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Thread: Origin of New Testament

  1. #1

    Exclamation Origin of New Testament

    Several requests have been submitted for a general outline discussing the origin of the New Testament. A basic narrative based on the historical record, not the traditions of the church. Therefore the following outline may be an entirely new perspective for some readers, regarding the sacred writings cherished by Christians.

    When we are first introduced to the Canon of Scripture, most of us have the perception that it was precisely written by Jesus' followers for the sake of creating the Bible. However, none of the authors of the books which constitute the New Testament were conscious that they were compiling documents to create the body of New Testament Scripture. They were writing to communities of Christians which they knew, telling them about Jesus or commenting about the Christian life in the light of Jesus' teaching.

    The New Testament is sometimes called the Greek New Testament or Greek Scriptures, or the New Covenant or the New Law. The title “New Testament” is taken from the Latin Novum Testamentum which was first mentioned by Tertullian around 200 AD. In all versions of the New Testament, the order of the books which make it up are the same. First the Gospels or ordered, then the Acts of the Apostles follow. The letters written by Jesus' first followers, Paul, James, Peter, John and Jude, are placed next, and the Book of Revelation, which is sometimes called The Apocalypse, comes at the end.

    An exception to order is the "Original Bible" distributed by York Publishing, where the 27 New Testament books are in the original order. It should be noted, that the New Testament books are ordered differently in different church traditions. For example most Protestant Bibles follow the Roman Catholic order, but the Lutheran order is different. Outside the Western European Catholic/Protestant world there are different orders in the Slavonic, Syriac and Ethiopian Bibles.

    However, based on what we consider a typical Bible, the order may indeed be natural, but it does not reflect the sequence in which the books were actually written. Without any debate of fact, the earliest New Testament writings were the letters which are attributed to Saint Paul. Enough is known about Paul's life, coupled with the date of his death, to be certain that he had been executed before any of the Gospels —with the possible exception of the Gospel of Saint Mark — had been composed.

    Paul's letters, therefore, constitute the earliest witness to the faith of first-century Christians about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. And they are of particular interest because of what Paul has to say about the manner in which Christian teaching was communicated.

    Sometime between 54 AD and 57 AD, Paul wrote to the Christian community at Corinth, which he had established a few years before. It is clear from the letter that there had been some unacceptable behavior during the celebration of the Lord's Supper. He recalled for the Corinthians what he had himself established as being taught to him.

    “Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which .you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you — believing anything else will not lead to anything. Well then, in the first place, I taught you what I had been taught myself, namely that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-3)

    This passage is a creedal statement. That is to say, it may have been a very early formulation of the basics of the faith which Christians were expected to profess. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 appears to recount the central section of the ritual of the Lord's Supper, or Eucharist. Both quotations from the letter are precise instructions which, as Paul quite clearly says, had been handed on to him, and which he had handed on to those whom he had taught. In other words, both were accepted traditions. And they had come into being by the middle of the first century, within two decades after the death of Jesus.

    This method of passing on Jesus' teaching by word of mouth, or oral tradition, reflects the conditions of the time. Parchments or scrolls were scarce in first-century Palestine, less available were those who could write. Therefore teachers conveyed their instruction in such a way that their hearers might easily remember it. There were frequent repetitions. Poetical forms were used. Readily recalled stories, such as the parables, were employed to make a point in a narrative fashion.

    The degree to which this formal type of oral teaching affected the construction of the Gospel narratives is much disputed, but it can scarcely have failed to make some impact. The four Gospels are very different from one another, each reflecting the context in which it was written. They were composed at different times and in different places. They would therefore have reflected different versions, perhaps even different stages, of the oral tradition.

    They were, moreover, written for different kinds of audiences. Matthew was composed for a Jewish-Christian group, and is comprised of links between the Old and the New Testaments. Luke's audience was a group of converts from paganism, and therefore stresses the universality of the offer of salvation. Mark's Gospel was also written for an audience drawn from a mainly pagan, rather than from a Jewish, background, and likewise emphasizes the widespread nature of the Christian message. Mark makes great play with the idea that Jesus' identity as messiah remained hidden until the crucifixion, at which point he was recognized as the son of God by the Roman centurion who was, of course, a pagan.

    On the authorship of the Gospel attributed to Mark, the tradition is unanimous. It claims that the Gospel was written for a Roman audience by John Mark, a disciple of Saint Peter. It was composed after Peter's death, but probably before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, which dates its final form to between 65 AD and 70 AD.

    Matthew's Gospel, on the other hand, was written in full knowledge of what had occurred in Jerusalem in 70 AD, namely Titus Flavius Vespasianus destroying the temple in 72 AD as Christ had accurately prophesied. The author of Matthew was familiar with Palestinian traditions in general, and parts of the discourses of Jesus seem to reflect an Aramaic source — that is to say, a source in the language spoken in Palestine. There are even traces of an Aramaic style. But the Greek text as it has been preserved is exquisitely written, in a much better style than might be expected from the tax collector named Levi whom Jesus renamed Matthew. The authorship of the Gospel, then, remains something of a mystery.

    In the year 185 AD, Saint Irenaeus, who was the Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul (Now Lyons in southern France), attributed the third Gospel to Luke, the 'beloved physician' mentioned in the letter to the Colossians 4:14, and a companion of Paul on many of the Apostle's journeys. Whoever composed the Gospel of Luke also wrote the Acts of the Apostles, a book explicitly intended by its author as a sequel to the Gospel, and there is a modest degree of evidence to suggest that he was a student of medicine. The text is written in fluid Greek, and may have been written in southern Greece.

    Most controversial is the authorship of the fourth Gospel of John. Saint Irenaeus attributed it to John, the disciple of Jesus. His authority for that was his acquaintance with Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna who, he says, as a young man, had known John personally. He adds that the Gospel was written at Ephesus. Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus, writing to Bishop Victor of Rome about the year 190 AD, claims that John lived and died at Ephesus, although he does not mention the Gospel itself.

    There is no real reason to doubt that the Gospel was written at Ephesus. The supposition fits the facts as far as they are known historically. The identity of the author, however, is much more problematic. It seems likely that the book was composed in about the year 100 AD. By that time the apostle John would have been a very old man. He is, moreover, extremely unlikely ever to have achieved the high standard of Greek that the text of the Gospel displays. Nor could the same person — particularly one who had begun life as a non-literary Galilean fisherman — have compiled all the books attributed to him: the Gospel, the Book of Revelation and three Epistles. The differences between them are very considerable and clearly not the penmanship of the same writer as traditionally attributed.

    Behind the fourth Gospel there is someone who remembered Palestine very well. A possible, indeed likely, explanation is that the Gospel came out of a community of which the apostle John had been a member, and which preserved his tradition and his reflections, but which did not feel the need to recount once again the full story of Jesus because the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke were already known to them.

    The first three books are called 'synoptic Gospels'. Synoptic is from the Greek 'syn,' meaning "together," and 'optic,' meaning "seen". Taken together they present a complication of their own, which is known, not surprisingly, as `the synoptic problem'. The word 'synopsis' in its original meaning signifies a table or chart. In this context it refers to the presentation of the three Gospels in parallel columns. If this is done, it rapidly becomes clear that they are very similar in content. About 90 per cent of what is in Mark can be found in Matthew, and more than half of what is in Mark is repeated in Luke. This could, and probably does, mean that Mark was the first Gospel and that the material which he gathered from the oral tradition is repeated, in a slightly different fashion, in the two other synoptic Gospels.

    The real problem centers on the material which is not found in Mark but is recorded in Matthew and Luke. It is possible that both drew heavily upon the same oral tradition. But it is fairly evident that Matthew and Luke came from very different backgrounds, and that their Gospels were written in quite different places. It is unlikely that a purely oral tradition could have produced such startling similarities.

    To account for these similarities it has been suggested that, quite apart from Mark, there was another written source for Matthew and Luke. This source, if there was one, no longer exists — or has never been found; it remains a theoretical solution to a real problem. It is called 'Q' by the scholars, from the German word Quelle which means 'source'. It is thought to have consisted of the sayings of Jesus, though there are some who argue that it must have contained narrative material as well.

    Because the similarities between Matthew and Luke are so great, it is said that 'Q' must have been written in Koine Greek. That is the language in which the Gospels have come down to us, and it is the language in which, in all probability, they were written. Although many scholars believe that "Q" was a real document, no actual document or fragment has been found.

    There may have been other sources that no longer exist. It is possible, though unlikely, that a document might be unearthed which turns out to be a primitive form of one of the Gospels. Indeed there is already the Gospel of Thomas, as it is called, which was found at the beginning of this century, although the complete version only came to light as recently as 1945. This contains versions of some of the sayings and stories found in the synoptics —the parable of the sower, for example — in a form which indicates that Thomas was contemporaneous with the synoptics, if not somewhat earlier. Or there is the mysterious Gospel of the Hebrews which may, just possibly, have been composed about the middle of the first century, even before Mark. It is a lost gospel preserved only in a few quotations of the Church Fathers written in Aramaic.

    Right at the start of his Gospel Luke seems to be hinting at the existence of these collections of Jesus' sayings. He begins:
    “Seeing that many others have undertaken to draw up accounts of the events that have taken place among us, exactly as these were handed down to us by those who from the outset were witnesses and ministers of the word, I, in my turn, have decided to write an ordered account...” Luke 1:1-4

    Whatever other writings there may have been, as time went by, and the events recorded by the Gospels became increasingly remote, the Gospels took on the status of being authentic accounts of Jesus' life. It should be remembered, however, that none of the evangelists were chiefly concerned to recount the details of those events. They were not writing biographies. They were, it is true, especially interested in the events of the Passion, but beyond that their primary purpose was to record their Master's teaching, and to show how it applied to the particular situation in which those for whom they were writing were living out their Christian faith.

  2. #2
    Follower of Christ cmnahrwold's Avatar
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    Canon of Scripture

    What does the phrase "Canon of Scripture" mean specifically? Is is all the writing of the NT, including the gospel and the letters from Paul?

  3. #3

    Meaning of Canon of Scripture

    A Biblical canon or canon of scripture subscribes to a larger context than just the New Covenant. The phrase refers to an accepted list of letters or books considered to be authoritative life-guiding spiritually inspired scripture by a particular religious community, generally in Judaism or Christianity. The terminology was first founded by Jewish sources, as an example: the Masoretic Text is the canonical text for Judaism.

    The ascribed canonical books will have been accepted by debate and agreement through religious authorities of their respective faiths. Equally, all canonical books are considered chosen and discussion closed. Closed canon reflects a position that public revelation has ended and the inspired texts are complete and undisputable. To debate further or introduce other content is considered heresy and such are called "anathema" or cursed.

    One of the most historical sessions of debate and agreement is the Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church, which met in 25 sessions that made up the Council of Trent in 1545-1563. One of the over-arching topics was to define that the church's interpretation of the Bible was final. Although, historically, Twenty-one official Ecumenical Councils have been held. Each called to discuss deviant teachings introduced by various sources.

    I would like to propose that our modern church should also call into assembly such a counsel. Whereas historically, there was a flood of heresies introduced, and they were dealt with seriously. Today, the church is consumed with a deluge of false teachings, and it stands back passively in ecumenical tolerance. To the seven churches in the Revelations it was said, either address the corruption or the lamp stand shall be removed.

  4. #4
    Member Watchman's Avatar
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    New Testament

    What were the standards used to include or exclude manuscripts from the New Testament. Thank you

  5. #5

    How Did The Church Define the Inspired Books

    Big question Watchman. The spiritual Christian belief is that the Holy Spirit, who controlled the writing of the individual books, also controlled their selection and collection, thus continuing to fulfill our Lord's promise that He would guide His disciples into all the truth. This, however, is something that is to be discerned by spiritualization, and not by historical research. Some will tell us that we receive the twenty-seven books of the New Testament on the authority of the Church; but even if we do, as you have asked Watchman, how did the Church come to recognize these twenty-seven and no others as worthy of being placed on a level of inspiration and authority with the Old Testament canon?

    A few of the shorter Epistles (e.g. 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, James, Jude) and the Revelation required longer debate before being accepted than others; while elsewhere books which we do not now include in the New Testament were received as canonical. Thus the Codex Sinaiticus included the 'Epistle of Barnabas' and the Shepherd of Hermas, a Roman work of about AD 110 or earlier, while the Codex Alexandrinus included the writings known as the First and Second Epistles of Clement; and the inclusion of these works alongside the biblical writings probably indicates that they were accorded some degree of canonical status. Personally, I think it a loss not to include the Epistle of Barnabas. The Epistles of Clement were equally inspired I think. I study them just the same, despite not being included.

    The first steps in the formation of a canon of authoritative Christian books, appear to have been taken about the beginning of the second century, when there is evidence for the circulation of two collections of Christian writings in the Church. At a very early date it appears that the four Gospels were united in one collection. They must have been brought together very soon after the writing of the Gospel of John. This fourfold collection was known originally as 'The Gospel' in the singular, not 'The Gospels' in the plural; there was only one Gospel, narrated in four records, distinguished as according to each book.

    The corpus Paulinum, or second collection of Paul's writings, was brought together about the same time as the collecting of the fourfold Gospel. As the Gospel collection was designated by the Greek word Euangelion, so the Pauline collection was designated by the one word Apostolos, each letter being distinguished as 'To the Romans,' 'First to the Corinthians,' and so on. Before long, the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews was bound up with the Pauline writings. Acts, as a matter of convenience, came to be bound up with the 'General Epistles' (those of Peter, James, John and Jude).

    The only books about which there was any substantial doubt after the middle of the second century were some of those which come at the end of our New Testament. Origen Adamantius (185-254 AD) mentions the four Gospels, the Acts, the thirteen Paulines, 1 Peter, 1 John and Revelation as acknowledged by all; he says that Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, James and Jude, with the 'Epistle of Barnabas,' the Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache, and the 'Gospel according to the Hebrews,' were disputed by some. Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 265-340) mentions as generally acknowledged all the books of our New Testament except James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, which were disputed by some, but recognized by the majority. Athanasius of Alexandria, who was a Christian theologian, bishop of Alexandria, and Church Father in 367, lays down the twenty-seven books of our New Testament as alone canonical. Shortly afterwards Saint Jerome (Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus) and Augustine of Hippo followed his example in the West. The process farther east took a little longer; it was not until 508 AD that 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude and Revelation were included in a version of the Syriac Bible in addition to the other twenty two books.

    One thing must be clearly stated, because it is a source of confusion. The New Testament books did not become authoritative for the Church because they were formally included in a canonical list; on the contrary, the Church included them in her canon because she already regarded them as divinely inspired, recognizing their worth and general apostolic authority, direct or indirect. The first ecclesiastical councils to classify the canonical books were both held in North Africa — at the Council of Hippo in 393 AD and at Council of Carthage in 397 AD — but what these councils did was not to impose something new upon the Christian communities but to codify what was already the general practice of those communities.

    There are many theological questions arising out of the history of the canon which I cannot attempt to do here; but for a practical demonstration that the Church made the right choice one need only compare the books of our New Testament with the various early documents collected by M. R. James in his Apocryphal New Testament (1924), or even with the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, to realize the divine superiority of our New Testament books to these others. As a whole, it was a rigorous and complicated process to define the embodiment of the New Testament when one reflects the full history, which is only lightly touched upon here. I seriously enjoy church history and spend hours weekly studying these details

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    Junior Member Michael's Avatar
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    Development of Canons

    One of the most interesting things about the development of the canonical gospels relates to the fact that they were not developed all at once. The word “canon” derives its meaning from Greek meaning a measuring rod (similar to our term yardstick). Christians reference the word in metaphorical terms for a standard of truth that is agreed upon. The word is also utilized in the Roman Catholic Church to demonstrate that a person is worthy of being modeled and is indeed in heaven, i.e. saint canonization. In relation to scripture, a canon is a set of religious writings that are accepted by a particular religious community as being authoritative. The writings set a standard by which to measure truth within the community. Additionally, a canon is considered to be “open” so long as the particular community is still willing to accept new writings as authoritative truth. A canon becomes “closed” when the community determines that all new writings do not contain the same level of authority as previous writings. It is at this point that the community ceases the addition to the cannon and shifts to writing commentaries. Christianity has always been diverse, but it was particularly so in the first and second centuries. There was a long struggle and debate in which a Christian orthodoxy emerged through the development of creeds and canons.

  7. #7

    audience relevance

    Very good points, thanks for the info! Most people today do read their Bibles forgetting a very important point: The Bible is a collection of letters written to a specific people at a specific time. This is called 'audience relevance.' It is almost like going to your grandmother's attic and reading her diary. If she wrote, 'it's supposed to rain tomorrow which may cancel our picnic!' we know that it's a past event, and that it won't necessarily rain on 'our' tomorrow just because we read that. Obvious statement, I know, but many people still read their Bibles thinking it is directly addressed to us today in the 21st Century. I think it's because we are taught that it's a supernatural book and transcends time. It certainly does speak universal truths to people of all ages, but we must recognize the difference between those verses and other verses that speak only to a distinct group of people at a distinct time in history.

    Example: Romans 13:10 - "Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

    and the next verse: Romans 13:11 - "And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed."

    The first verse is for all people who will ever live, to acknowledge and put into practice. The second verse is Paul speaking directly to the Roman Christians in the first century only.

  8. #8
    Follower of Christ cmnahrwold's Avatar
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    I do not understand this point from Tracea "I think it's because we are taught that it's a supernatural book and transcends time. It certainly does speak universal truths to people of all ages, but we must recognize the difference between those verses and other verses that speak only to a distinct group of people at a distinct time in history."

    Paul wrote the entire book of Romans for a distint group of people. He did not know that his writing would be in the bible for everyone to learn from. So how does anyone know for sure, objectively, that Paul is writing to "people of all ages", and "a distinct group of people". How do we exclude anything from the bible, for that matter, since it is of the Spirit.

    I really hate it and become confused when I quote the bible and people tell me that I am taking things out of "context", because Paul wrote for a distinct group of people depending on the letter. My question is then: Why read it at all? Why keep it in the bible if it does not pertain to all ages? With that type of reasoning it would seem that anytime we quote the bible that we are taking things out of "context" because we are of a different period of time, location, and group of people.

    To me the Bible is written by the Spirit and it should be read in the Spirit. If something speaks to you from the heart, rest assured that it does pertain to your life.

  9. #9
    Junior Member pilgrim's Avatar
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    The incorrect division of the Old and New Covenant

    As a new believer in Christ over fifty years ago, I began my attempt at combining Scripture with Scripture to form a coherent picture. From the beginning, however, I noticed a difficulty in what my Bible called “The Gospels” in the New Testament. So often I felt I had a reasonable understanding of what the Lord said until I read the epistles of Paul. I then began to have doubts of what I thought I understood about the Lord’s teaching. What Paul said in his letters to the churches seemed easier to understand than what the Lord had taught. The insurmountable problem I always encountered was in harmonizing the two.

    Where the Lord had spoken of keeping the commandments as a way to enter into life, Paul said of those who taught the necessity of keeping the Law (Commandments), “Let them be accursed,” and if one put himself under the obligation of keeping the Law, then Christ was useless to him and he was fallen from grace. The more I struggled to understand, the greater became the confusion, until finally I ceased to seriously study what my Bible called “The Gospels,” in what was said to be the New Testament.

    As the years passed, without a deliberate study of certain passages, they nevertheless kept coming to mind. Speaking of the New Covenant, in The Epistle to The Hebrews it is said: “For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” Only hours before His death, the Lord had said to His disciples when He passed the cup: “this is My blood of the New Covenant.”

    Paul had said the Lord was “born under the law to redeem those under the law.” From my earliest years, I well remembered Christians often quoting: “without the shedding of blood there is no remission.”

    Yet, it was sometime later when I began to put the above passages together with my earlier problem of harmonizing Paul’s teaching with the Lord’s words. By then the roots of Paul’s teaching on the Mosaic Law (Ten Commandments) had reached deep into my thinking. The more I studied the situation from the Scriptures, the more I realized that the division between the Old and New Covenant in my Bible was incorrect.

    But even more serious were the ramifications of that mistake. It was a mixing of the Law of the Old Mosaic Covenant of commandments, and the gospel of grace under the New Covenant, where according to the apostle Paul, “Christ has delivered us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.”

    The correct place for the beginning of the New Covenant is the Book of Acts. According to the Scriptures, the New Covenant could not begin until the sins committed under the Old Covenant were paid for. Consequently, it could not begin until the Lord’s death. Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews said of Christ:

    …He is the Mediator of the new covenant by means of death, for the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance (Heb. 9:15).

    Here it is plainly stated that there could be no New Covenant, until the sins committed under the OC were paid for which was at the cross. Furthermore, the New Covenant is likened to a last will and testament where its provisions could only be realized by the testator’s (Christ’s) death.

    For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives (Heb. 9:16-17).

    The apostle Paul also said: "When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Gal. 4:4-5)."

    The above should make it abundantly clear that by His death on the cross, He redeemed those before the cross who were yet under the Mosaic Law before the New Covenant could begin. Therefore, to say the New Covenant began with Matthew is an extremely serious mistake. It will probably be said that it is not all that important. Is it not?

    A young ruler came to the Lord one day and asked: "…Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” so He said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:16-17).

    A refusal to acknowledge the above truths, has spawned such as Seventh Day Advents, Seventh Day Baptists, etc, etc., and a whole host of people trying to gain favor with God and get to heaven by keeping the Mosaic Ten Commandments, that only applied to Israel before the cross. The church is not under the law. Neither could Israel keep the law.

    Most certainly, the Lord taught that faith in Himself was the way of life for everyone (Jo. 3:14-18; 20:29-31). But His death where He paid the sin dept was not understood until after the cross. When the Memoirs erroneously called the Gospels are used as New Covenant documents, the ever present and inevitable problem remains. He was a teacher of the law, under the law. Not only did the Lord teach the necessity of keeping the commandments to have eternal life, but also instructed the disciples to do as the scribes and Pharisee’s taught.

    The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do (Matt. 23:2-3).

    Are we to do as the Pharisee say; keep the Sabbath, pay a tithe, and make animal sacrifices? Give a writing of divorce to our wife if she doesn’t please us. Without doubt, by questioning the paying of a tithe, some will respond by asking, are you saying we should not pay the pastor a salary? Of course not! What is being said is, nowhere in the NT is it said that we are to give 10 percent of our income to anyone.

    The teaching of the apostle Paul who founded the present church and Dispensation of Grace is, we are to give freely as the Lord has blessed us, and according to our conscience. We are not under the Mosaic Law. Paul said to the Corinthians church: “So let each one give as he purposes in his own heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).

    Is the church composed of 12 tribes? If as the Amillennialists claim, we are the new Israel, to be consistent then, the church should be divided into 12 tribes. The tithe for the 11 tribes was for the upkeep of the tribe of Levi, who had no allotment of land in Israel when it was divided. And to be even more consistent, where is the allotment of lands for the eleven tribes of the church? Are they in America, or Israel, or if we are the kingdom, the world? The irrational and ridiculous can easily be seen when we turn the Scriptures into such fantasies through the amillennial teaching and present division of the covenants.

    The greatest single problem Paul encountered was the unbelieving Jews insistence that Paul’s Gentile converts had to keep the commandments to be saved. It was the very exact thing the Lord taught the young ruler, and Paul’s answer to those who demanded that his converts keep the law to be saved in this Dispensation of Grace was:

    "…if we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you other than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8-9).

    And what had they received from Paul’s gospel? Of the Commandments he told the Roman church: “…Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom. 10:4). “…And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements (the law of commandments) that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (Col. 2:13-14, clarification added).

    Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace (Gal. 5:1-5).

    It is plain that the Lord in regards to salvation did not teach the same plan of salvation that Paul did. Is Paul contradicting the Lord’s teaching? Certainly not! As already stated, the Lord taught what was demanded by the Mosaic Law of Commandments (Lev. 18:15) to the Jews, under which He ministered until His death on the cross. Insofar as the payment for sins was concerned, the law ended at the cross, to be replaced by salvation to us and the Jews through faith in the Lord’s death in our place completely apart from the law.


    In His grace

    pilgrim

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