Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: August 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Transitioning from Prophets to the New Covenant Priesthood of Evangelists

“12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:12-17).

Matthew 4:12-17 gives us the context of the dispensational transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant and provides us insight into the primary directive of New Covenant responsibilities for all believers of the Church age. Matthew 4:12-17 transitions us from the prophets/evangelist and priests of the Old Covenant as spokespeople for God to the New Covenant prophets/evangelists and priests as spokespeople for God. The responsibilities involved in this transition are critical to defining New Covenant faithfulness for every believer.

According to the inspired words of the Apostle Paul, “prophecies, they shall fail” (I Cor. 13:8). What this means is that new revelatory “knowledge” (I Cor. 13:8, “knowledge, it shall vanish away”) of future events and the revelation of God’s will to the prophet will vanish away or come to an end, i.e., cease. This would happen “when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (I Cor. 13:10). The Cannon of Scripture was sealed with the completion of God’s prophetic revelations to the Apostle John with what we know as the “revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:1). This cessation of prophetic revelations is confirmed by the last few verses in the book of Revelation:

“18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).

In Revelation 22:6-7 we have God’s command for earning rewards for all New Covenant prophets/evangelists/priests (all Church Age believers). It defines the transitional issue of responsibilities of New Covenant believers that is taking place in Matthew 4:12-17. The key word is the word “keepeth” in Revelation 22:7 and the responsibility of spiritual influence delegated to us in the Great Commission.

“6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (Revelation 22:6-7).

The word “keepeth” is translated from the Greek word tereo (tay-reh'-o), which means to keep an eye on, to guard, or preserve. This is very similar to God’s command to the Jews of the Mosaic Covenant.

“And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them” (Deuteronomy 5:1).

The word “keep” in Deuteronomy 5:1 is from the Hebrew word shamar (shaw-mar'). It has almost exactly the same meaning as the Greek word tereo (tay-reh'-o) used in Revelation 22:7. Deuteronomy 5:1 gives us a threefold expansion of God’s expectations regarding what it means to “keep” His Word.

1. “That ye may learn them” or learn God’s revealed will
2. That ye may “keep” or preserve God’s revealed will
3. That ye may “do them” or obey God’s revealed will and thereby be right with Him and blessed of Him.

This defines the perimeters of spiritual influence that God intends for every Church Age believer. The perimeter is the world of the fallen creation in which we live. Obviously, we cannot “keep” or “do” what we do not know. Therefore, we must “learn” the Word of God to “rightly” divide “the Word of Truth” (II Tim. 2:15). Therefore we are commanded to “study” the Word of God in depth.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).

The depth and detail of our learning the Word of God and God’s revealed will is defined by the word “keep.” We preserve the revealed will of God by learning it in detail and teaching it in detail to our children and all that enter into our realm of spiritual influence at the level of their spiritual need. This teaching ministry is the fulfillment of Christ’s command to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matt. 28:19). The word translated “teach” is from the Greek word matheteuo (math-ayt-yoo'-o). It refers to enrolling those who are “born again” into training as students with the intent that they become scholars so that they can, in turn, teach others to do the same (II Tim. 2:2). This is a defining factor in faithfulness and central to the “work of the ministry” (Eph.4:12) for which all believers are being perfected or matured/equipped.

“1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (II Timothy 2:2).

It is said that there are two kinds of people in the world. You are, and will be, one of these two categories of people. The kind of person you choose to be will determine the realm of your spiritual influence.

1. Those that are made by the times (those who are shaped by the culture and customs of the world)
2. Those that are made for the times (those who shape the culture and customs of the world by creating a counter-culture of God-kind righteousness)

The model of ministry that we find in Jesus Christ, beginning in Matthew 4:12-17, is the model of how every Church Age believer is to spiritually influence the world through knowing, teaching/preserving, and doing/living the Word of God. This shaping of a counter-culture of God-kind righteousness is the overall goal of Christ in His teachings in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7 and Luke 6:20-49. This is the embodiment of the Christ-life defined by the Greek word logos in John 1:1 describing the incarnate Word of God in the Person of Jesus Christ.

“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4).

The Christ-life is the Will of God lived out in human flesh through salvation/regeneration and through the indwelling and filling of the Holy Spirit. On the Day of Pentecost this indwelling Logos of the Christ-life was given to EVERY believer that is “born again” of the Spirit of God. The Christ-life is both “eternal life” and the “life” that is “the light of men” (John 1:14).

“11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (I John 5:11-12).

This Christ-life is released into the realm of the spiritual darkness of the curse through the filling of the Spirit of God. This supernatural life can ONLY be released through this supernatural operation of God called the filling of the Spirit. The ministry of every Believer/Priest, which includes every believer of Church Age, is release the Christ-life through our human bodies through learning the Word of God, keeping/preserving/teaching the Word of God, and living the Word of God in the enabling power of the indwelling Christ. It is through this trilogy of progressive transfiguration of our lives through learning, teaching, and living the Truths of God’s Word that we bring the spiritual influence of the New Creation into and upon the cursed fallen creation of death and spiritual darkness. Bringing the spiritual influence of the New Creation into the fallen creation can only happen when the believer learns to habitually live as part of the New Creation in this present life.

The degree of any individual believer’s influence upon this doomed world of the spiritual darkness of the curse is determined by these three criteria of modus operandi. We can determine our commitment to this spiritual influence and fulfilling the Great Commission by answering three questions:

1. What is my commitment to learn the Word of God in depth and what is my plan to acquire an in-depth, scholarly knowledge of God’s Word?
2. Once I have been adequately taught to know the Word of God, on what levels of my influence am I going to keep/teach/preserve the Word of God so future generations can have what I have?
3. According to John 15:5 (“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”), how can I know when I become a living Logos in doing God’s revealed will?

Once a believer has been “born again” of the Spirit of God, he is part of two realms of existence. He is still “in the world,” or the material existence of time, space, and matter. He is also been baptized by, or with, the Holy Spirit into the supernatural spiritual realm of existence called “eternal life,” also referred to as the “new creature” (lit. creation; II Cor. 5:17). The baptism with the Spirit of God brings the believer into spiritual union with the Godhead and into the realm of His spiritual existence and influence upon the cursed world living in the darkness of sin. The filling of the Spirit of God releases this supernatural spiritual influence of the Godhead directly into the world through the life of the “born again” believer. This is the spiritual potential for every believer of the Church Age who will learn the Word (Will) of God, teach the Word (Will) of God, and live the Word (Will) of God. There are two ways this supernatural spiritual influence is released into the world through the Spirit filled believer’s life:

1. Intentionally or directly
2. Incidentally or indirectly

These two ways by which the supernatural spiritual influence of the New Creation is released into the world through the Spirit filled believer’s life are detailed in Matthew 5:13-16 in the metaphors of “light” and “salt.” These two metaphors refer to the believer’s testimony of the Christ-life in the world and upon the world. We will look at is these in greater detail later in these studies.

“13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

Our testimony will influence others. If we live carnally and worldly and profess to be a Christian, we are in fact denying Christ the spiritual influence He intends to generate through our regeneration. In this case, we are a bad spiritual influence giving credence to the satanic corruption that is us and that is in the world. It is Christ’s intent that “the regeneration” would give us an avenue of escape from this spiritually corrupt influence of our fallen natures.

“1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Peter 1”1-4).

For any believer to live in such a way that would continue to manifest “the corruption that is in the world through lust” is a gross abuse of the grace of God that brings our lives into the realm of blasphemy. Such a gross abuse of grace distorts and perverts all that God seeks to do by bringing sinners into the New Creation and empowering them to live beyond and above the curse. Such carnality does not multiply the “grace and peace” available to us “through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.” It in fact, diminishes and devalues “grace and peace” thereby distorting what true worship is “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).

In Matthew 4:13, we are told, “And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim.” Zabulon and Nephthalim are the two farthest northern tribes of Israel around the Jordon River valley that first runs into the Sea of Galilee (also known as the Sea of Chinnereth, Gennesaret, or Tiberias). Capernaum is a city on the far Northwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. Capernaum would become the headquarters of Jesus from this point forward and the city in which most of His miracles were performed.

Zabulon and Nephthalim became known as “the Galilee of the nations,” because it had become the habitation of numerous Gentiles and half-breed Jews. The whole area was looked upon with great distain by the Pharisees. The city of Nazareth was located within the boundaries of the land given to the tribe of “Zabulon” (or Zebulon). Nathaniel reflected the prominent view of this area by most of the Jews when he said to his brother Philip, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). It was in the midst of the greatest darkness of the nation of Israel where Jesus began to be the “light of the world.”

Matthew 4:14 tells us that Christ taking up residency in this area was a fulfillment of Messianic prophecy given by the prophet Isaiah. In other words, the spiritual leaders of the nation of Israel should have recognized Jesus as Messiah because of this fulfillment of prophecy and the sign miracles that He did here.

“1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. 3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. 5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. 6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:1-7).

Clearly Isaiah 9:1-7 is a Messianic prophecy and Christ quotes it because He is the literal fulfillment of the prophecy in His incarnation. This is confirmed by the fact He took up residency in “in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim.” We tend towards the opposite in our logic of choices of places to live and minister. Christ chose the place of the greatest darkness in the nation of Israel because that was where the “light” was needed the most and where the “light” would be the most noticed and the most welcomed. Yes, those that love the darkness will hate the light, but those living in the destruction that the darkness brings will welcome the opportunity to be rescued from that darkness and the hope that the light brings. Christians need to be prepared to live in these kinds of localities. Most Christians today would be overcome with the darkness.

Christ did not minister just in the city of Capernaum. He ministered in a region known as “Galilee of the nations.” “Galilee” is from the Hebrew word Galiyl (gaw-leel'), which means circle or circuit. The Sea of Galilee form an oblong circle surrounded by the land of the most Northern tribes. These were the places of Israel’s greatest and earliest apostasies. Christ spent the vast majority of his three years of ministry before His crucifixion traveling within this circuit. It was within this realm of spiritual corruption that He sought the fertile ground of religious pluralism to train His disciples in how to be light and in which they were commanded to live the truths He taught them. It was in this hostile environment that fishermen were taught to be fishers of men (Matt. 4:19). It was in this hostile environment that Jesus taught these disciples the basics of spiritual influence.

Jesus understood some things that most evangelists do not. He understood that people live in the squalor of sin because they are trying to escape from life, not because they are enjoying their lives of sin or fulfilled by the lives they live. Sinners live in sin because their hopes are lost in the despair of their own corruption. When you know nothing but darkness, light restores hope. In this hopeless despair, people are drawn to the light. Be light!

Anonymous comments will not be allowed.Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at:http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Injustice of Social Justice

Evil does not always make its appearance wearing a red suit and having a forked tail. Sometimes evil comes dressed up as the opposite of what it really is. This is what the prophet Isaiah is referring to in Isaiah 5:18-24. God’s Word warns us often that evil will come disguised as good. The Apostle Paul said that about false teachers.

18 Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope: 19 That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! 20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! 22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: 23 Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! 24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 5:18-24).

Evil comes to us in many disguises. It often wears the mask of good and cloaks itself with noble disguises. This is true of the evil called Social Justice. Social Justice is just another phrase to mask the evil of Socialism. What is Socialism? Socialism is stealing. Socialism within a Democracy is stealing from the rich and giving what is stolen to those who have not worked for what was stolen. It comes in the disguise of Economic Equity, but it is not equitable. It is evil. It twists the truth around and justifies injustice.

Social Justice is the present expression of Liberation Theology that began in the 1950’s and 60’s through the influence of a few Marxist revolutionary Catholic priests in Latin America and South America. It arose out of the oppressive injustices of the wealthy ruling classes over the impoverished; almost slave classes of working poor who barely maintain a sustenance lifestyle. These Roman Catholic priests saw Marxism as a way to correct these economic injustices. Social Justice was the term coined to represent the correction of these economic injustices through forced redistribution of wealth.

The term Liberation Theology was established by a Peruvian priest named Gustavo Gutierrez in a book entitled A Theology of Liberation written in 1971. Gutierrez, Leonardo Boff of Brazil, Jon Sobrino of El Salvador, and Juan Luis Segundo of Uruguay can be credited with Christianizing Marxism, which otherwise is atheistic. Therefore the very idea of Marxist Christianity is an oxymoron (contradiction in terms).

The theological premise for Liberation Theology and its Marxist birth-child called Social Justice is the misrepresentation of a number of specific Bible texts interpreted according to the presupposition that economic inequality must be corrected through political activism in the form of Socialist Redistribution. These Bible texts are Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 10:34, Matthew 26: 51-52, and Matthew 25:31-46. These texts are misrepresented as issuing a political mandate of political activism in the application of Marx’s economic evolution theory of redistribution of wealth through progressive social engineering or Marxist Reconstructionism (Fabian Socialism in England, the New Dealism in the U.S.A, and Federalism in Europe).

Evil is never more evil than when it comes to us in garb of the clergy. Gustavo Gutierrez, the Peruvian Catholic priest coined the phrase, “preferential option for the poor.” This statement is simply theologically false and misrepresents both the character and nature of God! In Acts 10:34-35 Peter said, “34 . . . Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The Apostle Paul makes similar statements regarding both the poor and the rich.

“For there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11).

5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him” (Ephesians 6:5-9).

Although the voices of spiritual leaders should be trustworthy, they can also easily lead thousands away with logical arguments, doctrines of men, and simple distortions. Christ Himself warned of these false teachers just as did the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter. In God’s Word they are called “false prophets” and “false teachers.” These are people who are really filled with inner darkness, but who present themselves as having the “light” of Truth. They do not. Such misrepresentations of the Word of God simply manifest their spiritual blindness.

14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (II Corinthians 11:14-15).

Liberation Theology paints Jesus Christ as a revolutionary Whose mission on earth was social reformation, not redemption. For the Liberation Theologian there is no doubt in their minds that Jesus was a Socialist and the mission of the Church in the world today is to usher in a utopian world where everyone is not only equal, but everyone’s possessions are made equal through the forced redistribution of wealth. For them, justice is defined by equitable redistribution of wealth on a global scale.

The simple reality is that forced charity is not charity at all. Charity is an act of love that comes through the willingness to make self-sacrifices. Socialism is forced charity that takes away the love and offers another’s goods as a sacrifice and then takes credit for the gift. Something forced is not willing, and when a gift is against the will, it is no longer a gift. That is a theft, not a gift.

Matthew 25:31-46 is a Bible text that is used by Socialists, Social Gospel proponents, and proponents of Social Justice to present a totally distorted interpretation and misrepresentation of Christ’s intent in the text. Matthew 25:31-46 is a remarkable portion of Scripture detailing a prophecy by Christ of a future event. It is a prophecy with great detail, yet it is a prophecy that is greatly misunderstood.

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them {the sheep} on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren {the Jews}, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand {goats; the lost}, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they {goats; the lost} also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them {goats; the lost}, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these {goats; the lost} shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:31-46).

Matthew 25:31-46 details an event that will take place at the second coming of Christ at the end of the seven year Tribulation period just before the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth. The substance of the text has to do with the final act of Christ judgment of the nations at the end of the “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24). The basis of the judgment is determined by how Gentiles, living during the Tribulation period, treat the Jewish people under persecution by the forces of the Antichrist. It does not refer to or promote a Social Gospel!

The meaning of this text has been misrepresented, either by ignorance or because of purposeful deception, to establish what has come to be known as the Social Gospel. The Social Gospel is a movement within Protestant Christianity (primarily led by liberal Presbyterianism, but followed by most denominations later, including Catholicism) that began to develop in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It is more of a political movement than it is theological. It might be better called Christian Socialism (again, another oxymoron). The Social Gospel then evolved into Liberation Theology, which then evolved today into what is called Social Justice. Christ warned about such twisting of Scripture to deceive those with little understanding of the Word of God in Matthew 7:15-20.

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:15-20).

There is a simple solution to avoid being deceived by such postulations and distortions of Truth that come to us disguised as righteousness while teaching that stealing from someone is somehow justifiable. The solution is simply God’s Word; “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15). The word of God does not say “thou shalt not steal” except when someone else acquires more wealth than you have. Neither does the Word of God tell us that it is justifiable to steal from someone even if they unjustly acquired their wealth. The fact is that, in the U.S. of A., the vast majority of the people are wealthy compared to the rest of the world. The vast majority of those wealthy people did not acquire their wealth by being unjust. They acquired their wealth by getting a good education, by hard work, by ingenuity, and by saving what they earned over a life time. It is an injustice to steal what they earned from them through oppressive taxation and then falsely calling it Social Justice. That is calling “evil good and good evil.”

Amazingly, this deception is being promoted by wolves in sheep’s clothing who are actually propagating evil. The Apostle Peter tells us they “wrest” the Scriptures “unto their own destruction.” In doing so they are leading thousands of others following them down the same pathway towards the same destiny.

14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness” (II Peter 3:14-18).

Black Liberation Theology quickly began to develop out of Liberation Theology. Although this is still an extreme form of theological liberalism and an offshoot of Progressive Socialism (Marist Reconstructionism through Social Engineering), this form of Liberation Theology is directed specifically and primarily to African Americans as the descendants of slaves.

In the 1950’s a man name Malcolm Little converted to Islam while serving an 8-10 year prison sentence and began the Black Power Movement. He became a Sunni Muslim in 1964. He became known as Malcolm X. During that time, Malcolm X declared Christianity to “a white man’s religion.”[1] Another African American, James Cone, struggling with his liberal Christianity and trying to reconcile it with his political views, tried to reconcile the non-violent views of Martin Luther King with the “any means possible” view of Malcolm X began to apply Liberation Theology to the racism that existed in the U.S.A. Originally Black Theology simply wanted “freedom and justice.” This “justice” quickly evolved into varying forms of Social Justice in the forms of what might better be called Retribution Justice. “Authentic love is not ‘help,’” Cone writes[2], “not giving Christmas baskets, but working for political, social, and economic justice, which always means a redistribution of power. It is the kind of power which enables blacks to fight their own battles and thus keep their dignity.” “Redistribution of power” would later come to mean redistribution of wealth.

Under Liberation Theology, salvation takes on an aberrant distortion of its biblical definition. Under Liberation Theology, salvation is not the salvation of the soul from eternal damnation, but the liberation of the socially and economically oppressed by the redistribution of wealth as retribution for injustices against them.

In Liberation Theology, individuals are not saved from God’s condemnation to an eternal Hell. In Liberation Theology, societies are liberated from their guilt of injustices towards the oppressed by punitive retribution in the redistribution of wealth. All wealthy people (very subjective in nature and usually racist in that it really means all wealthy white people) are viewed as criminals that need to be punished by oppressing them the way they oppressed the slave (working) classes in a society. This is Liberal Theology at its worst!

In the context of an Amillennial world view, Liberal Theology began to adopt Karl Marx’s philosophies of Social Economics and Social Engineering as its main emphasis in ushering in a utopian kingdom (thereby birthing the Social Gospel). Marx viewed the means of sociological progression in the implementation of his economic theory through two eyes; sociological revolution and sociological evolution (this is what the word PROGRESSIVE means to a political liberal). Marx viewed society (the Social Economy) in two categories:

1. Proletariat is the lower class of producers; laborers or wage earners

2. Bourgeoisie is the upper/middle class of consumers that take capital or profit from what is produced by the labor class thereby exploiting the labor class for personal gain

Marx’s economic theory was primarily intent on equalizing the distribution of capital (Product or Profit) between all classes and thereby eliminating those classes (or equalizing them). Therefore, any form of Socialism is essentially anti-Capitalism. In Capitalism all wealth or property is privately owned and controlled. In Communism all wealth or property is owned and controlled by the corporate collective. This latter outcome is the ultimate goal of Progressive Socialism.

Religious Liberals took up Marx’s PROGRESSIVE evolutionary economic theory and adapted it to their Amillennial view. They saw the scientific advances in the world as the means to end all poverty and sickness; a utopian Kingdom on earth advanced by humanity (Humanism). A Liberal, Socialist Baptist pastor, named Harry Emerson Fosdick in the Cole Lectures for 1922 delivered before Vanderbilt University (Christianity And Progress; a series of six lectures) said, “When, then, we find the minds of men first throwing off their intellectual vassalage to antiquity and beginning to believe in themselves, their present powers and their future prospects, it is this new found mastery over nature’s latent resources which is the spring and fountain of their confidence.”

Marx’s REVOLUTION View for social change or Social Engineering is known as Communism. His EVOLUTION View of social change or Social Engineering is known as Socialism. The Revolution View proposed the radical and violent overthrow of the structure of a society in order to force the institution of this economic theory through a totalitarian governance of that society. His Evolution View (that later came to be known as Marxist Reconstructionism) proposed the gradual institution of this economic theory through the Democratic process (Progressive; this is what is going on in Political Liberalism).

From this revelation, the Marxist Revisionism (Reconstructionism) of the late 1800’s began to develop. In the 1890’s Sidney and Beatrice Webb founded the Fabian Socialist Society. This was known as Federalism in Europe and New Dealism in the United States of America. Notice the key terms in their agenda:

“They avowed a NON-REVOLUTIONARY, GRADUALIST policy to attain a highly organized DEMOCRATIC state socialism by way of SCHOLARLY demonstration, brilliant PROPAGANDA, and PERMEATION of established political and influential organization.” (caps added)

In Religious/Political Liberalism, Secular Humanism (Non-theism) married Marxist Reconstructionism (the evolution of Marx’s progressive socialist economic theory). These two have been made “one flesh.” Religious Liberalism (Socialism) invented the Social Gospel as its means to achieve Marx’s evolutionary view for social change (Reconstructionism and Redistribution). This became a major part of what Religious Liberalism and Secular Humanism have come to refer to as Social Planning. This is progressively (gradually) moving societies toward Marx’s redistribution economic philosophy.

Matthew 25:31-46 has been singled out by theological liberals and misinterpreted to try to give Biblical credibility to this redistribution economic philosophy. Of course, they take this portion of Scripture completely out of its eschatological context in its primary reference to the Jews during the seven year Tribulation on earth.

In order to understand Matthew 25:31-46, we must see it in its proper timetable of future events. Then, we must identify the characters in the word portrait that Christ paints before us. Matthew 25:31 tells us when and where this prophecy will be fulfilled. The timetable for the fulfillment of this prophecy is the second coming of Christ to establish His Kingdom. Therefore, this is not the Great White Throne and there is no resurrection of the dead involved. This is on earth just prior to the beginning of the 1,000 year reign of Christ on Earth. There are five phrases used to define the characters in the scene before us.

1. The Son of Man (referring to Jesus Christ, the incarnate, glorified Son of God)

2. The Holy Angels (the executioners of God’s wrath; II Thessalonians 1:7-10)

3. The Sheep

4. The Goats

5. The Brethren

The subject of the text centers around dividing the Sheep from the Goats by what they have done for the Brethren just prior to Christ’s return to establish His Kingdom on Earth. The world events just prior to the second coming of Christ are the events surrounding the rise of the Antichrist after the rapture of the Church Age saints. This is the seven year Tribulation that begins right after the rapture of the Church Age saints. Therefore, the first thing we must understand is who the Brethren are.

The Brethren could possibly refer to all Jews living during the Tribulation. The Antichrist, as the leader of the New Babylon (Muslim nations), will seek to annihilate the nation of Israel. The Brethren may refer more specifically to the 144,000 Jews sealed by Christ at about the middle of the seven year Tribulation. These 144,000 Jews, along with Christ’s “two witnesses,” will preach the gospel of the Kingdom primarily to the nation of Israel and the vast majority of the Jews will accept Jesus as their Messiah and will be “born again.” The Antichrist will make every effort to have them killed.

1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel” (Revelation 7:1-4).

The Antichrist will seek to kill them by keeping them from being able to buy or sell. He will initiate an international identification system where anyone wanting to buy or sell must take a number in their hands or in their foreheads. Those unwilling to take the “mark” of the Beast will not be able to buy food, water, medical care, clothing, or housing/shelter. Those that will not take the mark of the Beast will be sought out to be imprisoned and, eventually, murdered. Many believers from all nations of the world will give their lives to protect these Jews from the Antichrist’s executioners. (Which nations execute people by cutting off their heads?)

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).

This text refers to the believers who died during the Tribulation. There will be many Gentile believers during the Tribulation who will somehow survive the last three and a half years when the Antichrist’s numerical system of identification will be instituted. These are the individuals Christ refers to as the Sheep in Matthew 25:33. They somehow will be able to develop some kind of underground networking to get food, water, shelter, clothing and medical care. Yet, even in this extreme situation, they will extend the love of God to the Jews (Christ’s Brethren) by providing them with food, water, shelter, clothing and medical care. Christ spoke of uniting Gentile believers with Jewish believers into “one fold” one day.

14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:14-16).

At the second coming of Christ, Jesus will establish His Millennial Throne in Jerusalem. The first event of His Sovereignty on Earth will be the final judgment of the nations. This refers to those who survive the seven year tribulation. During this seven year period of time, God will release His restraint upon the forces of evil in the world thereby releasing God’s wrath through this means. The “prince of power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) will use this opportunity to try to annihilate mankind from the face of the Earth. Apparently, God will put His hand of protection around many of both Gentile and Jewish believers. For sure we know that everyone of the 144,000 Jews sealed earlier during the Tribulation are protected because we find them on Mt. Zion with Christ at His second coming.

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Revelation 14:1).

In all of this horror, we are reminded of Habakkuk’s prayer in chapter 3:2, “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” In God’s protection and restoration of the nation of Israel, He certainly does “remember mercy.” Yet, this mercy is magnified by the horrors of His wrath in Revelation 19:11-16 where we find those who have rejected God’s love and grace extended to them in the Gospel of Jesus and who “after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” The “day of wrath” has come for those on the earth who rejected Christ during the Tribulation and who refused to give aid to His Brethren.

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16).

The Goats will be separated from the Sheep and they will finally taste the wine of God’s wrath. God will separate the Goats from the Sheep and will slay the Goats with the “sharp sword” that goes “out of His mouth.” The Goats will be killed by the spoken Word of God coming from the mouth of Jesus Christ. The “beast and the false prophet” will be cast alive into the “lake of fire.” The Goats will be slain by the “sword” thatproceeded out of his mouth.”

20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant {the Goats} were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19:20-21).

Liberal Theology’s perverted Social Gospel evolved into even a greater perversion in Liberation Theology’s Social Justice. These perversions of the Gospel are antichrist in that they aberrantly redefine the missional purpose of the Messiah (Christ) in humanistic sociological terms rather than Soteriological terms. Christ did not enter into humanity to establish a New World Order of Socialism in order to redeem societies from social injustices against the poor.

[1] This Far By Faith, PBS; http://www.pbs.org/thisfarbyfaith/people/james_cone.html

[2] http://www.wfu.edu/~matthetl/perspectives/twentyseven.html

Anonymous comments will not be allowed.Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at:http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.He has served the Lord for over 40 years.