I received the following question:

Was wondering if you have “Precepts” study guide(s) that address position in the Kingdom & position now (in the dispensation of grace) as we get ready for the coming Kingdom.

Nathan: I would be happy to answer your questions. I have spoken of these matters in a recent “Precepts” issue on “Kingdom Impacts in the Dispensation of Grace.” I have attached this study.

However, that is mostly about our position in the kingdom to come, and how God would have us to live now. So I will go on now and answer your second question, regarding what our position is before God now in the dispensation of grace. Read the rest of this entry »

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I received the following question:

1 John 5:6,8

Hi Nathan,

Hope you’re doing well, need your opinion on the use of the word “water” in the above subject verses. Does it have anything to do with water baptism?

Best Regards

6. This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.

8. And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.

The key in this portion is the witness. The Greek is the word martureo, from which we get our English word “martyr.” This same word occurs in two important places in the gospel of John. First consider John 1:32-34. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

I need help, please, understanding the gospel of salvation in the Acts period.

Were different gospels of salvation preached during the Acts period?

It’s my understanding that the 2 gospels (of the circumcision, of the uncircumcision) in Galatians 2 were actually gospels offered TO the two different groups, not 2 different gospels as Mid-Acts teaches.

It is also my understanding that the gospel of the kingdom is not a gospel of salvation at all, but just an announcement that the long-awaited kingdom is near.

Is everyone in the Acts period saved by grace through faith?

Clearly I am confused, and I appreciate your help.

I will be happy to help you out with your questions regarding the gospel. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

How does one know the Holy Spirit is working with him when he honestly and laboriously works with the Word? (Since many who seem to labor hard at the truth never discover any advances beyond what they are taught) is it true that (the Holy Spirit works only with scholars for advances in truth), but in such a way, no one could ever know, even the scholar He works with. I would appreciate any comments you might have on this issue as I see it.

You bring up an important issue, and one that I will be happy to answer as best I can. You complain that an average student with average intelligence is probably not going to be able to study the Word of God and bring forth new truth and new light. This may well be true. I do not think that everyone is cut out to be a Mr. Sellers, or a Dr. Bullinger, or a scholar of that caliber. You are right that most people end up just struggling to “catch up” to others who have already walked the same ground they are seeking to walk before them. Blazing new trails is difficult. If I have done this in the past, even that is no guarantee that I will ever be able to do it again. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

Question, can you elaborate on Matthew 27:52,53? I find it somewhat confusing.

Matthew 27:50. And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

This is indeed an odd passage, and there are multiple questions raised by it. Who were these saints who were raised? When had they died? Were they only saints who had recently died, or were there some raised who had died a good while in the past? Might there even have been some raised who did not even die within the lifetime of those currently alive? Then, why, if they were raised at the time of Christ’s death, did they not come out of the graves until after His resurrection three days later? What were they doing in the graves for three days? How can one who is alive live in a grave for three days? Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 1 Continued

17. Then David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son,

Now David, the great psalmist, writes a lament for Saul and Jonathan his son. A lamentation was a kind of dirge or sorrowful song. We know about lamentations from the book of Lamentations in the Bible. The lamentations in that book are all written by the prophet Jeremiah. Yet David here shows that he too was adept at writing this kind of song. Thus he writes this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 1

Now let us continue right on with the book of II Samuel. As we discussed in the introduction to the book of I Samuel, these two books form one single book in the Hebrew Bible, or at least they did in the original Hebrew Bible. The split into two books seems to have happened at the time of the translation of the Bible into Greek, known as the Septuagint version of the Bible. While we cannot know for certain why the translators divided the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles into two books, it appears likely that whoever cut the scrolls for these three books forgot that Greek letters are about a third bigger than Hebrew letters, and therefore take up more room on the scroll. The one who cut the scroll cut it the same length as the Hebrew scroll would have been, so space ran out on the scroll about half way through these books. Rather than try to splice two scrolls together to make them longer, they just took a second scroll, labeling it “II Samuel,” or “II Kings,” or “II Chronicles.” Then, years later when these books were put into our modern book form, the error of two books remained, since the people at that time thought it had “always been done that way.” Now, then, we are stuck with these books which the Spirit originally gave as one split apart into two by the hand of men. Read the rest of this entry »

Philemon Part 3

New King James Version 19. I, Paul, am writing with my own hand. I will repay—not to mention to you that you owe me even your own self besides.

Now Paul says that he writes this part of his letter to Philemon with his own hand. We might wonder about this, for it is probably our habit to write most of our correspondence with our own hands. Yet we would note here that Paul usually used what is called an “amanuensis,” meaning a scribe who would write down his letters for him as he dictated them. The amanuensis in the case of Philemon appears to have been Timothy, as we read in Philemon 1:1. So most of this letter would have been in Timothy’s handwriting and not Paul’s. Yet at this point Paul wishes to assure Philemon that he will do as he says, and will right whatever wrong Philemon has done or repay whatever debt Philemon has incurred. In order to assure Philemon of this, he wrote this part of the letter of Philemon to him with his own hand. In his own handwriting, which apparently Philemon will recognize, he assures him that he will repay what Onesimus owes. Read the rest of this entry »

Philemon Part 2

New King James Version 8. Therefore, though I might be very bold in Christ to command you what is fitting,

Now Paul starts to finally get to the point of why he is writing this letter to Philemon. He wants his friend to do something, and he wants him to do it “therefore.” If we were to ask ourselves why he starts this statement “therefore,” we must look back at what Paul has just been saying to discover the answer. No doubt he means because of the self-sacrificing love that Philemon has demonstrated to all his fellow holy ones. Perhaps it was also because of his faith that Paul mentioned back in verse 5. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following article without comment from one of my readers. Therefore, I responded to it with the following.

The book of Acts – A record of Israel and their earthly prophesied hope.

A proper interpretation of the overall purpose of the book of Acts is essential to a correct understanding of the Bible as a whole. Because of this, it has long been a battleground for Bible expositors of all theological persuasions. Although there have been many theories advanced that attempt to explain its overall purpose, this paper focuses on the Acts 28 position as presented in the paper entitled “The Dispensational Frontier” by Charles H. Welch.
This view states that Israel was set aside after the apostle Paul’s pronouncement against them in Acts 28:28 and immediately following that Paul received the revelation of the Mystery that he writes about in the books of Ephesians and Colossians. Therefore, according to this view, Paul was preaching the truths concerning this newly revealed Mystery during the final 2 years of the book of Acts. Read the rest of this entry »