Epistles of Paul Audio and Written Bible Commentary

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The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 10: The Operation of a Valid Christian Ministry

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The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 10: The Operation of a Valid Christian Ministry.

Towards the end of our previous presentation we broke into 1 Corinthians chapter 9. Since the beginning of chapter 7, Paul had been writing “concerning the things you have written”, where it is evident that Paul had received a letter from Corinth and ever since chapter 7 he has been addressing the inquiries made in that letter. Therefore in chapter 7 he wrote of the feasibility of marriage in an era of Christian persecution. That also afforded us an opportunity to learn many of Paul's perspectives regarding what constituted both marriage and divorce. Then, in chapter 8, he wrote of the eating of things sacrificed to idols, touching on proper Christian conduct in the pagan world. Paul will discuss these things further later on in the epistle. But here in chapter 9 Paul has turned to defending himself, where it is evident that he must have been answering questions which had been posed directly to him by the assembly, while at the same time he is using both himself and others of the apostles in his examples of what license he had as an apostle.

Doing that, Paul opened this chapter with a series of rhetorical questions where he asserts that the proof of his apostleship lies in its fruit, and he asks: “1 Am I not free? Am I not an ambassador? Have I not seen Yahshua our Prince? Are you not my work in the Prince? 2 If to others I am not an ambassador, yet at any rate to you I am; indeed the assurance of my message is you in the Prince.” Then Paul answers questions posed to him by certain of the Christians at Corinth, and we see evidence that the conduct of Paul's ministry has been questioned in some degree. In answering, Paul asks a further series of rhetorical questions which should provide his answers: “3 My answer to those who examine me is this: 4 Do we not have license to eat and to drink?” Here it seems evident that Paul partook of common foods during the course of his ministry, as that is the context of the previous chapter. However Paul may also be referring to the simple necessity of obtaining food and drink, which is the context going forward in this chapter: that working for the Gospel, one must also have the ability to cover one's expenses so that one's carnal needs are provided for. Doing so, one may also have to ensure provisions for one's family, and Paul adds...

The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 11: Israel According to the Flesh

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The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 11: Israel According to the Flesh.

It can be imagined that if Paul of Tarsus had sat down and wrote a book explaining the Biblical and historical foundations of his Christian teachings, and why he had taken the Gospel of Christ exclusively to the nations of Europe and Anatolia, that the introductory chapter of that book may include some of this very language found here in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, but it would also include the language found in Romans chapters 4 and 9, and then in Hebrews chapter 8. Many of the most notable nations of Europe as they were at the time of Paul of Tarsus had consisted of and were even founded by the descendants of the children of Israel of the Old Testament. Paul's epistles explicitly state as much, and the literal interpretations of those statements are dismissed or even mocked by the so-called scholars of today. This concept is indeed consistent with all Biblical teaching as well as archaeology and the classical histories, and it only sounds fantastic to modern men, men who are conceited in their worldly knowledge, because this concept is not taught in worldly schools. That, however, is not the fault of Paul of Tarsus, because it certainly should be taught.

The poet Homer, the most famous and usually considered to be the earliest of the great Greek epic poets, was writing not long before 600 BC. In his epics, however, Homer was not describing the world of his own time. Rather, Homer was attempting to describe the world and its inhabitants as he believed that they existed in a time 600 years before his own, when the Trojan War was fought. The Greek historian Thucydides and others help to supply the chronology. For such reasons, Homer spoke of the Phoenicians often, but never mentioned their most famous city, Tyre. According to Flavius Josephus, the building of Tyre and its rise to fame began about 240 years before the building of Solomon's temple. If such a statement is accurate, and there is no reason to doubt it, then it totally vindicates Homer's omission of Tyre from his accounts. That is one example. Homer also omitted any mention of Dorians in Greece, or even in Europe, except that he names them as one of the tribes inhabiting the island of Crete. By all Greek accounts, the Dorians invaded the Peloponnesus and displaced the Danaans from much of Greece about two generations after the Trojan War, or not long before 1100 BC. The great kings of the Bible, David, Solomon and Hiram of Tyre, had not yet been born.

The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 12: Idolatry, Angels and Demons

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The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 12: Idolatry, Angels and Demons

Discussing the first portion of 1 Corinthians chapter 10 we had seen Paul's own assertions that the Corinthian Greeks to whom he had written this epistle were indeed descended from the Israelites of the Exodus. We discussed corroborating historical evidence which proves that Paul's words are literally factual. For that reason Paul had also admonished them not to commit the sin of fornication, or race-mixing, as their fathers had done and for which many of them were destroyed. This was among other acts of disobedience which Paul had mentioned from Scripture as an illustration for their admonishment. From fornication, Paul then turned to admonishing the Corinthians concerning idolatry. There he made a very revealing statement, one which is often glossed over by churchmen who are ignorant of its significance, where he said “Behold Israel according to the flesh” and then after a few rhetorical questions concerning the efficacy of idols he finished his reference by stating that “whatever the Nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to Yahweh”. It is absolutely evident that Paul's intention with those words was to identify the nations of the oikoumenê as “Israel according to the flesh”, or as the Christogenea New Testament has it, “Israel down through the flesh”.

There are three major aspects of Old Testament Scripture, both in its history and in its prophecy, which Paul of Tarsus had indubitably held in mind as he wrote his epistles to the Christian assemblies of Europe and Anatolia: First, that the ancient children of Israel were practitioners of pagan idolatry, and not of the Hebrew law. Therefore they do not appear as Hebrews in their dispersions, but as pagans. Second, that the ancient children of Israel were all taken off from Palestine and the ancient Kingdom of Yahweh as a result of that idolatry. And third, that there were promises of God which were made to the patriarchs concerning the children of Israel which transcended either their adherence to or their apostasy from the Covenants, and among those were the promises that they would multiply into an innumerable people and become many nations. Paul discussed these things at length in places such as Romans chapter 4 and Galatians chapters 3 and 4. Paul was bringing the Gospel of Reconciliation to those nations, which were all of the lost sheep of the House of Israel, and that is the full Biblical commission. Many of those pagan nations of Europe were indeed of the children of Israel, and Paul asserts as much here. Paul had explicitly connects the Corinthian Greeks to the Old Testament Scriptures, history supports his connection, and indeed, history supports all of the other aspects of his assertions. For this reason Paul explained to Herod in Acts chapter 26 that he labored for the hope of the promise made to the twelve tribes, for which he was accused by the Jews. By making such a statement, Paul also shows that the Jews are not the twelve tribes, and that the twelve tribes are not the Jews.

The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 13: Communion, Ritual vs. Reality

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The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 13: Communion, Ritual vs. Reality

Continuing our discussion of this first epistle to the Corinthians, we must keep in mind that ever since the beginning of chapter 7 of the epistle Paul of Tarsus has been responding to specific questions which the assembly in Corinth had previously composed to him. So in chapter 7 he discusses with them the risks of marriage in a time of persecution, and then in chapter 8 the daily coexistence of Christians in a pagan world. Paul then addressed matters concerning the conduct of his own ministry in chapter 9, and then in chapter 10 he turned back to the discussion of idolatry.

In each of these discussions we gain important insights into Paul's own Christian worldview, in things such as how he defined marriage, divorce and fornication, and how he esteemed Christian license under the New Covenant, giving the procurement of food from pagan sources as an example of the bounds and resolution of Christian disagreements. Then Paul offered the conduct of his own ministry as an example for others, that continence and subjection of the fleshly will are of the utmost importance because men must subject themselves to Christ, and especially those men who are proclaiming Christ.

In 1 Corinthians chapter 10, Paul more or less continued the discussion from chapter 8, concerning idolatry, the tables of demons, and the bounds of Christian communion. Paul attested that idolatry was the worship of demons, and we illustrated that his words in Colossians chapter 2 concerning the worship of angels were related to this statement, while also citing the corroborating Enoch literature and the writings of the contemporary Qumran sect in order to show that the sins of the so-called fallen angels were related to these demons, which are also the spirits of bastards. In Psalm 96, in verse 5, we may read from the King James Version that “all the gods of the nations are idols”. However in the Septuagint version of the Psalm we find that “all the gods of the nations are devils”, or demons, and therefore we find agreement with Paul in a version of the Old Testament closer to the one which he himself had used.

The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 14: Inspiration and the Kingdom of God

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The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 14: Inspiration and the Kingdom of God.

In Romans chapter 4, Paul discussed the certainty of the promise of the faith to the seed of Abraham, to those nations which indeed had sprung from the loins of Abraham. In 1 Corinthians chapter 10, Paul identified the nations round about the Corinthians, those nations which were all practicing pagan idolatry, as Israel according to the flesh. Paul had told the Romans in Romans chapter 4 that Abraham was their forefather. Paul had likewise told the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 that their own ancestors were with Moses in the Exodus, ascertaining that they were also Israelites. An investigation of ancient history proves the veracity of these statements, and presenting 1 Corinthians chapter 10 we exposited some of that historical verification. The Romans and the Corinthians were from just two of those nations which had actually descended from the literal seed of Abraham through Jacob-Israel, and Paul brought them the Gospel in demonstration of the truth of the Word of Yahweh, that “the promise might be sure to all the seed”.

Therefore, with Paul himself having attested to all of these things, the balance of his epistle as well as of all of his writings must be understood within that contextual framework which Paul himself has provided. To attempt to apply Paul's statements so as to include to anyone who was not originally included in the promises of God which are found in the Old Testament is to pervert the message of Paul and is also an attempt to defraud God Himself. Paul defined his ministry to the Nations as a ministry of reconciliation, meaning the reconciliation of Israel to God, as Paul himself defined Israel as twelve tribes and as those very nations of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh. As Christ Himself said, as it is recorded in Luke chapter 16, “16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” Yet every man does not have a part in it, since Christ came only for the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 15: Christian Love

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Tonight will not be one of my longer presentations, but only because for the most part I wanted to limit the discussion to this one topic, while at the same time not beating it to death. The subtitle of tonight's presentation is Christian Love, and I am certain we all have our favorite passages to quote in relation to that topic. The children of Israel have yet to practice that Christianity which is found in absolute brotherly love on any great scale, yet it is one of the lessons of history that they must learn before perfecting their obedience to Christ. However misguided love probably does greater harm to the children of Israel than practically any other sin, especially since misguided love leads them into blasphemy of the Holy Spirit and to their very own demise.

The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 15: Christian Love

In 1 Corinthians chapter 11 Paul of Tarsus had turned from addressing aspects of Christian deportment in the pagan world to addressing aspects of Christian deportment within the assembly of Christ itself. However it must be remembered that from chapter 7 of this epistle Paul continues to address subjects which the Corinthians had inquired of him. For that reason Paul's discussions of these topics are not as complete as they may have been if he had intended to write essays explaining them, but instead they are based upon things about which the Corinthians had questions in relation to the things which they had already been taught. Therefore it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of all preceding Scripture before one may understand Paul, because Scripture is Paul's authority and the guide for Paul's worldview. Additionally, it is necessary to understand as much of Paul's own letters as possible, because his letters as a whole are a reflection of his study of Scripture as well as his reception of the Gospel. No one statement by Paul can forcibly be interpreted as if to conflict with either the balance of his own writings or with the Holy Writ. If one has such an interpretation of anything which Paul wrote, one must reconsider it, rather than unwittingly projecting one's own hypocrisy onto Paul of Tarsus.

The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 16: Christian Assembly

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The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 16: Christian Assembly

In 1 Corinthians chapter 11 Paul of Tarsus had been addressing Christian deportment within the assemblies of the Body of Christ. From there, in chapters 12 and 13 he discussed the various gifts which each member of the Body receives from God. While Paul does not speak explicitly of fleshly gifts, he does mention that various members of the Body are granted certain abilities, or are given greater wealth and therefore they have the ability to share in carnal things, and he lists among the noble things which a Christian may do which are generally perceived by men as being fleshly or worldly. Therefore it should be perceived that those with abilities, or those who have wealth, are also the recipients of spiritual gifts and that they also should use those gifts to edify the assembly in the same manner as those who interpret prophecy or those who speak in tongues.

All of this is evident in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, because in the very same place where Paul had written that “if I have the gift of interpretation of prophecy, and I know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if perhaps I have all the faith so as to remove mountains, but I do not have love, I am naught” he also wrote that “if perhaps I employ all my possessions in feeding others, and if I would hand over my body in order that I may boast, but I do not have love, I am due nothing.”

Making this exposition of the gifts within a Christian assembly in conjunction with an appeal for the need of Christian love among the members of the Body of Christ, it is evident that Paul's underlying purpose was to correct those Corinthians whom he had admonished in chapter 11, who had been bringing food and drink to their Christian gatherings and eating, while some less fortunate Christians were going hungry. While Paul had asked them directly in chapter 11 whether they had houses in which to eat and to drink, telling them that they should eat their meals at home, on the other hand in chapter 13 he made an example of things a noble Christian may do for the assembly that would be of benefit to him later, and one of those things was to employ one's wealth in the nourishment of the poorer members of the assembly.

The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 17: Resurrecting Adam

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The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 17: Resurrecting Adam

Among the major points of discussion over the first 6 chapters of Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians was the division among the members of the assembly because apparently many individuals were opting to follow different personalities, choosing favorite apostles, rather than committing themselves to following Christ. Another point of discussion was the fornicator of 1 Corinthians chapter 5 and the action which the assembly is required to take in such instances in order to preserve its own integrity. In regard to this, in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 Paul illustrated how Christians should judge among themselves according to the judgment of God, rather than turning to worldly courts and the judgment of men.

Then for 8 more chapters of this epistle, Paul answered the questions posed to him in a letter by members of the assembly for which he had written this epistle as a response. Therefore Paul discussed things such as marriage and virginity in an age of persecution, Christian survival in a world of pagan idolatry, he answered questions concerning the conduct of his own ministry in Christ, and then he offered a lengthy discussion of general Christian deportment. In that last discussion, Paul spoke of how Christians should behave towards one another in their assemblies, how they should love and care for and esteem one another above themselves, and about the various gifts which God grants to men and how they should be dispensed, whether they be spiritual gifts or carnal gifts.

Now, beginning the closing of his epistle, Paul summarizes the purpose of the Gospel and its ultimate promise, which is a resurrection from the dead for all of the children of Adam.

The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 18: Eternal Life through the Spirit

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The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 18: Eternal Life through the Spirit

In the first portion of chapter 15 of his first epistle to the Corinthians Paul of Tarsus discussed several basic but important and foundational Christian concepts. Firstly, he explained the reality of the resurrection of Christ as it was attested by so many witnesses. Then he illustrated the fact that if Christ was resurrected then the children of Israel could also be fully assured of such a resurrection, since Christ had been slain for the sins of the children of Israel so that they may indeed share in such a resurrection, as promised by the Scriptures. Saying these things, Paul also interjected that if one is outside of these promises then one's faith is vain, and we illustrated how the King James Version and other translations of the New Testament ignore Paul's language in this regard.

Paul also asserted that not only the children of Israel, but also the entire Adamic race shall be resurrected, where in verse 22 he wrote that “Just as in Adam all die, then in that manner in Christ all shall be produced alive.” This assertion summarizes the same things which Paul had explained at length a couple of years later in chapter 5 of his epistle to the Romans. The children of Israel have a promise not only of eternal life, but also of justification. This promise is expressed in many places in scripture where the Word of God assures that all of the sins of the children of Israel shall indeed be cleansed. This promise is also expressed explicitly in Isaiah chapter 45 where it says that “In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” However the rest of the Adamic race shall also be resurrected, and they too shall face the judgment of Christ in regard to their works.

The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 19: Anathema Maranatha! If They Only Knew...

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The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 19: Anathema Maranatha! If They Only Knew...

There are some fatalistic passages in the Old Testament which may lead men to believe that their spirits are dead after their fleshly bodies die, or some are persuaded that perhaps these spirits are merely asleep until the restoration (or resurrection). Yet there is a larger picture presented by Scripture which stands in contrast to the fatalistic passages. Perhaps men today are misinterpreting those fatalistic passages, because they are not what they seem to be on the surface.

For instance, in the Book of Job, in chapter 10, we see these words spoken by Job himself (we must be careful not to quote the words of Job's contentious friends as if they were Scripture): “20 Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little, 21 Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; 22 A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.” Thusly did Job perceive death, but the same Job said later, as it is in chapter 19 of his book: “25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”

So where Job speaks of the “land of darkness” from which he “shall not return”, was he speaking of the flesh only, or was he speaking of the spirit also? In the Gospel of John, in chapter 6, Yahshua Christ says that “63 It is the Spirit which produces life, the flesh does not benefit anything. The words which I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life.”