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December 16, 2003

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Q/A Topics:
Necessary to Keep the Ten Commandments today?

READER QUESTION:
Is a Christian obligated to follow the ten commandments? If not how do we reconcile Jesus statement in Matthew 5:19 and 1 John 2:3-7. If so, how do we reconcile "we are no longer under the law." Looking for a balance!

VW ANSWER:
There is a difference between the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Law. The Ten Commandments were called God's "Covenant", written on the two tablets of stone. (Deu4:13) And then, the rest of the Law was called the "statutes and judgments". (vs14) When God spoke the Law from the mountain, in the hearing of the people, to make them tremble in terror, it was His proclaiming of the Ten Commandments (Ex20:1-19) The rest of the Law was that which was shown to Moses "on the mountain" (Ex26:30,etc) when he was with God for 40 days/nights.

If a person reads Hebrews, is it not clear that the Law that was "done away in Christ" (2Co3:14) has to do with the sacrifices of animals, and shedding animal blood, "offered according to the Law" (Heb10:8) which it says, "can never take away sins" (Heb10:11) but which Christ fulfilled "once for all" (Heb7:27, 9:12, 10:10, 1Pet3:18, etc) by shedding His own blood as the "Lamb without blemish and without spot" (1Pt1:19) to "wash us from our sins in His own blood" (Rev1:5)

But all those laws and daily rituals are different from the Ten Commandments. Those laws were precursors to Christ, who "saved" us. The Ten Commandments, on the other hand, are the basis for how the "saved" person -LIVES- before God. Those rituals foreshadowing Jesus' "gift" of salvation (Eph2:8), when a person "receives" the gift (Jn1:12), then it is salvation "unto good works". (Eph2:10) All those sacrificial rituals had to do with Eph2:8, and the Ten Commandments have to do with Eph2:10.

The N.T. reiterates every point of the Ten Commandments except one. "Let him who stole steal no longer" (Eph4:28) (#8) Adultery and murder (Jac2:11) (#7 & #6) Idols, sexual perversion (Ac21:25) (#2 & #7) Covetousness (Col3:5) (#10 & #2) "Obey your parents" (Eph6:1-2) (#5) I won't try to find each one...but you get my point.

The only point from the "Ten" not reiterated or commanded in the N.T. is #4. In fact, Paul even might be said to down-play it...? "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths," (Col2:16) And again: "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully assured in his own mind." (Rom14:5) For all the complaining the Jews did to Jesus about His so-called "breaking" of the sabbath, the early Church leaders did not include "sabbath" in their -list- to Gentile Believers. (Acts ch15)

The Ten Commandments did not actually 'start' at Sinai. God had already spoken of the sanctity of life and murder. (Gen9:5-6) They already knew about sexual perversities. (Gen34:7) and it was connected to their understanding of the "fear of God" (Gen20:11)

The Ten Commandments were already in the "conscience" of man prior to Sinai. They knew it "by nature". (Rom2:14-15) When God gave them as a group of "Ten" God was merely 'organizing' them into a clearly-defined list, and made them into a specific "Covenant" with Israel. (Ex34:28, Lev4:13)

When the man came to Jesus, asking how to inherit eternal life, notice that Jesus quoted points from the Ten Commandments (Lk18:18-24), not the rituals of animal sacrifices and sprinklings of blood. The man replied that he had "kept" the commandments; so Jesus tells him to sell everything, give to the poor, and follow Jesus. The man's reluctance suggested that in his heart he still hadn't come to #10, "coveting" of his own wealth. And in not following Jesus, he was not recognizing #1. "For whoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." (Jac2:10)

The Ten Commandments pretty much covers -all- aspects of humanity's life, from its recognition of and relationship with God, to how it lives. It might also be viewed as a sort-of "check-list" for one's heart. If a person "passes" all its points, then the "fruit" indicates what sort of "tree" it is. (Mt7:16,20)

Throughout all of human history: Pre-Israel, Israel, Church.

So, you ask if a Christian is "obligated" to follow the Ten? Which of the ten would you wish to not follow? While I mentioned the "sabbath", a 7th-day of "rest" principle has always existed since creation. Israel observed Saturday. The early Church seems to have observed Sunday (Jesus' resurrection). Due to life circumstances a person may, instead, "rest" on Wednesday or Monday...? So, again, 'which' one would a person -not- observe? As stated above, it's not so much an "obligation", but a 'gauge' of one's love for God.

"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome." (1Jn5:3)

Amen!

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When did Job live? (his sacrifices pre-Moses)

READER QUESTION:
I was reading the book of Job (with difficulty getting the gist of their arguments), and noticed in Job1:5 that Job "rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of " his children.

According to your biblical timeline & noted with question marks, Job probably lived before the exodus.

I thought burnt offering and others were instituted after they left Eqypt (Leviticus) so Job must have lived after the exodus?

What do you think?

VW ANSWER:
No...people were offering animal sacrifices before Moses. Examples:


    Abel (Gen4:4)
    Noah (Gen8:20)
    Abraham (Gen22:13)
    Jacob/Israel (Gen46;1)
Even though Scripture doesn't say so specifically, many presume that God likely explained the sacrifice when He killed the animals to make clothes for Adam and Eve. (Gen3:21) Adam and Eve sinned, and discovered that they were naked (vs7,10-11)...so God covered their nakedness (the result of their sin) with animal skins...as animal sacrifices were the symbolic sin-covering throughout the O.T. until Jesus came and fulfilled it by dying on the cross.

Thus....when it records that Job offered sacrifices on behalf of his children, and at the end of the book for his friends (Job42:8)....that was well-within the pre-Moses practice that seems to have been an established ritual.

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Where is the Millennium?

READER QUESTION:
I have been recently doing a Bible study over the internet (32 studies) and I am up to number 4 and I have hit a problem. After I was saved I was nurtured in the Plymouth Brethren and understood that:

  1. We were taken in the rapture (the saints taken)
  2. The marriage feast of the lamb (the saints married)
  3. The Great Tribulation on earth (7 years)
  4. The Second coming Of Christ (with the saints)
  5. The Millennium ON EARTH where Jesus reigns for 1000 years (Satan locked up)
  6. A New heaven and a New earth (eternity begins)
The bible study seems to say that the second coming is the rapture, then the earth will be burned up and the saints with Christ be in heaven for the millennium.

VW ANSWER:
Well, if when Christ returns, He does so "..and all the saints with You" (Zec14:5), did not those "saints" have to get up to be with Christ -before- He comes?

If the millennium is "in heaven", then what about the swords being beat into plow shares, etc? (Is2:4) What about the lions, oxen, vipers, children all playing together? (Is11:6) When Jesus returns His feet touch the Mount of Olives (Zec14:4), and if you read that passage you see how the huge earthquake splits the mountain, creating a huge valley. If you start reading Ezek ch40, to the end of the book, you see descriptions of millennial Israel and the temple on this earth. If you read Zech ch14, you see things related to this earth...even naming Egypt, etc. If Zech 14 allows for some to not be obedient in making the annual pilgrimmage to Jerusalem, how could that be "heaven", since in heaven there is nothing corrupt. And if after the millennium satan is let loose to deceive the nations again (Rev20:7-9)....again, that CANNOT be in heaven, where nothing perverse has admittance. (Rev21:27)

Notice in the most famous "rapture" passage, that Believers go to meet the Lord "in the air" (1Th4:16-17) Jesus doesn't yet, at that time, come -to- earth. Notice how Paul speaks of the two events, Jesus' "appearing" and His "kingdom" (2Ti4:1) The thing the Church looks forward to is Jesus' "glorious appearing" (Tit2:13) In 2Th2:1 Paul speaks of the two events again: the 1) coming of our Lord Jesus, and 2) our gathering together to Him. Two separate events. The 70th week is a time when God's wrath is poured on the earth, but God "did not appoint us to wrath" (1Th5:9) Part of the purpose is for God to "repay with affliction those who trouble you" (2Th1:6), as He will also force the pretenders who persecute Believers to "bow the knee before your feet" as He then "keeps" the Church from "the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth." (Rev3:9-10)

As it was in the "days of Lot" (Lk17:28) Lot was rescued OUT OF Sodom -before- God's wrath was poured out. The faithful Church is called "worthy" (Rev3:4) Jesus speaks of those who are "..counted -worthy- to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Lk21:36)

If the rapture was happening at Jesus "second coming", as this other study is suggesting to you, that means the Church went through the 70th week of God's wrath. That goes contrary to the way God does things. It also contradicts the characteristic of the 70th week, in that all those who refuse to take the beast's "mark" or bow to its image will be "killed" (Rev13:15), as Rev 20:4-5 reviews their faithfulness as they are resurrected at the end of the 70th week (but no 'rapture' is mentioned there). Thus, even logic would question: If 'all' the faithful (who refused the beast's mark) were martyred, WHO IS LEFT -TO- be raptured, AT THE END? The rapture is of "live" people, with "live" bodies...as Paul proclaimed, "..we shall not all sleep.." (1Cor15:51) and it is "alive" ones who join the resurrected ones to meet the Lord in the air. (1Th4:16-17)

If these few thoughts are not enough to re-assure you back to what you listed as your Plymouth Brethren beliefs in this matter, please check out the "TopicSearch" at the website, and scroll down the 'left' box to "pre-trib" and/or "rapture". You'll find 'tons' of past writings on this subject. And if the matter of that post-70th-week resurrection seems confusing, since it is called the "first resurrection" please check out, "Resurrection & Christ's Elect" it addresses the 3-stages of the "first resurrection" 1) Mt27:52 2) 1Th4:16 3) Rev20:4-5 and also click the link within it that goes to the Matthew study which also talks about the painting with the 2 fences, illustrating the 2 resurrections.

No...the millennium is on this earth. Jesus will be ruling on David's throne. (Is9:6-7)

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Who is the BRANCH?

READER QUESTION:
I agree with the BRANCH assessment, but if Jesus builds the temple how will it be possible for the antichrist to sit in the temple declaring himself to be God as in 2 Thess? When the antichrist breaks the covenant, won't it be after the nation is regathered (Eze 37) and living in Israel? Wouldn't you think the building of temple will be one of the conditions of the treaty?

VW ANSWER:
Just as there are "now many antichrists" (1Jn2:18), the "mystery of lawlessness is already at work" (2Th2:7a) Paul introduces the topic by saying that he is speaking of two things, the 1) Coming of Christ, and 2) our gathering to Him (1Th2:1)

The first thing that is to happen is the "falling away". (vs3) Within that very same sentence he speaks of "..he sits as God in the temple of God, declaring of himself that he is God" (vs4) Is not today the time of the great falling away (apostasy)! And I don't know if you were subscribing back in July, but mailing #112 one of the Q/A items was titled "Little gods"...speaking of some of the notable famous ones today who claim to name the name of Christ, and also proclaim themselves to be "gods". One of them, even, when speaking of Jesus proclaiming Himself to be the "I AM", said of himself that he reads that in the Bible and smiles, and proclaims, 'I am, too'. I didn't used to think so, but I am coming to suspect the word "temple" in that passage is more likely-than-not the "temple" of the "body". (Jn2:21, 1Co6:19)

Also, notice that this passage's mention of "temple" does not have any time-table associated with it, like Dan9:27 does. There, it is the "sacrifice" that is caused to cease, but there is no mention of a temple. And that is in the context of a very definite "week". At other times we have observed that a temple is not necessary for those two daily sacrifices that Dan9:27 speaks of. If you check out this link... "temple" check out specifically the 1) Temple not necessary and 2) Q/A-man-of-sin....

And so....back to 2Th2... is the "man of sin" (vs3) the same as the "lawless one" (vs8-9)? With prophecy a lot of these kinds of details are hard to know for sure, until we see them being fulfilled. However, do we not see what looks every bit like vs3-4 going on today? And just as John spoke of 'the' antichrist, and 'many' antichrists 'today'; do we not today see the precursors of the "signs and lying wonders" (vs9)?

But we also know that an event: an "..arising from out of the midst" (vs7) will happen, and -THEN- "the lawless one will be revealed" (vs8) So, while we see the precursors today, when the rapture has taken place, "then" there will be another shift for the worse.

I really do believe that 2Th2 (written to the Church) is not the same as Dan9:27 (to Israel). I didn't used to think so...I used to also be looking for signs of the physical re-building of the temple in Jerusalem. But I really don't think so. After all, Jesus did say, "the Son of Man comes at an hour you do not expect" (Mt24:44) People will be trying to 'guess' when Jesus comes, by watching the progress towards building the temple, but He will show up -before- that...and they won't be expecting it.

READER FOLLOW-UP:
After a brief word study of "temple" (Gk = naos) in 2 Thes. it appears it speaks of a physical building type structure but refers to the holiest dwelling place inside, or the Holy of Holies. Since we belong to The Lord and he dwells within our "temple" it would seem unlikely, if not impossible, that Satan could occupy the same space, but it would make perfect sense for the antichrist to occupy the holy of holies inside the Jewish temple as it would lend much confirmation and justification to Israel that he was indeed, their Meshach Ben David...... I did observe, however, that "naos" was used interactively in some cases with the temple of the body and the temple in Jerusalem (especially the Holy of Holies) while the word "heiron" (sacred place, sanctuary) was also used for both symbolic (bodily) and physical (structural) descriptions of the temple, but my understanding of the 2 Thes passage seems to indicate to me that a physical structure with a holy dwelling place within is inferred ....... interesting ......

VW ANSWER:
ITEM--After a brief word study of "temple" (Gk = naos) in 2 Thes. it appears it speaks of a physical building type structure but refers to the holiest dwelling place inside, or the Holy of Holies.

VW: Jn2:20-21 where the passage itself explains that Jesus was speaking of "the temple of His -body-", it is the same word, "naos".

ITEM-- Since we belong to The Lord and he dwells within our "temple" it would seem unlikely, if not impossible, that Satan could occupy the same space

VW: He is not occupying 'our' (the Believer's) temple, but the temples of those who were also created "in [God's] own image" (Gen1:27) (thus: "temple of God") but of those who are of the "falling away". (2Th2:3) Because, indeed, the Believer is the "temple of the Holy Spirit" whom we have from God. (1Co6:19) But unbelievers, by definition, do not have the Holy Spirit. (Rom8:9) And yet, they have their God-given "temples of their bodies". God created all things, including the sinner. "Jehovah has made all things for a witness; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." (Pr16:4)

It -may- be the case that they will build some sort of building; but it will not be the same one described in the latter chapters of Ezekiel, that the "Branch" builds. Again, Dan9:27 makes no mention of a "temple" or "building".

But I won't be dogmatic on this point (like I am on many other things which are very clear in Scripture). Much of prophecy is purposely symbolic and 'hidden' from clear view until the time of its fulfillment. I used to also be looking for a 'building' to be built...and it is only in the past couple years that I have seen the possibility that 2Th2 might be speaking of the apostasy and the way they are calling themselves "gods" (which they weren't yet doing a few years ago), rather than a -physical- 'building' kind of "temple". Whether an actual building (of cement, stone and steel) is built, we do see the "temple-of-the-body" concept being fulfilled before our very eyes in these days of apostasy (falling away). Thus, since Dan9:27 doesn't speak of a building, I'm not seeing the 'need' for a 'building' to be built, before we expect to see the Lord for the Rapture.

But we watch and wait....keeping our eyes open.

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