James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.What James is saying that we should not look to be teachers and preachers, because those of us who are, we will come under greater scrutiny from the Lord when we stand before Him.
With every article I write, I always try to keep this in mind. I will give an account for my words one day when I stand before the Lord.
It is my greatest desire that when I do stand before Him, He will say "Enter my kingdon my good and faithful servant."
Ideas of Men VS. God’s Word
In doing this study, I have come to realize that there are a lot of things that we have been taught that do not stand up to the Word of God.
How do I know?
When we use God's Word to define The Bible itself, I am finding out that we have been taught "man's opinion" and not what God's Word clearly teaches.
So why question things that have been nicely laid out for us by all these great teachers and wonderful books they have written?
Because 2 + 2 is not adding up to 4 when we really allow God's Word to define itself in light of men's books.
Here is the portion of scripture that alerted me.
Matthew 24:31 (KJV) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.See when I read it then read the commentary, the commentary was stating that the "elect" was Israel.
Hmmmm, something just did not ring true.
Call it a gut instinct or something, but what I was "being told" the verse meant Israel, but I knew that this did not line up with what God's Word was saying.
We can clearly see from this verse that it is talking about the rapture, right?
In fact, let's use scripture to define scripture....
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.We see the same things taking place in Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4.
Matthew used the word "elect" in Chapter 24.
We also see in 1 Thessalonians 1 Paul identifying the elect...
1 Thessalonians 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.So we can see that both Matthew and Paul refer to the elect as the ones being gathered up in the rapture.
This is using scripture to define scripture. In other words, this is proper hermeneutics, proper study.
Now, let's look at these two portions of scripture Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4. What do we see here that is common?
1 - We have angels present
2 - We have the trumpet sound
3 - We have the gathering togetherBoth of these verses are clearly talking about the same event, correct?
We can see that it is talking about the rapture.
It also answers “Who” is the rapture for?
The rapture is for the believer, His elect.
So, here is the quandary I have.
Why do a lot of teachers and authors state that in Matthew 24 the elect spoken here is NOT believers, but Israel?
I honestly believe that it is because an idea was put out there a long time ago and that idea molded into a doctrine and that doctrine has become cemented in theology today.
See a man named Scofield who lived about 200 years ago decided to put it in his study notes. Then a gentleman named Moody came along and produced what is called "The Scofield Study Bible."
If you have a Scofield bible, Scofield states that in Matthew 24 that Israel is the elect.
Now I am going to let a lot of you know that I have not been a fan of Scofield for some time now. This is why my "Sword" of choice is the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible - KJV.
I have also read papers and a biography about Scofield, and let's just say that he was not a cool guy.
I guess you could call him the Rick Warren / Joel Osteen of his day, with a lot of personal baggage.
A very eye opening book to read is titled "The Incredible Scofield and His Book" By Joseph M. Canfield
Book Here >>> http://tinyurl.com/The-Incredible-Scofield
Canfield's book goes into a lot of historical documentation about Scofield and how he lived his life.
There are a lot of things that bothered me about Scofield, for example...
Scofield abandoned his wife and children and refused to support them.
I Timothy 5:8 says “ But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”When his first wife Leontine originally filed for divorce in July 1881, she listed the following reasons:
“ (he had)…absented himself from his said wife and children, and had not been with them but abandoned them with the intention of not returning to them again…has been guilty of gross neglect of duty and has failed to support this plaintiff or her said children, or to contribute thereto, and has made no provision for them for food, clothing or a home, or in any manner performed his duty in the support of said family although he was able to do so.” (1)
Cyrus Scofield had several other incidents of a downright dishonest nature after he supposedly became saved. The fact that in 1892 he began calling himself Doctor Scofield without producing any Doctorate degree from any Seminary or University is the least of his devious activities. Even the details he gave in his story of conversion are proven to be fabricated, including the time, place and other particularities, thereby placing doubt on the whole story.(2)
He was a self-promoter in every sense of the word, even lying about being able to comfort and calm the entire city of Belfast, Ireland with a sermon he delivered there the Sunday after the Titanic sunk. (3)
CYRUS I. SCHOFIELD IN THE ROLE OF A CONGREGATIONAL MINISTER
“ Cyrus I. Schofield, formerly of Kansas, late lawyer, politician and shyster generally, has come to the surface again, and promises once more to gather around himself that halo of notoriety that has made him so prominent in the past. The last personal knowledge that Kansans have had of this peer among scalawags, was when about four years ago, after a series of forgeries and confidence games he left the state and a destitute family and took refuge in Canada. For a time he kept undercover, nothing being heard of him until within the past two years when he turned up in St. Louis, where he had a wealthy widowed sister living who has generally come to the front and squared up Cyrus’ little follies and foibles by paying good round sums of money. Within the past year, however, Cyrus committed a series of St. Louis forgeries that could not be settled so easily, and the erratic young gentleman was compelled to linger in the St. Louis jail for a period of six months.
Among the many malicious acts that characterized his career, was one peculiarly atrocious, that has come under our personal notice. Shortly after he left Kansas, leaving his wife and two children dependent upon the bounty of his wife’s mother, he wrote his wife that he could invest some $1,300 of her mother’s money, all she had, in a manner that would return big interest. After some correspondence he forwarded them a mortgage, signed and executed by one Chas. Best, purporting to convey valuable property in St. Louis. Upon this, the money was sent to him. Afterwards the mortgages were found to be base forgeries, no such person as Charles Best being in existence, and the property conveyed in the mortgage fictitious…” (4)
This article is not about tearing down Cyrus Scofield. Many people have come to the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ though the Scofield bible.
There is an old saying, if God can use an ass to speak to men, he can use ______________.
… Insert Cyrus Scofield.
What I am trying to paint for you is that Scofield was the "popular" preacher of the world during that time. Again, like Rick Warren and are Joel Olsteen are today, Cyrus Scofield was back then.
It has been Scofield's notes that millions have leaned upon and because they are included in the Scofield study bible, no one questions it.
Here is something else that I found troubling when I was doing my research.
There are no records that can be found where Scofield even claimed that he was a repented man, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ for all his sins and that Jesus Christ was his personal Lord and savior.
You would think that there were some records of a personal testimony somewhere. Some record of Scofield telling his testimony to someone. When I heard of this, I searched pretty deep and I have not found any record.
So why have we as the church allowed this person who appears to be a lukewarm Christian and most likely a "Christian In Name Only" (C.I.N.O) at best to influence generations of pastors and lay people?
When the Scofield bible was published, Moody the publisher, sent copies to just about every pastor there was in the US and England.
What this did was cement Scofield's ideas into the minds of men.
Yes, the Scofield bible was widely accepted, but there were the critics out there too.
But over the years those criticisms we forgotten and Scofield became a 'solid name" thus his commentaries were completely accepted without question.
The logic went like this.... If Moody published The Scofield Bible, and because Moody put his stamp of approval on it, it has to be correct and be doctrinally sound.
Look at how many of us go to these commentaries in our bibles and give it a "PASS" and not think about it at all.
We tell ourselves, "Well "so & so" wrote this great book. Obviously it has to be right because he has sold so many copies over the years and he is such a popular person."
Isn’t that how it usually goes?
What has taken place over the past two hundred years is that we as Christians have gotten lazy and instead of seeking out the truth via God's Word, we have had all these great authors and teachers pre-chew our scripture for us and then regurgitate it up for us so that we can better digest it.
Let me paint it for you this way...
Don't you realize that all this pre-chewed scripture has lost a lot of God's vitamins and nutrients? (God's meaning and definition) What has gotten mixed in is the saliva of man and because of that, we have latched on to man's ideas vs. what God's Word really says.
In today's fast paced world we have become dependent upon this pre-chewed food, and we have forgotten that we have the ability to dig into God's Word ourselves.
We have forgotten to be good Bereans like Paul tells us to be in Acts 17:11.
Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.Letting God's Word Define The Elect
So how can the elect be Israel where God's Word itself clearly says the elect is something different?
Romans 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
Right there scripture states that Israel is not the elect.
Out of 16 times that the word elect is used in the bible, and as many of you know, I only use the KJV, we find the following...
- 10 references refer to all believers in general
- 2 refer to believers who are specifically Gentile
- 1 refers to believers who are Jews
- 2 refer to Jesus Christ himself
- 1 refers to Jacob the person as being God's electHere are the scriptures so that you can see this for yourself - be a good Berean...
Matthew 24:22 - 24 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Matthew 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Mark 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
Mar 13:21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:
Mark 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
Mark 13:27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
Luke 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
Romans 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
Romans 11:5-7 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
Colossians 3:11-12 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
1Thessalonians 1:4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1 Peter 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
2 Peter 1:10-11 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
2 John 1:1-2 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
2 For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
Isaiah 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
Isaiah 45:4 For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
Isaiah 65:9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.Here is what Webster's 1828 English Dictionary states...
ELECT', v.t. [L. electus, from eligo; e or ex and lego; Gr. to choose.]
1. Properly, to pick out; to select from among two or more, that which is preferred. Hence,
2. To select or take for an office or employment; to choose from among a number; to select or manifest preference by vote or designation; as, to elect a representative by ballot or viva voce; to elect a president or governor.
3. In theology, to designate, choose or select as an object of mercy or favor.
4. To choose; to prefer; to determine in favor of.The Golden Rule of Interpretation
Dr. David L. Cooper, was the founder of the Biblical Research Society and he stated the following... "When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise."
In other words...
A. Seek the plain, literal meaning of the Scriptures
B. Seek the figurative meaning only when the facts demand such an interpretation
C. Study every statement of the Scriptures in context ("A TEXT APART FROM ITS CONTEXT IS A PRETEXT")If you have been a reader of mine for a year or so, you know that this is something that I tend to harp on. We need to stick to God's Word and let His Word define itself.
If you are interested, you can learn more about the Rules of Interpretation at -- http://www.biblicalresearch.info/page7.html
See without having a true common sense rule to understanding God's Word, our flesh can be allowed to run down bunny trails proving that the Grass was created to be purple and that the sky was created to be green.
This is why having a good grounding in hermeneutics and realizing that God's Word defines itself, not man defining it, is so important.
We need to start being good Bereans and start seeking the scriptures out to see if what man is saying is true according to the Scriptures, NOT according to the popular books and commentaries.
We need to remember that the best interpretation of scripture is God's Word itself. Who better to define His Word than God the Creator and Author of The Word?
In this study, we clearly see that when Scripture is talking about the "Elect," God's Word defines it as Believers in God / Jesus Christ.
It is the Elect that one day will be gathered up from all the corners of the earth when we see the angels in the clouds with the Lord, and
We hear that trumpet, The Trump of God sound.
So if you have put your faith in all these popular books, and these shiny teethed teachers with "aerodynamic" hair, then you might want to start doing a checkup from the neck up and start digging into God's Word.
We need to start building our houses upon the Rock of Jesus Christ and His Word and stop latching onto all these fancy men who sure sound good and weave a nice tale.
The only way to do this is putting their books down, and start picking up our only true source, God's Word.. The Bible.
A word to the wise, drop all these modern versions also and stick with the one bible that has been through the fires of testing, the King James Bible. It has been with us for over 400 years and God himself promises to preserve His Word. I believe that preserved Word for the English speaking people is the KJV.
I hope that this article / study has given you something to think about and to strive to be a better Berean when it comes to reading, studying and digesting God's Word.
By Ray Gano
1 - Quoted from the papers in case No. 2161, supplied by the Atchison County Court – reproduced by Joseph Canfield, The Incredible Scofield And His Book, p. 89
2 - Canfield, op. cit., pp. 65-68
3 - Canfield, op. cit., p.239-240
4 - Canfield, op. cit., pp. 79-80 – as taken from the files of the Kansas State Historical Society