Archive for the ‘Grace’ Category

Calvinism revealed and refuted line upon line

One of the clearest, and most concise refutations of the heresy of Calvinism I’ve ever found.

By Jim Gordon.

It opens …

Where is the love of God in Calvinism?

Let’s look at the words John Calvin himself:

God – arranges all things – He has decreed that they are so to happen – All events take place by His sovereign appointment. Would this include sin? Does God “will” man to sin? Calvin answers “yes!

Scripture clearly proves that God by His eternal and immutable counsel determined once for all those whom it was His pleasure one day to admit to salvation, and those whom, on the other hand, it was His pleasure to doom to destruction. [Does this contradict the clear statement of Scripture, “The Lord…is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Pet. 3:9)?]


Those, therefore, whom God passes by He reprobates, and that for no other cause but because He is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which He predestines to His children. [Are sinners really excluded from heaven and damned in hell merely because such pleases God? What about where the Bible says, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezek. 33:11)?]


Now since the arrangement of all things is in the hand of God – He arranges – that individuals are born, are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify Him by their destruction. [Where is the love of God in this? Doesn’t this sound contrary to God’s Word?]

Right Division of the Bible PROVES PreTrib Rapture

February 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

The Bible presents God overseeing two overarching programs: one for heaven, the other for earth (Gen. 1:1). God’s program for heaven was unknown. It involves the mystery Body of Christ and our inheritance there in heaven with Christ (Eph. 1:3, 20; 2:6) “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25). His program for earth, however, was well known. It involves prophecy for Israel concerning the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16), aka the Millennial Reign of Christ, prepared “from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34) that has progressively unfolded “by the mouth of the prophets since the world began” (Luke 1:70; see Acts 3:21). The prophets exposed and explained five Jewish Covenants God made with Israel to guard her and guide her earthly pilgrimage beginning with the calling of Abraham through the inauguration of the Kingdom. Moses, who first prophesied of a coming Tribulation for Israel also linked it to renewed obedience to the Covenant (Deut. 4:30-31; see Exod. 2:24; 19:5; Lev. 26:41-46) which he warned was the key to continued blessing and possessing the Covenant Land required for the Kingdom (Lev. 26; Deut. 28). However, timing for this Covenant Kingdom was unknown until Daniel codified the final 490-years into a prophecy calendar of seventy weeks of seven years with two stipulations: it MUST be fulfilled by “thy people” (Israel), and it MUST involve “thy holy city” (Jerusalem). (Dan. 9:24-27).

When the Lord Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago, it was precisely as Daniel – and the prophets – had predicted (Dan. 9:24-27; see Matt. 26:56; see Acts 3:18-26). His mission was to inaugurate the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (Luke 1), so He preached the gospel of the kingdom to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt. 4:17, 23; 15:24). However, Kingdom prophecy was put on hold when the King was “cut off” (Dan. 9:26) precisely at Daniel’s 70th week. This left one final seven-year period still to be fulfilled by Israel before the Kingdom can begin. Christ clarified the 70th week in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:21, 29) where He called it “great tribulation.” This same phrase was later used by John in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 7:14) which describes its commencement (Rev. 6) through to its conclusion (Rev. 19) and the return of the Lord of Glory – Israel’s Messiah –  to earth to establish His Kingdom “immediately after (Israel’s) Tribulation” (Matt. 24:29; 25:31-34; Rev. 19:11).

Now herein lies the crux of our thesis: Prophecy assigns the Tribulation to Israel (Deut. 4:30; Isa. 24; Jer. 30-31; Joel; Zephaniah; Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19) as purification and punishment before the Kingdom. The Body of Christ – which is positionally seated “in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3; 2:6) was unknown to the prophets and hidden from their prophesies. We have no place or purpose for being here. In fact, there isn’t a verse anywhere in the Bible clearly identifying the Body of Christ here for a single moment of “Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15) without redefining words like “saints” and “elect” which refer to Israel. That said, we must reiterate that this is Israel’s Tribulation easily understood when the trilogy of Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and the Book of Revelation are properly studied in their Jewish setting.

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When Did the Church Body of Christ Begin?

September 6, 2017 Leave a comment

by Shawn Brasseaux

Was it Acts 2? Acts 9? Acts 13? Acts 18? Acts 28? Or later? In this Bible study, we hope to clear up the confusion surrounding this issue.

Nearly everyone in Christendom is convinced that Acts chapter 2 is “the birthday of the Church the Body of Christ” (here is a link to our study specially dedicated to refuting the “Acts 2” position, which is beyond the scope of this discussion). While there seems to be an anti-Acts-2 consensus within the so-called “grace movement,” there is often little clarity as to when the Church the Body of Christ did begin; that is, among grace believers, there is an overwhelming agreement that the Body of Christ did not begin in Acts chapter 2, but very few of these Christians can actually state with certainty when it did begin. Hence, the general term “mid-Acts dispensationalism” is applied, for some hold an “Acts 9” view, others believe in an “Acts 13” view, and still others an “Acts 18” view. There are even some who hold to “Acts 28” view, or something beyond Acts 28. It is very sad that many grace Christians seem to be guilty of being just as fragmented as the denominationalists they often deride. “When did the Church the Body of Christ begin?” is such a simple question with a simple answer, but it seems like very few are aware that God already settled the matter almost 2,000 years ago. Beloved, we grace believers must not allow denominationalism to divide us, lest we discredit ourselves and the message we so fervently claim to believe!

It is of utmost importance to our discussion to remember that the term “the Church the Body of Christ” is never found outside of Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. James, Peter, and John never mentioned it in their epistles. In fact, Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry (recorded in Matthew through John) never mentioned it (the overwhelming Scriptural testimony is that Matthew 16:18 is not the Body of Christ). In his epistles, the Apostle Paul made over 20 references to “the Church the Body of Christ” by name (Romans 7:4; 1 Corinthians 12:4,5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; 1 Corinthians 12:12,13,14,15,27; Ephesians 1:22,23; Ephesians 2:16; Ephesians 3:6; Ephesians 4:4,12,16; Ephesians 4:16; Ephesians 5:23,30; Colossians 1:18,24; Colossians 2:19; Colossians 3:15). Save Paul, no other Bible writer uses the term “the Church the Body of Christ.” Since only Paul uses that term, he seems to know more about it than anyone else in Scripture, so should we not allow Paul to tell us when it began? Rather than blindly agreeing with a grace preacher or a grace church’s doctrinal statement, we need to believe what the Holy Spirit through Paul taught and believed concerning the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ.


The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15-16: “[15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Notice the four very important words in the passage quoted above:

  1. “chief” — The word “chief” means “first, primary” (such as in Acts 14:12). For any “Greekophile,” the Greek word translated “chief” in 1 Timothy 1:16 is protos, meaning “beginning or foremost.” It does not mean “worst” as commonly thought.
  2. “first” — Means just what it says; it is the “earliest.”
  3. “pattern” — A “pattern” is “an example for others to follow.”
  4. “hereafter” — “Hereafter” is an adverb meaning, “from now on.”

These four terms are four different ways of saying the same thing—something new began with Paul. Paul was the “chief,” the “first,” the “pattern to them which should hereafter [that is, after Paul] believe on him [Jesus Christ] to life everlasting.” When Paul wrote, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief,” he was not saying that he was the worst of all sinners. In the context (look again at the four key terms highlighted above), what he meant was that he was the first of all sinners Jesus Christ saved. Yet, how could that be? What about the 12 apostles? Were they not sinners saved by God years prior to Paul? Yes, they were, but the manner by which Paul was saved, and the purpose to which Paul was saved, were different than those before him. Jesus Christ saved Paul and those after him with a special plan in mind.

The Scriptures could not be plainer that something new began with Paul’s salvation in Acts 9. Paul was the “first.” The first of what? The only sensible answer is the first member of the Church the Body of Christ (the only other group of believers God has in His Word is the redeemed nation Israel, and Israel is fallen at this point; the Church the Body of Christ had to be created in order to save Saul of Tarsus and make him Paul the Apostle). Paul was the first individual to be saved apart from Israel’s program. There had to have been a new program in Acts 9, otherwise Paul could not be saved unto eternal life (more on this later). The Holy Spirit said that Paul’s salvation is our “pattern.” Are we members of the nation Israel? No. Do we belong to Israel’s program? No. According to the Holy Spirit, and according to Paul himself, Paul was saved the same way we are—apart from Israel (1 Corinthians 15:8; Galatians 1:15) and apart from her program (1 Timothy 1:13-16 cf. Matthew 12:31-32; Romans 11:11-13; 1 Corinthians 1:17 cf. Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 6:14-15 cf. Matthew 5:17-19; et cetera).


In Galatians 1:15-16, Paul writes, “[15] But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, [16] To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:…” In 1 Corinthians 15:8, Paul wrote, “And last of all he [the resurrected Jesus Christ] was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” Paul was not a part of Israel or her program. God “killed” Israel, as one would take the life of a pregnant woman, and He delivered her unborn child, in this case, Saul of Tarsus (Paul). (Look at the “stillborn” birth Job longed for in Job 3:16, “Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been….”).

The Lord Jesus said to the nation Israel in Matthew 12:31-32: “[31] Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. [32] And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

Saul/Paul encouraged the murder of Stephen, and he was guilty of blaspheming against the Holy Ghost. After all, Jewish Saul was leading the world’s rebellion against Jesus Christ (see Acts 7:57-60; Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-5; Acts 22:3-7; Acts 26:9-11; et cetera). Paul wrote that he was a “blasphemer” in 1 Timothy 1:13. Paul was saved, but he blasphemed against the Holy Spirit! So, how was Paul saved, and yet, how could it not break Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:31-32? Paul could not be saved in Israel’s program, for it would contradict Jesus’ words in Matthew 12:31-32; nevertheless, God opened our Dispensation of Grace, a program separate from Israel’s program, in Acts 9, and saved Saul/Paul. Saul/the Apostle Paul could only be saved if God interrupted Israel’s program with a new program, and if he was placed into a new group of believers. Paul was saved in our dispensation, not in Israel’s program; he was saved in the Church the Body of Christ, not in the nation Israel. Certainly, a new dispensation was in effect in Acts 9.


When understanding the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ, we need to determine what the Church the Body of Christ is. From Paul’s epistles, we learn that it is a spiritual, invisible body of believers in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, who have trusted exclusively in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for their sins (Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of Grace of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Consider the following verses found in Paul’s epistles:

Romans 3:22: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Written during Acts.)

1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (Written during Acts.)

Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Written during Acts.)

Galatians 6:15: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Written during Acts.)

Ephesians 2:11-17: “[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off [Gentiles], and to them that were nigh [Jews].” (Written after Acts.)

Colossians 3:10-11: “[10] And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: [11] Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” (Written after Acts.)

The distinction between Jew and Gentile (“Greek” delineated the prominent Gentile nationality of that day, as in the Graeco-Roman Empire) was abolished with Paul’s ministry: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference” (Romans 3:22). Paul was “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13)—Paul wrote Romans during the Acts period. Israel had fallen back in Acts chapter 7 and was now “diminishing” (see Romans 11:11-12), so any lost Jews were technically Gentiles. In Acts chapter 15, Paul agreed to minister to the “heathen” (Galatians 2:9)—this would be anyone who was not a member of Israel’s little flock, her believing remnant. A Jew who had not trusted Jesus as Messiah was still just as much a “heathen”—a child of the Devil, and an enemy of the God of the Bible—as a lost non-Jew (Gentile) (see John 8:44, Acts 13:10, and Ephesians 2:1-3).

Paul, as Saul of Tarsus, had been one of those Christ-rejecting Jews, a heathen just as sinful before God as a Gentile. Paul’s ministry and message were directed toward any Christ-rejecting lost people—Jews or Gentiles. This distinction of Jew and Gentile being done away could only be possible if Israel’s program were fallen; the distinction between Jew and Gentile is always indicative of “time past” (Ephesians 2:11-12). The Church the Body of Christ had to have begun at the very beginning of Paul’s ministry, otherwise those to whom he ministered could not be saved. Yea, Paul himself could not be saved if a new program (the Dispensation of Grace) and a new agency (the Church the Body of Christ) had not begun back in Acts chapter 9.


Paul considered himself to be a member of the Church the Body of Christ because he mentioned himself in reference to the Rapture. The Rapture of the Church the Body of Christ does not involve Israel or her prophetic program; the Rapture actually prevents our mystery program from overlapping with Israel’s program. Had the Body of Christ began after Paul was saved in Acts chapter 9—such as in Acts chapter 13, Acts chapter 18, or Acts chapter 28 or beyond—it would make no sense for Paul to be including himself in the Rapture. Paul had a hope to be included with the members of the Church the Body of Christ at the Rapture. He says “we” not “you” throughout 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18—Paul included himself in the Rapture, which is exclusively Body-of-Christ doctrine (verses 15 and 17). In fact, remember what Paul wrote, “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:13)—Paul did not use the pronoun, “you,” indicating that he included himself in the Church the Body of Christ. Paul mentioned God blessing “us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3)—this is the Body of Christ doctrine, and when he wrote that God “blessed us with all spiritual blessings,” he included himself. “For we are members of his body” (Ephesians 5:30)—Paul included himself in the Body of Christ. To have the Body of Christ begin after Paul’s salvation is to ignore the many verses that indicate that Paul was a member of the Body of Christ.


To begin the Church the Body of Christ at some time other than Acts chapter 9 is to ignore the foregoing verses and passages. Furthermore, a non-Acts-9 view of the Body of Christ will introduce increasing confusion into your Christian life and the lives of those around you. You lose Paul’s salvation as your pattern, you make your Christian life less clear, and you make the transitional period of Acts more confusing. Without going into too much detail, we will briefly comment about the “Acts 13,” “Acts 18,” and “Acts 28” positions:

ACTS 13.

This position is taken because Paul began his apostolic journeys at the beginning of this chapter. Furthermore, Acts 13:46 is used to justify this position: “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Some use this verse to contend that Paul will go unto Gentiles from this time on, so the Gentile body of Christ could not begin until Acts chapter 13. Still, we understand that Paul was considered a Gentile because he had rejected Jesus Christ and was a “heathen” (Israel had fallen in Acts 7, see Point #2, “Paul could not be saved in Israel’s program”). Moreover, the Body of Christ had already begun with Paul’s salvation in Acts 9 (see previous comments). Had the Body of Christ begun in Acts chapter 13, Paul could not have been saved unto eternal life. The clear teaching of Acts 13:46 is this—it was Paul’s announcement to unbelieving Israel in Asia (modern-day Turkey) that God had now changed His dealings with mankind, that Israel was now fallen and diminishing. Nothing more.

ACTS 18.

Acts 18:8 is used to teach that the Gentile Body of Christ began in Acts 18: “And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.” Yet, by this time, Paul had already gone to Gentiles—he spoke with the pagan Greeks in Athens in Acts chapter 17. In Acts 18:8, Paul was not saying that the Body of Christ was now beginning. He was simply announcing in a new region (Europe) to unbelieving Israel that his ministry was amongst Gentiles. He was speaking to a new Jewish audience to inform them that JEHOVAH God had now changed His dealings with mankind, that Israel was now fallen and diminishing. To begin the Church the Body of Christ in Acts chapter 18 is to divorce ourselves from Paul’s earliest epistles—Thessalonians and Galatians.

ACTS 28.

Acts 28:28 is used to support the Acts 28 position: “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” This does not say that God’s salvation will go to the Gentiles; by this time, we have seen that it has already gone to the Gentiles and is going to the Gentiles (recall our earlier comments). The Body of Christ had begun long before Paul announced those words in Acts 28:28—some 30 years earlier actually. Acts 28:28 was Paul speaking in Rome, the world’s capital at this time. “Acts 28” is a particularly dangerous position to take because it divorces you from Paul’s Acts epistles (Galatians, Thessalonians, Corinthians, and Romans) and makes you believe they are not to or about you—Paul never divides his epistles between one section of the Body of Christ in Acts and another section of the Body of Christ after Acts. The admonition in 2 Timothy 2:15 refers to all of the Bible, and does not teach “rightly dividing” Paul’s epistles.

Acts 13:46, Acts 18:8, and Acts 28:28 are not the beginning of the Body of Christ and, despite what some “grace” people may tell you, they are not indicative of such. These three verses should be considered one unit, for they comprise a three-fold announcement that the Apostle Paul made to unbelieving Israel in three separate regions. God was now going and had gone to the Gentiles, and Israel’s prophetic program was diminishing. By the time of Acts 28, that transition period was over. How clear, how simple!


We so-called “mid-Acts dispensationalists” agree that the Church the Body of Christ did not begin in Acts chapter 2 (as “traditional dispensationalism” teaches). Yet, there is often great confusion and doubt concerning when it did begin (hence the broad term “mid-Acts”). Some say it was Acts chapter 9, others Acts chapter 13, still others Acts chapter 18, and some even say Acts chapter 28 or later. Indeed, it sounds just as bad as denominationalism in Christendom! Mid-Acts dispensationalists often blame traditionalists (denominational people) for holding to the “traditions of men” to advance a particular church’s viewpoint regarding Scripture. Sadly, however, some so-called “mid-Acts dispensationalists” are just as guilty of this error. One glance at the “Acts 9/13/18/28” controversy demonstrates that religious tradition and preconceived notions often deceive, divide, and defeat us “mid-Acts dispensationalists” just as it does denominational Christendom.

Honestly, some years ago, when I first learned of the Acts 9/13/18/28 division within “grace circles,” I grew very discouraged. I had left my religious confusion in a denominational church behind, only to wind up with more confusion parading as “grace doctrine.” I wanted to know when the Church the Body of Christ began so that I could then determine what parts of the Bible on which to focus the most. It took me at least two or three years to finally learn the truth about the matter (during that time, many “grace people” were telling me different things, and they seemed to be just as confused as I was). When I finally studied the Scriptures on my own, I was thrilled to see how clear the Bible was regarding the issue. Acts chapter 9, the Apostle Paul’s salvation, was the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ; to say otherwise is to cause abounding confusion.

Dear friends, the fragmentation of grace believers regarding the beginning of the Body of Christ, often aids the Adversary’s cause in keeping God’s truth hidden. Having struggled with this issue myself, I can personally testify to that. Furthermore, this Acts 9/13/18/28 conflict affords our denominational critics another reason to undermine our stand on Paul’s special apostleship/ministry to us Gentiles and our stand in the Gospel the Lord Jesus Christ committed first to his trust. Thus, the question, “When did the Church the Body of Christ begin?,” is one of the most important questions the Bible student will face. He or she must answer it using Bible verses, not religious tradition (even if that church tradition parades under the guise of “grace doctrine!”).

If we are to be a pure church, we too must discard traditions, even if “grace” brethren believe and teach them! No question about it, the Apostle Paul was the first member of the Church the Body of Christ. It is not that difficult to understand unless we refuse to see it for sake of keeping our own traditions.


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Tithes and Offerings in the Bible

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

The English word tithe comes from the Hebrew “asar” and “ma’aser” and literally means (one) tenth. If you consider yourself a tither, you faithfully give God ten percent of all your gross income.

Now, as simple as it sounds, over the past 4 decades of Christian ministry I’ve found certain men arguing that tithing [1] is NOT applicable in this dispensation so we shouldn’t do it. Believe me when I tell you the spirit I’ve witnessed manifesting itself against tithing is both vigorous and vitriolic. Several years ago I was victimized by the wrath of a Jezebel spirited woman who didn’t tithe and became enraged at my teaching it. Under cover of darkness, she orchestrated a smear campaign involving phone calls and visits to successfully seduce half the members of our small soul winning church into not only believing her lies, but who willingly left with her. [2]

So where does this disagreement over tithing originate?

The main allegation against tithing is a half-truth masked in Biblical legitimacy. It argues that the tithe was included in the OT Mosaic Law, which disqualifies it under grace. While this sounds good to tightfisted brethren, it’s disingenuous at the core.

To begin with, our opponents don’t mention that tithing existed some 400 years BEFORE the Law. Nor do they acknowledge that both tithing and offerings existed under the Law so if you exclude one, you must exclude the other (Deut. 12:6; Mal. 3:8).

First Mention of Tithing

“And he gave him tithes of all” (Genesis 14:18-20). The First Mention Principle of hermeneutics, teaches us that the initial appearance of a subject in Scripture tells us how it stands connected in God’s mind throughout the remainder of the Bible. The first mention of tithing occurs when Abraham returned from battle enriched with goods captured from God’s enemies (Gen. 14:1-16) and was met by Melchizedek – a type of Christ.

“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all” (Genesis 14:18-20).

Keep in mind Abraham was a man of faith, which God imputed to him as righteousness (Gen. 15:6). He didn’t respond like so many do today by asking, “Do I HAVE to tithe?” He instinctively knew God blessed him and he couldn’t wait to give ten percent to God’s man to use for God’s ministry.

Make no mistake friend, Abraham’s faith set priorities for his finances and provided a great example for all of his family as witnessed by his grandson Jacob (aka Israel) who continued the practice of giving ten percent (Gen 28:22).

The Tithe is Holy and it belongs to the Lord

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD” (Leviticus 27:30).

The Mosaic Law incorporated 613 commandments, judgments, and ordinances regulating every aspect of Israel’s existence. Tithes were paid on all income which included the produce of the land (Lev. 27:30), and all cattle in the fields (Lev. 27:32). Tithes paid the salaries of the Levitical priesthood (Num. 18:21; Num. 18:24; Neh. 10:37) who represented Israel before God.

Hear this inconvenient truth before you oppose tithing.

Moses taught that the tithe belonged to the Lord, and thus it was holy (Leviticus 27:30). If both of these are true – that the tithe is holy and belongs to the Lord – then by keeping that which is supposed to be set apart for Him because it belongs to Him – what does that make you?

It makes you a THIEF!

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8).

May I remind you that the dispensation of grace does not provide us with an enticement to sin nor does it remove accountability from believers in Christ for our actions. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).

We are stewards of God’s gifts. Tithing provides faithful stewards a prescribed accountability and accommodation for returning to God a portion of His so great blessing. Therefore, since Abraham demonstrated 400 years before the Law that tithing is the revealed will of God regarding giving, the question is not, “should we tithe?” but rather are we going to obey the will of God as revealed in the Word of God regarding it? Under Moses God’s people were mandated by Law to tithe; under grace we are motivated by Love to tithe. Woe unto those in any dispensation promoting disobedience regarding the holiness and ownership of the tithe.

“Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:9-10).

In closing, God’s Word is forever settled in Heaven (Psalm 119:89). That means that when Abraham gave his tithes, Malachi’s warning to those who weren’t tithing already existed in the eternal chambers of God’s mind. Read it again carefully because tithing isn’t under scrutiny here friend, obedience is.

[1] Most of the enemies of tithing I’ve known- and there have been a few- are stoic, stubborn and stingy; they generally don’t give anything to the Lord’s work except headaches and a hard time which they are lavish in bestowing.

[2] I give this as a warning to you. Be careful around people. It is uncanny how slick Satan is when plotting subversive activities. Unbeknownst to me, a sinister team was assembled and phone calls along with personal visits were made to our members trying to convince them I was a crook for teaching tithing. NO ONE receiving calls or visits ever warned me!

Prophecy and Mystery: Right Division Instruction Videos

September 7, 2016 Leave a comment

God’s primary division for studying His Word is hidden in plain sight in the opening verse of Scripture: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Although Bible scholars like Darby, Scofield, Torrey and many others have recognized a number of dispensations two dominant programs God has used since the world began:

1. The Prophecy program for Israel predicting a coming earthly kingdom:

“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began” (Luke 1:70; see Acts 3:21)).

2. The Mystery program for the Body of Christ promising a heavenly inheritance:

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25).

Both of these programs – or dispensations – have separate participants, purposes and ordinances (Jer. 33:25); existing “since the world began” (Acts 3:21; Rom. 16:25), which more detail will be given later.

Now here’s the essence of right division: God’s plan is to rule earth for one thousand years. In the Providential panorama, all non-Pauline Scripture exists to explain or enhance the prophetic program for Israel leading to the coming King and earthly kingdom.

The Body of Christ is a temporary mystery God set in place at Israel’s rejection of the Messiah which produced Israel’s blindness, to remain here “until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). At that point, the Body that appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) will likewise disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51).

In short, the plan is underway and the Kingdom is still on!


Simple right division:

How to Understand the Bible:

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth Part 1:

Rightly Dividing and Following Paul:

God’s Three Programs- Time past, but now, ages to come:

Complete Bible Overview in one hour:

001 Introduction to Right Division:

Hyper Dispensationalism:

Knowing God’s Timeline:

Rightly Dividing the Word:

Rightly Dividing of the Dispensations:

Matthew 24 Explained Rightly Divided Proving PreTribulation Rapture:

The Grace Message:

Standing for the Truth of the Mystery is no easy task:

Thy Kingdom Come:

Mystery Body of Christ – the Gospel of Grace:

Only Paul’s Gospel Saves:

How to Read and Understand your Bible:

What is Satan Thinking About Right Now?

Peter vs. Paul:

Video Teaching: Right Division – Prophecy and Mystery

Rightly Dividing Between God’s Two Overarching Programs:
Prophecy and Mystery (scroll down for videos)

Dr. Mike Johnston, Editor

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

God has two overarching programs discussed fully in the videos below: One from prophecy for Israel and earth, and the other from mystery for the Body of Christ and heaven. Both of these programs have separate participants, purposes and ordinances (Jer. 33:25); existing “since the world began” (Acts 3:21; Rom. 16:25).

In the Providential panorama, all Scripture exists to either explain or enhance the propheticprogram for Israel concerning earth, or the mystery program for the Body of Christ concerning heaven.

The Prophecy program:

“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began” (Luke 1:70). “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21).

The Mystery program:

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25).


How to Understand the Bible:

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth Part 1:

Rightly Dividing and Following Paul:

God’s Three Programs- Time past, but now, ages to come:

Complete Bible Overview in one hour:

Hyper Dispensationalism:

Knowing God’s Timeline:

Rightly Dividing the Word:

Rightly Dividing of the Dispensations:

Matthew 24 Explained Rightly Divided Proving PreTribulation Rapture:

The Grace Message:

Standing for the Truth of the Mystery is no easy task:

Thy Kingdom Come:

Mystery Body of Christ – the Gospel of Grace:

Only Paul’s Gospel Saves:

How to Read and Understand your Bible:

What is Satan Thinking About Right Now?

Peter vs. Paul:

Grace – Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, William R. Newell, and CI Scofield

October 7, 2015 Leave a comment


Drs. Lewis Sperry Chafer, William R. Newell CI Scofield
Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote: Grace—a much misunderstood feature of God’s ways with lost men—is itself a revelation and all human hearts not having this truth of Scripture revealed will be unable to comprehend it or to adjust themselves to its provisions. Grace is not mercy or love. In Eph_2:4-5 these three doctrinal words appear severally and in their individual, specific manner: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;).” Speaking first of mercy, it is defined as that compassion in God which moved Him to provide a Savior for the lost. If He had been able to save even one soul on the basis of His sovereign mercy alone, He could have saved every person on that basis and the death of Christ would have been rendered unnecessary. As for divine love, it is an emotion of infinite character, the motivating purpose back of all that God does in saving a soul. But since God is holy and righteous too and the sinner’s sins are an offense to Him, He might perfectly desire to save a soul and still be utterly helpless to do so in the light of the claims which divine righteousness make against the sinner. Not until those claims are met can God’s infinite love realize its desire. Therefore, to come now to the third definition, grace is what God may be free to do and indeed what He does accordingly for the lost after Christ has died on behalf of them. “By grace are ye saved” (Eph_2:8). When thus released from His holy demands against the sinner by the sacrificial death of Christ, and that sacrifice is accepted intelligently, the love of God will never be satisfied until He has done all He can do for such a one. The greatest thing God can do, reverently speaking, is to make someone like His Son. Such, then, will be the destiny of everyone who believes (Rom_8:29; 1Jn_3:2). Since grace only represents what God can and will do for those who trust the Savior, it must needs function apart from all human works or cooperation. It calls for no more than confidence in the only One who can save.

The Scriptures assign to the operating of grace the only salvation now offered to sinful men. God’s grace also provides security for the saved one. This is done by continuing the grace work of God with the individual in spite of his imperfections. Grace also undertakes to direct the saved one in the new manner of his daily life after he has been saved. A new motive for this is set up by the fact that the one saved was perfected forever in the sight of God as being in Christ, therefore partaking of His merit and standing forever. Nothing of merit need be added to that which is perfected forever (cf. Joh_1:16; Rom_5:1; Rom_8:1; Heb_10:14). Hence the obligation to gain merit is removed completely, and the whole law system with its merit ceases to be applicable to the saved one under grace. He is no longer under law, but under grace (Rom_6:14). The new problem becomes that of how a perfected person should walk in this world. Grace teaches the saved one concerning his holy walk in daily life. The standard is as high as heaven itself. God requires, and with reason, that the saved one, by reason of being a citizen of heaven, should live according to the standards of heaven (cf. Joh_13:34; Eph_4:1, Eph_4:30; 1Th_5:19). [1] 


“Grace” is so much of a characteristic of God (like His love), that human words do not adequately express its meaning.


Some have defined “Grace” as “Undeserved Mercy”, and this is true. However, all mercy is undeserved; that’s the meaning of mercy. GRACE is more than mercy. Mercy gets a criminal off the hook and out of jail, but GRACE pays the debt of the criminal and sets him free to enjoy the good life.

When we say that GRACE is “Unmerited Favor”, we are saying that this favor cannot be earned. It’s not just that you don’t have to earn it. The fact is, you cannot earn it. Since we are all sinners, there is nothing that we can do to gain God’s favor. Even if you did good works continuously from here on out, and sacrificed all your time to help others, and did great and wonderful things 24 hours a day for the rest of your life to please God, God still would not accept you or your efforts because He is Holy and you are still a sinner. You cannot work off your sins.

God’s salvation is not merited, it is a GIFT of God! – See Ephesians 2:8, 9. The word for “GRACE” (in the Greek) is “Charis.” The word for “GIFT” (in the Greek) is “Charisma.” It is easily seen that the very root meaning of the word GRACE is GIFT.

Romans 11:6 is a verse that clearly contrasts “WORKS” with “GRACE.” It does that because they are exact opposites. A gift is something given freely, but work is something that you do to earn a wage. Romans 6:23 tells us what wages we have coming to us: “FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.”

We really don’t want what our sins have earned for us. Rather we want the gift that comes from God through Christ. Since we began to study Romans 3:21-24, we have seen that God’s righteousness has been made available to all of mankind today, but it is only imputed to those who believe. Then God, upon that faith, justifies or declares the sinner righteous. Now we learn that all of this is done “FREELY BY HIS GRACE.” What a wonderful God we have!

Ephesians 3:1-5 teaches us that God’s message of GRACE was first revealed to Paul. It was through the Apostle Paul that God’s Word of GRACE was preached to the Gentiles.

Galatians 1:13-16 gives testimony that God’s GRACE was what changed Paul from being the number one enemy of Christ into Christ’s number one preacher among the Gentiles.

I Timothy 1:11-16 explains why God used Paul for this job of making His GRACE known. It was because Paul’s conversion is the pattern of grace. Paul deserved the most severe punishment of hell, but by the grace of God he was saved and given the right (as all believers have today), to sit with Christ in heavenly places – (see Ephesians 2:6).

We have said: “Mercy gets the criminal off the hook, but grace pays his debt”. Romans 3:24 goes on to tell us that the reason God is free to deal with mankind today in GRACE is because of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the Cross. The Lord Jesus Christ paid our debt of sin and, in receiving Him, we are set free to enjoy God’s love and to live in His favor!

PRACTICAL POINT: Everything required for my Salvation has been supplied by God. Salvation is the work of God in my behalf. Now, to get that point through our stubborn thick human heads, we are told that justification is unmerited and undeserved on our part. On the other hand, it is given freely to us on God’s part. It could not be made any clearer. Salvation comes to us, not on the basis of works, but on the basis of a free gift from God.

Since I am now in God’s favor apart from any good works of my own, then– if I happen to do a bad deed– it does no change God’s attitude toward me.

Before you jump to any conclusion, please understand; this does not mean that a believer is free to go out and continue sinning. Contrary to popular opinion–but in accordance with Scripture–as a Believer dwells upon this grace of God in which he now stands, it will motivate him to do good works! – see Titus 2:11, 12. [2]

The Nature of Grace
Dr. William R. Newell

  1. Grace is God acting freely, according to His own nature — as Love; with no promises or obligations to fulfill; and acting of course, righteously — in view of the cross.
    2. Grace, therefore, is uncaused in the recipient: its cause lies wholly in the GIVER, in GOD.
    3. Grace, also is sovereign. Not having debts to pay, or fulfilled conditions on man’s part to wait for, it can act toward whom, and how, it pleases. It can, and does, often, place the worst deservers in the highest favors.
    4. Grace cannot act where there is either desert or ability: Grace does not help — it is absolute, it does all.
    5. There being no cause in the creature why Grace should be shown, the creature must be brought off from trying to give cause to God for His Grace.
    6. The discovery by the creature that he is truly the object of Divine grace, works the utmost humility: for the receiver of grace is brought to know his own absolute unworthiness, and his complete inability to attain worthiness: yet he finds himself blessed — on another principle, outside of himself!
    7. Therefore, flesh has no place in the plan of Grace. This is the great reason why Grace is hated by the proud natural mind of man. But for this very reason, the true believer rejoices! For he knows that “in him, that is, in his flesh, is no good thing”; and yet he finds God glad to bless him, just as he is!The Place of Man under Grace:

    1. He has been accepted in Christ, who is his standing!
    2. He is not “on probation.”
    3. As to his life past, it does not exist before God: he died at the Cross, and Christ is his life.
    4. Grace, once bestowed, is not withdrawn: for God knew all the human exigencies (needs) beforehand: His action was independent of them, not dependent upon them.
    5. The failure of devotion does not cause the withdrawal of bestowed grace (as it would under law). For example: the man in I Cor. 5.1-5; and also those in 11.30-32, who did not “judge” themselves, and so were “judged by the Lord, — that they might not be condemned with the world”!

    The Proper Attitude of Man under Grace:

    1. To believe, and to consent to be loved while unworthy, is the great secret.
    2. To refuse to make “resolutions” and “vows”; for that, is to trust in the flesh.
    3. To expect to be blessed, though realizing more and more lack of worth.
    4. To testify of God’s goodness, at all times.
    5. To be certain of God’s future favor; yet to be ever more tender in conscience toward Him.
    6. To rely on God’s chastening hand as a mark of His kindness.
    7. A man under grace, if like Paul, has no burden regarding himself; but many about others.

    Things Which Gracious Souls Discover:

    1. To “hope to be better” is to fail to see yourself in Christ only.
    2. To be disappointed with yourself, is to have believed in yourself.
    3. To be discouraged is unbelief, — as to God’s purpose and plan of blessing for you.
    4. To be proud, is to be blind! For we have no standing before God, in ourselves.
    5. The lack of Divine blessing, therefore, comes from unbelief, and not from failure of devotion.
    6. Real devotion to God arises, not from man’s will to show it; but from the discovery that blessing has been received from God while we were yet unworthy and undevoted.
    7. To preach devotion first, and blessing second, is to reverse God’s order, and preach law, not grace. The Law made man’s blessing depend on devotion; Grace confers undeserved, unconditional blessing: our devotion may follow, but does not always do so, — in proper measure.

Studies in Deuteronomy
by William R. Newell

Instead of blessing the people altogether on the ground of promise, that is altogether in view of Christ’s coming work, He says “If you obey My law, I will bless you.” Obedience first, then blessing, is the order under the law. There is nothing for the people to fall back on, except their own obedience now. They may indeed remember that they are God’s chosen people, according to His covenant with the fathers: but the law has come in since those days, and they are under it. So Moses insists, in Deuteronomy, on their obedience as the condition of everything, as they are about to enter their inheritance.

Now the position of the Christian is entirely different. It is of absolute importance that we understand this. Thousands upon thousands of Christians today are in bondage because they do not see the essential difference between our position and that of Israel under the law. Now, Israel depended upon their own obedience to get their blessings in the land. Christians get their blessings because Christ obeyed in their stead. This gives them rest of heart, so that they have leisure to love God for His own sake, and learn to delight in His will.

But there are hardly any Christians who dare believe this. That is, they cannot apprehend such grace as this. They think, of course, that their blessings depend upon their faithfulness, their earnestness, their consecration, etc. But, this is not to be under grace (where God says we are Rom. 4:14) but under law; that is, under responsibility to do, in order to have, which is the order of the law, not that of grace.

Grace says, “You have been blessed already, in Christ Jesus, with all spiritual blessings.” Eph. 1:3 The only obedience that pleases God now, is the obedience of FAITH, which enters boldly in, and appropriates these things that Christ’s obedience unto death has secured for us.
Now I know someone will read these words who will say: ”Yes ‘but we must do our part’, ere we can claim or enjoy these spiritual blessings.” The which shows that such a person is at heart, a miserable legalist to this day believing neither that Christ is the end of the law, nor that His work has really made these heavenly things actually ours. This is the hellish insult that unbelief ever flings into the face of God, that His Word is not good for the exact face of it.

The primary reason Christians today are living such unhappy, such empty, such weak and fruitless lives, is not (I dare to say it), that they are “not consecrated,” “not surrendered,” “not self-denying,” “not obedient,” not this and that and the other that the thousand and one preachers of legal holiness are complaining — not these at all: the trouble, the one great trouble, is, Christians do not believe that they are free from the law, in Christ Jesus; and that they already have the glorious blessings they are seeking after, and need only claim them, to enjoy them. People dare not believe that Christ has done all the obeying and fulfilling for them, and that “their part” is simply to enter in and enjoy the infinite spoils of Christ’s victory.

Someone needs to die for this great truth in their own day, as Paul died for it once and all the martyrs since. God bring it back to the church, this glorious truth of grace! “By the obedience of the ONE, the many are made righteous,” and are blessed for His sake alone. Rom 5 Eph 3.

GRACE: Old Scofield Bible Summary [3]

(1) Grace is “the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man. . . Not by works of righteousness which we have done” (Tit_3:4); (Tit_3:5).

It is, therefore, constantly set in contrast to law, under which God demands righteousness from man, as, under grace, he gives righteousness to man (Rom_3:21); (Rom_3:22); (Rom_8:4); (Phm_3:9). Law is connected with Moses and works; grace with Christ and faith; (Joh_1:17); (Rom_10:4-10). Law blesses the good; grace saves the bad; (Exo_19:5); (Eph_2:1-9). Law demands that blessings be earned; grace is a free gift; (Deu_28:1-6); (Eph_2:8); (Rom_4:4); (Rom_4:5).

(2) As a dispensation, grace begins with the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom_3:24-26); (Rom_3:4); (Rom_3:24); (Rom_3:25). The point of testing is no longer legal obedience as the condition of salvation, but acceptance or rejection of Christ, with good works as a fruit of salvation, (Joh_1:12); (Joh_1:13); (Joh_3:36); (Mat_21:37); (Mat_22:24); (Joh_15:22); (Joh_15:25); (Heb_1:2); (1Jo_5:10-12). The immediate result of this testing was the rejection of Christ by the Jews, and His crucifixion by Jew and Gentile (Act_4:27). The predicted end of the testing of man under grace is the apostasy of the professing church.

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer, SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY Doctrinal Summarization

[2] From Dictionary of the Gospel:

[3] Old Scofield Study Bible. We have these available in bonded leather (KJV), to ship for a gift to PMI of $30. Stamps are welcome.

Thank you to all who have asked. We will gladly accept stamps, printer and copy paper, KJV Bibles (pref Old Scofield),
Bible reference and enrichment books (we send to chaplains for prison libraries)
and of course money donations- check, money order Payable to PMI or
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