Does God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit change, expand, vary, or improve upon the way they relate to, deal with, or instruct mankind?

1.  RELATION or EVENT

The law (Deut. 4:44-45) is the same as the Law of Moses (1 Ki. 2:3).  The law includes the 10 commandments (James 2:10-12; Rom. 13:8-10).  The 10 commandments are included in the Mosaic covenant (Ex. 34:27-28; Deut. 4:13).  The Mosaic covenant (Ex. 19:5; Deut. 5:2-3) is the same as the Mosaic Law or law (Deut. 4:8, 44-45; 5:1).  The law/Mosaic Law or covenant was specifically for the Israelites (Ex. 19:1-6; 20:2, 22; 21:1; 24:3; Lev. 26:13-16, 46; 19:1-5; Deut. 5:1-3; 2 Ki. 21:8; Neh. 8:1; Mal. 4:4) living in the Promised Land of Israel (Deut. 4:14; 6:22-24; 5:31; 12:5-9; 11:31-32).  Permanent aliens living in the land of Israel and/or proselytes were also obligated to keep the law (Num. 9:14-15; 15:14-16, 29-30; 19:10; Deut. 29:10-12; 31:12; Lev. 16:29; 17:12, 15; 18:26).

DIFFERENT RELATION

But the law/Mosaic covenant was not meant for the Gentiles in the world at large but for the Israelites in the Promised Land of Israel (Deut. 6:4; 7:1-8; 14:2, 21).  Gentiles were simply to fear God and do right (Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 2:14-16; Rev. 11:18; 14:6-7).

2.  RELATION or EVENT

Israelites living in the Promised Land were commanded to obey the Mosaic Law/Covenant (Ex. 19:5-6; Deut. 4:1-2; 5:1; 6:1).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But the law/Mosaic covenant was meant to be temporary and was to end with the death of Jesus Christ (Jer. 31:31-33; Heb. 8:6-13; 10:1-9; 7:11-22; Eph. 2:13-16; 2 Cor. 3:5-14; Gal. 3:16, 19; Col. 2:13-14). And believers in Jesus Christ/Christians are not under the law/Old Testament Mosaic commands/covenant (Rom. 10:4; 6:14-15; 7:4-6; Gal. 2:16; 3:23-25; Lk. 22:20).

3.  RELATION or EVENT

Certain sins were forgiven the guilty person by their bringing the appropriate sacrifice to the priest (Lev. 4:2-6:7; 17:1-7; Num. 19:1-9), but willful/presumptuous/defiant sins were not forgiven (Deut. 17:12-13; 1:43, 45; Num. 15:30-31; Ex. 21:14; Heb. 10:26).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But now all sins are now forgiven through faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ (Acts 10:36, 43; 13:38-39; Col. 2:13-14; Jn. 1:29; Eph. 1:7; Acts 26:15, 18; Rev. 1:5; Lk. 7:48-50; Heb. 9:24-28; 10:4, 10-18).

4.  RELATION or EVENT

Under the Mosaic Law, the Israelites were forbidden to eat certain foods (e.g., pigs, camels, rabbits, all shellfish, owl, hawks, snakes, etc. – Lev. 11:4-24, 42); they were considered unclean.

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But believers/Christians are not under the Mosaic Law (Rom. 6:14-15; 7:4-6; 10:4; Gal. 3:25), and all food is declared clean and can be eaten (Mk. 7:18-19; Acts 10:9-15; 11:9; Rom. 14:14; 1 Tim. 4:1-4; 1 Cor. 10:25-26).

5.  RELATION or EVENT

Under the Mosaic Law, the Israelites were commanded to tithe (give 10% of their income, crops, livestock, etc. – Lev. 27:30-33; Num. 18:21-24; Deut. 11:31-32; 12:5, 8-11; 14:22-29; Mal. 3:8).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But believers/Christians are neither under the Mosaic Law (Rom. 6:14-15; 7:4-6; 10:4; Gal. 3:25) nor told to tithe in the New Testament epistles, but only to cheerfully give as they desire (2 Cor. 9:7).

6.  RELATION or EVENT

Under the Mosaic Law, the Israelites were told to keep the Sabbath (each 7th day – Saturday) holy (set apart for God) and not work/labor on that day (Ex. 20:8-11).  It was a symbol/sign of Israel’s covenant relationship with the Lord (Ex. 31:12-17), and a reminder of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (Deut. 5:15).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But believers/the Church/Christians are not under the Mosaic Law (Rom. 6:14-15; 7:4-6; 10:4; Gal. 3:25).  Nor are believers/the Church the same thing as the Israelites (1 Cor. 10:32; Rom. 1:7 with Rom. 11:11-14, 25; 9:30-31), so the Sabbath’s symbol/sign of covenant relation and deliverance from Egypt has no application or meaning to Christians.  Nowhere in the New Testament epistles are Christians told to keep the Sabbath holy and to not work.  In fact, Paul argued against enforcing the Sabbath (Rom. 14:5-6; Gal. 4:9-11; Col. 2:16-17).  Nor are Christians told in the New Testament to switch Saturday for Sunday and make Sunday the new Sabbath.

7.  RELATION or EVENT

God’s Old Testament spokesmen preached the Law and the Prophets until John the Baptist (Lk. 16:16).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But from John the Baptist, the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached (Lk. 16:16; Matt. 3:2; 4:23; 9:35; Lk. 9:1-2; 10:1, 9, 11; Matt. 24:14).

8.  RELATION or EVENT

Murder, as a sin, was a physical act only (Ex. 20:13; Num. 35:16-21).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But now, murder, as a sin, is a mental act as well (1 Jn. 3:15) when one hates (has a malicious, wanting-to-hurt-someone attitude). God’s hatred is defined differently as “rejects and abhors/detests”, as used in Psalms 5:4-6.

9.  RELATION or EVENT

Adultery, as a sin, was a physical act only (Ex. 20:14; Lev. 18:20; 20:10-12).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But adultery, as a sin, is a mental act as well (Matt. 5:27-28) for kingdom citizens when they sexually lust for someone other than their spouse, if married.

10.  RELATION or EVENT

Physical injury from someone is to be paid back in like manner (Ex. 21:23-27; Lev. 24:19-20) by God’s Law.

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But then, physical harm from someone is not to be returned by the one harmed (Matt. 5:38-39; Lk. 6:29).

11.  RELATION or EVENT

Hating your enemy once appeared acceptable (Matt. 5:43).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

However, kingdom citizens are to love their enemies (Matt. 5:44; Lk. 6:27-28).

12.  RELATION or EVENT

Jesus commands His disciples to only go to, preach to, and heal Israelites and not the Gentiles or Samaritans (Matt. 10:5-7).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But then, Jesus commands the disciples to go and preach to all peoples, including Gentiles and Samaritans (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).

13.  RELATION or EVENT

Jesus was sent to only minister to Israelites (Matt. 15:24).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But Jesus ministers to people other than Israelites (Matt. 15:21-22, 28; Jn. 4:7-10, 25-26, 39-43).

14.  RELATION or EVENT

Jesus tells disciples to not take money or supplies for their mission (Lk. 9:1-3; 10:1-4).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But then, Jesus tells disciples to take money and supplies for their mission (Lk. 22:36-37).

15.  RELATION or EVENT

Jesus tells healed people not to tell others about their healing (Mk. 1:40-44; 3:11-12; 5:38-43; 7:32-36).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But then, Jesus tells healed people to tell others about their healing (Mk. 5:13-19; Lk. 8:30-39).

16.  RELATION or EVENT

The Holy Spirit would come and go from people chosen of God in the Old Testament times (Samson – Judges 13:24-25; 14:6, 19; 15:14; Saul – 1 Sam. 10:1, 6, 10; 11:6; 16:14; 19:23; Ezekiel – Ezek. 2:2; 3:12, 14, 24; 8:3; 11:1, 5, 24) and from believers in Jesus’ lifetime (Jn. 7:38-39; 14:16-17; 20:20-22; Acts 1:4-5; 2:4), until the Church was fully established with both Hebrews and Gentiles in it by Acts 10.

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But now, the Holy Spirit permanently indwells the believer/Christian immediately from the point of believing in Jesus Christ as Savior.  This started by the time the Church was fully established in Acts 10 with both Hebrews and Gentiles in it (Acts 10:44 with Acts 11:15, 17; Gal. 3:2, 7, 26; 4:6; Rom. 8:9, 11; Eph. 4:30; 1:13-14; 1 Cor. 3:1-3, 16; 6:19; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5).

17.  RELATION or EVENT

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ received the Holy Spirit sometime after believing (Jn. 7:38-39; Acts 8:12-16).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But now, the Holy Spirit is received immediately upon believing in the Lord Jesus Christ from Acts 10 on (Acts 10:44 with Acts 11:15, 17; Eph. 1:13-14; Gal. 3:2).

18.  RELATION or EVENT

Paul and the apostles were able to heal anyone/everyone (Acts 5:14-16; 19:11-12; 20:9-12).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But later, Paul is not able to heal everyone (Phil. 2:25-28; 2 Tim. 4:20; 1 Tim. 5:23).

19.  RELATION or EVENT

The Holy Spirit gave the spiritual gifts of prophecy and (special, direct from God) knowledge to different believers (1 Cor. 12:7-11; 14:3-5, 12, 17).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But later, God had the gifts of prophecy and knowledge to cease/be done away with/rendered inoperative when the “perfect/perfection” came (1 Cor. 13:8-10).  The word “perfect” in Greek is “to teleion” and means “complete”.  It refers to the complete revelation of God’s will and ways as recorded in the Scriptures – Vine’s An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 846. That same Greek word, “to teleion”, is translated as “complete” in Col. 1:28 in the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

By the time the New Testament was completed in AD 96, the gifts of prophecy and knowledge were no longer needed and, therefore, passed away because all that God wanted us to know was now recorded in the completed/perfected Bible/Scriptures.

20.  RELATION or EVENT

Some believers/Christians spoke in tongues/foreign languages upon receiving, being baptized, or filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4; 10:43-46; 11:16; 19:3-7).

DIFFERENT RELATION or TRANSITION or CHANGE

But nowhere in the New Testament does it say that speaking in tongues is to be the evidence of receiving, being baptized, or filled with the Holy Spirit.  Others who received, were baptized, or filled with the Holy Spirit did not speak in tongues as far as the biblical record goes (Lk. 1:15, 41, 67; 4:1; Acts 4:8, 31; 7:55-56; 9:17-19; 11:22-24; 13:52; Eph. 5:18; 1 Cor. 6:19; 12:13).

The three passages in Acts 2, 10, 19 where believers did speak in tongues upon being baptized, receiving, or being filled with the Holy Spirit were unique situations: to show the Jews that the Holy Spirit was for all believers (whether Hebrew, Gentile, or Old Testament follower under John the Baptist’s ministry far from the nation of Israel); to show the Jews that they were temporarily being by-passed by God and were going to be judged for their unbelief; and to unite the believers into one Christian body, the Church (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 2:11-19; Gal. 3:26-28).

If speaking in tongues was to be the normative, on-going evidence of someone’s being baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit, then the following questions would also have to be satisfactorily answered:

  1. If one takes “tongues” as the sign/evidence of being baptized or filled with the Spirit, then why don’t they also take the “wind-noise” and “tongues of fire” as normal/standard evidence (Acts 2:23)?
  2. If the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit and tongues-speaking of Acts 2:1-4, 14; 10:43-46; and Acts 19:3-7 all took place while in the presence of an apostle, then why is this not the pattern today?
  3. If in every case in Acts the Holy Spirit came upon a “group” of believers and never upon an individual believer alone, why don’t the Charismatics make this the norm for today as well?
  4. If no one in the book of Acts ever sought for the Spirit, yielded or prayed for the Spirit, or prayed for “tongues” or sought tongues, then why do Charismatics do so today?
  5. Why is the church not meeting in the temple at the hour of prayer described for the Jews as in Acts 2:46 and Acts 3:1?  And why aren’t Christians in the synagogues rather than in church buildings as they were in Acts 17:10, 16-17; 18:4?
  6. And why don’t Christians meet every day in houses and break bread from house to house and have communion every day of the week and sell their possessions to give to the needy as they did in Acts 2:42-47?
  7. And why aren’t all conversions like Paul’s on the Damascus road, seeing Jesus, going blind, and waiting for some Ananias (Acts 9:1-18)?  Can’t we have that if we want it?
  8. There were no church buildings or choirs in Acts, is that the norm/standard for us today?
  9. Are evangelists still floating around like airplanes as Philip did in Acts 8:39-40?
  10. If what happened in the book of Acts is normative for all Christians, including us today, then why aren’t we all taking Nazirite vows as Paul did in Acts 18:18?

The primary purpose for the gift of speaking in tongues/foreign languages that a person didn’t learn was to be a sign of coming judgment for the nation of Israel because of their unbelief in/rejection of Jesus as the Messiah (1 Cor. 14:21-22), just as hearing a foreign language was a sign of impending judgment for the unbelieving, God-rejecting nation of Israel in the Old Testament (Isa. 28:11-13).

God judged the Christ-rejecting, unbelieving Jews in AD 70 when the Roman army under General Titus marched into Jerusalem, destroyed the city and massacred the Jews – Unger’s Bible Dictionary, p. 578.

Therefore, the gift of tongues ended before AD 70.  Also, 1 Cor. 13:8 indicates that tongues would cease/stop/be stilled.  A different word, “pauo” is used with tongues in verse 8 than is used with prophecy and knowledge, “katargeo”.  “Pauo” is in the middle voice, meaning that tongues would stop/cease of themselves (before the event of the AD 70 judgment).  Whereas “katargeo” is in the passive voice, meaning that prophecy and knowledge would be rendered inoperative/be done away with the arrival of something else (namely, the last New Testament book recorded or completed by AD 96) and not stop by themselves before then – N. Seller’s Biblical Conclusions Concerning Tongues, p. 14.

Church history also demonstrates that tongues did cease.  During the Age of the Apostolic Fathers (early Christian writers who had direct contact with the apostles) the gift of tongues was not exercised.  There is absolutely no mention of tongues in any of their writings.  Clement of Rome wrote to the Corinthians in AD 95 and discussed their spiritual heritage without once mentioning tongues.  He even commended them for their unity.  By that time tongues had ceased.  The true gift was no longer given by God, and Paul had silenced the quacks by showing that tongues was the least of the gifts and not an indication of spirituality.

Ignatius, who was martyred in AD 116, wrote to the Ephesians.  (Remember that the gift of tongues was exercised in Ephesus during the time of Paul – Acts 19.)  Ignatius did not mention tongues in his letter to the Ephesians.  He also wrote to the churches at Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Smyrna, and Philadelphia without mentioning tongues.

Polycarp wrote to the Philippians, and did not mention tongues.  The Epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Diognetus, the Didache, the writings of Papias – none of these mentions tongues, though they cover all areas of Christian theology.  These were all within a lifetime of the New Testament Age.

Justin Martyr, who was martyred around AD 165, traveled extensively throughout the Roman Empire and wrote extensively on Christian doctrine, yet did not mention tongues.

Beginning about AD 200 a few extra-Biblical references to tongues appear.  These scattered references all seem to be reports concerning the practice of the Montanists.  Montanus and his followers are acknowledged by all to have been heretics.  Their heresy was primarily in the field of pneumatology and involved an undue emphasis upon miraculous gifts.

The testimony of Chrysostom (about AD 390) is very clear and interesting.  Remarking on the 1 Corinthian passage he says that the “whole place is very obscure.”  He then adds: “…but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur, but no longer take place” (Homilies on First Corinthians, XXXIX).  It is clear that tongues were not a problem in the early church after Paul wrote 1 Corinthians.  They had ceased themselves.

Saint Augustine also attests to the fact that tongues faded away and passed out because that gift had served its purpose.  This was written in about AD 420.  Tongues had served as a sign to unbelievers (Jews) of pending judgment, but the judgment had come and gone – Speaking in Tongues by Dr. Bruce Dunn, p. 14.

The above historical summarization is from Seller’s Biblical Conclusions Concerning Tongues, p.18.

In conclusion:

Though God/Jesus do not change (in character/attributes, Malachi 3:6; Psalms 102:27; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17), they do change the way they relate to people and what they tell people to do.  Just read the Bible from cover to cover.

 

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