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Eating the word

Query for the Month

of October 2002

Next up-date: November 1st 2002 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

What does it mean to "be led by the Spirit"?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!

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Query:

Matthew 4:

3 And when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If  You be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

Deuteronomy 8:

2 And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments, or no.  3 And He humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that He might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live. 

 How can we live by the words of God? 


Answer:

The Jews often celebrated Passover at Jerusalem during which they ate a portion of a lamb. This was done in commemoration of the night of Israel's deliverance when the destroying angel attacked the firstborn in the homes of Egypt. Exodus 12:1-14.   However, in the passover lamb God desired them to behold the Lamb of God (John 1:29), and through the symbol receive Him who gave Himself for the life of the world.

But, like so many religionists today, the Jews had come to make the symbol all-important, while its significance was unnoticed.

So Jesus spoke to them and said:

John 6:

47 “Verily, verily, I say to you, He that believes on Me has everlasting life [already]. 48 I am that Bread of life.”

49 “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness [physical food], and are dead. 50 This [the understanding of My body] is the Bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die [at all]. 51 I am the living Bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever: and the Bread that I will give is [symbolised by] My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” 

The rabbis exclaimed angrily, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?" for they pretended to understand His words in the same literal sense as did Nicodemus when he asked, "How can a man be born when he is old?" John 3:4. To some extent they comprehended the meaning of Jesus, but they were not willing to acknowledge it. By misconstruing His words, they hoped to prejudice the people against Him. 

Despite this Christ did not soften down His symbolical representation. In fact, He reiterated the truth in yet stronger language:

John 6:53-56

"Verily, verily, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no [real] life in you. Whoso eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, has eternal life [already]; and I will raise him up at the last day [at the first resurrection]. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed [the REAL food]. He that eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, dwells in Me, and I in him."

To “eat” the flesh and “drink” the blood of Christ is to receive Him as a personal Saviour, believing that He forgives our sins and cleanses us from our old nature (1 John 1:29), and that we are complete in Him. It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature.  It is also the same thing as living by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God, because Jesus is the WORD and He came from God also. 

So strong were the pricks of the Holy Spirit over this doctrine that many of Jesus’ followers gave up on this point and left Him, never to return. John 6:66.  But Peter and the other apostles stayed.  Verses 67-69.

We should take prayerful note of the following speech.

Proverbs 30:

1 The words of Agur the son of Jakeh [no one seems to know who he was], even the prophecy: the man spoke to Ithiel, even to Ithiel and Ucal, 2 “Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a [wise] man.” [This is an Oriental ritual denial of possessing wisdom, given in modesty.]

3 “I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the Holy [I have a lot to learn]. 4 Who has ascended up into heaven, or descended? [Romans 10:5-8.]  Who has gathered the wind in His fists?  Who has bound the waters in a garment?  [See Job 40 and 41 for more like this.] Who has established all the ends of the earth?  What is His name, and what is His Son's name, if you can tell?”

5 “Every Word of God is pure: He is a shield to them that put their trust in Him [He protects His own]. 6 Add you not to His words [they are unchangeable], lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar [even with the best of intentions].”

In like manner many early Christians did not discern the implication of the LORD's body as Paul wrote:-

1 Corinthians 11:

26 For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the LORD's death till He come.

27 Wherefore whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the LORD, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the LORD. 28 But let a man examine himself [no one else can judge], and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he [or she] that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself [it’s only a sham under those conditions], not discerning the LORD's body.

30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep [the sleep of death]

Here the Spirit of God tells us that to miss the point of Christ’s “body” is to become sick and even die the first death!!  This does NOT necessarily mean that such must lose their salvation, but that they hand back the gift of life for a while and enter Satan’s prison house, the grave.  This is obviously a serious situation, yet unappreciated by the general Christian population today.

The same truth that was symbolized in the Passover lamb and in the communion service was taught in the words that Christ spoke while He was on earth. But it was still undiscerned some decades after the crucifixion as we have just read.  It’s time that we did understand it.

What food is to the body, Christ must be to the soul. Food cannot benefit us unless we eat it, unless it becomes a part of our being. So Christ is of no value to us if we do not know Him as a personal Saviour. A theoretical knowledge will do us no good. We must feed upon Him, receive Him into the heart, so that His life becomes our life.  His love, His grace, must be assimilated into our being.  Where can we find all this?  In His written word and in His actions while here on earth.  That is why there is no difference made between the spoken word and His body.  Both teach us about Him and show us how to join with Him.

So one of the prophets wrote:-

Jeremiah 15:

16 “Your words were found, and I did eat them; and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.” [Christian = Christlike]

We are what we eat, so the effect of “eating” the words of the Son of God is to become like Him.  As He was, so we should be. (1 John 3:2.)

There is a life-sustaining power in the words of the Bible.  Christ Himself GIVES the life – the words SUSTAIN it.

So, just as the physical food we consume gradually makes its way into our system and keeps our bodies in physical health either well or badly depending on whether we eat health or junk foods, so reading and digesting the words of the Bible can keep us spiritually healthy if we do not partake of “junk” words on the side.  Jesus said,

John 10:

10 “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

One of the ways in which He does this is through the Bible, so we should be sure and get the “organic” version as opposed to “the genetically modified” ones!!  Those which have been altered, sometimes by well-meaning men, can produce many side effects the extent of which we cannot conceive.

What do I mean by this?

The explanation is made plain in the following quote from one of the books in my library.  It is “Our Authorized Bible Vindicated”, written by Benjamin G. Wilkinson, in 1930.

Pages 12-15     (Some long paragraphs have been split up for easier reading)

I quote:-

FUNDAMENTALLY,

THERE ARE ONLY TWO STREAMS OF BIBLES

Anyone who is interested enough to read the vast volume of literature on this subject, will agree that down through the centuries there were only two streams of manuscripts.

The first stream which carried the Received Text in Hebrew and Greek, began with the apostolic churches, and reappearing at intervals down the Christian Era among enlightened believers, was protected by the wisdom and scholarship of the pure church in her different phases; by such as the church at Pella in Palestine where Christians fled, when in A.D. 70 the Romans destroyed Jerusalem;[1] by the Syrian Church of Antioch which produced eminent scholarship; by the Italic Church in northern Italy; and also at the same time by the Gallic Church in southern France and by the Celtic Church in Great Britain; by the pre-Waldensian, the Waldensian, and the churches of the Reformation.

This first stream appears, with very little change, in the Protestant Bibles of many languages, and in English, in that Bible known as the King James Version, the one which has been in use for three hundred years in the English speaking world. (P13) These Manuscripts have in agreement with them by far the vast majority of numbers. So vast is this majority that even the enemies of the Received Text admit that nineteen‑twentieths and some ninety‑nine one‑hundredths of all Greek Manuscripts are of this class; while one hundred per cent of the Hebrew Manuscripts are for the Received Text.

The second stream is a small one of a very few manuscripts. These last Manuscripts are represented:

(a) In Greek:‑ The Vatican Manuscript, or Codex B, in the library at Rome; and the Sinaitic, or Codex Aleph (ŗ) its brother. We will fully explain about these two Manuscripts later.

(b) In Latin:‑ The Vulgate or Latin Bible of Jerome.

(c) In English:‑ The Jesuit Bible of A.D. 1582, which later with vast changes is seen in the Douay, or Catholic Bible.

(d) In English again:‑ In many modern Bibles which introduce practically all the Catholic readings of the Latin Vulgate which were rejected by the Protestants of the Reformation; among these, prominently, are the Revised Versions.

So the present controversy between the King James Bible in English and the modern versions is the same old contest fought out between the early church and rival sects; later between the Waldenses and the Papists from the fourth to the thirteenth centuries; and later still, between the Reformers and the Jesuits in the six≠teenth century.

THE APOSTLE PAUL PREPARES TO

PRESERVE THE TRUTH

AGAINST COMING APOSTASY

In his later years, the apostle Paul spent more time in preparing the churches for the great future apostasy than in pushing the work farther on. He foresaw that this apostasy would arise in the west.

 ********************

My addition: I think this is what Wilkinson is referring to:

Acts 20:

26 “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men”, [Paul said] 27 “For I have not shunned to declare to you all the counsel of God. 28 Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to FEED the church of God, which He has purchased with His own blood.”

 29 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”

32 “And now, brothers and sisters, I commend you to God, and TO THE WORD OF HIS GRACE, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

********************

Therefore, he spent years laboring to anchor the Gentile churches of Europe to the churches of Judea. (p14) The Jewish Christians had back of them 1500 years of training. Throughout the centuries God had so molded the Jewish mind that it grasped the idea of sin; of an invisible Godhead; of man’s serious condition; of the need for a divine Redeemer. But throughout these same centuries, the Gentile world had sunk lower and lower in frivolity, heathenism, and debauchery.

It is worthy of notice that the apostle Paul wrote practically all of his epistles to the Gentile churches, – to Corinth, to Rome, to Philippi, etc. He wrote almost no letters to the Jewish Christians. Therefore, the great burden of his closing days was to anchor the Gentile churches of Europe to the Christian churches of Judea. In fact, it was to secure this end that he lost his life.

“St. Paul did his best to maintain his friendship and alliance with the Jerusalem Church. To put himself right with them, he traveled up to Jerusalem, when fresh fields and splendid prospects were opening up for him in the West. For this purpose he submitted to several days restraint and attendance in the Temple, and the results vindicated his determination.”[2]

This is how Paul used churches in Judea as a base, – “For ye, brethren became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews.” 1 Thess. 2:14.

“There is not a word here of the church of Rome being the model after which the other churches were to be formed; it had no such preŽminence: – this honor belonged to the churches of Judea; it was according to them, not the church at Rome, that the Asiatic churches were modeled. The purest of all the apostolic churches was that of the Thessalonians, and this was formed after the Christian churches in Judea. Had any preŽminence or authority belonged to the church of Rome, the apostle would have proposed this as a model to all those which he formed, either in Judea, Asia Minor, Greece, or Italy.[3]

EARLY CORRUPTION OF BIBLE MANUSCRIPTS

The last of the apostles to pass away was John. His death is usually placed about A.D. 100. In his closing days, he coŲperated in the collecting and forming of those writings we call the New Testament.[4] An ordinary careful reading of Acts, Chapter 15, will prove the scrupulous care with which the early church guarded her sacred writings. And so well did God’s true people through the ages agree on what was Scripture and what was not, that no general council of the church, until that of Trent (A.D. 1645) dominated by the Jesuits, dared to say anything as to what books should comprise the Bible or what texts were or were not spurious.[5]

While John lived, heresy could make no serious headway. He had hardly passed away, however, before perverse teachers infested the Christian Church. The doom of heathenism, as a controlling force before the superior truths of Christianity, was soon foreseen by all. These years were times which saw the New Testament books corrupted in abundance.

Eusebius is witness to this fact. He also relates that the corrupted manuscripts were so prevalent that agree≠ment between the copies was hopeless; and that those who were corrupting the Scriptures, claimed that they really were correcting them.[6] 

End of Quote.

Pray carefully, then, BEFORE you open the word for a feast, so that the Holy Spirit can direct you to an uncontaminated version and show you the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  A further quote from my book will show you what to expect, but only if you know your Bible!!  If you don’t know you will accept falsehoods as truth from the multitude of modern versions.

I quote:-

Pages 1-2

In one of our prominent publications, there appeared in the winter of A.D. 1928, an article entitled, “Who Killed Goliath?” And in the spring of A.D. 1929, an article named, “The Dispute About Goliath.” Attention was called to the fact that in the American Revised Version, 2 Samuel 21:19, we read that Elhanan killed Goliath.

A special cablegram from the “most learned and devout scholars” of the Church of England, said in substance, that the Revised Version was correct, that Elhanan and not David killed Goliath; that there were many other things in the Bible which were the product of exaggeration, such as the story of Noah and the ark, of Jonah and the whale, of the Garden of Eden, and of the longevity of Methuselah. The first article says that these modern views have been held and taught in practically all American theological seminaries of standing, and that young ministers being graduated from them, have rejected the old beliefs about these events whether the public knew it or not.

(p2) This publication aroused a national interest and its office was “inundated,” as the editor says, with letters as to whether this Revised Version is correct or whether, as we have always believed, according to the Authorized Version, David killed Goliath.[7]

Is the American Revised Version correct on this point, or is the Bible, which has led the Protestant world for three hundred years, correct? Is the Revised Version correct in thousands of other changes made, or is the King James Version correct?    End of quote.

 

Some more quotes:

(p256)  “Again the people of God are called upon to face this subtle and insidious program.

(p257) “It is difficult for them to expose the systematic depravation without being misunderstood, and without being charged with attacking the genuine, while seeking to expose the erroneous mixed with the genuine. They recognize that these modern versions can be used as books of reference even if they cannot be put on a level with the Received Text.

“Paul said, in Acts 17:28, “As certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”  Paul quoted good sayings from the pagan poets, but did not use these Greek writers as authority. It is as unthinkable to forbid excellent quotations from pagan land heathen scholars as it would be to place their writings on a level with the pure Word of God.

“Likewise, parts of modern versions edited by scholars may be used with care in considering Bible verses from another angle. This fact, however, is taken advantage of, to claim divine inspiration for all the rest, and sow confusion among the churches of believers.” 

End of quotes.

Conclusion:

It is not enough to eat what appears to be the word of God if we would have spiritual health.  We must be careful to ascertain that it is indeed “manna” from heaven and not the devisings of possibly well-meaning but misdirected men.  Check with the Author as to the genuineness of that which you hold in your hand before you taste. 

 



[1]  G.T. Stokes, The Acts of the Apostles, Vol. II, p. 439.

 

[2]  G.T. Stokes, The Acts of the Apostles, Vol. II, p. 439.

 

[3]  Dr. Adam Clarke, Commentary on N. T., Vol. II, P. 544.

 

[4]  Eusebius, Eccles. History, Book III, Chap. 24.

 

[5]  Dean Stanley, Essays on Church and State. p. 136.

 

[6]  Eusebius, Eccles. History, Book V., Chap. 28.

 

[7]  The Literary Digest, Dec. 29, 1928; Mar. 9, 1929.

 


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Next thought. To be discussed from November 1st 2002.

Hebrews 1:

5 For unto which of the angels said He at any time, "You are My Son, this day have I begotten You?

   Which day did He mean??


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