The Unity of the Scriptures
By John Foll, written between 8/19/2017 and 8/23/2017, except for the start which came with Part 1. © Copyright 2017 John Foll
“To whom would He teach knowledge, and to whom would He interpret the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast? For He says, 'Order on order, order on order, line on line, line on line, a little here, a little there.' ” Isaiah 28:9-10 NASB.
In this article we want to show you how to understand the Bible, by applying the principles of order upon order, line upon line, precept upon precept. We want to show the unity of the Bible and why it’s important, which shows order in the Bible, because God is a God of order. “Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV. Colossians 2:5; Titus 1:5; 2 Chronicles 29:35; Psalms 119:133; Matthew 12:44.
The articles in the series you are now reading: “Order Upon Order, Line Upon Line, Precept Upon Precept!” are designed to teach you the importance of studying the whole Bible and the principles needed to understand it. They are a good lead into our new blog: How To Please God, where we will study these precious truths of the Bible that you need to know in greater detail. Why is it important to study these doctrines? So you can know how to please God and be eternally happy! Why aren’t we including them in our Love of God or our Faith Blogs? Because not everyone is ready for these truths yet. In our Love of God and our Faith Blogs we are trying to focus on the essentials of the gospel and how to be saved, have peace, love, joy, faith, hope, and how to become born again and be filled with the Spirit. Without these most essential and basic truths of the Gospel message fully believed and put into practice, your Christianity will become a “hollow shell”, with either self-righteousness or a carelessness of not loving God with all your heart, mind and soul, or a carelessness of not loving your neighbor as yourself.
We have seen in some of our previous articles in our Love of God Blog: the Holy Spirit is given to all that obey God. Acts 5:32. What does this mean? We have thought about this a lot and have come to the conclusion that it is most important to believe, teach and live by all of God’s truth in the Bible, not just the pleasant things to think about like the Love of God. (We already knew this at least in part, but had not connected it fully with Acts 5:32.) It makes no sense to talk about getting the Holy Spirit, or to talk about getting peace, love, faith, hope or joy, etc. if someone doesn’t eventually want to obey God. He gives us time to get to know Him and choose of our own free will to give our heart fully to Him or not. If anyone wants the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus also refers to as ‘the spirit of truth’, instead of the spirit of error, they must want to obey God. John 14:17; 16:16; 16:13. Anyone can claim they have the Holy Spirit or that they are born again, but the proof in whether they are or not, and have the right Spirit, is if they love and obey God, and treat others with kindness, love and respect. This means to keep God’s commandments, which are to love Him with all your heart, mind and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:36-40. The only way you can understand the Bible, is if you are listening to the Holy Spirit. The only way you can obey God’s commandments is if you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in your heart continually. But how do you know if you have the Holy Spirit? You must apply the Bible tests, you must keep God’s Law of Love. John said about Jesus: “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” 1 John 2:3-6 KJV. The promise of the Holy Spirit is a precious promise given to the believer who yields themselves to God. The more you yield to Him, the more of the power of the Holy Spirit you will have. If you yield to Him fully, you will have the Holy Spirit in full, and your life will never be the same; then God’s will for your life will be your greatest desire! The Holy Spirit is a precious gift that all Christians need. The Holy Spirit is also a reward given to those who want to obey God and love Him with all their heart, the Pearl of Great Price! When you love God with all your heart, mind and soul, then you have the Holy Spirit in full. Then obeying God’s every wish and command will be a delight for you, not a burden. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3 NASB.
In case you are wondering, whose commandments is John talking about keeping here in John 2:3-6, Jesus’ or God’s? As we have shown in our previous blog article: Order Upon Order, Line Upon Line, Precept Upon Precept! Part 1 http://WhiteRaimentEvangelism.blogspot.com/2017/08/order-upon-order-line-upon-line-precept-upon-precept-part1.html, God’s commandments are Jesus’ commandments, and Jesus’ commandments are God’s commandments, because they are one. Jesus is the Word of God and came to this earth to reveal His Father’s will for mankind. But Jesus restated God’s Law of Love in Matthew 22:36-40, and in John 13:34. (Note: Jesus wasn’t stating a new truth here, even though it may seem so, because this truth was taught first by Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4-6 and Leviticus 19:18.)
You must listen to the Holy Spirit to understand the Bible, be born again or be saved, but you must also love and obey God’s word in the Bible in order to have the Holy Spirit. Therefore it is important for you to study the other doctrines of the Bible, to help you know all of what God requires. This is the reason for our new blog, “How To Please God”; to teach the other essential truths of the Bible, so you can please God and have the Holy Spirit in full!
Now back to our current article “Order Upon Order, Line Upon Line, Precept Upon Precept Part 2”:
We want to add to our order upon order, and line upon line doctrines:
“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, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV. What scripture does Paul say is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness? All scripture. What scriptures were the scriptures in Paul’s day? Just the Old Testament. Paul didn’t start to write any of his epistles until a long time after Jesus had gone back to Heaven, and most likely his own writings, although inspired, were not considered on the same level as scriptures until a later date. We don’t want to take the time to try to prove this to you in this article. We have talked about this in our books and other blog articles, and there is more too learn of it.
We are making the point about the Old Testament being “all scriptures” because there are many in our day that are teaching that Jesus did away with the Old Testament or the 10 Commandments, etc. and that the Old Testament can be discarded in part, if not in whole, because some declare it to be “Old Covenant”. To many people anything that can be labeled “Old Covenant” should be discarded. The devil is well pleased with this thinking, because once people start down this road, they end up carving up the New Testament too, with some parts being labeled ‘old covenant’ and other parts being labeled ‘new covenant’. This is destroying belief in the New Testament. As we have said in some of our books, the New Testament uses the Old Testament to prove that Jesus is the Christ, and it is the starting point of the Christian Faith, and if it is discarded, it turns Christianity into a sham, because we must have confidence that Jesus is the Christ or the Messiah of the world. If the Old Testament is not valid anymore, it destroys the credibility of Jesus, because He spoke with favor on it. Many things that He spoke can be found in the Old Testament. We have also shown in some of our previous blog articles, in our Love of God Blog and in some of our books, that there are preachers in our day that are contradicting Christ by their incorrect views of what Paul taught in his epistles. They tend to place their ideas of what Paul taught above the clear testimony of Jesus! A careful study of Paul’s writings reveal that he did not contradict anything that Jesus said. What Paul was against was legalism, the effort to save one’s self by themselves, and he was for being a new creature, which is to be born again and walk by the Spirit, which is life and peace. Romans 8:5-10. But these are the same things that Jesus was for!
We are not saying that the New Testament is not the scriptures or ‘all scriptures’. Our point is to make you aware that the books of the Old Testament were the scriptures first, and they were the scriptures that Paul specifically referred to when he wrote the epistle of 2nd Timothy. (He may have also been intending that his epistles and some of the other books of the New Testament that were written were scriptures too, but we haven’t researched this to know if it is true.) Many people probably haven’t thought of it this way, and may not realize what Paul meant in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. This point is important to understand. Since Paul and the other Apostles had seen Jesus physically or in a vision and learned from Him, and received the Holy Spirit, their writings are also the word of God, thus ‘the scriptures’. Many Christians make the New Testament their main or only scriptures, and are unsure whether the books of the Old Testament are also ‘the scriptures’ that are necessary for them to study and follow. But to understand God’s complete will for man, and to have a full understanding of the plan of salvation, and to understand the future that lies ahead of us, i.e. Bible prophecy, the Old Testament must be studied and viewed as the word of God by every believer. The writers of the New Testament did not fully expound on or list all of the truths of the Old Testament in their writings, because the people were exhorted to study the scriptures. In their day, there was no question that the Old Testament was the word of God to the believer.
Paul also said, “Study to shew [or show] thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV. What does Paul mean by rightly dividing the word of truth? He means that we need to study the whole Bible (both the Old and New Testaments), know all of what it says, and know how to rightly divide it up by context to build valid doctrines without contradictions, and we also believe, comparing scripture with scripture, order upon order, line upon line, and precept upon precept, as our theme passage for this article series indicates. This method of rightly dividing the truth is the method that God approves of. Those who rightly divide the word of truth will not be ashamed in the Day of Judgment, when their life record is brought up and the fruit of their life is accounted for. There will be a great reward for those who have been faithful in honoring God’s law of love for mankind, and teaching others to do so, and teaching others the way of salvation! We don’t know about you, but we want that great reward that Jesus promised! Don’t you too?
See Matthew 5:19; 25:31-46; John 15:16; Matthew 10:32-33; 1 Samuel 2:30; 2 Timothy 2:11-13; Psalms 19:7, 11; Romans 1:16; 10:11; 1 John 2:28; 2 Timothy 1:12-14.
We need to seek for harmony in the Bible and see how the Old and New Testaments work together! And that without either of them, we have an incomplete understanding of all truth! We have also endeavored in our Love of God Blog and in our Faith Blog to show that it has always been about faith. In the days of the Old Testament, it was about faith that Jesus would one day come to redeem mankind from their sins, to pay the price for our sins, and for the salvation that He and His Father would bring through the resurrection, and take His people home to be with Him forever in Heaven in mansions of glory and endless delight, as *the song says. And this is true in our day! We have even more light of the scriptures shining on our path than the people in the days of the Old Testament had, but it is still about faith in Jesus and His Father, whereby we must be saved and always will be.
One of the purposes of this Order Upon Order, Line Upon Line, Precept Upon Precept series of articles is to help you have full confidence that all of the Bible is the word of God; so that you can believe it, be happy, please God and receive the Holy Spirit in full, because the Holy Spirit is given to all that obey God, Acts 5:32, and to those who want to obey Him.
* From the Hymn: ‘My Jesus I Love Thee’: Words by William Ralph Featherston, Music by Adoniram Gordon. Click on the link below to hear me singing this song on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX4x8FJP6fA
In addition to Christians wanting to get rid of the Old Testament as part of their rule of faith, atheism, for some time now, has been trying to destroy our belief that God was the creator, as the Bible says He was in the book of Genesis. And some Christians now are integrating “theistic” evolution into their beliefs; this goes along with their belief that the Old Testament is old covenant and not necessary for Christians. Our purpose in this article is not to debunk evolution here, but to point out that it is a big factor in the errors that are plaguing our world today.
What’s at stake? The unity of the Bible, and whether God really meant what He said, or whether He changed His mind and said something different at a later date. If you have been confused on this, we hope that you will want to learn the truth on the unity of the Bible, ‘all scriptures’. If you don’t agree with this you will have trouble with many of our articles, because this is an integral part of what Acts 5:32 teaches, that if we want the Holy Spirit we must obey God. And the only way we can obey God is if we want to obey everything He said in the Bible. So we must study all of it. There is a beauty and harmony with the truth, when it is understood with no contradictions; this is the only way to know true peace, and to have the Spirit of Truth that Jesus promised to all of His disciples. John 15:26; 14:15-17; 16:13-14.
Jesus declared that those who read the scriptures and do not see that they testify of Him, do not have God’s word abiding in their heart. “And ye have not His word abiding in you: for whom He hath sent, Him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.” John 5:38-40 KJV. What scriptures was Jesus referring to when He said this? The Old Testament. How do we know this? Because the book of John was not written until about A.D. 90’s! See http://www.freebeginning.com/new_testament_dates/. It is impossible that the book of John could have been considered scriptures when Jesus spoke John 5:38-40! The first book of the New Testament that was written was most likely the book of Mark, which was written about 60 - 70 A.D. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Mark/ . So it is impossible that any book of the New Testament could have been scriptures when Jesus said this. Also it is impossible for any book of the New Testament to have been considered scriptures before that book was written. We believe that many Christians have not considered the fact that the Gospels or the book of Acts were not written until a much later date, after they took place. And the other books of the New Testament were also written many years after Jesus went back to Heaven!
The Old Testament scriptures declare the love of God and the plan of salvation. Throughout its pages, in its rites and ceremonies, laws, and stories, we see God’s mercy for our fallen world. We see the plan of how Jesus would be sent to die on the cross for the sins of the world, how to live and be born again, how God would send the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, and how Jesus would one day return at the second coming and raise the righteous from the dead, and take all of His people home to be with Him and the Father in the mansions He has prepared for them. We also see the second resurrection and the judgement of the wicked and their eventual complete destruction by fire. All of this was shown or predicted in the Old Testament in one place or another. Much of this was shown in the daily rites, the festivals and other yearly rites of the sanctuary services with what the Priests did. And there were many prophecies from Moses, David and the Major and Minor Prophets throughout its pages. To get a full understanding of the truth it is necessary to study the New Testament together with the Old Testament, comparing their teachings and Bible prophecies. It is not good for anyone to reject the authority or the inspiration of the Old Testament, or to try to put it down as not being needed anymore for Christians. Jesus said that the scriptures testify of Him, which were the Old Testament scriptures. How can anything that testifies about Jesus be bad? These are the same "all scriptures” that Paul also spoke about that are profitable for the Christian, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete and lacking in nothing.
Jesus said to the Tempter, when tempted to turn the stones into bread when He was hungry, near the end of his forty day fast: ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4 KJV. If you study the words of Moses, and the writings of the Old Testament with an open mind, you will see that these are indeed the words of God! Jesus declared that we should not live by the bread that we eat for food alone, implying that we are not to live just by the works or the fruits of our hands; not just by how we earn our living or feed ourselves. But we are also to live by the words of God, all of them. We should take heed to all that God has said, unless it was of a temporary nature (not for our day), or conditional with conditions not met.
We also have this testimony from Jesus regarding the importance of listening to Moses and the Prophets in this parable of the Rich man and Lazarus: “"But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.' "But he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!' "But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'"” Luke 16:29-31 NASB. Some may think that Jesus was only talking to the Jews here when He made this statement, and that we don’t need to be concerned about what He said here if we are a Christian. But what Jesus said here was His main point! If someone will not believe the writings of Moses and the Prophets (literally He is talking about the entire Old Testament here), neither will they believe if someone should rise from the dead and tell them to repent. Think about what Jesus meant here!
Do Christians have the Old Testament in their Bibles? Yes. Why? Because Christians throughout the ages since Jesus went back to Heaven have been blessed by the Old Testament in its stories of faith, and the great and wonderful works of God! So it has been included in their Biblical canon. Who has not been blessed by reading the Psalms? Those who are down and out and greatly need encouragement. And there are many wonderful promises about Jesus the Messiah, particularly as found in the book of Isaiah the prophet. Who has not been blessed by these prophecies? Do we as Christians have the testimony of Moses and the Prophets in our Bible? Again yes. Then you must accept the testimony of the Old Testament, because you have Moses and the Prophets, as Jesus said. If you don’t, neither will you believe if someone should rise from the dead telling you to repent! Jesus was not just speaking to the Jewish race here! David wrote: “the law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul, the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple”! Psalms 19:7 KJV. This is found in the Old Testament. If you want to be truly converted, do not reject any of God’s counsel for you in any part of the Holy Scriptures, be it the Old or New Testaments.
There is yet another point to be learned from Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus: Did someone rise from the dead and seek to tell His people to repent? Yes! Who? Jesus! Even though the Bible makes no mention that Jesus ever spoke to any of the leaders of the nation of Israel again after His resurrection, by proxy He did speak to them. Through the testimony of Peter, James and John, the rest of the Apostles, and of course Paul. They were all preaching that Jesus’ rose from the dead and that everyone should repent. One place is Acts 2. Did any of the Jews believe Jesus’ call to repentance after He rose from the grave? Yes, but not all. We do not know the number, but it was probably not the majority. Why? Because Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 NASB. Many did not receive this testimony that He was risen, that His death for their sins alone could save them, and that they should repent. Why? Because they had not truly believed Moses and the Prophets, who all testified of Him! If they had known and really believed these writings, they would have known Jesus too, for these writings prophesied of Him. So we think that Jesus was making a prophecy concerning Himself in this parable of the rich man and Lazarus, that when He would rise from the dead, those who did not truly believe Moses and the Prophets would not believe His testimony either, as given by His Disciples telling them to repent. This is quite a statement that Jesus made! We wish all Christians would understand this, that if they will not believe the testimony of Moses and the Prophets, neither will they truly believe Jesus’ testimony to repent.
Both of the Old and New Testaments are the Holy Scriptures that we as Christians need to study and ask God’s help to put into practice. We are to live by all of these words that proceed from the mouth of God! If we want to understand God’s will for us, we will want to study everything that He has revealed in His Holy Scriptures, both in the Old and the New Testaments, and compare them, order upon order, line upon line, precept upon precept. This is the way of peace, love, joy, happiness, and eternal life! If you would have life, search for Jesus in the Old Testament, as well as studying about Him in the New Testament, for all of the Bible testifies about Jesus, and His Father’s love for our world. Amen!
May the grace of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all!
We hope to write further blog articles on this subject.
#Understand #Principle #Bible #Doctrine #Order #Unity #Old #New #Testament #HolySpirit #Obey #Love #Scripture #Reproof #Testimony #Jesus #Harmony #Believe #Rise #Dead