WILL THERE BE A WEALTH TRANSFER IN THE LAST DAYS?

There are some who teach that there is going to be an “end time transfer of wealth,” and that the body of Christ (the collective body of believers who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior) is going to become “wealthy” through this transfer.

Those who teach this do so based on the “prophetic words” of certain ministers whose prophecy is treated as “authoritative,” rather than being tested according to scripture. 

We must be cautious when ministers have prophetic words for the collective body of Christ, which has become the norm in some arenas of Christian ministry. In such cases, prophecy is elevated to the “authoritative”  status of Biblical doctrine. This is serious error.  Rather than teaching the truth according to scripture, these prophetic words are preached and taught, and those who teach these prophetic words do so with scriptures which have been taken out of context to support their prophecies.

The Word of God instructs us to judge all such prophecy, and the best way to judge the prophetic words of men is by the whole counsel of God given in the scriptures, and there is nothing in scripture which teaches that there will be an “end time transfer of wealth.”

In fact there are some lazy people within the church, and the apostle Paul instructed the Thessalonians not to keep company with such people, even though they are believers.

1For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:10-15

Paul certainly did not teach an end-time wealth transfer that would benefit the collective body of the church, for he instructed the Thessalonians to have no company with lazy believers who would not work so that they would ashamed.

The text which has been mishandled by those who prophecy and teach “an end time wealth transfer,” is found in the book of Proverbs: A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. ~ Proverbs 13:22

There is nothing in Proverbs 13:22, or the balance of scripture, which speaks of a wealth transfer in an end time context, from one collective body (sinners in the world) to another collective body (the church).

Proverbs 13:22 is contrasting between the inheritance which a good man leaves behind (whether it be earthly possessions or a heritage of righteousness, etc.,) and the wicked, whose wealth will eventually make its way into the hands of the righteous because “the memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.” ~ Proverbs 10:7

Regarding the wicked, the Psalmist says, “Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.” ~ Psalm 109:13

Concerning the righteous, he says, “the generation of the upright shall be blessed.” ~ Psalm 112:2

The Bible speaks often of the generation of the upright being blessed, while the generation of evil doers perish. By the providence of God, that which wicked people lay up for themselves in their greed, will eventually make it into the hands of those who will use it for godly purposes. This is a spiritual truth, and not a prophetic word that Christians are going to have unearned wealth lavished on them in the last days.

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ISRAEL WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE TO THE GOSPEL

Jesus was revealed to Israel in the writings of Moses and by the prophets. He was revealed to Israel by John the Baptist. He was revealed to Israel by the things Jesus said and by the works which God did through Him. He was revealed to Israel by the witness of His followers and the preaching of the apostles. Lastly He is revealed to Israel by the mercy that God has bestowed on the Gentiles.

The Gospel is freely offered to every Jew. Today is the day of salvation and any Jew who believes will be saved. God has no favorites and He will not treat those Jews who reject the Gospel of His Son, with any preferential treatment. There is no other alternative for the Jew apart from the Gospel. Those who reject Jesus Christ will be held accountable for rejecting the Gospel!

THEY WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE BY MOSES:

How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuses you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. ~ John 5:44-46

For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. ~ Acts 3:22-23

This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. ~ Acts 7:37

THEY WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE BY THE PROPHETS WHOM GOD SENT TO THEM:

But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. ~ Acts 3:18-26

To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.~ Acts 10:43

Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you. ~ Acts 13:40-41

THEY WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE BY THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST:

This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. ~ John 1:30-34 

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. ~ Matthew 3:8-10

THEY WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE BY THE WORDS AND WORKS OF JESUS:

He that rejects Me, and receives not my words, hath one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. ~ John 12:48

Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the WORKS of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. ~ John 10: 36-38 

THEY WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE BY THE TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES:

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all): that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. ~ Acts 10:34-43

THEY WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE BY THE SALVATION OF THE GENTILES:

As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved. For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha. What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. ~ Romans 9:25-33

But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. ~ Romans 10:18-21

I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Romans 11:11

JESUS, AND THE THIRD TEMPLE

The anticipation of the building of  a third temple in Jerusalem is mounting as many evangelical Christians look to the Middle East, persuaded that such a temple will eventually become the center of a futuristic reign of Christ.

Those who embrace this view may be surprised to learn that God has never requested, or desired a permanent house made with human hands.

In Acts 17, the apostle Paul preaching at Mars Hill, to the men of Athens, said the following:

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with handsNeither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things… ~ Acts 17:24-25

In scripture, the first temple (aka Solomon’s temple) was build as a result of a desire in David’s heart to build God a house.

Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord remaineth under curtains. Then Nathan said unto David, Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee. ~ 1 Chronicles 17:1-2

Later, God spoke to Nathan the prophet in response to David’s desire to build God a house. 

And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in: For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another. Wheresoever I have walked with all Israel, spake I a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people, saying, Why have ye not built me an house of cedars? Now therefore thus shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, even from following the sheep, that thou shouldest be ruler over my people Israel: And I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee, and have made thee a name like the name of the great men that are in the earth. Also I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning, And since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. Moreover I will subdue all thine enemies. Furthermore I tell thee that the Lord will build thee an house. And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore. According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David. ~ 1 Chronicles 17:3-15

Though Solomon, David’s son, built the first temple, the words of God in the 1 Chronicles 17 were prophetic of another of David’s descendants. The one referred to by God would have an everlasting Kingdom, and it is he who will build a house for God. This is a reference to none other than the Messiah, Jesus. 

Solomon’s kingdom was not a lasting kingdom, and the temple built by Solomon was eventually destroyed because of God’s judgment against the apostasy of the nation. The second temple, renovated by Herod, which was the standing temple during the time of the earthly ministry of Jesus, was also destroyed because of God’s judgment against Israel in 70 A.D.

If Jesus is the one who is going to build the house God desires, what sort of house will he build? How will it coincide with his reign as King, and when will Jesus reign as King?

THE ENTHRONEMENT OF CHRIST

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary in the gospel of Luke, he said concerning Jesus, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.” ~ Luke 1:32

Though some interpret the reign of Christ from the throne of David as a future millennial throne previously occupied by the anti-Christ, the Bible teaches that Jesus is enthroned now at the right hand of God.

According to the authors of the New Testament, the exaltation of Jesus at the right hand of God is the fulfillment of God’s promise that he would raise up his Son, the Messiah, to reign upon the throne of David.

In Acts 2, Peter interprets the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus at the right hand of God as the fulfillment of the scriptures that the Messiah would reign from the throne of David.

Notice carefully how Peter articulates this:

Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. ~ Acts 2:30-36

In the texts above, Peter is quoting David from Psalm 110 when he says, “the Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.”

FIRST, notice the words “the Lord said to my Lord, sit thou on my right hand…”

Peter quotes this in reference to David, as a prophet, knowing that God would raise up the Messiah to sit on his throne. So as a prophet, foreseeing the enthronement of the Messiah, David said, “The Lord said unto my Lord, sit on my right hand.” As a prophet, David foresaw by the Spirit of God that the promise of the Messiah reigning on his throne would not be an earthly enthronement, but a heavenly enthronement, at the right hand of God.

In the gospels, Jesus said: “David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet”‘ (Mark 12:36, See also Matthew 22:41-45).

SECONDLY, notice the next part of the text that Peter quotes from David: “till I make your enemies your footstool.”

These very same words are employed by the author of Hebrews in describing the enthronement of Jesus at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:13; 10:13) and in 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 the apostle Paul applies them to the exalted Jesus as well.

Also Psalm 110 is the Psalm which testifies that the Messiah would be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (v.4). The author of Hebrews expounds on this and tells us that Jesus, the exalted King at the right hand of God, is also our great high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

The historical Melchizedek (Genesis 14) prefigured Christ as a King and Priest, and not a priest only. Under the Law of Moses one could not be a King and a priest.  The priests came only from the tribe of Levi and the Kings were descendants of David from the tribe of Judah.

The writer of Hebrews explains how Jesus, being from the tribe of Judah (the tribe of King David), is qualified to be a priest. He is qualified because His priestly ministry is not earthy (Hebrews 8:4), but heavenly, at the right hand of God where he is now enthroned. ~ See Hebrews 8:1-3

THIRDLY, Notice that David specifically identifies the Messiah as his Lord: “The Lord said to my Lord…”

In Acts 2 Peter says, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both LORD and Christ” (v.36).

Peter doesn’t tell the people of Israel that Jesus will be Lord when he one day returns. Peter declares that Jesus is Lord and Messiah now, at the right hand of God. The gospel which was preached to house of Israel by the apostles, was not a gospel of a futuristic enthronement of the Messiah, but rather, the declaration of His exaltation now!

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:9-11

When he had by himself purged our sins, (He) sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High…  ~ See Hebrews 1:3

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Hebrews 1:8 

I (Paul) Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all. ~ Ephesians 1:17-23

Notice that Paul says in Ephesians 1 (above), Christ is already enthroned in Heaven above everything in this world and in the world to come, having all things under His feet.

Jesus enthroned at the right hand of God is not a temporary enthronement as he awaits a lesser throne in Jerusalem, Israel. Rather, Jesus entered into his glory after his resurrection (Luke 24:26; John 17:5, 24; Acts 2:33; 3:13) and was enthroned at the right hand of God, where the New Jerusalem is – the true Holy City of God (Hebrews 12:22-24). From there, Christ will reign forever!

When Christ returns he is not taking a lesser throne, for he has been made Higher than the Heavens, in his exaltation (Hebrews 7:26). Jesus reigns forever, being highly exalted at the right hand of God, and in that Majestic power, authority, and glory; He will come again!

THE TEMPLE OF GOD

If Jesus has already entered into his glory, and exalted as King at the right hand of God, what sort of the temple will he build?

First, allow me to point out that the pervasive ideology which states that Jesus will return to occupy a stone and mortar temple, also states it will be built by unbelieving Jews before his return. Many believe that the anti Christ will at some point occupy this temple.

Yet the Word of God unequivocally states that Jesus, and not the Jews, will build God’s temple. Notice again, God’s words to David through the prophet Nathan:

I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.  I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore. ~ 1 Chronicles 17:11-14

According to the Bible, Jesus is the cornerstone, which God has laid in Zion. He is the foundation stone of the true house of God which is built not by man, but by the Spirit of the Living God. The true house of God is built with living stones. (1 Peter 2:5). These living stones are Jews and Gentiles who obey Jesus Christ and abide in Him.

Nowhere in scripture will you find a “rebuilt – man made – temple” of which the Lord Jesus Christ will return to fill with His Glory. The temple which is filled with his glory is the temple which he is building with those who trust in him.

For through him we both (Jew and Gentile) have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the LordIn whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:18-22

The true temple of God of which Jesus is the foundation, and his followers are the building, is out in the open, loud and clear, revealed in the New Testament. ~ See John 2:19-20; Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; 1 Corinthians 3:16 -17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:12-22; 1 Peter 2:5

All man-made structures in scripture, were only types and shadows of the true temple which is in Christ.

The writer of Hebrews tells us emphatically that we who hold to faith in Jesus are Christ’s house!

For this man (Jesus) was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken afterBut Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. ~ Hebrews 3:3-6

Stephen testified of this truth in the book of Acts: Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. ~ Acts 7:48-51

Stephen’s declaration comes from the words of God through Isaiah the prophet: Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. ~ Isaiah 66:1-2

Notice, that in contrast to the words of God, “where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?” God says, but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

Those to whom God will look are those who have a humble or circumcised heart in the sight of God.  The true temple of God is not built with human hands, but with circumcised hearts, and it is this temple that God himself inhabits by his Spirit.

Under the Law, Jerusalem in Israel was the place of worship, but in John 4:21, Jesus made it clear that the time was then near when those who worship God would no longer worship in a physical temple within Israel, but true worshipers will worship God in the Spirit and in truth.

In Philippians 3, the apostle Paul says, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

While some continue to anticipate a Jewish Temple to be rebuilt (a temple that would only cause unsaved Jews to continue in their rejection of the Messiah should it ever be built) the true Temple of God consisting of Jews and Gentiles is being built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, and this is the holy habitation of God through the Spirit.

ISRAEL AND THE CROSS

If we fail to understand the cross as it relates to Israel, we will fail to understand Israel in Bible prophecy.

Before the cross, ethnic Israel’s identity as the people of God made them distinct from all other nations, because Israel was covenanted to God through physical circumcision and the Law of Moses. 

Things have changed.

According to Paul, physical circumcision no longer has any value with regards to being in covenant with God, and the system of law with its commandments and regulations under which Israel was to serve God, has been abolished by the death of Christ on the cross.

Writing to the Gentile believers at Ephesus, the apostle Paul says the following:

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. ~ Ephesians 2:10-13 

Notice that Paul tells the Gentiles that they were previously called “uncircumcision” by those who were called “the circumcision in the flesh.” Paul tells them that at that time they were without Christ, and they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israeland they were strangers from the covenants of promise.

Paul then says, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” ~ v.13

The Gentiles who were at one time far off, and aliens from commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

The reason things have changed for Israel is because blood of Christ has united Jews and Gentiles in one body, in Christ, as the people of God. There is no longer any distinction between the two in the eyes of God.

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Many who would not dispute that Jews and Gentiles are one in Christ, would still argue that unbelieving Israel holds a distinction as a covenant nation before God. Yet Paul says otherwise. In Romans 10:11-12, Paul says, “there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek” within the context of unbelievers. In Romans 10 Paul holds the unbelieving Jews answerable to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

If God had an another alternative for the unbelieving Jew apart from the gospel revealed in the New Testament, there certainly would be a difference between the Jew and the Greek. The Jew would then have a special privilege for salvation, not offered to the Gentiles, apart from the gospel. Yet Paul holds Israel accountable to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and gives them no other alternative.

If it were true that Israel maintains a covenantal relationship with God apart for Christ, the gospel would be invalidated, for the New Testament tells us, there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus… ~ 1 Timothy 2:5

Apart from Christ, no Jew or Gentile has any covenantal relationship with God! 

Because of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no longer a separating wall, as there once was between Jews and Gentiles. The division has been abolished! 

14 For he is our peace, who hath made both (Jews and Gentiles) one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

16 And that he might reconcile both (Jews and Gentiles) unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby… ~ Ephesians 2:14-16

I once watched a portion of a video by a well known Zionist minister, claiming that the wall of separation (which is taken away in Christ) will again be erected when Christ returns. Honestly, I don’t think people truly understand how egregious such teachings are in view of the gospel.

In the book of Galatians, we get a glimpse of just how egregious this was to the apostle Paul.

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulationBut when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? ~ Galatians 2:11-14

According to Paul, Peter and the other Jews with him were not walking uprightly according to the truth of the gospel when they separated themselves from the Gentile believers at Antioch.

Paul believed that God has reconciled Jews and Gentiles into one body by the death of Christ on the cross. Thus, removing the distinction which separated the Jews from the Gentiles. In Ephesians 3, Paul refers to this as “the mystery” which was hidden in previous generations.

As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets. And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning. God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. this was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Ephesians 3:4-11 TNLT

Notice that Paul says that God’s plan was to display his wisdom by the church – the union on Jews and Gentiles in Christ, and this was his eternal plan! It is through the finished work of Christ that God has accomplished this.

Paul addresses this same truth in the book of Galatians when he says the following:

As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. ~ Galatians 6:12

In Galatians, Paul is countering the false teachings of those who were advocating Jewish supremacy rather than glorying in the finished work of Christ.

These religious Jews (aka, Judaizers) did not simply want to bring the Gentiles under some sort of “works righteousness” but rather, they were seeking to make Jewish proselytes of the Gentiles, and this was something that Paul adamantly opposed.

It wasn’t enough to these religious Jews that the Gentiles had believed the gospel and received the Spirit. They were insisting that the Gentiles to go beyond the cross of Christ and become Jewish proselytes through circumcision and adherence to the Law.

It is this “Jewish supremacy” based on the Jew’s religion (Galatians 1:13-14) that Paul is countering so strongly in Galatians.  Jewish supremacy, such as Paul is addressing in Galatians, is in opposition to the truth of the gospel and Jewish supremacy fuels a mishandling of scripture regarding Israel in Bible prophecy.

Again, If we fail to understand the cross as it relates to Israel, we will fail to understand Israel in Bible prophecy. The New Testament is the divinely inspired commentary regarding Israel’s prophetic destiny, which comes to fruition in Jesus Christ: For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. ~ Romans 10:4

When Paul teaches that we are not under the law, or that Christ has brought an end to the law, or that the law is fulfilled in Christ, he is not addressing “legalism” per say. He is addressing ethnic Israel’s covenant with God.

Because of the cross, there is no longer any privilege for one ethnic group above another in the sight of God. In Galatians 5:11 Paul says, “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision (the mark of Jewish covenantal identity) why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offense of the cross ceased.

The controversy over of circumcision in the first century church wasn’t about legalistic works. It was about the superiority of Jewish identity. Because of this dispute, the apostle Paul was being persecuted by those who preached circumcision. Paul preached that the cross alone could save, and being circumcised or not being circumcised no longer had relevance with regards to being in covenant with God.

In Romans 3 the apostle Paul asks the question,“What then? are we better than they?“

This is a reference to the Jews in contrast to the Gentiles. Paul goes on to answer this question saying, “No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.” Paul puts the Jew and the Gentile on level ground as being “all under sin.”  ~ See Romans 3:9

In Galatians 6 Paul says, For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. ~ Galatians 6:12-16

According to Paul, Jews and Gentiles are united in Christ and become the new creation identified by the cross of Christ, and are said to be the Israel of God!

We must understand that the gospel of Jesus Christ belongs to the long winding history of the story of Israel. The gospel is the proclamation of the redemption and salvation which God promised Israel through the scriptures and the prophets.

Hidden in a mystery was that Israel’s redeemer would also be the Savior of all who trust in him, and those who trust in him from among the Gentiles would be grafted into Israel’s family tree and become partakers of Israel’s New Covenant! 

The physical preservation of a collective, outward, Jewish ethnicity was never the promise of God. A new creation was. This new creation in Christ is revealed in the New Testament as the union of Jews and Gentiles in one body, becoming one family together as the children of God. 

In his conversation with Jesus, Nicodemus was quite surprised when Jesus spoke to him about the necessity of being “born again.” According to Jesus, this was something that Nicodemus, who was a ruler in Israel, should have understood.

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?  Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? John 3:9-10

Any interpretation of Israel in Bible prophecy, which replaces Christ’s finished work on the Cross for the redemption of Israel, with a so-called unfinished work for ethnic Israel is a “a strong delusion.”

This delusion has made, of an unbelieving Israel, an icon of ‘god-sanctioned’ disregard for Jesus. It fears to name the spirit behind all unbelief, Israeli or otherwise.

And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. ~ 1 John 4:3

JERUSALEM, THE TALE OF TWO CITIES

And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. ~ Revelation 11:8

Historical Jerusalem, in Israel,  is the city where Jesus was crucified, and in the text above we have two significant descriptions about Jerusalem. It is called (1) the great city and (2) spiritually, Sodom and Egypt.

This is the true identity of historical Jerusalem in the eyes of God. 

Even so, historical Jerusalem serves within the Biblical history of Israel as a type of the Heavenly Jerusalem.

Historical Jerusalem, where the temple was located,  was the focal point of the religious life of the Jewish people under the Law of Moses. However, in John 4, Jesus made it very clear that the time was then approaching when Jerusalem would no longer be the place where men go to worship God, for God is a Spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth. ~ See John 4:19-24.

In Galatians 4, the apostle Paul speaks of historical Jerusalem in contrast to the Heavenly Jerusalem. He identifies historical Jerusalem with the Old Covenant, and the Heavenly Jerusalem with the New Covenant. He tells us, “Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” ~ See Galatians 4:22-26.

When Paul speaks of the heavenly Jerusalem, he cites the prophet Isaiah: “Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.” ~ Isaiah 54:1

According to Paul, Isaiah’s prophecy applies to the Heavenly Jerusalem, and not to historical Jerusalem.

In Galatians 4, Paul likens historical Jerusalem to Hagar, who gave birth to Ishmael, and he likens Jerusalem from above to Sarah through whom God’s promise was fulfilled, saying, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.” ~ v. 28

The Heavenly Jerusalem, is the true holy city of God to which believers in Jesus Christ belong. The author of Hebrews tells us, “…ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels…” ~ Hebrews 12:22

Though historical Jerusalem, and the Heavenly Jerusalem are polar opposites, God established historical Jerusalem as the center of the religious life of the people of Israel  to give a foreshadowing of that which was to come.

In Revelation 21, the title “great city” is applied to New Jerusalem, just as it is applied to historical Jerusalem in Revelation 11.

And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God... ~ Revelation 21:9-10

The holy Jerusalem is the city which scriptures tell us that Abraham sought: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. ~ Hebrews 11:10

Shortly after this, the author of Hebrews tells us that Abraham and his descendants (those who are of faith:)  desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. ~ Hebrews 11:16

In chapter 13, the author of Hebrews says, For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. ~ Hebrews 13:14-15

The Heavenly Jerusalem, aka, New Jerusalem, is the continuing city which is to come. Not historical Jerusalem. 

Historical Jerusalem has been put away as an unfaithful and adulterous woman, and God has taken a new bride. New Jerusalem, the heavenly city (full of the followers of Jesus) is the Lamb’s wife, the holy bride.

Consider the description, the great city, as it applies to historical Jerusalem.

In Revelation 17, the apostle John saw a vision of a harlot which made the kings of the earth drunk with her fornication. In verse 18, the heavenly messenger reveals to John that the harlot is the great city.

Remember, Jerusalem is called the great city in Revelation 11:8. If we allow scripture to interpret scripture, the great city (which is the harlot) is historical Jerusalem in the land of Israel.

The description of Jerusalem as a harlot was also referenced by the prophets in the Old Testament. Consider the following from the book of Isaiah: How is the faithful city become an harlot ! It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. ~ Isaiah 1:21

Also consider Jeremiah’s words from God to Jerusalem: For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. ~ Jeremiah 2:20

Not only is the great city (Jerusalem) referred to in the book of the Revelation as a harlot, but the great city is also referred to as Babylon.

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. ~ Revelation 14:8

Notice the description of the fornication of the great city in Revelation 14:18. This is consistent with the fornication of the prostitute in Revelation 17: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. ~ Revelation 17:2.

Also in Revelation 17, the harlot has a name written on her forehead: And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth. ~ Revelation 17:5 

This description is consistent with God’s description of historical Jerusalem in Ezekiel 16, in which Jerusalem is repeatedly referred to as a harlot and a whore who committed fornication with other nations. Ezekiel 16 gives a detailed account of Jerusalem’s harlotry and the imagery and descriptions are strikingly similar to the harlot (aka mystery Babylon) which the apostle John saw in Revelation 17.

In Revelation 18, we read the following:

And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, BABYLON THE GREAT is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. ~ Revelation 18:1-3

According to Jesus, Historical Jerusalem was guilty of the blood of the prophets and the righteous men whom God sent to her (Matthew 23:34-39). And this description is also given by the apostle John in the book of the Revelation: And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. ~ Revelation 18:24

Historical Jerusalem, is now desolate, and no longer the place of the house of God (Matthew 23:39) for she refused to be a city of righteousness.

New Jerusalem (the saints in Christ) is the city of righteousness, and the place where the house of God is!

RELIGION AND TRADITION

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.~ James 1:26 – 27

Religion is often referred to as a bad thing by some Christians, but according to the Bible, religion, in and of itself is not bad. In the text above, James speaks of religion that is in vain, in contrast to pure religion which is undefiled before God the Father.

In the New Testament, the word religion comes from the Greek word, thrace-ki’-ah, and means “ceremonial observance.” It is used by Paul in Acts 26:5 in context to his lifestyle as a Pharisee before his conversion to Christ. In Galatians 1:13-14 Paul uses it again in the same manner, referring to it as “the Jews religion.”

Religion, or ceremonial observance, is actually a good thing when centered on Christ  because it provides spiritual structure and discipline to our lives.

In the gospel of Luke we read that Jesus had a custom of going to the synagogue on the Sabbath: And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. ~ Luke 4:16

A custom is a tradition, and according to Luke, Jesus had a tradition of going to the synagogue on the Sabbath. We also read where Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to hold on to the traditions he had taught them: Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.2 Thessalonians 2:15

The tradition which Paul speaks of here was obviously a good tradition. Yet the Bible also speaks of tradition that we should not follow. For example, Paul speaks of the tradition of men in contrast to the gospel of Jesus Christ: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. ~ Colossians 2:8

Tradition can be good or it can be bad. Religion can be good or it can be vain. As Christians we need to be careful not to throw out the good with the bad.

Religion and tradition are good things when they serve the purpose of glorifying God!

SPIRITUAL DRUNKENNESS – IS IT A BIBLICAL PRACTICE FOR CHRISTIANS?

Under the Law, the priests were forbidden from entering the presence of God in a drunken stupor, and the penalty for doing so was death.

And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean… ~ Leviticus 10:8-10

During the time of Isaiah, judgement was pronounced because of the drunkenness of the priests and prophets.

But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. ~ Isaiah 28:7-8

In the New Testament we read of John the Baptist, who was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb. John was a prophet and of priestly descent. When the angel Gabriel appeared to his father Zacharias, who was ministering in his priestly office, he said to Zacharias concerning John,“He shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink…” ~ Luke 1:15.

Doctrinally, drunkenness is condemned throughout the scriptures. In the New Testament, drunkenness is revealed as a work of the flesh, and is listed alongside of sins such as adultery, witchcraft, and murder.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. ~ Galatians 5:19-21

These works of the flesh which include drunkenness, are mentioned in contrast to the fruit of the Spirit, among which peace and self-control are mentioned ~ Galatians 5:22-23

According to 1 Corinthians 6, drunkenness is a characteristic of the unregenerate life of sin from which Christ has redeemed us.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

The question we must ask, is this: Would God, who has called us to be holy, take that which is “naturally” unholy in his sight, and sanctify that very thing, causing his people who are called to be holy to act “spiritually” in the manner he condemns naturally?

If we allow the scriptures to set the precedent, we will discover that those things which are condemned as sins in the flesh, when applied spiritually, are also condemned.

For example, adulterywhich is condemned in Galatians 5:19 as a work of the flesh is spiritualized in James 4:4 where it is condemned as friendship with the world and being an enemy with God.

In both the Old Testament, and in the New, drunkenness is spoken of metaphorically as a description of God’s judgement (Old TestamentJeremiah 13:1-14; 23:9; 25:27; 46:10; 51:7, 57; New TestamentRevelation 17:2, 6).

Even though the Bible condemns drunkenness, both naturally and spiritually, many Christians have been taught that there is a holy drunkenness that is a spiritual blessing. This is often referred to as being drunk in the spirit.

There are prominent ministers who teach that “spiritual drunkenness” is a blessing from God. This is ironic, especially in view of the fact that the Biblical qualifications for ministers is the complete opposite, because ministers are called to be sober.

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous… 1 Timothy 3:2-3

For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate (self controlled)Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. ~ Titus 1:7-9

Notice that Titus 1:7-9 (above) mentions among other things, soberness, self control, and sound doctrine as qualifications for ministers. 

Those who argue for “spiritual drunkenness” often cite Acts 2 to support their position. However, Acts 2 does not support “acting drunk” as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2, the disciples of the Lord who were filled with the Holy Spirit began to speak with other tongues. There is no mention of them acting drunk. The manifestation of the Spirit was “speaking in tongues.”

There were thousands of Jews gathered at Jerusalem that day, and they heard the 120 disciples, who were filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking in their native languages about the mighty works of God. This is what got the people’s attention: we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. ~ v. 11

Later, in Acts 10, Peter preached to the household of Cornelius. Peter, along with the Jews who came with him, knew that the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit because they heard them speak with tongues. Then, in Acts 11, Peter described what happened at Cornelius’ house.

And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? ~ Acts 11:15-17

Peter and the Jews with him, knew that the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit because of the gift of tongues, and not because the Gentiles acted drunk. And Peter likened what happened at Cornelius’s house to that which had happened in the beginning in Acts 2, on the Day of Pentecost.

When the 120 were first filled with the Holy Spirit, they were mocked by some in the crowd, who accused them of being drunk.

And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, these men are full of new wine. ~ Acts 2:12-13

Mockery in Acts 2, does not establish that the disciples were “acting drunk,” just as the accusation by Festus doesn’t establishes that Paul had lost his mind.

And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee madBut he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. ~ Acts 26:24-25

In the Old Testament, we have the testimony of Hannah, who in her grief cried out to the Lord because she was childless. Yet Eli, the Priest, made the assumption that she was drunk, even though she was in anguish and pouring her heart out before God. 

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept soreAnd she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouthNow Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunkenAnd Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord~ 1 Samuel 1:10-15

Like Paul, who answered Festus’ false charge against him, and like Hannah who defended herself against the false assumption made by Eli, Peter also responded to the false accusation of those who mocked the disciples.

Peter emphatically says,For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.” ~Acts 2:15

Peter did not say, “they’re drunk, but not the way you are thinking, they are drunk in the spirit.” Yet is exactly how this text is sometimes interpreted by those who teach spiritual drunkenness. Peter was not affirming the accusations of the mockers, he was refuting it.

Why is it that those who display themselves as “spiritually drunk” fail, in their inebriated condition, to proclaim the gospel with power, clarity, and conviction as Peter did when he stood up and answered those who had mocked? The gospel message that brings conviction and repentance is not a fruit of those who display themselves in an inebriated state of being.

Peter did not stand up in a drunken stupor and address the people with slurred speech as he stumbled like a drunk man. Instead, Peter stood up with the other apostles and boldly declared the gospel with power!

The 120 disciples had been filled with the Holy Spirit, and by God’s power they spoke with clarity of the wonderful and works of God in the native languages of many of those in the crowd. They were not displaying themselves in and inebriated stupor.

Being drunk is not of God, but having true joy with a sound mind, and self control is of God.

The joy which comes from God when a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, is clean, holy, and pure. The fruit of being filled with the Spirit is holiness and power. It is not acting drunk. There is absolutely no precedent in scripture that supports “acting drunk” when one is filled with God’s Spirit. The Bible does not teach that God toys with us, causing us to act drunk and intoxicated, for this is contrary to how God commands us to behave daily.

Believers in Jesus Christ are a holy priesthood who are to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5). If we believe this involves acting drunk or displaying ourselves in an intoxicated manner in our church services, then we have embraced a doctrine that is contrary to the precedent given in the scriptures.

God desires that we be filled with joy, and peace, and purity (righteousness). He does not want us acting like the world.

Finally, you will not find a single text in all of the New Testament that speaks of believers being “spiritually drunk.” The Bible speaks of being filled with the Spirit, and gives us many examples of those who were filled with the Holy Spirit. However, there is not a single text which speaks of any believer being spiritually drunk, nor are there any such instructions for believers.

In Ephesians 5, we are instructed to be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit… ~ v.18

Notice that this text does NOT say, “be drunk in the Spirit.” Instead, it says, “be filled with the Spirit.” Paul is not instructing the Ephesians to get “spiritually drunk.” Instead, Paul instructs the believers to be filled with the Spirit so as to live a holy life.

Paul is not making a comparison between being drunk with wine and being filled with the Spirit. Paul is making a distinction or contrast between the two. He is instructing the believers to be the complete opposite of those who are drunk or intoxicated.

This is easily understood when the context of Ephesians 5 is taken into account. Consider verses 8-21:

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. ~ Ephesians 5:8-21

There is absolutely nothing within the context that implies that we are to act as “spiritually drunk” people. On the contrary, we are instructed to walk as children of light, and to be wise because the days are evil.

Being spiritually drunk is not a Biblical practice. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is!