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AZUSA STREET
The Birth of a Lie!

AZUSA STREET

The Birth of a Lie

 

 

K. B. Napier, UK

 

Editor Jan Lilleby’s Introduction

 

I have already written substantial critical articles, plus

quite a few books, in which I warn against heresy in

general, but against ‘Word of Faith’ falsehood in particular.

I have spoken up against Kenneth Hagin Sr., and against

several of his Scandinavian disciples over the years, as well

as those found elsewhere around the world.​​ Joel Osteen is

one of the many false teachers inside ‘Word of Faith’ movement.

As are Kenneth Copeland and a host of others.

What do all these have in common?

Answer: Their roots – or rather, their spiritual Grand Parents

were those heretics who started the Azusa Street Revival!

Thus I found it convenient to let K.B. Napier’s article on the

Azusa Street Revival​​ being published for your information.

It is quite the gloomy reading and to many of you, - this

will be a shocking kind of information, but you better listen!

 

 

 

In the past I have said that not all charismatics are the same, but that they all share the same guilt for their errors. Charismatics are the spawn of Pentecostalism. It is therefore prudent to see whether or not the child of Pentecostalism is just a wild and unprecedented mistake - or if it is a genealogical reproduction of its parent. If it is a mistake, then Pentecostalism might be exonerated. But, what if charismaticism is a true child, an image of its parent? If this is so, then we have no option but to cast Pentecostalism into the same pit that charismaticism belongs to.​​ 

 

These are very hard words if we personally know Pentecostalists - especially if they are of the​​ 'old school'. I know some, and they are nice folk. But this is where we must shed the emotional ties that can cause us to accept and promote error. Our aim must be to exalt and promote​​ God's​​ word and holiness, not our​​ own​​ version of what is acceptable. Emotion and friendships have no part in the process*. There is only one way to do this and, that is, to measure everything by scripture. We will now look briefly at the beginnings of Pentecostalism as a movement, as it manifested itself at Azusa Street church.​​ (* Of course, friendships and emotion are important. What I am saying is that they cannot be allowed to alter the course of Truth, nor should they be allowed to cause us to accommodate lies. If necessary, we must be prepared to put aside friendships and our own emotional responses, if Truth demands it. That is a test of faithfulness).

 

Pentecostalist-type manifestations​​ (Note: not ‘Pentecostal’ as in Acts 2)​​ and beliefs existed long before the​​ ‘latter rain’​​ events at Azusa Street, but it was at Azusa Street that Pentecostalism took proper shape and form. The inception of any movement is important. Was it a holy and Godly event, or not? This paper will show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the birth of Pentecostalism was defective. A monster was born.​​ 

 

As a child it displayed an immaturity of outlook. As a youth it desired adventure and started to flex its muscles (early 1960's when charismaticism began). Then, in the 1990's, the true nature of the monster was revealed as it rampaged the world and destroyed countless churches and Christian lives. It called itself the​​ 'Toronto Blessing'​​ and personified the Biblical description of Satan as an​​ ‘angel of light’​​ and his activities as​​ ‘works of darkness’.

 

Old-style Pentecostalists might throw up their arms in horror at this lineage, claiming that they have nothing to do with the evil ‘Toronto’ movement. But they are wrong and deluded. They are the parents of the charismatic movement that produced the Toronto Blessing, even if they attempt to distance themselves.​​ They may not have taken part in the same terrible defilements, but the fact that they call themselves​​ 'Pentecostalists'​​ is sufficient indictment. They are the same family and are bred from the same stock! The only difference is in degree.

 

We will, then, look at the Azusa Street phenomenon because it created the evil life-form that insidiously grew and erupted into the Toronto Blessing. The conclusion is very simple - every man and woman who calls him or herself 'Pentecostalist' MUST, as a matter of urgency, repent and deny their Pentecostalist theology and affiliations. They must cast aside their erroneous beliefs and activities (which are evil in His sight), that they might receive the​​ true​​ favour of Almighty God.

 

These are strong words for evil days, my friends. There is no time for a soft approach...an approach that tolerated and advanced the cause of charismatic heresy in the latter part of the twentieth century. If you are a Pentecostalist, take​​ heed. You are being held accountable, by the evidence of scripture. That is, by the Lord. In this Article my own feelings of friendship for Pentecostalists known to me are irrelevant. What matters is that we all adhere to the only measure of Truth we have – God’s word.

 

In His book​​ ‘The Toronto Blessing and Slaying in the Spirit’, Nader Mikhaiel points out that Pentecostalists never write about counterfeit miracles. (Although Bill Randles, of the USA, tackles the topic amongst others in his own work, but that is very recent).​​ The reason is very simple – if they once acknowledge that​​ some​​ of their activities are evil, then they risk having them​​ all​​ branded with the same epithet. The danger to the structure and existence of Pentecostalism would be very real. It would collapse, because it is built on a foundation of sand. This is probably why Pentecostalists will not acknowledge the occult beginnings of their own movement…..if, that is, they know their own history anyway.​​ 

 

Some Pentecostalists distance themselves from charismatic ‘excess’ as found in the Toronto Blessing. Some even distance themselves from various leaders such as John Arnott (Toronto) and/or John Wimber (Vineyard). Do not be fooled by this! All they are doing is shifting the furniture around on the deck of the Titanic! They are​​ still​​ Pentecostalists and​​ still​​ believe the same things as they always did, and​​ still​​ practice the same errors. They are like the kettle calling the pot ‘black’....but, sadly, most of them are unaware of this failure and would not dream of being unfaithful.

 

In general they do not do or say what their more adventurous charismatic cousins do or say. But they do or say other things, which, though less dramatic, are of the same stock of heresy. By saying what many reformed folk want to hear (a denunciation of Toronto-style manifestations etc), they appear to be different from charismatics. This, friends, is a big mistake. As we have already said – they are only different​​ by degree, not by type. That is, their virus is exactly the same; it just manifests itself in a modulated form. In this way, even if Satan is detected in charismaticism, he can still maintain his presence through​​ old-style​​ Pentecostalism without fear of being recognized by most Christians.

 

He has succeeded admirably and we must admit to his cleverness. Even so, he​​ has​​ been recognized in Pentecostalism! Not just by me, but by a number of other watchmen, who also warn the Church of the charismatic heresy. Those who wish to be truly faithful should now take heed, for their souls’ sake.

 

There is a very good reason for old-style Pentecostalists to abandon their beliefs and to repent. Some ministries supported by non-charismatics are headed by Pentecostalists. Yes, they denounced the Toronto Blessing. This led many to believe they must be ‘sound’. But this cannot be so. I say this without animosity​​ toward these men or their ministries. A man who remains – and likes to call himself –​​ ‘Pentecostalist’, but who has publicly castigated the Toronto Blessing​​ is still, nevertheless, of the same root. That root is described in these pages. You will see that a man who denounces the Toronto movement must also denounce his own past, which is of the same kind. Such a man’s ministry MUST, by definition, be tainted by his Pentecostalist beliefs and background. At some stage he must revert to those beliefs. Those who follow such men and who give moral or monetary support, must be aware of this probability, to avoid disappointment. A man who does not leave behind his Pentecostalism is a ‘Toronto-ist in waiting’. (Explanatory illustration: If a man in the Nazi Party denounced Hitler, would you be able to trust him if he remained in the Party?).

 

THE REAL THING –​​ NOT​​ COUNTERFEITS

One other mistake needs to be acknowledged. That is, the fashion of calling recent charismatic activities​​ ‘excesses’​​ and the gifts and manifestations​​ ‘counterfeits’. Neither of these terms apply. An ‘excess’ suggests that the core of something is acceptable, but that there is simply an abundance of it. That is, the substance is basically good, but what spills over is somehow just a bit ‘over the top’. Toronto-style activities and its allied beliefs are​​ not​​ ‘excesses’ at all, but are a​​ totally different breed. They have no basis in scripture, so they are not just slightly twisted forms of something good – they are without scriptural roots and are evil.

 

As for their gifts and manifestations (and fruit) being counterfeits…well, this word is used by well-meaning reformed Christians who have only a superficial understanding of what they have observed, usually third-hand. The axiom is, that where there is something real, there will be a counterfeit by Satan. The axiom is wrong in this case!​​ In charismaticism, Satan is not trying to mimic what is real at all​​ – he has produced his own brand of religious experience, without reference to what God does. Thus, the Toronto Blessing and charismaticism itself are not ‘counterfeits’ – they are the real article.​​ What​​ are​​ counterfeits are the explanations and​​ theology​​ given by charismatics in defense of what they say and do. The Alpha course follows in this ‘new’ tradition, by basing its theology on scripture and then by twisting it to accommodate charismatic heresy.

 

The manifestations themselves, which are the major cornerstone of charismaticism, are Satanic and not counterfeit, for they do not even​​ attempt​​ to copy what God does. There is nothing like them in scripture, so they have no link with previous or present godly realities. That makes them unique and not copies. It is important that we describe the charismatic phenomenon carefully and properly, because the outcome has far-reaching effects. Once we attribute​​ ‘excesses’​​ or​​ ‘counterfeits’​​ to Pentecostalism we​​ legitimize​​ it and bring it into the Christian fold.

 

Let me give just one example of charismatic activity that is not counterfeit – though it is often referred to as such…tongues. Commonly today, Pentecostalists claim their​​ own​​ ‘tongues’ to be of God whilst they call​​ charismatic​​ tongues ‘counterfeit’. Reformed Christians follow this anecdotal image.​​ The problem is, both charismatic​​ and​​ Pentecostalist ‘tongues’ are false!​​ In scripture a ‘tongue’ is a normal foreign language, not a heavenly language that no-one can possibly understand. So, that makes all the ‘tongues’ used by​​ both​​ camps unique manifestations of Satan (or, sometimes, of one’s own sinful psychological output – though this also comes from an evil source). They are not ‘counterfeits’ because they do not mimic the real thing. One is a foreign language and the other is a badly cobbled-together form of gobbledegook. This is a central truth to understand, because Pentecostalism mainly hinges on tongues.

 

Judge the facts for yourselves as we now look at the Azusa Street antics…

 

Interestingly, the​​ Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements​​ itself states that slaying in the spirit is not Biblical. It says that it can be caused by peer pressure, autosuggestion, or self-desire to have ‘it’. But it does​​ not​​ include the possibility of ‘it’ being all of Satan, or even partly of Satan. Yet, this phenomenon​​ is​​ unbiblical! Both tongues​​ and​​ slaying in the spirit are unbiblical. They were the basis of the Azusa Street activities which gave birth to Pentecostalism.

 

David du Plessis, a much revered figure in Pentecostalism, admitted that slaying in the spirit should be avoided because it brought​​ ‘nothing but trouble’​​ (quoted by Cardinal Suenens). God’s phenomenon do not bring this kind of trouble. Satan’s activities do.

A blanket of silence is thrown over slaying and tongues, because both phenomena were linked together at Azusa Street. Doubt one and you must doubt both. So, the best strategy is to keep quiet. The fact is very stark – if slaying and charismatic tongues (the very foundation of Pentecostalism) are both unbiblical, then they are of Satan. So, if both these phenomena are admitted to be demonic, the whole denomination/movement is a demonic device. No Pentecostalist or charismatic will ever admit to such a fact. However, Cardinal Suenens, a charismatic, says that slaying is the work of an​​ ‘alien force’! What ‘alien force’​​ can​​ there be for Christians, except a Satanic one? Today Pentecostalists and charismatics (kissing cousins) have fudged the issue with bamboozling words and arguments.

 

WIMBER – A SON OF AZUSA STREET

Note that the start of John Wimber’s (not​​ God’s) movement – the TB, Vineyard, etc. - contains​​ exactly the same ingredients​​ as those found at Azusa Street. Lies have been told about Wimber’s charismatic start, and lies are weaved into every charismatic wave and activity. The lies are spoken by charismatics themselves in order to boost their own movement, by twisting or lying about what really happened. So beware when listening to the glowing reports of charismatics!

 

AZUSA STREET

Azusa Street is in Los Angeles, California, USA. The church there experienced its phenomena in the first decade of this century (20th). However, the same phenomena had occurred many times before, in the​​ previous​​ century, though not in such an organized way. The man who first organized Pentecostalist ideas into a theology was Charles Parham. He has the distinction of being the ‘father’ of modern Pentecostalism/charismaticism. His contemporary, W. J. Seymour, helped to spread the new theology and manifestations. (Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Zondervan Publishing House, 1988,​​ and ‘The Holiness Pentecostal Movement in the United States’​​ by William Eerds, Grand Rapids, 1971).

 

The Azusa Street church held its historic meetings three times a day, seven days a week, and sometimes all night as well, for three years. (Note how the time scale and number of meetings coincides with that of the ‘official’ period of the Toronto Blessing?). Just as with the Toronto Blessing people flocked from around the world to experience ‘Pentecostalism’. And what was experienced?

 

“…a woman…stood shaking from head to foot…a man in front of her slid down out of his chair and became unconscious…the man…was…under high nerve pressure…He arose, staggered to them and began to shake his hand in front of their faces and wave his arms over their heads and moan…Then he put his hands on the heads of the women and began to shake their hair. Some of them lost control of themselves and went under an hypnotic spell. He rubbed a man’s jaw until the victim tumbled over on the floor and lay for half an hour, then suddenly began to jabber. Those who had received their ‘Pentecost’ cried out, ‘He has the baptism, he has the baptism!’.

 

A young coloured woman, doing her best to get the gibberish, went through all kinds of contortions in her effort to get her tongue to work.

 

…a coloured woman had her arms around a white man’s neck, praying for him. A man of maturer years leaped up out of his chair and began to stutter. He did not utter a distinct syllable…’tut-tut-tut-tut-tut-tut’. This was evidence that he had his ‘baptism’.​​ (the first woman mentioned)​​ this time singing a far-away tune that sounded very unnatural and repulsive…When the altar call was made, a​​ woman walked up to the front and kissed a man…kissing between the sexes is a common occurrence in the tongue meetings.”​​ (An eyewitness account in​​ ‘Demons and Tongues’​​ by Alma White; Pillar of Fire Publishers, 1949). Classic early Pentecostalism – and classic 1990’s charismaticism.​​ Both the same!

 

Here is another eye-witness account:​​ “(Shumway – an author)…attended a ‘Pentecostal’ meeting where pandemonium was loose​​ (Ed. Look up the meaning of ‘pandemonium’. This is what Shumway was referring to).​​ Men and women…were talking excitedly ‘in tongues’. A man (holding on to a post) seemed to be in possession of an old-fashioned Peter Cartwright camp-meeting​​ (charismatic-style antics in the previous century – see BTM article)​​ case of the jerks. He was muttering and mumbling most of the time, but would (also) shriek. About sixty or seventy of the three hundred present were ‘possessed of the spirit’​​ (Ed. I refuse to prefix the word ‘spirit’ with a capital ‘S’. It is not the Holy Spirit)​​ and each​​ was (trying to be louder than the others).

 

One of the three men…leading the meeting…was praying…kneeling upon an open Bible…He was almost beside himself with excitement, His arms waved and his body swayed. I thought…that he might be heard two blocks away. In this meeting there was barking like dogs, hooting like owls, and the like…After adjourning, one of the leaders remarked in my hearing ‘God had a wonderful hold on this meeting for a little while, didn’t He?’.​​ (The same man then added)​​ ‘God’s got a crowd ‘o folks here that’s willin’ to let him make fools of ‘em if he wants to.’ ”

 

Do you not find all this frightening? This could be a description of a modern Toronto-style meeting! Note the leader kneeling on God’s word? The ‘pandemonium’? The sexual activity? The same manifestations? The suggestion that God had control of only a small part of the meeting (thus Satan had the rest!)? The making fools of people? It is also worth noting that early Pentecostalist congregations were commonly ordered out of town by the police because of the racket they made, and because of their general misconduct. (‘A Critical History of Glossalalia’​​ by C W Shumway. PhD Dissertation, Boston University, 1919). This is what today’s Pentecostalists revere and this is their true birthright.

 

Yet another eyewitness said:​​ “…I found men and women lying on the floor in all shapes…(they were)​​ jabbering all at one time in what they called unknown tongues. While I was praying, one of the workers took hold of me and said, ‘Holy Ghost, we command Thee to go into this soul’. The workers were jabbering and shaking their hands over me, and a demonic power (as I now know) took possession of me, and I fell among the people on the floor and knew nothing for ten hours. When I came to my senses I was weak and my jaws were​​ so tired they ached. I believed then that this power was of God. They said I was wonderfully blessed, and the leader sent me from one place to another so that I could jabber in tongues.”​​ (‘Demons and Tongues’. See above reference). Note – they​​ commanded​​ the Holy Spirit! Just like today.

 

He knew nothing of what he had done for ten hours! The same evil as we see today in charismatic meetings. If you are a Pentecostalist, can you not see it is evil? That your roots are in Satan and not in God? That those you revere were themselves controlled by demons? If not, read on…

 

SLAYING PLUS TONGUES EQUALS REVIVAL?

When W. J. Seymour preached at Azusa Street, the meetings were called a ‘revival’. Why? Because so-called slaying in the spirit and tongues were combined! To these early Pentecostalists they were the ‘proof’ that God was with them in a powerful way. The hard fact is, all the manifestations were those found in demonic hypnosis (see BTM Article on the subject).

 

One who took part in these early years, Bartleman, said:​​ “At Eighth and Maple Streets such a divine ‘weight of glory’ was upon us we could only lie on our faces. For a long time we could hardly remain seated even…”​​ (‘Another Wave Rolls In’, by Bartleman. Voice Publications. 1962). And:​​ “It was also reported that the ‘jerks’ and ‘treeing the devil’ (that is, crawling on all fours and barking up a tree like a dog) were in evidence in the (Azusa) mission.”

 

Bartleman, in favour of the movement and not wanting to write anything negative, refers to a Baptist pastor who ran around hugging everyone he could get hold of. This was called​​ ‘divine love’. Remember, all this – and the kissing – all took place at a time in history when such behavior would have been shocking. Yet it was accepted as of God, without question.

 

One missionary leader spoke with horror about what happened at Azusa Street, declaring that​​ “it would be impossible to publish the things that have occurred there. The familiarity between sexes in the public meetings has been shocking, to say the least. Hell has reaped an awful harvest and infidelity has become more strongly rooted…than ever before.”​​ (‘Demons and Tongues’). All along in these descriptions we are reading carbon-copies of Toronto and other charismatic antics. Sexual impropriety is rife, as is marital breakdown and other problems.

 

Significantly, Seymour, a leader of the movement,​​ “ultimately repudiated the initial evidence teaching (speaking in tongues) as providing an open door for witches and spiritualists and free lovism.”​​ (‘Dictionary of P & C Movements’). Parham, the ‘father’ of Pentecostalism, had this to say about Azusa:​​ “Men and women, whites and blacks, knelt together or fell across one another; frequently,​​ a white woman, perhaps of wealth and culture, could be seen thrown back in the arms of a big ‘buck nigger’, and held tightly thus as she shivered and shook in freak imitation of Pentecost. Horrible awful shame!”​​ Yes, that was the​​ leader​​ of the movement talking! (‘Fields White Unto Harvest’, by James Goff Jnr. University of Arkansas Press, 1988). In those days these were scenes of degradation and immorality. Before he left Azusa Street, Parham said​​ “God is sick at His stomach”​​ because of the ‘animalism’ going on there. (Shumway). All of these things and more go on at Wimber and other charismatic meetings. Now we come to worse facts…

 

WITCHES AND MEDIUMS

The occurrences at Azusa Street soon attracted the attention of occultists far and wide. They did so not because God was in the movement,​​ but because He was NOT!

 

“…spiritualists and mediums from the numerous occult societies of Los Angeles began to attend and to contribute their séances and trances to the services.”​​ (‘The Holiness Pentecostal Movement in the United States’​​ by Vinson Synan. Grand Rapids. 1971). I would ask Pentecostalists to read that statement again. Does it not tell you something about the true nature of your denomination?

 

Seymour was terrified by these activities, which took place in the middle of his church’s services. He wrote frantically to Parham, begging him to come to Los Angeles to sort things out.​​ “W. J. Seymour was still writing urgent letters appealing for help, as spiritualistic manifestations, hypnotic forces and fleshly contortions as known in the coloured Camp meetings in the south, had broken loose in the meetings.”​​ He wanted to know which parts were real and which were false. It did not enter his mind that it was ALL false! The manifestations he refers to are​​ exactly​​ those that were shown in Rodney Howard Browne, Copeland, Benny Hinn and other charismatic meetings, during and since the Toronto Blessing. They currently are alive in Pensacola.

 

As Nader Mikhaiel correctly observes:​​ “How could an outpouring of the Spirit of God attract the witches, the mediums and the spiritualists? Fragrance does not attract flies - a decomposing carcass does. Mediums and spiritualists are attracted to the spirit that is at work in them, that is, the Devil.”​​ How else could these evil people​​ participate​​ in what was supposed to be a ‘revival’ meeting? The only answer is that the events at Azusa Street were not of God at all, but were of Satan. That has a serious ramification – that​​ Pentecostalism is based not on the work of God, but on the work of Satan. As we have said many times before, this has nothing to do with how ‘nice’ a person is, or how ‘holy’ he claims to be, or how much he says he ‘loves Jesus’, etc. What matters is how he obeys the Lord’s commands as found in scripture. Azusa Street did not obey the​​ Lord, but propagated perversions of truth. What followed, therefore, was also a perversion – which continues to this very day.

 

Again to quote Mikhaiel:​​ “Did the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost attract mediums and spiritualists, to participate with the disciples?”​​ No, of course they did not! Something I have discovered in my own work is that mediums and spiritualists are powerless in the presence of God. I have noted how spiritualists have been dumb when I have been near, and I have watched a man overtaken by a demon crawl into a corner, crying out that I leave​​ ‘him’​​ alone because I​​ ‘knew God’. He was forced to crawl and snivel, just as demons cried out to Jesus not to harm them. This happened not because of my own strength or holiness, but because of the Master I represented! I had no power of my own, yet even the derived, delegated authority of a mortal, sinful Christian was enough to send demons scurrying away. Why did they​​ not​​ scatter at Azusa Street? I think you can already guess the answer.

 

The power of Satan was so strong that the​​ “supernatural atmosphere of Azusa Street was felt within several blocks…”!​​ If it had been the power of God, mediums and spiritualists would not have been able to enter that hallowed area. Instead, they flocked there and joined in the revelry, because they recognized that the same spirit as they had was present in Azusa Street.

 

Bartleman tells us that the folk at the church were petrified by the occultists:​​ “…spiritualists, hypnotists…all the religious soreheads and crooks and cranks came…We had the most to fear from these…This condition cast a fear over many which was hard to overcome. It hindered the spirit so much. Many were afraid to seek God for fear the devil might get them.”​​ A revival? Never! This is the kind of fear generated by the might of Satan, not by God. God cannot be hindered by Satan.

 

As Mikhaiel points out – Seymour was a false apostle. But no more so than all others who follow in his footsteps. If God works through a Pentecostalist it can only be by special divine intervention, over and above what He normally does. Such an intervention must be​​ in spite of​​ a man being Pentecostalist. Any such grace is certainly not a reason to remain a Pentecostalist.

 

PARHAM – UNABLE TO ACT

Parham could not shift this awful pestilence. He was ‘repelled’ by what he witnessed and when he attempted to rectify the situation, Seymour and his followers split from him. They did not like it. This is​​ exactly​​ how Toronto Blessing leaders reacted to rebuke and help from faithful Christians. Parham saw hypnotists (occultists) practicing hypnotism at the altar. Later, he confessed that it was all of Satan, for he saw​​ “hypnotic influences, familiar spirit influences,​​ spiritualistic influences, mesmeric influences and all kinds of spells and spasms, falling in trances etc….”​​ He refuted them as being of God, as his own wife testified. (‘The Life of Charles F Parham’​​ by Sarah Parham. Garland Publishing. 1985).

 

It transpired that Parham was​​ “not wanted”​​ at Azusa Street. Why not? Because one of the elders was himself a hypnotist, who passed on the power to speak in tongues to others! Or as Parham put it:​​ “chattering, jabbering, speaking in no language at all”.​​ (Parham).

Parham tried to counter the evil at Azusa Street by holding parallel meetings elsewhere, to deliver people from possession by demons. He said:​​ “between two and three hundred who had been possessed of awful fits and spasms and controls in the Azusa Street work were delivered, and received the real Pentecost teachings and many spake with other tongues.”​​ Superficially this all sounds great – Parham successfully stole away Satan’s prizes!

 

But we must look far deeper than that. Satan is no fool. He was as much at work in Parham’s meetings as he was in Azusa Street. But in a different way. He merely shifted his locus of attention, from one church to another. With much panache, he grandly allowed Parham to ‘exorcise’ his demons,​​ and then placed them back again, making Parham’s converts speak in tongues that were​​ just as false as the ones they previously had!​​ Satan has a grim sense of humor, friends. If he can gain something by pretending to be cast out by false prophets, then he will gladly join in the fun. So, what appears to be an exorcism is actually a​​ worsening​​ of the situation. As scripture tells us, if a man is not cleansed of sin after being exorcised of demons, then​​ even more​​ demons will enter him, causing​​ even greater​​ havoc in his life…a havoc far worse than he had experienced previously. Remember this when you next contemplate the supposed exorcisms in charismatic and Pentecostalist meetings. Satan is not being cast out – he is just reinforcing his position by assuming another guise.

 

SPREAD OF INFECTION

Just as happened with the Toronto Blessing, so the Azusa Street phenomenon spread,​​ and the same manifestations occurred.​​ The founder of the Foursquare Gospel church, Aimee Semple McPherson, wrote of​​ exactly​​ the same manifestations as are found in Pensacola and in charismatic churches worldwide today. That is because the same Satanic influence and falsity has been passed on, decade by decade.

 

This woman received the ‘spirit’ and the ‘gifts’ in the same way as charismatics do today. Such is obviously not of God. For example,​​ “it was as though He would tear my body to pieces…He verily split my throat…(someone said to her)​​ ‘the Lord is able to repair any damage He does to the old temple. After being​​ tossed about violently for quite awhile until I was panting for breath and wet with perspiration, I…poured forth praise to God in tongues…”​​ (‘This Is That’, by Aimee McPherson. Echo Park Evangelistic Association. 1923). Of God? Never! She, too, called the​​ ‘revival’​​ the​​ ‘latter rain’​​ of God. When this ‘rain’ spread to Britain, rooms were ‘rocked’ at prayer meetings. That is the work of demons, not of God.

 

This is just a smattering of information concerning Azusa Street and the formation of Pentecostalism. If a reader cannot see the demonic behind it all, then there is very little that further study would bring. Pentecostalists should consider this – if what they have is truly of God, why is it the same as is being experienced by charismatics, and which has been experienced continuously since Azusa Street, where mediums and spiritualists recognized the ‘spirit’ to be their own Satanic spirit? The experiences are not just similar –​​ they are exactly the same.

 

May God help us all to ‘read between the lines’ of what is happening today.​​ 

 

Discernment is essential if we are to remain faithful to the Lord and stand against error.

This Article has given the historical facts concerning the beginning of Pentecostalism. Now that you know the truth, what are you going to do about it? If you have Pentecostal friends, will you show them their error? Or will you stand by and allow them to think they are okay? Will you let them continue thinking that their various Pentecostal ideas are of God? Will you urge them to repent and leave what is a heinous deception of the Devil dressed in acceptable guise?​​ 

 

The days are short. There is no time for nice chit-chat. Pentecostalism (charismaticism) is growing rapidly. Will we now stand against it and raise the banner of Jesus Christ? Or will we all stand by and allow charismatics to raise their own false standard, proclaiming themselves to be God’s people on this earth? You have the choice - to stand firm or to mix with error. Telling friends they are in gross error is a very hard thing to do. This is acknowledged. But what is being tested is not friendship – it​​ is loyalty and faithfulness to the Lord, His word and Truth. It is always sad when those we thought were friends shun us because of a firm stand for the Lord. That is the way it has always been.

 

(Acknowledgements for quotes are made to: ‘The Toronto Blessing and Slaying in the Spirit – the telling wonder’ by Nader Mikhaiel….an exceptional book written by a man of discernment)

 

Bible Theology Ministries ​​​​ (1994)

 




1 Corinthians Chapter Twelve

1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER TWELVE

 

Excerpts from​​ Stuart Allen’s Book:

“Early and Pastoral Epistles of Paul”.

 

Edited by Jan Lilleby

 


Introduction

 

Stuart Allen was a very competent Bible expositor, having been a​​ successor to Charles Welch. I find it particularly timely​​ in these days to publish his Bible knowledge regarding the​​ Spiritual Miracle Gifts​​ told in 1 Cor. 12. Thus we learn of​​ how​​ these sign gifts had its place only during the Acts period.​​ Such miracle gifts/sign gifts,​​ have never been with this​​ present dispensation, the one with the Church, the One New Man​​ as taught by Paul in Ephesians and Colossians.​​ The Church has never had any​​ baptism in the Holy Spirit,​​ tongues, interpretation of tongues;​​ nor prophecy, - or any healing gifts or power workings to raise dead or drive out​​ demons…and so on and so forth.

 

Please note:​​ 

​​ In transferring this writing from Stuart Allen’s

book, the reader will note that there are quite a few

unwanted tab-spaces in the lines. This has to do with

the format of my website, for which I apologize!

This paper will give you 12 pages out of your printer.

 

Paul now commences an important section dealing with spiritual
gifts. It is clear that the Corinthian church had an abundance of
these gifts, and this in spite of their carnal state. To teach that the
possession of these gifts today is a mark of spirituality, or of some
special filling of the Spirit, is quite contrary to Scriptural facts, as
we shall see. It is possible that the believers at Corinth had raised
the matter concerning gifts in their communication with him. As
this matter was directly connected with their public worship, the
Apostlenowdealswithit.

"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I​​ would not have you
ignorant. Ye know that when ye were Gentiles ye were led away unto
those dumb idols, howsoever ye might be led. Wherefore I give you to
understand, that no man speaking in the Spirit of God sayeth, Jesus is
anathema; and no man can say, Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit"
(12:1-3).

The word "gifts" is not in the original; it could be rendered
"spiritual matters", but as the context makes clear that it is special
gifts of the Holy Spirit which are being discussed, it is better to
supply the word "gifts". There was evidently a large Gentile
section in the Corinthian assembly, for the Apostle refers to their
pre-conversion days as idolaters under the domination of the evil
Satanic spirits that were behind the dumb idols they worshipped.

 

PAGE​​ 142

While redemption had delivered them from this bondage, it was
a mistake to suppose that there was no danger now from satanic
activity. In one sense these gifts constituted a danger, for Paul
makes it clear in this epistle and the one that was to follow, that
Satan, as an angel of​​ light, can travesty these gifts and so deceive
the unwary. It is quite wrong to imagine that the great enemy of
God and His children, gave believers a holiday, as it were, till the
second century with its developed Gnosticism. The battle
between light and darkness never ceases, and the error that the
Apostle combated at Colossae, the warnings contained in the
Pastoral epistles and the command of the Apostle John to "test the
spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are
gone out into the world" (l John 4: 1) and that the spirit of antichrist
was already present (2: 18), show quite clearly that this was so, and
therefore the danger existed of being led astray.

We wish that those today who are anxious to bring back some of
these gifts, in particular tongue speaking, would bear in mind the
dangerofwhat they are seeking to do.

In New Testament times ecstatic heathen worship was a​​ fact, as
it is still today in dark centers of heathendom. Paul either knew
that this had already entered the Corinthian church, or there was
thepossibilityofitdoingso.

Thus he states categorically that no one under the influence of
God's Spirit can say that Jesus is accursed, nor would anyone
under satanic domination own His lordship, for this is the very
thing that Satan covets for himself, and he certainly would not
allow any of his dupes to advertise the supremacy of Christ!
It seems clear that the Apostle had the worship of the assembly
in mind in this long section dealing with spiritual gifts, which
occupies this chapter and also chapters thirteen and fourteen. In
consequence, he is not referring to every day speech (although
what he said would cover this) but speech in the assembly, which
would be either under​​ the guidance of God, or under satanic
influence. Anyone of course at any time could pronounce the
words "Lord Jesus", whether saved or unsaved, but no one in the
assembly's worship could use this phrase in teaching or witness
and be under the control of the evil one.

 

PAGE ​​ 143

 

Having made this clear, Paul now goes on to discuss the spiritual
giftsthemselves:

“There are distributions of gifts, but the same Spirit; there are
distributions of services, and the same Lord; and there are distribu-
tions of operations, but the same God who operates all things in all
men. To each one is given his own manifestation of the Spirit, with a
view to mutual profit. For to one there is given, through the Spirit, a
word of wisdom; to another, in accordance with the same Spirit, a
word of knowledge; to another faith, in the same Spirit; to another
gifts of healing, in the one Spirit; to another the working of miracles,
to another prophecy, to another the power to distinguish between
spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpreta-
tion of tongues. All these things the same one Spirit puts into opera-
tion, distributing individually to each one as He wills"
(1Cor.12:4-11).

There is no difficulty with the main theme of this section. Note
that Spirit, Lord and God are used interchangeably. However
varied the gifts may be, they have one source, the Holy Spirit of
God. They were not distributed to give any feeling of superiority,
but for the mutual profit of the whole church (verse 7). Just as there
was no uniformity of experience, neither was there of gifts. Nor
were these gifts the privilege of the few who had had some special
spiritual experience. To each one of the assemblies​​ is given his own
manifestation of the Spirit (verse 7) and the Spirit divided these
gifts exactly "as He willed". No believer was responsible for the
kind of gift he received, but he was certainly responsible for the
way he used it, which primarily was meant for the Lord's glory and
the common good. In view of the attempts to revive tongue speak-
ing today apart from the gifts as a whole, it is significant that Paul
puts speaking in tongues at the bottom of the list. Furthermore, he
nowhere teaches that tongue speaking was a gift which the Holy
Spirit gave to every believer, or that it was an evidence of spiritual
maturity. It was probably coveted by some because of its outward
showiness, but the Apostle commences with one that is infinitely
more important, but without any external attraction, that of wis-
dom. Why? Because wisdom is fundamental in the practical out-
working of any gift or service for the Lord. Who is going to give
away anything of real value to​​ foolish people who will only misuse
it?

It is noteworthy that, in his prayer for the Ephesian believer

 

PAGE​​ 144


Paul again puts wisdom first (Eph. 1:17). "If any man lack wisdom
(and we all do to some extent) let him ask of God, that giveth to all
men liberally ... " (James 1:5), so there is no excuse for any
believer to remain foolish, or to think or act foolishly. This only
hinders the Truth, and lets the Lord down before an unbelieving
world.

The next evidential gift of​​ the Spirit in chapter 12 is knowledge.
That this was given without human mediation is clear by the
context, where all the gifts come directly from the Spirit of God. 1
John 2:20 refers to this by saying, "But ye have an unction (anoint-
ing) from the Holy One (i.e. The Holy Spirit) and ye. know all
things". And again in 2:27, "But the anointing which ye have
received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man
teachyou."

One of the gifts of the ascended Christ for His Body is
"teachers" (Eph, 4:11), but there is no mention in this epistle of
any supernatural gift of knowledge without human effort, such as
existed in the church at Corinth. We may wish there was such
today, but now we find we have to search the Scriptures patiently,
comparing spiritual things with spiritual; we need to pray for
enlightenment too before such Divine knowledge becomes our
personal possession. While there were teachers in the churches
during the period covered by the Acts, it is evident that some who
had the special gift of knowledge were independent of them,
though not in a schismatic sense, for the will of God was for all to
work together as members of a body, in united witness.
Faith is the next special gift, and it is obvious this cannot be the
initiatory faith of​​ the sinner believing in Christ as Savior, for such
a faith would be possessed by all true believers. It would be rather
the faith of the pioneer, willing to undertake new and possibly
difficult work for Christ, not only in the assembly, but outside. We
have a modern example of this in George Muller and his work for
destitutechildren.

Now follows gifts of healing, and the Acts is full of concrete
examples of this. (Acts 3:7,8; 4:16,30; 5:15,16; 8:6,7; 9:33,34;
14:8-10; 19:11,12; 28:8,9). Note that the healing was instantaneous
and complete, and we may be sure that there was no relapse! When

 

PAGE​​ 145


modern​​ healing campaigns are compared to this, their pitiful
inadequacy is only too obvious. And yet they claim to be fulfilling
the same ministry as obtained in the Acts! How folk can be so
duped as to believe this only goes to show the utter ignorance of the
NewTestamentthataboundstoday.

The healing ministry we are dealing with has its roots in the Old
TestamentinGod'spromisestoIsrael:

" ... If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy
God ... I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have
broughtupontheEgyptians..."(Exod.15:26).

"And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and He shall bless thy
bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of
thee"(Exod.23:25).

"Thou shalt be blessed above all people: ... and the Lord will
take away from thee all sickness..." (Deut. 7:14,15).

There is no doubt that definite Divine healing was promised to
this earthly people of God. This was repeated in the Lord's com-
missionoftheTwelvetoIsrael:

" And as ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out
demons..."(Matt.10:7,8).

This very healing ministry was also performed by the Lord day
by day, as the Gospel records clearly show, and the same ministry
continues without a break till Israel is laid aside at the end of the
Acts. After this, Paul's healing ministry, so effective before (see
Acts 19:11,12), now no longer obtains (Phil. 2:25-27; 1Tim. 5:23; 2
Tim.4:20).

This divine healing was one of the foretastes of the coming
earthly kingdom, where there will not only be abundant spiritual
blessing but physical health and blessing as well. If we are aiming
for truth and not wishful thinking, we shall keep this ministry
where the Bible places it​​ -​​ with Israel and God's earthly kingdom
purposes. To wrench it from this setting as so many have done is to
get difficulty, and disillusionment, as well as confusion in our
understanding of the Divine plan of the ages.

The next of the Spirit's evidential gifts is the working of

 

PAGE​​ 146

miracles, and again there is no need to argue as to what today can
be regarded as miraculous. The Acts of the Apostles is full of what
the Holy Spirit means by the working of miracles and the following
Scriptures should be carefully verified as they are too long to quote
in full here (Acts 2:22,43; 4:29,30; 5: 12; 6:8; 8:5-7,39; 9:37-41; 12:7;
13:10,11;14:3;16:16-18,25,26;20:9-11;28:3-9).

There can be no doubt that we do not live in such an age today.
The power to work such miracles was another earthly kingdom
evidence, and to some at Corinth this divine gift was given by the
Holy Spirit. There is another reference to this gift in Paul's early
lettertotheGalatians:

"He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh
miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the
hearingoffaith?"​​ (Gal.3:5).

It is important to note that these miracles were not just displays
of great power which overwhelmed or stupefied those who saw
them. They were signs, that is they signified and gave a special
message; hence their evidential value to Israel who had the coun-
tersign,theOldTestamentScriptures.

The reader who has carefully perused the above list of refer-
ences, cannot fail to note the number of times the word "sign" is
connectedwiththeword"miracle".

The Apostle follows this gift with that of prophecy, and it is
important to remember that a Bible prophet was a​​ forth-teller as
well as being a​​ foreteller. Prophets in the New Testament were
linked with apostles as a foundation ministry by the risen Christ
(Eph, 4: 11), and this was essential for the delivery of truth to God's
people until the great foundation of inspired Scripture was com-
plete, through which God could speak to men and meet every need
by the Holy Spirit's enlightenment. No further additions to God's
completed Word are necessary or can be allowed. Our task is the
proclamation of this completed revelation, and we no longer need
the ministry either of the apostle or prophet, the sure foundation
now being the Word of God and the Christ of the Word.
The ministry of the prophet during the Acts ranked high in the
Apostle Paul's estimation (1 Cor. 14:3-5) in importance above the​​ gift of tongues.

PAGE​​ 147


In view of the satanic spirit of deception concerning which
Christ so clearly warned (Matt. 24:4,5,11,24 and see 2 Thess.
2:7-10), a divine gift of discrimination was needed at this time to
distinguish the true from the false; thus discerning of spirits was an
important gift and we have already seen the Apostle John's com-
mand to test the spirits in view of false prophets (1 John 4:1-3).
Thus those who claimed to give a word of wisdom, or knowledge,
or prophecy could be infallibly sorted out as to whether their
utterances were actuated by the Spirit of God or by some satanic
anddemonicpower.

The last on Paul's list is tongues and their interpretation. We
shall have more to say about this gift when we reach chapter
fourteen where the Apostle deals with tongue speaking and its
proper place in the assembly, so that everything could be done
"decentlyandinorder".

The Apostle now stresses the source of all gifts​​ -​​ the Holy Spirit
Himself who is sovereign in his distribution of them:

"But all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each
oneseverallyevenasHewill"(12:11).

He alone chooses what gift each believer should have, so that none
should have ground either for boasting or for being inferior. Nor
were they given just to the "spiritual". All were necessary at this
time for the great earthly kingdom testimony. This naturally leads
to the thought of the Pentecostal church as a whole and what the
working of every part could achieve for the Lord. What better
illustration could be given than a human body, with its various
members working together harmoniously for the body and the
personasawhole?

This illustration was by no means unique. It was frequently
employed in the ancient world and we find allusions to it in Soc-
rates, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Marcus Antoninus. The
Apostlewrites:

"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the
members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is the
Christ" (1 Cor. 12:12).

 

PAGE​​ 148​​ 

The Authorized Version and Revised Version omit the expres-
sed definite article before​​ "Christ". Many expositors can see that
"the Christ" cannot refer just to Christ personally, for how can He
be likened to a human body which has uncomely as well as comely
parts? (verse 23). "Christ" (Christos) means anointed, and "the
Christ" can be used as the title of a church which has been
specially anointed. The believers to whom the Apostle John wrote
were told "Ye have an anointing" (chrisma) (1 John 20,27), and
this gave them the supernatural gift of knowledge which we have
already seen is contained in the list detailed in verses 8-10 of the
chapter with which we are dealing. In his second letter to the
CorinthianchurchtheApostlewrote:

"Now He that confirmeth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed
us(chrio),isGod" (2Cor.1:21).

This "anointing" is very much to the point in 1 Corinthians
12:12. Moreover, the above reference acquaints us with the fact
that these supernatural gifts were confirmatory in character as well
as being signs. The teaching then in 1 Corinthians 12:12 is clear.
Just as a human body has many members, and each member has a
particular part to play, not independently, but for the well-being of
the body as a whole, so should the Corinthian assembly have
functioned. The cliques which had come into being at Corinth and
the misusing of some of the spiritual gifts were rendering this unity
null and void in practice, and it is this unity which was so important
and which Paul has stressed from various angles.
"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 ​​ todrinkintooneSpirit"(12:13).

To be baptized into a special company was no new truth. We
have already had the baptism of all Israel unto Moses in 1 Corin-
thians ten, and this baptism was a spiritual baptism without water,
which united them with Moses and all for which He stood, and had
its origin in God's action, not in anything that Israel did. So it is
here. The words "baptized" and "made to drink" are in the aorist
tense denoting that the action is past (not something future to be
sought) and was true of all believers at that time irrespective of
their condition. It was an action never to be repeated, being the
work of the Holy Spirit.

PAGE​​ 149

It cannot refer to water baptism, for Paul had already told the
Corinthians that water baptism did not form part of His Christ-
directed ministry (1 Cor. 1:17), and no kind of water baptism would
ever effect this spiritual unity of the believer with God. Nothing
less than the Holy Spirit's work could do this. Such a unity cer-
tainly did not depend upon the work of man in carrying out any
externalritual.

In proceeding with the illustration of a human body, Paul
stresses the inter-dependence of the various members. We have
seen that this usage of the word "body" was not confined to the
Scriptures. In spite of a superficial likeness, the Apostle is not
describing the Body of Christ, yet to be revealed in all its fullness
after the Acts in Ephesians and Colossians. At this time it was still
a secret, hid in God from all past ages and generations of people
(Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:26) and there is not a hint in these
Corinthian epistles, or for that matter in any epistle written during
the Acts, that such a secret of God is being unfolded. In fact the
word mystery (secret) is not used once to designate the church
individually or as a whole, such as it is used later on after Acts 28 in
Ephesians and Colossians. If we carefully note the language of 1
Corinthians twelve and Romans twelve, we shall note differences
from Ephesians. One which should be obvious is that the one Body
of Ephesians is distinguished from Christ as the Head. The
likeness of the Corinthian church to a human body and its
members, speaks of eyes, ears and nose, all members of the human
head and illustrative of those in the Corinthian church (verses
17-24). Every member of the Body of Christ in Ephesians is
"accepted in the Beloved", but the body of 1 Corinthians twelve
has "uncomely" parts which certainly is not true of the former. If
Paul is teaching here Ephesian truth, then he is using the figure of a
human body in a very careless way and we cannot accept this for a
moment.

oreover, he asserts in Ephesians that the Church related to the
Mystery is a ''joint-Body'' (sussoma), a unique word (3:6). No
such body, where every member is equal in size and importance
had ever existed before, either naturally or spiritually. It never
occurs in any Acts epistle, and in fact could not be used while the
position at this time symbolized by the olive tree (Israel) and the
wild grafts (Gentiles), was true (Rom. 11:16-24, and note verses 18

 

PAGE​​ 150​​ 


and 22). We should also realize that the gifts set by God in the
Corinthian assembly are different from those of Ephesians 4: 11,
insomuch that gifts of healing, helps, governments and diversities
of tongues are omitted in the Ephesian list, healings and tongues
being specially linked, as we have seen again and again, with the
earthly kingdom ministry of which Israel is the centre and form no
part of the heavenly calling of Ephesians. Apostles, prophets, and
teachers are repeated after Acts twenty-eight which shows clearly
that there is a definite selection by the Holy Spirit, repeating what
was continuous, and leaving out that which was transitory, for so
many of these Acts gifts were such, and never intended to be
permanent(1Cor.3:8).

The whole point of Paul's argument concerning these gifts is that
no one is responsible for the kind of gift he has, and even if some
are more important, all are necessary for the proper functioning of
the assembly in Christian witness. None should feel any sense of
superiority or inferiority whatever gift he possesses, and all should
lead, above all, to unity. After showing the diversity in unity of the
humanbody,hesays:

"Now you are Christ's body, and, individually members"
(12:27C.K.Barrett).

Both the Authorized Version and Revised Version translate
"Now ye are the body of Christ", but there is no definite article in
the Greek. We cannot translate it baldly "you are a body of
Christ", for this does not give the sense. The only way is, as Dr.
C.K.Barrettrendersit,​​ "you are Christ's body".

At first sight this seems to upset the distinction between the
Pentecostal church and the Body of Christ after the Acts period,
but we should ask ourselves, how could one of​​ the many assemb-
lies existing at this time be The Body of Christ? What of the rest?
Paul uses the phrase "one body" again in Romans and this helps
us to understand the usage of the word "body" in the Acts as
applied to believers. "So we, being many, are one body in Christ,
and everyone members one of another" (Rom. 12:5). Note he did
not say "we are the one Body OF Christ", but "one body (of
believers) in Christ", which is a very different thing and shows the
standing by grace of the Roman church in Christ. So with the
Corinthian assembly. They were a company (body) of believers

 

PAGE​​ 151

belonging to Christ (Christ's body); like all the other churches;
they were not part of the sussoma, the joint-Body of which Christ
is the Head. Nothing is said about the Headship of Christ in these
Acts epistles. If​​ we are absolutely accurate in our reading and note
just what the Apostle wrote under inspiration, not adding in our
minds what was to be revealed later, we shall have no difficulty
with this context, or try to identify what God has made to differ.
Nor need we be concerned with the old jibe that this teaches there
are two Bodies of Christ, for this would only be true if they existed
at the same time. Of course this is not so, for the sussoma, the
Joint-Body of Christ was not revealed till after Israel failed at Acts
28,thussupersedingtheActsperiodposition.

The God-given human gifts of ministry commence with the
foundation work of apostles and prophets. As we have seen, these
were necessary to lay the foundation of truth until the written
Word of God was complete and then the completed inspired Word
took over. The gifts that follow are secondary and fall in line with
the supernatural gifts already detailed. "Helps" antilepseis is a
common word in the papyri, but only used here in the New
Testament. It probably referred to the work of the deacons,
assisting the poor and the sick. "Governments" (kuberneseis),
speak of ruling or leading, and Paul doubtless has in mind the
overseers (bishops), the outstanding leaders of the local assembly.
The questions asked by the Apostle (l Cor. 12:29,30) refer back
to verse fourteen and its argument that the human body is not one
member, but many and all essential. In each question me in the
Greek demands the answer "no". It is significant that "tongues"
comes at the bottom of the list and the answer "no" deals a death
blow to the modern Pentecostal argument that tongue speaking is a
sign of the in-filling or special baptism of the Holy Spirit for those
who are seeking it. "Eagerly desire the greater gifts" said the
Apostle (verse 31) and there is no doubt that Paul unhesitatingly
ranks some spiritual gifts above others, but tongue speaking is
certainly not one, as this context and chapter fourteen clearly
reveal. The Apostle goes on to say there is something better, "I
show you a supremely excellent way", a way par excellence which
exceeds all that has been given before. It is the way of divine love,
and those who have the mind of the Spirit will always put the
emphasis on this first and foremost. What this involves is made
clear in the poetic hymn to love which follows in chapter thirteen.

 

Editor’s note: ​​​​ Stuart Allen’s book can be found on internet, freely to be read in its entirety – and is quite an extensive work of writing, over more than 300 pages). ​​​​ It was re-printed in 1977, - ​​ from which this excerpt has been taken.

 




The Great Divide

 

Some believers are satisfied just to

study in what is written. They do not crave

for graphics or visual material to comprehend.

 

The illustration here I have made for such believers

who appreciate things in a plaque form!

I hope this will give you the right impression of what

exactly the free Grace Gospel of Paul is. I have

written ‘tons’ of material in this vital issue.

JAN LILLEBY

gracepano.com




The Resurrection in The Four Gospels

THE RESURRECTION IN

THE FOUR GOSPELS

Jan Lilleby

 ​​​​ The four Gospel writers were telling of the very same resurrection of Jesus Christ, and still, the story has been​​ described a bit different​​ between these writers.​​ I shall quote from Amplified Bible.

It is interesting to observe how each one wrote of the same sensational event!

MATTHEW’S GOSPEL

 

We need to quote first from Mat. 27:64-66 on the Pharisees’ measures to guard the tomb,

“Therefore give an order to have the tomb made secure and safeguarded until the third day, for fear that His disciples will come and steal Him away to tell the people that He has risen from the dead, and the last deception and fraud will be worse than the first. 65: Pilate said to them, You have a guard (of soldiers; take them and) go, make it as secure as you can. 66: So they went off and made the tomb secure by sealing the boulder, a guard of soldiers being with them and remaining to watch.”

Mat. 28:1-17,

Now after the Sabbath, near dawn of the first​​ day​​ of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.​​  

​​ ​​ 2:​​ And a great earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone [from the opening of the tomb], and sat on it.​​ 

3:​​ The angel’s appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were as white as snow.​​ 

4:​​ The guards shook, paralyzed with fear [at the sight] of him and became like dead men [pale and immobile].​​   ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

​​ ​​ 5​​ ​​ But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.​​  

​​ 6 ​​​​ He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said [He would]. Come! See the place where He was lying.​​  

​​  ​​​​ 7 ​​​​ Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee [as He promised]. There you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

8:​​ So the women left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell [the good news to] the disciples.​​  

9:​​ And​​ as they went, suddenly, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” And they went to Him and took hold of His feet [in homage] and worshiped Him [as the Messiah].​​  

​​ 10 ​​ ​​​​ Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell My brothers to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me [just as I promised].”

 11​​  ​​​​ While they were on their way, some of the [Roman] guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.​​ 

 12 ​​​​ And when the chief priests had gathered with the elders and had consulted together [to develop a plan of deception], they gave a sufficient sum of money [as a bribe] to the soldiers,​​  

 ​​​​ 13 ​​ ​​​​ and said, “You say this, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him while we were sleeping.’​​  

 ​​​​ 14 ​​ ​​​​ And if the governor (Pilate) hears about it, we will calm him down and keep you out of trouble.”​​  

 ​​​​ 15 ​​​​ So they took the money [they were paid for lying] and did as they were instructed; and this [fabricated] story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to the present day.

  ​​​​ 16​​  ​​​​ Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.​​ 

 ​​​​ 17​​ And when they saw Him, they worshiped​​ Him; but some doubted [that it was really He].

​​ 

MARK’S GOSPEL

Mark’s story is not mentioning the incident of the​​ tomb being guarded​​ and the boulder sealed, to stop eventual theft of the body – like we learn from Mat. 27:64-66. And​​ -​​ neither can we find​​ soldiers paralyzed by the angel​​ who came and opened the tomb.​​ Nor the​​ Pharisaic conspiracy​​ to lie of the disciples to have stolen Jesus’ body, Mat. 28:12-15.

 

Mark 16: 1-14,

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the​​ mother​​ of James, and Salome purchased [sweet-smelling] spices, so that they might go and anoint Him.​​ 

2 Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.​​ 

3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”​​ 

4 Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, though it was extremely large.​​ 

5 Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right, wearing a [long, stately] white robe; and they were amazed​​ and​​ bewildered.​​ 

6 And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen; He is not here. See, [here is] the place where they laid Him.​​ 

7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there, just as He told you.’”​​ 

8 They went out and fled from the tomb, for they were seized with trembling and astonishment; and they said nothing [about it] to anyone, because they were afraid.

Now Jesus, having risen [from death] early on the first day of the week, appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons.​​ 

10 She went and reported it to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping.

​​ 11 When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe it.

12 After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them as they were walking along the way to the country.​​ 

13 They returned [to Jerusalem] and told the others, but they did not believe them either.

14 Later, Jesus appeared to the eleven [disciples] themselves as they were reclining​​ at the table; and He called them to account for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen [from death].​​ 

LUKE’S GOSPEL

Luke has a​​ thorough​​ narrative in regard to the resurrection​​ and that which took place right after.​​ Not the least as we find the story of the two disciples walking over to Emmaus, a town 12​​ kilometers from Jerusalem, in the​​ direction of​​ Ayalon Valley.​​ (E. Robinson, made a theory of Emmaus​​ being​​ as far from Jerusalem as 29 kilometers….but such a distance would have taken at least 5 hours walk).​​ As they were on their way, suddenly Jesus came among them and accompanied them to the town and spoke of His death and resurrection. Such a walk would normally take around 2​​ hours including some rest underway.​​ Matthew mentions​​ the two – however he did not include details like Luke did.

Luke 24:1-45,

1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, [the women] went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had made ready.

2 And they found the stone rolled back from the tomb,

3 But when they went inside, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

4 And while they were perplexed and wondering what to do about this, behold, two men in dazzling raiment suddenly stood beside them.

5 And as [the women] were frightened and were bowing their faces to the ground, the men said to them, Why do you look for the living among [those who are] dead?

6 He is not here, but has risen! Remember how He told you while He was still in Galilee

7 That the Son of Man must be given over into the hands of sinful men (men whose way or nature is to act in opposition to God) and be crucified and on the third day rise [from death].

8 And they remembered His words.

9 And having returned from the tomb, they reported all these things [taken together] to the eleven apostles and to all the rest.

10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who reported these things to the apostles.

11 But these reports seemed to the men an idle tale (madness, feigned things, nonsense), and they did not believe the women.

12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; and stooping down and looking in, he saw the linen cloths alone by themselves, and he went away, wondering about and marveling at what had happened.

13 And behold, that very day two of [the disciples] were going to a village called Emmaus, [which is] about seven miles from Jerusalem.

14 And they were talking with each other about all these things that had occurred.

15 And while they were conversing and discussing together, Jesus Himself caught up with them and was already accompanying them.

16 But their eyes were held, so that they did not recognize Him.

17 And He said to them, What is this discussion that you are exchanging (throwing back and forth) between yourselves as you walk along? And they stood still, looking sad and downcast.

18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered Him, Do you alone dwell as a stranger in Jerusalem and not know the things that have occurred there in these days?

19 And He said to them, What [kind of] things? And they said to Him, About Jesus of Nazareth, Who was a Prophet mighty in work and word before God and all the people -

20 And how our chief priests and rulers gave Him up to be sentenced to death, and crucified Him.

21 But we were hoping that it was He Who would redeem and set Israel free. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things occurred.

22 And moreover, some women of our company astounded us and drove us out of our senses. They were at the tomb early [in the morning]

23 But did not find His body; and they returned saying that they had [even] seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive!

24 So some of those [who were] with us went to the tomb and they found it just as the women had said, but Him they did not see.

25 And [Jesus] said to them, O foolish ones [sluggish in mind, dull of perception] and slow of heart to believe (adhere to and trust in and rely on) everything that the prophets have spoken!

26 Was it not necessary and essentially fitting that the Christ (the Messiah) should suffer all these things before entering into His glory (His majesty and splendor)?

27 Then beginning with Moses and [throughout] all the Prophets, He went on explaining and interpreting to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning and referring to Himself.

28 Then they drew near the village to which they were going, and He acted as if He would go further.

29 But they urged and insisted, saying to Him, Remain with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is now far spent. So He went in to stay with them.

30 And it occurred that as He reclined at table with them, He took [a loaf of] bread and praised [God] and gave thanks and asked a blessing, and then broke it and was giving it to them

31 When their eyes were [instantly] opened and they [clearly] recognized Him, and He vanished (departed invisibly).

32 And they said to one another, Were not our hearts greatly moved and burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and as He opened and explained to us [the sense of] the Scriptures?

33 And rising up that very hour, they went back to Jerusalem, where they found the Eleven [apostles] gathered together and those who were with them,

34 Who said, The Lord really has risen and has appeared to Simon (Peter)!

35 Then they [themselves] related [in full] what had happened on the road, and how He was known and recognized by them in the breaking of bread.

36 Now while they were talking about this, Jesus Himself took His stand among them and said to them, Peace (freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin) be to you!

37 But they were so startled and terrified that they thought they saw a spirit.

38 And He said to them, Why are you disturbed and troubled, and why do such doubts and questionings arise in your hearts?

39 See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself! Feel and handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.

40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.

41 And while [since] they still could not believe it for sheer joy and marveled, He said to them, Have you anything here to eat?

42 They gave Him a piece of broiled fish,

43 And He took [it] and ate [it] before them.

44 Then He said to them, This is what I told you while I was still with you: everything which is written concerning Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.

45 Then He [thoroughly] opened up their minds to understand the Scriptures

JOHN’S GOSPEL

John’s​​ Gospel is​​ using​​ two whole chapters​​ describing the Lord’s resurrection and what happened in regard to this. He shot​​ close-up photos’ of the believers who experienced this sensational move of God, the Father of Christ.

This is the​​ resurrection narrative of which most people will take to tears, and keep on weeping. It touches your innermost being and you get emotional beyond understanding. What strikes us the most is the Lord’s​​ inhumane suffering and agony​​ He went through​​ for our salvation. He hung on the cross for six full hours,​​ like​​ we learn in​​ Mark 15:25 – from 09.oo till 15.oo.

One may​​ cry and weep over this – and yet, behold! Jesus has​​ risen from the dead,​​ and we will cry over this, and weep, but​​ now for joy!​​ These emotional peaks are very present when reading John’s narrative.​​ 

 

John​​ 20 and 21 Chapters,

1. Now on​​ the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been removed from (lifted out of the groove across the entrance of) the tomb.

2. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus [tenderly] loved, and said to them, They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him!

3. Upon this, Peter and the other disciple came out and they went toward the tomb.

4. And they came running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and arrived at the tomb first.

5. And stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not enter.

6. Then Simon Peter came up, following him, and went into the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there;

7. But the burial napkin (kerchief) which had been around Jesus' head, was not lying with the other linen cloths, but was [still] rolled up (wrapped round and round) in a place by itself.

8. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, went in too; and he saw and was convinced and believed.

9. For as yet they did not know (understand) the statement of Scripture that He must rise again from the dead. [Ps. 16:10.]

10. Then the disciples went back again to their homes (lodging places).

11. But Mary remained standing outside the tomb sobbing. As she wept, she stooped down [and looked] into the tomb.

12. And she saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

13. And they said to her, Woman, why are you sobbing? She told them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.

14. On saying this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing [there], but she did not know (recognize) that it was Jesus.

15. Jesus said to her, Woman, why are you crying [so]? For Whom are you looking? Supposing that it was the gardener, she replied, Sir, if you carried Him away from here, tell me where you have put Him and I will take Him away.

16. Jesus said to her, Mary! Turning around she said to Him in Hebrew, Rabboni!–which means Teacher or Master.

17. Jesus said to her, Do not cling to Me [do not hold Me], for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brethren and tell them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.

18. Away came Mary Magdalene, bringing the disciples news (word) that she had seen the Lord and that He had said these things to her.

19. Then on that same first day of the week, when it was evening, though the disciples were behind closed doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace to you!

20. So saying, He showed them His hands and His side. And when the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy (delight, exultation, ecstasy, rapture).

21. Then Jesus said to them again, Peace to you! [Just] as the Father has sent Me forth, so I am sending you.

22. And having said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit!

23. [Now having received the Holy Spirit, and being led and directed by Him] if you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained.

24. But Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.

25. So the other disciples kept telling him, We have seen the Lord! But he said to them, Unless I see in His hands the marks made by the nails and put my finger into the nail prints, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe [it].

26. Eight days later His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, though they were behind closed doors, and stood among them and said, Peace to you!

27. Then He said to Thomas, Reach out your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand and place [it] in My side. Do not be faithless and incredulous, but [stop your unbelief and] believe!

28. Thomas answered Him, My Lord and my God!

29. Jesus said to him, Because you have seen Me, Thomas, do you now believe (trust, have faith)? Blessed and happy and to be envied are those who have never seen Me and yet have believed and adhered to and trusted and relied on Me.

30. There are also many other signs and miracles which Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples which are not written in this book.

31. But these are written (recorded) in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (the Anointed One), the Son of God, and that through believing and​​ cleaving to and trusting and relying upon Him you may have life through (in) His name [through Who He is]. [Ps. 2:7, 12.]

John 21​​ 

1. AFTER THIS, Jesus let Himself be seen and revealed [Himself] again to the disciples, at the Sea of Tiberias. And He did it in this way:

2. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas, called the Twin, and Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, also the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples.

3. Simon Peter said to them, I am going fishing! They said to him, And we are coming with you! So they went out and got into the boat, and throughout that night they caught nothing.

4. Morning was already breaking when Jesus came to the beach and stood there. However, the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

5. So Jesus said to them, Boys (children), you do not have any meat (fish), do you? [Have you caught anything to eat along with your bread?] They answered Him, No!

6. And He said to them, Cast the net on the right side of the boat and you will find [some]. So they cast the net, and now they were not able to haul it in for such a big catch (mass, quantity) of fish [was in it].

7. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord! Simon Peter, hearing him say that it was the Lord, put (girded) on his upper garment (his fisherman's coat, his outer tunic)–for he was stripped [for work]–and sprang into the sea.

8. And the other disciples came in the small boat, for they were not far from shore, only some hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.

9. When they got out on land (the beach), they saw a fire of coals there and fish lying on it [cooking], and bread.

10. Jesus said to them, Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.

11. So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, 153 of them; and [though] there were so many of them, the net was not torn.

12. Jesus said to them, Come [and] have breakfast. But none of the disciples ventured or dared to ask Him, Who are You? because they [well] knew that it was the Lord.

13. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so also [with] the fish.

14. This was now the third time that Jesus revealed Himself (appeared, was manifest) to the disciples after He had risen from the dead.

15. When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do–with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Feed My lambs.

16. Again He said to him the second time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father]? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. He said to him, Shepherd (tend) My sheep.

17. He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]? Peter was grieved (was saddened and hurt) that He should ask him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep.

18.​​ I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, when you were young you girded yourself [put on your own belt or girdle] and you walked about wherever you pleased to go. But when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will put a girdle around you and carry you where you do not wish to go.

19.​​ He said this to indicate by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. And after this, He said to him, Follow Me!

20.​​ But Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved, following–the one who also had leaned back on His breast at the supper and had said, Lord, who is it that is going to betray You?

21.​​ When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, Lord, what about this man?

22.​​ Jesus said to him, If I want him to stay (survive, live) until I come, what is that to you? [What concern is it of yours?] You follow Me!

23.​​ So word went out among the brethren that this disciple was not going to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not going to die, but, If I want him to stay (survive, live) till I come, what is that to you?

24.​​ It is this same disciple who is bearing witness to these things and who has recorded (written) them; and we [well] know that his testimony is true.

25.​​ And there are also many other things which Jesus did. If they should be all recorded one by one [in detail], I suppose that even the world itself could not contain (have room for) the books that would be written.

 

PETER ON THE LORD’S RESURRECTION

 

Acts 1:22,

“From the baptism of John at the outset until the day when He was taken up from among us – one of these men must join with us and​​ become a witness to testify to His resurrection.”

Acts 2:24, 30, 31,

“God​​ raised Him up, liberating Him from the pangs of death,​​ seeing that it was not possible for Him to continue to be controlled or retained by it.

30: (David) being however a prophet, and knowing that God had sealed to him with an oath that He would set one of his descendants on his throne. 31:​​ He, foreseeing this, spoke (by foreknowledge)​​ of the resurrection of the Christ (the Messiah)​​ that He was not deserted (in death) and left in Hades (the state of departed spirits), nor did His body know decay or see destruction.”

Acts 3:15,

“But you killed the very Source (the Author of life), Whom God​​ raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.”

Acts 4:10,

“Let it be known and understood by all of you (addressing Sanhedrin), and by the whole house of Israel, that in the name and through the power and authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified,​​ (but) Whom God raised from the dead,​​ in Him and by means of Him​​ this man is standing​​ here before you well and sound in body.”

Acts 4:33,

“And with great strength and ability and power the apostles delivered their testimony​​ to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,​​ and great grace​​ (loving-kindness and favor and goodwill) rested richly​​ upon them all.”

PAUL ON THE LORD’S RESURRECTION

 

It is convenient to first quote Paul’s well known declaration concerning the resurrection, from 1 Cor. 15:3-6,

“For I passed on to you first of all what I also had received, that Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for our sins in accordance with (what) the Scriptures (foretold), 4:​​ that He was buried, that he arose on the third day as the Scriptures foretold.​​ 5: And (also) that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve. 6: Then later He showed Himself to​​ more than five hundred brethren at one time,​​ the majority of whom are still alive, but some have fallen in sleep (in death).”

1 Cor. 15:17, 20, 21​​ – Paul tells of which consequences for us if Christ had not been resurrected, as well as our blessed salvation, since Christ actually was raised from the dead,

“And if Christ had not been raised, your faith is mere delusion (futile, fruitless), and you are still in your sins (under the control and penalty of sin); - 20: But the​​ fact is that Christ (the Messiah) has been raised from the dead, and He became the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (in death).​​ 21: For since (it was) through a man that death (came in to the world, it is) also through a Man​​ that the resurrection of the dead​​ (has come).”

Paul, as he was given the revelation of the Mystery hid in God (a new dispensation, that of the Grace of God for all the world – see ch. 3:1-9), clearly​​ hold on to the atonement made by Jesus on the cross. And he connects us directly with Him in His death and resurrection, as we read Eph. 2:14, 15,

“For He is (Himself) our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both (Jew and Gentile) one (body), and has broken down​​ (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us. 15: By abolishing in His​​ (own crucified)​​ flesh the enmity (caused by) the Law (of Moses) with its decrees and ordinances (which He annulled); that He from the two might create in Himself one new man (one new quality of humanity out of the two), so making peace.”

Col. 2:11, 12​​ points specifically to the spiritual facts that we, the believers in Christ according to Paul’s Grace Gospel, we​​ died with Christ (baptized to His death) and so we are also raised with Christ,

“For in Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision​​ not made with hands (but made by God), in a (spiritual) circumcision (performed by) Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts). 12: (Thus you were circumcised when) you were​​ buried with Him (in your) baptism, in which you were also raised with Him (to a new life)​​ through (your) faith in the working of God​​ (as displayed)​​ when He raised Him up from the dead.”

Paul tells that as a person comes to faith in Christ, he is immediately ‘baptized’ into the​​ death of Christ​​ (as if circumcised by God, not by man) –​​ and buried with Christ thus.​​ And so we therefore are raised up from the dead by Him.​​ It is the very same reference given in Eph. 4, 5:​​ “…one baptism.”

There are many other things to mention of the​​ resurrection of Christ, both the physical one after He had been three days in the tomb, and also Paul’s spiritual imagery of us as​​ resurrected with Christ. In other words: Saved by faith in Christ.

 

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PAUL’S JOURNEY TO ROME
Was Entirely Piloted by the Lord

PAUL’S JOURNEY​​ TO ROME

WAS ENTIRELY PILOTED

BY THE LORD!

JAN LILLEBY

 

If we just thoughtlessly browse through the story of Paul being taken to Rome in chains – starting in Jerusalem around 57-58 A.D. – we may not catch on to the whole point and the actions taken by the Lord, by having Paul sent there. In short: The entire journey as it were, was piloted, arranged and properly overseen by the Lord, in person!

Nothing happened which was not in the plans of Christ for Paul.

We shall have a closer look at these details, and it is of the utmost importance to us who believes on Jesus Christ, that we can get the Bible truths told us as it once happened. God wants us to have the right ‘picture’ of all of this.

It​​ has come clear to me that the purpose of sending Paul to Rome (the real purpose) – was not just to have him stand before Emperor Nero. No, the real agenda was Christ’s merciful and tender care for​​ His covenant people, Israel.

That is why Jesus​​ did not​​ tell Paul to finally visit the Messianic assembly there, to whom he had written the epistle to the Romans (57 AD as he was in Ephesus). ​​ Isn’t this a peculiar situation, sending Paul that long distance over the stormy Mediterranean Ocean to Rome, just to meet with the Sanhedrin there, the eleven priest and leaders of the synagogues?

Paul was sent​​ as an agent, a religious Diplomat if you will,​​ to have the whole nation’s future staked out, in that the Lord would have Israel’s leaderships response to the Kingdom-Gospel to be settled, either with a “Yes” or a “No” regarding their standing before God. “Will you believe on Jesus Christ – or will you not?” ​​​​ If yes, Christ would have come down from heaven to establish the millennial Kingdom in Jerusalem; if they answered no!​​ then the Lord would​​ have​​ cut all contact with Israel, leaving them over to destruction.​​ Paul’s task at Rome was to bring to Israel the very Ultimatum of choices.

It brings my thoughts right on to Moses in Deut. 28 as he made clear to them that they had to choose between the ‘Blessing’ and​​ the ‘Curse’.

And so, Paul was sent with a similar message to Israel,​​ choose between Jesus Christ​​ -​​ ​​ and the destruction from the angry Roman Army.

IT ALL STARTED AT JERUSALEM IN 58 AD

 

Most Bible students have learnt of Paul and his confrontation with the angry mob in the temple site. This turmoil and hardships did not take Paul by surprise.

Paul and his travel companions were staying a few days with Philip, the evangelist, at Caesarea – on his way to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Weeks, Pentecost. Then something happened – God sent him a prophet!

In Acts 21:10-14 we learn of Agabus, the prophet, warning Paul of what to come:

“..a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11: And coming to see us, he took Paul’s belt​​ and with it bound his own feet and hands and said, Thus says the Holy Spirit: The Jews at Jerusalem shall bind like this the man who owns this belt, and they shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles (heathen). 12: When we heard this both we and the residents of that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13: Then Paul replied, What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart like this? For I hold myself in readiness not only to be arrested and bound and imprisoned at Jerusalem, but also (even) to die for the name of the Lord Jesus. 14: And when he would not yield to our persuading, we stopped urging and imploring him, saying,​​ The Lord’s will be done!”

Paul just knew in his innermost mind that he should go up there, no matter what this may cost him! ​​ He trusted entirely in the hand of the Lord upon him (for protection and guidance) – for he had experienced again and again in later years how Christ saved him through the utmost trials and hardships and sufferings he met.​​ (See the article of​​ Dr.​​ Donny M. Barnes here in my web ​​​​ “The Sufferings of Paul”)

It looks​​ to me as if Acts 21:14 as a matter of fact says that this really was God’s will for him…The Lord’s will be done.​​ ​​ Actually as it was already calculated in God’s plan for the entire journey to Rome. It had to come through a confrontation​​ first​​ at Jerusalem with Sanhedrin there.​​ Jesus was about to overthrow Israel into the judgement prophesied against them (see Matt. 22:7 and also Luke 13, of the barren fig tree). The priesthood/Pharisees at Jerusalem had persecuted the assembly there for decades, and it was going​​ downhill​​ for Israel, for sure.

But Jesus Christ and God His Father decided to let Israel have one more chance, just this one only: The​​ Sanhedrin at Rome​​ would have to make the choice on​​ behalf of the entire nation, whether to accept Jesus as their rightful Messiah King!

Acts 21:17-26 learn of how Paul at his arrival was persuaded by Jacob and the Elders to take upon him the traditional​​ Nazarite​​ Vow, of shaving his head and having four witnesses – and for seven days come before the Lord in the temple. See​​ ​​ Num.​​ chapter 6ff. ​​ This to try to calm the Jews so they would see that Paul was upholding/obeying the Law of Moses, contrary to the lying rumors.

But to no avail.​​ The ‘Tiger’ had already been teased and made angry!​​ And suddenly an angry mob of Asian Jews stood forth​​ accusing Paul of having brought​​ with him an​​ unclean​​ Gentile, a hound,​​ into the temple site! A​​ blaspheming sin in Jewry,​​ and​​ against​​ their temple traditions.​​ They violently took hold of Paul and started to beat him up. ​​​​ IMAGE:​​ Paul rescued by Captain Claudius Lysias, the Roman officer at the Antonia Fortress. The officer in a Blue coat.​​ The artist who painted this artwork, missed out of a little detail: Paul has hair on his head, but in the real life-story, Paul had​​ raked off his hair​​ for that Nazarene Rite.

Acts 21:28-30 tells us:

“Shouting, Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everybody everywhere against the people and the Law and this (temple) place! Moreover, he has also brought Greeks into the temple; he has desecrated and polluted this holy place! 29: For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and they supposed that he had brought the man into the temple (into the inner court forbidden to Gentiles). 30:​​ Then the whole city was aroused and thrown into confusion,​​ and the people rushed together, they laid hands on Paul and dragged him outside the temple, and immediately the gates were closed.”

Now, before we go through the case at hand, let me take a little side-step – for there are two peculiar ‘incidents’ which I would like to bring to your attention.

For the first:​​ This was at Pentecost in 58 AD and Paul was in town. It was a lot of visiting Jews there, just as in Pentecost in Acts 2 when the Holy Ghost and signs and tongues created a lot of turmoil and disturbance in the feast. At that time, we recall that Peter several times used a particular expression, which we easily recognize:​​ “Men of Israel!”

Doesn’t this ring a bell?

To me it does, for in many of my articles I have explained that at Pentecost in Acts 2 there were​​ no regular Gentiles present in the temple site​​ – they were forbidden.​​ Only Jews were present there, and they had come from most​​ of the Roman Provinces in the Empire. We count 13-14 different languages in Acts 2:5 proving that. And in spite of such hard evidence, we find that the Pentecostal Movement says against this, and hold that Gentiles were present, and that this day was the birthday of the Church. ​​ They couldn’t be​​ in​​ more error!​​ 

For what is Eph. 2:14, 15 tell us of the Church? ​​ It says clearly that the ‘Wall of Partition’ between Jew and Gentiles was torn down, and so making the two into ‘One new Man’ – the body of Christ, and so making peace. The Law of Moses was thus abolished for that purpose. Gentiles and Jews have by faith in Christ been made equal in standing, and there was no longer “Jews first, then Greek” (Rom. 1, 16). It is quite impossible that the Church was born at Pentecost in Acts 2 (28 AD).​​ There were no Gentiles there, and this is a proven fact!

Then Peter addressed the huge congregation saying​​ “Men of Israel”​​ – simply because that was the​​ ethnicity of the entire multitude.​​ Gentiles were forbidden.

And here, back in 58 AD, thirty years later at Jerusalem, this had NOT CHANGED. It was the very same order regarding who could enter the temple site. Jews only!

It took but​​ one single Gentile​​ – by rumors rather than as facts – to upset an angry Jewish mob, causing the whole city to enter total rage and turmoil with violence so the Roman forces in the Antonia Fortress stormed the place.

Try to imagine what would have happened at Pentecost in Acts 2, 28 AD, if we should believe what the Pentecostals are saying, of Gentiles present in the​​ audience when the Holy Spirit fell on the believers. Not just​​ one Gentile, as with Paul together with Trophimus, a Greek, but hundreds of Gentiles. It would have turned​​ the whole city into a fierce battleground and everything would go sideways with death casualties and what not. Mass arresting,​​ and troops all over the place.

Shouldn’t it be time for the Pentecostal camp to reconsider their theories of Pentecost as the birthday of the Church? ​​ Is it so hard to admit that they made a real blunder back in Azusa Street 1906-1913 when this heresy was introduced?

Our loyalty​​ must​​ be with the Bible, the Word of God, and not with denominations and manmade theologies!

That is why we​​ read​​ that the mob trying to kill Paul in 58 AD in the temple site, shouted – not on just anybody – but they​​ addressed​​ those who were present there:​​ Men of Israel, help!

The second issue:​​ There had been formed a Messianic assembly at Rome, as a result from the Pentecost in Acts 2​​ in 28 AD. Visitors from Rome are​​ listed in Acts 2:5. To whom Paul later wrote his Roman epistle.​​ ​​ Historians hold that Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans when he stayed at Ephesus, 56-57 AD. There might be some slight dispute yet, but I agree to this.

So, if it had been Paul’s private choice to go to Rome, wouldn’t you think that he would go to visit those Romans to whom he wrote his epistle?​​ I do.

But, no, this was not the reason God sent him to Rome. It was rather​​ ultra-important and urgent to have​​ Paul sent to the Sanhedrin at Rome,​​ to present to them God’s ultimatum to​​ choose​​ Christ or to​​ reject​​ Christ. They would have to make one important choice on behalf of the whole nation and its future.

Paul was taken into constant custody with guards and in chains, to protect him against persecutors, to secure​​ his meeting with the Sanhedrin, in God’s plan for this enterprise.

I have always wondered why we cannot find any specific word or clue in the Bible of Paul visiting the Messianic assembly at Rome. But seeing that God’s plan was for Paul to meet up with Sanhedrin in the cause of Israel’s future, I think this is the correct answer. I have stopped wondering now.​​ 

A theory will be that he may have found an opportunity to visit them after his first imprisonment, before his second one. It could have happened, but there are no written documents to prove it. Let us read what Paul told the Romans, in Rom. 1:9-13 – which will give us some perspective over this:

“For God is my witness. Whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel​​ and in the good news of His Son, how incessantly I always mention you when at my prayers. 10: I keep pleading that​​ somehow by God’s will I may now at last prosper and come to you.​​ 11: For I am yearning to see you, that I may impart and share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen and establish you. 12: That is, that we may be mutually strengthened and encouraged and comforted by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13: I want you to know, brethren, that​​ many times I have planned and intended to come to you,​​ though thus far I have been hindered and prevented, in order that I might have some fruit among you, as I have among the rest of the Gentiles.”

Then we can proceed in what happened to Paul furthermore​​ at the temple site in 58 AD.​​ ​​ They were about to kill him!

Acts 21:31-34 informs us:

“Now while they were trying to kill him, word came to the commandant of the regular Roman garrison that the whole of Jerusalem was in a state of ferment.​​ 32: So immediately he took soldiers and centurions and hurried down among them; and when the people saw the commandant and the troops, they stopped beating Paul. 33: Then the commandant​​ approached and arrested Paul and ordered that he be secured with two chains. He then inquired who he was and what he had done. 34: Some in the crowd kept shouting back one thing and others something else, and since he could not ascertain the facts because of the furor, he ordered that Paul​​ be removed to the barracks.”

To make this narrative a bit shorter, Paul was allowed by Captain Claudius Lysias to address the accusing mob in his defense, as the guards kept him secure.

When Paul, in his speech, told what Jesus had said to him in a vision when he was in prayer in the temple, which happened in Acts 9 (36-37 AD) – the Jewish mob stopped listening to him, and became furious and wild tearing up their garments and casting dust up in the air with rage. What was it that Paul said, and which set the raging mob at fire?

Paul mentioned an ethnic group, which was not allowed to enter the temple site, nor having any close fellowship with Jews: The Gentiles! This was in the Pentecostal Holidays in 58 AD. Thirty years after the Acts 2-Pentecost. Paul had just innocently said:

Acts 22: 21: ​​ “And the Lord said to me, Go, for I will send you far away unto the​​ Gentiles!”

The wild mob responded, Acts 22: 22, 23 – no, they exploded in fury:

“..now they raised their voices and shouted, Away with such a fellow from the earth! He is not fit to live! 23:And they were shouting and tossing and waving their garments and throwing dust into the air.”

God saw to it that Paul hereafter was constantly guarded and protected by the Roman guards anywhere he arrived.

In the middle of the night he was transferred to Caesarea via a short stop at​​ Antiparis​​ for rest, about 43 kilometers from Jerusalem towards the coast.​​ Rome afforded that dramatic night,​​ a force of​​ 470 armed soldiers​​ in this heavy posse to​​ ensure that Paul would be out of harm’s way. The force had 200 foot soldiers, 70 horsemen and 200​​ spearmen. Can you imagine this escort on its way? They had big torches which lit up the road for them. ​​ The next day Paul was delivered over to Governor Felix at Caesarea (Acts 23:19-33).

The vast bureaucracy apparatus of Rome started to turn its wheels…it would take some years to have Paul cleared.

In Acts 23:11 he receives a vision at​​ night,​​ -​​ and the Lord entered his room:

“And that following night (after he had stood before Sanhedrin of Jerusalem) the Lord stood beside Paul and said, Take courage, Paul, for as you have borne faithful witness concerning Me at Jerusalem,​​ so you must also bear witness at Rome.”

Here we will have to stop for a deeper reflection: What had happened the day before? ​​ The day before, Paul had stood court before Sanhedrin at the temple site, before High Priest Ananias II and his counsel. Acts 23 has all about this. Captain Claudius Lysias had allowed him to do so (Acts 22:30) – that is, he actually took initiative to this hearing, for he wanted to learn the real reason for all this calamity and fury with Jewry.

Here we are told straight forward that Jesus had planned to send Paul, NOT to the Messianic assembly at Rome, but to the Sanhedrin – Israel’s religious leaders at Rome.

Just like Paul now had witnessed before the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem, likewise should he now be sent to Rome to bear witness to the Sanhedrin there!

Thus we can conclude in truth: That trip to Rome was for the sake of Israel’s future as a nation. If they would repent to Jesus, God would have spared Israel and sent Jesus down from heaven. But if they refused, then the destruction would fall upon them. Paul was to bring them the final ultimate call, and the point of no return.

That is also why Paul told the Sanhedrin at Rome, Acts 28:20:

“…it is because of the Hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.”

But first Paul had gone through the bureaucracy of Rome, first the corrupted Governor Felix, the following Governor Festus, and finally King Agrippa II, as we learn from Acts 24-26. And as he told Festus, Paul appealed his case to Caesar (Nero) ​​​​ Acts 25:11, 12.

To Rome he should go, said Festus.

Here I just want to take one more side-step: Regarding the discussion of the twelve Tribes of Israel.

Paul, in an indirect manner,​​ confirmed their existence in his own time, as we read Acts 26:7: ​​ (It was 58 AD) -

“Which hope (of the Messiah and the resurrection)​​ our twelve tribes confidently expect to realize​​ ​​ ​​ as they fervently worship (without ceasing) night and day. And for that hope, O king, I am accused by Jews and considered a criminal!”

James 1:1 falls in with Paul’s saying likewise:

“James, a servant of God and of the the Lord Jesus Christ,​​ to the twelve tribes scattered abroad​​ (among the Gentiles in the dispersion), Greetings.”

Peters epistle no. 1:1 mention the very same addressees, by the Provinces in which they lived – Jews in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia.

So it is evident in the New Testament around 58 AD that all the tribes of Israel existed. They never disappeared, the ten tribes of Northern Israel. I just like to throw this piece of information in here.​​ 

Back to the case of Paul going to Rome.

In Acts 27 we are told of that stormy and dangerous sea voyage on board of a Roman cargo vessel.

Yours truly has himself sailed the Mediterranean more than once. Luckily, it was when the weather was sunny and bright, and no rough seas. I remember so clearly, when I was 18 in 1964 I liked to stand in the fore near the bough, to watch the playful Dolphins speeding just ahead of the ship, which held 12 knots. Up to three, four Dolphins at a time…they could keep on this play for twenty minutes before they disappeared. I visited Cyprus and the town of Famagusta, and Libya and the town of Tripoli, before Gadhafi took over the rule. The ship came in from the Red Sea through the Suez Canal and into the Med.

Paul had no such bright and sunny experience – on the contrary –​​ not long after they went to sea;​​ and they met winds blowing against them from north-west which was not so favorable to say the least. They sailed past Cyprus on the south-side for that reason. As they reached Myra in Lycia, the Roman leader transferred them over to another ship which was sailing to Italy, and from Alexandria (Egypt). Myra was a town near the modern resort of Antalya in our time, southern Turkey.​​ IMAGE: A Roman cargo ship – not much different than the one Paul was onboard…but Paul’s had longer hull.

But when they came from the western coast of Crete they were taken with harsh north-eastern winds – and​​ it was already early October 59​​ AD. Eventually they lost control of the vessel. They had been floating around in the Adriatic for 14 days at the mercy of wind and tall waves, when they finally stranded at Malta.

Onboard the ship, as it drifted in the storm, an angel of God comes to Paul and tells him that they all will​​ be rescued, and be stranding on​​ an island, Acts 27:23-26:

For this very night there stood by my side an angel of the God to Whom I belong and Whom I serve and worship. 24: And he said, Do not be frightened, Paul! It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar (Paul’s appeal case); and behold, God has given you all those who are sailing with you. 25: So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as it was told me. 26: But we shall have to be stranded on some island.”