March 2004, Volume IX,
Scripture Twisting (4)
Those seduced by feminism twist I Timothy 2:12 which declares
(regarding the church institute), "I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp
authority over the man." We are told that this was only for their day, as if the
ascended Christ was not laying down rules for the governance of His church till
the end of the age (6:14). We are told that Paul was a bigot or a male
chauvinist, as if "our beloved brother Paul" were not an inspired apostle who
wrote "according to the wisdom given unto him" (II Peter 3:15).
Scientism teaches that the universe was formed through a
massive explosion billions of years ago and that life evolved from the primeval
slime. Those who swallow this false teaching and seek to retain some connection
with the Bible then "reinterpret" (i.e., "twist") Genesis 1 and other passages.
The fourth commandment’s "in six days the Lord made heaven and earth" goes onto
the torturer’s rack, as do the "days" and the "mornings and evenings" of Genesis
1. And, lo and behold, we find that "days" here are millions and millions of
Professed Christians twist Scripture when they claim that it
does not condemn sodomy, and so we could continue. In fact, some modern
hermeneutical theorists are arguing that the reader and not the text determines
the text’s meaning!
Against all Scripture twisters, the believer must hold fast
the Reformed truth that Scripture interprets Scripture and that "the whole
counsel of God" may be "deduced" from Scripture by "good and necessary
consequence" (Westminster Confession 1:6). So watch out for Scripture
twisting in seminaries and in churches; in books and in tapes; by theologians,
by ministers and by professing Christians. Do not be deceived!
People perish in hell for unrepentant Scripture twisting.
Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. & A.113 explains this as a sin against the
third commandment which forbids "any way perverting the word, or any part of
it." Perverting the Scriptures "enables" a man to reject more of the Word and to
live more loosely. Those teachers who twist the Scriptures lead others to
perdition for "if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch"
(Matt. 15:14). The Scriptures which they twisted shall judge them at the last
Scripture twisting is a characteristic of the false church.
Belgic Confession 29 states, "As for the false church, she ascribes more
power and authority to herself and her ordinances than to the Word of God, and
will not submit herself to the yoke of Christ." The false church practises
Scripture twisting to support her false teaching and her power. Therefore Christ
will destroy the false church. Rev. Stewart
Achan’s Sin and Punishment (1)
And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed
thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath
transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he hath wrought folly in
Israel (Josh. 7:15).
One of our readers asks, "Would you please explain to me what
was the accursed thing mentioned in Joshua 8:15, and why the punishment was so
severe?" This passage is highly relevant in the twenty-first century so I intend
to write several articles on it.
Joshua 7 records Achan’s sin of taking some accursed things
from Jericho. In Joshua 6, God gave Joshua and Israel instructions on how to
carry on the battle against Jericho. He said in no uncertain terms that Jericho
and its possessions were accursed. "And the city shall be accursed, even it, and
all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all
that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And
ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves
accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a
curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and
iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the
The Lord’s command to Joshua and Israel was in keeping with
what He had said to them in the plains of Moab on the east of Jordan prior to
Israel’s entrance into Canaan. God told the nation in no uncertain terms that if
they should find some of their fellow citizens engaging in the abominable
idolatries of the Canaanites (Deut. 13:12-14), they should "smite the
inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and
all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. And
thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and
shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the
Lord thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again. And
there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand ..." (Deut.
The Lord expressed His fierce anger against those who
participated in the abominations of the Canaanites. The command to Joshua just
outside Jericho (Josh. 6:17-19) was no surprise to Israel. They knew how the
Lord hated those who lived in Canaan, for they had filled the cup of iniquity
and were ripe for judgment.
Jericho and everything in it is said to be accursed—with the
exception of Rahab and her household. Now that word "accursed" is an interesting
one. It means not only "accursed," but also "devoted." These two meanings are
not separate and distinct so that sometimes the word means the first and
sometimes the second. Both meanings belong together. That which is accursed is
devoted. This is why Joshua 6:17 says that "the city shall be accursed, even it,
and all that are therein, to the Lord." The margins in various translations even
offer the word "devoted" as an alternate translation.
Further, because that which was accursed in Jericho was also
devoted to the Lord, verse 19 tells us that God commanded that "all the silver,
and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they
shall come into the treasury of the Lord." The stuff was accursed and devoted to
the Lord—both at the same time.
So crucially important was this that God warned Israel that
the people were to keep themselves "from the accursed thing, lest ye make
yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of
Israel a curse, and trouble it" (6:18). Achan had heard these words. He knew
exactly what was involved.
Nevertheless, when Jericho fell by a miracle and Israel
entered the city to carry out the command of God, Achan transgressed. He took of
the accursed thing, brought it back secretly, and buried it in the ground under
his tent (7:1, 21-23).
Achan’s bringing an accursed thing into the camp of Israel
brought the curse into the camp. Thus he made the camp accursed and so he
troubled the nation (6:18).
The trouble that Achan brought upon the nation was Israel’s
defeat at Ai. Thirty-six men were killed. If we have any questions about the
severity of Achan’s punishment, let us ponder this a moment. Achan was
responsible for the death of 36 soldiers. Assuming all these men were married,
Achan was to blame that 36 widows now had to live without a husband. Also Achan
was to blame that the children in 36 families had to grow up without a father.
Achan, in fact, though indirectly, killed those 36 men.
As a kind of sidelight, one can only ponder in our own day
the perverted justice of western civilization which favours criminals, no matter
how brutal their crimes, and has very little sympathy for those who have
suffered because of the sins of lawless men.
However that may be, we must consider one more interesting
feature about this history. Achan’s sin was not known to the rest of the nation.
That this is true is evident from the fact that lots had to be cast in order to
learn who the man was who had brought destruction on Israel.
But even though Achan’s sin was secret, he had brought the
curse into the camp and all the nation was guilty for his sin. This kind of
language sounds strange to us, but it is emphatically the teaching of the text.
We must not forget this. We will return to it in a later article. Prof. H.
The Lukewarm Church (3)
Having explained the context and refuted the Arminian
interpretation in the last two issues, we now come to the positive
interpretation of Revelation 3:20: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if
any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup
with him, and he with me."
One Calvinistic view of this text identifies the "door" as
the church door and, hence, sees the text as a call to church reformation. The
Laodicean church, so the argument goes, was well nigh apostate. Christ is
outside that church institute and He is calling His faithful to leave and form a
new congregation. This interpretation is certainly in keeping with the analogy
of faith (i.e. the overall biblical teaching) and does not slide into
Arminianism. Also it is held by many solid Reformed men.
Two arguments, however, may be made against it. First,
neither the text nor the context provide any information about forming a new,
faithful congregation in Laodicea. Second, Christ was not finished with that
church. Verse 16 does not state that it was His fixed and unchangeable purpose
to vomit it forth, for the word "spue" ("I will spue thee out of my mouth" )
is not a future indicative. Rather, Christ is "about to" spue the church out.
Then He counsels it (18) and calls it to repent (19). Thus Christ delivers a
serious warning and (by implication) teaches that in the way of repentance they
will be spared. This conclusion is confirmed in verse 19 where Christ speaks of
the sonship of the Laodiceans and His "love" for them: "As many as I love, I
rebuke and chasten." Hebrews 12:5-8 explains that "sons" and not "bastards" are
chastened. Clearly, Christ was not finished with the Laodicean church for in it
were His beloved sons.
So what then does the text mean? In verse 18, Christ
addresses the church collectively, but verse 20 is a call to the members
individually. Not only must the church repent of her pride—thinking that she had
"need of nothing" (17)—but each member is called upon to repent and believe.
Francis Turretin (1623-1687) put it very well: "When it is
said that ‘Christ stands at the door and knocks’ (Rev. 3:20), it cannot be
inferred that sufficient grace is granted to all. (1) He is there treating of
those already called who were in the church, not of those about to be called.
(2) ... standing and knocking not only designates internal notions, but is
properly referred to external exhortations  ... Therefore he knocks in
different ways at the hearts of the elect and reprobate; at the former
externally and internally by the word and by the Spirit so that, by knocking
imperatively by the word, he may also open them operatively by the Spirit (as
was the case with the heart of Lydia). At the latter, he only knocks externally
by the word that they may understand their duty, the promised benefit, the
heinousness of their sin and the justice of punishment if they neglect the voice
of God ... He does not cease justly to admonish man of his duty and to convict
the rebellious of obstinacy" (Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 2, p.
515). Thus, in the way of repentance, God’s beloved sons (19) enjoy covenant
fellowship with Christ as they dine with Him as His friends (20). Rev.
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