Key To The Understanding Of The Scriptures
by H.P. MANSFIELD
A Summary Of The "One Faith"
Taught by the Apostles
"There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, ONE FAITH, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:4-6).
OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS are both God's revelation to man, and are both equally authoritative. They are wholly inspired and infallible. The New Testament supplements the Old, its teaching being based exclusively upon it (Luke 24:27; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:19-21).
GOD is one, not three. He has revealed Himself as the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ and of all who are related to Him in faith (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29-32; 1 Cor. 8:5-6; Eph. 4:6; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2:5.
THE SPIRIT is the power of God by which He created all things and by which they subsist (Gen. 1:1-2; Psalm 104:30; Acts 17:25-28). It is also used to describe the power of Divine truth upon the mind of a believer, for the revelation of such came by inspiration of the Holy Spirit upon these selected to reveal it (Heb. 1:1; John 6:63; Eph. 6:17; 1 John 5:6). Thus believers are exhorted "to be led of the Spirit" or the power and influence of the truth believed (Gal. 5:16-18).
THE HOLY SPIRIT though sometimes personified (as are many inanimate things such as wealth, wisdom, sin, etc.) is not a person, but the "one spirit" of God used for special purposes, such as the performance of "miracles, signs and wonders" (Acts 1:8; 2:14; 2:22; 10:38).
THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT were bestowed on believers for a testimony to the Truth, by the laying on of the hands, of the Apostles (Acts 8:18). With the death of the Apostles, the 'wer of transmitting these gifts no longer remained, and the gifts ceased (1 Cor. 13:8).
JESUS CHRIST is not God the. Son, but is the Son of God' begotten of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 2:18-25; Luke 1:31-35; Gal. 4:4).He was a man of our race, identical in nature with all mankind (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 2:14-17).
HE IS THE CENTRAL FIGURE IN GOD'S PLAN OF REDEMPTION, being the Son promised in Eden (Gen. 3:15; Gal. 4:4), to Abraham, David and others, through whom the promises are to be realized, and the inhabitants of the earth blessed (cp. Gen. 22.17-18 with Gal. 3:8, 16; Psalm 89:34-37 with Acts 13:22-23. See also Gal. 3:14, 19, 26-28; Acts 4:12; Rom. 15:8).
JESUS CHRIST IS TO RETURN personally and visibly to the earth, at the end of Gentile times (Acts 1:11; 3:20-21; 2 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 1:7). He will set up the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 15:25; Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14; Rev. 11:15).
JESUS CHRIST WILL BE KING OF KINGS for he will have as his associate kings and priests, those who have been faithful in all preceding ages, and who will be clothed upon with immortality (Rev. 19:16; 5:9; 1 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 20:4; Psalm 149:5-9).
THE NATURE OF MAN
MAN IS A CREATURE OF THE DUST, energised by the breath of life (Gen. 2:7; 3:19; 7:21-22; 18:27; Ps. 103:14). Apart from the resurrection he is without hope (1 Cor. 15:17-18; Eph. 2:12).
THE SOUL, in its primary meaning stands for the creature. It is rendered variously "life," "living," "man," "persons," "self," "body," and "beast." It can eat, live, die, corrupt and perish, and it can be slain, strangled and destroyed. (Gen. 2:7; Josh. 10:28; Job. 7:15; Psalm 56:13; 78:50; 89:48; 116:8; Isaiah 29:8; 53:12; Ezek. 18:4, 20; Acts 3:23).
IN THE DEATH STATE man is entirely unconscious and (apart from a resurrection) must inevitably perish (Eccles. 3:16-21; 9:5, 19; Isaiah 38:18; Psalm 6:5; 49:12, 14, 19-20; 146:3-4; 1 Cor. 15:13-18).
"HELL" IS THE PLACE OF DEATH and the word is the equivalent of the Hebrew word "Sheol," and the Greek word "Hades." Both words signify "a hidden place," and are mostly rendered "grave" or "pit." The Revised Version Bible and marginal references show "grave" and "hell" as the translation of "sheol" and "hades." Both words should be consistently rendered as "grave." (Compare Psalm 9:17 with 31:17; Psalm 30:3; Acts 2:27, 30-32).
"GEHENNA" is the name of a place outside Jerusalem where a fire was kept burning to consume the offal from the city. The term symbolises the everlasting destruction (i.e. perishing in death) of the wicked (Mark 9:47-48).
THE CAUSE OF SIN
"DEVIL" comes from the Greek word "Diabolos," signifying "false accuser" or "slanderer." It is translated "slanderer" in 1 Tim. 3:11, and "false accusers" in 2 Tim. 3:3; Titus 2:3. Its general meaning is sin or lawlessness, whether manifested individually or politically. It is also applied to the unlawful lusts and tendencies of human nature which invariably lead to sin. It is not a supernatural being (Compare 1 John 3:8 with James 4:1. Also Heb. 2:14 with 1 Cor. 15:56. See Rom. 5:12, 21; 6:23).
"SATAN" is a Hebrew word signifying "adversary," "enemy," or "accuser." It is sometimes applied to a good adversary (Compare 1 Chron. 21:1 with 2 Sam. 24:1). It is used of an angel (Num. 22:22, 32, where the word is rendered "adversary" and "withstand"). The Apostle Peter was a "satan" on a certain occasion when he opposed his Master (Matt. 16:23). Kings and powers have been adversaries, or "satans" (See 1 Sam. 29:4; 2 Sam. 19:22; 1 Kings 11:14, 23, 25, where the word "adversary" is satan" in Hebrew. 1 Tim. 1:20).
THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION
A LAW was given to the first man (Adam) whom God had created "very good," and continuance of life was dependant upon obedience to it (Gen. 2:17; 3:1-3).
DEATH became the inheritance of mankind due to the transgression of God's law by Adam and Eve, so that man is now inherently mortal (Gen. 3:17-19; Rom. 5:12, 18; 1 Cor. 15:21-22; Psalm 89:48; Job 4:17; Eccles. 3:19-20; 9:5-6; Job 3:15-19; Isa. 38:18-19; Ps. 6:5; Acts 13:36; 2:29).
RECONCILIATION AND REDEMPTION were ordained by God in His mercy, to be manifested through a promised Son who would bruise the "serpent" (figurative of sin and death) in the head. Christ was therefore manifested to effect the abolition of sin and death (Gen. 3:14-16; Rom. 7:24; Heb. 2:14; Rom. 8:14; 1 Pet. 1:19-20; 1 John 3:5).
ABRAHAM AND DAVID were promised that this Seed would be among their descendants, and were given "great and precious promises" which constitute the plan of God for the redemption of man. It is necessary to become related to them, otherwise we are without hope (2 Pet. 1:4; Gen. 12:3; 2 Sam. 7:12-16; Rom. 4:13; Eph. 2:11-13; 4:18 Heb. 11:10-13, 39--40).
BELIEF is a first essential to salvation, for to become related to the promises of God we must understand them, and their relation to the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Acts 8:12).
BAPTISM must follow a knowledge of God's will and purpose. It is burial or immersion in water after believing the Gospel, and is necessary for the remission of sins, and relationship to Christ (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 8:12, 36, 37; 10:6, 47; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12).
OBEDIENCE to the commandments of our Lord must follow baptism (Luke 19:13; John 14:15, 23; Rom. 2:6-7; Phil. 2:12; 2 Pet. 1:3-11).
THE RESURRECTION of those who are responsible to God (and a knowledge of His will brings responsibility -- John 12:48) will take place at the return of Christ (Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15. Contrast Ps. 49:19-20; Isa. 26:14; Jer. 51:39, 57 -- which teach that many will not rise from the grave). Those found approved will experience a change from mortality to immortality (John 6:39; 1 Cor. 15:50-53; Phil. 3:21; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:8; Matt. 5:5; 25:31-34).
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
THE GOSPEL consists of the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ (Luke 9:2, 6; Acts 8:12; 19:8), and was preached to Abraham in the promises given him (Gal. 3-8).
THE KINGDOM OF GOD will be a Kingdom established on earth. It will overthrow all existing kingdoms, supersede them, and last forever (Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14, 27; Rev. 11:15; Psa. 72; Micah 4; Isaiah 11).
THE RESTORATION OF THE THRONE OF DAVID is an element of this kingdom, and involves the complete restoration of Israel in the Land of Promise. Jerusalm will be the capital city of the world, and from it the laws will issue to govern all mankind (Isa. 2:2-4; 11:12; 24:23; 51:3; Jer. 3:17; 31:10; Ezek. 37:21-22; 39:25-29; Joel 3:17; Amos 9:11-15; Micah 4:6-8; Matt. 5:35; Luke 1:32-33).
THE MILLENIUM relates to the thousand years reign of peace that will follow the return of the Lord Jesus and the setting up of his kingdom (Rev. 20:6). The mission of Christ will be to subdue all enemies, the last being death. At the conclusion of the 1000 years reign, there will be a further resurrection of those who have died during that period, and those worthy will be given eternal life, whilst those unworthy will be consigned to "the second death." Death itself will thus be eliminated, and the Kingdom will then be delivered to the Father Who Will then become "all and in all" (Isa. 25:6-8; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 20:7, 11-14).
Thus the plan of God that commences with the statement,
"In the beginning, God . ." (Gen. 1:1), ends with the final picture of glory:
"God all and in all" (1 Cor. 15:28).