HITLER’S SAY IN YOUR NEW VERSION BIBLE
By John Aldworth
Hitler speaking in a Bible? I would never have thought it possible. But then, shock, horror, I found out it was true.
Actually, concern some Bibles might owe content to a Nazi past began for me with an innocent-looking press release. Dropped on to my desk at the newspaper where I worked as journalist quite some years ago, it hailed the Bible Society’s milestone achievement of translating ‘the Bible’ into the 3000th language. The Bible Society of New Zealand was keen to celebrate this fact, but as a journalist I had a question.
“Just which Bible is it that you have translated into the 3000th language?” I asked a translator at the society’s Wellington headquarters. “Well, it’s not any one specific Bible. It’s an eclectic (meaning: a pick and choose) version,” he responded.
Pressed for further details he explained that modern translators looked at a variety of scriptural texts, manuscripts and readings before arbitrarily choosing a rendering that in their view best fits each word as they translate it.
“For example, you wouldn’t translate ‘snow’ into some languages spoken in the tropics because the people have never seen snow. So you might just call ‘white stuff’’,” the translator explained. OK, but imagine rendering that famous verse, “Though your sins be as scarlet yet they shall be white as white stuff” (Isaiah 1:18)
“But what text and what dictionary do translators mainly use?” was my next question.
“That’s easy,” I was told. “The UBS or Nestle-Aland Greek text is the most reliable and popular, as is the Bible Hebraica for the Old Testament. As for Greek dictionaries well, of course, the one translators use most is Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Naturally, before making his many selections, the translator always prays first.”
Pursuing my inquiries at the local Christian bookstore, I learned that Kittel’s dictionary was indeed coveted by Bible students and that, yes, it was available – all 10 original volumes of it. In fact the bookstore owner recommended it as absolutely indispensable for anyone who is really serious about Bible study. There was only one little problem. It cropped up when I found out that Gerhard Kittel, the man who wrote much of the dictionary and edited it over all, had been tried in 1946 as a Nazi war criminal and found guilty.
So, if you are using a modern version Bible you might ask, are you reading ‘Hitler’s Bible’? Of course not, you say. Well, don’t be too sure. Check it out for yourself, using the trusty King James Bible as a reliable benchmark. For example, if your Bible is a New International Version, New American Standard Version New King James Version or the English Standard Version, then it undoubtedly contains amendments and alterations that stem from Nazi thinking. How so? Well, for starters all modern versions of the Bible use the Biblia Hebraica for the Old Testament text, instead of the faithful Ben Chayyim Masoretic Text carefully preserved over many generations by Israel’s scribes, and used in the King James Bible.
So what’s wrong with the Biblia Hebraica, you ask? Well, according to the authoritative Encyclopaedia Judaica, the compiler of the Biblia Hebraica rendition of the Old Testament text is none other than Gerhard Kittel’s father. Old Papa Rudolf Kittel, was a vehement anti-Semite who, far from being a Christian, was a devout believer in Hellenistic religions. Both father and son Kittel were in fact liberal German scholars and “higher critics” – that is they believed scripture should be understood as scholars interpret and alter it – not as God actually wrote it and preserved it in the King James Authorised Version 1611.
Importantly, during the 1930s both Kittels hailed Hitler’s rise to power as “a blessing from God”. Both joined the Nazi Party. Both became highly influential intellectual leaders in the Fuhrer’s Germany. In fact the younger Kittel became Hitler’s “high priest” of religious propaganda, providing from a so-called “liberal Protestant Christian” perspective the “theological basis” for resolving the “Jewish question”. After the Second World War he was one of few German war criminals selected to stand trial for and be imprisoned for war crimes.
Robert P. Ericksen, author of Theologians Under Hitler (New Haven, Yale University Press 1985 pp 45, 207, 86-88), who received the 1987 Merit of Distinction Award from the International Centre for Holocaust Studies for this work, wrote that Gerhard Kittel’s writings between 1937 and 1945 were highly instrumental in causing the death of millions of Jews in Germany and the territories it conquered in the Second World War. He established a solid ‘Christian’ foundation for opposition to the Jews’. Kittel also proclaimed himself “the first authority in Germany on the scientific consideration of the Jewish question”. Ericksen records: Kittel and a group of twelve leading theologians and pastors issued a proclamation that Nazism is ‘a call of God’ and they thanked Adolf Hitler
Michael Haskeem Ph.D. writes in The Protestant Reaction to the Nazi Holocaust, that Gerhard Kittel went on to deprive Jews of their civil rights, bar them from marrying Germans, prohibit them from teaching Germans and impose on them other disadvantages and hardships. Evaluating the comparative evil found in the leading figures in Hitler’s death-dealing Nazi hierarchy, archaeologist and Semitic scholar William Fox Allbright wrote:
Kittel is darker and more menacing than either Goering or Goebbels. He has the grim distinction of making the extermination of the Jews theologically respectable.
Importantly, to justify his Jewish extermination policy Adolf Hitler wanted both a new church and a new Bible. Incredibly, all but a tiny handful of German church leaders were willing to sign up to join Hitler’s church, the Deutsche Christen. They did so because Kittel had urged:
Agreement with the state and Fuhrer is obedience to toward the law of God.
(German) theologians who stressed gospel … tended to be immune to Hitler’s charms. (Given this) Kittel’s work cannot be seen as anything but a satanic distortion of Christianity.
Meanwhile an institute founded at Hitler’s explicit command rewrote Bible texts under the supervision of the Kittels, eliminating mention of the special role of the Jewish people. More than 100,000 copies of the resultant new ‘Holy Scripture’ were published. Entitled “Germans with the Lord – the German Book of Faith” this Nazi Bible aimed to replace Luther’s traditional German Bible, Der Heilige Schrift. Based on the Majority Text, on which the KJB also rests, Luther’s Bible, then 400 years old, was, dismissed by Kittel as “archaic”. To update it he oversaw changes to words such as “Messiah” and “hallelujah”, and renamed “Jerusalem” as the ‘eternal city of God’. ‘Honour your Fuhrer and master’ and ‘keep your blood pure and your honour holy’ were added to the 10 commandments.
Gail Riplinger is author of the authoritative book, New Age Bible Versions, which exhaustively exposes the “message men and manuscripts moving mankind to the antichrist’s one world religion” through the new bible versions. On pp 596- 597 of her book, she quotes a secular historian’s assessment that:
Ego involvement must have played a role in Kittel’s career after 1933 (the year he joined the Nazi Party). After 1933 Kittel’s word changed in tone. Before 1933 Kittel defended Judaism, afterward he attacked it. Kittel produced a body of work between 1933 and 1944 filled with hatred and slander toward Jews … the bulk of Kittel’s research between 1933 and 1945 was devoted to a rigorous and harsh anti-Jewish stance. It corresponded to the worst of Nazi propaganda
Also between 1933 and 1945 Kittel, whose name, ironically, also means the special shroud worn by Jews on the Day of Atonement, was churning out volume after volume of his lengthy Theological Dictionary. Clearly, Hitler, who repeatedly proclaimed himself ‘a good Christian doing the will of the Lord’ by pursuing his anti-Semitic policies, favoured Rudolf Kittel’s Biblia Hebraica, based as it was on the Leningrad B 19a manuscript of the Old Testament, because of its clearly anti-Semitic character. Here’s the proof of its anti-Jewish slant:
In the King James Bible God’s name, JEHOVAH, (Heb. YHWH), is named as such and presented as JEHOVAH in seven key places where the context demands the specific use of the name. However, in the same verses JEHOVAH has been replaced by the LORD in the NIV, ESV, NKJV and all other modern Bible versions. For example:
Exodus 6:3 KJB: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. NIV: … but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.”
Psalm 83:18 KJB: That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH (NIV: the LORD), art the most high over all the earth
Granted, JEHOVAH is translated LORD in many places in the KJB. This is done out of respect to the Hebrews who feared they might profane the name of God by spelling the Tetragrammaton YHWH in full. However, in seven cases referred to above the context demands the specific use of the name JEHOVAH. Ignoring this necessity, the modern versions bow to anti-Semitic pressure and, for example, where the KJB renders ‘Jehovah-jireh” (lit. The Lord will provide) in Gen. 22:14, or ‘Jehovah-nissi’ (lit. The Lord is my banner) in Ex. 17:15, or ‘Jehovah-shalom’ (lit. The Lord is peace) in Judg. 6:24, all simply replace JEHOVAH with the LORD.
Thus the ESV and the NIV, both relying on Kittel’s Biblia Hebraica, remove Jehovah, the very name by which the Hebrews knew God as their deliverer and saviour from the key verses which explain his importance as the God of Israel. This distortion comes directly from the Biblia Hebraica. Note how prominently the ESV acknowledges this text in its introduction:
The ESV is based on the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible as found in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (2nd ed., 1983), and on the Greek text in the 1993 editions of the Greek New Testament (4th corrected ed.), published by the United Bible Societies (UBS), and Novum Testamentum Graece (27th ed.), edited by Nestle and Aland. The currently renewed respect among Old Testament scholars for the Masoretic text is reflected in the ESV’s attempt, wherever possible, to translate difficult Hebrew passages as they stand in the Masoretic text rather than resorting to emendations or to finding an alternative reading in the ancient versions. In exceptional, difficult cases, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac Peshitta, the Latin Vulgate, and other sources were consulted to shed possible light on the text, or, if necessary, to support a divergence from the Masoretic text.
So we see that in two ways modern bible translations are deeply influenced by the product of Nazi thinking: first through the Biblia Hebraica, which tones down and in places removes the direct linkage between God and his people Israel; second through the use of Kittel’s New Testament Dictionary which redefines many Greek words in terms of their “pagan” meaning, rather than that of their spiritual and special Jewish usage as found in the King James Bible.
But there’s more. You should know that both Rudolf and Gerhard Kittel played important leadership roles in the Forschungsabteilung Judenfrage, a Nazi organisation and publication specifically dedicated to stirring up hatred and persecution against the Jews. Furthermore, as Hitler’s religious adviser on Jewish affairs, Rudolf Kittel officially and publicly advised German Jewry that “some elements” in their Talmud (commentary on the Tanach, the Hebrew Old Testament) were “objectionable to the Master of the Third Reich”. According to Ericksen, Kittel “found it difficult to accept the autonomy and worth of Judaism.”
But surely, you say, you wouldn’t find real Nazi hatred of Jews reflected in a modern Bible today, would you? Well, why wouldn’t you when, according to Riplinger, Gerhard Kittel, definer of words in the Greek New Testament, publicly stated, writing in Goebbels’ Anti-Judische Aktion:
Today many harsh things do occur and must occur … It was not despotic brutality or barbarism … for the Fuhrer in his radical resolve … to place the Jewish problem on a wholly new foundation. The radical suppression carried out by National Socialism is not, as almost the entire world maintains, an unheard of cruelty against the Jews
Kittel, says Riplinger, knew about the mass murder of Jews. In fact, as late as 1944 he was lecturing at the University of Vienna, speaking of the “depraved” Jews who were the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire. She continues (p. 599):
His writing showed attempts to rationalise the murder of Jews by twisting Talmudic (Jewish commentary on the Old Testament) thoughts. Kittel writes: ‘… full freedom to murder … just as you should smash the brains of even the best snake … [this is] justification for the most anti-Jewish acts
At the end of his life Kittel confessed that the years of both his editorship of the Theological Dictionary and his propaganda ministry for Hitler were:
… based upon the most bitter deception of my life.
Ericksen considers that Kittel’s lack of spiritual discernment or his “diseased conscience” was accompanied by serious defects in his scholarship. Citing one error in Kittel’s work, he writes:
This example throws a shadow of doubt on all of Kittel’s research. Kittel’s factual base may not always have been strong enough to support the conclusions he drew.
Yet it is precisely Kittel’s flawed dictionary definitions that are used to shape the wording of much of today’s modern Bible translations. According to Riplinger there is a single root to these flawed Bibles, to the rise of Hitler, to Kittel’s warped theology and to the attack on truth mounted both by the twisted theology of text compilers, such as the heretical and spiritualist channellers, Westcott and Hort, and the patently unsaved authors of the most widely used lexicons and dictionaries, such as Thayer, Alford and Trench.
This root is also the source of hostility toward Israel’s seed down the ages. Connected to it is “replacement theology”, which a denies a special place for the Hebrew race in God’s eternal purposes, and claims the present professing church has replaced the chosen nation. This unsound doctrine began with Origen and Eusebius and was carried down to our time by pagan Roman persecution, the Inquisition and Augustine, Luther and Calvin. Today it is the motive for removing from modern bibles reference to the future kingdom of heaven on earth in which Jesus will truly be King of the Jews and the king of nations.
This root, says Riplinger (p. 604), is the “root race theory” found in the occult theosophy of devil-worshipper H. P. Blavatsky’s and her books The Secret Doctrine and Isis Unveiled (both were Hitler’s bedtime reading). Recovered from the pseudo-Christian heresies of Egypt by way of channelling evil spirits, Blavatsky’s teachings are blatantly anti-Semitic. Not surprisingly, resultant New Age teachings predict a soon coming “cleansing action” to “purify the race.”
Thus the New Age treatise, Cosmic Countdown, says “… these people (meaning the Jews) will eventually be replaced by a new root race about to make its appearance in a cleansed world.”
Riplinger (p.605) reports that Kent State University English professor, Diane Culbertson, has found numerous examples of anti-Semitism in the modern Bible paraphrase, The Living Word. Examples:
John 1:17 KJB: For the law was given by Moses. LB by contrast: Moses gave us only the Law with its rigid demands and merciless justice
Matt. 12:45 KJB: this wicked generation. LB: this evil nation
In his Nazi hey-day Kittel falsely claimed there was “a murderous spirit” among Jews. There was, he said, a Talmudic mandate to “kill Gentiles in general”. Sadly, in Acts 23:12 the NIV and NASB (New American Standard Bible) act similarly in altering the Greek to say the Jews (as a whole) were conspiring “under a curse” to kill the Apostle Paul. By contrast the KJB correctly limits the plot to “certain of the Jews”. And you know, of course, that on the cross Jesus prayed for the Jews, saying:
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
But in Luke 23:34 both the NIV and ESV cast doubt on the matter, saying in a footnote:
Some early manuscripts do not have this sentence.
The Living Bible goes further, denying a special place for the Jew, even removing the greeting in James 1:1: To the twelve tribes of Israel
Of course, it was Blavatasky who infamously said the Jews were created by Jehovah, “an inferior God”, and were therefore “not of the same essence” as the Aryan race. This in defiance of God’s word in Acts 17:26 in the KJB, which says: God hath made of one blood all nations. The new Bible versions fall in line with Blavatsky’s anti-Semitic root race theory by ominously omitting the word blood from this verse. What’s more all new versions stop Mark 16 twelve verses short, omitting or casting doubt on verses 9-20, which detail the special signs that accompany Jewish preaching of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven on earth.
There’s much more, but I think you’ve read enough now to know that modern Bible versions can’t be trusted, that the ghost of Hitler and the Third Reich haunt parts of them and that, actually, as Gail Riplinger asserts, they form part of a New Age/Satanic plot to undermine God’s truly anointed, preserved word in English the King James Bible, Authorised Version 1611. After reading this you can’t say you haven’t been warned.
Inquiries: John Aldworth phone: +64 7 856 4655. Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
LEARNED THE THREE Rs YET?
by John Aldworth
So, you’re a Christian. You believe the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ paid for your sin. You know God’s forgiveness for all sin – past, present and future -(Col. 2:13) and find yourself “a new creature”, saved by the “washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5).
Hopefully, you are learning to overcome sin by believing you are no longer under law but under grace so that sin no longer has “dominion” over you (Rom. 6:14). Perhaps you have also learned that, truly, your old sinful nature was crucified with Christ and that by faith and the help of the Holy Spirit you can put sin to death in your own life.
I also hope you’re seeking the “things above”, the realm to which you as a believer have been raised by grace and thus “made to sit” with Christ Jesus in heavenly places (Eph. 2: 6, Col. 3:1).
Growing in Grace
But permit me to ask, have you mastered the Three Rs yet? No, bless your heart, that’s not the “reading, ’riting, ‘rithmetic” you got to grips with back in primers. No, no. These are vital, basic learning skills for believers who want to grow in grace and become able “ambassadors” for the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:19-20).
If you are a truly saved Christian, almost certainly your desire will be become “a vessel meet for the Masters use” (2 Tim. 2:21)’. If that’s your aim then grasping the Three Rs will do much to help you achieve your goal.
Of course, you won’t find a verse literally telling you to “study the Three Rs”. Nor is there a scripture saying the trio are the three “hot” issues for Christianity today but, rest assured, they are. In fact grasping God’s will on these three issues will open the door to “the riches of the full assurance of understanding … of the mystery” that Paul wrote about in Col. 2:2.
Satan will oppose
But beware! Satan will do all that he can to prevent you reaching this point. He much prefers believers “blown about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14) or “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). That way he can be sure you won’t be “built up” in the “word of His Grace” (Acts 20:32). That way he can also keep you from the Father, “… Him who is of power to stablish you according to my (i.e. Paul’s) gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery, which was kept secret since the world began ... but now is made manifest…(Rom. 16:25-26).
A different gospel
“Stablish” means to strengthen and make secure in something. In the verse above that "something" is Paul’s gospel and the “preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery”. Sadly, far from being “stablished” by Paul’s gospel most Christians have yet to learn that it is radically different from both gospel preached by Jesus on earth and the offer of salvation proclaimed by the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost.
And today it would be a rare believer indeed who could explain what the “preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the Mystery (which means a secret now made manifest) actually is, let alone why it was hid for so long.
Expect a battle
The opportunity now lies before you to grasp these and other truths so clearly they will forever sharpen your sword of witness. Don’t let Satan rob you of it. And do expect a battle. Don’t be surprised if strange doubts and irrational dislikes arise in your mind even as you read what you are about to learn.
As Jesus said, Satan is the “father of lies” and cannot abide the truth. Above all, he hates the “now” word of the risen, glorified Lord Jesus Christ specifically directed to believers today. Hang in there until you’ve checked it all out in God’s Word, the King James Bible, Authorised Version 1611. Remember the Bereans? They “searched the scriptures daily to see if these were so” (Acts 17:11). May I suggest that you do the same?
Not to overstate the case, your decision on these issues will determine whether you understand what God is really doing today or miss out on his purpose for believers living in this hour. As the preacher said, “You’re either part of the problem, or part of the solution.” You can’t be both.
So here are the Three Rs: Right Bible, Right Division, Right Gospel
We start with the Bible issue because that’s where God starts, with His Word. Turn to Genesis 1 and see for yourself how He spoke heaven and earth into being with His Word.
The issue then for you and me is whether we believe God’s Word or not. Of course I do, you say. Well, allow me to test you on that. It’s often said: “If God’s Word says it, I believe it, that settles it”. Actually that is too many words. The truth is that that if God’s Word says it, that settles it. Whether you believe it or not God’s Word is still the truth. That two and two make four is fact; whether you believe it or not it won’t add up to anything else. Nor will God’s Word be anything other than absolute truth, regardless or the view we may have of it. “Let God be true but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).
Christ’s work undermined
So, why does it matter which Bible you read? Simply because Jesus said “… scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Yet in the “new, modern” bibles that have spread like a rash in recent years scripture has indeed been broken. Words have been changed; in fact many left out. Whole verses and sentences have been dropped, truths obscured and the character and the precious, finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ in dying and rising again for us has been undermined. One ominous NIV omission is leaving out the Lord’s words “Get thee behind me Satan” in Luke 4:8.
The devil’s prayer?
And just look at what the NIV does to the prayer the Lord taught his disciples in Luke 11:2. “Our Father” is reduced to Father, the words “which art in heaven” are omitted along with “Thy will be done, as in heaven so on earth” and the very important phrase “and deliver us from evil”. The mutilated NIV prayer cannot possibly be addressed to the true God since the NIV won’t admit that He is in heaven, nor does the NIV want His will done on earth. Since the NIV does not want God to deliver us from evil, one can only conclude that the “Father” addressed in the NIV is actually the “Father of lies”, Satan himself. Certainly Satan is not in the highest heaven and certainly he does not want God’s will done on earth. Obviously he would not want to deliver anyone from evil, since as the devil, he is evil personified.
Supposedly the new translations are easier to understand. That’s because they have been dumbed down, some to fifth grade level. Importantly, the indicators vital to understanding what we as Gentiles (or Jews) are now in God and how we are saved at this time in God’s programme of progressive revelation, have been obfuscated or fudged in the “new and improved” bible versions.
The very “time marks” placed by God in the original Greek New Testament text and preserved accurately in the King James Bible are mistranslated, obscured or absent in the New International Version (NIV), New American Standard (NASB), the Good News and many other versions. Even the New King James Bible departs radically from the inerrant, God-preserved text of the good old KJB.
Christ left out of his own gospel
Today’s most popular bible, the NIV, leaves out 3000 words in the New Testament alone, some 6000 in the whole bible. Missing are whole chapters and verses. Also cut out are important words, crucial to the honour of the Lord Jesus Christ. For example: in Romans 1:16 in the King James Bible Paul writes that he is not “ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation.” In the NIV that phrase reads: “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” Thus the NIV leaves “Christ” out of his own gospel.
Vital patterns lost
Worst of all the new translations disrupt and obliterate the clear biblical presentation of the dispensations. Dispensations are the different ways God has used to deal with man down the ages. Thus each dispensation (e.g. Ephesians 3:1-3, “the dispensation of the grace of God”) represents a change in the way He runs he runs his household (i.e. mankind). At least seven such changes are recognised by most dispensationalists and if your bible lacks the clear pointers to them found in the King James Bible then you are robbed of knowing God’s method of salvation and purpose for believers today. Publishers of modern bibles often employ translators who do not themselves believe important teachings found in God’s Word. Worse still they base their translations on corrupt texts produced by men of past ages who also denied vital truths such as Jesus being God the Son, that He was born of the virgin and that He died for our sins and rose from the dead.
That is why their Satanically inspired new bible versions, particularly the NIV, constantly pull down the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, obliterate the efficacy of the blood He shed for sin and cast doubt on the all sufficiency of grace He provides to save and help lost sinners.
God’s revelation disfigured
What’s more the very pattern of words that undergirds the sweep of progressive truth that God has revealed over time to man is disfigured by the textual corruption and mistranslation in the new bibles. For example, the KJB uses the word “dispensation” consistently to translate the Greek word oikonomia in 1 Corinthians 9:17, Ephesians 1:10, 3:2 and Colossians 1:25. Translating the same word the NIV uses trust in 1 Cor. 9:17, effect in Eph. 1:10, administration in Eph. 3:2 and commission in Col. 1:25, thus denying the reader the God intended connection.
To sum it up, the true power of God is found only in His perfectly preserved, infinitely refined, inerrant Word (see Psalm 12:6-7) because that alone is THE TRUTH. Available globally in today’s universal language, English, that TRUTH is the King James Bible. The others simply don’t cut the mustard.
Confusion is easy if you treat the Bible as just one book, believing every part is a message written directly to you. Take your instruction from Genesis 6 and could find yourself building a wooden ark the size of a mini liner or Cook Strait ferry in your back yard. Or, if you read Leviticus, taking a lamb, the first of the flock, and slaying it for your sins. You wouldn’t, I hear you say, because Jesus is the Lamb of God and our sacrifice for sins today and Noah was only told to build an ark because God was going to flood the earth. He promised not do that again, so we don’t need an ark today, you argue.
Changes in God’s dealings
Do you know that in making that argument you have just “rightly divided the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)? What was it you did again? You recognised that what God said at one time regarding his requirements of man differs from what He later said at another time. You saw that one means of sacrifice for sin (Abel’s lamb) was later replaced by God with a very different one (Jesus dying on the cross for our sins). The fact is that at various stages in man’s history and thus also in the Bible narrative) God changes the way He deals with men. Thus God walked and talked with Adam in the Garden of Eden but after Adam’s fall walked with him no more but drove him out of the garden to till and work the now weed ridden soil. Clearly what God said to Adam before the fall is vastly different to what He said afterwards and nothing Adam did could bring back his lost state of innocence.
In our time, roughly 6000 years later, there’s just as big a difference in what God once did nearly 2000 years ago and what He is doing today. For example, it was no light thing to truly follow Jesus during his earthly ministry and thus qualify for to enter the kingdom of heaven earth He proclaimed was “at hand”. You had to sell all you had, give to the poor, and follow the Master, not knowing where you would sleep that night. You had to do good deeds where you had done bad plus keep the whole law of Moses, all 613 commandments of it. What’s more your righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees because, unless it did, you would “in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven”.
A burden the apostles couldn’t bear
What a big ask! The Jews could never do it. So what chance for rebellious, uncircumcised Gentiles such as we? The Apostle Peter in Acts 15:10 said the law of Moses was a burden “neither we nor our fathers could bear”. Not much hope then that Gentiles like you and I will ever obey it is there? Yet that is exactly what we must do if we are going to obey to the letter the commands of Jesus found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Tell people today that the teaching and instructions of the Apostle Paul are the “now” commands of the Lord Jesus Christ to us today and they say: “Oh, no, the words of Jesus in the Gospels - the ones in red letters in my Bible – they are what we should obey.” Trouble is they haven’t thought it through, much less “rightly divided” the “word of truth” (Tim. 2:15).
If you think you are really obeying the commands Jesus gave on earth, or that it is possible these days to even do so, then here’s a simple test: Look up Luke 12:33 and read the simple instruction: “Sell that ye have and give alms …” Done that yet? If you are obeying the red letter words of Jesus as you say you are, why not? You had better have a good reason for not doing so. And, please, don’t spiritualise the meaning away. Clearly Jesus meant exactly what He said because his 12 disciples fully obeyed Him. He said: “Come, follow Me”, remember? The disciples did just that, leaving nets, boats, the business of fishing, tax gathering or political agitation and wives and children too.
Now, is Jesus calling us in this the “dispensation of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24, Eph. 3:2) in which we live to do the same? Hardly. Rather in 1 Tim. 5:8 the Lord speaks through Paul to us saying: “If any man provide not for his own and especially for those of his own house he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel”. And in 1 Cor. 7:10 believers are specifically told not to leave their husbands or wives.
The things that differ
We are commanded in 2 Tim. 2:15 to “rightly divide the word of truth”. Right division is taking notice of the changes God makes in his requirements of man and in the terms of His salvation as the Bible story unfolds. In the gospels Jesus and his 12 apostles preached only unto Jews (Matthew 15:24 and Romans 15:8), whereas the “Gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), revealed by the Lord through Paul, is for both Jews and Gentiles. Under it all men can be saved by “grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8-9) and “not by works lest any man should boast). By contrast, under the kingdom of heaven on earth gospel preached by Jesus and the 12 during his earthly ministry, both faith and works such as turning from sin and water baptism were required for salvation. Believers saved then were promised resurrection back on earth in the 1000-year, Millennial reign of Christ. It is otherwise for believers saved now, who go to heaven when they leave this life. Paul warns the Galatians that in turning back to obey rituals of the law such as circumcision they had “fallen from grace”.
Today many ministers are adding works of the law, long gone Pentecostal experiences or water baptism to the simple message of salvation by grace. By doing so they are coming under the curse pronounced by Paul in Gal. 1:8-9. Many are taking commands given by Jesus in His earthly ministry only to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (see Matthew 10:6, 15:24) and trying to make them their own with disastrous results. Fact is they were never intended for us in the first place. Yes, right division is the key to clearly understanding, on its own ground, God’s wonderful message of full and free salvation “by grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8) – the gospel for today.
Did you know there is more than one gospel in the New Testament? I hope it isn’t a shock to you to learn there are at least three and that two are quite different. What’s more each of them is known by two or more names. Confused? Don’t be. Every distinction in the Bible, the King James Bible, of course, whether of name, time or description, is for a reason. Mark carefully what the differences God’s word in the KJB Authorised Version 1611 make plain and they will open up a wealth of meaning.
Two very different gospels
For example, look at Galatians 2:7-9 where we read this part of God’s word to us Gentiles through Paul:
“But contrariwise when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me as the gospel of the circumcision was to Peter;
(For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was might in me toward the Gentiles);
And when James, Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars saw the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship that we should go to the heathen and they to the circumcision.”
Do you see it? Right here are two gospels given to two different apostles for two different peoples, Jews and Gentiles. First up there is the gospel of the uncircumcision given to Paul. This is the gospel of the grace of God (as it is called in Acts 20:24, elsewhere called by Paul “my gospel” and “the gospel I preach among the Gentiles”. Second, is the gospel of the circumcision committed unto Peter. Verses 8 and 9 clearly teach, as other scriptures confirm, that Christ was “mighty” in Paul as he took this gospel of the uncircumcision to the Gentiles. Now the same Christ also “wrought effectually” in Peter the apostle to the circumcision, that is the Jews. Mark well, though, that Peter has a different gospel, the gospel of the circumcision.
In Acts chapters two and three we see Peter preaching this gospel to the Jews (and only to the Jews), the heart of which is to do with God having raised up Christ to sit on David’s throne and rule Israel (Acts 2:30, 36). This gospel is in a continuation of the gospel of the kingdom (that is the kingdom of heaven or God on earth) as proclaimed by John the Baptist, Jesus and the twelve in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The ‘down to earth’ gospel
Matthew 4:17 shows us Jesus clearly proclaiming: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. Note that this is the physical Jesus, the “Word made flesh”, the Messiah to Israel, come to restore the kingdom to his chosen people, not the ascended Lord of glory and grace who later revealed Himself from heaven to Paul after his resurrection and final rejection by Israel. Importantly, this gospel to the circumcision proclaims an EARTHLY kingdom, which must be distinguished from the “HEAVENLY kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18), which is in the “heavenlies” and is the ultimate home for all believers saved in the current dispensation of the grace of God. The kingdom of heaven (on earth) gospel was and still is God’s plan to bring heaven’s rule down to earth in the real flesh-and-blood person of the God-man the Lord Jesus Christ, albeit The promise is “on hold” for the present.
Thus in Matthew 5:5 the Lord says: "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”. And in Matthew 6:10 He taught his disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven”.
Are you getting the picture? Jesus came to earth physically to offer a real kingdom on earth. One day on earth He will sit on a real, physical throne in real, physical Jerusalem ruling a real physical world of real physical people through a real, physical nation of Israel. Prophecy says so. You see, it’s physical, don’t spiritualise it. And please realise, this was a message to Israel only (see Matthew 15:24) – it didn’t then and doesn’t now apply to Gentiles as a saving gospel.
The message from heaven
By contrast Paul’s gospel to the uncircumcision is a caught up to heaven gospel for believers saved by grace through the Lord’s death for their sin and “translated into the (heavenly) kingdom of His Dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). This message to the Gentiles is firmly focused on heaven. Thus in Acts 9:3-5 it is the Lord from heaven who reveals Himself ands this new gospel of grace to Paul and commissions him to take it to the Gentiles. (Check out Paul’s corresponding accounts of his amazing conversion and immediate induction into the ministry in Acts 22 and 26). Paul called it "the heavenly vision”, for that’s what it was.
All through his epistles Paul maintains the emphasis on heaven. Thus in Ephesians 2:6 grace saved believers are told “God hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” In 2 Timothy 4:18 Paul wrote that the Lord would “preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom.”
A different destination
Notice that saints under the grace gospel go to heaven, while saints saved during the brief 40-50-year period of preaching the kingdom gospel nearly 2000 years ago sought to enter (or be resurrected) into a kingdom on earth. Another difference is that the kingdom gospel is for Jews only (Matthew 15:24) while the grace gospel is for both Jew and Gentile. Getting saved differs too. Under the kingdom gospel works such as water baptism, selling all one has, giving to the poor and physically following the Messiah are required.
By contrast, under the grace gospel no works are required, all is of grace since Christ has done all that is necessary for our salvation through his death, burial and resurrection (see 1 Cor. 1:1-14). Thus we are forgiven, justified, sanctified, even glorified (Romans 8:30) “by grace through faith, not of works lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
In this gospel to the uncircumcision all is “to the praise of the glory of his grace wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved, in whom we have redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:6-7). More than that He has “reconciled us in the body of his flesh through death to present us holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight (Colossians 1:22).
The gospel that saves today
Clearly it is the gospel of grace by which we are saved today. How important then to be in the right gospel and to stay in it. Paul in his epistles to grace believers (Romans through Philemon) stresses this over and over again. Thus he writes in Colossians 1:28:
“If ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye have heard and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven, of which I Paul am made a minister.”
The gospel he refers to is, of course, the gospel of Acts 20:24 and Ephesians 2:8-9, the grace gospel preached by Paul. We should not be “moved away” from it to the kingdom gospel preached to the Jews only. Indeed, the gospel of grace is the only one God is running with today. The gospel of the kingdom with its healings, signs and wonders, required works and prophecies, was set aside by God along with Israel when she for the third time rejected her Messiah and his message at the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:59-60).
Israel’s leaders had first rejected the Messiah Jesus at his announcement by John the Baptist. Then again when they and the mob took and crucified Him. They spurned Peter’s renewed offer of the kingdom at Pentecost. Finally, Messiah’s last messenger to the Jews at Jerusalem, Stephen was stoned. Hence the Apostle John sadly writes (John 1: 11), “He came unto his own but his own received him not”. And in Romans 11:8-15 the Lord reveals through Paul how He has set Israel aside so that that the “fall ” and “diminishing” of them may be the “riches of the Gentiles”.
Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles
It is to Paul, not the 12 kingdom gospel apostles, that the Lord commits the “dispensation of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2). This dispensation includes the whole body of truth revealed to Paul by the risen, glorified Lord in heaven, a “mystery” that had been hidden in the secret counsels of God until then. Now recorded for us in the epistles of Paul it is unknown to the Old Testament prophets. Nor was it mentioned by Jesus in his earthly ministry. Importantly for us, this revelation through Paul “fulfils” - that is completes – the Word of God (Colossians 1:25). Thus through Paul we see by faith the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ revealed in heavenly glory and read the record of his transformation in the written word, the scriptures.
It is a message primarily for Gentiles. That is why all of Paul’s epistles (with the exception of Hebrews) are addressed to Gentiles – Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, etc. By contrast the later epistles of James, Peter, John and Jude are addressed to the dispersed Jewish believers, i.e. Israel. They contain messages specifically for the Dispersion and for those who will believe in the Tribulation when once again the kingdom of Christ on earth will be in focus and salvation will once more be by faith and works, not as it is now, by grace through faith.
Don’t fall from grace
Today the gospel of the grace of God is the only saving gospel in the world. This is why Paul in Galatians 1:6 warns Gentiles against being removed from Him who called you unto another gospel.”
Avoid the muddled mix
Sadly today many church ministers preach a muddled mix of both the gospel of the circumcision (the kingdom of heaven on earth message to Jews) and the gospel of the uncircumcision (the gospel of the grace of God). The result, both for preachers and hearers, is a “fall from grace”. Those thus deceived go back under the law, the very thing Christ nailed to the cross on our behalf.
Today the wonderful truths of grace are all too often obscured by the rush to get back to the “simple gospel” preached by Jesus on earth. Actually for us now, living as we do in God’s ordained dispensation of the grace of God, Jesus’s earthly gospel is neither simple nor capable of being obeyed. If you dispute that, let me ask: Have you sold all that you have to follow Him? He said this was necessary to become perfect and thus obtain eternal life. Have you moved a mountain by faith lately, obeyed all 613 commandments of the Mosaic law or gone your way and sinned no more? Can’t be done, you say. You’re right.
Far better, surely, to rest in the finished work of Christ, his death for us, burial for us, resurrection for us, set out for us in the gospel of grace.
The marvellous truths of grace
- Forgiveness and redemption through belief that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead for our justification (1 Cor. 15:1-4, Rom.4:25).
- One baptism BY the Holy Spirit (no, not water baptism, nor the baptism WITH the Holy Spirit that occurred at Pentecost), but the baptism BY the Holy Spirit into Christ Himself (Rom. 6:3, 1 Cor. 121:13, Gal. 3:27).
- By this baptism we are made on with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:3, Col. 2:12).
- By this baptism also we are made a member of the “church which is his body”, that is the body of Christ, a truth unmentioned outside the Pauline epistles (Col. 1:24).
- We have Christ as the Head of this church (Col. 2:10), not the Pope, nor Queen Elizabeth II.
- We are justified by faith (Rom.4:25, 5:16-18).
- We have been freely given “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
- We have received the spiritual “circumcision without hands” that is the cutting away by the Holy Spirit of “body of the sins of the flesh” - the old Adam nature - thus freeing the soul to obey Christ (Col. 2:11).
- Best of all we have “abounding grace” to meet all our needs (2 Cor. 9:8).