Recently I have been doing some word studies trying to ascertain the proper definition of words so that I can have a full understanding with what I am writing, preaching and teaching about.
What James is saying that we should not look to be teachers and preachers, because those of us who are, we will come under greater scrutiny from the Lord when we stand before Him.
With every article I write, I always try to keep this in mind. I will give an account for my words one day when I stand before the Lord.
It is my greatest desire that when I do stand before Him, He will say “Enter my kingdon my good and faithful servant.”
Ideas of Men VS. God’s Word
In doing this study, I have come to realize that there are a lot of things that we have been taught that do not stand up to the Word of God.
How do I know?
When we use God’s Word to define The Bible itself, I am finding out that we have been taught “man’s opinion” and not what God’s Word clearly teaches.
So why question things that have been nicely laid out for us by all these great teachers and wonderful books they have written?
Because 2 + 2 is not adding up to 4 when we really allow God’s Word to define itself in light of men’s books.
Here is the portion of scripture that alerted me.
See when I read it then read the commentary, the commentary was stating that the “elect” was Israel.
Hmmmm, something just did not ring true.
Call it a gut instinct or something, but what I was “being told” the verse meant Israel, but I knew that this did not line up with what God’s Word was saying.
We can clearly see from this verse that it is talking about the rapture, right?
In fact, let’s use scripture to define scripture….
We see the same things taking place in Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4.
Matthew used the word “elect” in Chapter 24.
We also see in 1 Thessalonians 1 Paul identifying the elect…
So we can see that both Matthew and Paul refer to the elect as the ones being gathered up in the rapture.
This is using scripture to define scripture. In other words, this is proper hermeneutics, proper study.
Now, let’s look at these two portions of scripture Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4. What do we see here that is common?
Both of these verses are clearly talking about the same event, correct?
We can see that it is talking about the rapture.
It also answers “Who” is the rapture for?
The rapture is for the believer, His elect.
So, here is the quandary I have.
Why do a lot of teachers and authors state that in Matthew 24 the elect spoken here is NOT believers, but Israel?
I honestly believe that it is because an idea was put out there a long time ago and that idea molded into a doctrine and that doctrine has become cemented in theology today.
See a man named Scofield who lived about 200 years ago decided to put it in his study notes. Then a gentleman named Moody came along and produced what is called “The Scofield Study Bible.”
If you have a Scofield bible, Scofield states that in Matthew 24 that Israel is the elect.
Now I am going to let a lot of you know that I have not been a fan of Scofield for some time now. This is why my “Sword” of choice is the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible – KJV.
I have also read papers and a biography about Scofield, and let’s just say that he was not a cool guy.
I guess you could call him the Rick Warren / Joel Osteen of his day, with a lot of personal baggage.
A very eye opening book to read is titled “The Incredible Scofield and His Book” By Joseph M. Canfield
Book Here >>> http://tinyurl.com/The-Incredible-Scofield
Canfield’s book goes into a lot of historical documentation about Scofield and how he lived his life.
There are a lot of things that bothered me about Scofield, for example…
Scofield abandoned his wife and children and refused to support them.
When his first wife Leontine originally filed for divorce in July 1881, she listed the following reasons:
This article is not about tearing down Cyrus Scofield. Many people have come to the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ though the Scofield bible.
There is an old saying, if God can use an ass to speak to men, he can use ______________.
… Insert Cyrus Scofield.
What I am trying to paint for you is that Scofield was the “popular” preacher of the world during that time. Again, like Rick Warren and are Joel Olsteen are today, Cyrus Scofield was back then.
It has been Scofield’s notes that millions have leaned upon and because they are included in the Scofield study bible, no one questions it.
Here is something else that I found troubling when I was doing my research.
There are no records that can be found where Scofield even claimed that he was a repented man, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ for all his sins and that Jesus Christ was his personal Lord and savior.
You would think that there were some records of a personal testimony somewhere. Some record of Scofield telling his testimony to someone. When I heard of this, I searched pretty deep and I have not found any record.
So why have we as the church allowed this person who appears to be a lukewarm Christian and most likely a “Christian In Name Only” (C.I.N.O) at best to influence generations of pastors and lay people?
When the Scofield bible was published, Moody the publisher, sent copies to just about every pastor there was in the US and England.
What this did was cement Scofield’s ideas into the minds of men.
Yes, the Scofield bible was widely accepted, but there were the critics out there too.
But over the years those criticisms we forgotten and Scofield became a ‘solid name” thus his commentaries were completely accepted without question.
The logic went like this…. If Moody published The Scofield Bible, and because Moody put his stamp of approval on it, it has to be correct and be doctrinally sound.
Look at how many of us go to these commentaries in our bibles and give it a “PASS” and not think about it at all.
We tell ourselves, “Well “so & so” wrote this great book. Obviously it has to be right because he has sold so many copies over the years and he is such a popular person.”
Isn’t that how it usually goes?
What has taken place over the past two hundred years is that we as Christians have gotten lazy and instead of seeking out the truth via God’s Word, we have had all these great authors and teachers pre-chew our scripture for us and then regurgitate it up for us so that we can better digest it.
Let me paint it for you this way…
Don’t you realize that all this pre-chewed scripture has lost a lot of God’s vitamins and nutrients? (God’s meaning and definition) What has gotten mixed in is the saliva of man and because of that, we have latched on to man’s ideas vs. what God’s Word really says.
In today’s fast paced world we have become dependent upon this pre-chewed food, and we have forgotten that we have the ability to dig into God’s Word ourselves.
We have forgotten to be good Bereans like Paul tells us to be in Acts 17:11.
Letting God’s Word Define The Elect
So how can the elect be Israel where God’s Word itself clearly says the elect is something different?
Romans 11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
Right there scripture states that Israel is not the elect.
Out of 16 times that the word elect is used in the bible, and as many of you know, I only use the KJV, we find the following…
Here are the scriptures so that you can see this for yourself – be a good Berean…
Here is what Webster’s 1828 English Dictionary states…
The Golden Rule of Interpretation
Dr. David L. Cooper, was the founder of the Biblical Research Society and he stated the following… “When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.”
In other words…
If you have been a reader of mine for a year or so, you know that this is something that I tend to harp on. We need to stick to God’s Word and let His Word define itself.
If you are interested, you can learn more about the Rules of Interpretation at — http://www.biblicalresearch.info/page7.html
See without having a true common sense rule to understanding God’s Word, our flesh can be allowed to run down bunny trails proving that the Grass was created to be purple and that the sky was created to be green.
This is why having a good grounding in hermeneutics and realizing that God’s Word defines itself, not man defining it, is so important.
We need to start being good Bereans and start seeking the scriptures out to see if what man is saying is true according to the Scriptures, NOT according to the popular books and commentaries.
We need to remember that the best interpretation of scripture is God’s Word itself. Who better to define His Word than God the Creator and Author of The Word?
In this study, we clearly see that when Scripture is talking about the “Elect,” God’s Word defines it as Believers in God / Jesus Christ.
It is the Elect that one day will be gathered up from all the corners of the earth when we see the angels in the clouds with the Lord, and
We hear that trumpet, The Trump of God sound.
So if you have put your faith in all these popular books, and these shiny teethed teachers with “aerodynamic” hair, then you might want to start doing a checkup from the neck up and start digging into God’s Word.
We need to start building our houses upon the Rock of Jesus Christ and His Word and stop latching onto all these fancy men who sure sound good and weave a nice tale.
The only way to do this is putting their books down, and start picking up our only true source, God’s Word.. The Bible.
A word to the wise, drop all these modern versions also and stick with the one bible that has been through the fires of testing, the King James Bible. It has been with us for over 400 years and God himself promises to preserve His Word. I believe that preserved Word for the English speaking people is the KJV.
I hope that this article / study has given you something to think about and to strive to be a better Berean when it comes to reading, studying and digesting God’s Word.
By Ray Gano
1 – Quoted from the papers in case No. 2161, supplied by the Atchison County Court – reproduced by Joseph Canfield, The Incredible Scofield And His Book, p. 89
2 – Canfield, op. cit., pp. 65-68
3 – Canfield, op. cit., p.239-240
4 – Canfield, op. cit., pp. 79-80 – as taken from the files of the Kansas State Historical Society