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Offense of the Cross

Discussion in 'Daily Devotionals' started by charlesj, Feb 25, 2002.

  1. charlesj

    charlesj Member

    **Note: I posted this in Prophecy, Endtimes... by mistake.

    The cross of Christ presents problems for those who want to “do something” that
    will justify their feelings. In Paul’s time, there was a group of Jews going around
    telling others that Paul agreed with circumcision as part of the gospel plan of
    salvation. Paul addressed the issue of circumcision in the book of Galatians and
    for a moment, in chapter 5, speaks of it as being a fact. He places the pronound forward for the sake of strong emphasis: (Gal 5:11) “But, I on my part brethern, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Has the deathtrap of the cross been abolished? . . .”

    The statement is so silly that Paul is still preaching circumcision. Paul tears it to
    pieces with two questions, (1). Why am I still being persecuted?, (2). The second
    question also rests on the assumption of the fact “if”: Has the
    deathtrap(skandalon) of the cross been abolished? (V.11).

    Paul used a Greek word, “skandalon” when addressing the problem of
    circumcision. Let’s look at what he said: (as the KJV puts it)

    Galatians 5:11
    11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence(skandlon) of the cross ceased. KJV

    Paul used this word again in 1 Corinthians:

    1 Corinthians 1:23
    23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock(skandalon), and unto the Greeks foolishness; KJV

    Christ crucified for the Jews a “skandalon.” The cross, the crucified
    Messiah, is deadly to the Jew to this day. Although it is the very power of
    God to save(1Cor.1:24) by freeing the Jew from the curse of the law in that
    Christ on the cross became a curse in our place(1Cor.3:13), by clinging to
    their law the Jews are still struck by this curse, by scorning Christ
    crucified have Him as an odor of death unto death. At the heart of their
    legalism is circumcision. If they could keep their legalism, if they could put
    into the cross something that is not atonement, but only example, a great
    model, a so called inspiration, the Jews would adopt the cross. But the
    “skandalon” cannot be abolished!! The cross cannot be perverted, it
    cannot be changed. It means atonement, justification by faith, abolition of
    law and works by law, complete Christian liberty.
    Today, we have a similar problem of people wanting to place the law (Sabbath) back on the Christian. The Gentile never had the law from Mt. Sinai.
    “Skandalon” is like the “trigger” mechanism on a mousetrap. If a mouse were to touch the cheese on the trigger, the trap would immediately cause the trap to snap shut catching the mouse in the trap, most of the time death follows.
    Paul was writing in defense of the gospel of Christ, the cross of Christ in Galatians. He was addressing those Jews who were saying that you must be circumcised “plus” the cross in order to be saved. If you will notice in the verses following (Gal 5:11ff), Paul
    even goes further and says, I wish those who teach this(circumcision) would go a little
    further and cut the whole thing off!

    How is the cross of Christ a “trap” or a “snare” to the Jew? Why was Paul saying circumcision was wrong and using such strong language against those who were promoting it?
    A “skandalon” is a fatal, deadly thing; it kills and is intended to kill. A “stumbling block” is a poor translation in the KJV for it makes it “milder.” In Romans 9:33 the two words(stumblingblock and offense) are used together, so the translators were forced not to use the usual translation:

    Romans 9:33
    33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone (proskommatos) and rock of offense (skandalon,): and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. KJV

    This “skandalon” is not to be used in a “mild” way. This “trap” is deadly; it is intended to kill, to be fatal, mortal, no less.

    Here we have a group of people, once God’s chosen, who were guided by a “tutor”(Gal 3:24) that lead them to Christ. These people, the Jews, were a special people and were given a special revelation from God.
    The Jews were guided by a special “tutor,” the law. The law is defined by the God through Moses as the “Covenant.” It is referred to as the “first covenant” in the book of Hebrews by God through the Hebrew writer.

    First, let’s look at the law as defined by the Lord. The setting is at Mount Sinai and the giving of the commandments. Gentiles (ex-Gentile if you are a Christian) always speak of the “ten commandments” when referring to this period of time, but the Jew will tell you that there were 613 commandments given during this period of time. Well... okay.

    Exodus 34:27-28
    27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.
    28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. KJV
    From Exodus 34, Jehovah defines the ten commandments as the “covenant.” God
    wrote upon the “tables of stone” the ten commandments, the covenant.

    1 Kings 8:9
    9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. KJV
    1 Kings 8:9 tells us that there was nothing in the ark except the two tables of stone
    which Moses put there when God made a covenant with the CHILDREN OF
    ISRAEL. (Ask yourself, what was in the ark, who was the covenant made
    1 Kings 8:21
    21 And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. KJV
    1Kings 8:21 tells us that the “covenant of the Lord” was in the ark. Therefore,
    the two tables of stone and the covenant are one in the same.

    Deuteronomy 4:13
    13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. KJV

    We learn from Deuteronomy that the ten commandments were written on two tables of stone. (Deut 4:1 identifies “who” this covenant was made with, Israel,
    not some American, or any other Gentile!)

    Deuteronomy 9:1 & 11.
    Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven, KJV
    11 And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant. KJV

    Hebrews 9:1
    Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. KJV

    Exodus 34 says the Ten Commandments is called the covenant, as does 1Kings 8:9 and 21, as does Deuteronomy 4:13; 9:1 & 11. God defines the covenant so there will be no mistake about it and also He makes it clear as to whom the covenant was made with, Israel.
    The Hebrew writer, in Hebrews 9:1, declares that this covenant also had a sanctuary and a sacrificial system. The whole system, in the New Testament, is referred to as the law, the first covenant. It (the law) is contained as a “one package” deal made with the Jew.

    We know that Jehovah made covenants previous to this one, but this is called “the first covenant” by the Hebrew writer. It was the first for the fleshly Jewish nation.
    Hebrews 8:13-9:1(read)

    In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
    Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. KJV


    Deuteronomy 5:1-3
    And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. 2 The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. 3 The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. KJV

    In Deuteronomy, Deut 5:3, Moses speaks and says that the “covenant”(ten commandments) was made with them (the Jews) and not even their “fathers.” If you will look at Deuteronomy 1:8, you will find that “their fathers” was Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    Deuteronomy 1:8
    8 Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them. KJV

    According to Moses, this covenant was not made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Could
    Moses have been mistaken, for Sabbath-keepers tells us today that the law is for the Gentile as well as the Jew. Also, they tell us that the dietary laws are for us today and some even go so far as to say we must keep some of the feast days.

    See part two for a continuation of this theme.
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. charlesj

    charlesj Member

    Jehovah made this covenant, the first covenant, with Moses and the rest of the
    Jews at Mount Sinai. These people were given the law, the tutor that lead them
    to Christ, and was a "sign" between God and the Jew.

    Exodus 31:13-14
    13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths
    ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your
    generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
    14 Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one
    that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work
    therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. KJV

    Exodus 31:17
    17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days
    the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and
    was refreshed. KJV

    We learn that the Sabbath was a "sign" between God and the nation Israel. If other
    nations had it, then where would the "sign" be?
    Sabbath-keepers tells us that all should be observing the Sabbath, yet God says it
    was a sign between Him and Israel during the Old Covenant period of time. Who
    will you believe?

    Not only was it a sign, but it was a command that they had to obey. If they failed to
    Obey the Sabbath then they faced death(Ex 31:14). The penalty is death for it is
    written in the words of the Old Covenant.
    From Genesis to Exodus, 2500 years, nothing is mentioned of the Sabbath. Just
    before giving the law on Mount Sinai, God told Israel not to work on the seventh
    day, the Sabbath. Some caught a man picking up sticks on the Sabbath, but did
    not know what to do with him for the law had not been written yet. They went to
    God through Moses, and Jehovah told them to "stone him."

    Numbers 15:32-35
    32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered
    sticks upon the Sabbath day. 33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him
    unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. 34 And they put him in ward,
    because it was not declared what should be done to him. 35 And the LORD said unto
    Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with
    stones without the camp. KJV

    My point here is that the Sabbath had not been given before the covenant at Mt.
    Sinai and
    had not been heard of for 2500 years. If this was such an important time for man,
    then why didn't God mention it through Moses for the first 2500 years?
    Sabbath keepers would like you to believe that man obeyed the Sabbath for the
    first 2500
    years, but the truth is that God gave the Sabbath to a special people, the Jews, for
    a special period of time(until the seed should come to whom the promise
    was made,Christ,
    Gal 3:19).


    Deuteronomy 5:15
    15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God
    brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the
    LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day. KJV

    Moses says one of the reasons that the Sabbath was given to Israel was due to the fact that it
    was to be a memorial of their deliverance from Egypt. Egypt is a "type" of sin. Today, the
    Christian has a memorial, the Lord's supper. In the Old Covenant, the memorial was the
    Sabbath, in the New Covenant, the memorial is the Lord's supper.

    The Gentile never had the law from Mount Sinai.

    Romans 2:14
    14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the
    law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: KJV

    In Romans 2 Paul is contrasting the Jew with the Gentile. In passing, Paul made the statement
    that the Gentile never had the law, yet Sabbath keepers tell us that everybody has always had
    the law. When I say "the law," I am speaking of the law given from Mt. Sinai.
    God has always had laws, but not "The law." I have shown you that God gave "the law" to
    Moses and
    those Jews with Moses(Deut 5:2ff) and not even to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
    Also, I have
    shown you that for 2500 years the Sabbath was never mentioned until just before the giving of
    the law.
    The Sabbath keeper comes along and confuses everyone on the 4th commandment and claims
    the Gentile
    must keep the Sabbath and also observe the Israel's "food laws."(No pork, clean and unclean
    eating of animals. This means you can't eat catfish, or any other fish without scales and fins, no
    marshmallows because they contain jell and jell has pork, can't eat certain cookies made without
    vegetable oil, can't take certain vitamins because they contain jell, etc. etc.)

    To those Sabbath-keepers who would like to place the burden of the law
    upon us Gentile believers hear the words of God through His Apostles who
    have already dealt with this problem:
    Acts 15:19-24
    19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are
    turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols,
    and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time
    hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
    22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of
    their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed
    Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23 And they wrote letters by them
    after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren
    which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 24 Forasmuch as we have
    heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your
    souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such
    commandment: KJV

    The "Offense" of the cross causes men to stumble. It is the simple gospel that Paul preached
    that we are to listen to. It is the gospel of Christ, not Moses that we are to hear. We are to hear
    Jesus, the Son of God.
    Hebrews 1:1-2
    God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the
    prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed
    heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; KJV
    For those that want to go back and place themselves under the Old Covenant, I will leave you
    with the words of the Apostle Paul when he spoke to the non believing Jew:
    2 Corinthians 3:14-17
    14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in
    the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this
    day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to
    the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit
    of the Lord is, there is liberty. KJV

    The cross of Christ is the hope of mankind, not just the Jew, but all peoples of this

    Your servant in Messiah, Jesus,
  3. FFX

    FFX PS2 Chick with Passion

    Hi charlesj... this has indeed been an interesting read... ^_^ very insightful...