a new order of Sons — Christ with His co-heirs [overcoming Christians, adopted and properly arrayed] — will be manifested for all to behold [vv. 18, 19].)
The Coming Judgment of Christians
2 Corinthians 5:10, 11 & Hebrews 10:30, 31
The teaching of the coming judgment of Christians, which is prevalent throughout the New Testament, is a doctrine most churches, ministers, and Christians as a whole refuse to address. Even those who are aware of its impending reality speak of it rarely. The reason lies primarily in a lack of understanding of God’s comprehensive redemption plan for man, which entails the fulfillment of the stated purpose for man’s creation outlined in the opening chapters of the book of Genesis, i.e., to have “dominion” over the earth and all upon it (1:26, 28), and how this will be achieved through the salvation of the soul. And a central and indispensable element of soul-salvation is the Judgment Seat of Christ and its relationship to every Christian.
Considering this judgment seat, Chitwood presents an effective overview of it and its non-relationship to one’s eternal (spirit) salvation in the foreword of his book, Judgment Seat of Christ, as follows:
The judgment seat of Christ will be operable in one realm alone — man’s actions, following the birth from above. Nothing pertaining to man’s eternal salvation (based entirely upon that which Christ has done) can come into view at this judgment, for God has already judged sin in the person of His Son at Calvary. And God is satisfied with His Son’s finished work.
Thus, all judgment relative to eternal salvation is past and can never again be brought up as an issue. “He that believes in Him [Christ] is not condemned [Greek: krino; lit., ‘is not judged,’ i.e., the one who has believed on Christ can never be brought into judgment (for judgment has already occurred)] . . . .” (John 3:18a).
And this is what bothers some Christians about thoughts surrounding the judgment seat of Christ. Scriptures such as John 3:18 clearly state that no Christian can ever be brought into judgment. Yet, Scriptures such as 2 Corinthians 5:10 — “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ . . . .” — also clearly state that judgment awaits all Christians.
This can become quite confusing unless one recognizes that two entirely different matters are being dealt with. One has to do with God’s judgment upon sin, based upon His Son’s finished work at Calvary, which pertains to man’s eternal salvation. The other has to do with God’s subsequent judgment upon His household servants relative to their faithfulness or unfaithfulness as servants in the Lord’s house, with the Messianic Era in view.
The former judgment has to do with unsaved man and eternal verities; the later judgment has to do with saved man and millennial verities. And the difference between the two could be compared to the distance between the east and the west. It is only because of the former that the latter can occur; and the latter can have nothing to do with the former in the sense of nullifying, adding to, taking from, etc.
The two are completely separate in this respect. Once a person has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ—has passed “from death to life” — that individual comes into an entirely new relationship with God. He is born from above, becomes part of the family of God; and he then finds himself among household servants, who are being dealt with accordingly.
Following the birth from above, God deals with an individual on an entirely different plane — as a household servant, with a view to the Messianic Era lying out ahead. The individual is never again dealt with (during present or future time; or, at a future judgment) on the basis of that which is past — Christ's finished work, effecting his eternal salvation.
And this fact alone should put to rest any thought that saved man could ever one day become unsaved, lost. How could he? Such would be impossible, for God never deals with saved man in this respect (and this is all aside from the fact that man's salvation is not based on anything which he has done to begin with, but on that which Christ alone has done).
But that which numerous Christians fail to recognize is the fact that they are directly responsible, as household servants, to the One who sent His Son to die in their stead. And, as household servants, they will one day stand before their Savior (to whom God has committed all judgment) to give an account relative to faithfulness or unfaithfulness in the Lord’s house.
The judgment seat of Christ will be operable in this realm alone, and decisions and determinations emanating from findings at the judgment seat will result in two things: (1) reward on the one hand, or (2) loss on the other. And both will have to do with the Messianic Era, not with eternal life.
And within both there will be a just recompense (Hebrews 2:2; 11:26) receiving exactly what an individual deserves, receiving wages exactly commensurate with the person’s faithfulness or unfaithfulness as a servant in the Lord’s house (cf. Luke 12:42-46).
It is unfortunate that most Christians are unaware of the gravity of how they are to live as members of Christ’s body. And because of this, most will never attain to being Christ’s bride (another misconception of Scripture is that the body and the bride of Christ are one and the same). Comparing Scripture with Scripture, particularly in the type-antitype realm, one should easily see that the bride of Christ will be taken from the body of Christ. Scripture presents Adam, the “first man,” as a type of Christ, the “second Man” (Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49). And as Adam’s bride was taken from his body and presented back to him (Genesis 2: 21-23), so Christ’s bride, who alone will possess righteous acts that have passed the test of Christ’s judgment, will be taken from his body and presented back to Him (Revelation 19:7, 8). And the selection of Christ’s bride, along with the building of the body of Christ, is the fundamental purpose of the Holy Spirit during the Church period (dispensation).
This was why the apostle Paul disciplined his body and brought it into subjection; this was why he competed for the prize; this was why he ran the race; this was the bases of his fear of being disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). This was why Paul said:
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness that is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection (lit. out-resurrection, from exanastasis, the only time this Greek word is used in the Bible) from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11)
There will be a resurrection from all those who have been resurrected. There will be those who will win the prize and the race; but, there will be many who will neither win a prize or the race, who will not participate in the “out-resurrection” to be the bride of Christ.
And as Colossians 3:16 revealed the intricate and inextricable link of allowing the “Word of Christ” to dwell in the believer with the command to be “filled with the Spirit” of Ephesians 5:18-20, both companion passages; so one will also find that the companion passages of 2 Corinthians 5:10, 11 to Hebrews 10:30, 31 not only clarifies the identify of those addressed by the five separate warnings in Hebrews, but also highlights the severity of the warning in chapter ten of this epistle and its inextricable link with the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The most prevalent position by Bible scholars regarding the identity of those to whom the warnings of Hebrews are addressed is that they were individuals who had “professed” to be Christians but who had never actually taken the step to place their faith in Christ and then became apostates; or, that they were Israelites who had rejected the gospel of Christ for the sacrificial system of the Mosaic Law. Henry Allan (H.A.) Ironside, pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church for eighteen years and the prolific writer of many expositional books on the Bible, made the following statement in his book, Hebrews-James-Peter, which is representative of this common position.
Solemn are the warnings . . . against the terrible possibility of apostasy, to which many from among the Jews who professed faith in Jesus as their Messiah, but had never trusted Him as their Savior, were especially liable.
Ironside and many expositors of the Word attempt to assign each warning, five of the most crucial passages within the New Testament, to Jews who had come close to accepting Christ, possibly even making a profession of faith, but who were disingenuous in their testimony and who actually turned their backs to Him. And this is most unfortunate because by doing so, the vital meaning of these warning passages as they relate to Christians (the Bible does not entertain the concept of a “professing” [false] Christian) becomes minimized at best, or totally corrupted at worst.
The passage in Hebrews 10:30, 31, simply on face value, is a passage speaking about God’s judgment of “His people.”
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful [Greek: phoberos] thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:30, 31)
Comparing Scripture with Scripture, the passage refers back to Deuteronomy 32:35, 36 and Psalm 135:14, both passages contextually dealing with God’s chosen people Israel and their apostasy (i.e., their abandonment of their faith in God and refusal to fulfill their purpose of entering and conquering the land that God had promised them as their inheritance), which resulted in God’s judgment upon them in the wilderness (on the right side of the blood [sacrifice of the Paschal lamp, i.e., their salvation from Egypt], but on the wrong side of their completion of their designated purpose of entering the land).
This warning passage, as are all the warning passages in the book of Hebrews, is addressed to Christians — to those who had been “sanctified” (set apart) by the “blood of the covenant (Christ’s blood, which signified His “spiritual death” on the cross),” and who could “insult(ed) the Spirit of grace” (a spiritual repercussion requiring a spiritual relationship, which relationship is non-existent between an unbeliever and the Holy Spirit — similar to grieving and quenching Him [Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19] ) and who had been “illuminated” as in Hebrews 6:4 (vv. 29, 32).
And this is further confirmed by the Old Testament quote embodied within the warning, i.e., “The Lord will judge His people (v. 30b), which refers to the “certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation that will devour the adversaries” in verse twenty-seven and the “vengeance” in the first part of verse thirty.
It is not within the scope of this study to present the various exegetical proofs showing that the entire book of Hebrews is an epistle written to believers who can indeed be subject to apostasy and thereby severe judgment; but, should the reader wish to explore this truth; the following two studies from the Topical Section of www.bibleone.net are recommended:
But it is within the scope of this study to reveal the nexus between this warning passage in Hebrews chapter ten (vv. 30, 31) and the very definite warning by the apostle Paul to the Corinth believers as found in 2 Corinthians 5:10, 11; thereby, making these two passage of Scripture “Companion Scriptures.” A comparison of these two passages clearly indicates a striking similarity. Both involve a coming judgment by God and both reference a fearful expectation relative to this judgment.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror [Greek: phobos, fear] of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. (2 Corinthians 5:10, 11)
In 2 Corinthians 5:10, 11 there is no doubt that Paul is speaking about the coming judgment before Christ, which he affirms will be the future for all believers to include himself (cf. Romans 2:6; 14:10; Galatians 6:7; Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 3:24-25; Revelation 22:12). And in connection with this judgment, he mentions the “fear of the Lord,” which this coming judgment should engender in believers. This coming judgment is therefore that which each Christian should treat with the utmost gravity.
It is unfortunate that most Christians only envision rewards when they contemplate their appearance before Christ; whereas, they should also consider even more so the alternative of “suffering loss” if they appear before this judicial (bema) seat without any appropriate works (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
If the parables of Christ regarding the certain decline of Christianity as seen in Matthew chapter thirteen and the same decline as is seen in the seven churches in John’s Revelation, chapters two and three, are true (and they are!); it is certain that there will be more “loss” than “rewards” that will come from issues and determinations at that place and time. To do so would bring genuine meaning to “Knowing, therefore, the terror [phobos, fear] of the Lord, we persuade men . . . .”
And when one compares this passage in Second Corinthians to it companion passage in Hebrews chapter ten, it is unmistakable that they both speak of the same coming judgment of Christians. And the truth comes crashing home that this coming judgment is certain and it will indeed be “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Under the topic, “The ‘Why’ of Error” and followed by “The ‘Result’ of Error,” Chitwood, in chapter four of The Study of Scripture, using the comparative technique of biblical interpretation outlined above, reveals the truth of God’s Word as it relates to (1) Soteriology (study of salvation), (2) Anthropology (study of man), and (3) Eschatology (study of end time events) — all topics crucial to man and his redemption:
The “Why” of Error
God tells man in the opening two chapters of His revelation what the whole of His plans and purposes is all about, with the remainder of Scripture simply clothing (adding all the various details to, etc.) that set forth in skeletal form at the beginning. And if material comprising the foundation is ignored or improperly understood, one can never properly relate material comprising the superstructure to its correct place of origin. All error in biblical doctrine can ultimately be traced back to either this point or the point of ignoring or improperly understanding subsequent preliminary foundational material built immediately and directly on the foundation itself.
That would be to say again, there must be a solid, stable foundation for a solid, stable superstructure to exist. And, again, the structure must rest on the foundation.
In the main, within Christian circles over the years, this has not been done; and tragic consequences have resulted. Not only is there a multiplicity of doctrinal thought in numerous areas (some of it being quite dangerous) but there is a general lack of knowledge in the same areas.
Examples from several areas of biblical doctrine should be sufficient to illustrate the point:
The word, “soteriology,” comes from the Greek word, soteria, which means “salvation.” The word is used in theology to refer to doctrinal teachings surrounding salvation.
The Bible is a book of redemption; and basic, unchangeable teachings surrounding redemption are set forth in Scripture, at the very beginning, revealing a purpose in view.
In the first chapter of Genesis God sets forth the unchangeable manner in which He, in His infinite knowledge and wisdom, restores a ruined creation. There is a restorative work that follows a specific pattern, and the matter is accomplished entirely through divine intervention. And within this unchangeable pattern set forth at the very beginning, God reveals how any subsequent ruined creation would, of necessity, have to be restored. It would have to be restored after a certain order, entirely through divine intervention, over a six-day (six-thousand-year) period.
Thus, to establish correct thinking relative to the fundamentals of salvation, one must begin in Genesis. If all those holding erroneous views had begun in Genesis, chapter one and understood and adhered to that which God set forth at the very beginning concerning how a ruined creation is to be restored, the numerous, erroneous views that man holds concerning salvation wouldn’t exist. They couldn’t exist.
And, going to more specific thoughts concerning salvation, the preceding would equally apply to not only the salvation of the spirit but the salvation of the soul as well. Within the structure of the foundational framework, the salvation of the spirit (the salvation that we presently possess) is realized at the very beginning of the six days, through that which is foreshadowed by events occurring on day one; but the salvation of the soul (a salvation occurring at the end of one’s faith, or as the goal of one’s faith) is an on-going process and is to be realized at the end of the six days, on the seventh day, through that which is foreshadowed by events occurring during days two through six.
In this respect, the unchangeable basics pertaining to salvation in relation to the whole of that which, in reality, is the man himself (both spirit and soul) have been set forth at the very beginning of Scripture, in Genesis 1:1-2:3. And if a person would understand salvation within its correct perspective, avoiding all error, he must begin here. Here — and only here — can a person see the unchangeable foundation, setting forth the unchangeable basics, laid down at the very beginning.
A) Salvation of the Spirit
Hebrews 4:12 reveals a division being effected by the Word of God between man’s “soul and spirit.” And this is a teaching drawn from the very opening verses of Genesis (as seen earlier in this same section in Hebrews chapter four relative to the “rest” set before “the people of God” [vv. 4, 9]). The Spirit of God moves in Genesis 1:2b and God speaks in Genesis 1:3. In relation to man’s salvation, it is at this point (in what would be seen as the foundational type) that a division is made between man’s “soul and spirit” (in what would be called the antitype).
In the type, the Spirit of God moved, God spoke, and light came into existence. Genesis 1:2b, 3 records the initial act of the Triune Godhead in bringing about the restoration of the ruined material creation, an act in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each participated (note that nothing can come into existence apart from the Son [John 1:3]).
In the antitype, within the framework of man’s salvation experience, the matter is identical. There must be an act of the Triune Godhead, for this is how God worked to restore a ruined creation in the Genesis account, establishing an unchangeable pattern for a later work. The Spirit of God moves, God speaks, and light comes into existence. The matter is that plain and simple.
Everything is based on the Son’s finished work at Calvary. The Spirit moving and God speaking are both based on that which occurred almost 2,000 years ago.
When the Son cried out from the Cross, “It is finished,” He meant exactly that [a perfect tense is used in the Greek text, referring to action completed in past time and existing during present time in a finished or completed state — lit., “It has been finished,”] (John 19:30; cf. Luke 23:46); and when the Word of God reveals that we have a salvation of divine origin, based entirely on the Son’s finished work, the Word of God means exactly that as well.
When man sinned in the garden, he died spiritually; and when unregenerate man, “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), is made alive today, he is made alive spiritually. The movement of the Spirit (Genesis 1:2b) and God speaking (Genesis 1:3) in order to restore the ruined creation are seen, in relation to ruined man, as simultaneous events. It is the Spirit using the God-breathed Word to effectually perform a supernatural work in unredeemed man. It is at this point — through the inbreathing of God — that life is imparted to the one previously having no life. God breathes into dead man (the Spirit using the God-breathed Word, based on the finished work of the Son, the living Word), and man is “quickened [‘made alive’]” (Ephesians 2:1, 5).
At this point, light shines “out of darkness” (2 Corinthians 4:6), a division is made between the light and the darkness (Genesis 1:4), and the darkness has no apprehension or comprehension of that which is light (John 1:5; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14).
It is at this point in man’s salvation that the spirit is separated from the soul. The “spirit” in unsaved man is dead. It is a part of the totally depraved man, with his “body of . . . death,” in which there dwells “no good thing” (Romans 7:18, 24). With the movement of the Spirit, using the God-breathed Word, man's spirit is made alive and, at the same time, separated from his soul.
The “soul” remains within the sphere of darkness, which is why “the natural [Greek: psuchikos, ‘soulical’] man” cannot understand “the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14). That which remains in the sphere of darkness can have no apprehension or comprehension of that which has shined out of darkness. There is a God-established division between the spirit and the soul that cannot be crossed over (cf. Luke 16:26).
B) Salvation of the Soul
God, through the preceding process, delivers the spirit from the level into which it fell, resulting from Adam’s sin. And because the spirit has been delivered, there can once again be communion with God, man can now comprehend spiritual things, and there can now be a progressive, continued work by the Spirit of God within man so that man can ultimately be delivered to the place that God has decreed that he occupy at the end of six days, at the end of six thousand years.
Within the framework of the type in Genesis, chapter one, this is the very first thing that is foreshadowed. This had to be set forth first, for man had to first be made alive — he had to first pass “from death unto life” — before anything else in the restorative process could occur. Thus, this is foreshadowed at the very beginning of the six days that God, in accordance with the established pattern, would use to bring about man’s complete restoration — “spirit, soul, and body” (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
To briefly illustrate how God’s complete restoration of man is patterned after God’s complete restoration of the material creation in Genesis, chapter one, note two things: 1) that which occurred on each day, and 2) the place where the whole of the restorative process was leading.
Within a type-antitype framework — pertaining to man’s salvation in the antitype — as previously stated, that which occurred in the type on day one pertains to the salvation of man’s spirit, and that which occurred in the type on days two through six pertains to the salvation of man’s soul.
The salvation of the spirit is an instantaneous event where one passes “from death unto life,” but not so with the salvation of the soul. It is a progressive event. It is an event that begins at the point one is made alive spiritually, and it will not be realized until the end of the six days of restorative work (the end of six thousand years of restorative work).
(The issues of the judgment seat of Christ at the end of the present dispensation — that will occur at the end of the six days, the end of the 6,000 years — will have to do with issues surrounding the salvation [or loss] of the soul/life. It will be here — not before — that the man will realize [or fail to realize] the salvation of his soul/life.)
Since the salvation of the spirit cannot occur apart from an exact duplication in the antitype of that which occurred in the type during day one of the restoration in Genesis, how could the salvation of the soul, in relation to that which occurred on days two through six, be looked upon after any different fashion? It couldn’t. The latter must follow the pattern to the same degree as the former. There can be no difference in this respect.
And since this is the case, note what occurred on days two through six in the restoration of the ruined material creation in Genesis. Then, to see the overall picture of that which must be done to bring about the salvation of redeemed man’s soul, these same events can be viewed in relation to God’s present restoration of man, a subsequent ruined creation.
Events on days two and three (as events on the first day) have to do with divisions. On the second day God established a division between the waters (vv. 6-8), and on the third day He caused the dry land with its vegetation to appear, separating the dry land from the waters (vv. 9-13).
Then events on days four through six belong together as another unit, depicting things beyond the divisions previously established. On the fourth day God placed lights in the heavens to give light upon the earth (vv. 14-19), on the fifth day He created birds that could soar above the earth and marine life that could move throughout the depths of the sea (vv. 20-23), and on the sixth day He created the land animals, which included great creatures capable of roaming the earth (vv. 24, 25).
And the whole of God’s restorative work relative to the material creation in Genesis foreshadows the whole of God’s restorative work relative to man. After man has “passed from death unto life,” wherein the spirit is separated from the soul — wrought entirely through divine intervention — man finds himself in a position and condition where a continued divine work not only can occur but is vitally necessary. And only through this continued divine work can the whole of God’s restorative work, as it pertains to man, be realized.
(As seen in God’s initial restorative work surrounding the material creation, man must be completely passive in relation to the salvation of the spirit [he is dead, rendering him incapable of acting]. But man, as the material creation [“And the earth brought forth . . .”] must then be active. He must be active in relation to the salvation of the soul [he now has life, allowing him to act]. But, as in the restoration of the material creation, the entire salvation process [spirit and soul, and ultimately the body] is a divine work.
It has to be a divine work, for that is the manner in which it is set forth in the opening type. It must be as Jonah stated immediately prior to deliverance: “Salvation [deliverance, restoration] is of the Lord” [Jonah 2:9].)
Events occurring during the first three days in Genesis, chapter one would point to elementary things or the basics in one’s spiritual life and growth. Events occurring during day one would point to a division having to do with the impartation of life. Then events occurring during days two and three would point to divisions, distinctions as one begins to progressively grow within the framework of the new life brought into existence on the first day. One would learn to distinguish between the soulical and spiritual, spiritual and carnal (fleshly), Jew, Gentile, and Christian, the dispensations, etc.
Only when one learns the distinctions, divisions depicted by that which was brought to pass on days two and three is he in a position to move on into the things depicted by that which was brought to pass on days four through six. On these three days, light was restored to the sun and moon (day four, vv. 14-19); sea life and the birds of the air were created (day five, vv. 20-23); and then God created all the living creatures that roam the earth, followed by His creation of man (day six, vv. 24-27).
That depicted by the work of the Triune Godhead during these three days points to things beyond elementary truths in the antitype. After one has passed “from death unto life” and has been instructed in the elementary truths (days one through three) — after he has been “born from above” and has grown to a degree in his Christian life — he can then begin to view with understanding deeper spiritual truths of the Word. He can then begin to view with understanding those things in the Word depicted by events on days four through six of Genesis, chapter one.
An individual in this position can then begin to sink deep shafts down into the Word and mine its treasures. He can look into the Word and understand that depicted by the lights in the heavens. He can in the true sense of the Word, “mount up with wings as eagles . . . run, and not be weary . . . walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31), as he scales the heights; or he can scale the depths of the Word as the sea creatures plunge to the depths of the sea; or he can roam through the Word as the land creatures roam the earth.
In short, the more a person progresses from immaturity to maturity the more he comes into a position where he becomes unlimited in that which he can mine from the God-breathed Word in his possession. And the whole matter is with a view to man, at the end of six days (at the end of six thousand years), being in a position to realize the purpose for his very existence: “Let them have dominion . . . .” (Genesis 1:26, 28).
And to tie it all together in order to show the connection between maturity in the faith (present) and occupying a position as co-heir with Christ in the kingdom (future) is very simple. The salvation of the soul — allowing Christians to have the dominion for which man was created — will be realized by those who, during the present time, patiently endure, by faith (Hebrews 6:12ff; 10:36ff), the trials and testings of life as they keep their eyes fixed upon the same thing Christ kept His eyes fixed upon as He endured the sufferings of Calvary — the joy “set before him” (Hebrews 12:1, 2; cf. Matthew 25:19-23). And this cannot be successfully accomplished apart from some element of maturity in the faith.
. . . faith comes by [Greek: ek, out of] hearing, and hearing by [Greek: dia, through] the Word of God (Romans 10:17)
“Faith” is simply believing that which God has to say about a matter. Thus, walking by faith is walking in accordance with that which God has said; living by faith is living in accordance with that which God has said, etc.
And it all comes down to this:
To act, “by faith,” in any realm of life, one must know and understand that which God has said relative to the matter at hand. In other words, such a person must be conversant with the Word of God; and the more conversant he is with this Word, the better equipped he will be to act “by faith.”
The pilgrim walk is a walk solely “by faith,” never by sight. There is only one hope for victory, and that is a continuous walk by faith with one's eyes fixed on the goal out ahead.
There will be attacks by Satan time after time after time throughout the Christian life, and the only recourse that Christians possess to assure victory is a knowledge of the Word of God, an ability to use the Word, and an adherence to that which the Word states. Otherwise defeat can only be inevitable, with the Christian being overcome by the enemy rather than overcoming the enemy.
And that’s why the salvation of the soul — having to do with a participation with Christ as co-heir in events occurring on the seventh day — cannot be realized apart from a realization in one’s life of that portended by events on days two through six in the Genesis account. The journey from day one to day seven can be successfully accomplished only by traveling through days two through six.
Days two through six lie between days one and seven in a parallel respect to the Red Sea and the Wilderness lying between Egypt and Canaan. No route exists that carries one directly from the beginning point to the end point without passing through that which lies between. All six of the days must be passed through to reach the seventh day, and the route extending from the death of the Passover Lamb in Egypt through the Red Sea and the Wilderness must be traversed in order to reach the land wherein one’s inheritance lies.
This is the revealed way that God has outlined for man to travel. And as there is only one revealed way of eternal salvation (man made alive spiritually), there is only one revealed way in which redeemed man can traverse the pilgrim path if he would one day realize the salvation of his soul.
One Way! One Way! That’s it! There is no other.
The word, “anthropology,” comes from the Greek word, anthropos, which means “man.” The word is used in theology to refer to doctrinal teachings surrounding man.
The origin and reason for man’s existence are set forth in the first chapter of Genesis (vv. 26-28), and additional details concerning how God created man are set forth in the second chapter (vv. 7, 21-25). Then man’s fall is dealt with in the third chapter, along with God’s promise of a coming Redeemer, followed by an immediate provision of redemption via divine intervention (vv. 1-21). And the remainder of Scripture (3:22ff), covering 6,000 years of time, deals with God’s restoration of the ruined creation, for a revealed purpose.
The purpose for man’s redemption cannot be separated from the purpose for his creation. He was brought into existence to rule and reign. God created man, He put the man to sleep, He removed from the man that part of his being that was used to bring the woman into existence, and He then presented the woman back to the man in order that the man might be complete (Genesis 2:7, 21-25).
And this was done (setting forth great foundational truths surrounding Christ and His bride) in order that the man and the woman might rule the restored domain together — the King, with his consort Queen.
And all these things provide God’s unchangeable foundational revelation surrounding man:
a) Man’s creation (the man and the woman — the woman created in the man and then removed from the man).
b) God’s purpose for bringing man into existence (to ascend the throne and rule the earth [the king with his consort queen]).
c) Satan’s purpose for bringing about man’s fall (to disqualify man [through sin, as he himself had previously been disqualified] and, resultantly, retain his position on the throne.
d) God’s purpose surrounding man’s redemption (to ultimately place man on the throne, in the stead of Satan, allowing man to hold the scepter and realize the purpose for his creation in the beginning).
And any later revelation concerning man cannot be understood in its proper perspective apart from beginning where God began — at the beginning — and understanding the Word in this light, for that is where God has placed the unchangeable foundational material upon which His later revelation rests.
(A principle of biblical government necessitates that an incumbent ruler, though disqualified, continue to hold his position until his God-appointed successor is not only on the scene but ready to ascend the throne. Only at that time will God remove one ruler from the throne [the first] and establish the other [the second] on the throne, in accord with Daniel 4:17, 23-25.
Refer to the account of Saul and David in the books of 1, 2 Samuel, foreshadowing that which has happened, is happening, and will happen relative to Satan and Christ.)
The word, “eschatology,” comes from the Greek word, eschatos, which means “last.” The word is used in theology to refer to doctrinal teachings surrounding future events (last things), i.e., prophecy.
And, if a person would have a proper grasp of that which is being dealt with on the subject of eschatology at points throughout Scripture, his study must begin in the opening chapters of Genesis. The whole of the eschatological framework is set forth within the foundational framework surrounding that which God has revealed about the six and seven days in Genesis 1:1-2:3.
From within that which is taught in the framework, a person can begin to move forward and see any biblical doctrine (doctrine of man, salvation, angels, etc.) within its correct perspective. Apart from beginning after this fashion, such can never be the case.
In eschatology, everything moves toward that coming seventh day; but it begins on the first day. And a person works his way toward that seventh day in Scripture by moving through the previous six, viewing man’s fall and God’s redemptive work throughout the six days (throughout 6,000 years of redemptive work), with a view to the seventh day (the coming 1,000 years of rest).
(Eschatology in relation to man begins on the first day. Scripture though reveals a few things occurring prior to the events of day one, in eternity past, which must be understood if all things in Genesis 1:1-2:3 are to, in turn, be properly understood. These things would include God placing Satan over this earth as its first provincial ruler, Satan seeking to exalt his throne, and the ruined kingdom which resulted [over which Satan continued to rule, which he continues to rule today].
And a person understanding these things is then in a position to begin in Genesis 1:2 [where the kingdom is seen falling into this ruined state] and move forward.)
Starting at the beginning within the foundational structure, following man’s creation and fall, two days pass, 2,000 years pass, and Abraham appears (allowing the nation of Israel to later appear); then two more days pass, 2,000 additional years pass, and Messiah appears (followed by His death, burial, and resurrection, allowing the Church to be brought into existence [a Scriptural truth that has its foundational teachings within God’s action in Genesis 2:21-25 and Adam’s action in Genesis 3:6]). And events surrounding Messiah’s appearance all rest on the foundation established in Genesis chapter one, with a view to realizing that which is foreshadowed by events on the seventh day in chapter two.
And that’s the way it is with soteriology, anthropology, eschatology, or any other biblical doctrine (Ecclesiology [doctrine of the Church], Christology [doctrine of Christ], Pneumatology [doctrine of the Holy Spirit], etc.). The foundational teachings for all biblical doctrine can be found in the opening chapters of Genesis, and particular attention has been called to three (soteriology, anthropology, and eschatology) only to illustrate the point.
The “Result” of Error
There exists in the world today every conceivable difference in biblical interpretation that man can possibly imagine. This ranges all the way from what might be considered minor differences existing among Christians in the various denominational and independent groups to major differences exhibited by the cults. But, viewing these differences as a whole, things often become clouded. A sharp line in doctrinal thought between the cults and the denominational or independent groups (usually considered to be generally sound) is not always so evident.
In fact, the absence of sharp distinctions in various types of unsound doctrinal thought proclaimed by different groups of this nature is far more prevalent than many may realize. The leaven that the woman placed in the three measures of meal in Matthew 13:33, apparently very early in the dispensation, is no respecter of names or any other type divisions among Christian groups; and this leaven, which has been working since possibly the very inception of the Church, is going to continue doing its damaging work until “the whole” has been leavened, i.e., until “the whole” has been corrupted.
One of the best examples of the outworking of the leaven within the mainstream of Christendom today would be the widely accepted Lordship Salvation teaching, a teaching that has infiltrated practically all denominational and independent groups. And a high percentage of those holding to this line of thought today are to be found in the so-called fundamental circles. The teaching itself though undermines the whole of God’s restorative work throughout Man’s Day, for it not only corrupts the gospel of the grace of God (negatively reflecting on the foundation set through events of day one in Genesis chapter one) but it obscures the gospel of the glory of Christ (negatively reflecting on the foundation set through events of days two through six in Genesis chapter one).
Then another example would be the lack of (and, really, “aversion to” in many instances) teachings dealing with the salvation of the soul within the same so-called fundamental circles (again, negatively reflecting on the foundation set through events of days two through six in Genesis chapter one). This is the message that Satan hates, and he will do everything within his power to prevent its proclamation or understanding (cf. Matthew 13:3-7, 18-22; 2 Corinthians 3:3-6).
(“So-called fundamental circles” because the name fundamentalism portends a return to the fundamentals of the faith, which, in turn, portends a return to the foundational truths in Genesis. Such a return would be true fundamentalism, in which the manifested errors among many using this name today would not — they could not — exist.)
So that’s where we are today. Men have gone astray because they have ignored that which God established, after one fashion, at the beginning. There has been a departure from the established foundation and subsequent preliminary foundational truths, which has resulted in the manifested error.
And that’s it! The matter is that simple. If you want to remain correct as you work your way through Scripture, then it is absolutely necessary that you start out in a correct manner at the beginning.
Begin at the beginning, find out how God structured His Word, study it after that fashion, and you will not go wrong.