Of Healing And Miracles

Natural And Divine Interventions
C H U R C H   R E F O R M   S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

Many Christians wrongly assume that the following verse has to do with physical healing:

“And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

That’s because they have been taught thus by “preachers” who have taken it out of context. They should have read the beginning of that verse.

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our sins fell upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

Obviously, it takes an outside influence to teach anyone to mess up such a straightforward and simple verse.

In addition to Isaiah, the Apostle Peter also put that verse in proper context:

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

By the stripes of Jesus we are healed spiritually, and our sins are thus forgiven. As for physical healing, Jesus demonstrated two methods He used in healing someone.

1. Divine Intervention. He either willed the healing or used His touch and/or a few simple words.

“Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.’ And his servant was healed that same hour.” Matthew 8:13

“But Jesus answered and said, ‘Permit even this.’ And He touched his ear and healed him.” Luke 22:51

2. Natural Procedure or Intervention. In such an instance, Jesus would use things in our world (backed of course by His divine power and will) before letting the healing take place. In other words, by His action He delineated the steps needed for the cure to materialize.

“After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. Then He told him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came back seeing. ” John 9:6,7

INTERVENTIONS

1. Divine Intervention: God’s Touch

“Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed…” Jeremiah 17:14

Before He left, Jesus gave the command on how His followers ought to proceed vis-a-vis the physically sick.

 Jesus heals the Paralytic“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall raise their voices against the serpents (or malicious ones); and if they imbibe any poison (or poisonous doctrine), it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16: 17-18

We believers can lay hands on the sick and with a true prayer of faith they will recover (i.e., be healed in time) that the Son of God might be glorified.

However, if a particular sickness is unto death, no amount of prayer will heal the afflicted since a death appointment with that disease has been scheduled by God Himself.

“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” John 11:4

In other words, a sickness unto death will cause the death of the afflicted, or the afflicted will either live with it until death (e.g., many natural degenerative diseases that usually accompany old age) or endure it long-sufferingly while subsisting normally. Even the Apostle Paul endured said affliction.

“…a thorn in the flesh was given to me… Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me… For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12: 7-10

But if a sickness is not unto death, a prayer of faith will bring about a recovery, albeit a slow one. One that is usually preceded by a confession and forgiveness of sins, if any was committed. That confession is not to a “catholic priest,” but to the one who’s about to lay hands and pray and/or to the party offended – whether to God or to some other individual – by the one who’s sick.

“Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” James 5:14-15

“But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks [i.e., communion], eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.” 1 Corinthians 11:28-31

That’s why the Apostle Paul told Timothy the following:

“Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share in the sins of others.” 1 Timothy 5:22

It must first be established whether the sickness is caused by a particular sin that needs repentance before hands are laid and prayers prayed; if not, then whoever lays hand becomes complicit in the sin the afflicted is concealing. Once that concern is alleviated, Jesus’s command to lay hands on the sick can be performed, and a prayer of faith for recovery can be prayed.

The slow-process recovery that follows is a miracle nonetheless. It might not be instantaneous, but it’s still a miracle.

“The LORD will take away from thee all sickness…” Deuteronomy 7:15

No prayer of ours will produce spontaneous miracles. The power source of supernatural wonders and instantaneous miracles was reserved solely for Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone of the church, and the 12 Apostles, the foundation of the Church. See Understanding the Duties of Ministry for an exposé.

“You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone…” Ephesians 2:20

“And when he had called unto [him] his twelve disciples, he gave them power [against] unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” Matthew 10:1

When we are sick a spiritual introspection is the first thing that is needed, as opposed to a reactive focus on the physical.  Once that’s taken care of and prayers are prayed, if God then reveals His intention to immerse us in natural interventions, we must obey.

2. Natural Interventions

a) Doctors and Remedies

“Luke the beloved physician greets you…” Colossians 4:14

There are ailments that worm their way in not because of specific sins but because of certain pathogens that our fallen, entropic nature, which weakens day by day, isn’t fully capable of confronting on its own. The Apostle Paul recognized that and through his God-given wisdom recommended the curative power of natural remedies.

“…use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.” 1 Timothy 5: 23

Ultimately, to avoid diseases we must get to know our bodies when they “talk” to us, what to feed them, and how to care for them. And if we’re sick it may be that God is trying to tell us something about both our spiritual conditions and lifestyles.

The root causes of our physical afflictions may be many things: toxic-laden food; stress; dehydration; lack of sun, relaxation, exercise, sleep, or prayer; bad diet; toxic medicines; toxic environment; etc. So we must listen carefully as God delineates the steps needed to be healed.

Said steps in and of themselves are not the ultimate cure; obedience to them is. For instance, God might inspire some individual to use a certain remedy for a particular ailment, which would work for such a person. Yet, another individual, upon hearing that such a remedy works, might try it for himself; but when that remedy fails, he’s at a loss to comprehend why. That’s because God did not delineate that certain step for him, which in the end might be for that individual to go see a real doctor.

A real doctor is one who understands that God created the body with the capability and the capacity to heal itself, particularly when it is given the right regimen, including ingredients of the God-created, organic kind since synthetic elements do not mesh well with its God-created, organic composition.

Some synthetic medicines may help, especially in trauma injuries, physiological impairments, and systemic organelle breakdowns. Unfortunately, because of their synthetic nature, their long term prescriptive use engenders many side effects, which usually end up destroying some organ of the body such as the liver, the kidneys, the brain, etc. Besides, most synthetic medicines are palliative and do not heal. They predominantly cover up symptoms of the maladies as they do not fix the underlying causes, while spawning other diseases via adverse effects.

True healing takes place when the body totally heals itself and the problem goes away, thus requiring no further treatment. A real doctor understands that. He is someone that God in His mercy has given the necessary knowledge to help and inform us through the healing process.

“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6

“In the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill.” Exodus 31:6

“To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom… to another gifts of healing…” 1 Corinthians 12:8,9

He is notably helpful to those who succumb to accidents and traumas, and to those whose sicknesses appear insurmountable because of their lack of faith.

“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’ ” Mark 9:24

Therefore, God uses him to help those with a weak faith overcome their unbelief by sparking faith’s hope that healing is possible. That’s how incredibly loving God is.

“That you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love…” Ephesians 3:18

God operates that way because He prefers to cloak Himself with anonymity, especially as it pertains to His healing miracles.

“Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, ‘See that you don’t tell anyone…'” Matthew 8: 3,4

“…after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret…” John 7: 10

In addition, He has a worldwide economy to run. He has to provide for a lot of people, doctors included, who are trying to make a living.

Thus, as God provides for these doctors and their fellow care workers, He simultaneously provides through them (or while “hiding” behind them or the remedies) His healing miracles.

Still, even with modern medicine or the alternative kind, there’s no guarantee of success or healing, especially when it comes to certain diseases and/or traumas that God allows to creep in for whatever purposes He has in mind.

“There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you.” Jeremiah 30:13

In these circumstances many doctors will tell their patients one of the following:

  • “All we can do now is pray.”
  • “Medicine is not a perfect science.”

The only perfect science is the power of a loving God who demands faith from us.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Faith is not just the belief that God can do the impossible. It is also the firm understanding that God does whatever He pleases and that we must accept it, especially since He also appoints sicknesses that are unto death.

“For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:17

That’s why the Holy Spirit has been given to us, to guide us through all kinds of circumstances. He helps us understand the particulars of the situation God is walking us through: healing, long suffering, or death.

“… the Spirit of truth… he will guide you into all the truth.” John 16:13

Jesus - sick bedFurther, even when a real doctor is trying to help, we better be vigilant and mindful while praying and having faith that God will guide his thought processes. Otherwise, we may become a statistic.

“Between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death,” wrote Marshall Allen in ProPublica. See Beware of Pharmacology and Puzzled Scientists.

If it comes to the point where it’s  time to see a doctor, get busy and locate a real one; then if a diagnostic determines the presence of a sickness, thoroughly research everything on it.  However, when it comes to life-threatening illnesses, make sure you get various opinions from specialists who belong to different practice clusters.

“Without counsel plans go wrong: but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” Proverbs 15:22

b) The Right Diet

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates, father of modern medicine.

Food is the ultimate medicine, and as such one’s diet is the single most important thing in achieving healing and/or maintaining optimal health, especially if under the weight of various auto-immune disorders, which now affect an estimated 50 million Americans.

One of the most popular regimens is the Paleo Diet, and until proven differently it appears to be one of the most sensible as well – scientifically and otherwise; although it is quite unfortunate that it is labeled “Paleo.” The reason it got stuck with such a sad name is because the people behind the diet believe that “our Paleolithic ancestors” did not eat many of the foods that we consume today.

However, such a mindset is not only false, given its conjectured hypothesis, but downright unscientific as well (science fiction is more like it). The Paleolithic era (an offshoot of the cockamamy Theory of Evolution) is an absolute fabrication that was whimsically concocted out of whole cloth in 1865 by John Lubbock, a politician and a banker who moonlighted as Indiana Jones an archeologist. Seriously John, where are the historical records from “millions of years” ago that confirm such blatant speculation?

In any case, the diet’s real name should be the Nutrient Diet because it focuses on consuming foods full of nutrients that the body needs and on rejecting those with anti-nutrients that wreak physiological havoc, particularly when they are not well prepared or they contain strange-sounding ingredients or additives.

“A Paleo template isn’t about historical re-enactment, but rather about making the best choices as often as possible within a framework that provides a detailed understanding of how compounds in foods can support or undermine health,” clarifies Dr. Sarah Ballantyne of The Paleo Mom.

Indeed, it’s not a reenactment because there exists nothing to reenact. The diet’s focal point is to avoid the toxins that harm and feed one’s body the nutrients it needs, especially those found in meat.

“Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Food for the stomach and the stomach for food…” 1 Corinthians 6:12,13

Unfortunately, even when not battling cancer or some other ailment that requires abstinence from certain kinds of meat, many believe that their diet should be exclusively a vegetarian (or vegan) one that consists only of the following:

“Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.’” Genesis 1:29

That edict was before man’s fall from grace and into sin. After the fall, everything turned against man.

“Cursed is the ground because of you… both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you.” Genesis 3:17,18

With that curse man’s food, which was appointed by God before the fall, the seeds, grains, and legumes, became infected with anti-nutrients.

“Traditional cuisines and pre-industrialized peoples from around the world took great care to soak or ferment their grains before consuming them,” explains Sarah Pope from the Weston A. Price Foundation. “All grains and legumes contain phytic acid, an organic acid that blocks mineral absorption in the intestinal tract.”

In addition, man’s body revolted against him (i.e., it began to slowly die) and needed more nutrients than plants, seeds, and fruits (i.e., a vegan diet) could offer. Therefore, an adjustment was needed.

“Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.” Genesis 9:3-4

“Of all the creatures living in the water, you may eat …” Deuteronomy 14: 9-10

With that adjustment, which now includes meat full of nutrients, man gets to fully grasp the cost required to maintain his health when he spills the blood of animals.

“Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast…” Proverbs 12:10

God in His generosity also planned that on special occasions we should have pleasure foods and drinks as well.

“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord.” Nehemiah 8:10

“A feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.” Isaiah 25:6

The Good Lord has thus given us all things for our well-being and enjoyment, so don’t destroy your health for lack of knowledge.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6

But, as always, all things are to be in moderation.

“All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12

CONCLUSION

The totality of our being is comprised of spirit, mind, and body. Therefore, an equilibrium must be achieved to create healing and maintain health.

To attain that necessary balance, the following steps are needed: a godly life that leads to repentance from sins; a harmonious family life; solid diet and hydration protocols; a sensible exercise regimen; a constant pursuit of knowledge; eight to ten hours of daily sleep; and scheduled times for socializing, relaxation (preferably outdoors under the sun, and even getting a pet is a good idea), and vacation to relieve stress.

Nevertheless, keep this in mind. God is no respecter of persons, therefore diseases will hit everyone, Christians or not. That’s because there is spiritual purpose in suffering and hardship.

“For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives.” Hebrews 12:6

In the end, the full and final recovery or healing comes straight from the throne of God. He’s the one who decides if one’s efforts at healing will take hold.

“I am the LORD who heals you.” Exodus 15:26

Consequently, the most important thing is to have faith in God and in Jesus whom He sent.

Then pray.

“And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” Matthew 21:22


ADDENDUM

St John of the Cross, the celebrated Spanish mystic and poet, wrote a contemplative book about Christian hardship and suffering: The Dark Night of the Soul, available for free in our Resources section. See also our article When Bad Things Happen.

“Although He (Jesus) was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8

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The Family Is God’s Plan

And The Vehicle Of His Covenant
C H U R C H   R E F O R M   S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

God’s purpose begins and ends with the family.

“The only institution which God loves.” Malachi 2:11

Nativity

It started with the marriage of Adam and Eve and will end with the marriage of the Lamb to His bride, the Church Assembly. It’s no wonder that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, performed His first miracle at a wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11).

Throughout the various biblical covenants God chose the family to enact His will.

THE ADAMIC COVENANT

For the initial covenant God created the first family. Adam and Eve.

“And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ ” Genesis 1:28

Hence began the great journey of the family to subdue the earth. A task that proved extremely difficult following the serpent’s poisonous deception.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ ” Genesis 3:1

The end result was Adam’s fall from grace and into sin.

“…sin entered the world through one man…” Romans 5:12

THE NOAHIC COVENANT

Sin metastasized and corrupted Adam’s descendants.

“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” Genesis 6:5

Then God set apart Noah and his family and saved them from His Judgment, which took the form of a killer flood. Once the waters receded, God enunciated His covenant with Noah and his descendants.

“And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.'” Genesis 9:12-15

Thus began the salvation angle of God’s plan for all the families of the earth. However, to ensure such salvation, an everlasting cure for the bondage of sin was needed.

THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

It was shaped with a promise by God to Abraham and his wife Sarah that they would have a son.

“Then God said, ‘Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.’ ” Genesis 17:19

“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father. I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed…” Genesis 26:3,4

The Covenant took wing with Abraham’s twelve great-grandsons, who grew into the 12 Tribes of ancient Israel. God then sent Moses as their deliverer to free them from their bondage in Egypt.

It then fully bloomed with Abraham’s offspring Jesus as the Savior of the world (i.e., as the Savior of all the families of the earth), through the everlasting covenant in His blood as the cure for man’s sinful nature.

Consequently, the Abrahamic Covenant bifurcated into the following two covenants: the Mosaic Covenant and the Christian Covenant – though some would argue that the Christian Covenant was the culmination of the Mosaic one, itself a culmination of the Abrahamic one and so on and so forth.

In either case, two further covenants became reality.

THE MOSAIC COVENANT

It was a family affair.

God called Moses and his family to deliver and guide their 12 Hebrew families or tribes out of bondage and into the promised land.

The lineage of Moses’s brother, Aaron, became known as the Levites or the Priests, while Moses’s sister, Miriam, was a Prophetess.

“Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.” Exodus 15:20

God then established the Covenant.

“And Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.” Exodus 34:28

The final blessings and duties of the Covenant are recorded in Deuteronomy 28:

“ 1 And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God…

15 But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you…”

and Exodus 19:

“…and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

The salvation inherent in the Mosaic covenant was to be sealed every year with the sacrifice of a lamb. It was known as Passover, and was to be performed by every single Hebrew family.

“Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household… you will celebrate it as a statute forever.” Exodus 12:3,14

With mild exception, such a law was only for the families or tribes of Israel.

“No foreigner may eat of it.” Exodus 12:43

The entire exercise or raison d’être of the twelve Hebrew tribes was God’s way of nurturing for Himself an earthly home and family for when He decided to visit in the person of Jesus, the Savior of the world.

THE CHRISTIAN COVENANT

It was also a family affair.

God chose Joseph and his wife Mary in order to care for His son Jesus. John the Baptist, Jesus’s cousin, was also chosen. He was to prepare the way for the Messiah.

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’” Matthew 3:1,2

The New Covenant is recorded in all the Gospels.

“And 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.’ And 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.'” Luke 22:19,20

Said covenant was introduced by Christ during Passover rituals.

“Say to the owner of the house, the Teacher says, ‘Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?'” Mark 14:14

It was followed by His Passover crucifixion, which his cousin John predicted.

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'” John 1:29

There are more similarities with the Mosaic Covenant. The following are a few examples:

1. Wilderness Test. The Ancient Hebrews failed it, but Jesus came out swinging.

“Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness.” Exodus 14:33

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted… Then the devil left Him and angels came and attended Him.” Matthew 4:1,11

2. Sold for Silver. Both Joseph and Jesus were sold for silver.

As the Midianite merchants were passing by, the brothers pulled Joseph out of the cistern. They sold him to the Ishmaelites for eight ounces of silver. The Ishmaelites took him to Egypt.” Genesis 37:28

“Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?’ And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him.” Matthew 26:14,15

3. Sin Offering. With the Old Covenant it was a lamb, but with the New Covenant God offered up Himself as the ultimate sacrifice.

“Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.” Exodus 12:3

“God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood–to be received by faith.” Romans 3:25

4. The Priesthood. The Old Covenant priesthood was composed of a select group of men, but now thanks to the New Covenant it now encompasses all believers.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron…’ ” Leviticus 21:1

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood.” 1 Peter 2:9

“And made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father.” Revelation 1:6

5. The Believer’s Home. Just like the slaughtering of the Mosaic Covenant lamb took place in the Hebrew home, church or assembly gathering and communion also take place in the Christian family home. See Church Services Are NOT Biblical .

“…each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.” Exodus 12:3

“To the assembly in your house.” Philippians 1:1

“Likewise greet the assembly that is in their house.” Romans 16:5

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.…” 1 Cor 11:26

The reason for this resemblance is because all the end goals of the Mosaic Covenant, unlike its Christian counterpart, could not be permanently achieved.

“For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4

“For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.” Hebrews 8:7

The Everlasting Covenant in Jesus’s blood frees man from the bondage of sin.

“For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Thus the Christian Covenant became the final chapter of the Abrahamic one, a process that started with the Adamic Covenant.

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned… For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.” Romans 5:12,15

As a result, the Mosaic Covenant was rendered obsolete as further evidenced by the fact that every family anywhere on earth can now participate regardless of race.

“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.’ ” Acts 10:34

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” Acts 16:31

“By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete is outdated.” Hebrews 8:13

With a powerful new covenant in play, salvation has been made freely available to all families everywhere. Subduing the earth for the glory of God (i.e., the Adamic Covenant) has now become feasible, especially since deceptive and poisonous doctrines from the serpents are bound to fail.

Eve offers Adam fruit“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall raise their voices against the serpents (or malicious ones); and if they imbibe any poison (or poisonous doctrine), it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:15-17

CONCLUSION

The family is God’s plan to bring order to the world.

“The only institution which God loves.” Malachi 2:11

Therefore, evangelists should tailor their missions as much as possible to reach the heads of families. See Understanding the Duties of Ministry .

“For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” Ephesians 5:23

The husband is not only the head of his wife, he is also the one whom God has anointed and commanded to teach his children.

“Fathers, do not anger your children, but rear them in the discipline and in the teaching of Our Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

Fathers are God’s designated “Youth Pastors” to their children, and their wives their assigned helpmates. This means they are the ones to dedicate their newborns to the Lord, to lead them to Christ, to baptize them – water and Holy Spirit – upon the Holy Spirit prompting them of their readiness, to teach them God’s word, to partake of the Lord’s Supper with them, and finally to marry them when the time comes. See The Biblical Marriage Blueprint.

In order for the work of ministry to be effective, the family must be reached and the husband empowered.

In the end, the bride of Christ (i.e., all those who follow the way of Jesus) will be the amalgamation of all the blessed families of the earth that God promised Abraham his seed Jesus would deliver.

“And in your offspring all the families of the earth shall be blessed…” Genesis 26:4

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Ministry Money And The Tithe Lie

C H U R C H   R E F O R M   S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

Abraham tithes to Melchizedek

Abraham and Melchizedek

Most church ministries depend heavily on the tithe to keep them afloat. So it is no wonder that the law of the tithe was dusted off from the Old Covenant shelf, and arbitrarily repackaged by mortal men for the consumption of New Covenant Christians.

We’ll examine the first tithe, the law of the tithe, and the standing of said law within the New Covenant. As we conclude, it should be clear that no Christian has been commanded to tithe, and that all ministry money should go to the poor and needy. Continue reading

Understanding The Duties Of Ministry

C H U R C H   R E F O R M   S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

God in His wisdom has not given anyone in the Church any title whatsoever.

“But you are not to be called ‘Teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘Father,’  [like today when a catholic priest is called ‘Father’] for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called Leaders (or Masters), for you have one Leader (or Master), the Messiah.” Matthew 23:8-10

We are only servants.

“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35

Jesus walks on water

As servants we have duties to perform. It’s just that we do not call a person doing his duty by the duty he does. Whatever a Christian does, he does it as an extension of Christ. Therefore, Christ is the One who needs to be recognized, not the duty.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

God simplifies the duties thus:

“And he gave the apostles; and the prophets; and the evangelists; and the shepherds and teachers.” Ephesians 4: 11

And the reasons He did are:

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12

Let’s delve into each function or duty, and see how they all apply within the body of Christ.

APOSTLES

There were twelve Apostles, personally chosen by Christ Himself. One of them betrayed Him, and eleven remained. Jesus then appeared personally to Paul, and chose him to replace Judas Iscariot.

But some will say that the Apostles voted to replace Judas with Matthias (Acts 1: 12-26). Yes, they did, but they shouldn’t have. At that time they still had not received the Holy Spirit. They were acting very Old-Testament-like. They cast lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. That’s how the prophet Jonah was discovered to be the one God was mad at when he hid on the ship. The lot fell on him.

Unfortunately, God no longer was working that way. The eleven had not yet figured that out. It is no wonder that after Matthias was chosen there is absolutely no mention of him again in the bible. However, Paul is a different story.

An Apostle must have seen Jesus, and Jesus must have personally chosen him.

“Am I not an Apostle?… Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” 1 Corinthians 8:9

Signs, wonders, and miracles followed an Apostle.

“I am not in the least inferior to the  most eminent apostles, even though I am nothing. I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.” 2 Corinthians 12: 11,12

“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people…” Acts 5: 12

However, if the Apostles had chosen certain individuals and had laid hands on them, those individuals could perform signs and wonders. But said individuals could not in turn do the same for others. The buck stopped with the Apostles.

“They chose… Stephen a man full of God’s grace and power, (who) performed great wonders and signs among the people.”  Acts 6: 5, 8

Today there are no more Apostles and therefore no more signs, wonders, and supernatural miracles.

Only these signs follow all true believers:

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall raise their voices against the serpents (or malicious ones); and if they imbibe any poison (or poisonous doctrine), it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:17,18

We believers can pray for the sick, and with a true prayer of faith they will recover (or be healed in time) that the Son of God might be glorified. See Of Healing and Miracles.

Nonetheless, no prayer of ours will produce instantaneous miracles. The power source of supernatural wonders and miracles was reserved for Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone of the church, and for the 12 Apostles, the foundation of the Church.

“You are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone…” Ephesians 2:20

“And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Revelation 21:14

“And when he had called unto [him] his twelve disciples, he gave them power [against] unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” Matthew 10:1

Furthermore, whatever perks did apply to the Apostles don’t apply to anyone else in ministry today – perks such as concentration on prayer and ministry of the word, and preaching to believers without applying biblical gathering commands.

“It’s not appropriate for us to forsake the word of God and serve tables… we apostles will continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:1,4

“Paul spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” Acts 20:7

The Apostles were also the only ones who could receive financial help, but the Apostle Paul chose not to use that perk because he knew no one else in ministry could. Therefore, he wanted to be an example to future servants. See Ministry Money and the Tithe Lie.

“Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was.” Acts 18:3

“…nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. This we commanded you: that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3: 8-10

In like manner, they were the only ones to whom Christ gave the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (with no successors assigned) and the only ones who could bring the dead back to life, and that if anyone were to lie to them one could end up deceased.

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16: 19

“Then Peter turned to the body of Dorcas and said, ‘Tabitha, get up!’ The woman opened her eyes…” Acts 9:40

“Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.’ And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last…” Acts 5: 3-5

And finally, the Apostles were the only ones who could withhold forgiveness.

“If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:23

If anyone today calls himself an Apostle or says he is performing the duties of an Apostle, run quickly away from that person.

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:13

The Apostles were personally chosen by Jesus to change the world through the gospel and their God-given powers. And they did.

“These that have turned the world upside down…” Acts 17:6

PROPHETS

The ministry of Prophets have a much different scope under the New Covenant than under the Old.

With the Old Covenant there were very few Prophets. The reason they were Prophets in the first place was because God would speak to them. But originally God did not want it that way. He did not want intermediaries between Him and His people. It was the Ancient Hebrews who chose it thus – they were afraid of hearing God’s voice.

“All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.’ ” Exodus 20: 18, 19

Therefore, these Old Testament prophets were singled out as being able to hear from God, and the Word they heard was either a Word of Remembrance of God’s promises and commandments from the past, a Word of Instruction or Commandment for the present, or a Word of Foresight for the future.

But with the New Covenant and the advent of the Holy Spirit who is given as a gift to all, such distinction between Prophets and believers is no more.

“And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…” Joel 2: 28

Jesus - disciples boat

Now every true Christian is a prophet because every true Christian possesses the Holy Spirit who’s constantly at work changing his life as a testimony to the glory of Jesus Christ.

“For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10

That’s exactly what we Christians do. We testify through various spiritual gifts of the reality and of the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives.

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another mighty works, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of languages, and to still another the interpretation of languages. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11

The Holy Spirit is hard at work transforming us into the perfect image of Christ. That is why the Apostle Paul said the following:

“For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” 1 Corinthians 14:31

Therefore, it makes sense that immediately after the Apostles are mentioned, God singles out the Prophets in Ephesians 4:11. The Prophets are all of us Christians. No one else can be above us, except Christ Himself.

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3

Even when the Apostles were alive they couldn’t lord it over their fellow Christians.

“Not that we have dominion over your faith…” 2 Corinthians 1: 24

All of us Christians are the Prophets standing on the Foundation of the Apostles and of Jesus the Cornerstone.

EVANGELISTS

“But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” 2 Timothy 4: 5

Don’t you just love the way Paul phrased that? He didn’t tell Timothy to be an Evangelist. He told him to do the work of an Evangelist. He was avoiding dolling out titles as mentioned earlier.

The work of an Evangelist is to take the Gospel to the unbelievers and teach them the doctrine of Christ. Here’s how Jesus sent them out.

“…the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place…” Luke 10: 1

God is a stickler when it comes to follow procedures. No Evangelist should go out on his own.

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Of Leaders And Servants In The Church

C H U R C H   R E F O R M   S E R I E S

By Biblicism Institute

Jesus called His disciples to be servants. Period.

“Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” Matthew 20:26

Jesus Washes Disciples' Feet

However, contrary to the Lord’s command, so-called “church leaders” have given themselves fancy titles like Reverend, Monsignor, Pope, and Pastor.

Reverend comes from the word Revere, meaning Worship; Monsignor is from the Italian word Monsignore, meaning My Lord; Pope is from the Greek word Pappas, meaning Father; and finally Pastor comes from the Latin Pastor, meaning Shepherd.

“The Lord is my Shepherd.” Psalm 23:1

Pride and arrogance could not be any clearer.

“Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.” Mark 12:38-40

THE FALLACY

To say that these so-called “leaders” are strangely obsessed with their “leadership” role would be an understatement. To pedestal themselves even further, there are classes, conferences, seminars, and books about being a “church leader.”

Our Lord Jesus never called anyone to be a “leader.” As a matter of fact, there are no titles in the church, only duties. We are all simply brothers and sisters in the faith. See Understanding the DUTIES of Ministry for an exposé.

“But you are not to be called ‘Teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘Father,’  [like today when a catholic priest is called ‘Father’] for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called Leaders (or Masters), for you have one Leader (or Master), the Messiah.” Matthew 23:8-10

The leader of the church assembly is Christ alone, working through His Holy Spirit.

Christ is also the head of the assembly, which is his body…” Colossians 1: 18

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26

There’s not one directive in the bible that ascribes leadership positions within the Body of Christ. Each one of us has a particular gift. No one gift of service is superior to the others, and no one gift places one Christian above the rest, because the head of every man is Christ. See Understanding the DUTIES of Ministry for an exposé.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is to prophesy, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is to attend to others’ needs, then attend to them; if it is to teach, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is to give, then give generously; if it is to preside, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12: 6-8

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3

PRIDE, ARROGANCE, AND PERVERTED SPEECH

Where on earth do these so-called “leaders” get the idea that they are leaders and not servants? Why would they even call themselves so?

“Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” Proverbs 8:13

If the King of Kings and the Creator of the Universe can  “stoop so low” – forgive the bad expression, just making a point – as to wash the disciples’ feet (John 13: 1-17), why do so many church “leaders” think that their most important job is to hide behind a pulpit and talk and talk? Or tweet and tweet? Or write books and books? Or parade and parade themselves on TV?

And the list of these vanities goes on and on.

“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” Matthew 7:16

Jesus never talked much. The longest He ever did was in the Beatitudes. He mostly accomplished things. And all the things He accomplished had to do with touching the lives of individuals, often one by one.

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25

So, dear “leaders,” where are your Jesus-like fruits? Or in the immortal words of the so sweet and tangy grandma of the old Wendy’s commercial: Where is the beef?

You all get an A+ for talking, but a lot of talk does not rack up much except one thing:

“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking.” Proverbs 10:19

Throughout the years, these “leaders” have talked so much that some of them ended up introducing, through evil and perverted speech, many false dogmas that we at Biblicism Institute feel compelled to rectify. Perusing this site will give you an idea as to why we, simple servants/volunteers, do what we do here.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16

THE HIGH LIFE

There’s a reason why these so-called “leaders” don’t want to be servants, though sometimes they pay lip service to being so.

A servant can’t live the high life – unless of course he works hard for it in a non-ministry capacity, and without exploiting his fellow Christians like a parasite living off its host.

For instance, not only does the Pope live a life of luxury, but when he travels he requires an additional boatload of money: private airplane, security guards, red carpets, hobnobbing with powerful politicians, etc. See Is the Pope Peter’s Successor? 

Contrast this with Jesus.

“Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’ ” Luke 9:58

Jesus had no abode on earth He could call home, and every time some rich individual would approach him, this was the gist of what He usually said.

“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell all your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ ” Matthew 19:21

See Who Should Christians Give Their Money To?

However, it’s not just the Pope.

Most protestant preachers live the high life as well, while many in the flock go through hardship – watch video below. They lie about the tithe and ministry money, and continually perform the unbiblical liturgy they call Church Service. In addition, they constantly side with certain political parties, oblivious to how Jesus dealt with politicians – He told them the truth about their characters.

“The Pharisees approached, saying to Him, ‘Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill You.’ And He said to them, ‘Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal’.’ “ Luke 13:31,32

When will a Pope or a Preacher call the POTUS a fox or a rascal or a murderer?

No wonder Jesus said this:

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves… Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7: 15, 21-23

CONCLUSION

It’s time for Church Reform.

“No one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment… Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins…” Matthew 9: 16, 17

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