Friday, November 9, 2012

Deleted Scriptures in the Bible?

If you listen to the preaching in many churches, you might conclude that some Scriptures had been deleted or erased, namely the ones referring to the commandments of God. There is no mention made of God's commandments either from the pulpit or in the fellowship of the saints.  This is really strange, since we know that there are over 60 verses in the New Testament containing the word "commandment." And I can assure you that none of these verses have been deleted or erased.

The word commandment in the New Testament Scriptures comes from the Greek word entole, which means "injunction," that is, "an authoritative prescription: - commandment, precept."  I would like to prove that the commandments of God are very basic to Christianity.

Below I simply list Scriptures where this Greek word "entole" is used in the New Testament, so that you can see for yourself what the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles said about keeping God’s commandments.  Notice that we are not to follow men’s traditions or the commandments of men who have departed from the truth.  But keeping the Lord’s commandments has always, and still is, considered pleasing to God.  

In order to call out the Greek word entole in the following Scriptures, I have underlined the words commandment and commandments.  In some cases, I have also underlined other words for emphasis. Don't miss the explanations for each of the illustrations and the conclusion at the end.

Jesus said, "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:19).  You definitely don't want to be included among those who annul any of God's commandments!

And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? (Mat 15:3)

And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." (Mat 19:17)

One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' "This is the great and foremost commandment. "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."  (Mat 22:35-40)

"Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." (Mar 7:8)

He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. (Mar 7:9)

But Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. (Mar 10:5)

"You know the commandments, 'DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.'" (Mar 10:19)

One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all?" (Mar 12:28)

They [Zacharias and Elizabeth] were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. (Luk 1:6)

Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment. (Luk 23:56)

"No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." (Joh 10:18)

"For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. "I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."  (Joh 12:49-50)

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (Joh 13:34)

"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (Joh 14:15)

"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." (Joh 14:21)

"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. (Joh 15:10)

"This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. (Joh 15:12)

But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. (Rom 7:8-13)



In the illustration above, sinful man is pictured under the Law of God.  The law is depicted here as two gavels over man's head.  It is something external that is put upon him. Due to the weakness of the sinful nature, man under the Law can only produce sin, which ultimately brings about death.  For this reason, it is called the law of sin and death when an unregenerate man tries to keep the law.

For this, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." (Rom 13:9)

but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; (Rom 16:26)

Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. (1Co 7:19)

If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment. (1Co 14:37).  He said this in the context of referring to the law (1 Cor 14:34)!

Paul said of our Lord Jesus, "...by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, (Eph 2:15).  Some people think this means Jesus abolished the Law or the commandments.  However, Jesus Himself said that He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.  So it clearly means  something different.  The difference is that Paul meant Jesus abolished the enmity between Jew and Gentile, which is found in the ordinances (ceremonial dogmas or decrees) of the Law, so that both Jew and Gentile could become one new man in Christ, and be at peace in Him. For a complete explanation of this verse, see "Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross?"

Even Paul admonishes children to obey the fifth commandment to "HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise)" (Eph 6:2; cf., Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16).

"(which all refer to things destined to perish with use)--in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?" (Col 2:22) We are not to follow man-made commandments.

"For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus." (1Th 4:2)

"...that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (1Ti 6:14)

but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior, (Tit 1:3)

not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. (Tit 1:14)

And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest's office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended from Abraham. (Heb 7:5)

And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. For it is attested of Him, "YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK." For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.  (Heb 7:15-19)

For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, (Heb 9:19)

For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. (2Pe 2:21)

that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. (2Pe 3:2)

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; (1Jo 2:3-4)

Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. (1Jo 2:7-8)

In the illustration above, the two tablets are turned inward, forming a heart shape. The Law of God is depicted as being written upon the heart, according to the New Covenant promise spoken by the prophet Jeremiah and repeated by the apostle Paul.    He wrote: "The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 'This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.' Then he adds: 'Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.'”

and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. (1Jo 3:22-24)

And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. (1Jo 4:21)

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. (1Jo 5:2-3)


In the illustration above, the disciple of Christ is depicted under Christ's Lordship. He is in the Kingdom of God under the reign of King Jesus Christ with the Law written upon his heart and mind.  This is what it means to be under the law of Christ. The law is now internal, and he wants to do it!  By the power of the Holy Spirit, he brings forth lots of good fruit. The sum of these fruit is love for God and others.  But this fulfills the Law, it upholds the Law, and produces righteousness, holiness, peace and joy.  Ultimately it produces life.  For this reason, it is called the law of the Spirit of Life.

I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. (2Jo 1:4-6)

So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Rev 12:17)

Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. (Rev 14:12)

Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Mat 28:19-20). The word "commanded" comes from the Greek verb "entellomai," from which the noun "entole" (commandment) is derived.

All Scripture is Profitable
You know that blank page in the middle of your Bible, right before the Gospel of Matthew, that says simply "New Testament"?  That page was not inspired by the Holy Spirit. Man made that! In the early church, what we now refer to as the "Old Testament" were the only Scriptures they had to read or preach from. The writings of the apostles were still emerging in the first century, and had not yet been formed into a collective unit. Although we have changed to a new covenant, we have not removed any Scriptures.  The Holy Spirit inspired some additional books of the Bible from Matthew to Revelation, but this doesn't mean the previously written Scriptures have been deleted. They are still inspired and relevant.  The apostle Paul wrote, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (2Ti 3:16-17)

The terms New Testament and Old Testament have limited usefulness.  They are useful to refer to a range of Scriptures, such as Genesis to Malachi or Matthew to Revelation.  But beyond that they can actually cause confusion.  I think it would have been better to call one part of the Bible the BC (Before Christ) Scriptures, and the other part AD (Anno Domini, meaning "Year of Our Lord").  All we really want to do is refer to the books written before Christ or after Christ.

However, the terms "New Testament Scriptures" and "Old Testament Scriptures" are misnomers.  "Testament" means "covenant," so when we call the AD Scriptures the "New Testament," we may lead people to believe that these are the only Scriptures applicable to the New Covenant; or that these are the only Scriptures that refer to the New Covenant; or that they are the only Scriptures relevant to the New Covenant life of the believer.  Yet none of these notions are true. There are many references to the New Testament in the BC Scriptures.  Likewise, when we call the BC Scriptures the "Old Testament," we promote the false idea that the BC Scriptures were only applicable or relevant to the Old Covenant people; or that they are the only Scriptures that refer to the Old Covenant.  Such notions could not be farther from the truth, and the terms "New Testament" and "Old Testament" were never used by Jesus or His apostles to refer to divisions of the Bible.

The practice of inserting a page in our Bible, or a division title in the table of contents, to section off the so-called "New Testament" is a man-made tradition, and so is the practice of using the terms "Old Testament" Bible and "New Testament" Bible.  Jesus rebuked the religious people of His day for making void the Word of God by adhering to man-made traditions.  Yet the same could be said of Christians today for keeping to these man-made traditions.  Don't let these traditions of men cause you to nullify the Word of God. We need to repent of this, and return to the Lord, embracing the whole body of Scripture as God's Word.

Putting it All Together
It's clear that the Lord Jesus and His apostles taught us to keep God's commandments.  The New Testament is full of references to this.  And if you keep His commandments, you will abide in His love (Jn 15:10).

There is a big difference between being under the law and being under Christ with the law written on your heart!  One is external and the other is internal. Nobody can be justified in God's sight by doing the works of the Law, because we are justified by faith in Christ.  We are not endeavoring to keep up the law of Moses in conjunction with the gospel of Christ. Therefore, do not rely on your obedience to the Law to save you, because it is only by grace that you are saved through faith (Eph 2:8-10).  

This is NOT about keeping ceremonial or ritual laws, such as circumcision.  That was settled by the apostles of the first century church long ago, who ruled that no follower of Christ is required to be circumcised. But the letter they wrote to the Gentile believers about this matter, while exempting them from circumcision, did require some things that are specifically stated in the Law: "that they abstain from" 1) "things contaminated by idols" and 2) "from fornication" and 3) "from what is strangled," and 4) "from blood."

Do you think the apostles were creating four new commandments to replace the Ten Commandments?  No, they were simply calling out some very specific things forbidden by the Law of Moses, which the Gentiles must abstain from.  The apostles used the Law to determine what to write to the Gentile believers under the New Covenant. They assumed that the Gentiles would have access to a synagogue in any city of the world that they may live in, so that they could learn the basics of the Ten Commandments. Their words were: "For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath." (Act 15:21)

The Ten Commandments and the commandments of the New Testament Scriptures are all summed up by these two commands: "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND." and "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."  This is the heart of God in all the commandments, and it's only possible by living a life crucified to self, trusting in Jesus, and walking in the Spirit.  Always remember that we can do nothing apart from the Lord Jesus (Jn 15:5).

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the following:

The Law of Christ
Law of Love in the New Testament
Is Obedience Optional?
The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith
The New Covenant
Zipporah Mushala’s Second Testimony of Hell
Faith Works!
The Spirit's Law of Life
Obedience by the Spirit
The Law is Good if Used Lawfully    
What Then Must We Observe?

You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Photo Credit: Tender Graces blog by Kathryn Magendie.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

2 comments:

  1. This is very insightful! I've read your compilations of many people's testimonies regarding Heaven and Hell, and Lord Jesus Christ. Also read the page about falling away and divine garments. These are all very insightful things that I have never once been though at Church (former Catholic). Just curious, but have you ever attempted to share these testimonies about Jesus Christ's visitations and warnings to the Church? I have sent them to two friends from different Churches and one reacted very violently and the other ignored me, both are once saved always saved believers. This is greatly disheartening because there is much about obedience and holiness which needs to be taught at Churches. How do you think we should share these things to people who don't practice them yet are believers in Christ? I recently was very upset and almost lost hope but the Lord encouraged me to pull through and so I was wondering if you have any experiences you could share about sharing these things (holiness) that might be of use to people who are convicted to do the same :) Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear sister Sabina, thank you for reading and commenting back. Your experience in sharing these things is pretty common. That's the usual reaction people have. The Truth hurts, and many have rejected it.

      Jn 3:19-21 teaches us that if we believe in Jesus, we must live by the Truth. We must come into the Light. We cannot say we believe in Jesus and continue to practice evil deeds, walking in darkness.

      Here are some articles of mine to encourage you in your walk: http://electionandpredestination.blogspot.hu/2012/07/the-keeping-power-of-god.html.
      http://len-seekingthelord.blogspot.com/2011/11/holy-living-in-perverted-world.html
      http://len-seekingthelord.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-straight-and-narrow-path.html

      For those who believe in eternal security, have them read:
      http://electionandpredestination.blogspot.com/2011/07/drifting-away.html
      http://len-seekingthelord.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-apostasy-parables.html
      http://len-seekingthelord.blogspot.com/2012/03/is-obedience-optional.html
      http://len-seekingthelord.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-difference-between-disciple-and.html
      http://len-seekingthelord.blogspot.com/2014/12/sins-that-will-keep-you-from-heaven.html
      http://workinggodsway.blogspot.com/2015/07/the-ways-of-life.html
      http://workinggodsway.blogspot.com/2013/12/faith-works.html

      I would like to invite you to consider enrolling in our Doulos Training School to help you become a disciple. See http://doulostrainingschool.blogspot.com/.

      Shalom!

      Delete

If you are going to comment and you want it to be published, do not write in ALL CAPS, and use clear English. All comments will be evaluated before publishing. If they are of a hateful, belligerent, or vicious nature, they will not be posted.