NOVEMBER 10, 2016
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4. Every word of Scripture is important. It’s a treasure of God’s truth and evidence of His love. It teaches us His ways and gives us the guidance we need to live our lives to please Him. Each of the 66 books are individual, but interwoven with each other to reveal full truth. The truth found within its pages must be sought after like a valuable treasure. “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” Isaiah 28:10. FNovember 10, 2016or instance, you won’t find a chapter that defines the Trinity, but you will find that Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” That rules out the big bang nonsense and evolution, and deeper study reveals that ‘elohiym is the Hebrew word translated “God”. This word is plural and Hebrew plurals always mean at least three parts. This points to the Trinity. Going on we see that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, then God spoke and creation began. Jumping forward into the New Testament, John explains who spoke. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1. From there John explains that the Word was in the beginning and all things were made by Him. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” John 1:14a. Just from a few verses found in Genesis and in the Gospel of John it’s easy to see that the Trinity is a fact and that Jesus is God. Further study reveals that all three Persons of the Trinity were present when Jesus was baptized. Studying line upon line and precept upon precept helps us to understand more and avoid false doctrine.
Most preachers today don’t teach the full counsel of God. Instead of teaching line upon line and precept upon precept, it’s more common to find that they pick a subject and scratch the surface. Because of that, important truths are missed. It’s easy to avoid talking about subjects such as sin and the congregation is left ignorant but happy in their lack of knowledge. This lack of knowledge can lead to a person holding onto their sin, because they aren’t taught truth. For instance, the sin that caused God to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah was very grievous. “And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.” Genesis 18:20-21. Homosexuality was the sin. In order to stop that abominable sin from spreading, those cities had to be destroyed. Is that just an Old Testament problem? No. Paul gets right to the point in his letter to the Romans. He says that because people know God but don’t glorify Him or thank Him, they became fools. “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their woman did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Romans 1:26-27. God hasn’t changed His mind about this grievous sin, but if the full counsel of God’s word isn’t taught, this point is missed. When pastors compromise truth in order not to conflict with secular government and protect tax exempt status, only feel-good sermons are preached. God’s truth needs to be preached rather than government sin. “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:26-28. People make bad choices, but Paul knew that he had done all he could because he taught the full counsel of God. If a person chose to die in their sin Paul was without blame. Preachers today need to take heed.
You can’t walk close to Jesus unless you dig into all of His word, but many preachers refuse to teach from the Old Testament. These men deprive their congregation of understanding. The New Testament has its foundation in the Old Testament, and if you don’t study the Old you cannot fully understand the New. “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” Matthew 22:29. The Scriptures Jesus referred to are what we call the Old Testament. Why should we study Leviticus or any other Old Testament book? So that we can understand God’s expectations. God’s law teaches us to recognize sin and helps us to understand that we are sinners who cannot do anything to save ourselves. Scripture shows us that we need Jesus for salvation. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3:24-25. Jesus fulfilled the law, but didn’t abolish it. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but the sin in our life needs to be recognized and turned away from. Unless you study all of Scripture you’ll continue in your sin. God’s grace should change your way of thinking and draw you into fellowship with Him.
Another subject that’s ignored when all of God’s word isn’t taught is prophecy. The Old Testament is full of prophecy, and many have already been fulfilled. Their fulfillment confirms that God’s word is true. Many were fulfilled by the birth, life, and death of Jesus. Isaiah foretells the virgin birth, Micah records that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and Matthew and Luke give us details of His birth which fulfilled prophecy. Zechariah prophesied that Jesus would ride into Jerusalem, Daniel gives the calculations to determine the exact day that would happen, and Matthew records the fulfillment. If the Old Testament isn’t studied we miss the importance of events recorded in the New Testament. On the day of His resurrection Jesus met with two of His followers who were walking to Emmaus. As they walked they discussed the crucifixion and the empty tomb. They were trying to put it all together and understand what had happened. “And it came to pass, that while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.” Luke 24:15. They didn’t recognize Him, but continued to discuss all that had happened. Jesus listened, then explained it to them. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” Luke 24:27. What an amazing talk that must have been! This is proof that we need to study the Old Testament in order to understand the New. The Old Testament foretold the coming Messiah and the New Testament confirms the fulfillment of prophecy.
After Jesus finished speaking with those two men, He broke bread with them. It was then that their eyes were opened and they recognized Him. Then, He vanished! They were amazed and hurried back to Jerusalem to tell the others what had happened. As they spoke, Jesus suddenly appeared in the midst of them. They were terrified! Jesus put them at ease and explained “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” Luke 24:44-45. It’s all there. Prophecy in the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New Testament. Jesus confirmed that we need to study God’s word line upon line and precept upon precept. Pray over your Bible study and the Holy Spirit will help you understand.
What about the times in which we live today? Scripture has a lot to say about these end times and what is soon to take place. Ezekiel, Psalms, Daniel, and more give prophecy regarding today. If you ignore the Old Testament you will miss the importance of events taking place in the Middle East and how close we are to the fulfillment of prophecy spoken through the prophets and by Jesus. The Rapture will happen prior to Daniel’s 70th week, and if you study Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians you’ll understand this. The Old Testament gives examples of how God removes people who love Him prior to His judgment being poured out. Enoch and Lot are used as examples. We read in the Old Testament “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Genesis 5:24. This was prior to God’s judgment…Noah’s Flood. The writer of Hebrews tells us “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had his testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5. Lot’s story is also used to confirm that the Rapture will occur prior to God’s judgment. Lot lived in Sodom among those who committed the grievous sin, but Lot didn’t participate in that sin. Two angels were sent to destroy the cities but Lot had to be removed prior to the destruction. “And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.” Genesis 19:16. Jesus lets us know just how significant this was. “But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in that day when the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17:29-30. Peter also wrote about this incident “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 2 Peter 2:6-8. Enoch and Lot both lived among people who committed sin against God, but neither of them participate in it. Nor should you. Christians will be removed prior to God’s judgment, so be sure that you won’t be left here to face God’s judgment as described in Daniel, Matthew, Revelation, and other places in God’s word.
Don’t neglect any part of Scripture. Use it to witness to the lost and also for your own edification. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16. When Paul wrote these words the only Scripture was the Old Testament, which he used to reason with others about Jesus. “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” Acts 17:2. Philip also demonstrated the importance of knowing Scripture when he explained to the Ethiopian eunuch how a prophecy in Isaiah was fulfilled by Jesus. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” Acts 8:35. Apollos knew Scripture and used it to show Christ to the Jews. “For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.” Acts 18:28. These men were regular people who knew the power of God and used Old Testament Scripture to explain Jesus to others. You can too.
Jesus said “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39. His words are as important to us today as they were so many years ago. Search all of Scripture and study line upon line and precept upon precept. Don’t neglect the full counsel of God.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.