The idea behind the Handbook was to compress the major points of scripture into single or short sentences without any biblical citations. So many writings about theological topics are complex and take hours to read and understand.
Death: means separation, not annihilation. Five kinds of death are: physical (separation of the human spirit from the human body); spiritual (separation of one’s spirit from God); relational (separation of fellowship with God); second or eternal (separation into hell); and due to a sin (separation in the believer from Jesus’ life during New Covenant living).
Elders: church elders are married men with children.
Faith: belief plus action on that belief. Imagine a major airport with car-parking facilities as big as several foot-ball fields. At strategic points, the parking lots have open-faced shelters with a bench along the rear wall. Each shelter features a sign reading, “Bus Departs For Airport.”
A traveler asks someone in the shelter, “Does the bus go to the airport?” The answer, “Yes, every few minutes.” A bus arrives, and on its marquis a sign says “AIRPORT.” The doors open, and the bus driver announces, “This bus goes to the airport.”
The bus departs, and our friend remains on the bench in the shelter saying, “I believe that bus goes to the airport.” However, for our friend to actually get to the airport, action would have had to take place.
The combination of the traveler’s belief and the action of getting on the bus headed to the airport is an example of faith by the traveler.
The human ability to believe and act upon God’s salvation promises comes from God alone.
Gospel: the human proclamation of God’s salvation.
Heart: the ‘organ of belief’ (the heart not being the physical organ).
Hell: the eternal destination for unbelievers.
Holy Spirit: does not empower or enable a believer’s actions. The Spirit causes Jesus’ life to be
manifested in and through the believer.
Jesus: As His disciples saw the Father when they saw Jesus, so believers see Jesus when they see a believer living according to the New Covenant.
Justification: God’s forgiveness of one’s sins. This begins at the teenage years.
Life: physically it begins at conception.
Love: using one’s resources to meet another believer’s needs—not an emotion, and not including unbelievers needs.
Man: created a decision maker.
Missions: Spirit commanded travel to geographic locations for presenting the gospel to the inhabitants—not a general command for all church members.
New Covenant: God provides removal of one’s old heart (not the physical one), a new heart, a new spirit, and the presence of the Spirit in one’s mortal body. This sequence for a human is also known as being “born again.” The New Covenant contains God’s guidance and directions to the church for living in this age.
Priests: all church believers are priests and belong to God.
Races: the three races have different roles.
Rewards: given believers by God at judgment of believers who have lived by faith.
Salvation: God’s forgiveness of sins and His provision of freedom from slavery to sin for believers. Humans have no role of works whatsoever in obtaining salvation.
Sanctification: freedom from slavery to sin in the believer by the Spirit.
Satan: exists and is active.
Sin: a biological substance carried in all the seeds of every male. Sin has programed in its composition a set of sin-producing instructions that control the behavior of every human. Sin is evil.
Sins: human actions that always and immediately alienate God causing His spiritual separation from the human.
Societal (non biblical) myths: free will, evolution, women’s rights, human life begins at delivery, abortion is acceptable, and global warming.
Woman: created an activist.
Years ago, a local church pastor pointed out a passage from Romans 8:29-30 wherein it is revealed that those foreknown by God are ultimately and irreversibly destined for heaven. The passage’s sequence: those foreknown are predestined, called, justified, and glorified (i.e., in heaven).
At another local church, a group of people kept a prayer book containing the names of unbelievers for which the group prayed consistently that God would save those listed in the book.
Combining the Roman’s passage with the group’s prayers, it became logically apparent that people
could be praying against God’s will. If the group prayed for an unbeliever who was not foreknown by God, then ipso facto that prayer was contrary to God’s foreknowledge and will.
One solution to this enigma is to pray, “God, if such-and-such an unbeliever is on Your to-be-called list, then please exercise Your call sooner rather than later.”
Such a prayer respects God’s sovereignty and unilateralism.
Does this mean God never changes His mind? God did change His mind with Moses (Exod. 32:14). But God never changed His mind about His salvation of His foreknown people.
MOSES’ FADING FACE
An enigma exists: how did the Apostle Paul know that Moses’ shinning face faded (2 Cor. 3:7) since it seems that Moses kept his shinning face veiled for much of the time (Exod. 34:33)?
And what is the theological significance of Moses’ fading face?
This essay will present possible answers for both questions from the scriptures. Please note: all scripture citations are from the New American Standard Bible, Anaheim, CA: Foundation Publications, 1995.
Moses’ Shinning Face
For the second time, Moses spent forty days and forty nights atop Mount Sinai with God. God transcribed His commandments on two stone tablets which He had commanded Moses to bring with him to the top of the mountain. Thus, God’s Ten Commandments were recorded again.
Unknown to Moses, this event resulted in his face shinning (Exod. 34:29). Upon returning to the foot of the mountain, the sons of Israel headed to greet Moses but stopped short from fear when they saw his shinning face (Exod. 34:30).
When their fears finally abated, the sons of Israel eventually approached Moses in spite of his shinning face
Probably to assuage the fears of others who might come into contact with him, Moses covered his shining face with a veil after delivering God’s instructions to the sons of Israel.
The Fading Face
The question arises, “How did Moses discover his face was fading since he kept it covered with a veil?” The answer may come from the point in time when Moses removed his veil, went into the tabernacle, and spoke (sans veil) with the Lord (Ezek. 34:34-35).
The scriptures mention “. . . mirrors (emphasis mine) of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting” (Ezek. 38:8). Some uncertainty exists about the precise meaning and interpretation of the “mirrors” phrase. However, what is certain is that the mirrors had reflective properties, and that Moses would certainly have exposure to the doorway leading to the tent of meeting.
As Moses approached the tent of meeting (or, tabernacle), he would remove the veil from his face and likely catch sight of his face reflected in the mirrors—a reflection which alerted him that his face was fading. This alert need happen only once or twice for Moses to realize that the shining of his face would fade.
Upon talking with the Lord in the tent of meeting, Moses’ face would shine.
The “fading face” reality likely became a tradition transmitted by the sons of Israel to each generation, eventually reaching the ears of the Apostle Paul.
The Theological Significance of Moses’ Fading Face
The early chapters of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians are a dramatic contrast between God’s old covenant and His new covenant. Paul used Moses’ experience of receiving a shining face and its temporary nature as an illustration of the old covenant and its inferiority to the new covenant.
Theologically, Moses’ fading face illustrated the temporary nature of the old covenant. It also illustrated the external nature of the old covenant.
The new covenant is both internal physically and permanent.
An aside: Paul used the stone tablets from Mt. Sinai and the Spirit’s ministry upon human hearts to illustrate that the new covenant was indeed internal (2 Cor. 3:32-6).
God had revealed to Ezekiel the internal nature of the new covenant:
26“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put n new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27”I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
Furthermore, God had revealed to Jeremiah the permanency of the new covenant.
31“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, (i.e., temporary) although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33”But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it (i.e., permanent, or “everlasting,” per Jer. 32:40) and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
The old covenant which God gave to the sons of Israel was both external and temporary as .pictured by Moses’ fading face.
The new covenant is God’s gift to the church—a covenant which is both internal and permanent. Over the years however, life under the new covenant for the church has sometimes become contaminated with bits and pieces of the external and temporary old covenant (e.g., the consecrated priesthood of the Roman church whereas all church saints are priests).
Envisioning the Trinity is sometimes made easier if one pictures the specific management organization of a large commercial company:
- God the Father would be the equivalent of the Chairman of the Board;
- God the Son would be the equivalent of the Chief Operating Officer; and
- God the Holy Spirit would be the equivalent of the labor force.
God the Father makes all the decisions. He is the exclusive decision maker. God the Son formulates the appropriate and perfect plans for carrying out the Father’s precise decisions. And God the Holy Spirit is the labor force (non-union) who actually does perfect works according to the Son’s plans.
Sometimes sin and/or Satan propose their own anti-God plans.
Please note: one would hardly expect any Chairman of the Board himself to install a sheet-rocking plan laid out by the Chief Operating Officer. So, the respective roles of the Trinity are exclusively each’s own—decisions by the Father, plans by the Son, and executions by the Spirit.
The Trinity functions as a unit.
We learn from the scriptures that: “. . . God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made (literally, had created to make),” (Gen. 2:3, NASB, 1995). The literal phrase “to make” suggests other members of the Trinity do the planning and the execution of the work.
By application of the above, a believer enters God’s rest by ceasing from making his own decisions, plans, and works (cf. Heb. 4:10-11 for entering God’s rest, NASB, 1995).
God revealed His yet-to-be-enacted decision for the Jewish nation to His prophet Ezekiel (Ezek. 36:25-27, NASB, 1995). Enactment for the nation will involve both the Son and the Spirit.
In the Bible, God’s decision for the church was quite similar to His decision for nation Israel. He entitled His decision the new covenant. The essence of the new covenant is that the Trinity does everything spiritual for the believer—including making an unbeliever a believer.
While on earth, Jesus announced to His disciples the new covenant’s inauguration for the church (cf. Luke 22:20, NASB, 1995).
The kingdom of God for the Jewish nation and the church are two distinct entities separated by generations.
In God’s rest, does all activity by a believer cease? NO! Jesus, dwelling spiritually in the believer, carries out God’s decisions by the power of the Holy Spirit. The believer ‘accomplishes’ his/her rest by faith—i.e., by believing God’s decisions of the new covenant for the church and choosing to live his/her life simply by knowing and believing God’s decisions.
At the last Passover celebration in Jesus’ ministry, Philip asked Jesus if he might be honored the privilege of seeing God. This essay is a biblical adaptation of the Apostle John’s written record which highlights Jesus’ response to Philip’s request.
NASB 8Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
The adaptation: “The one who has seen a believer living by the new covenant has seen Jesus.”
Jesus’ Response to Philip
One might notice that Jesus’ response to Philip was not, “He who is seeing Me is seeing the Father.” Rather, the suggestion was that Philip had seen Jesus manifesting the Father on several occasions but not continuously. One of those occasions was likely when Jesus fed five thousand from five loaves and two fish.
Obviously, this meant that Jesus’ behavior did not manifest the Father for every single moment of His life on earth, e.g., when He was asleep in a boat covered with waves on the sea.
Please note: the adaptation does not apply for ‘just-saved’ believers, or for believers who are under the control of sin or Satan.
The New Covenant
A vital part of the adaptation is that the new covenant be in full force during the present age. The following biblical evidence is provided to substantiate that the new covenant is, in fact, Jesus’ revelation for the believer’s present life.
NASB 19And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
NASB 23For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
Origins of the New Covenant
The features of the new covenant date back to God’s promises to the Jewish prophet Ezekiel.
NASB 26“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put n new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27”I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
Although promised to the Jews, one can discover those promises as active among gentiles in the present age.
NASB 14For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,
Jesus Christ Lives Spiritually in Today’s Believers
The present reality is to establish biblically that Jesus Christ lives spiritually in believers.
NASB 27to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
What is at work for gentile believers is also at work for Jewish believers as well. The glory is likely the rewards dispensed at the judgment seat of Christ.
On Seeing Jesus
Jesus Christ, living in believers, can be observed by others.
NASB 12Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
2 Cor. 4:10-11
NASB 10always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
Jesus Christ, living in believers, can be observed by others. Since all believers will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, sanctification is the precursor to seeing Jesus on earth. Please note: the observations one may see include physically casting out demons. Spiritually speaking, one may observe an unbeliever being born again. Spiritual gifts have likely ceased.
The New Covenant and Bible Study
Some believers are able and motivated to consistently study the scriptures. Others rarely open a Bible for several reasons. It is encouraging that God has made it possible that all believers are taught the new covenant by the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit, i.e., with or without study of the Bible.
1 John 2:27
NASB 27As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
For Certain Persons living under the new covenant, it is a legitimate and accurate statement that, “The one who has seen a believer living by the new covenant has seen Jesus.”
In 2 Pet. 1:10, the same Greek word (???????) has been translated into recent English-Bible editions as “election” (e.g., ESV, 2001 edition) or “choosing” (e.g., NASB, 1995 edition). Both the ESV and NASB translations are ‘word-for-word’ translations rather than ‘thought-for-thought’ translations. ‘Thought-for-thought’ translations mean that the translators concoct the thought content of the original human authors as they wrote the material which has become the New Testament.
The popular NIV, 1978 edition is a combination of ‘thought-for-thought’ and ‘word-for-word’ translations.
In our current culture, the word “election” implies an individual has been selected by a majority vote, whereas “choosing” implies selection by another single individual.
Either way, the elected or chosen individual is not self-appointed.
Spiritually speaking, it is God Himself who does the “election”/“choosing.”
In 2 Pet. 1:10, the word preceding “election” (ESV) or “choosing” (NASB) is the word “calling.” In Peter’s sentence, “calling” is connected to the words “election” (ESV) or “choosing” (NASB) by the simple conjunction “and.”
Please note: God alone is the One who does the calling which is sequentially preceded firstly by God’s foreknowledge, and secondly by His predestination (cf. Rom. 8:29). Foreknowledge and predestination likely occurred before God’s physical creation.
Furthermore, in Rom. 8:30, Paul made it clear—in his uninterrupted sequence of God’s salvation—that those called will be both justified and glorified (i.e., destined for heaven). But, in Paul’s sequence, elect/chosen believers are never mentioned! This strongly suggests that being elect/chosen is not something that takes place spiritually for all believers.
To express this in another way, all believers are called—and will end up in heaven—but not all believers are both called and elect/chosen.
This spiritual reality of all believers not being elect/chosen is recognized only by those believers who are both called and elect/chosen.
2 Peter 1:10
ESV “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”
NASB “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;”
NIV “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,”
NASB 29“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become (italicized words added by translators) conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30and these whom He predestined, He also called, and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
When Paul wrote his letter to the Roman church in A.D. 57, he addressed six different believing groups comprised of gentiles and Jews. Among those six groups were believing Jews who boasted in God and were sanctified (Rom.2:17-22; 28-29). Also among those groups were believing Jews who boasted in the Law and were not sanctified (Rom. 2:23-25; 27b).
In Chapter Six, Paul explained that living by law for believers resulted in spiritual death (Rom. 6:13-14, where death means separation of one’s spirit from God).
This brief essay will elaborate the definition and spiritual realities of sanctification and its application in the churches of today.
Paul used the word sanctification seven times in his letters. The word literally means a separation or setting apart.
When an individual is “born again” (cf. John 3:3), God removes by separation one’s “heart of stone,” puts within a new “heart of flesh,” a “new spirit” and His Spirit (cf. Ezek. 11:19; 36:26-27). Please note: the heart referred to is not the physical organ. Importantly, under God’s arrangement statement in Ezekiel 11:19, “. . . they (i.e., the sanctified) may walk in My statutes and keep (my emphasis) My ordinances and do them.”
A heart is the ‘organ’ of belief (Rom. 10:10). This likely involves one’s brain.
Sin is a component of the forbidden fruit which Adam and Eve ingested in the Garden. Sin modified the genetic makeup of their respective bodies except for the seed of the woman; sin was transmitted by the male’s seed to all his progeny (Rom. 5:12, author’s translation: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world—and [physical] death through sin—even so it [sin] began to spread to all men, on the basis of which all began to sin.”).
Therefore, sanctification refers to separation—not removal—of sin in one’s mortal body. Thus, sanctification means that sin is separated from the new heart and new spirit but sin is still resident in the human body (cf. Rom. 8:13, where the Pauline phrase “according to the flesh” means under sin’s control and results in death—i.e., spiritual separation from God).
Simply stated, sanctification is separation from sin. Sanctification results from being sanctified by God.
However, not all believers are sanctified (Rom. 8:29-30, where Paul purposely omits sanctification in God’s detailed sequence of salvation, a critically important omission).
Finally, living according to one’s beliefs generated by the new heart’s response to God’s Word is referred to biblically as living by faith.
Many of today’s preachers and teachers are not sanctified but are none-the-less zealous for God (cf. Rom. 10:2). Therefore, they live and teach that a believer’s life should be lived by doing things rather than living and teaching that God is the One doing things in response to the believer who lives by faith.
The believer’s faith is that Jesus Himself lives spiritually within the believer’s mortal body, and Jesus’ life is manifested by the believer through the Spirit’s power (cf. 2 Cor. 4:11).
A clever fiction often taught is that the Holy Spirit Himself enables or empowers the believer himself/herself to do things during his/her Christian life. However, the biblical reality is that Jesus, living spiritually within the believer, manifests His perfect life for all to see (Heb. 12:14).
One of the great erroneous teachings of today’s Christian church is that all believers are expected by God to practice evangelism. This teaching arises from being unsanctified and is simply not biblical. God gave some believers as evangelists (Eph.4:11). Philip was an evangelist—but the only one mentioned in the Bible (Acts 21:8). Yet many believers were mentioned in the Bible who were not reported as doing evangelism. Furthermore, the work of a biblical evangelist was to baptize new believers and also performs signs (Acts 8:6, 12-13).
Present-day church members are not taught to baptize people and do signs. So even today’s teaching is limited and distorted.
Therefore, believers who have been sanctified should be aware that those believers who are called, but not chosen to be sanctified, are in fact justified, will be glorified, and are probably not communicating God’s Word accurately because they are not equipped spiritually by God to do so.
Remember, as Jesus said parabolically, “Many are called but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14).
Please note: the thing which activates and empowers sin is the law (1 Cor. 15:56). So those teachers and preachers who advocate doing things to please God are actually suggesting doing something that activates and empowers sin.
The only thing a sanctified believer can do is to pray that if a particular believer is on God’s ‘to be sanctified list,’ that God would act sooner rather than later.
In Deut. 29:22-30:6 (written c. 1405 B.C.), God revealed to Moses some astonishing information. Keeping in mind that a biblical generation after Moses’ death was about 70 years (Ps. 90:10), the following interpretation may have important applications for our generation.
“The unique generation” in verse 22 came to an end in 1948, having its beginning in 1878—the year Benjamin Disraeli endorsed the Berlin Treaty that became foundational for Jewish homeland arguments. “The foreigner from a distant land” was likely the British who had administrative responsibility over the land via the League of Nations’ Palestine Mandate of July 1922.
In verses 23 and 27, the plagues and diseases of the land described like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, resulted from every curse upon the land triggered by the anger of the Lord. Nowhere in the post-Moses historical or prophetic writings is such a description ever applied to the land because “The secret things belong to the Lord. . .” (verse 29).
The question from “all the nations” in verse 24 likely came from the League of Nations as alluded to in certain land-reclamation articles of the Palestine Mandate.
Those answering this question were likely Christian Zionists who understood literally God’s biblical promises to His people. From 1878 to 1948, those Zionists worked unstintingly to provide the Jews a homeland in Palestine.
“The Lord uprooted the Jews from their land . . .” in 70 A.D. by Titus who “. . . cast them into another land . . .” (verse 28). That other land was Italy. The condition lasted, “. . . as it is this day,” that is, until the day the British left the land in May 14, 1948.
“. . . when all of these things have come upon you . . .” e.g., the curse of the Lord upon the land (verse 30:1) and “. . . you call them to mind . . .” (30:2) in the Dispersion (implying, of course the spiritual revival among Diasporal Jews that will be initiated by those obeying the Great Commission), “. . . then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity . . . and gather you again (emphasis mine) from all the peoples . . .” (verse 30:3-6). This is the second recovery alluded to in Isa. 11:11.
The curse of the land likely ended with the first recovery from many nations as reported in Ezek. 38:8, 12 which began after the generation starting in 1948 and ending in 2018—in our generation.
- The Levitical Priesthood was terminated by Jesus, March 31, AD 33 (Mark 11:11-18).
- Institution by God of a new priesthood was not introduced or alluded to by prophecies for any or all of the generations from Moses to Malachi.
- Seldom, if ever, is the Ecclesiastical Priesthood referred to by preachers and/or teachers in present-day evangelical churches.
- The Ecclesiastical Priesthood is presently distorted by several ersatz priesthoods (e.g., Anglican, Mormon, and Roman Catholic).
- The Ateret Cohanim yeshiva, established in 1978 in Jerusalem’s Old City, is evidence of the pending restoration of Levitical Priesthood (cf. Matt. 24:15).
- The reality of a new priesthood’s existence was revealed by Peter (1 Pet. 2:5, 9) and John (Rev. 1:6; 20:6). Peter’s AD 67 letter to Jewish believers in the Diaspora—Peter, the Apostle to the circumcision—was to integrate the generations of Jewish history and the Levitical Priesthood (cf. 1 Pet. 2:9 quoting from the Hebrew scriptures) with God’s new Ecclesiastical Priesthood of the church. Gentile believers have no such need for an explanation or integration of a second priesthood so Paul (the Apostle to the uncircumcision) simply doesn’t address the issue directly in his letters. However, there are allusions in his letters to the gentiles being part of a priesthood.
- The Ecclesiastical Priesthood is a “royal” priesthood because its members are sons of God (1 Pet. 1:9; Rom. 8:14-17)
- Members are called and chosen by God, are priests to God, and proclaim God’s excellencies (i.e., “worship” God), 1 Pet. 2:9.
- Temporarily replaces the Levitical Priesthood.
- Will reign over nations (with Christ) for a thousand years.
- Comprised of both male and female believers.
- An individual becomes an ecclesiastical priest at the moment he/she is called and chosen by God.
- Provides service to others (e.g., some as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor/teachers (cf. Eph. 4:11-12).
- Priesthood ushered in by God historically on Pentecost, May 24, AD 33.
- The priesthood lives under the New Covenant.
- The Ecclesiastical Priesthood is terminated or concluded (at the Rapture) when believers meet Jesus in the air.
- The Levitical Priesthood will be restored at the termination of the Ecclesiastical Priesthood.
- Ecclesiastical Priesthood is worldwide.
- Requires confession of one’s sins to God to maintain fellowship with the Father and Son.
- No special dress or attire specified.
- No particular language required.
- Activities not confined to a particular structure in a specific location.
- Comprised of men and women who can own land and work for their own living.
- Not supported financially by donations from others.
- Not chosen by the election of others.
- Intercedes for other believers (Col.4:12; 1 Tim. 2:1).
- Fulfills the law to love one another.
- No denominational affiliation.
- No hierarchy with the exception of Christ as High Priest (please note: the word “bishop” does not appear in the scriptures).
- A priest’s mortal body is a living sacrifice; one’s body becomes God’s property (Rom. 12:1).
- Behavior manifesting Christ’s presence within the believer-priest’s mortal body is metaphorically speaking a “sweet” aroma to God, 2 Cor. 2:14, versus a “soothing” aroma to placate God’s wrath under the Old Covenant, Exod. 29:18.
- No specific ethnicity or race required.
- Marriage among priests is quite appropriate.
- Members will receive glorified bodies.
An aspect of living under the New Covenant is being part of the Ecclesiastical Priesthood that includes sacrifice, service, and worship of God. Sacrifice, service, and worship are not commandments that must be obeyed. Rather, they are manifestations of Christ’s life in the believer through the believer’s life of faith.
Being a part of the Ecclesiastical Priesthood in NOT something which requires one to perform a retinue of activities at certain events (e.g., officiating the Lord’s Supper).
Two priesthoods cannot be functioning upon the earth simultaneously. Therefore, when the prophet Daniel’s 70th week begins (featuring 12,000 sealed Levites who will live throughout Daniel’s 70th week, Rev. 7:7), the church with its Ecclesiastical Priesthood has to have been removed from the earth.
Finally, the seemingly total absence of reference to the Ecclesiastical Priesthood presently in local churches may signal the eschatological need and reality of returning to the Levitical Priesthood.
Unless otherwise noted, Bible quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible. Anaheim, CA: Foundation Publications, 1995.
“13Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to ruin (NASB, “destruction,” but humans are not destroyed; cf. 2 Cor. 2:5 for a comparable situation where the NASB features “perishing,” and which should be replaced by ruining themselves), and there are many (not all) who enter through it, 14for the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to (spiritual) life, and there are few who find it.”
Imagine a conventional shoebox with its cover removed. At the center of one end, a wide “gate” has been cut out with a sharp knife by making a vertical slice from the top to the bottom of the box. At the box’s bottom, a single horizontal cut of four inches is made at the end of the vertical slice thereby producing a wide gate by folding back the slice.
Next, imagine a significantly smaller box with cover removed and placed inside the shoebox at the end opposite the wide gate. Also, the smaller box has a gate facing the wide gate—but a gate of much narrower size than the wide gate in the shoebox.
The foregoing is a graphic picture of Matt. 7:13-14.
Both gates are symbols for Jesus. Jesus is also the source of spiritual life (John 14:6).
The wide gate is for all called by God. The narrow gate is for those both called and chosen (cf. Matt. 22:14 for Jesus’ revelation that many are called but few are chosen). Those not entering the wide gate are destined for hell.
The Apostle Paul taught that any believer “living according to the flesh must die” (Rom. 8:13, where “death” connotes a relational separation from God and Jesus).
“Living according to the flesh” establishes that sin is controlling the believer causing the believer to commit an act of sin. That act causes separation of the believer from fellowship with the Father and Son—sometimes labeled a relational “death” (cf. 1 John 1:6-8). Confession of the specific sin will restore fellowship (1 John 1:9).
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ description of the wide and narrow gates corresponds theologically to the doctrine of the called, and the called plus chosen (2 Pet. 1:10-11 records both the calling and choosing of believers, resulting in the abundance of kingdom rewards determined directly from following Jesus’ narrow way (cf. 1 Cor. 3:11-15 for rewards).
It is likely that those simply called do not recognize that some are also chosen.
For those called, see Rom. 8:28-30. For those called and chosen, see Rom. 9:10-11.
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