(The Christadelphian: Volume 26, 1889, 444-445)
The household of faith is united by one common bond, being all members of one body, whose increase unto the edifying of itself in love is dependent upon the effectual working of the individual members of the body. The whole body is honoured and strengthened in proportion to the integrity and zeal of each member, but it is also dishonored and weakened by the inconsistency and laxness of any within it.
We are abundantly admonished to preserve the purity of the faith, to strive together for that end as much as possible, in peaceful relations with all men, but still in conformity with the divine order—first pure, then peaceable (James 3:17). Peace is obtainable only in the absence of a disturbing element; where that element exists peace is more or less impossible. From what cause do disturbances in the ecclesias generally spring, with whom do they originate? Is it not generally from the action of brethren weak in the faith, men who retain something of the old leaven which tends to leaven the whole lump, so that many are led to follow their pernicious ways? It is the heresy “privily brought in,” which affects the soundness of the faith and disturbs the effectual working of the members of the body. Experience has shown that envying, strife, railing and evil surmisings originate with such minds and are stimulated by them. Who are to blame for this state of things?
Examining brethren are largely responsible. To them is entrusted the charge of keeping pure the household of faith so far as admitting the “interested friend” to fellowship is concerned. But there have been admitted to fellowship some who were practically deficient in a knowledge of the first principles of the faith. This has been proved by many who subsequently came to see with increased knowledge that they had in the first place been immersed with a deficient knowledge of the truth, and without an adequate recognition of their responsibilities in becoming connected with Christ’s brethren. With their new light and knowledge, these good and honest hearts were anxious to be placed in a proper relationship to Christ, and hence they sought re-immersion—an acknowledgment that their first immersion was invalid. These had gone on to perfection, but how many may be like them in their first experiences, having need to be taught again what be the first principles of the oracles of God.
Admission to fellowship is obtained by baptism; but baptism ought only to be performed upon an understanding of the one faith being shown by the candidate, and a recognition on his or her part of the responsibilities of the step about to be taken. It is for the examining brethren to determine whether such an understanding and recognition exists, because it is upon these that the validity of the immersion depends. It is here that the responsibility of the brethren is greatest.
There is unfortunately in many cases a desire, laudable in one sense, to see an increase in numbers, and sufficient care is not always taken to ascertain the motive which leads to the wish to become connected with the ecclesia, and an accommodative examination is made in order that one more may be added to the roll. It is hoped that the candidate will understand the subjects better afterwards, in the meantime, with an imperfect knowledge and with little appreciation of the responsibilities of the step about to be taken, there passes in fellowship of the household one that may prove a root of bitterness and a cause of offence. Let any brother or sister of standing in the truth reflect upon their conversations with brethren and sisters elsewhere and they will be surprised at the extent of the deficiency of knowledge in things that are essential to a proper basis. Here a brother is ignorant of the nature of Christ, there a sister has doubts as to the personality of Satan in the orthodox sense, and so on. But how came they to be in fellowship holding these views? They have not developed since becoming acquainted with the truth, but they are the old leaven which was brought in with them, of the doctrines of which the truth would bid them beware. The Ecclesia of God, the pillar and ground of the truth, has a duty to itself as well as to those outside, and if into the holy city there shall in no wise enter anything that defileth or worketh abomination, it is surely necessary as far as possible to keep out similar elements of the world from the household of faith.
The examining brethren must see to this. There is no need for austere judgment or pharisaical treatment of the candidate for immersion in attempting to secure this object. In the gentlest manner, but with the firmness which the importance of the occasion requires, the examining brethren should deal with all the points of doctrine, and where there is deficiency let them show the way of God more perfectly. But if it is evident from the manner of the candidate that he or she fails to comprehend the import of the doctrine, there should be delay in admission. The mere intellectual grasp of the facts is, however, of less importance than the perception of the responsibilities of baptism. Let the death which baptism symbolizes to the individual be clearly impressed upon him/her as his/her dying to his former carnal life, and that in his/her rising into newness of life in taking Christ’s name he also takes his yoke upon him, learning to follow his footsteps, to cultivate his mind and disposition, so that they may dwell in Him as they dwelt in Jesus. Were these things gently yet gravely set before all who come before the examining brethren, there might be fewer who would accept the conditions of fellowship, but these would be less likely to cause heart-burnings and strife in the ecclesias with which they become identified.
A word as to the attitude to be assumed to those who speak of being re-immersed. If in that frame of mind they ought not to be allowed to break bread until they have openly spoken out their difficulties and the ecclesia has had a chance to judge whether such brethren are really in Christ. To be in Christ necessitates the belief of Christ’s mission and the obedience to his commandments. But if there has been disbelief or misconception of a kind that amounts to unbelief of that mission, can such a person be said to be in Christ? The subject to my mind is of great importance to the peace and welfare of the ecclesias, and these reflections are offered in a spirit of love to such as are the door-keepers of the house of God.
Error has almost always come into “the ecclesia of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the Truth” (1 Timothy 3:15) via those who have obtained roles of leadership and oversight adopting a lax approach or being persuaded of error themselves. This baptismal review booklet is therefore as much for the aid of the examiner as it is a help for the baptismal candidate. It consolidates in a logical order the Truth studied, which by this stage has formed a conviction in those things though unseen, are nonetheless the substance of all the disciples hope and desire.
We know from personal experience of teaching the Truth to a wide variety of interested friends, young and old, who have varying capacities including English not being their first language, that it is the responsibility of those teaching the Truth to not only understand the first principles fully themselves, but to be able to present it in such a manner that the baptismal candidate is able to grasp.
This booklet, for practical reasons, does not attempt to do this but rather is an endeavor to revise those areas necessary to gain an overview of what constitutes the gospel and the responsibility of becoming servants of righteousness. The instructor needs to patiently present these Truths in a manner which corresponds to the ability of the baptismal candidate. The instructor needs to ensure that the essential elements are grasped, especially those relating to the Atonement, which is often not as easily understood as the things relating to the kingdom of God. For this reason the subject of the Atonement needs to be revisited as the story of the scriptures passes under review, presenting opportunity for those principles to be restated and thoroughly explained during the course of baptismal preparation.
READING ~ ROMANS CHAPTER 6
We (the Berean Christadelphians) are under the law of Christ: that law requires of us not to baptize or receive into our fellowship those who do not believe the truth, on pain of being held responsible for their unbelief. Examination before baptism ascertains whether an applicant understands and believes the truth. The validity of baptism depends upon believing the truth. Examination implies a recognized basis of fellowship; that is, a definition of the doctrines set forth by the teachings of Christ and his apostles referred to in the New Testament as “the truth” (Note: A Guide to the Formation and Conduct of Christadelphian Ecclesias Nos. 33 & 34). This Truth is defined in A Statement of the Faith forming our Basis of fellowship (pg. 127, Doctrines to be rejected (pg. 130, the Commandments of Christ (pg. 132), and a Restatement (pg. 140) (which became necessary as a result of compromise and wrong doctrine of other fellowships).
“A son of God is a character, which is developed out of the ‘incorruptible seed’ (1 Peter 1:23) of God, sown into the fleshy table of the heart (Matthew 13:19). When this seed, or word of the Kingdom, is received, it begins to work in a man until he becomes a believer of the truth. When things have come to this pass, he is a changed man. He has acquired a new mode of thinking; for he thinks in harmony with the thoughts of God as revealed in His law and testimony. He sees himself, and the world around him, in a new light. He is convinced of sin; and experiences an aversion to the things in which he formerly delighted. His views, disposition, temper, and affections are transformed. He is humble, child-like, teachable, and obediently disposed; and his simple anxiety is to know what God would have him to do. Having ascertained this, he does it; and in doing it is ‘born out of the water’ (John 3:5). Having been begotten by the Father by the word of truth (James 1:18), and born of water, the first stage of the process is completed. He is constitutionally ‘in Christ’”. (Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 4 ‘The Constitution of Righteousness pg. 135).
The Lord Jesus says that there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents (Luke 15:7).
1. You are prepared to submit to God?
Yes. I realize as the apostle Paul states in Romans 6 that once in my past life I was a slave to sin which leads to death, but now I wish to present myself as a servant of obedience which leads to righteousness (Roman 6:16 -19).
2. You understand that it is a fundamental element of the Lord’s teachings that we cannot serve two masters. Who do you wish to serve?
I wish to serve God and I understand that “No one can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt 6:24).
Are you a member of any organization or have taken an oath of allegiance, which would in any way conflict with Christ’s words of Matthew 6:24, e.g. a member of the arm-forces, navy, police force, a mason etc.?
3. What does Christadelphian mean?
Brother or relative of Christ.
Who is a brother or relative of Christ?
He who performs the will of God as the Lord Jesus said, “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50; John 15:14-15).
4. What is the will of God that we should do?
That we believe in God’s Son the Lord Jesus Christ and keep His commands. (1 John 3:23-24).
Do you believe this?
Yes, with all my heart.
Is it possible for us to be saved apart from God’s work in Christ?
No, for there is no salvation in any other; there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
5. Is baptism a commandment?
Yes, the Lord commanded His disciples, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes (the gospel) and is baptized will be saved, but whosoever does not believe (the gospel) will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16).
Can you give us some examples of baptism in the Bible?
Israel was baptized in the sea/cloud as they passed through the Red Sea; the Ethiopian Eunuch; Cornelius and his household and the Lord Jesus Himself (1Corithians 10:1-2; Acts 8:26-40; 10; Matthew 3:13-17).
6. Why do you want to be baptized?
It is the will of God that we should be baptized and I want to, “put on Christ ”, to be baptized into his sacrificial death and by this identification be washed from my sins in his blood; that I might become part of Abraham’s seed and an heir according to the promises. (Galatians 3:27-29; Romans 6:3; 1 John1:7; Revelation 1:5).
To “put on Christ” implies a “covering” or garment. Paul in quoting Psalm 32 refers to the blessedness of those whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered (Romans 4:7). The condition of receiving the blessedness of this covering as we shall review, is to believe the gospel preached to Abraham which centered in Christ as the promised seed. This was later expanded to David and elaborated upon by the prophets. There was however a “mystery” connected with this gospel which Paul says was kept secret in previous ages; though “a salvation of which the prophets enquired and searched diligently…when it (the Spirit of Christ) testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10–12), but was not revealed till the inspired apostolic preaching concerning Jesus Christ after his resurrection. The apostolic “revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25) explains how Jesus’s sufferings declared God’s righteousness providing the Divine method of justification or forgiveness of sins for Jew and Gentile that men and women could exercise faith towards, as the basis of salvation.
In believing this gospel and being baptized into the name of Christ, a garment of righteousness is graciously provided as a covering for sin. This initial clothing of righteousness becomes a garment of salvation (Isaiah 61:10) if a life of righteousness reflecting the Christ mind and example is developed during our probation. This is defined by the Lord Jesus himself as “the righteousness of the saints” (Revelation 19:9). In this process those who have taken upon them the name of Christ through baptism “have an advocate with the Father” so that if they confess and forsake their sins, striving to “walk in the light,” then we can be assured that “the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 2:1-2; 1:7). Those who do so by “patience in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he (Christ) will give eternal life” (Romans 2:7). Such are promised to walk with him in white (Revelation 3:4-5) and therefore “Blessed is he that watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15).
Identification with all that God accomplished in Christ is what baptism represents.
To identify is to relate to someone or something, to see oneself represented in someone or something. To identify with somebody is to understand and feel sympathy with someone, to relate to someone’s experience i.e. Hebrews 4:15; Isaiah 53:12; Hebrews 2:14. In Romans 6 - the baptism chapter, we are called to identify with God’s work in Christ.
God’s great work in Christ which we are called upon to identify with, was a work of total sacrifice, overcoming, subduing, condemnation and destruction of the devil (diabolos) and his works (Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8). This was accomplished by God in Christ’s perfect life of obedience and sacrifice, mentally, morally and at last, physically through the sacrificial condemnation of sin in the flesh and resurrection. If we are to truly identify with Christ and respond to God’s love in providing us with His unspeakable gift of covering and cleansing of our sins, then we need to purify and perfect our own character, thoughts, desires, and behavior by the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26; 1 John 3:3-6). By this daily dedication, we “abide in Him” and are “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (John 15:7, 8; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:22-24), and are “conformed to the image” or likeness of God’s son (Romans 8:29). By this means we believe we shall be “found in Christ” (Philippians 3:9) at the Lord’s appearing, having “the righteousness which is of God by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…” (Romans 3:22; also note Law of Moses pg. 268).
What then is baptism?
It is a burial in water by which we publicly profess the name of Christ (Romans 6:4).
Is infant sprinkling wrong and why?
It is not a burial in water and infants cannot “know” the only true God and Jesus Christ Whom He sent. Understanding God’s principles must precede baptism (John 17:3; Acts 8:12).
7. What is necessary before baptism?
A correct knowledge and belief of the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16).
What is repentance and is it necessary?
Peter says, “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). The order of God’s requirement I believe is important to note― repentance followed by baptism. Scriptural repentance is not mere sorrow for sin; it is a mental and moral change.
8. What does baptism symbolize?
It is the God-appointed means by which we identify with what God accomplished in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Until we are baptized we are dead in our sins but when we rise from the waters of baptism we, “rise with him through the faith of the operation of God,” “quickened together with him,” says Paul, God “having forgiven us all trespasses.” (Colossians 2:12-13).
God indeed “forgives for Christ’s sake” but we need as a condition of obtaining this forgiveness to understand the meaning of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Paul gives us the spiritual definition of the death of Christ in Romans by the use of two important phrases. He says the crucifixion of Christ was a “declaration of the righteousness of God” by “a condemnation of sin in the flesh.” (Romans 3:25; 8:3). A declaration is to publically proclaim or announce something. Bro. Thomas says, “The cutting off of Jesus provided this indispensable covering for sin: so that he being slain and raised from the dead, the means of a sinner’s justification, styled ‘the righteousness of God,’ was brought in…’ (Exposition of Daniel pg. 32).
How this was accomplished is explained by Bro. Roberts, in ‘The Blood of Christ,’ “The crucifixion of Christ as a ‘declaration of the righteousness of God’ and a ‘condemnation of sin in the flesh’… exhibited to the world the righteous treatment of sin. It was as though it was proclaimed to all the world, when the body was nailed to the cross: ‘This is how condemned human nature should be treated according to the righteousness of God; it is fit only for destruction.’”
Bro. Roberts emphasizes that this “was the condition of the exercise of God’s forbearance. That is to say, God maintains His own righteousness and His own Supremacy while forgiving us, and exacts the recognition of them and submission to them, as the condition of the exercise of His forbearance in the remission of our sins.” God “does not offer it (forgiveness) or allow it apart from submission to the declaration of His righteousness in Christ crucified. There must be the most humble identification with that declaration. Baptism in our age is provided as the means of that identification.” “Our endorsement of it (what God accomplished through the sacrifice of Christ) in baptism is comparable to a form of apology presented by the Majesty of heaven as the condition of our receiving His mercy unto life eternal.” (Ephesians 4:32; Romans 3:25, 26; 8:3; The Blood of Christ sections ‘The Conditions of Forgiveness’ pgs. 5&6; ‘The Place of Forgiveness’, pgs. 10-11 Logos ed.).
Having understood the gospel, which includes the means by which God is prepared to accept us (Romans 1:17), what happens when you rise from the waters of baptism?
Our past sins are washed away (Acts 22:16; Colossians 2:13). We identify morally with what was accomplished in the death and resurrection of Christ, our “old man was crucified with him in order that the body of sin (or flesh) might be brought to nothing,” having been, “crucified with Christ,” “henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Romans 6:6; Colossians 2:11; Ephesians 4:22 ESV). We are, by God’s divinely appointed arrangements “in Christ” and must therefore, “walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4).
As we have noted baptism is the appointed ceremony by which we publically identify with what God accomplished in the death and resurrection of Christ – Namely the destruction of “the devil” or “sin in the flesh” (Hebrews 2:14; Romans 8:3) which we all, including Christ, inherited from Adam. It was by this means Christ “bore our sins in his body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” (1 Peter 2:24). All the righteous requirements of God as set forth in the scriptures in all the types, prophecies and New Testament expositions are explained simply in what actually happened in the death and resurrection of Christ – the destruction of the ‘devil’ or ‘condemnation of sin in the flesh’ or ‘the body of sin’. ‘Sin in the flesh’ is also personified by the phrase ‘the old man’ (Colossians 3:9 & Romans 6:6) because it is that which ‘has been sinning from the beginning’ i.e. ‘the devil’ (1 John 3:8). Therefore John says “whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil”. John tells us “the reason the son of God was manifested was to destroy the works (acts or deeds) of the devil”(1 John 3:8). To do this the root of these acts, the source of these rebellious deeds had to itself be destroyed, i.e. the devil or that physical defiling principle ingrained in the flesh of all mankind that makes man’s nature intrinsically evil. (James 1:14-15, Mark 7:21, Romans 7:23, Matthew 15:18-20). Bro. Roberts states “This is the great promise and prophecy and requirement of every form of the truth: the destruction of the body of sin (Romans 6:6). It was destroyed in Christ’s crucifixion – the ‘one great offering’; we ceremonially share it in our baptism: ‘crucified with Christ’, ‘baptized unto his death’. We morally participate in it in putting the old man to death in ‘denying ungodliness and worldly lusts’: and the hope before us is the prospect of becoming subject to such a physical change as will consume mortal nature and change it into the glorious nature of the spirit…” (Law of Moses pg. 236-238). Having been “crucified with Christ” as Bro. Roberts’ points out, we morally participate in this identification in that practical way Paul indicates in Romans 6:4. God’s love, set forth in Christ, gives us a powerful motivation after we are baptized to follow our Lord’s example to overcome.
9. Are there any physical changes at baptism?
No, we are still mortal after baptism.
Baptism does not take away the law of condemnation or the sentence of death which “passed upon all men” (Romans 5:12) as a result of Adam’s transgression. We are, however, by God’s arrangement declared to be “in Christ”, that is to say, not having ourselves the holiness and perfect obedience God’s righteousness demands, God graciously provides us through Christ’s death, resurrection and glorification a covering of righteousness, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom. 5:18-19; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 2 Cor. 5:21, Revelation 3:4; 16:15;1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Having “put on Christ” we are “Abraham’s seed” and heirs of the hope of eternal life (Galatians 3:26-29) but this is a matter of promise – a promise that is conditional on our conformity with God’s commands. It is not until the resurrection and judgment when Christ our judge will declare whether we have, in deep appreciation of all that God has done for us, followed our Lord’s example, that we may be in him physically, partaking of his nature.
What is the condition specified by God that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21)?
Our faith is counted to us as righteousness at baptism, and thereafter we are to set forth in our lives that obedience which springs from that faith that God has placed in our hearts by His word (Rom. 4:3; 1:5; 16:26; 10:17).
What changes ought to occur in our desire to be obedient to Christ’s command to be baptized?
Before baptism there must be a mental and moral change, a change of purpose. This is scriptural repentance (Acts 2:38; 3:19, 26). Before baptism we are “in our sins,” “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12). God makes the condition of extending His mercy dependent on our response.
There is indeed a connection between what God offers us in Christ, and our own acts. That is, the cleansing result of God’s means of reconciliation is as you have said dependent upon our compliances. The apostle John says ‘If we walk in the light the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin’ (1 John 1:7). If we refuse to walk in the light of God’s word then there is no power of forgiveness. It therefore requires more than a knowledge of the truth for baptism to be valid. The Lord Jesus in his conversation with Nicodemus spoke of being ‘born again’ or ‘from above’ (John 3:3-5). This begetting involves the impartation by the word of the divine likeness, so that ‘in this world we are living as He lives’ (2 John 4:17) by God’s wisdom, holiness and sacrificial love. Anyone desiring to be baptized must therefore realize to some extent the position to which he/she is invited by the gospel with its responsibilities. The apostle Paul shows us in Romans 6 that the believer must become ‘dead to sin’ before he/she is ‘buried with Christ’. As the death and burial of the believer is an identification by faith with that of Christ’s, so is the believer’s rising up, that he/she may be ‘alive to God’ and ‘walk in newness of life’ mentally and morally. (Romans 6:11 & 4).
10. Do you think you will be perfect after baptism?
11. Do you have a mediator before baptism?
No. After baptism we have “an advocate with the Father,” “a mediator between God and man,” “our great High Priest,” the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 John 2:1; 1Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:26). Scripture states that after baptism when we sin, if we confess our sins and forsake them, “Christ is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” and “to save to the uttermost those that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (1 John 1:9; Hebrews 7:25).
On the question of God hearing the prayers of the unbaptized, refer to Appendix I on page 165.
“It is of primary importance that we believe the truth, and not a substitute for it; for it is by the truth only we can be saved; ‘the truth as it is in Jesus’ (Ephesians 4:21), neither more nor less, is that to which our attention is invited in the word. ‘The truth’ is set forth in the law and the prophets; but we must add to these the apostolic testimony contained in the New Testament if we would comprehend it ‘as it is in Jesus.’ The kingdom is the subject matter of ‘the truth’; but ‘as it is in Jesus,’ is the truth concerning him as the king and supreme pontiff of the dominion; and the things concerning his name, as taught in the doctrine of the apostles. As a whole, ‘the truth’ is defined as ‘the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ’ (Acts 8:12). This phrase covers the entire ground upon which the ‘one faith,’ and the ‘one hope’ (Ephesians 4:5-6), of the gospel are based; so that if a man believe only the ‘things of the kingdom,’ his faith is defective in the ‘things of the name’; or, if his belief be confined to the ‘things of the name,’ it is deficient in the ‘things of the kingdom.’ There can be no separation of them recognized in a ‘like precious faith’ (2 Pet 1:1) to that of the apostles. They believed and taught all these things; God hath joined them together, and no man need expect His favour who separates them, or abolishes the necessity of believing the things He has revealed for faith…It is our wisdom, therefore, to receive nothing which has not the sanction of their (apostles) authority. Paul styles everything else but what he preached ‘another gospel,’ (Galatians 1:6-8) that is, ‘a perversion of the gospel of Christ’; and, as we can only be saved by belief of the truth, such a gospel is both useless and injurious.” (Elpis Israel Logos ed. pg. 192 – 193).
12. You have truly said that a belief in the gospel before baptism is essential for salvation. What is the gospel?
It is the things concerning the good news and glad tidings of the kingdom of God and those things concerning the saving name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 8:12).
Paul says, “Christ brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10). And that, “God would justify (or forgive and constitute righteous) the Gentiles through faith, preached before the gospel to Abraham…” (Galatians 3:8). The way we are brought into connection with the work of salvation as accomplished in Christ is by faith in the gospel. Our faith is counted to us for righteousness. (Romans 4:3 & 24; 5:1).
13. But how do you obtain faith and conviction?
“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).
Is faith necessary?
Yes. “Without faith it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6).
Does faith by itself secure us the salvation accomplished in Christ?
No. There must be obedience or “works” also. “Faith without works is dead…by works faith is made perfect.” (James 2:20-22).
14. What works are those who believe commanded to do?
There are many things we have been commanded to do. First we are commanded to be baptized.
15. Where did you get this knowledge of what is the will of God and the truth concerning Christ?
In the Holy Scriptures - the Bible. “From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15).
Bro Roberts says “There is no other form of God’s word in the earth at present but the bible…The Bible is the standard; every claim must be judged by this. But before men can judge by the Bible, they must be acquainted with it, and before they can be acquainted with it, they must study it… in a daily, regular, earnest manner, at stated times set apart for the purpose. By this method, a man becomes so acquainted with the Scriptures as to be able to make that practical application of them in judgment that qualifies him to discern the things that are of God from those that are only so in name and appearance.” (Seasons of Comfort Vol 1 pg 294).
Bro. Thomas states: “The ability to believe lies in a sound understanding, a candid disposition, and knowledge of the testimony of God. Where there is ignorance of this there can be no faith…. The mere belief that Jesus is the Son of God is not believing in Him. To believe in Him is to believe what God testifies concerning Him. The faith of the ‘religious world’ is like a stool with only one leg. It professes to believe in Jesus, but it is ignorant, and therefore faithless, of the message He was sent to deliver to Israel. His message had relation to ‘the things hoped for’--to the things of the kingdom which the God of heaven will set up upon the ruin of the kingdoms which now exist. Men are invited to believe in the Messenger of the Covenant, (Malachi 3:1) and in the message which unfolds the things of covenant.” (Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 5 ‘The way of the tree of life’ pg. 163). Again, bro. Thomas states “the condition of salvation is the belief of the whole gospel and obedience to it. It is not ‘he that believes in Jesus Christ, and is baptized shall be saved,’ but ‘he who believes the GOSPEL and is baptized’” (Mark 16:15-16) (Elpis Israel pg. 198).
What is the Bible?
It is a book written by God’s power of inspiration, which worked in Moses, God’s prophets and apostles who lived during Israel’s history. It reveals God’s purpose with the earth and man upon it that from the beginning of creation God had a plan by which he would separate out from all mankind – Jew and Gentile, a remnant who would manifest God’s character in response to His love; being obedient to His revealed will which was made plain in the Lord Jesus Christ who would deliver His people in harmony with God’s plan.
Are the scriptures as originally given by God to the Old and New Testament writers wholly inspired?
Yes. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) (Note: A Statement of the Faith Forming our Basis of Fellowship, section titled THE FOUNDATION on page 127).
The apostle Peter tells us (2 Peter 1:20-21) explicitly that the all-inspired revelation of God’s word to specifically chosen men was done in such a manner so that which is recorded did not reflect any personal opinion or embellishment, addition or subtraction from what the spirit of God revealed. In our daily study we should use essentially literal translations of the Bible such as the KJV, RV and ESV etc. While it was not always possible for the translators to find an exact equivalent English word for the original Hebrew and Greek, with the aid of concordances and Hebrew/Greek lexicons, we can get the correct understanding. In our desire to harmonize our thinking with the thoughts of God we should always remember bro. Roberts advice from Christendom Astray about the “unmistakable declaration of the word of God” that “plain testimony ought to guide us in the understanding of what may be obscure. We ought to procure our fundamental principles from teaching that can not be misunderstood and harmonize all difficulties therewith” (pg. 35).
Who wrote the Bible?
Moses, Yahweh’s prophets and Christ’s apostles.
Who wrote the first five books?
How could he write them when he was not born during the events of Genesis?
How many books does the Bible consist?
Into what parts is the Bible divided?
Two parts i.e. the Old Testament (39 books) written by Moses and God’s prophets and the New Testament (27 books) written by Christ’s apostles.
Is the Bible the only source of knowledge concerning God and His purposes available in the earth?
Yes I believe the Bible is the only source of inspired knowledge and the claims of others who may say the book of Mormon, or The Watch Tower or Ellen White’s ‘The Great Controversy’ are inspired are completely false.
16. You have said the Bible reveals God’s purpose. What does the Bible reveal concerning God?
That there is only one God, the Father of all, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the common idea that God is a trinity is utterly unscriptural. “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5). “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deuteronomy 6:4). Also Isaiah 45:5; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3 etc.
17. The first chapter of the Genesis record states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It then goes on to show that during a process of six literal days all life on the earth was created. Do you believe the first chapter of Genesis is a true literal record of Creation and not just a vision Moses saw, representing long ages of Evolution?
Yes. I believe the Genesis record in chapter one is a literal account. I do not believe in Evolution. Yahweh through Moses commanded Israel, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of Yahweh thy God…for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Yahweh blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:9-11). (Note Berean Restatement No. 3 ‘Evolution’ on page 145).
18. What is the nature of God?
God “only hath immortality,” i.e. underived immortality (1 Timothy 6:16).
Where does God dwell”
In heaven for Solomon at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem prayed, “What prayer or what supplication so ever shall be made of any man or of all Thy people Israel…hear Thou from heaven Thy dwelling place, and forgive…” (2 Chronicles 6:29-30) “Our Father Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name…” (Matthew 6:9).
Is God confined to heaven though dwelling there?
No. He is everywhere present and nothing can be hid from His knowledge (Jeremiah 23:24; Psalm 139:6-12).
Has God shape and form?
Yes. “Therewith bless we God, even the Father, and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.” (James 3:9; also 1 Corinthians 11:7 - image; John 5:37 - form and voice; Psalm 34:15-16 - eyes, ears and face; Hebrews 1:3 - the right hand of the Majesty on high).
Is God a trinity?
No. “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5).
19. Is the word “trinity” in the Bible?
Why is it to God alone all honour and power everlasting is due?
Because He is Omnipotent - all-powerful (Revelation 19:6); Omnipresent - all present by His spirit and Omniscient - all seeing (Jeremiah 23:24: Hebrews 4:13: Psalm 139; 1-8).
What does the Bible reveal concerning the character of God?
Note Exodus 34:6-7 etc.
That He is kind, yet inflexible in the requirements of His law; loving and compassionate, yet terrible as a destroying fire against the rebellious and the guilty; forgiving towards offences, yet jealous of the dignity, the glory, and supremacy of His name. He is holy, and cannot look upon sin. He is wise, and cannot tolerate fools. He is true and faithful, and will destroy all the false and perfidious. He is just and true and perfect - at once the fountain of love and vengeance, the author of life and death; the source of reviving mercy and consuming fire. He is eternal, unchangeable, unsearchable, infinite, and glorious in power and majesty - the king immortal, the possessor of heaven and earth, to whom alone is glory due. (The Christadelphian Instructor pg. 9 no.14).
The above summary by bro. Roberts of the name or character of God has a most important principle. The apostle Paul says we ought to note “the goodness (kindness ESV) and the severity of God” (Romans 8:22). Bro. Thomas reminds us in Elpis Israel that the character of Yahweh is not constituted of one attribute only, but that he is sovereign of the universe as well as kind and merciful. He is not merely an intellectual but also a moral being. His purpose with man who He intellectually and morally constituted is to reflect His moral glory voluntarily by belief and obedience to His word, so as to be in harmony with, and thereby honour His name. (Refer Elpis Israel pg. 180 – 181). We in fact can only be the recipients of His loving kindness when we first understand and humbly bow before His righteousness and holiness, acknowledging that He is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26).
20. What is the spirit of God?
It is God’s power by which He made heaven and earth and all creation is preserved by this same power. (Psalm 104:30; Jeremiah 32:17; Job 33:4; Acts 17:24-28; Job 34:14-15).
Is the Holy Spirit a God?
No. Nowhere in scripture does it say this. It is the power of God separated out (meaning of Holy) to do a particular work (Luke 1:35).
Is God therefore separate from and different from His spirit?
No. God and His spirit cannot be separated. They are both one. (John 4:24). He is everywhere present by His spirit. “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit?” (Psalm 139:7).
What do these things teach us about our conduct?
They teach us that we are always in His presence. Even our innermost thoughts and intentions He can discern. (Hebrews 4:12-13; Psalm 139:12).
What is God’s free spirit? (Psalm 51:12)
It is God’s spirit and His breath of life. (Job 34:14).
What is the “right spirit” the Psalmist prays for? (“Create in me a clean heart God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10)
It is the mind of men cleansed by the word of God (Psalm 51:6-10).
Bro. Thomas describes in beautiful language what is this right spirit that must be developed in every man and woman who becomes a true believer of the gospel. “This new mode of thinking and feeling created in a true believer by the divine law and testimony, is variously designated in scripture. It is styled ‘a clean heart and a right spirit’ (Psa. 51:10); ‘a new spirit’ and ‘a heart of flesh’ (Ezek. 11:19); the ‘inward man’ (2 Cor. 4:16; Rom. 7:22); ‘new creature’ (2 Cor. 5:17); ‘the new man created in righteousness and true holiness’; and ‘renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him’ (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10); the ‘hidden man of the heart’ (1 Pet. 3:4); and so forth. This new and hidden man is manifested in the life, which is virtuous as becomes the gospel. He delights in the law of the Lord, and speaks often of His testimonies. He denies himself of all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and walks soberly, righteously and godly in the world. His hope is the glorious manifestation of Jesus Christ, with the crown of righteousness, even glory, honour, and immortality, promised to all who look for him, and ‘love his appearing’, and desire his kingdom (Titus 2:11-14; 2 Tim. 4:1,8: Heb. 9:28).” (Elpis Israel Part 1, chapter 4 ‘The two principles’, pg. 144).
21. You said that God is one. Who is the “us” in Genesis 1:26? (“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”)
The Elohim or Yahweh’s mighty ones - the angels.
22. Who are the Elohim? What did they do?
They are glorious beings, manifestations of God, sent by God on various errands throughout the universe doing His pleasure. (Psalm 103:20) It was by their hands that Yahweh executed the acts of creation as is recorded in Genesis 1. (Job 38:7).
What is the nature of the angels?
They are spiritual bodies, immortal in nature, and like men in their form and aspect.
Who made them spiritual bodies?
God. (Psalm 104:4).
23. We know God is a spirit being and “He maketh His angels spirits.” How many types of body are there?
There is a natural body and a spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15:44).
Is a spiritual body like a natural body?
It is like it in shape, but not in nature.
What type of body have you?
A natural, mortal body.
What is the difference of nature between a spiritual body and a natural, mortal body?
A mortal body grows old, decays and dies, whereas a spiritual body is immortal and glorious. (1 Corinthians 15:42).
Bro.Thomas says “a spiritual body is as material, or substantial and tangible, a body as that which we now possess. It is a body purified from “the law of sin and death” (Elpis Israel, Part 1, chapter 2 “The spiritual body” pg. 43)
24. What has God promised relative to these bodies Paul speaks of in 1Corinthians 15?
Those who believe, love and obey the truth steadfastly to the end shall experience a glorious change when this mortal will put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51).
When will this happen?
When the Son of man shall come in his glory with all his holy angels. The dead who are responsible (those who know the revealed will of God and have been called upon to submit to it) will be raised and appear before him to be judged, along with all others who are responsible and alive at his coming (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
What will happen at the judgment seat?
The faithful will be separated from the unfaithful who will be dismissed from His presence to shame, corruption and death. The accepted will be changed in a moment, all in one company, into the likeness of the body of their glorious judge (Matthew 25:32-46; Daniel 12:2; Romans 8:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Philippians 3:21).
Are the Angels then, of the same nature as we shall become if we are saved at the resurrection?
Yes, exactly the same. God’s promise to us is that we shall become equal to them and die no more (Luke 20:35-36).
Let us not forget these important words of Christ in Luke 20 where he clearly states that angels cannot die, yet the churches teach that the devil is a fallen angel which Paul states in Hebrews 2:14 Christ came to destroy!
25. Have Angels ever been seen upon the earth?
Yes, many times. Three appeared to Abraham. Two visited Sodom and destroyed it. One wrestled Jacob. One led Israel out of Egypt. One appeared to the father of John the Baptist and one to the mother of Jesus. They appeared at the resurrection of Jesus and at various times to the apostles etc. (Genesis 18:1, 19:1, 32:24; Hosea 12:4; Exodus 14:19-24; Luke 1:11-26, 2;9; Matthew 28:2; Acts 1:10, 5:19, 12:7-10 etc.)
Have the Angels names?
Yes. Gabriel appeared to Daniel, Zacharias and Mary. Michael is the Archangel. Sometimes they are spoken of as God bearing God’s memorial name. (Daniel 9:21; Luke 1:19 & 26; Jude 9; Exodus 3:2-6).
26. Why are the angels spoken of as if they were God?
They are His representatives and His Name is in them. (Exodus 23:20-21).
Bro. Thomas states in Elpis Israel “When the work of the six days was completed, the Lord God reviewed all that He had made, and pronounced it ‘very good.’ This quality pertained to every thing terrestrial (on earth). The beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, reptiles, and man, were all ‘very good;’ and all made up a natural system of things, or world, as perfect as the nature of things required. Its excellency, however, had relation solely to its physical quality. Man, though "very good," was so only as a piece of divine workmanship. He was made different from what he afterwards became….Adam and his betrothed had a nature capable of corruption, but were not subject to death, or mortal….In the Paradise of Eden, mortality and immortality were set before the man and his companion. They were capable of being filled with either; but with which depended upon their actions: for immortality is the end of holiness (Rom 6:22), without which no man can see the Lord.”(Elpis Israel Part 1, chapter 2 ‘Man in his novitiate’ pg. 72 & 74).
27. What does the Bible reveal concerning man?
Originally God made man of the dust of the ground, in the image of God as a living soul or natural body of life, “very good” in kind and condition. Man was placed under a law through which the continuance of life was dependent on his obedience. (Genesis 2:7 & 17; Romans 5:12; A Statement of the Faith No. 4 on page 127.
What nature is man?
He is mortal. He dies and returns to the dust from which he was made (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20; Psalm 89:48; Job 14:10).
Has man an immortal soul, which lives on after death as held by nearly every religious system on earth?
No. That doctrine is one of the many religious untruths that have come to be regarded as truth. Man is wholly mortal. God only has immortality. Immortality is something a man has to seek for. It is a matter of promise and hope to be accepted among the worthy at Christ’s return to the earth (Genesis 3:4; Jeremiah 16:19; 1 Timothy 6:16; Romans 2:7; Titus 1:2; 1 John 2:25; Philippians 3:20-21; 2 Timothy 4:1 & 8).
Can man’s life be immortal though his body is mortal?
No, the scriptures of truth state that when man dies “ His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish” and “ The dust shall return to the earth as it was; and the spirit (or breath – the vitality of life) shall return to God who gave it.” (Psalm 146; 3-4: Ecclesiastes 12:7).
The inspired writing of the apostle Paul very clearly illustrates the significance of these truths when discussing the resurrection and promise of eternal life, says “the first man Adam became a living soul; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the natural and then the spiritual” (1 Cor. 15:45 & 46 ESV). There is in Paul’s mind a clear distinction between a natural body and a spiritual body and that distinction, says bro Thomas “lies in the testimony that ‘Adam was made a living soul’(Hebrew nephesh chayiah or a body of life); showing that he considered a natural or animal body and a living soul as one and the same thing” (Note: Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 2, ‘The formation of man’ pg. 31-37. Also Christendom Astray pg. 27-37 “Human Nature Essentially Mortal” and pg. 54 “The dead unconscious until the resurrection”).
Is the phrase “immortal soul” found anywhere in the Bible?
So do souls die?
Yes. “The soul that sins it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4 & 20).
28. What does mortal mean?
It describes the human body as being subject to a condition, ending in or causing death.
There is a common belief in heaven and hell. What happens to man when he dies? Does he know anything?
When we die, our breath goes forth and in that very day our thoughts perish. We eventually return to the earth from which man was made. The dead know not anything. We who are responsible will know nothing until we awaken at the resurrection. (Psalm 146:3-4; Ecclesiastes 9:5-10; Psalm 6:5; Isaiah 38:18-19; Psalm 49:16-20).
So we cannot contact the dead?
29. What is hell in the Bible?
It is a covered place, the grave. The original word for hell in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word Sheol and refers to the grave. The word hell comes from the Anglo-Saxon and means to cover or hide. The word hell in the New Testament is placed for the Greek word Hades, which means that which is in darkness.
What is Gehenna?
The word hell is also sometimes translated in the New Testament as the Hebrew word Gehenna. Gehenna refers to the Valley of Hinnom near Jerusalem. It was a place where idolatrous Jews burnt their children to pagan gods and later became a rubbish dump where the bodies of the condemned were burnt.
30. What is sin?
Sin is disobedience to God’s law. The word sin is also extended by a figure of speech in scripture to that physical principle of our nature, which is the cause of all disease, death and transgression of God’s law. The word sin is used this way because this evil was fixed in Adam’s flesh as a result of his disobedience to God’s law, and God passing the sentence of death upon him. (Note Clause 5 of the Statement of the Faith; 1 John 3:4; Romans 7:15, 17-18, 23-25; 5:12, 14 & 19; Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 4 ‘The Constitution of Sin’ pg. 128 & “The Bible doctrine concerning the tempter considered.” by bro. Thomas).
What is another word or phrase used in scripture to describe this evil principle in our flesh?
“Sin in the flesh,” which is the Bible “devil” (Greek Diabolos) is what Jesus destroyed in his death. It is the devil which has the power of death which Paul in Romans 5 equates with sin that causes death, therefore “sin in the flesh” = devil (Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:14; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:16).
You say God sentenced Adam to death because he transgressed His law and that this sentence or evil became a fixed principle in Adam and his descendants’ flesh. Is God then the author of sin?
No, in Him is no darkness at all. Sin came by man (James 1:17; 1 John 1:5, Romans 5:12).
What then is this evil God fixed to man’s nature as a result of transgression?
God is the author of evil, but not of sin. Evil is a scriptural word and when used in a natural sense it refers to the punishment or consequences of sin. The evil which came upon man as a result of his rebellion was the sentence of death – ‘dying thou shall die’ as indicated in the original Hebrew (Isaiah 45:7; Amos 3:6; Gen.2:17).
The scripture reveals that man is mortal because of sin. Death is the result of sin and not the quality of the nature with which man was originally created. It is God’s law, and therefore a part of His righteousness, that sinners must die. As you have quoted “The soul that sins, it shall die.” Adam, our first father sinned and was judged unworthy of immortality. He was sentenced to death before he had any children. This sentence defiled (or contaminated) his previously very good condition and became a physical law of his being that was transmitted to all his posterity (descendants) including the Lord Jesus Christ. Bro. Thomas shows that the scriptures describes this defiled or contaminated condition of human nature as “‘sinful flesh’ (Romans 8:3) or flesh full of sin, a physical quality or principle that makes the flesh mortal and called sin, because this property of flesh became its law as the consequence of ‘transgression’” (Herald of the Kingdom of Age to Come, March 1855 pg. 51). Adam thus became subject not only to disease and death, but to a law of sin in his members (i.e. in his body) opposed to the law of God which incites transgression. Paul, one of the greatest servants of God who has ever lived, speaking of his personal experience says “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Romans 7:18-20) “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:23). Therefore, death began with Adam, and came to us through him. We receive the nature that he had after he was condemned to die. We inherit his sentence of death, which is the root cause of man’s problems including why we sin. This impulse or tendency to sin originates from this physical condition of man’s nature and personified by Paul as “Him that had the power of death, that is the devil” which is a synonym for Sin, therefore Sin = devil = sin in the flesh (Romans 6:23, 5:12 & 18, Ezekiel 18:4 & 20; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 3:23, 7:24; Hebrews 2:14; A Statement of the Faith No. 5 (page 127).
Does God intend that the human race shall always be subject to this present evil state?
No. God in His kindness conceived a plan of restoration which, without setting aside His just and necessary law of sin and death, should ultimately rescue the race from destruction and people the earth with sinless immortals. (Hosea 13:14; Isaiah 25:8; 1 Corinthians 15:26; A Statement of the Faith No. 6, pg. 127).
31. Will God bring about this great work without any reference to whether men please Him or not?
No. The work will be thoroughly done in righteousness. As death came by sin, so life will come by obedience (1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Peter 4:18; Galatians 6:7; Romans 5:19).
32. The scriptures declare that “there is none righteous, no, not one.” How then can salvation come if it is to depend on righteousness?
If it were left to man it would be impossible. But God has not left man to himself. God has a plan of salvation, the foundation of which was laid by making promises to Adam, Abraham and David, the substance of which was God’s work in His only begotten son the Lord Jesus Christ. (Genesis 3:15, 22:18; Psalm 89:34-37; Isaiah 25:7-9, 51:1-8; Jeremiah 23:5; A Statement of the Faith No. 7 page 127).
The importance of understanding the two senses in which sin is applied in God’s word has a direct bearing on how it was possible for God to righteously condemn sin as a physical principle in the very flesh that had become defiled as a consequence of man’s rebellion. At the same time God could righteously raise this man as the basis of divine covering and mercy from the dead upon the same divine principle i.e. death came by sin even so eternal life came by perfect obedience (Romans 5:19). The key to this masterpiece of divine wisdom is in the fact that God views these two aspects of sin, though related as cause (sin in the flesh) and effect (transgression) as having an essential difference.
The defiled flesh and blood nature we inherit from Adam has no personal guilt attached to it, we are not held guilty for Adam’s sin! ‘Sin in the flesh’ which we inherit does not alienate us from God for which we need forgiveness, it is a physical condition over which we have no control, it is says bro. Thomas ‘our misfortune, not our crime’ (Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 3 pg. 78 & pg. 132). Nonetheless, from this condition, from the bondage of that which has the power of death – the devil or ‘the body of sin’ (Hebrews 2:15; Romans 6:6) we need deliverance and redemption. That which we are held responsible for is when having been enlightened by the gospel which is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:17) we transgress God’s law by either neglecting to do what God commands, or by deliberately disobeying. For these transgressions we are held personally responsible and need forgiveness.
We must now think not only why the Lord Jesus Christ is the substance of the promises, through whom God’s righteousness was to be declared, but the way Scripture reveals how this was achieved. These promises, we know, had reference to Jesus Christ, who was to be raised up in the condemned line of Abraham and David.
The adoption by man in the beginning of the serpent’s false reasoning in effect accused God of lying. This act cast down, falsely accused and dishonored God and His truth. Man, as he had been warned, was rightly sentenced to death. If man was to be redeemed from this position, a method of redemption had to be established which did not set aside God’s just and necessary law of sin and death. Of necessity, this method of redemption needed to reverse what had so dishonored God, and vindicate (i.e. to uphold so that none could say God was unjust) His holiness and righteousness. God’s righteousness had to be declared in such a way that man might acknowledge God’s just principle as set forth at the beginning - that sin had to be condemned, and that by faith he would see that God, in upholding His righteousness is the justifier of those who believe in what God accomplished in Jesus (Romans 3:25-26). It was the mission of Christ to do this by first honoring God by the obedience of faith – do perfectly under intense trial what Adam failed to do. A work accomplished in himself, which not only reversed all that had so dishonored God at the beginning, but of divine necessity, sacrificially condemned sin in the very nature that had been defiled in Eden as a consequence of sin - the nature which ever since the fall in Eden has been the source of all rebellion against God’s law.
The declaration of God’s righteousness therefore required Jesus to be a representative of those he came to save - wearing the same condemned nature we all inherit from Adam and therefore the same need of redemption from it. Jesus, though born in this same condemned sinful nature, was to obtain a title to resurrection by perfect obedience to God, and by dying, abolished the law of condemnation (i.e. the sentence of death Romans 5:12) for himself, in order that it might be abolished in all who should believe and obey him. The perfect obedience of Christ was therefore not sufficient on its own to declare God’s righteousness, nor was his sacrifice merely the crowning act of a life of obedience. In fact his perfect obedience had to culminate, by divine command, in his submission to the death of the cross. His submission to the death on the cross was the means by which God’s righteousness was upheld, and sin publicly condemned. The Lord Jesus as our representative was the first to be redeemed by his own sacrificial death and resurrection. He, as the fore runner of the redeemed, was physically cleansed from the defilement of “sin in the flesh” at his glorification to spirit nature. By his life of perfect obedience, even to the death of the cross, he received the right from God to bestow the same blessing on all who should in faith and obedience, come to God through him. (1 Corinthians 15:45; Hebrews 2:14-16; Romans 5:18; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Romans 3:23-26; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 9:12, 22-28; Statement of the Faith Nos. 8 & 9 pg. 127).
33. How can men who are sinners lay hold on the righteousness of God in Christ?
God calls on men and women to repent, and offers to forgive their sins if they believe in Jesus and put on his name. (Acts 17:30, 13:38; Isaiah 55:7 Acts 2:38; Acts 4:12)
How do we enter into Christ?
We enter into the Lord Jesus Christ by being born of water and of the Spirit. By God’s word we are mentally and morally changed. This change is imputed to us for righteousness when we put on Christ’s name at baptism. (John 3:5-8; Romans 4:3, 21-25, 12:2)
34. Are we saved by faith in Christ alone?
No. Faith justifies from all past sins, and ensures peace with God, but works are required to retain God’s favour and secure acceptance at the last. (Romans 5:1; 1 Corinthians 10:12; Romans 8:13; 2 Peter 2:20; James 2:24; Revelation 2:5 & 23).
Now if that is the case, the churches teach a whole series of doctrines that directly contradict this truth.
35. We know that Jesus Christ is the son of God but is he God the son?
No. Such an idea stems from the false doctrine of the trinity widely proclaimed in the third and fourth centuries. It has no place in apostolic teaching.
Did the Lord Jesus pre-exist before his miraculous birth that was the result of the Holy Spirit coming upon Mary?
He existed only in the mind, plan and purpose of Yahweh and this is the reason why in the opening chapter of the gospel of John he is described as “the word made flesh” (Proverbs 8:12-31; Revelation 13:9; John 1:1, 14).
Was He immortal before he was raised from the dead and “ascended to the father” (John 20:17)?
No. This is the false doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. Scriptures state, “How can he be clean who is born of a woman?” And that “God made Christ to be sin (i.e. sinful flesh or flesh and blood) for us, who knew no sin.” (Elpis Israel ‘The Constitution of Sin’ pg. 134; Job 25:4, 14:4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 10:10-14; John 3:6-7)
What was Jesus Christ’s mission?
He came to save his people from their sins. Jesus means saviour. (Matthew 1:21)
Bro. Roberts states simply in “The Blood of Christ,” “He was born that he might die, as the first necessity in the case; for thus was the righteousness of God to be declared, and sin condemned in its own flesh, as the foundation of all the goodness to come afterwards.” (section ‘Very Simple, Very Reasonable’ pg. 7 Logos ed). We know Jesus Christ was the Son of man as well as Son of God, made in all things like unto ourselves, yet without sin, (Acts 2:22; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 2:14-17) that his mother Mary was a descendant of David, (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35)
Was Mary immaculate (completely clean, pure, flawless) as the Roman Catholic Church teaches?
No. That blasphemous doctrine is a part of Mariolatry. Her immaculate nature was proclaimed in the late 1800’s and has no place in apostolic teaching.
36. Can you then explain, so that it is clear, how Jesus Christ was both man and the Son of God?
He was begotten of a human virgin mother by the power of the Spirit of God and not by a human father. He was therefore divine in origin, in character and education. Mary, the Lord’s mother, descended from David and was betrothed to Joseph who was also a descendant of David. On his mother’s side, Jesus was the Son of David, and therefore a man partaking of David’s nature, which is the nature common to all, a body of death requiring redemption. From his mother’s side he therefore derived both the tendencies that lead to sin and the sentence of death that came upon man at the beginning because of sin and was passed on to all Adam’s descendants including Christ. (Matthew 1:1; Galatians 4:4; Luke 1:35; Romans 8:23 & 7:24; Hebrews 9:12)
What are the consequences of this great truth?
This was the way God designed Christ to be the “sin bearer”, that is, the means by which “he bore our sins in his body on the tree.” (1Peter 2:24)
Bro. Roberts in “The Blood of Christ” shows us, “The object was to open a way out of this state, both for himself and his brethren, by death and resurrection after trial. It pleased God to require the ceremonial (i.e. it was formal, public and literal) condemnation of this sin-nature in crucifixion in the person of a righteous possessor of it, in a body under the dominion of death because of sin. It was that nature that was to be operated upon and redeemed in him, as the basis of our forgiveness”. (Subsection ‘Sin in the Flesh’ pg. 14 Logos ed)
You believe then that there was a time when death did have dominion over Jesus?
Yes. (Romans 6:9)
37. What does Christ mean?
Anointed. (Acts 4:27; Psalm 2:2)
What is anointing?
It is the ceremony by which kings and priests were by divine appointment consecrated to their office. It consisted of putting holy oil on their heads. (Exodus 29:7-9; 1 Samuel 16:1-3)
How and when was Jesus anointed?
He was anointed with the Holy spirit as he came out of the waters of baptism in the Jordan. (Luke 3:21-22)
Is the Lord Jesus referred to by any other names in the Bible?
Yes. Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14) - God (Hebrew - Ail - Power) with us.
38. If that is the case, do you believe Jesus is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father as the Trinitarians teach?
No. The man Christ Jesus, begotten of the Father and endowed immeasurably with God’s spirit was distinct from the Father. Jesus was one with God mentally and morally. Christ was the perfect manifestation of the Father’s character in the flesh. His flesh was the same defiled (contaminated) nature, subject to death, as the race he came to save. The scriptures tell us God only has immortality underived. Christ disowned co-equality with the Father and the scriptures show co-eternity is impossible in a son. (John 8:18, 14:11 & 28; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Corinthians 11:3 & 15:28)
We must now carefully consider the importance of the fact that Jesus is both divine and human with respect to his mission. The very reason for his coming into existence was to save men from their sins in order that God’s Name might be glorified. To do so, as previously mentioned, Yahweh’s plan necessitated the miraculous birth of Christ from a human mother enabling him to bear our condemnation, but divine in the source from which he derived his perfect character. This strengthened him to be able to be a sinless bearer of our defiled nature, so that after suffering the sacrificial death required to declare the righteousness of God, he could be righteously raised from the dead. By his perfect life of obedience, sacrificial death and resurrection, God could extend forgiveness to us on the basis of what was accomplished in Christ without setting aside his principles of righteousness and holiness. (Luke 1:68-73; 2:30-32; Hebrews 2:14-17; Galatians 4:4; John 1:14; 1 Timothy 3:16; Romans 3:25; Statement of the Faith Nos. 9 & 10, pg. 127).
39. When did Jesus’ public mission begin?
At his baptism. (Acts 1:22)
Why was Christ baptized?
Jesus said it was proper “for us (referring to John the Baptist and Himself) to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15)
What does Jesus mean when he said, “for us to fulfill all righteousness?”
The Lord’s words were in response to John’s confession on hearing Christ’s request to be baptized, that he (John) himself needed to be baptized of the Lord Jesus. The master’s words indicate he also had a need to be baptized and this need arises from the fact that for God’s righteousness to be declared in the great sacrificial work God had given him to do, he had to be a true representative (one in need of the same thing) of those he came to redeem.
Bro. Roberts says in fact “there was a necessity. The work he had come to do was first of all a work of obedience in himself.” (Nazareth Revisited pg. 84). Bro. Roberts states in the Law of Moses “Christ’s work was therefore to establish salvation by forgiveness, but forgiveness on conditions, and these conditions involved the declaration of the Father’s righteousness in the public condemnation of sin in its own flesh in the person of a guiltless possessor of that flesh” (Law of Moses, pg. 176). The Lord Jesus’ obedience to baptism (a ritual act appointed by God symbolizing the putting away of sin) pointed forward to his sacrificial death. The Lords deliberate identification with John’s expression of need to be baptized “for us to fulfill all righteousness” shows us in the words of bro. Roberts “that Christ himself was included in the sacrificial work he did ‘for us.’ ‘For himself that it might be for us,’ for how otherwise could we have obtained redemption if it had not first come into his possession, for us to become joint heirs of?” (Law of Moses, 177)
Do you believe the Law of Moses was a part of that ‘all righteousness’ the Lord said he had come to fulfill?
Paul said “the law is holy and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” (Romans 7:12 ESV). The Lord Jesus said with respect to the law and the prophets, “I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them…not a iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished” (Matt 5:17-18 ESV) The law was a representation of God’s righteousness (Romans 3:21), the reality was set forth in the life of perfect obedience, sacrificial condemnation of sin and resurrection of Christ.
Was the Law then a figure or shadow and prophecy of how God would save men from their sins by the sacrifice of Christ?
Yes. I believe Paul says so in Col. 2:17, and in Hebrews. (Chapters 8:5 and 10:1)
40. The baptism of John, as you know, was a “baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4). As Jesus had not sinned and therefore, had no need of repentance, what did his baptism represent?
I believe Christ, though not a transgressor of God’s law, came as the sin-bearer (Isaiah 53:5-6). By being “born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4), God made him flesh and blood under the physical law of sin and death, by which means he bore our condemnation, so that he might take it away by his death (1 Peter 2:24).
What covenant did Christ’s sacrificial death confirm (or bring into force)?
The Abrahamic Covenant was confirmed (Romans 15:8), by which blood he himself, as our representative, was first redeemed and cleansed from the nature we all inherit. This established the basis upon which God could extend His mercy to us without violating His principles of righteousness.
It is very important to hear those being examined say this great Truth. So as the sin-bearer, do you believe God laid all the sins of those who were to be saved upon him by Jesus being made of the same “sinful flesh” as the human race?
Yes, because the root of all our problems come from the nature we bear. Christ’s teachings (Matthew 5-7) always went to the root of man’s problem – “sin in the flesh”, and it was that root that he came to destroy in himself. (Isaiah 53:12; 1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
You say that Christ’s mission was to save men from their sins. What was the subject of his teaching to the Jewish race?
He called His people, the Jews, to repentance from every evil work. He set forth infallible proof by the miracles he performed of His divine sonship and Jewish kingship. He proclaimed the glad tidings that God would restore the Kingdom of Israel through him and accomplish all things written in the prophets (Mark 1:15; Matthew 4:17, 5:20-48; John 1:49; Matthew 19:28; Luke 4:43 & 24:44; Statement of the Faith No. 11, pg. 127)
What was the result of Christ delivering this message and exhibition of God’s power?
He was put to death by the Jews and Romans (who were but instruments in the hand of God) to accomplish what God determined had to be done, as revealed through His prophets. (Acts 2:22-23, 3:13-18 & 4:10-12).
41. We have spoken of the way God saves men from their sins by Jesus Christ. In what way then does God turn men from their sins?
Yahweh in giving His Son as a sacrifice for sin exhibited His inexpressible love. It is by this love when deeply appreciated, and by the power of Christ’s teachings and example that God will turn men away from their sins and lead them to righteousness. (John 3:16-18; Romans 5:6-8; Acts 3:26; 1 Peter 2:21-25).
42. We have spoken of how God forgives for Christ’s sake because of what was accomplished in his sacrificial death. We would like you to sum up what was accomplished in the death of Christ. Also can you mention two most important passages that should always be linked in answering this question?
The condemnation of sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3) through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all (Hebrews 10:10) as a propitiation or covering for sin through faith in his blood, to declare the righteousness of God as a basis for the remission of sins, that is Romans 8:3 and Romans 3:25-26. (Statement of the Faith No.12, pg. 127).
In those few words quoted from the Statement of the Faith No. 12, you have stated the very essence of God’s plan of redemption. You said “the condemnation of sin in the flesh, through the offering of the body of Jesus.” We note that Clause 12 does not say “the condemnation of sin in the flesh, through a life of perfect obedience” but “through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all”. God’s plan of salvation rested on Jesus’ redemption from Adamic nature by a perfect obedience which had to culminate in the condemnation of sin’s flesh by his sacrificial death. There are those who insist that the phrase “condemned sin in the flesh” was fulfilled by the moral condemnation of sin during Christ’s life. Bro. Roberts says “this cannot be the meaning in view of the statement with which it is conjoined that what was done was ‘what the law could not do.’ (Romans 8:3). The law condemned sin so thoroughly in the moral sense that it is called ‘the ministration of condemnation’ (2 Corinthians 3:9)…Christ was sent ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh’ for the accomplishment of the work in question – the condemnation of sin in the flesh. This is, in fact, the reliable clue to the meaning. That he was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh (which Paul in Hebrews 2:14 says is sameness) for the accomplishment of the work shows that it was a work to be done in him.” (Law of Moses pg. 174).
The diabolos destroyed (Hebrews 2:14), sin in the flesh condemned (Romans 8:3) was physical because the flesh and blood body of Christ was accounted as “sin,” “For he (God) made him (Jesus) sin for us, who knew no sin (transgression)…” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Bro. Thomas states, “Sin is a word in Paul’s argument (in Romans 7), which stands for ‘human nature,’ with its affections and desires. Hence, to become sin, or for one to be ‘made sin’ for others, (2 Corinthians 5:21) is to become flesh and blood. This is called ‘sin,’ or ‘Sin’s flesh,’ because it is what it is in consequence of sin, or transgression.” (Eureka Vol. 1 pg. 247).
In your statement you linked as Bro. Thomas and Roberts, Romans 8:3 and Romans 3:25-26. They always linked those passages because they understood that the declaration of God’s righteousness was the condemnation of sin in the flesh of Christ. Bro. Roberts states “There is no difference between the shedding of the blood of Christ and the condemnation of sin in the flesh...for what is death but the condemnation of sin….This sacrificial condemnation of sin is otherwise said ‘to declare the righteousness of God for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God’ (Romans 3:25)…No view can be right that cannot be brought within the terms of that definition. It is in fact, the final easement of all difficulty where the mind is able to rise to the divine point of view involved in the statement. The crucifixion was a divine declaration and enforcement of what is due to sin, and as it was God’s righteous appointment that this should be due to sin, the infliction of it was a declaration of God’s righteousness...for others to recognize, that they might be forgiven.” (Law of Moses pg. 175-177).
The crucifixion as a divine declaration and enforcement of what is due to sin was a command from God, (John 10:18) that Christ himself should in faith submit, to which the garden of Gethsemane bears witness (Mark14:32-36). God had determined His righteousness could be declared in no other way as the basis of the remission of sins through His forbearance (Romans 3:25-26). The only way therefore that God can be recognized as righteous and “just” (Romans 3:26), which was the very purpose of this public declaration, is if there was sin in the body of Jesus that had to be destroyed. His body was accounted as ‘sin’ and treated as ‘sin’ as a public repudiation of sinful nature as the basis of divine fellowship and acceptability.
Could not sin have been condemned in its own flesh by the crucifixion of any sinner?
No, for as “by one man sin entered the world and death by sin” (Romans 5:12), even so eternal life was to come through one “who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Bro. Roberts gives the reason in The Blood of Christ; that “not only had sin to be condemned, but resurrection had to come in harmony with the law that made death the wages of sin.” (The Blood of Christ, ‘Very Simple, very Reasonable’ pg. 7 Logos ed). That is a glorious truth and this provided us with one who should be a mediator between God and man who is the dispenser of forgiveness and salvation as well as our righteous judge.
Would you now please explain how sin could be condemned in Christ who was sinless, and how could the righteousness of God be declared in the blood shedding of a righteous man?
Being born of Adam’s condemned race and partaking of their condemned nature, Christ was equally subject to the consequences of Adam’s transgression. Therefore, his public execution was a public demonstration of the righteous treatment of sin. It proclaimed how condemned human nature should be treated according to the righteousness of God; it is fit only for destruction. It pleased God to require this before inviting men to be reconciled to God through the man in whom this upholding of God’s righteousness should take place. (Hebrews 2:14 & 9:26; Romans 1:3 & 6:9-10; the Christadelphian Instructor No.55 & Blood of Christ ‘The Place of Forgiveness’, pg. 10 & 11 Logos ed.). Bro. Thomas says “Sin could not have been condemned in the body of Jesus, if it had not existed there.” (Elpis Israel Part 1, chapter 4 “The Constitution of Sin” pg. 128).
Bro. Roberts states “Christ could not righteously die if death had no dominion over him (Romans 6:9) and it could not have this dominion except through Adam, through Abraham, David and his mother, for he had no sin of his own...In this very real sense, our sins are considered as being laid on him and the beginning was made by making him of the same death – inheriting nature from Eden…God’s plan of righteousness…required that the sufferer, while himself in the channel of death so far as nature was concerned, should himself not be a sinner, that he should be the Lamb of God, without spot, undefiled….The man produced through Mary by the Spirit of God combined the two essential qualities for a sacrifice; he was the very nature condemned in Eden and therefore wrong was not done when he was impaled upon the cross. ‘It pleased the Lord to bruise him.’ Would it please the Lord to do iniquity? No: therefore it was right. But how could it be right, unless he were the very condemned stock?” (Blood of Christ pg. 8-9 Logos ed.). “This is why it was necessary that Jesus should be ‘made of the seed of David according to the flesh’ (Romans 1:3), that he might partake of the very flesh and blood of man (Hebrews 2:14). It was that nature that was to be operated upon and redeemed in him.” (Blood of Christ section ‘The Place of Forgiveness’ pg. 11 Logos ed.)
43. Was Christ Himself saved in the redemption he wrought out for us?
Yes. Christ benefited from his own death. “By his own blood he entered once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption,” for himself, as the Greek verb implies. It was therefore necessary that Jesus should offer for himself for the purging of his own nature first, from the uncleanness of death, that having by his own blood obtained eternal redemption in himself, he might be able to save to the uttermost those that come to God by him (Hebrews 9:12; 9:23 & 13:20).
Have you any doubts that Christ, in fulfilling the type of the High Priest under the Mosaic Law, had of necessity to offer for himself as well as for those whom he represented?
Paul says, “The heavenly things themselves,” (i.e. Christ who is the substance prefigured in the Law) had to be “purified,” “with better sacrifices than these,” (i.e. by the sacrifice of Himself). This was accomplished after Christ’s resurrection on the third day when he “ascended” to the Father (John 20:17) in his change of nature, “this corruptible must put on incorruption” (1Corinthians 15:52-54). This physical purification or removal of sin in the flesh was on the basis of the redemption accomplished by his sacrificial death (Hebrews 9:23; 7:27, 8:3 & 5:3).
This is the key issue that distinguishes the Truth from the apostasy of the churches on this vital subject of the nature and sacrifice of Christ. It is the heart of the problem with those who cannot clearly see the scriptural meaning of the sacrifice of Christ. Much of the problem lies in the denial of the second sense in which the word ‘sin’ is used in scripture. Those who deny this aspect say the phrase ‘sin in the flesh’ is merely a figure of speech, and refers to moral, not physical sin. If that was true, it begs the question, how could sin be put to death in the crucifixion of Christ if sin was not actually in Christ’s flesh, and not actually physically put to death? If he himself was unrelated to the sacrificial redemption, then sin was not actually and really put to death, and he never achieved the destruction of the diabolos, the purpose for which he came into the world. His crucifixion then did not manifest the justice and righteousness of God, but the very reverse – injustice and unrighteousness. Therefore the question must be answered in all good conscience: Did he offer as one of those needing the sacrifice as a representative; or did he offer merely on behalf of others, not needing it himself, i.e. as a substitute? Bro. Roberts states “The sacrifice of Christ could not be for us without being for himself inclusively. What was accomplished was accomplished in himself alone. We come on to the foundation he laid. It does not appear how the sacrifice of Christ for us could be scripturally understood without this being perceived. Away from this, the heathen notion of substitution is the only idea that remains” (The Christadelphian, April 1888).
44. Was Christ a substitute (one who takes the place of others) who died instead of us as the churches teach?
No. God’s method of returning sinful man to favour was not by a substitutionary sacrifice, but required the putting to death of man’s condemned and evil nature in a representative man of spotless character, i.e. one who bore our condemned nature and therefore in as much need of redemption from sinful flesh as those he came to save.
That is very important to understand. Without exception, the doctrine that the churches preach on the subject of the nature and sacrifice of Christ, in one form or another, is a substitutionary atonement. That is Christ offered himself by taking the place of those he came to save, punished for the transgression of others, dying instead of them. Under this theory, Christ suffered the wrath of God by suffering their punishment, paying the penalty of their sin. The church doctrine is of a wrathful deity, whose justice can only be appeased by passing sentence upon one who had absolutely no relation to the sin condemned on the cross.
If by the word “sin” we were to accept what the churches teach that it refers only to transgression or moral guilt, then the only way in which we are to understand how God “condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3) was by Christ’s perfect life of obedience! But the united testimony of the scripture is that the reason why Christ came under the beneficial operation of his own death was that he might be saved, redeemed and purified from death by his own blood (Hebrews 13:20; 9:12, 23; 5:7). The removal of this defiled or contaminated nature was by his sacrificial death and resurrection. We can only gain the benefit of what God achieved in Christ by exercising faith in this divine means of redemption and by identification with it through baptism. If we do not believe in this divine method we cannot be saved (Mark 16:15-16; Galatians 1:6-8). To say sin in the flesh was condemned by Christ’s perfect obedience and deny the physical condemnation of “sin in the flesh” by Jesus’s crucifixion is to believe the false doctrine of substitution.
What lies at the foundation of the extreme Rome-ish doctrine of substitution apart from the obvious injustice that it conveys is a complete denial of the two senses in which scripture uses the word sin. This is enshrined in the doctrines that define the anti-Christ - that Christ had not come in sinful flesh, which is the touchstone of the doctrine of the Trinity. The other church doctrine, which this subject has an obvious essential application, is the subject of the devil destroyed in Christ’s death (Hebrews 2:14).
Bro. Roberts shows us, that if Christ died as a substitute for us, he should not have been raised from the dead, which he was. Therefore we should not have to die, which we most certainly do. Bro. Roberts also shows why the doctrine of ‘substitution’ “cannot be the right view, for this remarkable reason, that Christ himself is exhibited to us as coming under the beneficial operation of his own death” (The Blood of Christ section ‘Christ Himself Benefited By His Own Death’ 3 & 4, & 8 Logos ed). The reason why Christ came under the beneficial operation of his own death is stated in scripture that he might himself be saved, redeemed and purified from death by his own blood (Hebrews 13:20; 9:12 & 23 and 5:7). “He ‘obtained redemption’, but not till his own blood was shed” (Law of Moses pg. 173). “Christ himself was included in the sacrificial work… ‘for himself that it might be for us’” (Law of Moses pg. 177). “It was a necessity that he (Christ) should offer up himself, for the purging of his own nature” (Christadelphian 1873 pg. 468). “Christ required redemption from Adamic nature equally with his brethren; and the mode of redemption which God had ordained was a perfect obedience culminating in a sacrificial death” (Christadelphian 1895 pg. 262). Christ needed to be purified by his own death and resurrection. His sinful nature had to be removed by his own sacrifice. “Those who deny Christ’s participation thereof (i.e. sinful nature), deny its removal by sacrifice, and therefore deny the fundamental testimony of the gospel, that he is ‘the Lamb of God, taking away the sin of the world’. (Law of Moses pgs. 173 & 238). Bro. Roberts further shows how the doctrine of substitution “nullifies that other most important element of the Truth, that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God, and that he only is righteous who doeth righteousness. It draws a veil over the truth that we have to ‘work out our salvation’ by a ‘patient continuance in well-doing’ and that he only that endureth to the end shall be saved. It (the doctrine of substitution) undermines that most important testimony of the Gospel that Christ is the judge of who is fit to be saved, and that he will impartially give to every man according to his works” (The Blood of Christ, section ‘Effect on Character’ pg. 15 Logos ed).
For an explanation of the relationship between the false doctrine of substitution and the two senses in which the word ‘sin’ is used in scripture, see Appendix II ‘The False Doctrine of Substitution Explained and Refuted’, on page 166.
45. What is Satan?
It simply means an adversary. Like the word devil, it is an untranslated word. It was originally Hebrew, and was adopted into the Greek and finally transferred to the English.
We in fact read the scriptures intelligently if we read adversary wherever we find ‘Satan’. When we do this we shall find it easy to avoid the popular misconception, which is nothing more than a pagan myth of an infernal fallen angel in opposition to God.
Can you have a good and bad Satan?
Yes. The Angel of Yahweh who stood in the way of Balaam’s ass is referred to as an adversary or Satan. Yahweh Himself is referred to as Satan or an adversary to Israel and caused David to number Israel. The saints in the ecclesia at Pergamos were said to dwell where, “Satan’s seat (or throne) is,” ―Pergamos being the central Roman power in Asia. This power is referred to as “the devil” in Revelation 2:10, which “cast” some of the saints “into prison.” “Sin in the flesh” as manifested in the authorities of the Roman State was the great adversary (or Satan) of the early believers. (Numbers 22:22; 1 Chronicles 21:1 compare 2 Samuel 24:1; Revelation 2:13)
Can you have a good and bad devil?
No. The devil or the personification of sin in the flesh is always set against God, whereas the word Satan can be good or bad depending on the scriptural context. Sin however, is the great Satan or adversary personified in scripture.
46. How then is man tempted?
“Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.” (James 1:14-15). The Lord Jesus says, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery…all these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23). We are tempted both from within as a result of the defiled nature we bear, as well as from without.
Was Jesus tempted?
He was tempted in all points like unto us yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15)
47. You have previously stated that sin was condemned in Christ who knew no sin and Jesus died that through death he might destroy him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb. 2:14). What is the devil?
The Bible devil is a scriptural personification of ‘sin in the flesh’. The devil is understood by its characteristics; it is that in the flesh, “which has the power of death,” and is called sin because the fixing of this evil in the flesh was the result of man’s original transgression. There is no such being as the personal, immortal devil of popular religious belief (Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:14).
As you have stated there is no such being as the personal, immortal devil of popular religious belief. The belief in such a being is due to Greek Mythology and the misunderstanding of certain figures and symbols in the Bible. The Bible devil is a scriptural personification of ‘sin in the flesh.’ The word ‘devil’ is the Greek noun diabolos which Bro.Thomas says, “is the name of that which ‘crosses, or causes to cross, or falls over’ therefore to slander or falsely accuse. Diabolos is therefore a very fit and proper word by which to designate the law of sin and death, or Sin’s Flesh.” (Eureka Vol.1 pg. 249) and as a scriptural personification of sin, has slandered or falsely accused Yahweh’s law from the beginning, whose stronghold is the flesh, as a result of man believing the serpent’s lie. Note bro. Thomas does not say the devil is transgression of God’s law but rather what causes it, i.e. “Sin’s Flesh,” the physical “flesh and blood” nature of man. The Bible devil is manifested in many ways, individually and in the aggregate, in political and religious opposition, but all have their origin in the disobedience of flesh and blood to Divine Law. The Bible presents the ‘devil’ or ‘sin in the flesh’ as the source of all our problems and all the evil man commits as a result of this principle dwelling in us. The devil presents itself in our inner thoughts, and in those who would tempt us to do evil. The devil in its largest manifestation exists in the present religious and political constitution of things upon the earth. The Son of God was manifested expressly for the purpose of destroying the devil and his works, that is Sin in its two scriptural aspects, root and branch. (Romans 7:17-25 & 8:1-3; Hebrews 9:26; Romans 6:23; James 1:14-15 & 4:7; John 13:27 & 6:70; Acts 5:3-9; Ephesians 2:2; 1 Timothy 5:14-15 & 1:20; Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33; Luke 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; Revelation 2:12-13; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 2:10; Romans 16:20; Revelation 12:3 & 17, 17:9 & 12, 20:2; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8).
48. What opened the way that on the third day for God to righteously raise Jesus from the dead and exalt him as High Priest and mediator between God and man?
Jesus under severe trial never sinned requiring forgiveness. It was this that opened the way for his resurrection. Had he been a sinner as all other men and women, death would have held the power over him that it had over them. God raised him from the dead after he destroyed the devil or that which has the power of death which Paul says is “sin, the sting of death” (1Corinthians 15:56) and being raised from the dead, “death hath no more dominion over him.” “He ever liveth to make intercession for us, and is able to save to the uttermost all those who come unto God by him.”
That is very true, and in this way he has become the righteousness of God to all who would be saved by the belief and obedience of the truth. (1 Corinthians 15:4-23; Hebrews 7:26 & 4:15; John 8:46; Matthew 3:17; Acts 10:40-43; 1 John 3:5; Acts 2:24-27 & 4:10-12 & 27); (Statement of the Faith No.13 on page 127).
49. What is a mediator? Does he mediate for everyone?
A mediator is one who goes between. There is one mediator between God and man the man Christ Jesus. He is the mediator of the new covenant and is a priest over his own household only. He does not intercede for the world or for those who though they may claim to be God’s servants, have abandoned themselves to disobedience.
The scriptures tell us that Christ makes intercession for his erring brethren if they confess and forsake their sins. (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:1-6 & 12:24; Luke 24:51; Ephesians 1:20; Acts 5:31, 15:4 & 13:39; Hebrews 4:14-15; John 17:9; Hebrews 10:26; 1 John 2:1; Proverbs 28:13)(Statement of the Faith No.14, pg. 127)
On the question of whether God hears the prayers of the unbaptised, refer to Appendix I ‘Does God hear the prayers of the unbaptised?’, pg. 165. We should note that even Cornelius (a devout man, who feared God with all his household and prayed continually) who clearly was a proselyte to the Jewish religion and therefore understood “the Hope of Israel” and desired to approach God in an acceptable way, still had to be guided in the way of truth with respect to the Atonement that he and his household might understand the gospel in full and then be baptized.
We know the Lord sent forth his apostles to proclaim salvation through him as the only name given under heaven whereby men may be saved. (Statement of the Faith No.15, pg. 127) You have said that the way to obtain this salvation is to believe the Gospel the apostles preached and to take on the name and service of Christ by being baptized. Christ gave the command to be baptized, and we may not ignore the commandments of Christ and be blameless. The Apostle John recorded this of Jesus: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) Jesus explains here that baptism is not an option. A man cannot enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water, in his baptism, and of the spirit, after his resurrection to life.
What do we have to do then if we are to be found worthy at Christ’s return?
We must continue patiently in the observance of all things the Lord has commanded. (Romans 2:7; Matthew 28:20)
We must recognize that while faith turns a sinner into a saint, obedience only will secure a saint’s acceptance at the judgment seat of Christ. Disobedient saints will be rejected more decisively than the unjustified sinner. The rule of life must be obedience to the commandments of Christ. (Bro. Roberts’ Bible Reading Companion)
After the obedience of baptism, what other commandments has Christ delivered for our observance?
He has commanded us to assemble ourselves together every first day of the week to break bread and drink wine in remembrance of him. (Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25; Acts 20:7; Hebrews 10:25)
The bread and wine are the ritual symbols of the death of Christ. We partake of them and thereby identify ourselves with what God accomplished by the Lord Jesus’ sacrificial death, in the declaration of God’s righteousness by the condemnation of sin in the flesh. By our participation we show forth that we truly appreciate God’s love in the giving of His Son and desire to be transformed into the image of him who loved us and gave himself for us; that by His grace, through faith, hope to receive God’s gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ our redeemer.
50. The doctrine of the churches denies the principle of obedience as the basis of our acceptance with God in Christ by its preaching of humanism and human rights. What are some of the other commandments of Christ we must obey to be accepted at the judgment seat?
We must “love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with our entire mind,” and “love our neighbour as ourselves.” We are therefore, to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who badly use us. We are to be ready to do every good work, to give to those who ask, to relieve the afflicted i.e. to follow after whatsoever things are true, honest, pure, just, lovely and of good report. (Matthew 22:37; Luke 6:27-28; Matthew 5:44 & 42; Philippians 4:8)
What are some things we are not to do?
We are commanded not to return evil for evil, not to avenge ourselves but rather give place to wrath and suffer ourselves to be defrauded. We are not to labour to be rich or to love the world. We are not to grudge, complain, criticize, speak evil of or condemn our brethren and sisters. We are not to give way to anger, wrath, bitterness or evil speaking. We are not to talk spitefully or speak of others’ sins until we have spoken to them ourselves first. We are not to be guilty of adultery, fornication, uncleanness, drunkenness, covetousness, wrath, strife, sedition, hatred, rivalry, boasting, vainglory, envy, jesting or foolish talking (Romans 12:17-20; 1 Timothy 6:8; 1 Peter 3:9; James 4:11; Matthew 7:1; Ephesians 4:31; Matthew 18:15; James 5:19-20; Ephesians 5:3-4).
51. Will belief in the Gospel save us if we are disobedient to Christ’s commands?
No. Our belief of the Gospel and baptism will only be to our condemnation if we live in disobedience to the commandments of Christ. Only those who do his commandments will at last be among the blessed. Christ said, “Ye are my friends if you do whatsoever I have commanded you.” (Revelation 22:14; Matthew 7:26; 2 Peter 2:21; John 15:14 & 14:15; Statement of the Faith No.16 pg. 127).
Will you try to be obedient?
52. Is there forgiveness for those who having submitted to the Gospel, may fail in rendering a perfect obedience to the commandments of Christ?
Yes. If there were not, no flesh could be saved. Forgiveness is conditional upon our confessing and forsaking our sins and our ability to forgive others. However, forgiveness is only granted at the intercession of Christ. If we are unforgiving, or if he refuses to intercede, there is no hope for us. (Psalm 130:3-4; 1 John 1:7-9 & 2:1; Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34; Matthew 6:15; John 17:9).
The true religion of God is a system of Faith and Practice. Bro. Thomas asks “…where is obedience to the gospel of the kingdom in the name of Jesus? Whoever thinks of obeying this? And yet He comes to take vengeance on all who obey it not (2 Thess. 1:8). I cannot too earnestly commend the words of Samuel to the attention of the reader in this place. ‘Hath the Lord,’ saith he, ‘as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry’ (1 Sam. 15:22, 23). A great principle is set forth in these words. It is that which can alone place men in harmony with the religion of God. Without it a man may in deed know the truth, but he must believe and do if he would inherit the kingdom which has been preparing from the foundation of the world…All the Most High requires of men is just to believe what He has done, what He teaches, and what He promises; to obey the law of faith; to take care of the poor of His flock; and to keep themselves unspotted from the world. This is pure and undefiled religion (James 1:27). But, alas! Where is it to be found?” (Elpis Israel Chapter 5 “The way to the tree of life” pg. 167-168).
“In the mental constitution of man, God designed that the sentiments (or feelings that produce hope and belief, etc. that made man a morally accountable being) enlightened by His truth, should have the ascendancy, and preside over, and govern his actions. Under such an arrangement, the thoughts of the man would have resulted from spiritual thinking as opposed to the thoughts of the inferior creatures, which are purely the thinking of the flesh (the propensities or lusts). Where the truth has possession of the sentiments, setting them to work and so forming the thoughts, it becomes the law of God to them; which the apostle styles ‘the law of his mind’; and because it is written there through the hearing of ‘the law and the testimony’, which came to the prophets and apostles through the spirit, he terms it, ‘the law of the spirit’ inscribed ‘on the fleshly tables of the heart’; and ‘the law of the spirit of life’ because while obeyed, it confers a right to eternal life.” (Romans 7:23; 8:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:3)” (Elpis Israel Part 1, chapter 3 ‘The Carnal Mind’ pg. 89).
53. You have said that our faith is counted to us for righteousness when we obey the truth in baptism. What is faith?
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence (or conviction) of things not seen”. It is the act of mind by which we believe or have confidence in the promises God has made (Hebrews 11:1; Romans 4:3, 9 & 20).
54. You have said faith is a confidence or conviction in what God has promised. What was God’s first promise?
After man sinned, Yahweh Elohim spoke to the serpent in the presence of Adam and Eve: “I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed (serpent’s seed) and her seed: it (the woman’s seed) shall bruise thy head (serpent’s head) and thou shalt bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15).
55. How did sin enter the world?
Paul tells us that by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin (Romans 5:12).
It is the rule of God’s grace that before He exalts man they must pass through an indispensable period of probation. Probation characterized by the obedience of faith tested under trial. For this purpose Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden and given a law to keep. This was a test of their obedience aimed at demonstrating faith in their lives to the glory of God.
What was the law they were commanded to keep?
God commanded them that they could eat of all the trees of the garden into which God had placed them but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they could not eat of it lest they die. Eve was beguiled by the serpent’s reasoning and ate of the tree. This thinking of the serpent which had aroused Eve’s desires was now presented by Eve to her husband and he also ate of the forbidden fruit (Romans 5:12; 2 Timothy 2:20-21; 1 Peter 1:5-7; Genesis 3:1-7; 2 Corinthians 11:3).
56. What was the serpent?
The serpent was one of the living creatures Yahweh Elohim made, which He pronounced as “very good.” It was subtler or shrewd, quick of perception, than any other creature God had made. God enabled it to speak, to give utterance to its thoughts (Genesis 1:24-25 & 3:1).
Was the serpent moral, i.e. could it understand the difference between right and wrong?
No. Its ability to speak did not give it moral accountability. The thinking of its flesh could not ascend to faith being as an animal without the physical ability to believe. Its speech only expressed fleshly thoughts as generated by its sensations. Being more observant and reasoning than the other creatures God had made, it must have overheard the Angels in conversation with Adam in respect to God’s law (Genesis 3:1; Ecclesiastes 3:21).
Were the serpent’s words to Eve the truth?
No. It was a lie for God had said dying thou shall die.
Did it intend to deceive Eve?
The serpent was incapable as an animal, of moral intention. It unintentionally deceived Eve and caused her to come under the sentence of death.
(Note Elpis Israel pg. 88).
57. What happened when Eve listened to the serpent question what God had said and utter a totally false statement?
The reasoning of the serpent was not immediately dismissed as the Lord Jesus gave example when he was tempted after 40 days in the wilderness. In contrast the serpent was listened to; its reasoning thought upon and then accepted as truth, which aroused desire or lust for equality with God, which tempted them to take of the tree. This desire was then given into and they sinned first in their hearts and then by putting into action their deceitful lusts.
Why was it necessary that the serpent, by Divine arrangement be the source of trial to test man’s faith?
Adam and Eve were not created mortal (i.e. subject to death), but ‘very good’. Adam’s transgression resulted in the defilement of his body. This defilement has been inherited by all Adam’s descendants including Christ. Unlike Adam and Eve before sin entered into the world, we are born into a state in which we are subject to disease, death and to a law of sin in our bodies which incites us to transgress. ‘Sin in the flesh’ (or diabolos) was not the quality of Adam’s nature before he transgressed, therefore the serpent was placed in the garden to expose man to false reasoning as a means of testing man’s faith without in any way violating God’s righteousness.
What was the result of Eve and then Adam through Eve, adopting the reasoning of the serpent?
The adoption of the serpent’s reasoning caused “enmity” (hostility) against God’s law and God Himself. God had warned that transgression against His law would result in the sentence of death. Man’s sin as a result, became a physical defilement in their bodies which was inherited by all Adams descendants including, as we have noted Christ. Paul refers to this physical defilement as “the law of sin in my members,” which resulted in him possessing “a body of death,” which would lead eventually to death. As these elements of corruption in their bodies were the result of transgression, Paul refers to it as, “the law of sin” and because death is the wages of sin, he also refers to it as, “the law of sin and death” (Genesis 3:15, 2:17; Romans 7:23-24 & 8:2).
58. What does the serpent symbolize in the scriptures?
It is a symbol of “sin in the flesh” - the serpent in the flesh (John 3:14-16; 1Corinthians 15:56; Romans 8:3).
Jesus said his body crucified on the cross fulfilled the type of Moses lifting up the flesh - coloured serpent in the wilderness (John 3:14-16; Numbers 21:9). That serpent represented ‘sin,’ for Paul says, “the sting of death is sin” (1Corinthians 15:56). Therefore Jesus’ Body crucified = “condemned sin in the flesh” = the brazen serpent lifted up.
Bro. Thomas shows man’s adoption of the serpent mind and the belief of its untruthful reasonings caused a similar mode of thinking to be generated in the minds of Eve and her husband. “Hence the carnal mind, or thinking of the flesh, unenlightened by the truth, is the serpent in the flesh….By a figure, sin is put for the serpent, the effect (sin) for the cause (the serpent); seeing that it was the suggester of unbelief and disobedience to man, by whom it entered into the world. Hence the idea of the serpent in the flesh is expressed by ‘sin in the flesh’; which was ‘condemned in the flesh’ when Jesus was crucified for, or on account of, sin, ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh’.” (Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 3 ‘The Carnal Mind’ pg. 91-92).
In your own words, how do you think this relates to Christ?
Christ came to destroy “sin in the flesh,” or the devil and his works. This sinful flesh was lifted up when His body was nailed to the cross for, or on account of sin. In this sense, He fulfilled the type of Moses lifting up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, that those bitten by the fiery serpents would in faith look upon it and live. It is only in this sense that Christ “was made sin for us who knew no sin”. He was subject to a nature in which “serpent-sin” was an all pervading element in his flesh and therefore subject to the sentence of death and impulses of the flesh. He however put to death all unlawful obedience to these lusts being absolutely obedient to God’s word, even to the death of the cross (Hebrews 2:14; Romans 8:3; 1 John 3:8; Numbers 21:9; John 3:14-16; 11 Cor. 5:21).
As we have tried to emphasize, the object was to open a way out of this state, both for himself and his brethren, by death and resurrection after trial. It pleased God to require the condemnation of this sin-nature; a body under the dominion of death because of sin; in crucifixion, in the person of a righteous possessor of it, as the basis of our forgiveness.
59. Can you explain Genesis 3:15?
“And I (God) will put enmity (hatred and hostility) between thee (serpent, symbol of “sin in the flesh” embodied in the political and religious opposition of the world) and the woman (symbol of the ecclesia of God) and between thy seed (the serpent’s seed or the servants of sin) and her seed (the servants of righteousness); it (woman’s seed in the singular - the Lord Jesus) shall bruise thy head (serpent’s or Sin), and thou (serpent-power) shall bruise his heel (woman’s seed).”
It is a prophecy of the enmity (hostility) between “sin in the flesh” embodied in the political and religious opposition of the world (symbolized by the serpent) and God’s people (symbolized by the woman), which will result in the final triumph of God’s truth over sin. The means by which God’s word could have this victory was through Christ (woman’s seed - “the word made flesh”). The seed of the serpent (or Sin) manifested through the Roman power and initiated by the chief priests of Israel, but by the foreknowledge and determinant council of God, bruised Christ in the heel (a temporary wound) by crucifying the Lord but God was to raise him from the dead. In this act of malice and wickedness against him Christ would however strike Sin a fatal blow. By this means, God through Christ, condemned the serpent in the flesh, or “sin in the flesh,” (the devil or the root of all rebellion against God) a deathblow to the head, through the offering of his body once for all, to declare God’s righteousness as the basis for the remission of sins. (Statement of the Faith No.12 pg. 127).
This great work set forth from the foundation of the world required a body specifically prepared for sacrifice (Hebrews 10:5 & 10). This is illustrated by the fact that immediately after sentence was passed upon the serpent the woman and the man, that Yahweh Elohim “appointed coats of skins” for their covering. This command implies sacrifice of animals which pointed forward to what would be accomplished as outlined in this first promise of Genesis 3:15. This sacrificial condemnation of sin was to be accomplished in the seed of the woman who bore the very defiled nature that was the result of man’s rebellion. For God’s righteousness to be declared it necessitated that before this sacrificial condemnation could take place Christ had to pass through a period of trial like Adam in which his faith would be put to the test. Christ overcame by perfect obedience, defeated, held transfixed and crucified the power of sin within him. This opened the way so that God could publicly condemn sin in the flesh and actually destroy the diabolos, or Sin physically through the death of the cross. In the terms of Genesis 3:15, this was a work accomplished in Christ’s flesh. The Lord Jesus himself draws comparison between his actual body lifted up and the brazen serpent Moses lifted up in the wilderness (John 3:14-15) symbolizing that which has ‘the sting of death’ which is ‘sin’ (1 Corinthians 15:56). Sin in the flesh, having been publicly condemned in Christ’s sacrifice, his body was purified or purged of the physical ‘law of sin and death’ on the third day when he was given immortality (Note: Eureka Vol I pg. 248). By this divinely appointed means Christ received the right from God to bestow the same blessing on all who should in faith and obedience come to God through him.
The whole divine purpose of salvation from death―including Christ’s own redemption― depended on the seed of the woman overcoming the diabolos through perfect obedience, and then by the body of sin being lifted up in public condemnation so as to declare ‘This is how condemned human nature should be treated according to the righteousness of God;’ it is fit only for destruction (The Blood of Christ, section ‘The place for forgiveness, pg. 11 Logos ed.). Diabolos was then put to death before all men to make plain and vindicate God’s holiness as the basis of acceptable approach and the forgiveness of sins.
Is there a further application to Genesis 3:15?
Yes. The enmity the woman’s seed (Christ) experienced at the hands of the Romans (the old serpent power) was but a taste of what the woman’s seed, in a plural sense as manifested in Christ’s disciples, would experience in a long conflict from the time of Christ’s ascension until his return. In this, many of Christ’s followers have also been bruised in the heel, but will prove to only be a temporary bruising, for they shall be raised from the dead along with those who are responsible at Christ’s appearing and kingdom. At Christ’s second appearing with his Immortal Saints, he will contend with the old serpent “Gog,” (Russian/European confederacy) who will control the territory of the Ancient Roman Empire. In the battle of Armageddon this sin-power (the devil and Satan) will be overwhelmed and bound 1000 years until the end of Christ’s millennial reign. The Book of Revelation states there will be a rebellion against Christ’s authority at the end of this time resulting in the final destruction of the power of Sin. At that time the second resurrection and judgment (of those who died during the 1000-year reign of Christ) will take place. The righteous will be given immortality and the wicked destroyed. Only sinless immortals shall then inhabit the earth. Thus, the serpent-power will be given its final deathblow to the head and Genesis 3:15 will be fulfilled completely. Christ who overcame the world in his own person will “take away the sin of the world,” and will “make all things new.” Every curse will then cease, and death will be swallowed up in victory; for death shall be no more. (Revelation 12; 2 Timothy 4:1; Ezekiel 38; Revelation 16:14, 20:2-15; Genesis 3:15; John 16:33; Revelation 21:5, 22:3 & 21:4)
60. What did God say to the woman?
“Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16).
61. What did God say to the man?
“And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow you shall eat of it all the days of your life;” “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field;” “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return unto the ground; for out of it you were taken: for dust you are, and unto dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19).
62. After man’s rebellion, did God permit them to stay in the garden He had placed them?
No. The Angels drove them from the garden so they could not partake of the Tree of Life and become immortal sinners.
63. What did God provide Adam and Eve?
God provided them with skins of lambs to cover their nakedness.
Why was this necessary and what did it signify?
These animal skins the Lord Jesus tells us in the last book of the Bible were lamb skins “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world” and represented the sacrifice that the seed of the woman was to make for his people thereby providing a covering for sin. (Hebrews 9:22; John 1:29; Revelation 13:8).
We see in these God’s arrangements, first of all in the poured out blood, the symbol of the life offered (Leviticus 17:11). It was the ritual recognition and declaration by the worshipper that he was under condemnation and had no right to his life. He acknowledged this in coming to God in this appointed way. Man was humbled and God exalted. By this humble approach man acknowledged that the cause of death was the breach of God’s supremacy in the beginning, and the restoration of that supremacy is the condition under which God’s grace is extended to man. Bro. Roberts states “The lesson of sacrifice is not so much the idea of man’s punishment as God’s vindication” (The Law of Moses pg. 91). That vindication was ultimately set forth through the death of Christ by which man was asked to see, “that God might be just” while acting the part of justifier or forgiver. The sacrifice of lambs at the beginning to provide a covering for man did not illustrate this, except typically and preliminarily. It did not, as Bro. Roberts explains, exhibit the righteousness of God except in a prophetic sense; it was a type of the true exhibition of God’s righteousness that God would accomplish in the Lamb of His providing.
Bro. Thomas shows that when the sacrifice of Adam was accepted, his and his wife’s offence was “provisionally remitted for “the scripture saith, that it is not possible for the blood of animals to take away sins. (Heb. 10:4) It was impossible, because sin was to be condemned in sinful flesh… The great principle to be compassed was the condemnation of sin in sinful flesh, innocent of actual transgression. This principle necessitated the manifestation of one, who should be born of a woman, but not of the will of man… He would be Son of God by origination; and Son of Mary by descent, or birth of sinful flesh. Now it is not to be supposed that Adam and Eve did not understand this: God doubtless explained it to them; for they had none to teach them but Him, and without His instruction, they would not have known what they should believe… Adam and his wife had faith, or God would not have accepted the sacrifices with whose skins they were clothed; for it was as true then as it is now, that "without faith it is impossible to please God." (Elpis Israel Part 1, chapter 5 “The Way to the Tree of Life” pg. 164).
God therefore calls upon us to understand, admire, and recognize, so that we have the opportunity to humbly and thankfully identify with what God has done for us in the death of Christ. “To declare the righteousness of God” was the condition of the exercise of His forbearance. That is to say, God maintains His own righteousness and His own Supremacy while forgiving us, and exacts the recognition of them and submission to them, as the condition of the exercise of His forbearance in the remission of our sins. (Note The Blood of Christ section ‘The Conditions of Forgiveness’ pg. 5 & 6 Logos ed.)
Why was the fig leaf (Adam and Eve’s invention) an unacceptable covering?
Such a covering did not involve the shedding of blood. Blood is the life of the flesh (Leviticus 17). The principle of how man was to be redeemed necessitated the humble recognition of what was due to man from God because of sin. This is the reason why Christ was made subject equally with those of the defiled race He came to save.
We therefore can see that from the foundation of the world God ordained the sacrificial shedding of blood as the means by which mankind could be cleansed from the defilement of ‘sin in the flesh’ brought on the race through Adam. This was to vindicate God and humble man. God was pleased to require this before extending his grace and forbearance to fallen man. This divine principle, so that God’s righteousness might be declared, of necessity had to apply to all mankind, including Christ.
64. In conjunction with the man and the woman’s eyes being opened as a result of eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was the conception of Cain. Abel his brother was born after him. Can you tell me what scripture reveals about their lives?
Cain was a tiller of the ground while Abel was a keeper of sheep. In the course of time both men came to worship Yahweh probably at the entrance of the Garden of Eden where Yahweh’s Angel guarded the way to the Tree of Life. Cain brought of the fruit of the ground as an offering, while Abel brought of the firstlings of the flock “and of the fat thereof.” Yahweh had previously revealed His will that “without the shedding of blood there can be no remission,” of sins. Cain’s offering was rejected but Abel’s was accepted. This made Cain jealous, bitter and uncontrollably angry and when opportunity presented itself he murdered Abel. Yahweh raised up another son to Adam called Seth who took Abel’s place. He and his descendants worshipped Yahweh in truth and constituted the “seed of the woman,” while Cain who was expelled from God’s presence and his descendants were the seed of the serpent. (Hebrews 9:22; Genesis 4 & 3:15).
What principle is revealed in Yahweh’s rejection of Cain and acceptance of Abel’s offering?
“My ways are not your ways neither are my thoughts your thoughts says Yahweh.” Cain wanted to worship Yahweh contrary to what he knew to be God’s revealed will. Abel humbly submitted to God’s will and offered “a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,” by which he was declared “righteous.” (Isaiah 55:8; Hebrews 11:4).
Yahweh had revealed that before man could be invited to reconciliation, His righteousness had to be declared by the public demonstration of what is due to sin. Abel and the sacrifice he offered pointed forward to the submission of Christ, the declaration of God’s righteousness, and the condemnation of sin in the flesh in the body of Christ, as the Lamb of God which should take away the sin of the world (Romans 3:25-26; Romans 8:3; John 1:29).God therefore restricts forgiveness to those who fear Him and submit to the conditions He has provided. Bro. Roberts states, “If you will recognize your position, repent, and come under that man’s wing, I will receive you back to favour and forgive you….It is in Him for you if you will submit, and believe in him, and put on his name, which is a confession that you have no name of your own that will stand. Obey his commandments, and I will receive you and forgive you for his sake, and you shall be my sons and daughters.” (The Blood of Christ section “Heaven’s Etiquette’ pg. 10 Logos ed.).
65. We read in Genesis 6 of the call of Noah. What was the world like in Noah’s day?
We read that the sons of God who were the descendants of Seth began to marry the daughters of men, the descendants of Cain. The sons of God had before this time remained separate from the corrupting influence of the descendants of Cain but now they were seduced and the whole world became corrupt before Yahweh, being filled with violence, men’s hearts were evil continually. Only Noah found grace in Yahweh’s sight (Genesis 6).
What does this teach us about marrying outside of the truth?
Being unequally yoked with unbelievers is always dangerous, much more so in the closest union of all - marriage (2 Corinthians 6:14).
In the Doctrines to be rejected No. 34 (pg. 130) marriage with the unbeliever is stated to be unlawful. Bro. Thomas commenting upon the marriages between the sons of God (or descendants of Seth) and the daughters of men says “This was a fatal step. Can a man take fire into his bosom, and not be burned? The sons of God corrupted themselves in marrying the daughters of Cain. Instead of bringing them over to ‘the way of the tree of life,’ they were beguiled into ‘the way of Cain’ (Jude 11). For sons of God to marry daughters of Belial is to jeopardize their fidelity to God. This practice has ever been fruitful of apostasy.” (Elpis Israel Part 1 chapter 4 ‘The Antediluvian apostasy’ pg. 121). Therefore the wisdom of God directs that if a baptized member of Christ’s body should be attracted to someone outside of the Truth of necessity do their utmost to engender an interest in that person of the Hope that they have so that that interested friend would themselves desire to share in that hope, and seek baptism before marriage.
What did Yahweh call upon Noah to do?
Noah was commanded to build an ark to save him and his family because Yahweh was going to bring a great flood upon the earth and destroy all flesh. For a period of 120 years Yahweh showed His longsuffering and mercy during which time Noah built this huge vessel and preached to the Antediluvians, warning them of Yahweh’s coming judgments. But they would not listen. (Genesis 6:22; Hebrews 11:7; Genesis 7).
After Yahweh had brought all the animals, birds etc. to Noah to be placed in the ark, Noah and his family (8 souls) went into the ark. Yahweh shut the door seven days before the deluge began. What does this signify?
Likewise, those who are responsible, including the friends of Christ will be gathered out of the nations before God judges the world. (Isaiah 26:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Matthew 24:31).
66. What does the flood and ark symbolize?
The apostle Peter likens the salvation Noah experienced in the ark to baptism. As the waters of the flood saved Noah and his family by washing away the sinful Antediluvian world, so too are our sins washed away at baptism. By baptism we enter Christ who is our ark of safety. If we continue to walk in this newness of life, which we put on at baptism, we will be found “in Christ,” at the Lord’s appearing. We will be saved when Yahweh pours out His judgments on a world, which Christ said would be just as it was in the days of Noah at His second advent. (1 Peter 3:20; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:4; Galatians 3:27; Luke 17:26-27).
What was the symbol of God’s covenant with Noah after he came out of the ark and what does it signify?
As a token of the covenant that Yahweh would never destroy the earth again by a flood He set a rainbow in the cloud. This token of the covenant looks forward to that time after Christ’s return and God’s judgments have cleansed the world of all unrighteousness when the world will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh. (Revelation 4:2; Revelation 10; Numbers 14:21; Isaiah 11:9).
What races came from Noah’s three sons Ham, Shem and Japheth?
Ham is the father of the dark races, Japheth of the Gentiles and Shem is the progenitor through which Abraham and the Jews came (Genesis 10).
67. After the flood and as man began to multiply again in the earth, the scriptures tell us that the population contrary to God’s will remained together as a group and moved east into the area of Shinar (Babylon) where they built the Tower of Babel. Was this pleasing to God?
68. What did Yahweh do at the Tower of Babel?
Yahweh wanted Noah’s descendants to multiply and replenish the earth so the Elohim (Angels) confounded man’s language giving man a multiplicity of tongues so that they would be scattered abroad over the face of the earth (Genesis 9:1 & 11:6-9).
Do you think this confusion of tongues will go on forever?
No. The prophet Zephaniah states that after the great battle of Armageddon Yahweh in the kingdom age will “turn to the people a pure language,” then the nations of the earth will “serve Him with one consent.” (Revelation 16:14-16; Zephaniah 3: 8-9).