Salvation – Is It by Grace Only?

By Eusebio A. Tanicala, PhD

INTRODUCTION

This study is very important because it could spell out one’s eternal destiny: go to heaven or go to hell.  “Saved by grace only” disregards humble obedience to many instructions and the exercise of human free will.

DEFINITION

Grace (Xaris) – “. . but the N.T. writers use Xaris pre-eminently of that kindness by which God bestows favors even upon the ill-deserving, and grants to sinners the pardon of their offences, and bids them accept of eternal salvation through Christ x x x is used of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues” (Thayer’s Lexicon, p.666)

TWO INTERPRETATIONS

Two Interpretations of “Saved by Grace” found in Ephesians 1:1-12 and 2:1-10.

First View: The very strict Calvinistic view is that man is totally depraved, without any ability to desire to do good or total inability to decide to be spiritual and love God. Before creation, God had already decreed that He will create human kind, some to be elected and some to be reprobated (damned), with His permission to allow mankind’s fall when tempted by Satan at the Garden of Eden. When a person is saved, it is ALL God’s action, ALL God’s work. NO human participation; absolutely nothing! So the term “only” takes the meaning of exclusive and absolute.

Second View: Because God made the first step, because God is love, God is merciful, and God is sovereign over all of creation, His will to provide propitiation through Christ who is God who became human to help mankind, God’s work in SALVATION could be assigned 99% while 1% is assigned to human participation which consist of knowing God, loving God, obeying God, all summed up or condensed in the phrase, “in Jesus Christ” because a person obeys the New Testament of Jesus Christ. Our concern now is to explore and identify what are the requirements found in the phrase “in Jesus Christ” because our Lord Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15, 23-24; & John 15;14). Luke 6:46 records Christ say this: “Why call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do the things I say?” The phrase “Saved by Grace” is used emphatically, meaning: the greater part is emphasized but it does not exclude the very small participation of the human free will in obeying other instructions.

A. THREE TENSES OF SALVATION

  1. Past: Sins are forgiven when we undergo the steps to salvation: Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, be baptized.
  2. Present: When a disciple sins, he needs to repent, pray for forgiveness, blood washes sins (1Jn 1:9; Acts 8:22).
  3. Future: Possibility of apostasy; Christ confirms final salvation at end of time. See Titus 11-14; 1 Peter 1:9.

B. GOD HAS NO PLEASURE IN THE DEATH OF THE SINNER

  • Ezekiel 18:23, “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?”
  • Ezek. 18:32, “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the LORD God. “Therefore turn and live!”
  • Ezek. 33:11, “Say to them: ‘As I live, ’says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?”

C. FREE WILL & CONSEQUENCES OF ANGELS’ DECISIONS

God is love, God is merciful, God is gracious. Yet the rebellious angels were judged immediately.

Please see Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:12-19; John 8:44; Luke 10:18; 2 Peter 2:4-6; Jude 6.

D. FREE WILL & CONSEQUENCES OF HUMAN DECISIONS

  1.  Adam & Eve were given free will – Genesis 2:16-17, “And the Lord commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
  2. Cain & Abel – Cain did not do what was instructed him while Abel did what he was commanded to do.
  3. Noah – He did what was commanded and he was saved from the deluge.
  4. Abram / Abraham – He believed God’s promises and directives eventually settled in Canaan.
  5. Lot – He chose to dwell in the flat land near the tribes that were worldly in Sodom and Gomorrah.
  6. Ruth – Being a Moabitess, did she exercise her free will and chose to stick to her mother-in-law?
  7. Covenant with Israel – Exodus 19:5-8, “. . Then all the people answered together and said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do.’ So Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD.”
  8. 500,000 Israelites 20 years old and above who went out of Egypt:
    •  All those who died in the wilderness, including Moses, exercised free will, did they?
    • Joshua – (1:7) “Only be strong and very courageous that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commands you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.” (24:15), “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

E. GOD HELPS HUMAN KIND NOT ANGELS

Hebrews 2:16: “For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.”

F. DETERMINE W/C PERIOD OR TENSE

Determine which salvation period/tense you refer about because there are three stages of salvation.

  1. Salvation from past sins.
  2. Salvation from sins after a disciple starts his Christian life.
  3. Salvation in the future, the final confirmation – 1 Peter 1:9.

*Take the following in a spectrum or picture. Don’t isolate one from the others. Brief Quotations from the New King James Version.

  1. Saved by God – Titus 1:3, 4; Titus 2:10 “God our Savior” “God our Savior”
  2. Saved by Jesus Christ – Matt. 1:21; John 3:17; 1 Tim. 1:15; Heb. 7:25. Do you eliminate Love because of grace? No.  “call His name Jesus, . . He will save His people from their sins.” “. . the world thro Him might be saved.”
  3. Saved by mercy through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit – Titus 3:5*(4) Saved by grace – Ephesians 2:5; 2 Tim. 1:9; Acts 15:11; Titus 3:4-5, etc. Do you eliminate God?
  4. Justified by the blood of Christ – Romans 5:9, 10. “justified by His blood, we shall be saved. . .”
  5. Saved by the gospel if we hold fast to it – 1 Cor. 15:2. Do you disregard the gospel because of grace? No.
  6. Saved by faith – Eph. 2:8; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:12; 18:42; John 3:16, 18; Heb. 10:39
  7. Saved by the life of Christ – Romans 5:10. “. . we shall be saved by His life.”
  8. Saved by hope – Romans 8:24 (KJV). Does grace disregard hope? No.
  9. Saved by calling on the Lord – Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; 9:14.
  10. Saved by the implanted word – James 1:21; Acts 1114. Shall we disregard the Word because of grace? No.
  11. Saved by the teachings of Christ and the apostles – 1 Tim. 4:16. Does grace disregard apostles’ teachings? No.
  12. Saved through hearing the words of Christ and believing in the Father – John 5:24
  13. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved – Mark 16:16. Does grace disregard baptism? No.
  14. Repent and be baptized and receive remission of sins – Psalm 32:5; Acts 2:38. Does grace disregard baptism? No.
  15. Be born again and see the kingdom of heaven – John 3:3. Does grace disregard the New Birth? No.
  16. Be born of water and the Spirit to see the kingdom of God – John 3:5
  17. Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins – Acts 22:16; Gal. 3:27
  18. Confess with mouth Jesus Christ and believe God raised Jesus there is salvation – Roma 10:9, 10
  19. Abiding in the teachings and living righteously and godly until the appearing of Christ – John 6:27;  John 8:31; 12:48-50; Romans 8:1; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 5:2; 2 John 8, 9; 1 John 2:15; Titus 2:11-14;  James 1:27; Rev. 2:10. Does grace righteous and godly living? No.
  20. Saved by preaching the gospel – 1 Cor. 1:21, “. . foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” Does grace disregard gospel preaching? No.
  21. Saved by repentance – 1 Cor. 7:10; Luke 13:3. Do we disregard repentance? No.
  22. Saved by baptism – 1 Peter 3:21, “There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Does grace eliminate baptism in water? No.
  23. The Holy Spirit – John 16:8; Titus 3:5-6. Does grace disregard the work of the Holy Spirit? No.
  24. Salvation in His name – Acts 4:12. Does graces disregard the name of Christ? No.
  25. Love – Galatians 5:6. Do we eliminate Love and mention only grace? No.

NOTE: Good hermeneutics tells us that one item does not exclude any other item mentioned in the Bible that is related to salvation. Some items could be emphasized above others in some contexts, but not to the exclusion of any other items. We should take all these items together. Just like what we do in the Chart – Steps to Salvation (Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, Be Baptized, Live a Holy & Obedient Life). Not all the steps are found in one verse.

G. THE FIRST ADAM & THE SECOND ADAM

  1.  When the First Adam committed sin, was his sin automatically imputed on every human individual with culpability or punishment without any individual human participation? __ Yes; __ No.
  2. When the Second Adam gave himself as offering and atonement for sin on the cross, was His righteousness automatically imputed on every human individual (past and future generations) with justification, sanctification and glorification without any human personal participation? __ Yes; __ No.

H. POSSIBILITY OF APOSTASY

  1.  ucifer – He was perfect until sin was found in him, (See Ezek. 28:14,15; Isa. 14:12; Lk. 10:18)
  2. Angels who became demons – Did they fall from innocence into wickedness? Yes.
  3. Adam and Eve – Were they not innocent until they disobeyed the prohibition? Yes. They did.
  4. Enoch “walked with God” and begot and begot sons and daughters (Gen. 5:19-24).
  5. God made a covenant w/ the nation of Israel (Exo. 19:5-6), “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”  Yahweh gave Moses and 70 Elders the Holy Spirit (Num.11:16-30), and yet out of the more than 1 Million adults, 20 years old and above who left Egypt, only 2 people, Caleb and Joshua entered the land of Canaan because of unbelief and died in the wilderness (See Heb. 2:7-19).
  6. King Saul, chosen by the Lord to rule Israel, did he not become disobedient and fall away?
  7. King David, did he not commit sin, but he was repentant and so forgiven?
  8. King Solomon, was he not called “beloved” but he became idolatrous and fell away? 1 Kgs 11:1-11.
  9. The people of Israel (Read Isaiah chap. 1), did not this nation sin and fall away so it was taken into captivity? Only a small remnant left? Yes, it did. Read also Ezek. 20:33-44).
  10. Was not Israel as a chosen nation, as a branch, cut off according to Romans 11:1-24? Notice the terms: “cast away”-15, “broken off”-v.17, 19, 20, “fell”-22; it means it used to be a branch attached to the trunk. The verbs in the past tense tell us that falling away was real and actual.
  11. John 14:1-11, Unfruitful branches could be cut off.
  12. Matt. 10:22; Mk. 13:13; Rev. 2:10, He who endures to the end shall be saved.
  13. 1 John 4:20, a disciple who is a liar and doesn’t repent will not be in heaven; Rev. 21:8.
  14. Col. 4:14; 2 Tim 4:10 – Demas with Paul then forsook Paul and went to the world.
  15. Galatians 5:4 & Romans 9:30-33, “you have fallen from grace.”
  16. 1 Tim. 1:19-20; 2Tim. 2:17 – Hymaeneus strayed from the truth, overthrow the faith.
  17. 2Peter 2:22, “A dog returns to his own vomit,”and a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
  18. Hebrews 6:4-8, “it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, have tasted heavenly gift, have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, if they fall away to renew them again to repentance”
  19. Heb. 10:26, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment…”
  20. Hebrews 12:25-26, “”See that you do not refuse Him who speaks…” Choice or free will is involved.
  21. 2Peter 2:22, “A dog returns to his own vomit, and, a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” Dogs and pigs do these acts of returning to the dirt, so people also do.
  22. John 8-9, “Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God…” This section teaches personal choice and free will in the disciple.
  23. 1 John 4:12-13; Rom 5:5; Eph. 4:30; James 4:5, God’s love perfected in the disciple, the Holy Spirit is given, but the Spirit could be grieved and quenched and gets out.
  24. Seven Churches in Revelation given warning which suggests possibility of falling away:
    • Ephesus – “you have left your first love x x x you have fallen; repent and do the first work…”
    • Smyrna – “He who overcomes…”suggests freewill and determination to be faithful to God.
    • Pergamos – “Repent, or else I will come to you. . . to him who overcomes. . .”
    • Thyatira – “Hold fast what you have till I come. . . he who overcomes and keeps My works. . .”
    • Sardis – “You are alive but you are dead. . . repent . . he who overcomes. . .”
    • Philadelphia – “. . . test those who dwell on earth. . . hold fast what you have.”

J. EXPLANATION OF EPHESIANS 1 & 2 IN RELATION TO SALVATION.

Consider the phrases:

(1) “in Christ” 1:3

(2) “He chose us in Him (Christ)” 1:4,

(3) “adoption as sons by Jesus Christ” 1:5

(4) “accepted in the Beloved” 1:6

(5) “In Him we have redemption thro His blood” 1:7

(6) “in whom also we have obtained an inheritance” 1:11

(7) “we who trusted in Christ” 1:12

(8) “we who trusted in Christ” 1:12

(9) “after you heard the word of truth” 1:13

(10) “in whom also, having believed” 1:13

(11) “your faith in the Lord Jesus”1:15

(12) “in the knowledge of Him” 1:17

(13) “He worked in Christ” 1:20

(1) “made us alive together with Christ” 2:5

(2) “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” 2:6

(3) “His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” 2:7

(4) “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus” 2:10

(5) “good works. . . we should walk in them” 2:10

(6) “now in Christ Jesus. . . by the blood of Christ” 2:13

(7) “He Himself is our peace” 2:14

(8) “having abolished in His flesh” 2:15

(9) “He preached peace to you” 2:17

(10) “through Him” 2:18

(11) “in whom. . . in the Lord” 2:21

(12) “in whom you also are being built. .” 2:22

Conclusion: To be saved by grace through faith, one has to be in Christ, and how does one be in Christ? There is hearing the word of truth, knowledge of Him, faith in Jesus. Add Matt. 28:18-19, there is preaching and discipling and being baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; Romans 6:3-4; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:15-16; Gal. 3:27-28; Acts 10:47: Acts 16:31-33; Acts 22:16 there is baptism. To be baptized for the forgiveness of sin is a humble, obedient act of a disciple that dramatizes an inner impulse which is the conversion of the inner man, the born again, adopted child of God. (Oct. 17-18, 2016)

Salvation – Is It by Grace Only?

By Eusebio A. Tanicala, PhD

INTRODUCTION
This study is very important because it could spell out one’s eternal destiny: go to heaven or go to hell.  “Saved by grace only” disregards humble obedience to many instructions and the exercise of human free will.

DEFINITION
Grace (Xaris) – “. . but the N.T. writers use Xaris pre-eminently of that kindness by which God bestows favors even upon the ill-deserving, and grants to sinners the pardon of their offences, and bids them accept of eternal salvation through Christ x x x is used of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues” (Thayer’s Lexicon, p.666)

TWO INTERPRETATIONS

Two Interpretations of “Saved by Grace” found in Ephesians 1:1-12 and 2:1-10.

First View: The very strict Calvinistic view is that man is totally depraved, without any ability to desire to do good or total inability to decide to be spiritual and love God. Before creation, God had already decreed that He will create human kind, some to be elected and some to be reprobated (damned), with His permission to allow mankind’s fall when tempted by Satan at the Garden of Eden. When a person is saved, it is ALL God’s action, ALL God’s work. NO human participation; absolutely nothing! So the term “only” takes the meaning of exclusive and absolute.

Second View: Because God made the first step, because God is love, God is merciful, and God is sovereign over all of creation, His will to provide propitiation through Christ who is God who became human to help mankind, God’s work in SALVATION could be assigned 99% while 1% is assigned to human participation which consist of knowing God, loving God, obeying God, all summed up or condensed in the phrase, “in Jesus Christ” because a person obeys the New Testament of Jesus Christ. Our concern now is to explore and identify what are the requirements found in the phrase “in Jesus Christ” because our Lord Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15, 23-24; & John 15;14). Luke 6:46 records Christ say this: “Why call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do the things I say?” The phrase “Saved by Grace” is used emphatically, meaning: the greater part is emphasized but it does not exclude the very small participation of the human free will in obeying other instructions.

A. THREE TENSES OF SALVATION

  1. Past: Sins are forgiven when we undergo the steps to salvation: Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, be baptized.
  2. Present: When a disciple sins, he needs to repent, pray for forgiveness, blood washes sins (1Jn 1:9; Acts 8:22).
  3. Future: Possibility of apostasy; Christ confirms final salvation at end of time. See Titus 11-14; 1 Peter 1:9.

B. GOD HAS NO PLEASURE IN THE DEATH OF THE SINNER

  • Ezekiel 18:23, “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?”
  • Ezek. 18:32, “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the LORD God. “Therefore turn and live!”
  • Ezek. 33:11, “Say to them: ‘As I live, ’says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?”

C. FREE WILL & CONSEQUENCES OF ANGELS’ DECISIONS

God is love, God is merciful, God is gracious. Yet the rebellious angels were judged immediately.

Please see Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:12-19; John 8:44; Luke 10:18; 2 Peter 2:4-6; Jude 6.

D. FREE WILL & CONSEQUENCES OF HUMAN DECISIONS

  1.  Adam & Eve were given free will – Genesis 2:16-17, “And the Lord commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
  2. Cain & Abel – Cain did not do what was instructed him while Abel did what he was commanded to do.
  3. Noah – He did what was commanded and he was saved from the deluge.
  4. Abram / Abraham – He believed God’s promises and directives eventually settled in Canaan.
  5. Lot – He chose to dwell in the flat land near the tribes that were worldly in Sodom and Gomorrah.
  6. Ruth – Being a Moabitess, did she exercise her free will and chose to stick to her mother-in-law?
  7. Covenant with Israel – Exodus 19:5-8, “. . Then all the people answered together and said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do.’ So Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD.”
  8. 500,000 Israelites 20 years old and above who went out of Egypt:
    •  All those who died in the wilderness, including Moses, exercised free will, did they?
    • Joshua – (1:7) “Only be strong and very courageous that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commands you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.” (24:15), “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

E. GOD HELPS HUMAN KIND NOT ANGELS
Hebrews 2:16: “For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.”

F. DETERMINE W/C PERIOD OR TENSE
Determine which salvation period/tense you refer about because there are three stages of salvation.

  1. Salvation from past sins.
  2. Salvation from sins after a disciple starts his Christian life.
  3. Salvation in the future, the final confirmation – 1 Peter 1:9.

*Take the following in a spectrum or picture. Don’t isolate one from the others. Brief Quotations from the New King James Version.

  1. Saved by God – Titus 1:3, 4; Titus 2:10 “God our Savior” “God our Savior”
  2. Saved by Jesus Christ – Matt. 1:21; John 3:17; 1 Tim. 1:15; Heb. 7:25. Do you eliminate Love because of grace? No.  “call His name Jesus, . . He will save His people from their sins.” “. . the world thro Him might be saved.”
  3. Saved by mercy through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit – Titus 3:5*(4) Saved by grace – Ephesians 2:5; 2 Tim. 1:9; Acts 15:11; Titus 3:4-5, etc. Do you eliminate God?
  4. Justified by the blood of Christ – Romans 5:9, 10. “justified by His blood, we shall be saved. . .”
  5. Saved by the gospel if we hold fast to it – 1 Cor. 15:2. Do you disregard the gospel because of grace? No.
  6. Saved by faith – Eph. 2:8; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:12; 18:42; John 3:16, 18; Heb. 10:39
  7. Saved by the life of Christ – Romans 5:10. “. . we shall be saved by His life.”
  8. Saved by hope – Romans 8:24 (KJV). Does grace disregard hope? No.
  9. Saved by calling on the Lord – Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; 9:14.
  10. Saved by the implanted word – James 1:21; Acts 1114. Shall we disregard the Word because of grace? No.
  11. Saved by the teachings of Christ and the apostles – 1 Tim. 4:16. Does grace disregard apostles’ teachings? No.
  12. Saved through hearing the words of Christ and believing in the Father – John 5:24
  13. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved – Mark 16:16. Does grace disregard baptism? No.
  14. Repent and be baptized and receive remission of sins – Psalm 32:5; Acts 2:38. Does grace disregard baptism? No.
  15. Be born again and see the kingdom of heaven – John 3:3. Does grace disregard the New Birth? No.
  16. Be born of water and the Spirit to see the kingdom of God – John 3:5
  17. Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins – Acts 22:16; Gal. 3:27
  18. Confess with mouth Jesus Christ and believe God raised Jesus there is salvation – Roma 10:9, 10
  19. Abiding in the teachings and living righteously and godly until the appearing of Christ – John 6:27;  John 8:31; 12:48-50; Romans 8:1; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 5:2; 2 John 8, 9; 1 John 2:15; Titus 2:11-14;  James 1:27; Rev. 2:10. Does grace righteous and godly living? No.
  20. Saved by preaching the gospel – 1 Cor. 1:21, “. . foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” Does grace disregard gospel preaching? No.
  21. Saved by repentance – 1 Cor. 7:10; Luke 13:3. Do we disregard repentance? No.
  22. Saved by baptism – 1 Peter 3:21, “There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Does grace eliminate baptism in water? No.
  23. The Holy Spirit – John 16:8; Titus 3:5-6. Does grace disregard the work of the Holy Spirit? No.
  24. Salvation in His name – Acts 4:12. Does graces disregard the name of Christ? No.
  25. Love – Galatians 5:6. Do we eliminate Love and mention only grace? No.

NOTE: Good hermeneutics tells us that one item does not exclude any other item mentioned in the Bible that is related to salvation. Some items could be emphasized above others in some contexts, but not to the exclusion of any other items. We should take all these items together. Just like what we do in the Chart – Steps to Salvation (Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, Be Baptized, Live a Holy & Obedient Life). Not all the steps are found in one verse.

G. THE FIRST ADAM & THE SECOND ADAM

  1.  When the First Adam committed sin, was his sin automatically imputed on every human individual with culpability or punishment without any individual human participation? __ Yes; __ No.
  2. When the Second Adam gave himself as offering and atonement for sin on the cross, was His righteousness automatically imputed on every human individual (past and future generations) with justification, sanctification and glorification without any human personal participation? __ Yes; __ No.

H. POSSIBILITY OF APOSTASY

  1.  ucifer – He was perfect until sin was found in him, (See Ezek. 28:14,15; Isa. 14:12; Lk. 10:18)
  2. Angels who became demons – Did they fall from innocence into wickedness? Yes.
  3. Adam and Eve – Were they not innocent until they disobeyed the prohibition? Yes. They did.
  4. Enoch “walked with God” and begot and begot sons and daughters (Gen. 5:19-24).
  5. God made a covenant w/ the nation of Israel (Exo. 19:5-6), “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”  Yahweh gave Moses and 70 Elders the Holy Spirit (Num.11:16-30), and yet out of the more than 1 Million adults, 20 years old and above who left Egypt, only 2 people, Caleb and Joshua entered the land of Canaan because of unbelief and died in the wilderness (See Heb. 2:7-19).
  6. King Saul, chosen by the Lord to rule Israel, did he not become disobedient and fall away?
  7. King David, did he not commit sin, but he was repentant and so forgiven?
  8. King Solomon, was he not called “beloved” but he became idolatrous and fell away? 1 Kgs 11:1-11.
  9. The people of Israel (Read Isaiah chap. 1), did not this nation sin and fall away so it was taken into captivity? Only a small remnant left? Yes, it did. Read also Ezek. 20:33-44).
  10. Was not Israel as a chosen nation, as a branch, cut off according to Romans 11:1-24? Notice the terms: “cast away”-15, “broken off”-v.17, 19, 20, “fell”-22; it means it used to be a branch attached to the trunk. The verbs in the past tense tell us that falling away was real and actual.
  11. John 14:1-11, Unfruitful branches could be cut off.
  12. Matt. 10:22; Mk. 13:13; Rev. 2:10, He who endures to the end shall be saved.
  13. 1 John 4:20, a disciple who is a liar and doesn’t repent will not be in heaven; Rev. 21:8.
  14. Col. 4:14; 2 Tim 4:10 – Demas with Paul then forsook Paul and went to the world.
  15. Galatians 5:4 & Romans 9:30-33, “you have fallen from grace.”
  16. 1 Tim. 1:19-20; 2Tim. 2:17 – Hymaeneus strayed from the truth, overthrow the faith.
  17. 2Peter 2:22, “A dog returns to his own vomit,”and a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
  18. Hebrews 6:4-8, “it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, have tasted heavenly gift, have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, if they fall away to renew them again to repentance”
  19. Heb. 10:26, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment…”
  20. Hebrews 12:25-26, “”See that you do not refuse Him who speaks…” Choice or free will is involved.
  21. 2Peter 2:22, “A dog returns to his own vomit, and, a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” Dogs and pigs do these acts of returning to the dirt, so people also do.
  22. John 8-9, “Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God…” This section teaches personal choice and free will in the disciple.
  23. 1 John 4:12-13; Rom 5:5; Eph. 4:30; James 4:5, God’s love perfected in the disciple, the Holy Spirit is given, but the Spirit could be grieved and quenched and gets out.
  24. Seven Churches in Revelation given warning which suggests possibility of falling away:
    • Ephesus – “you have left your first love x x x you have fallen; repent and do the first work…”
    • Smyrna – “He who overcomes…”suggests freewill and determination to be faithful to God.
    • Pergamos – “Repent, or else I will come to you. . . to him who overcomes. . .”
    • Thyatira – “Hold fast what you have till I come. . . he who overcomes and keeps My works. . .”
    • Sardis – “You are alive but you are dead. . . repent . . he who overcomes. . .”
    • Philadelphia – “. . . test those who dwell on earth. . . hold fast what you have.”

J. EXPLANATION OF EPHESIANS 1 & 2 IN RELATION TO SALVATION.

Consider the phrases:
(1) “in Christ” 1:3
(2) “He chose us in Him (Christ)” 1:4,
(3) “adoption as sons by Jesus Christ” 1:5
(4) “accepted in the Beloved” 1:6
(5) “In Him we have redemption thro His blood” 1:7
(6) “in whom also we have obtained an inheritance” 1:11
(7) “we who trusted in Christ” 1:12
(8) “we who trusted in Christ” 1:12
(9) “after you heard the word of truth” 1:13
(10) “in whom also, having believed” 1:13
(11) “your faith in the Lord Jesus”1:15
(12) “in the knowledge of Him” 1:17
(13) “He worked in Christ” 1:20

(1) “made us alive together with Christ” 2:5
(2) “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” 2:6
(3) “His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” 2:7
(4) “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus” 2:10
(5) “good works. . . we should walk in them” 2:10
(6) “now in Christ Jesus. . . by the blood of Christ” 2:13
(7) “He Himself is our peace” 2:14
(8) “having abolished in His flesh” 2:15
(9) “He preached peace to you” 2:17
(10) “through Him” 2:18
(11) “in whom. . . in the Lord” 2:21
(12) “in whom you also are being built. .” 2:22

Conclusion: To be saved by grace through faith, one has to be in Christ, and how does one be in Christ? There is hearing the word of truth, knowledge of Him, faith in Jesus. Add Matt. 28:18-19, there is preaching and discipling and being baptized into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; Romans 6:3-4; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:15-16; Gal. 3:27-28; Acts 10:47: Acts 16:31-33; Acts 22:16 there is baptism. To be baptized for the forgiveness of sin is a humble, obedient act of a disciple that dramatizes an inner impulse which is the conversion of the inner man, the born again, adopted child of God. (Oct. 17-18, 2016)

Who Is the Real Angel Gabriel?

In the two previous articles (Is It from Abraham—to Isaac—to Jesus Christ? OR Is It from Abraham—to Ishmael to Muhammad?) we have submitted the documentary evidence from the Torah (Taurat) that the blessings and instructions is from Abraham – to Isaac – to Jesus Christ. This promise of blessings through Isaac is everlasting. We read this: “Then God said: ‘No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.” (Gen. 17:19) This conduit of blessings through the lineage of Isaac and through Jesus Christ is clearly confirmed by the Gospel (Injeel) as reflected in the genealogy submitted by the Gospel According to Matthew and the Gospel According to Luke. Both the Torah and the Gospel are accepted by Christians and Muslims as God-inspired, therefore, they are acceptable evidences. See Surah 2. Al-Baqarah, v. 89 for the recognition given by the Qur’an on the inspiration of the Torah and the Gospel.

This present article is concerned with two conflicting claims:

First comes the claim of the Gospel that the Angel Gabriel declared to Virgin Mary “that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Read Luke 1:26-38) This was declared in the first century of the Christian Era. Jesus Christ is the Holy One and the Son of God. Further, This Holy One, the Son of God, Jesus Christ declared the following, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

Second comes the claim of the Qur’an that the Angel Gabriel caused Muhammad to recite. It is said that the Qur’an was the recitation that came out of Muhammad’s lips. In contrast to what is found in the paragraph above is the teaching found in the Qur’an: “La ilaha illallah, Muhammad-ur- Rasul-Allah” (None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah). This second declaration was made about 600 years after the Gospel record.

Because of the contrasting content of the two declarations and claims shown above, we are forced to wonder whether or not the “Angel Gabriel” mentioned in the Gospel is the one and the same “Angel Gabriel” in the Qur-an. It is not possible that one true Angel Gabriel would issue out conflicting declarations since the true Angel Gabriel is a messenger of the true God. Which is the more likely to issue a doubtful pronouncement: “Angel Gabriel” the first or the second? What is the more original, the first or the second one that comes out? What is more valid the Gospel record that is accepted by Muslims and Christians or the Qur’an that is not accepted by both? You can make your own conclusion. ###

(Eusebio Tanicala, September 20011)

ABRAHAM to ISAAC to CHRIST JESUS or ABRAHAM to ISHMAEL to MUHAMMAD?

Jesus Christ declares in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” This was declared by our Lord about the year 33 of the Christian Era. Christians believe this as truth from the true God.

On the other hand Muhammad says, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.” This claim and declaration was made by Muhammad in Arabia about six hundred (600) years after Christ’s resurrection and ascension to heaven.

Personally, I see a parallel in the two statements. Firstly, there is a recognition of a true deity and secondly there is the sent one or prophet of the true deity.

The question we want to settle in this article is this: Who between the two (Jesus Christ or Muhammad) makes the RIGHT claim based on the statements found in the Torah and the Gospel? Among our Muslim friends the Torah is called Taurat. Among users of the Greek translation of the Old Testament, these five books of Moses (Genesis to Deuteronomy) is called The Pentateuch. These five books of Moses are recognized by Christians and Muslims alike as authoritative document. Christians and Muslims both recognize the greatness of Abraham and the promises given him by Yahweh.

Let us notice the promises given by Yahweh God in the Book of Genesis. Says Genesis 12:1-3, “. . . I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing . . . and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Abram, when he was 86 years old, got a son through Hagar who was named Ishmael. He thought that Ishmael is the heir that will continue his lineage to produce innumerable descendants, nations, and kings that will bless all families and nations of the earth. “Abraham said to God, ‘Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” (Gen. 17:18). Read the whole chapter 17 for a complete account. An immediate objection was uttered by God, “Then God said, ‘No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.”  This promise was given even before Isaac was born.

This promise is repeated to Isaac in Genesis 26:1-5, “ . . . And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar. Then the LORD appeared to him and said: ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you … I will be with you and bless you; . . . I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father…”  This promise is repeated to Jacob in Genesis 46:1-5, “ . . . Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, ‘Jacob, Jacob . . . So He said, ‘I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there.”

Jacob begat 12 sons and one daughter. Jacob’s descendants continue the story of Genesis. The descendants of Jacob become the nation of Israel in Egypt, made the exodus out of Egypt into the wilderness and possessed the land of Canaan. The descendants of Isaac and Jacob received the Ten Commandments and the Law of God at Mt. Sinai. This nation of Israel produced Moses, the Judges, King Saul, King David, King Solomon and others. The story of the Bible contains the history of Israel until the book of Malachi.

The Book of the Gospels is called by our Muslim friends as Injeel. These gospel records are recognized by Muslims as authoritative. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke trace the genealogy of Jesus Christ back to Jacob, Isaac and Abraham. This Jesus Christ produced a body of teachings which are elaborated in the Book of Acts and Epistles. Christ produced a Covenant which is accepted by Christians. Jesus of Nazareth is recognized as the Messiah by our Muslim friends. Jesus died at the cross for the redemption of humanity. His death is the anti type or reality of the animal sacrifices in the Torah.

Ishmael was promised these: “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.” (Gen. 17:20)  And then we have this: “Now this is the genealogy of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s maidservant, bore to Abraham. And these were the names of the sons . . . Nebajoth; then Kedar,  Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah … the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred and thirty seven years; and he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.”  (Gen. 25:12-17) God didn’t promise anything that will bless all nations to Ishmael as He did to Isaac. God’s promise and oath gifted upon Isaac is called an “everlasting covenant” in Genesis 17:19.

So it is clear that the thread of salvation history is through Isaac and not through Ishmael. Jesus Christ is the seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15  and the seed of Abraham that blesses all the families of the nations. This view is confirmed by Matthew’s genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17. And confirmed by Isaiah in 7:14 and 9:6. And further confirmed by the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians in 4:1-7. When you study with a Muslim friend, show him this Taurat-Injeel genealogy. I hope this will be of help. ### EUSEBIO TANICALA

ABRAHAM >>>>>>> ISHMAEL? or ABRAHAM >>>>>>> ISAAC?

Where is the thread of blessings to mankind from Yahweh Elohim? Is it through the Abraham >>>>> Ishmael lineage or is it through the Abraham >>>>> Isaac genealogy? On one hand, Islam says it is through the Abraham >>>>>Ishmael family tree; on the other hand Jews and Christians believe it is through the Abraham >>>>>Isaac descent.

Let us see the Taurat (Torah, Pentateuch) record. When we talk with Muslim friends, this should be brought out because it is the very root of our religious history. Jews, Christians and Muslims all glorify the faith of father Abram/Abraham. Jews, Christians and Muslims all recognize the authority of the Taurat (Torah, Pentateuch). Therefore, what we quote from Genesis should be accepted by these three streams of faith. What does the inspired record say? Let us start.

The very day Eve committed the first sin on this planet God made a promise regarding the advent of the Messiah, the Christ, who will conquer the Serpent. Genesis 3:15 says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel.” This is the very first mention of the Gospel. This is the epic struggle between good and evil until the end of the ages.

When mankind became the more wicked because of Satan’s continued deceptions, Yahweh found a man of faith. God called him out from his community to settle in a land God has chosen: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1-3) This promise is reinforced in Genesis 15:3,4,18.

At age 86, Abram got a son through Hagar. Genesis 16:15-16 says, “So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eigthy-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.” God again visited Abram when he was 99 years old and Sarai was 90 years old. God reiterated the promises. There were changes of names during this visit: Abram became Abraham and Sarai became Sarah. God said, “And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her , and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her. Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah who is ninety years old, bear a child?’” (Gen. 17:16-17. Abraham doubted and thought that this son, Ishmael would be the heir to his earthly possessions and God’s promises so Abraham said to God: “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” (Gen. 17:18). God promptly cut Abraham short and declared, “No. Sarah your wife shall bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.” (Gen. 17:19-20).

Note that the promised son, Isaac, was named and the promises of other blessings are to pass through him long before he was born. In Genesis 18:1, Yahweh visited Abraham again and reiterated the promise of a son and that after about a year, Sarah would give birth to a son. Sarah laughed because she was about 99 years old. But lo and behold Sarah conceived! Her womb expanded and she gave birth to a son. Sarah laughed at herself. She felt that everyone who would hear about her giving birth to a child would laugh. Nevertheless she gave birth.

Sarah knew that her son is going to be the sole heir to Abraham’s earthly riches and the promises of God. She asked that Abraham sends away Hagar and her son. Abraham was displeased, but God said to Abraham: “Do not let it be displeasing to your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman because he is your seed.” (Genesis 21:12-13)

The above considered, it becomes clear that God’s promises is through the Abraham>>>>> Isaac lineage and not through the Abraham>>>>>Ishmael genealogy. Christ Jesus descends from the Abraham>>>>>Isaac line whereas Muhammad descends from the Abraham>>>>>Ishmael line. Therefore, the claims of Jesus Christ should be more believable than the claims of Muhammad about true religion that brings peace and goodwill to mankind.

(Note: A sequel to this lineage is forthcoming. –EUSEBIO TANICALA) ###

Our Lord Jesus Christ Didn’t Know the Day and Hour? (Series #8)

The disciples’ asking for a specific day and hour of Jerusalem’s destruction and the Messiah’s coming was too presumptuous so it didn’t merit an answer from the Lord. I say “presumptuous” because (a) revealing the specific day and hour was not a practice of God and the prophets since the time of Adam, (b) Christ had mentioned enough signs to keep disciples ever reminded of the approaching events, and (c) the disciples’ burden which was pounded upon them by the Lord was to be alert all the time. Therefore, to reveal the exact date and exact hour would contradict the three reasons listed above and make Christ inconsistent.

I liken the disciples to students in a class who are told to review seven chapters for the final examination; that the examination will have the following types: True or False, Identification of ideas, Definition of Terms and Essay. If you were the teacher of the class and the class would still ask: “Sir, what is the number 2 item in essay, number 3 item in the definition, number 4 item in the identification, and number 5 item in the true or false?” And if the teacher says, “I don’t know,” would you judge the instructor as incompetent because he says “I don’t know”? Common sense tells us that the “I don’t know” reaction of the teacher is not a revelation of the teacher’s inability but rather a revelation of students’ stupidity. In like manner, the disciples’ demand for an exact date and an exact hour is the height of stupidity.

We’ll now analyze the three reasons given in the first paragraph why Christ didn’t oblige himself to give an answer to the question of a specific day and hour:

*A. REVEALING SPECIFIC DAY AND HOUR NOT A PRACTICE
I haven’t read any passage in the Bible wherein God has made any promise or prophesied a future event where he gave the specific day and hour it would happen. We list down the following great promises and big events which don’t reveal specific days and hours:

Genesis 3:15, The coming of the seed of the woman– no day and hour given.
Genesis 3:15, The bruising of the serpent’s head — no day and hour given.
Genesis 3:15, The bruising of the Seed’s heel– no day and hour given.
Genesis 6:13, Destruction of the evil earth in Noah’s time– no day and hour given.
Genesis 11:5-9, Destruction of the Tower of Babel – no day and hour given.
Genesis 12:1; 13:14ff, Give the land of Canaan to Abraham – no and hour given
Genesis 12:2; 15:11, Abraham to become a great nation – no day and hour given.
Genesis 18:9-15, Sarah to have a son – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 2:2-4, Day of the Lord – no day and hour given
Isaiah 7, Salvation of Jerusalem from Syrian plunder – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 9:6-7, The Messiah’s birth – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 10, Messiah’s kingdom restored – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 13, Destruction of Babylon – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 15, Defeat of Moab—no day and hour given.
Isaiah 19, Defeat of Egypt – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 22, Destruction of Jerusalem—no day and hour given.
Isaiah 24, Judgments and Tribulations – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 45:1-7, Anointing of Cyrus – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 53, Coming of the Messiah – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 61, Advent of the Messiah – no day and hour given.
Jeremiah 31:31-40, Establishment of a new covenant – no day and hour given.
Daniel 2, Establishment of God’s kingdom—no day and hour given.
Daniel 2, Establishment of the fourth kingdom – no day and hour given.
Joel 2, Terrible day coming – no day and hour given.
Micah 5:2, The birth of the Messiah – no day and hour given.
Zechariah 14:9ff, Messiah’s kingdom established – no day and hour given.
Malachi 4:1-3, Coming of the Messiah – no day and hour given.
Malachi 4:4-6, Coming of Elijah – no day and hour given.
Luke 1:11-17, Birth of John the Baptist – no day and hour given.
Luke 1:26-33, Birth of Jesus Christ – no day and hour given.
Matthew 16:16-18, Establishment of the church – no day and hour given.
Matthew 16:21-23, Suffering and death of the Messiah – no day and hour given.
Matthew 16:27-28, Christ’s coming in the glory of the Father – no day and hour given.
John 5:24-30, Christ’s coming and the resurrection – no day and hour given.
Acts 1:4-5, Coming of the Father’s promise – no day and hour given.
Acts 1:6, Restoration of the Kingdom of Israel – no day and hour given.

The above verses amply demonstrate that it is not God’s practice to give exact days and hours in the fulfillment of promises and great events. Therefore, it was out of place for the disciples to ask the Lord Jesus the exact day and hour of the destruction of the city of Jerusalem (Mark 13:1-37; Matthew 24:1-44).
It is also out of place for students to ask exact answers of test items from their teacher.

*B. CHRIST MENTIONED ENOUGH SIGNS TO KEEP DISCIPLES ALERT
I have spent many, many, many years studying under different college instructors. When an instructor gives pointers for the examination, I find it very helpful and I would know what to expect in the test. More important than the pointers is my knowledge of the objective of the course and the coverage of the course. The objective and coverage provide me enough signs to work on and be prepared for the final examination. I knew the hour and day of a final test would come but I don’t worry about the exact date and hour when it would come. My concern was always this: Am I ready to take the examination when the day and hour comes? In like manner, a disciple’s concern today should simply be: Am I ready for the day and hour when “my local Jerusalem” and/or the end of my life come?

Chapters 24 and 25 of the Gospel of Matthew provide sufficient signs pointing to the coming day and hour of Jerusalem’s destruction and the day and hour of Christ’s coming. One important idea to remember is to consider the destruction of Jerusalem/end of the age of Israel as a chosen nation of God as a small replica of the end, the destruction of the cosmos/end of the ages of humanity. These signs are the following: Many would claim Christ’s authority deceiving many people, rumors of wars and wars fought, nation rise against another, famines, pestilences, earthquakes in various places, tribulations, killings, hatred against believers, hatred and betrayals, false prophets deceive people, lawlessness abound, love of many will grow cold and many more as one goes down the verses in Matthew 24. And then in Matthew 26, our Lord added more warnings that the end of Jerusalem and the end of the world would surely come.

*C. DISCIPLES’ BURDEN IS TO BE ALERT ALL THE TIME
In Matthew 24:4-26 list down daily occurrences to warn every disciple to think of the coming local judgment on the Jerusalem ruled by a self-serving priestly family, and the woefully mistaken hermeneutics of the Pharisees-Scribes-Sadducees. Matthew 24:27-31 gives warnings of a local or cosmic arrival of Christ judgment. Matthew 24:32-35 gives the Parable of the Fig Tree was familiar with the Jews – the budding of the fig tree announces the onset of summer. Matthew 24:36-44 submits the story of Noah and the Flood to demonstrate that watchfulness is the disciples’ burden and that the exact date and hour was not revealed and would not be revealed as regards the end of Jerusalem and the end of the world. Christ reiterates the attitude every disciples must have in 24:44, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.”

Matthew 24:45-49 is another illustration of the need for watchfulness and loyalty. Matthew 25:1-13 is the Parable of the Ten Virgins which is another lesson of being alert all the times. Matthew 25:14-30 tells every disciple to be loyal and productive in this life and the inevitability of an accounting in the last day. Finally, Matthew 25:31-46 gives a view of the Final Judgment.

Because there’s a mixture of local and cosmic judgments in the context of Matthew 24, as well as a local and cosmic coming of Christ, a revelation of an exact date and hour is inappropriate. Families and towns and cities have different dates and hours for their respective “judgments” by local floods, arsons, landslides, vehicular accidents, pestilences like dengue or cancers, heart attacks, massacres, kidnappings, robberies, family feuds, earthquakes, famines like that one in Africa, plane crashes, boat sinkings, bombings, food poisonings, deaths due to diseases and viral infections, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

Christ’s admonition to towns, cities, families and individuals remains: “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Knowing the exact date and hour is irrelevant.

This writer would appreciate receiving from readers any comment on this article. This series #8 ends the discussion of this particular topic. I hope that the eight articles have helped clarify the issue. Thank you. @ – Eusebio Tanicala (August 2011)

PUT THINGS ON A TIME LINE

There are Bible students who continue to use the Thief on the Cross as the measure of what man should do to be saved by grace and mercy. Yes, we are saved by grace and mercy if we properly define what grace and mercy are. We are saved by grace and mercy if we consider what conditions are laid down by our Gracious and Merciful Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

I think we need to show our Bible reading friends in minute details the approximate dates of the following:

  • The start and termination of the Mosaical Law;
  • Transitional period of John the Baptist’s ministry/baptism;
  • Possibility that the thief on the cross was baptized by John the Baptist’s or Jesus’ disciples;
  • The crucifixion of Christ;
  • The giving of the Great Commission baptism in Galilee which was after resurrection day;
  • The formal inauguration of Christ’s spiritual kingdom and formal effectivity of the New Covenant.

We put here the approximate dates:

1. Law at Sinai given approximately 1500 B.C. through the intermediary of Moses.

2. John the Baptist’s ministry started at about A.D. 29 primarily to identify the presence of the Messiah and to prepare the hearts of the Israelites according to Malachi 4; Matt. 3; Mk 1; Luke 3; Jn 1:19-34. John’s baptism was for the remission of sin says Mark 1:4 but he pointed to the coming of Christ so when Christ’s Great Commission baptism became effective in Acts 2 (A.D. 33), John’s baptism stopped being operative according to Acts 19:1-7 (about A.D. 49).

3. Matthew 3:5-6, “Then ALL Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.” Luke 3: 21 says, “Now when ALL THE PEOPLE WERE BAPTIZED, IT CAME TO PASS THAT Jesus also was baptized…” See also Mk 1:4-5. Note also the declaration of Matthew 4:25, “And great multitudes followed Him- from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. The year is about A.D. 30. Aside from the preaching of John the Baptist and Christ, the 12 apostles were sent out to the lost sheep of Israel (Matt. 10:6). With this Israel-wide preaching in a span of three years, the wayward thief could have been baptized earlier which explains his soft heart and repenting and believing while hanging at the cross.

4. The crucifixion of Christ was A.D. 33, Nisan 14th.

5. Resurrection Sunday was A.D. 33, Nisan 16th when Christ told Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee according to Matthew 28:7; Christ met the 10 disciples in the same evening of the resurrection day says John 20:19 but Thomas was absent (20:24-25). Eight days later (Nisan 23rd), Jesus met again the 11, this time Thomas was present says John 20:26-29.

(Note: There were many more appearances recorded mentioned in 1 Cor. 15:5-9 and Acts 1:3 but we could not put dates for all of them. It would appear that Christ and the Apostles stayed at least EIGHT days in Jerusalem after resurrection and then they met in Galilee as per Matt. 28:16. Forty days after the resurrection, Christ ascended according to Acts 1 and this is the month of Iyar on the 26th day.)

6. Then the disciples went back to Jerusalem from Galilee and were told to stay in Jerusalem until they be endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit says Acts 1:1-8. Date is not clear. According to Hebrews 9:15-18, a Will/Covenant becomes effective or probative at the death of the Testator. That means that the New Testament of Christ was technically effective on Nisan 14th and the Old Law was abrogated according to Colossians 2:14 and superseded by the New Covenant says Hebrews 8:7-13. The 11 disciples went to Galilee after eight days stay in Jerusalem after resurrection Sunday. It is in Galilee that Christ gives the Great Commission. Which means that the Great Commission baptism was not yet given when Christ had that conversation with the Thief at the Cross. To say that Christ had already given the Great Commission baptism before the cross and that the thief was exempted from obeying it is gross ignorance of the Bible. It’s like a Court of Law judge who would apply the 1987 Constitution provision to a 1985 case.

7. In the sermon of Simon Peter in Acts 2, he declares that Jesus has been enthroned (v. 22-35), and this appears to be the formal inauguration of the spiritual kingdom of Israel; the keys of the kingdom which is gospel preaching are now employed by the preaching apostles resulting to the conversion of 3,000 souls who now become the first citizens of the new kingdom of heaven – Acts 2:36-38; Colossians 1:13; Philippians 3:17-20. Date is the Day of Pentecost which is now about themonth of Sivan on the 8th day. This days, 50 days after the crucifixion day was the formal and first day application of the Great Commission baptism commanded by Christ. This shows that this Great Commission baptism of Christ was not operative 50 days earlier on the day of crucifixion. Therefore, it is wrong to argue that the Great Commission baptism should be applicable to the thief on the cross. By analogy, it’s like arguing that the Cory Constitution of the year 1987 should be applicable in the year 1985. Any student of the Constitution of the Philippines knows that this kind of argument is wrong.

Now it is clear that the Great Commission baptism was not yet operative when Christ was hanging at the cross because it was not yet given. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-16 was not yet uttered. Any careful Bible student should know this.

I hope that the time-line would be helpful in determining what God wants us to do and teach to the lost. We who are expected to know more will be judged more severely says James 3:1. We should be very careful in our knowledge of the Bible lest we become modern Pharisees who substitute Christ’s command with our ignorant ideas. #

-Eusebio Tanicala