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Apostolic Archives Blog

Announcing a new blog….

Apostolic Archives Blog
http://apostolicarchives.wordpress.com/

Vintage, classic copies of apostolic publications (Pentecostal Herald, Apostolic Sentinel, Apostolic Standard) have been scanned and may be viewed.

Enjoy!

Rev. Tim D. Cormier

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JACOB’S TROUBLE: The Bride’s Blessed Hope?

 

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

—Titus 2:13

 

The Church Age

Many Apostolics believe the Church will go through the Tribulation. In fact, those who are promoting so-called “End-Time Revival” in the Church Age are obviously compelled to so teach. However, careful analysis of the Scriptures reveals the un­tenable nature of such a position. FOR THE APOSTOLIC CHURCH, THE MYSTICAL BODY AND BRIDE OF JESUS CHRIST, IS UNEQUIVO­CALLY SHOWN BY THE SCRIP­TURES TO BELONG TO AN AGE IN WHICH DIVINE WRATH IS KEPT IN ABEYANCE BY ITS VERY PRES­ENCE IN THE WORLD!

The Church of Jesus Christ, by definition, is an administrative instrument of the Grace of God. And as such, it is a con­tradiction in terms with the Great Tribu­lation—a time when this Age of Grace will be but another by-gone era. Those who would place the Church on earth during the Tribulation have not properly discerned the Body of Christ and have misapplied various prophetic passages of Scripture. In short, they are guilty of failing to recognize the true purpose of the Church.

The Purpose of the Church

What is the true purpose of the Church? Simply this: to administer the “economy” or the dispensation of the Grace of God to the world. (Eph. 3:2-7) We are to be “stewards” or administrators of the Grace of God, according to the Apostle Peter: “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the mani­fold grace of God.” (I Pet. 4:10) Like­wise, the Apostle Paul concurs: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Eph. 4:29)

Therefore, it comes as no surprise what­soever to discover that anyone who has ever become a part of this glorious Church has done so by the Grace of God. “For by grace are ye saved through faith….” (Eph. 2:8) Moreover, regardless of what we become or what we achieve as a part of the Church, it must surely be attributed to the Grace of God. “But by the grace of God I am what I am; and his grace, which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (I Cor. 15:10)

The Arena of Grace

Furthermore, it is only in the confines of this arena of Grace that the “gratuities of Grace” (charismata—commonly called the Gifts of the Spirit) may be found. (I Cor. 12:4) Addi­tionally, the Church is the dispenser of “Grace Lessons” through the offices of the ministry: “The grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us….” (Titus 2:11-12) AND IT IS THE CHURCH ALONE WHOSE PREROGATIVE IT IS TO BOLDLY APPROACH THE THRONE OF GRACE TO FIND GRACE TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED! (Heb. 4:16)

Thus, as long as the Church of Jesus Christ is present in this world, the unre­strained wrath of God cannot be poured out upon the earth. Why? Be­cause the Church is the visible repre­sentative of the invisible presence of the Spirit of Jesus Christ working on earth to sanctify a People for His Name. The Tribulation, it should be noted, is “the great day of His wrath.” (Rev. 6:17) Thus, THE PUR­POSE OF THE GREAT TRIBULA­TION IS IN DIAMETRIC OPPOSI­TION TO THE MINISTRY OF GRACE THAT IS INCUMBENT UPON THE CHURCH.

We are not in Darkness

When dealing with the subject of the Tribulation, the Apostle Peter makes it very clear that the Lord is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Such is the very essence of the message of the Gospel of Christ. Nevertheless, he goes on, “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night….” (II Pet. 3:9-10)  The Apos­tle Paul’s words are essentially the same: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” However, we must not fail to notice the important clarification which Divine Inspiration provides us—“BUT YE, BRETHREN, ARE NOT IN DARKNESS, THAT THAT DAY SHOULD OVERTAKE YOU AS A THIEF.” (I Thes. 5:2,4)

Apparently, some have mistaken “persecutions and tribulations”—with which the Church has always had to contend—with the seven-year period of Tribulation known as Jacob’s Trouble, or the Seventieth Week of Daniel. (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1) Yet, although the Lord will allow His People to be tried, it is ut­terly inconceivable that His Bride would ever be the object of His divine wrath. “For”, says the Apostle, “God hath not appointed us to wrath but to obtain sal­vation by our Lord Jesus Christ….” (I Thes. 5:9)

Wrath of God: Comfort?

How tragic it is to consider that the re­turn of Christ for His Saints (which was originally a blessed hope and a source of comfort—Titus 2:13; I Thes. 5:11) has become an event which is anticipated with not a little trepidation by many honest and sincere Apostolics. In­terestingly enough, there is not a single shred of Scriptural support for the claim many are making that the Church will be on earth during the Tribulation.

As a matter of fact, quite the op­posite is true. Notice carefully the words of the Apostle Paul concerning this mat­ter: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be trou­bled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ (i.e., the Lord) is at hand (present). Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, ex­cept there come a (the) falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdi­tion…. And now ye know what with­holdeth (restraineth) that he might be re­vealed in his time. For the mystery of in­iquity doth already work; only he who now letteth (hindereth) will let (continue to hinder) until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked (one) be revealed….” (II Thes. 2:1-8)

Tribulation Prerequisites

Based on this much maligned and oft misunderstood passage, there are two critical events that must happen before the “day of the Lord” (i.e., the Tribula­tion) can begin: first, there must come a “falling away”; and then the “man of sin” must be re­vealed.

Who among us would doubt that the first of these criteria has already been met? That the majority of nominal Christen­dom possesses only a powerless shell of what the Gospel is supposed to be is an unimpeachable witness to this fact. Every church that claims to be Christian but does not preach and prac­tice the Apos­tolic message of Acts 2:38 is but another tendril of the vine of Apostasy that began at Babylon and worked its way to Rome.

What, then, can be said about the unveil­ing of the identity of the anti-Christ? First of all, it should be noted that HE CAN­NOT BE REVEALED UNTIL A CER­TAIN “RESTRAINING FORCE” IS REMOVED. Verses 6, 7 and 8 of II Thessalonians chapter 2 give proof of this fact. This restraining force cannot but be the Body of Christ, which is His Church. Witness the words of the Apos­tle: “To wit, that God was in Christ rec­onciling the world unto Himself, not im­puting their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of rec­onciliation. Now then we are ambassa­dors for Christ, as though God did be­seech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (II Cor. 5:19-20) What more evidence could be desired to show that as long as the Church of Jesus Christ is present in it, it would be at least counter-productive for the Lord to dispense His wrath upon this world?!

Imminent Rapture

Thus, it becomes clear that the Tribula­tion cannot begin until the anti-Christ has been revealed. And the anti-Christ will not be known until the Church is “taken out of the way”. This event, commonly called the “Rapture”, has been imminent ever since the very days of the Apostles. It is obvious, for example, that the Apostle Paul anticipated the return of Christ for the Church in his days. “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (precede) them who are asleep….” (I Thes. 4:15-17) The obser­vant reader will notice that NOT A SIN­GLE PROPHECY EXISTS THAT MUST BE FULFILLED BEFORE THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH!

If, however, the Church must go through the Tribulation before it is rap­tured, then the rapture has not been im­minent since 70 A.D., nor is it imminent now. For if anything at all about the Tribulation is obvious, it is the fact that the anti-Christ is going to cause “the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” in the middle of the week (7-year period) of Jacob’s Trouble. (Dan. 9:27) This is referred to in Scrip­ture as the “abomination of desolation.” (Matt. 24:15)

Unless we are to seriously enter­tain the unlikely notion that the destruc­tion of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. fulfilled this proph­ecy, then Israel must begin the process of animal sacrifices again some time before the middle of the Tribulation. And al­though virtually everything neces­sary for the sacrifices and the oblations to resume is in place—indeed, they may already have re­sumed by now—the fact still remains that for over nineteen centuries there have been no sacrifices and oblations which an anti-Christ could have caused to cease.

Thus, it is certain that the Tribu­lation could not have reached its mid-point at any time in the history of the Church until now. Therefore, IF, as many are claiming, THE CHURCH MUST GO THROUGH THE TRIBULATION, THE RAPTURE HAS NOT BEEN IMMI­NENT AT ANY TIME SINCE 70 A.D.!

Why? Simply because the pres­ence of contingent factors destroys the quality of imminency. In other words, if the Tribu­lation cannot occur without animal sacri­fices in Israel, and if the Rapture is to oc­cur after the Tribulation (as some sup­pose), then the fact that there have been no animal sacrifices in Israel means that the Tribulation could not occur, and as a result the Rapture has not been immi­nent. How could the Apostle have been so blind?!

Source of Confusion

Perhaps the source of most of the confu­sion on this subject is the failure to dis­cern between the Scriptures pertaining to the Church (the seed of Abraham by faith), and those which deal exclusively with Israel (the seed of Abraham accord­ing to the flesh). It is unquestionably clear from the writings of the Apostle Paul to the Romans that God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew, i.e., the nation of Israel. Furthermore, blindness in part is happened unto Is­rael—UNTIL THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES BE COME IN. (Rom. 11:2,25)

Tragically, the Gentiles in the Bride of Christ all too often make the same mis­take Israel made when it comes to un­derstanding God’s plan for other Ages. Many times in our evangelistic zeal and fervor we make rash statements which cannot be substantiated with Scripture; e.g., “No one will be in Heaven who wasn’t baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ.” For such a state­ment to be accu­rate it must be altered to indicate that anyone who hasn’t been baptized prop­erly will be excluded from the BRIDE OF CHRIST, THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH. Otherwise, the vast array of Old Testament Saints would be as equally condemned as the unbelievers of this present age. Such, by the way, is the only explanation for the conversion of the penitent thief: like Abraham, he be­lieved God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. But neither Abraham nor the penitent thief became members of the Bride of Christ!

Gentile Bride Foretold

The words of James, fresh with Holy Ghost anointing, give us a clear picture of God’s plan as he quotes from the an­cient scrolls: “…God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tab­ernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up….” (Acts 15:14-16)

The Church, as has been aptly noted by others, was not an afterthought of God. Yet, many believe God turned to the Gentiles for a Church only because Israel had rejected Him. However, care­ful scrutiny and close analysis of the Scrip­tures reveal that Israel was a figure of the Church, and the Law of Moses was a “shadow of good things to come.” (I Cor. 10:6,11; Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 9:23-24,10:1) And while Israel, as a nation, will not be a part of the Church, neither will the Church preempt the position of Israel as God’s natural people. (Rom. 11:23-24,28-29)

Children of Promise

It should be noted here that Israel’s re­jection of the Messiah was largely due to the fact that in their zeal to see the King­dom set up they had overlooked the suf­ferings of Messiah that were to precede it. And though literally thousands of the Jews believed, Israel as a nation did not receive the Gospel of Christ.

The explanation given by the Apostle Paul is illustrated by a simple al­legory: the nation of Israel corresponds to Ish­mael, who was born after the flesh; the Church answers to Isaac, who was the child of promise. (Gal. 4:21-31) Thus Israel remains to this day the “natural” or fleshly people of God—temporarily set aside, but in no wise cast away! And af­ter the Church is taken out, God will once again turn to Israel. For “all Israel shall be saved.” (Rom. 11:1,26)

In the Days of Noah

In Enoch we see a clear type of the Church: “And Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him.” (Gen. 5:24) The Church, like Enoch, will be taken out before the storm of the Wrath of God breaks out upon this sin-cursed world. Noah, on the other hand, prefigured Israel. God preserved Noah in the Ark of Safety while the flood with all its ferocity was unleashed around him. In like manner, Israel will be saved “out of Great Tribulation.” (Rev. 7:14)

A Glorious Church

In spite of the fact that part of it is some­what misinformed—or uninformed—on this subject, the Church is looking for that Blessed Hope, even the appearing of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. If we are to be the Bride of Christ, we must, however, make ourselves ready. (Rev. 19:7-8) Our Lord Jesus Christ so loved us, that He gave Himself for us, THAT HE MIGHT SANCTIFY AND CLEANSE US, AND PRESENT US—THE BRIDE—TO HIMSELF A GLORIOUS CHURCH, NOT HAVING SPOT, OR WRINKLE, OR ANY SUCH THING; BUT THAT WE SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH! Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be. But we know that when He shall ap­pear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. AND EVERY MAN THAT HAS THIS HOPE IN HIM PU­RIFIES HIMSELF EVEN AS HE IS PURE! (Eph. 5:25-27; I John 3:2-3)

“Such, then, is the distinctive hope of Christianity: not pardon, not peace, most certainly not death, but the appearing in glory of Him Whom the world last saw as ‘the Crucified Jew’”.

Sir Robert Anderson,
Redemption Truths

by Rev. Tim D. Cormier
(1998)

Reprinted from the Apostolic Standard.

(C) Copyright held by Tim D. Cormier. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for personal use, without the express written permission of the author.

TRUE SALVATION … PURE RELIGION

 

“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

– James 1:26-27

 

ONE OF THE WORST MISTAKES a person could make would be to believe that a vain religion is the equivalent of true salvation. Sadly, much of our world has come to equate humanitarian aid and charitable services with “Christianity,” without regard to the condition of the heart of the individual.  AND WHILE TRUE SALVATION IS INVARIABLY ACCOMPANIED BY PURE RELIGION, RELIGION IN AND OF ITSELF IS NOT AN INDICATOR OF SALVATION. In other words, it is possible to be very religious without being saved, but you may not be truly saved without being religious!

IN THE WORDS of the late Elder Carl Ballestero, religion is what man does for God, while salvation is what God does for man. Religion without salvation is empty and worthless (vain); true salvation, on the other hand, will, given time, produce pure religion. We understand from the teachings of James that faith without works is dead; using the same line of reasoning, we could safely say that the absence of “pure religion” indicates a lack of true salvation.

OBVIOUSLY, the presence of “works” in someone’s life does not guarantee that they possess faith; by the same token, being religious does not mean that someone is saved. But pure religion will only be found where true salvation is.

AND WHLE it doesn’t take any special spiritual assistance to “visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,” it is impossible to “keep oneself unspotted from the world” without divine intervention and “things that accompany salvation.” Holiness (sanctification), like righteousness (justification) and cleanness (purification), is conferred upon the true believer (i.e., one who obeys the truth) during the conversion experience. What many have failed to realize is that the Holy Spirit is the “spirit of holiness!” WHEN WE RECEIVE THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST WE ARE EMPOWERED BY JESUS CHRIST TO BE HOLY.

IT IS THE HEIGHT OF FOLLY and absurdity to suggest that someone may receive the Holy Ghost without becoming holy. When we receive His Holy Spirit, we begin to travel upon the “highway of holiness.” Thereafter, through the preaching and teaching of the Word we are made partakers of His holiness, according to Hebrews 12:10. Additionally, the Bible teaches us that we each have individual responsibility in “perfecting holiness” (2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1) and “pursuing holiness” (Hebrews 12:6–15). Indeed, Hebrews 12:14 makes it very clear that without holiness no man shall see the Lord.

IT BEHOOVES US, therefore, to make sure that our religion is PURE and not VAIN. Truly this is a time when many have a FORM OF GODLINESS but DENY THE POWER THEREOF. These are folks who have all the external appearances of true holiness but lack the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. They are spiritual imposters–claiming to be what they really are not. These are contemporary Pharisees.

CONVERSELY, there are many who claim to be Spirit-filled but who still look just like the world; their holiness is in their heart where only God can see it, they claim. Apparently they received “another spirit” than the HOLY SPIRIT that we received. For when we received the Spirit of Christ, we also received the MIND OF CHRIST, and thus we hate even the garment that is spotted by the flesh.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING as inward holiness that does not manifest itself in outward holiness. BE YE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY was not spoken with only the heart in mind. If Jesus rejected the Pharisees in His day who had cleaned the outside of the cup but left the inside dirty, He must also reject the modern-day religionists who claim to be clean on the inside but have no visible signs of separation from the world on the outside.

ISRAEL MARCHED for 40 years in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. And when the day came for Joshua to lead them into the Promised Land, the Lord stopped everything at Gilgal and made them rid themselves of the “reproach of Egypt.” You see, a brand new generation had been born and raised in the wilderness, during which time Moses–THE LAW–had failed to enforce the conditions of the Abrahamic covenant–circumcision. And while the old faithless generation was dying off, the new generation was coming on the scene. But when they attempted to claim the promise of the covenant they were forced to subscribe to the provisions of and receive the seal of the covenant.

WE WOULD DO WELL to heed the admonition of this story. BE WE EVER SO ABLE, STRONG AND FULL OF FAITH TO CLAIM THE PROMISES OF GOD TO HIS CHILDREN, WE ARE NO LESS ACCOUNTABLE TO THE MESSAGE OF HOLINESS THAN WERE OUR FATHERS IN THEIR DAY, OR THE APOSTLES WERE IN THEIRS. It doesn’t matter how loud you shout or how high you jump or how great a move of God you have–you may even have many miracles performed while you are in your wilderness trek; but be assured of this one thing: GOD WILL NOT PERMIT ANYONE TO ENTER THE PROMISED LAND UNTIL THEY HAVE COMPLIED WITH ALL THE TERMS OF HIS COVENANT: Repentance, water baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the initial sign of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance, and living a holy, separated life under the care and tutelage of a God-called and anointed shepherd.

TRUE SALVATION is always and forever accompanied by pure religion. Never let it be said that we let Holiness fall to the ground in our day. And when we worship the Lord–which is but another aspect of our religion, let it always be in the BEAUTY OF HOLINESS–holiness that begins in our hearts and works in us until it works its way out of us, and we have been completely clothed therewith.

Rev. Tim D. Cormier

Reprinted from the May, 2001 issue of the Apostolic Standard.
Edited and revised 14 October, 2010 by Tim D. Cormier.

(C) Copyright held by Tim D. Cormier. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for personal use, without the express written permission of the author.

10 Reasons Why Thoughtful and Discerning People Must Reject the “YAHWEH” Doctrine

The “YAHWEH” Doctrine asserts that the name of the Messiah, the Son of God, is YAHWEH, instead of JESUS, and according to this doctrine, every place in the New Testament where the Greek word IESOUS (JESUS) appears originally had the Hebrew word YAHWEH. This doctrine further claims that the Greek word IESOUS, from which the English word JESUS is derived, is a corruption of the name of a pagan deity, thus insinuating that those who use the English word JESUS to refer to the Messiah (Christ) instead of the Hebrew word YAHWEH are in reality praying to and worshiping a pagan deity. That these teachings are not only absurd but patently false may be clearly seen in the following analysis.

  1. God did not invest the Hebrew language with a mystical quality that made it superior to any other language for the purpose of expressing His true identity. When the Hebrew scriptures (what we know as the Old Testament) were translated into common (koine) Greek (the LXX, or the Septuagint) in the third century before the birth of Christ, the Sacred Ineffable Name of God—YAHWEH, or YHWH—was not given any special treatment. It was translated into the Greek word for LordKURIOS. In our English Bibles it is generally given as Lord (commonly known as Jehovah).
  2. When the New Testament was written, it was written (with a few exceptions) in the same language as the Greek Old Testament—the common (koine) Greek. (This is remarkable, indeed, when it is considered that most of the dialogs—actual conversations—recorded in the New Testament were not spoken in Greek, but in Hebrew/Aramaic.) This facilitated the spread of the Gospel to more than just those who knew the Hebrew/Aramaic language, as the Greek language was known to a far greater percentage of the world’s population than was the Hebrew/Aramaic language. Although some Hebrew/Aramaic words were preserved in the Greek New Testament (e.g., Cephas, Alleluia, and some words that Jesus spoke that were given verbatim and then translated immediately into Greek by the author), they were given in the alphabet of the Greek language (i.e., transliterated), not Hebrew/Aramaic characters! It is ridiculous (if not fatuous) to assert that Hebrew writing (everywhere the name of Christ appeared) was in the “earliest” (read “best”) manuscripts of the Greek New Testament.
  3. Nowhere in the Greek New Testament does the tetragrammaton (YHWH) appear! Invariably, the New Testament follows the Greek Old Testament (LXX) in using KURIOS for YAHWEH (YHWH). Now remember: even though we have no reason to claim divine inspiration for the translation of the Hebrew scriptures into the Greek language, we do know that the production of the New Testament was under the direct guidance of the Holy Ghost, just as was the writing of the Old Testament in its original form. And by the direction of the Holy Ghost, the authors of the New Testament used the language and syntax of the Greek Old Testament—indeed, there are whole portions of the Old Testament included in the New Testament that are quoted out of the koine Greek Old Testament. (Both Christ and the Apostles have Greek quotations from the LXX attributed to them.) This is irrefutable proof that there is no superiority in the Hebrew tongue relative to the writing of Scripture.
  4. When God revealed His Glory to Moses, he apparently showed him the structure of the Church Age (“the pattern that was showed thee in the mount”). Subsequently, we observe in scripture that Moses calls or renames his successor YESHUA (the Hebrew word for the English word JOSHUA). According to language scholars, the Hebrew word YESHUA is a contraction of the Hebrew name YAHWEH (Lord in KJV) and the Hebrew word SHUA (salvation/savior/saves). In the Greek Old Testament (LXX) the Hebrew name YESHUA was consistently transliterated (letter-for-letter translation instead of translating the entire word) into the Greek name IESOUS (pronounced YAY-SOOS). In fact, readers of the LXX will find an entire book in the Old Testament bearing the name of IESOUS (Joshua in KJV). Those who have studied the language of TYPES in the scripture readily agree that Moses stood for and represented the LAW, and Joshua (YESHUA/IESOUS) stood for and represented CHRIST. (“The Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.”) It should come as no surprise to find that the names JOSHUA and JESUS are both derivations of the same Hebrew word, with one coming straight into English from Hebrew (Joshua), and the other coming from Hebrew through Greek into English (Jesus). Thus we have an Old Testament YESHUA/IESOUS who was Joshua, the son of Nun, who stood for and represented the New Testament YESHUA/IESOUS who was Jesus, the son of God!
  5. When the angel appeared to Joseph (Matthew 1:21) and gave him the name of the Christ child, we have every reason to believe that this conversation occurred in the Hebrew/Aramaic tongue, and not in the Greek tongue. Yet our original text is in Greek (some scholars now believe that Matthew originally wrote his narrative in Hebrew), and the conversation is recorded using the Greek language. Simple logic tells us that if Matthew (or a subsequent translator) wrote the Greek word IESOUS as the name, we have only to go back to the LXX (Greek Old Testament) and see what that name was in Hebrew. As we have seen above, the Greek word IESOUS is a direct transliteration of the Hebrew word YESHUA (Joshua in KJV). Thus we see that in the language of Joseph and Mary and their contemporaries, Christ’s name was YESHUA. The English form of the Hebrew word YESHUA is JOSHUA; the English form of the Greek word IESOUS is JESUS (another transliteration)!
  6. The angel that appeared to Joseph gave the reason for the name YESHUA—He shall save His people from their sins. We have seen that the Hebrew name YESHUA is a contraction of the Hebrew name YAHWEH and the Hebrew word SHUA (salvation). Thus, YESHUA means YAHWEH HAS BROUGHT SALVATION. It is rather illogical to suggest that the angel said “You shall call his name YAHWEH for he shall save his people from their sins.” The Hebrew name YESHUA (JESUS in English) literally means that YAHWEH HAS COME AS THE SAVIOR FROM SIN. It is inconceivable that rational minds would be inclined to believe that simply the Hebrew name YAHWEH would be in any way superior to the Hebrew name YESHUA, which not only contains YAHWEH, but also contains the revelation of His redemptive purpose in bringing salvation to the world.
  7. Pilate, at the crucifixion of Christ, put a written message on the cross: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews. In order that all those passing by might be able to understand what he had written, he ordered that it would be written in Greek (the language of the scholars of that day), Hebrew (the language of the Jews) and Latin (the language of Rome, the then ascendant world power). If the UNTRANSLATED Hebrew characters for the Hebrew name YAHWEH were used for the name of Christ in the Greek and Latin portions of the writing, how would anyone except those who understood Hebrew have understood who it was that was on the cross?
  8. The Sacred Name of God to the Hebrews was YAHWEH. According to Hebrew customs, it was not to be pronounced except by certain ones, and could not even be written without a ceremonial cleansing of the hands by the scribe who was to write it. Eventually, it came to be written in Hebrew as YHWH, without any vowel points, lest the person writing or reading it would accidentally say it and thus profane it (by taking the name of YAHWEH “in vain”). Because of this, the actual pronunciation of the word was eventually lost. Later the vowels from the Hebrew word ADONAI (Lord in KJV) were inserted to make it somewhat pronounceable; hence the modernized version of the word as we have it: YAHWEH. How likely is it that Christ grew up in a society with a personal name that anyone who pronounced it would have potentially been guilty of breaking one of the ten commandments (by taking the name of YAHWEH in vain)? Indeed, if we understand the teachings of the Apostles, this name of Christ is to be invoked at water baptism, in prayer for the sick and in worship. How are we supposed to comply with these Apostolic teachings if the true pronunciation of this name has been forever lost—as would be the case if the name of Christ were YAHWEH instead of JESUS?
  9. Saul, on the road to Damascus, was arrested by God with a brilliant light from heaven. Looking heavenward, he cried (in the Hebrew tongue): “Who art thou, Lord?” The Greek word used to translate his Hebrew word for “Lord” is KURIOS. This is the word used in the Greek Old Testament (LXX) to translate YAHWEH. Thus, it is very likely that Saul actually said, “Who art thou, YAHWEH?” We have every reason to believe that the answer came back in the same language as the question—i.e., Hebrew. Thus, “I am IESOUS” (Greek for JESUS) would actually have been “I am YESHUA” (Hebrew for IESOUS). But to assert that the answer came back “I am YAHWEH”—as the YAHWEH doctrine requires—leaves us feeling like Saul didn’t get an answer, and makes his conversion unnecessary, as he was already serving YAHWEH as far as he knew.
  10. To believe that the name of Christ is indeed YAHWEH instead of YESHUA/IESOUS/JESUS, we must first believe that everywhere in the Greek New Testament that the word IESOUS occurs someone has tampered with the original text and replaced YAHWEH (the untranslated Hebrew characters) with the Greek name IESOUS. The early writers after the death of the Apostles, such as Clement, Polycarp, Ignatius and Irenaeus, apparently had very primitive Greek texts of the New Testament, and it is common knowledge that they (writing in Greek) knew Christ’s name to be IESOUS (JESUS), and they very plainly attested to the deity of Jesus Christ.

 

The YAHWEH Doctrine is a false doctrine. We reject and repudiate it on the grounds that it has no scriptural basis whatsoever, but is the fanciful flight of imagination of someone who is grossly deceived. According to Philippians 2:9-11, the name of Jesus is the name that is above every name, and at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father. Ephesians 1:21 further reveals that the name of Jesus is above every name that is named, not only in this world (age) but also in that which is to come. Acts 4:12 asserts unequivocally that there is salvation in no one other than Jesus; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Thomas said of Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” Peter said that God hath made that same Jesus whom the Jews crucified “both Lord and Christ.” Paul said that no man speaking by the Spirit calls Jesus accursed; and no man can say Jesus is Lord (or, “Lord Jesus!”) but by the Holy Ghost.

Let the “YAHWEH camp receive an old-fashioned baptism of the Holy Ghost and they will most assuredly renounce this doctrine of demons that attempts to denigrate the lovely name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

Rev. Tim D. Cormier

Reprinted from the May, 2001 issue of the Apostolic Standard.
Edited and revised 13 October, 2010 by Tim D. Cormier.

(C) Copyright held by Tim D. Cormier. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for personal use, without the express written permission of the author.

Soldier Beware!

 

“And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.”
–Acts 27:30-31

Sometimes soldiers feel they are a law unto themselves, and think all is secure simply because of their superior military strength. Yet, there are times when all the military might of a whole troop of soldiers is not sufficient to prevail against a single opposing force. It is just such an occasion that is described in the story related in Acts 27.

In this true story, Paul and certain other prisoners are being escorted by a centurion and his band of soldiers to Rome on a ship. During the course of their voyage, the fierce fury of a Mediterranean storm–perhaps a hurricane–is unleashed upon the ship by the providence of God. All onboard the ship are virtually powerless in the face of nature’s ferocious onslaught–mere pawns being tossed about by wind and wave.

After riding out the storm for many days, and after receiving instructions from the angel of God through Paul, the Apostle, it becomes apparent to the sailors that the ship is about to run aground. As a last resort, they cast four anchors out of the stern and wished for the day. Fear and anxiety prevailed on board the imperiled vessel.

It is at this point that our text reveals a plot by the seamen to abandon the ship and its unsuspecting passengers under the pretext (“under color”) of casting anchors out of the foreship. We are not told if Paul perceived the deception naturally or supernaturally, but his words to the centurion and the soldiers are brief and to the point:

“Except these (sailors) abide in the ship, ye (soldiers) cannot be saved.”

It doesn’t matter, soldier friend, how many battle scars you wear, or how red your badge of courage may be; if you have no navigator in the midst of the stormy sea you cannot hope to survive. Every man has his place in the grand scheme of the kingdom. All are not soldiers; all are not sailors. The sailor depends on the military prowess of the soldier that he may have a flag under which to sail. In much the same manner the soldier must depend upon the sailor to transport him and his comrades safely from port to port.

The soldiers aboard Paul’s sailing vessel responded quickly to the Apostle’s warning by cutting the ropes of the boat with which the sailors were preparing to escape. How different is the attitude of our soldiers nowadays. Let the old sailors leave!, they cry. How little do they know that their safety is contingent on the skill and resources of the old sailors.

Please, Sir Soldier, don’t let the sailors abandon ship. You may be about to founder upon an island–shipwrecked; but Almighty God in His providence has decreed that unless the sailors stay with your ship, you, soldier, will be lost. Your lack of perception is about to cost you your life. Except these sailors abide in your ship you cannot be saved!

Etched deeply into the lines of the grizzled face of that salty old captain are years and years of experience. Many a storm has spent its fury upon the back and brow of these men of the cloth. In ice, wind, rain and sun the relentless pull of the sea has been out-maneuvered by a man with a clear head and a steady hand at the helm. With each lash of every wave these seasoned seamen earn a new stripe. These men know the waters in which we sail.

More than one foolhardy soldier has been set adrift by the fierce winds of doctrine only to find himself marooned on his own little island with no hope of rescue–unless God peradventure, in His mercy, would send him the very sailors that he refused to keep on his ship when the going got tough. A wise old philosopher once said: “No man is an island.” The scripture, written centuries earlier, bears this same theme:

“None of us lives to himself, and no man dies to himself.” (Romans 17:7)

He who is careless about cultivating relationships with great men is certain to wind up bereft of meaningful company and destitute of beneficial associations.

Beware, Soldier, lest you make the worst mistake of your life by allowing men whose service to your ship is indispensable slip over the side of the ship during the storm.

Rev. Tim D. Cormier

Reprinted from the September, 1996 and April, 2002 issues of the Apostolic Standard.

 

(C) Copyright held by Tim D. Cormier. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for personal use, without the express written permission of the author.

More Than Just A Form

“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof….”
–2 Timothy 3:5

 

If we understand this scripture correctly, godliness (piety, right living) has two phases or parts. One is external and visible, and is called the form of godliness; the other is internal and invisible, and is called the power of godliness. We are admonished by the Apostle that there will be some in the last days who will have a form of godliness, but who in fact will be empty of the power of godliness. From such we are instructed to turn away, or, in other words, avoid.

Apparently, the form of godliness can be imitated and manufactured. It is like a glove that reveals the shape of the human hand, even when the hand is removed or withdrawn from it. However, just as the glove without the hand has no power or ability to function, so is the person who merely possesses the form of godliness without the power of godliness.

Such people look like Apostolics, act like Apostolics, and even go through the motions of worship like Apostolics. Yet there is an emptiness to their praise, and their testimony is hollow. Their witness is weak and ineffective. They are spiritually tepid. They have a form of godliness but they lack its power.

We are living in an age where an alarming number of so-called Apostolics are content with merely the form of godliness without also possessing the power of godliness. The great danger in this is that it takes the true power of godliness to maintain a viable walk with God. But because we have had such a heavy emphasis on “externals,” many of our modern Apostolics feel more secure around someone who has a “good standard” than they do around someone who has a “good spirit.”

We are truly living in perilous times. Some of the most godly-looking people have proven to be quite empty of true godliness. The power of godliness works within the lives of those who possess it and creates the form of godliness in them. Those who have the form of godliness but do not have the power of godliness have either imitated those who do have it or have retained the form of godliness from a time in their lives when they actually did possess the power thereof.

It is frightening to consider the amount of spiritual “con artists” that are thriving in the Apostolic ranks these days. Where is our spiritual discernment? Where is the prophet who will rise and rebuke the pretenders and the play-actors? We must have more than merely a form of godliness! And we must avoid those who only possess a form of godliness. How could anyone who truly possessed the power of godliness be comfortable around someone who merely had a form of godliness?

Sometimes our preaching has emphasized adherence to a standard to the exclusion of receiving an understanding of the true nature of God. We often judge others by their “form of godliness” (i.e., their standards of holiness), but when the Son of Man comes He will be looking for FAITH! What a shame it is to consider that Divine Healing is treated as a joke in many conservative Apostolic circles today.

There are congregations that look great, but where is the ability to pray the prayer of faith for the sick? Where is the power to keep ourselves unspotted from the world? Where is the power to love our enemy, and to do good to them who hate us? Where is the power to pray for them who despitefully use us? Where is the power to forgive?

Have we glorified the “earthen vessel” to the point that the “heavenly treasure” has departed from it? Heaven forbid that we would wind up as empty, powerless shells – beautiful gloves with no working hands, or highly polished shoes with no feet to walk in them.

Make no mistake about it: the form of godliness is vital to the power of godliness. But we must never fall into the snare of assuming that because the form of godliness exists the power of godliness invariably accompanies it. We must not confuse outward manifestations of godliness with true holiness. And we must never make final judgments about someone’s standing in God simply because of the way they dress or live up to certain codes.

People who merely have a form of godliness but lack the power of godliness are highly susceptible to deception, and eventually wind up in false doctrine of one sort or another. The reason for this is because the power of godliness derives from the preaching of the Word of God. We are living in the time when man cannot endure sound doctrine, but according their own lusts they have heaped to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they have turned away their ears from hearing the truth, and have therefore been turned unto fables. The end result of this is spiritual impotence due to not hearing the Word of God. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

It is possible to dress conservatively and go through all the motions of godliness and still not possess the power of godliness within. This is a dangerous state. When we begin to feel empowered simply because we have a form of godliness, we have been deceived into thinking that is all we need. But we still need to fast and pray and worship God in spirit and in truth. We still have to connect spiritually with the preacher as he ministers to us the Word of God. We must be spiritually energized by the Holy Ghost within us. We receive power after the Holy Ghost comes upon us – power to work, power to witness, power to live an overcoming life.

God forbid that we should possess merely an empty shell of what a true child of God should be. We need more than simply a form of godliness – we need the power of godliness. We need power to intercept new forms of evil before they invade our homes and hearts; we need power to discern what spirits are trying to help us and what spirits are trying to harm us; we need power to overcome the constant downward pull of earth’s gravitational force; we need power to resist the ever-seducing siren’s song of worldly music; we need power to stand up for what is right even when it is not popular or safe to do so; we need power to ferret out all the subtle nuances of the New Age movement that have invaded Christendom; and we need power to defuse the demonic bombs that have been laid in our paths in an attempt to destroy us.

May God help us in these last days to beware lest we succumb to the pressure to settle for just a form of godliness. We must have more than a mere form of godliness – our very survival depends on our possessing the power of godliness.

Rev. Tim D. Cormier

Reprinted from the November, 2002 issue of the Apostolic Standard.

(C) Copyright held by Tim D. Cormier. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for personal use, without the express written permission of the author.

Confessions Of An Erstwhile Pharisee

It is a sad commentary on the current state of certain segments of the Apostolic ranks when Pharisees are allowed the privilege of coming under the umbrella of our fellowship. What is sadder still is the fact that not many Pharisees could be helped, in the extremely unlikely event that such help would be accepted. Most of them wind up embittered, lonely and broken, having been chewed up and spit out by a monster of their own making. Some, however, manage to come to their senses and by the help and grace of God correct the course of their lives in time to avoid the certain and inevitable catastrophe of shipwreck. It is just such an awakening that occasions the writing of these few lines.

While there may be some that do not understand what a Pharisee is, most students of the Bible quickly recognize that a Pharisee – “a separated one” – is nothing but someone who has taken a good thing too far. And even though it is correct to be separate from the world, true Holiness is only achieved when one is also separated unto God. The holier-than-thou attitude of a Pharisee, however, is smoke in the nostrils of God! These are the ones of whom Jude speaks, who separate themselves for carnal, fleshly reasons, and are totally devoid of the Spirit.

Pharisees boast of keeping the Law, yet are quite incapable of truly comprehending it. A Pharisee will even go so far as to superimpose his own interpretations and interpolations as well as those of his fellows upon the Law, supposing that he has improved upon it, and excoriating any who will not blindly—yea, stupidly follow his ill-conceived and misguided initiatives. Who but a Pharisee could callously condemn adultery while possessing the heart and soul of a thief? Or, worse still, how could it be considered anything other than Pharisaical to abhor idols while committing sacrilege? Given time, the ideas of a Pharisee become his ideology, and his dogmas eventually wind up as his doctrine. Though we scorn him, he ought to be pitied.

Superficial thinking is the trademark of a Pharisee. Shallow, unscriptural exegesis characterizes the Pharisee’s defense of his positions. Not surprisingly, appearances are paramount to the Pharisee; thus, much effort goes into making a show and a pretense, while very little spiritual industry is applied to the things that would really make a difference in the heart. A Pharisee of long standing finds it hard to understand the needs of the common man, because the core teachings of the Law have been lightly passed over in favor of the rigid, crusty rituals that are so easily enforced upon the weak- and simple-minded.

To a Pharisee, Truth is the ultimate aspect of the Law, while Grace has been abandoned to the Charismatic as an inferior by-product of false teachings. Justice, Mercy and Love merely receive lip service; as a result, the ostentatious Tithing of tiny seeds far supersedes the Grand Purposes of the Law. The letter of the Law must be kept, even if it means violating the spirit of the Law. Should the Law-giver Himself ever stoop to walk among those to whom He gave the Law, he would be condemned and ultimately crucified by the Pharisees for not conforming to their concept of what the Law should be. It is the Pharisee that creates rules and sets standards for others that he never could or would have lived by—yea, that tempts God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither we nor our fathers were able to bear.

A Pharisee considers himself to be the grand epitome of the Law, while in reality he is a disgusting travesty of it. Pharisees chastise men who transgress their traditions, without even considering the fact that their traditions transgress the commandments of God. Who but a Pharisee would make a great show of polishing the tombstone of a prophet he would waste no time in killing, were he yet alive? A Pharisee will ostracize a good man because of his organizational affiliation—or lack thereof—without giving any weight or consideration to his convictions, intentions and circumstances. And each one he succeeds in drawing in to his slimy pit becomes as a result a two-fold more child of hell.

To the Pharisee, the Law has become the End, rather than the Means to an End. Instead of being a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, the Law has become so exalted that when Christ comes on the scene he is rudely shoved aside because He doesn’t fit into the Pharisee’s picture of how things are supposed to be. The Pharisee will never reach the intended aim of the Scripture, because he is forever preoccupied with the perceived superiority of his preparations for the trip; he constantly rides around and shows off his fancy “vehicle,” but never really goes anywhere.

The only righteousness a Pharisee possesses is self-righteousness. Instead of Holiness, Pharisees are clothed in filthy rags. A Pharisee will make a great show of filtering out the unclean gnats from his drinking water, while feasting upon foods cooked over fires fueled with camel dung. The Temple of God is the Pharisee’s idol, but the God of the Temple—Jesus Christ—is the object of his scorn. The image of godliness is more important to the Pharisee than the true power thereof—the symbol preempts the substance. The actual state of holiness is not discerned by the Pharisee, because his preoccupation is with looking holy.

Compassion is considered to be compromise by the Pharisee; the sick sinner deserves his condition, and the sorrow of the unregenerate is but his just due, as far as a Pharisee is concerned. The poor and needy? The undisciplined children? Too much trouble…. Yet, while they clean the outside of the cup, the inside of the cup is sickeningly filthy. Deception, malice, spite, envy, pride—all these and more lurk in the unlit recesses of the Pharisee’s heart.

Beware ye, Jesus said, of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. It should be noted that one of the definitions of hypocrisy is “the acting of a stage player.” With this definition in mind, consider this paraphrase: Watch out for those who call themselves “the separated ones” but who are really only acting the part. One of the strangest ironies of Scripture is the fact that the ones who prided themselves as being the very essence of holiness have, with the passing of time, come to symbolize absolute and unmitigated hypocrisy.

And so it is, even to this day. Listen to the prayer, testimony or preaching of a Pharisee. Who gets glorified? –The Pharisee, his doctrine or his deeds. Instead of having a treasure in an earthen vessel, the Pharisee’s treasure is his earthen vessel. The Pharisee is ever self-centered and self-sufficient; his god? –self! To survive, a Pharisee must constantly feed his ego.

Are any Pharisees ever converted? Not many. There are some, however, that have been brought out of the deep ditch of Phariseeism by the Grace of God. Please note: one of the easiest things for a former Pharisee to spot is a Pharisee. It is a dangerous thing to glorify one aspect of the Gospel while neglecting another. If we are to have the mind of Christ, we must not only grow in Knowledge, but we must also grow in Grace; otherwise we become Pharisees, with an unbalanced understanding of—and thus an improper application of—the Word of God.

Rev. Tim D. Cormier

Reprinted from the February, 1998 and July/August, 2003 editions of the Apostolic Standard.

(C) Copyright held by Tim D. Cormier. This document may not be reproduced in whole or in part, except for personal use, without the express written permission of the author.

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