Heaven's Royal Proclamation
By William Handschumacher
Rock of Offence Special Commentary
This is Part 4 of a five-part Bible study.
Click on the appropriate link to access
the next part.
Seven Dangerous Religious Errors Used
To Undermine Heaven's Royal
Proclamation In Hebrews 7:11-22
"For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame--who set their mind on earthly things." (Philippians 3:18-19)
Saint Paul always spoke about two groups of Christians in his Epistles. The first group consists of those who believe on Christ according to the rules and principles of the New Covenant - also known as "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (See Romans 8:1-4). The second group consists of those who also claim to believe on Christ ... yet does so according to the rules and principles of a false man-made theology that mixes the Old Testament and New Testament programs together.
This second group is the one
Paul refers to in his letter
to the Philippian Church
(quoted above) as "enemies of
the cross of Christ". Both
groups claim to be 'Christian'.
Yet, God honors only one.
This is why, in addition to preaching the Gospel, our ministry exhibits a bias toward apologetics. This important branch of Christianity seeks to expose various aberrant teachings and heresies that masquerade as rock-solid Christian doctrine. Since the start of the Christian Church in the first century, there are now thousands of these erroneous teachings. Most of these do not originate from easy-to-indentify cults and 'fringe groups' - but from mainline denominations on both the Roman Catholic and Protestant sides of the isle. The danger here is clear. When Christians place their faith in one of these erroneous doctrines (which are designed to look and sound 'Biblical') they go astray in their faith ... while believing they are one of God's most faithful and devoted children.
Due to the disastrous eternal consequences involved, both Jesus and Saint Paul operated in this area of apologetics ... which, in their day, was known as 'contending earnestly for the faith'(Jude 1:3-4). Today, in an effort to achieve a false unity, nearly all of the world-wide Christian Church discourages any kind of offensive speech that causes division. Yet, the Bible teaches a type of division and 'contention' that carries God's approval. It's designed to confront these erroneous doctrines ... to keep them out of the church. Unfortunately, when you challenge wrong doctrine, its supporters often get angry. This is one reason why the religious leaders persuaded Pontius Pilate to crucify Christ ... because He exposed and threatened their religious power structure.
Paul gives us the reason this
kind of contention is needed
in the church:
"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jude 1:3-4)
"And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us in bondage), to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the Gospel might continue with you." (Galatians 2:4-5)
The lack of "contending earnestly
for the faith" is the primary
reason the modern Christian Church
is currently drowning in a sea of
apostasy, while thinking that they
are serving God.
The Root of the Problem:
How Christians are Led
Astray in Their Faith
Many of us are aware of dishonest journalists who are caught quoting politicians and other information sources 'out-of-context'. Most of their audience fails to notice the distortion, which is why it's so effective. As a result, the strategy has been used (and despised) throughout human history as an effective tool to manipulate public opinion. The problem here is obvious.
If anyone is quoted 'out-of-context'
then they didn't really say what
The same is true of God's Word.
You can use it to quote what God
says about any Biblical topic.
However, if you lift His words
from their intended context, and
reinsert them into a context of
your own design (in order to
defend your doctrine) - you are
not quoting what God actually
said. You're attempting to make
God say what you want Him to say
as a way to persuade or control
As a result, God's words and commands are often lifted from Scripture and used 'out-of-context' to validate a teaching that's contrary to His intentions. Unfortunately, these practices have existed within the Christian Church since the first century. In this study readers may be shocked to discover that various church leaders use this same method as a way to make it appear that God says things ... that He does not say.
When believers begin to discover that the cross of Jesus Christ did indeed annul the Levitical Law of the Old Testament (or what we refer to as ‘Heaven’s Royal Proclamation’ from Hebrews 7:11-22) – it threatens various denominations and church leaders who have established their doctrine and evangelistic message on this 'annulled' law. In such cases, the right thing for such leaders to do is to humble themselves and admit that they were wrong - and ask forgiveness. This is the way God expects His true ministers to act. However, in the world of religion, admitting that you preached wrong doctrine leaves the impression that you're a flawed representative of Christ. Some think that this kind of humility must be avoided because it negatively affects the confidence of a congregation. This is why, to preserve the illusion that your ministry is infallible – and your doctrine is beyond reproach - Heaven’s Royal Proclamation of Hebrews chapter 7 must somehow be discredited. This is often accomplished by using deceptive arguments based on out-of-context Scripture.
In the last two parts of our study,
we list six of the most common
religious errors practiced by
various church leaders to discredit
the truth of Hebrews 7:11-22 which
exists as the core of the authentic
Gospel of Christ.
Religious Error #1
A Blatant Denial of
the Finished Work
When clearly stated Scriptural truths expose a church leader's or denomination's wrong doctrine, the first response is usually to attack the messenger and discredit their message. We see these kinds of responses on a regular basis in the world of politics. Unfortunately, it's also a common practice in many parts of the Christian Church. One of the most hotly contested truths in the Bible is how Jesus Christ fulfilled - and then abolished the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament. Yet, it represents a core truth of the believer's blood-bought salvation. Hebrews 7:11-22 represents such a truth.
In the case of Hebrews 7:11-22, one
pastor literally shouted in anger
from the pulpit ...
No one changes God's Law!
Yet, Hebrews chapter 7 states that
God did indeed change His own Law
after His Son, from the tribe of
Judah, became the new High Priest:
"For the Priesthood being changed
(from Levi to Judah), of necessity
there is also a change of the law."
Then the same thing is repeated
"For on the one hand there is
an annulling (canceling) of the
former commandment (the Law)
because of its weakness and
unprofitableness, for the Law
made nothing perfect; on the
other hand, there is the
bringing in of a better hope,
through which we draw near
to God." (verses 18-19)
When God states a particular truth in His Word - and you oppose Him by taking the opposite side ... you're effectively calling God a liar. These kinds of blatant denials, designed to sound 'Biblical' in a sermon, are often done to protect a particular theology, ministry - or even an entire denomination. It's obvious that none of this will end well for those who practice such things.
A more detailed look at this first 'religious error' is found in Part 1 of our study. For this reason, we will not repeat these writings here.
Religious Error #2
Using Dangerous and Confusing
This topic is covered in a
separate three-part study
Religious Error #3
Replacing God's Gift of Eternal
Life with the Conditional
Salvation of Old Testament Law
(also known as 'Salvation by
good works and merit')
After being confronted by various
Christians (along with some
members of his own congregation)
concerning his disagreement with
Hebrews 7:11-22 - and the other
Scriptures from the Epistles of
Saint Paul that describe the
abolishment of Old Testament
Law - one pastor responded by
Who are you going to
obey; Christ or Paul?
The pastor said that he was tired of hearing Christians quote from Paul's Epistles how ... “we are delivered from the law - and are no longer under the law” (Romans 7:4-6, Romans 6:14) ...
WHEN JESUS SAID JUST
His defense is based on what
Jesus told the “rich young
ruler” in Matthew chapter 19.
"Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He (Jesus) said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”" (Matthew 19:16-17 - Important Note: When the young man asked Jesus which commandments to keep in order to obtain eternal life, He quoted from the Ten Commandments of the Law in Matthew 19 verses 18 through 22.)
The pastor went on to say; “Since Jesus said that you must 'keep the commandments of the law to have eternal life' – then what Paul said about ‘not being under the law’ must be false". He then repeated;
So, who are you going to
to obey; Christ or Paul?
This argument attempts to
persuade listeners to
believe three very
It discredits the Epistles
of Saint Paul which are part
of God’s official canon of
Scripture on which Christians
are to base their faith.
It lifts the words of our
Lord Jesus Christ from their
intended context in order
to defend wrong doctrine.
It denies Christ’s finished
work at the cross, which
radically changed the way
salvation is obtained following
What we need to do in this case
is discover why Jesus and Paul
seem to contradict each other
other...when both are correct
in what they say.
Here is the answer to this all-
Jesus was describing to the ‘rich young ruler’ how salvation was aquired before His crucifixion. In other words, Jesus had not yet gone to the cross ... meaning that Old Testament Law was still in force. As a result, keeping the commandments of the Law was the only way to obtain salvation at the time Christ spoke these words.
However, the cross of Christ
changed all of the previous
rules of the Law ... when Jesus
fulfilled the Law and ‘took it
out of the way’ - making eternal
life available as ‘the free
and unmerited gift of God’.
Paul was speaking about how
salvation is received after
Jesus paid the ransom price,
in blood, for our salvation
at the cross. This is why
Jesus and Paul seemed to
contradict each other. Yet,
no contradiction exists when
you respect the context of
"And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of the requirements that was against us (the Law), which was contrary to us. And He (Jesus) has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." (Colossians 2:13-14 - Emphasis Added)
The 'taking away of the Law'
by Christ is what makes the
“Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin." (Romans 4:4-8)
The kind of works-based salvation doctrine taught by the pastor in this example sounds 'Biblical' on the surface ... since Jesus our Lord did say the things he quotes in his defense. Yet, something important is left out. He rejects the fact that the cross, which occurred a short time after Christ's encounter with the rich young ruler, permanently removed the requirement to 'keep the commandments of the Law' to be saved. This extraordinary change in God's program is made possible because Jesus fulfilled the Law's requirements for everyone who believes (places their faith) in Him. It 'delivers the believer from the law' and 'sets them free from the Law'; as Saint Paul correctly stated in Romans 7:4-6 and Romans 8:1-4. As a result, after the cross, eternal life is only available by Grace through faith based on the unmerited favor of God - and no longer obtained the Old Testament way ... by 'keeping the commandments of the Law' (Ephesians 2:4-9). This fact and warning is revealed in the following two Scriptures.
"Therefore by the deeds of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight." (Romans 3:20)
"You have become estranged (separated or cut-off) from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from Grace." (Galatians 5:4)
Unfortunately, this well-meaning pastor is teaching what Paul refers to as; ‘a different gospel’ (Galatians 1:6-8). God warns that He does not honor this corrupt brand of theology regardless of its popularity or the seminary credentials of the minister.
Personal Note: I have first-hand experience with this dangerous deception often taught within the world-wide Christian Church. Readers will be shocked to discover that numerous church leaders (but thankfully not all) defend their 'Galatianized Bible teaching' using variations of this argument. Since this practice is so common, I won't single out this pastor by providing his name.
Religious Error #4
Misapplying the Words
"But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the Word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God." (2 Corinthians 4:2)
Whenever the words of Christ are studied or discussed, various controversies often arise. As a result, many correctly say; “These are the words of our Lord which should be honored above everything else in Scripture.” For this reason, certain Bible translations highlight the words of Christ in red. We certainly support this practice. Yet, many well-meaning Bible believers often make the assumption ... that the words Jesus uttered before leaving earth at His ascension - are the only words of importance He spoke. The problem with this belief is that people who are still alive ... continue to speak - which is why the Bible warns that Jesus continued to speak from heaven after His resurrection and ascension.
The New Testament addresses this
often ignored truth by giving
a sober warning:
“See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him (Jesus Christ) who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him (the resurrected Jesus Christ) Who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.’” (Hebrews 12:22-26)
There are several mainstream brands of Christian theology that claim the words Jesus uttered both before the cross and before His ascension from the earth (often highlighted in red in our Bible) gives us a complete revelation for all Christian faith and practice.
But...after the cross
Jesus was raised from the
dead - meaning that He now lives
again. Believing this in your
heart is one of the requirements
necessary to obtain eternal life.
Christ who is now alive from
the dead, also continues to speak
from His position in heaven.
This is why we are warned ...
"not to refuse Him who now
speaks from heaven."
Refusing to listen to the words
of Christ from heaven may be an
indication that you do not truly
believe He is alive from the
dead - otherwise, you would
heed what He says.
Tragically, many reject the truth that the previous Old Testament program (and its Levitical law) was first fulfilled and then replaced by God’s new redemptive program called the New Covenant (also called "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus"- Romans 8:1-4). As a result of the changes brought about by Christ’s sacrificial death, many of the requirements for salvation that He previously taught - before the cross - are now fulfilled by His sacrifice at the cross and replaced with "a new and living way" (Hebrews 10:19-23). The full details of this ‘new and living way or New Covenant' are fully revealed through the Epistles of Saint Paul - which contain the words Jesus Christ speaks from heaven about the way salvation is now received.
(Jesus is speaking) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill." (Matthew 5:17)
"But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He (Jesus) is also mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant (Old Testament Mosaic Law) had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second." (Hebrews 8:6-7)
"In that He (Jesus Christ) says, “a new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (Hebrews 8:13)
If we fail to accept this change...
If we reject the 'new and living way'
Jesus taught from heaven and adopt
the popular belief that what He taught
on earth - before our salvation was
paid for at the cross ... continues to
be the way salvation is obtained and
kept today, then we have no other
choice but to go astray in our faith.
What did Jesus teach from heaven?
"For by Grace you have been saved
through faith, and that not of
yourselves; it is the gift of God,
not of works, lest anyone should
boast." (Ephesians 2:4-9)
"Therefore by the deeds of the Law no
flesh will be justified in His sight".
"You have become estranged (separated or
cut-off) from Christ, you who attempt
to be justified by law (or by keeping the
commandments of the Law); you have fallen
from Grace." (Galatians 5:4)
This is why Hebrews 12:22-26 warns about the severe consequences of rejecting these “words of Christ” spoken from heaven. Various preachers, attempting to protect their Galatianized brand of Bible teaching, try to persuade us that Christ's heavenly words carry a 'lesser weight' than those spoken on earth. Yet, Christians go into dangerous error and even heresy when they fail to accept all His words on an equal basis.
This is Part 4 of a five-part Bible study.
Click on the appropriate link to access
the next part.
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