Every Sunday, hundreds of millions who profess to be Christian assume they are being correctly taught—and that they understand and believe—the truth of the Bible. In reality, almost no one knows even the most basic teachings of God’s Word—or of Jesus Christ. Almost all worship Jesus according to what is commonly believed, without the slightest proof from their bibles. Thus, the true doctrines of the Bible are unknown to Christianity—and so is the meaning of nearly everything Jesus taught!
This is the first of two Personals covering 20 verses that virtually the whole of Christendom either misunderstands, ignores or rejects outright. Prepare to learn the truth—and to be shocked at what you thought you knew!
Over 100 million bibles are sold or given away each year, with 92 percent of American households having one. Such statistics show it is the world’s bestseller—yet, ironically, it is also the world’s least understood book.
All the verses you are about to see are ignored and rejected by professing Christianity. Ministers and experienced Bible students know of these passages, but choose to explain them away or never speak of them.
Most religious leaders have chosen to disregard what the Bible teaches. It is as though many fear the truth, or to tell the truth! They fear being fired for teaching it—and they fear their members will leave if they do. In all cases, they fear what men may say or do, and give little or no thought to what God declares in His Word!
The majority of ministers appear to be of God. They profess to believe God wrote the Bible. Yet, not understanding it, they twist verses to fit preconceived ideas. In fact, theological institutes and seminaries of this world have developed a systematic way—and this can be done consciously or unconsciously—of spinning or dismissing God’s plain words and plain meaning in favor of making passages appear to say what they need them to say. These theologians and religionists sell false teachings through use of specific verses—wrongly understood and often taken out of context—that purportedly support their ideas. This permits them to come from a basis of supposed Bible authority for beliefs. And it helps them to much more easily snare the unwitting and unwary.
If one is properly trained and sufficiently grounded in the truth of the Bible, it is quite easy to see through and expose the deceptive logic misapplied to a verse, and to correctly explain it. The apostle Paul warned of “dishonest” people who “[handle] the word of God deceitfully” (II Cor. 4:2), because they, like their listeners willing to believe them, “received not the love of the truth” (II Thes. 2:10). True ministers never, under any circumstances, follow these practices!
What follows is simple, and the verses quoted are seen to be not open to human interpretation. While the Bible is a long and sometimes complex Book, the verses we will cover can be easily understood. The truths they bring will be impossible to miss! But understand. We only have space in most cases for the briefest explanations, yet these are enough to show the error involved. However, much more could be added.
Some background is necessary to introduce all that follows. Blame for deception cannot be laid solely at the feet of modern Christendom. There is another source, which drives the thinking of the whole world. It is key to understanding why basic truths of the Bible remain hidden.
This sets up the first verse Christianity just leaves out—Revelation 12:9. This passage requires a little longer explanation. Now let’s read it: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world…” (Rev. 12:9).
This verse is completely ignored by professing Christianity. Have you ever heard it from the pulpit of your church? As the one who deceives all nations, including ministers, Satan holds ultimate responsibility. His deception is extremely subtle. But of course God also holds people accountable.
Ephesians references the devil’s worldwide influence: “…in time past [the apostle Paul wrote] you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” (2:2).
Grasp this! Satan uses the air to broadcast—through his spirit—an attitude of disobedience! His spirit sends moods, feelings and attitudes of hostility into people’s minds. These “work” to bring disobedience. This “airwave control” gives the devil tremendous power, allowing him to send thoughts of deceit, anger, pride, hatred, vanity, jealousy, lust, greed, envy and confusion into people’s minds!
The devil is much more powerful than most realize. Look at the position he holds, and what this permits him to do: “…the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ…should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:4). Satan blinds and deceives on a staggering scale. The result is a world filled with disobedience—or lawlessness! His cunning has been so seductive he has even been able to convince many that he does not exist!
Like Christians guided by God’s Spirit, the children of disobedience are also inspired and guided by a spirit—that of this world’s god. Satan broadcasts a spirit of rebellion against—and disobedience to—God’s Law.
The devil portrays his ministers as though they represent God and teach His truth. Notice: “…Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness…” (II Cor. 11:14-15).
A deceived world is blissfully ignorant of this understanding, and pays the price! (Request your free copy of my booklet Who Is the Devil? to understand how.)
The second verse—Isaiah 59:2—is related to Revelation 12:9. Let’s read it: “…your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:2). Mankind is cut off from God because of its sin. Adding Jeremiah 5:25 makes this clearer.
Grasp the implications: this is not God’s world! It is cut off from Him—held captive by an unseen kidnapper. All of humanity has been deceived into believing the soothing words of this great captor, thinking themselves better off under his care and leadership. Six thousand years ago, the devil first captured Adam and Eve, and, as a result, all inhabitants of Earth ever after! However, the world has remained a willing captive ever since—and remains cut off from God. (To learn more about this subject, order the free booklet A World in Captivity.)
The third verse Christianity disregards is the definition of sin. I John 3:4 states: “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” This is one of the greatest points in the Bible: the difference between what God approves and what He does not. There have been endless ideas about the definition of sin—what it is and is not. Yet the Bible defines it with surprising simplicity. When someone transgresses or breaks “the law,” he has sinned.
When one breaks man’s laws, he earns a penalty, such as a fine, jail time, or worse for capital offenses.
Likewise, when we violate the laws of God, the Bible says we earn a penalty: “…the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23). Wages are something you earn as a payment for what you have done. If you sin—break God’s Law—you will die eternally. Suddenly, knowing what constitutes “God’s law” is of extreme importance!
The subject of what is God’s Law has been twisted and mangled. Greater Churchianity, as it has been called, has blurred this concept beyond recognition. However, this need not be complicated. This leads us to the next few verses that Christianity just blows off.
The fourth verse never talked about in Christendom is Matthew 5:17, where Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”
The word “fulfill” means to “verify…fully preach, perfect…fill (up)…(make) full” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). In other words, Jesus came to verify and perfect the Ten Commandments—to expand their meaning. Matthew 5 is then filled with examples of how the Ten Commandments have been made even more binding today. For instance, Jesus said, “…it was said by them of old time, You shall not kill…but I say…That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…” (vs. 21-22). Instead of abolishing the commandments, Jesus magnified them (Isa. 42:21).
Ministers of this world twist these and other scriptures to sidestep and reject Jesus’ plain meaning about the importance of keeping God’s Law. They dismiss clear verses, such as Paul’s statement, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yes, we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31).
This leads to the fifth overlooked verse—and it is crucial. I John 5:3: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous [burdensome].” Many who claim to have love believe God’s Commandments are grievous. God declares otherwise! Paul called God’s Law “holy,” “just,” “good” and “spiritual” (Rom. 7:12, 14). The Psalms say it is “perfect…sure…right” and “pure” (19:7-8).
Blessings flow from keeping God’s commands. Ancient Israel was instructed to keep them, because—with the whole Bible—they form His Instruction Manual on how to live. God’s Word reveals the only way to achieve a truly successful, happy and abundant life!
The sixth verse takes this connection further. Romans 13:10: “Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Understand. The Bible defines love as obedience to God’s Law. It is that simple. There is no ambiguity or confusion! Yet most are ignorant of the true definition of love. Ministers everywhere speak endlessly about God’s love, while completely missing all of the vital scriptures that define it.
Jesus also said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Nowhere does Jesus say, “He who professes to love Me—yet breaks My commandments—still loves Me.” If you are among the two billion who profess to be Christian, and someone asked you whether you love Jesus Christ, you would surely answer yes. But how would you prove it? What evidence could you provide?
To most, love is little more than a vague idea that cannot be defined. Ask 100 people to define love, and you will get 100 different responses—everything from a “feeling in the heart” to “just doing good.” A wide range of ideas exist, because few consult the only Source that provides an absolute definition.
The first four commandments—not serving false gods, not making or worshipping images (idols) of God, not taking God’s name in vain, and observing the Sabbath—reveal how to love God. The remaining six—honor father and mother, do not kill, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness, or covet—reveal how to love other human beings. When one obeys God’s Law, he automatically practices love—toward God and others. Love is easily demonstrated because action is required.
When one obeys any of the last six commandments, he—knowingly or not—is outwardly indicating love toward his fellow man. Consider adultery. Though vast numbers break the Seventh Commandment, most would agree adultery is not showing love toward one’s spouse. Now think of the devastation that results: broken trust, marriages, homes, relationships with children, and more. Conversely, by faithfulness, spouses show love toward each other.
Similarly, obeying the first four commands shows love toward God. Sadly, most do not even know these laws—and thus do not truly love God, despite what they may proclaim.
The seventh passage that most outright reject is Mark 7:6-9. As you read, ask if you have ever heard it quoted by a minister. Jesus said this to the Pharisees, “…Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (vs. 6-7). He added, “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do…Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (vs. 8-9).
This is a strong indictment of the religious elite of that time! Jesus stated that the Pharisees professed to worship God, but inside they were far from Him. The context was that they sought opportunity to accuse Him and His disciples of breaking their tradition—the “commandments of men”—merely because they did not wash their hands when they ate. The disciples were not breaking any laws of God. Jesus labeled the Pharisees’ worship “vain,” meaning to no purpose, fruitless.
Think. Jesus said the Pharisees’ worship was pointless! They certainly believed they were worshipping God, but Jesus revealed otherwise. The Pharisees obeyed religious laws of men rather than God’s Law. They were hypocrites—appearing to be pious, while being inwardly “full of dead men’s bones” (Matt. 23:27).
While God does authorize use of traditions (II Thes. 2:15), they never supplant or contradict His laws. The Pharisees, like so many today, claimed to know God. The apostle John wrote, “He that says, I know Him, and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4).
Today’s religious elite reject God’s instructions and instead teach and hold to popular traditions: Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Sunday-keeping, the false trinitarian god, the false gospel about Jesus instead of the kingdom of God, the fictions that God’s Law was “nailed to the cross,” tithing was “done away,” the saved go to heaven, and a host of other beliefs. In fact, virtually all the teachings of orthodox Christianity are manmade! (To learn more, request the following free books and booklets all found at rcg.org/books. They present the truth of men’s holidays, and that of many other doctrines. You will be astounded by the Bible’s clear teachings on a host of topics: The Ten Commandments – “Nailed to the Cross” or Required for Salvation?; The Trinity – Is God Three-In-One?; Saturday or Sunday – Which Is the Sabbath?; God’s Holy Days or Pagan Holidays; Which Is the True Gospel?; Do the Saved Go to Heaven?; and End All Your Financial Worries.)
As with the Pharisees, the world’s ministers preach false doctrines and lead people away from God. If Jesus were here today, He would indict these ministers in the same manner! Ask yourself whether you are worshipping Jesus Christ in vain. Do not assume His warning only applies to others. Assume it could mean YOU! Investigate why you believe as you do—why you observe popular traditions.
The eighth passage rarely even mentioned by ministers is in James 2. First, understand that some assert that keeping the Ten Commandments is “legalistic” merely because salvation is by grace. How do grace and obedience to God connect to salvation? And does obeying the Law—your works—mean you are trying to earn salvation?
Read James: “Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone…You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works…But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (2:17-18, 20).
In regard to the Old Testament patriarch Abraham, verse 22 states, “See you how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?”
Most assume that grace and works are mutually exclusive. The Bible says no such thing. In fact, God’s Word demonstrates both are required.
Think of salvation in this way. A wealthy father approaches his son heading off to college with this offer: “Son, upon graduation, I will give you one million dollars if you maintain a B average, never get drunk, and never cut classes.”
Ask: if the young man meets these conditions, will he receive the million dollars? Yes! Has his conduct earned him the money? No! Of course not. He merely did what all young men should do at college. Yet he would not receive the million dollars if he did not meet the preconditions—the qualifiers!
Salvation is the same. Of course God offers far more than a million dollars, but only those who obey Him—who qualify—may receive His offer. Why cannot millions of Christians understand such basic logic?
There is nothing one can do to earn salvation. It is completely a gift from God. No amount of commandment-keeping can atone for violating God’s Law. Only Jesus’ blood can do this. However, reward in the next life, after receiving salvation, is determined by your works. The commandments describe personal responsibility—what you must do. Yet, when fully understood, obedience is not you doing it, but rather Christ in you who will keep the same commandments He did when in the flesh 2,000 years ago!
Do not accept the reasoning of men. Examine the pages of your Bible.
Another passage clarifies grace and works: “But God…is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us [Paul wrote], even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ…and has raised us up together…For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”—this is true!—“not of works, lest any man should boast”—again, true! Yet—“for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:4-6, 8-10).
All of James 2 discusses how faith and works go hand-in-hand toward achieving salvation and eternal reward. Christians demonstrate faith in God by doing good works and keeping His Law. Yet it requires Christ’s faith working in them to succeed.
The ninth verse is Matthew 4:4: “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Most Christians do not study their bibles, never mind diligently. They do not use God’s Word as an Instruction Manual for mankind. They do not live the Bible. They do not “study to show [themselves] approved unto God” or “rightly divide the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). If they did, especially this world’s ministers, articles like this would be unnecessary. Everyone would already understand all these verses.
Fifty years ago, a newspaper article exposed Christians’ ignorance of the Bible. But since then, this has worsened.
The article stated, “Some months ago, a Protestant pastor administered a Bible quiz to the members of his congregation. The questions were very simple. Anyone with a general knowledge of the Bible should have been able to answer all of them easily. The results staggered the pastor. Only five percent of his flock made a commendable grade on the test. Fifteen percent failed to give a single correct answer. Sixty percent were unable to name the four Gospels. Seventy-five percent could not identify Calvary (Golgotha) as the place where Jesus was crucified…The vast majority of Americans today are Bible illiterates. They simply have never read the book which they profess to regard as the ‘Word of God’” (United Press International). So sadly true!
The reporter concluded, “A great many people have turned away from the Bible because when they do try to read it, they find they cannot understand it…To the modern reader, it has a remote and antiquarian flavor. It is likely to leave him with the impression the Bible is an ancient history book that has no real relevance to his life here and now” (ibid.).
Society almost considers biblical knowledge irrelevant. J.B. Phillips, of the Phillips Bible translation, wrote: “It is one of the curious phenomena of modern times that it is considered perfectly respectable to be abysmally ignorant of the Christian faith. Men and women who would be deeply ashamed of having their ignorance exposed in matters of poetry, music, or painting, for example, are not in the least perturbed to be found ignorant of the New Testament” (The Young Church in Action). I would add they are even more ignorant of the Old Testament.
A true Christian does not let his Bible gather dust on a shelf. He is daily studying it—every word from God’s mouth. (To learn how to study, order the free article “The Rules of Effective Bible Study” at rcg.org/troebs.)
The 10th passage that is ignored by virtually every professing Christian relates to this entire article. In Matthew 24:4-5, Jesus warned, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” The first “many” here are the vast majority of thought-to-be Christian ministers who proclaim Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, but who do not believe or teach what He taught. Neither do they come with His authority.
Six verses later, Jesus added, “…many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (vs. 11). Not only would false prophets deceive the great majority, they would also infiltrate the true Church, Christ warned, causing many true Christians to fall away. During the last days, false prophets were foretold to increase in number and in their power to deceive. Here is Jesus’ chilling warning: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders…” (vs. 24).
You must understand the power, influence and grave danger presented by false prophets and false teachers—and grasp what it means for you. There are many deceivers at work today. But how many are taking heed, as Jesus said? How many are doing their homework on something so vital? How many are carefully examining those claiming to represent God?
The Bible says prophets fall into one of two categories—true or false. All—past, present or future—are one or the other. They cannot be both, and they cannot be in-between. Within the category of false prophets are two types: those who claim to be prophets, but falsely foretell events, not being inspired by the true God—and those who do not necessarily claim to be prophets, but who teach falsely about prophecy—and for that matter any other aspect of God’s Word. The latter would include false teachers and false ministers. Like false prophets, false teachers assert they are vested with God’s authority. Rather than falsely prophesying future events, they teach false doctrines supposedly from the Bible. Therefore, Jesus’ warnings also apply to false teachers, who work in the same way.
Understand. On the surface, false prophets rarely appear to be what they are. They are incredibly seductive and seem to be men of God. We have seen that effective deceivers have the ability to almost miraculously transform themselves into something they are not. This is how they are able to deceive so many. Think of popular televangelists and religious personalities. The most famous are invariably the smoothest in style, tone, emphasis, body language, and word choice. These men come off as sincere and believable. The result is that thousands sit in stadiums mesmerized by these religious actors. In fact, some could win Academy Awards if they were actors.
The New Testament describes how false ministers and false prophets attempt to confuse even God’s people. Therefore, God must show exactly how to distinguish the true from the false—the genuine from the impostors. Many verses do this. God allows no room for doubt or confusion. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). If such men appeared as vicious wolves, who would follow them? Because they can portray themselves as men of God—some masterfully—fooling many is easier than taking candy from a baby.
Do not let them fool you!
We have examined 10 verses that should now be impossible to misunderstand. While the Christian world either rejects, never discusses, or spiritualizes away their true meaning, you should not.
Part 2 will examine 10 more verses that Christianity ignores. Do not miss it.
In the meantime, you may want to order my free book The Bible’s Difficult Scriptures Explained!