Flesh and Blood: the Problem and the Solution

Flesh and Blood of the Word. From FlickrI have always puzzled over the language used by the Apostle Paul in describing the Christian life. My problem came in reading 1 Corinthians 15:50. The language seems so strange.

NAU 1 Corinthians 15:50: “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”

In English a dead person cannot inherit anything.  Actually the dead persons property is inherited by those still alive.  In both Greek (NT) and Hebrew (OT) the word translated “inherit” frequently simply means “possess”.  By understanding the Bible language we can restate the text to “flesh and blood cannot possess the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable possess the imperishable”.

KJV Numbers 13:30 “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

The idiomatic phrase “flesh and blood” is used to describe living human beings.  Notice how Jesus used this expression in Matthew 16:17.

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Obviously, God is not “flesh and blood”.

Paul used the expression 4 times including 1 Corinthians 15:50.

Galatians 1:16 , “immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia..” Here Paul is referring to humans in contrast to God.

NAU Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places .”

Clearly this separates supernatural forces from human powers.

KJV Hebrews 2:14 “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”

This text tells us that Jesus participated in humanity, i.e . flesh and blood.

Do we have to cease to be human to get into the kingdom?

Continue reading Flesh and Blood: the Problem and the Solution

Using Scripture Correctly

Part 2. What About Jerusalem?

If you were to tour Jerusalem one prominent feature of the tour would be a grand lie.  I want you think about that idea and later I will explain it in detail.

Many people look to Jerusalem as the key to future events. Dispensationalists mostly look to the Jews building a temple on what is called the “temple mount”.  Some even point to the book of Ezekiel for the pattern of that temple.

Just as Dispensationalists look for the temple to be “rebuilt” in Jerusalem.  Many other people look for the Pope somehow to become the great world leader who will force people to receive the “mark of the Beast”.   Others see the “beast” as a computer in Belgium, that will be the way all people will be monitored to enforce a one-world government.

As we seek to understand Scripture we must be careful to read the text for what it is talking about and then let the Scripture explain itself.  Whenever the subject of interpreting Scripture  comes up I hear the words I grew up with. ” precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little”.

I was taught this verse as a principle for interpreting the Bible.  Sadly, it is mistranslated and taken completely out of context.  Both of these errors are so serious Continue reading Using Scripture Correctly

The Ship is Sinking

“For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.” (Isaiah 9:16).1

The Ship is Sinking. by Daniel Rodes. Book cover.

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On September 16, 2001, I was ministering in one of the western states of the USA when I received a vision of a sinking ship. It was then the Lord spoke to me and said, “The ship is sinking. Some have seen the danger and have taken to life boats, but they are still too close to the ship. When it sinks, they will sink with it.” He said the ship is the system that many of the plain people and a few of the other more conservative denominations are following. Some of the people have come out from the system, but are still trying to hold on to some of the unscriptural doc­trines and commandments which they have been taught. In some cases, they resist what they know to be truth and are suspicious of anyone who would reveal to them the truth. If someone comes to them with partial truth, for the most part, they will accept it.

Daniel Rodes

The Lord said to me, “Some people will get mad and say, ‘This is not the word of the Lord. God does not speak through prophets today.’ Many of them will stop their ears to the truth and will reject any messenger who dares to try to correct their traditional system. If they were honest, they would have to admit something is wrong. I have warned them, but they do as the Pharisees — make the Word of God of none effect through their tradition. Many of them will mock and become enraged. Others will conclude that it doesn’t apply to them. Fear them not. Give the word as I have given it to you.”

In this vision, it became clear to me that there is some good in the conservative churches. This is an overall message for the church, rather than all churches being guilty of all the things that the Lord has spoken against this sys­tem. ((Note: The Lord made it clear to me that I should not open myself to discuss this matter with anyone who would try to criticize, condemn or cause an argument concerning this message. I have given this message as clearly as I know how as the Lord has delivered it to me. By no means, do I have any prejudice or hard feelings toward this people. I have delivered this message by the grace, mercy and love of God. It is my prayer that those who read this message will be very careful how they respond to it. The Lord has deeply impressed upon me that those who will not obey this word and turn from their wicked ways will find themselves sinking with the ship. I, in no way, consider this message to be infallible or equivalent to the inspired Word of God, but I must warn that the over all message is a word of the Lord and must be heeded.

Continue reading The Ship is Sinking

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Have you ever heard about a book “White Lie” by Walter Rea?

We will talk about Ellen today. Ellen White. Some of us grew up with Ellen.

NIV Hebrews 11:1-2, 39-40: “1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

I want to throw the name “Ellen” into that mix of those ancients who were commended for their faith and tell you that only together with us can Ellen be redeemed perfect. And we are the ones who will have to redeem her. You know why? Because we crucified her. We created an Ellen White of our own choosing. Between her death in 1915 and the time I was born in 1952 something caused the church to make her into a hammer used to pound people into submission, to control people. If you got into discussion all you needed to do to quote Ellen White and conversation stopped. She is a final word. Remember those days? We made her infallible, a Pope. We created Pope Ellen.

Today many SDA college students do not know who she is.

The pendulum slowly is going to swing back into a healthy place. Worshiping Ellen White is not healthy. Totally ignoring her as she never existed is not healthy either.

There is a reason why I seldom quote her. Because she said not to. So I’ve taken her at her word.

Pastor Gary McCary

Sermon. MP3. 36 minutes.

Continue reading Ellen

A Conspiracy Against the Holy Spirit

by Richard Noel

When the criminal justice system has difficulty convicting an individual of a specific crime, they may turn to the criminal conspiracy code.  The rules for conviction of conspiracy to commit a crime are less stringent than to convict a person of the actual crime.  These rules were devised to discourage people from encouraging criminal behavior and planning crimes with others.

Most conspiracies in the Old Testament were against local rulers.  I find it significant that God has also accused people of conspiracy against Himself and against His people.

I was stunned when God told me to confront a church leader with the message that he was a leader of a conspiracy against the Holy Spirit.  This was a difficult and most unpleasant message to give and it was not well received. Jeremiah and Ezekiel both had to deliver such messages from God. Their messages were not well received either.

Continue reading A Conspiracy Against the Holy Spirit

Tradition vs. Truth

Richard Noel

How many of you have or have had teenagers?

Have those teens ever asked permission to do something and you said no?

Did they then try to justify their desires by saying, “But, everybody is doing it”? Or, maybe they said, “our friend’s parents say it is OK.”

Why did you as a parent still refuse the request?

Did you believe your decision was based on facts and within your authority as parents?

What should we do when we want to do something God has said is wrong?  Should we argue with God?  What basis do we have for disagreeing with God?

Will it work for us to say, “My family has always done it.”  -or-  “that’s just not fair” -or- I believe that I am right and you are wrong” ?

There are many religious teachings which are not found in the Bible.  I believe most of you could name several of these false teachings which are now broadly accepted. One which comes to my mind is the idea that a wicked person is immortal. Did any of you believe this idea at some time? This teaching is concealed in the idea that the wicked live eternally while being eternally tortured.

How did you come to change your mind?  As you contemplate this question I will point out what Jesus, Paul and Peter said about an evil use of tradition.

Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. (Mat 15:6 KJV)

Continue reading Tradition vs. Truth

No Room For Cowards

How Did I Get Here?  Where Do We Go From Here?

These are questions that are often asked by philosophers and answered in a theoretical form.

The habits we learn in childhood and thoughts are firmly embedded into our lives and we often don’t even realize that they are not necessarily truths.

Richard Noel

I grew up in a church where they talked about “truth” all the time.  They even said, “we have the truth”.  Then they would say we have “the testing truth for the world”.  We professed to base all our practices and beliefs on the Bible.  It was only after years of teaching what I had been taught that I discovered that we have much to learn and much to unlearn before we will really measure up to the standards of God and His word.

I find it still is emotionally difficult to examine everything I believe according to the Bible.  This is a continuous and present need for all true Christians.  Jesus warned us that deceptions would increase until the end of all things as we know them.  Why is this warning so prominent?  Jesus began is answer to the disciples with, ” 4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you”. (Mat 24:4 NAS)

Continue reading No Room For Cowards

Panel Discussion of Dr. Desmond Ford’s Presentation on Forensic Atonement

On September 6, 2008 following Dr. Ford’s presentation “Forensic Atonement Theory in Light of the Christian Gospel” at Loma Linda a distinguished panel engaged in a dialogue and discussed various aspects of the lecture.

Distinguished PanelThe panel was composed of scholars from La Sierra and Loma Linda Adventist Universities: Professor Fritz Guy and Professor Kendra Haloviak from La Sierra University School of religion, Larry Christoffel, Pastor of the Loma Linda campus Hill church and Professor Jon Paulien, Dean of the School of Religion at Loma Linda University, the moderator of the discussion.

* * *

Dr. Jon PaulienJon Paulien, PhD: Let me introduce our members. We’ll be going a little less than an hour, and around 5 o’clock written questions will be delivered to me and by some magical system I will choose a few of those to share with the panel. …

Dr. F. GuyWe have Fritz Guy who is with us from La Sierra University – a systematic theologian, philosophical theologian, and one of my Professors at seminary, for which I will always be grateful.

Pastor Larry ChristoffelWe have Larry Christoffel, who is one of the pastors here at the campus Hill church. He will bring us, I think, a bit of a perspective of practical pastoral theology.

Dr. K. HaloviakTo my right is Kendra Haloviak, who I was deeply privileged to have as a student at the seminary. And sometimes your students go beyond you, and Kendra would be one of those who I’m very proud of. And she is at La Sierra University, and we share a specialty in the New Testament and in the book of Revelation in particular.

Dr. Desmond FordTo my left of course in the man of the hour [Dr. Desmond Ford] and I’d like to open this discussion with a short testimony. We have hardly ever met, I think just in passing a couple of times. So this is really our closest acquaintance. And I would like to tell you that growing up as a Seventh Day Adventist I was one of those weird children who spent a lot of time in the Bible, and kind of knew the Bible back and forth. I was even in New York City on some Bible quizzes and came out very successfully over the radio as a small child. But there were two books of the Bible that always troubled me. They were not Daniel and Revelation, they were Romans and Galatians. And it just seemed to me, if somehow those could be left out of the Bible, the Adventism I knew could be perfectly defended [laughter in the audience].

Continue reading Panel Discussion of Dr. Desmond Ford’s Presentation on Forensic Atonement

Forensic Atonement Theory In Light Of the Christian Gospel

Bible’s Chief Metaphor on How to Get Right with God

Right Now despite Sinfulness, Failures and Follies

Desmond Ford

Loma Linda, September 6, 2008

By Dr. Desmond Ford

If you have felt impatient in the last half hour, I know someone much more sinful in that respect. He is talking to you.

None the less, it is a joy to be here. As a matter of fact at my age, it is a joy to be anywhere [laughter].

I beg of you not to be put off by the title assigned me for this lecture. It could just as easily have been “What Is The Bible’s Chief Metaphor On How To Get Right With God Right Now Despite Sinfulness, Failures And Follies?”

The word “forensic” sounds so metallic impersonal, cold. But it just means “according to law”. And law is codified “love”. Law is not God’s creation, it’s God’s nature. Law is alive on God’s throne, sways His scepter, basks in His glory. Without it you and I could not survive 5 seconds. Law tells us, that the universe is not haphazard. Law tells us of the secret of lasting joy is obedience to law – physical, mental and spiritual.

Continue reading Forensic Atonement Theory In Light Of the Christian Gospel

Desmond Ford’s Presentation at Loma Linda. September 6, 2008

Desmond FordLoma Linda’s Hill Church on Sabbath, September 6, 2008, hosted Dr. Desmond Ford, the most significant theologian produced by the Adventist church. The hot topic of the afternoon was his presentation on the Forensic Atonement Theory In Light Of the Christian Gospel.This was probably the first time D. Ford was given an opportunity to speak at an Adventist Church in North America since Glacier View.

The event was sponsored by the Adventist Today Foundation.

Desmond Ford was introduced by the executive director of the Adventist Today Foundation, Dr. Ervin Taylor:

Ervin Taylor, PhD“On behalf of the Adventist Today Foundation who is the publisher of the journal “Adventist Today” I would like to welcome you to this 2008 Richard Hammill Memorial lecture. This lecture series honors the late Richard Hammill, the scholar, who had a long and distinguished carrier as a Seventh-day Adventist educator, University administrator and a senior churchman. In the early and mid 1990-s in active retirement at Loma Linda Dr. Hammill became involved in discussions, which contributed greatly to the advancement of progressive approaches to various traditional Adventist theological understandings. Today, we honor the memory of Dr. Hammill by seeking through open dialog a better understanding and appreciation of the range of views on important theological and other issues that are currently being discussed by scholars both within the Adventist faith and within a larger Christian community.

Continue reading Desmond Ford’s Presentation at Loma Linda. September 6, 2008

3. What is the Sanctuary – Tabernacle or the Ark?

Richard Noel

Chapter 3 of “The Sanctuary” series

Most Christian and Jewish readers may think I am asking a crazy question. After all, for centuries they have understood that the “sanctuary” is either the tabernacle or a room in the tabernacle. As we progress you will see that this question is relevant to a correct understanding of the entire plan of Salvation.

Why would I bother to suggest that the popular, well-know answer might be wrong? As I was reading in the Torah/Books of Moses, I came on a most interesting verse. It is found in Numbers chapter 10. This chapter is describing the orderly way the camp of Israel was to move from one place to another. It spends most of the chapter listing the various tribes and where they were to be during the travel. Hidden in this story are some important verses.

NAU Numbers 10:17 Then the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari, who were carrying the tabernacle, set out.

The text continues with more tribes setting out on the trip and then this astounding note.

KJV Numbers 10:21 And the Kohathites set forward, bearing the sanctuary: and the other did set up the tabernacle against they came.

Continue reading 3. What is the Sanctuary – Tabernacle or the Ark?

Catch 23

by Richard Noel

In the 1860’s the early “Adventists” chose a special name as the religious institution I belong to was being organized. They chose this name because it directly pointed to the two most important doctrines they had learned from Scripture.

Those two doctrines were and are the Seventh day Sabbath and the soon return [Advent] of Jesus to complete His redeeming of our bodies. All other doctrines were considered secondary to those two doctrines. While the church may have shifted focus in many areas, but these are still the two key identifiers of believers.

Until the death of Ellen White in 1915 Seventh Day Adventists were clearly known as the people of the Book, referring to our teaching doctrines from Scripture. Gradually, laziness and ignorance crept in as we began to use the writings of Ellen G. White to explain the meaning of Scriptures. Continue reading Catch 23