JANUARY 1, 2007
(A Study on Authorship)
However, more than twenty-five percent of incoming ministry emails center around a doctrinal issue, speculative theology and /or confusion over a teaching or prophecy. A far greater percentage of these issues appear in internet writing and other ministry's output to their various constituents. This disarray is not the will of God and He is not present in such mixture.
The book of Hebrews succinctly says, "God is not OF confusion." He is not IN confusion either. Nothing pertaining to confusion is Him. He is not the author of confusion.
A review of the Old Testament will reveal that "confusion" constituted five major scriptures in Isaiah, while the whole of the Old Testament defined "confusion (fear)" as a judgment upon a people who would not follow God. It was a tool given to Israel in the defeat of their enemies:
Ex 23:27 "I will send My fear before you, I will cause confusion among all the people to whom you come, and will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.James, the first New Testament writer, explained the issues surrounding "confusion." (NT:181 akatastasia (ak-at-as-tah-see'-ah); from NT:182; instability, i.e. disorder: KJV - commotion, confusion, tumult.)
James 3:14-18 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.Turning to some Corinthian passages, it would do well to observe that even though the translators have put the word "author" into the I Corinthians 14 passage for clarity, one must remove it in order to see most clearly. Of the times "author" is used in Scripture, this is not one of them.
Two Clear statements about "authorship" reside in the Word.
l. What God is NOT the author of.
1 Corinthians 14:33 says, "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints (the holy ones)." NKJV
"Author": NT: 9999, in this instance, is an inserted word (a word often displayed in italics or in parentheses [or brackets]), to indicate that it is not in the original text. One must read the text passage as: "For God is not OF confusion but of peace…" The passage was not written to the outside world, but to those inside the body of believers. It was written during a time when confusion had entered the emerging church. (Some commentators point to this time as a natural evolution for a church which was facing issues not previously encountered. Such a view dismisses the Old Testament and makes the New Testament church a foreign entity struggling into their future like some abandoned child.) I Corinthians presents a graphic picture of confusion and how Paul addressed it.When men handed down rulings, offered definitions of Scripture, and sought communal assent to bring consensus-confusion reared up and Jesus' plan was ignored. Any brief review of Corinthians will yield understanding on the scope of the issue.
God is NOT of these things:(Paul's list is replete. The true church (not necessarily the manifested one) has no confusion in these areas. The manifested church, however, is full of confusion. The presence of confusion may well spell the difference between the true and the false. Consensus is not the goal. Walking in the Spirit is.)
Paul's answers are not confined to these Corinthian passages, for much of Hebrews is concerned with the root and base of confusion, much of which originates by misunderstanding the relationship between the Old and New Testaments.
Chronologically the book of Hebrews was written toward the end of the life of Paul. (I believe Paul wrote Hebrews.) The book was written sometime between 66-69 A.D. This places it nine years after Luke and Mark and seven years after Acts. It was written five short years after I, II Peter. (One must remember that second Peter addresses serious error in the church and so does Jude (75 A.D.). Hebrews was written about the time of the prison epistles (Ephesians (60), Colossians (61), Philemon (61), Philippians (62), I Timothy (62) and Titus (66). Hebrews paralleled II Timothy (67), which warned the young minister, Timothy, of perilous error in the church (Chapters 1,2 embodied encouragement for the young minister to maintain his faith and keep sound doctrine, while chapter 3 named various forms of apostasy and gave young Timothy a path through them).
The writing of Hebrews pre-dates the final writing of the Apostle John (1, 11, 111 John and Revelation). One cannot read John's books without acknowledging his desire to promote corporate love and resist those elements found among the churches of Revelation 1-7. Undeniably, error and fragmentation took its toll at a period barely past the evangelistic ministry of Paul. Hebrews necessarily had to address confusion and hit it head-on.
Author's Aside: Many have characterized the early church prelates as second generation saints worthy of emulation virtually on the same level as Peter, John and Paul. They cite Polycarp, Irenaeus, Justin, Clement, Origen, Augustine, etc. These indeed were great men, but by the time they arrived on the scene, purity had been corrupted by catechism.Hebrews relied heavily upon many of Paul's previous teachings. The whole of Corinthians, for instance, addressed many issues of confusion. (God may have confused the tongues of men in order to keep man from building his own kingdom, but God used Hebrews to show that He is not the progenitor of early church confusion. Jesus birthed the church to end confusion and give a clear message to the world. His desire was to build His kingdom, not mans. After all, He drew the plan before the earth was formed.
2 What God IS the author of.
A. Hebrews 12:1,2B. Hebrew 5:9-14Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.As Author (and finisher) of faith, He is the Alpha and Omega (originating in Him and deriving its fullness in Him) Beginning and End:Word Study of "Author:" NT:747 arch-egos (ar-khay-gos'); from NT:746 and NT:71; a chief leader: KJV - author, captain, prince. NT:746 arche (ar-khay'); from NT:756; (properly abstract) a commencement, or (concretely) chief (in various applications of order, time, place, or rank): KJV - beginning, corner, (at the, the) first (estate), magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule. NT:71 ago (ag'-o); a primary verb; properly, to lead; by implication, to bring, drive, (reflexively) go, (specially) pass (time), or (figuratively) induce: KJV - be, bring (forth), carry, (let) go, keep, lead away, be open. (Beginning ego) Word Study of Finisher: NT:505 1teleiotes (tel-i-o-tace'); from NT:5048; a completer, i.e. consummate-r: KJV - finisher.
And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek," of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.Author's Note: In this passage, Jesus was declared to be the "Author" of eternal salvation (eternal salvation which continues throughout ceaseless cycles of never ending ages). Jesus' program of Eternal Salvation was in the making BEFORE Adam and Eve. Before sin, there was salvation. It was ready-poised-operative-effective-fresh-finished. Just as Melchizedek lived before (and superseded) Abraham, so Jesus was of the order of Mechizedek. His position predated the world's framing. Below is further study of another Greek word used to focus upon the Great Author of eternal salvation.
Word study of a different word used as "Author: " NT:159 aitios (ah'-ee-tee-os); from the same as NT:154; causative, i.e. (concretely) a causer: KJV - author. NT:154 aiteo (ahee-teh'-o); of uncertain derivation; to ask (in genitive case): KJV - ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require. Compare NT:4441 NT:4441 punthanomai (poon-than'-om-ahee); middle voice prolonged from a primary putho (which occurs only as an alternate in certain tenses); to question, i.e. ascertain by inquiry (as a matter of information merely; and thus differing from NT:2065, which properly means a request as a favor; and from NT:154, which is strictly a demand for something due; as well as from NT:2212, which implies a search for something hidden; and from NT:1189, which involves the idea of urgent need); by implication, to learn (by casual intelligence):KJV - ask, demand, enquire, understand.Creation and Eternal Salvation validate each other. The world could not have been created without salvation and salvation became the "first cause" of creation. The world was aware of the power of eternal salvation the moment it was born!
Before the world was created or Adam and Eve had sinned, there it was-already installed, already instituted-Jesus had volunteered and salvation was a fixture in the eternities. Before Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedec or Moses brought the tablets forth-there it was, salvation instituted. The fact was that the sons of Abraham were to be a peculiar people living as a peculiar witness and be God's perennial statement to an unbelieving world. These sons taught that Salvation was coming and He did. In continuity, Hebrews declares that the sons of Abraham still exist, teaching that He is coming again and for them--He will. Then, as now, every tribe and nation on the earth had one witness. (The unbelieving ancient world perished by the witness of one man, Noah. There was no other witness, no other provision, and no other teacher of truth...just one. The world either believed Noah or they did not, and though his witness was localized, it was all the witness God provided-even for folks who never heard of Noah or never came into his presence.) Why then in modern parity do so many raise the question of: "Is it fair for those who never heard of Jesus (whether Islamics or animalists or any others who may not have visibly encountered a testifying witness) to be judged for not embracing Jesus?"
The world since Noah has had just one witness, one provision, one teacher of truth--they were and they are the embodiment of the author. The author of eternal salvation has always been the focal point, the center of it all. He, alone, is the exalted One. His people on earth are the true believers and there is no alternative, no other plan, no other provision, and no other way. (He alone is the author and finisher of eternal salvation. It is His plan.)
The books of Acts and Hebrews are unequivocal in their expression of this. In Acts, when the Judaic High Priest confronted the disciples, observe their answer.
Acts 5:29-33 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand (to be) Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and (so) also (is) the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."Two things stand out in this passage aside from the doctrinal statements. First, the italicized words need to be removed and the sentences read without them. Second is the clarity by which the witnesses gave their message.
If one will initiate an Englishmen's study (searching for other uses of the word "author" using the identical Greek word), a discovery will be made. Jesus is also called Prince, Savior and Captain.
Strong's word #747 in an Englishmen's study reveals the following Scriptures:
Acts 3:15 PrinceThrough one statement, the apostles summed Jesus' method and message. They obeyed God rather than men. They exalted Jesus. Their testimony was parallel to and under the direction of the Holy Spirit. They revealed that Jesus (Salvation) is with the right hand of God as Prince and Savior.
The word Prince is the same word translated "author" in Hebrews. Savior is the Greek word: NT:4990 soter (so-tare') a deliverer, i.e. God or Christ: KJV - Saviour is Part of NT:4982 sozo (sode'-zo); from a primary sos: to save, i.e. deliver or protect (literally or figuratively): KJV - heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole. This gives light to the name of Christ. He is the author of deliverance and healing.Similarly, the word Captain is the same word as "author." One must review the following passage with this in mind while deleting the italicized words..
Heb 2:8-12 For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing (that is) not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.God left nothing not put under Jesus (Greeks used double negatives to show emphasis and breadth). Why is this truth so repulsive to liberal theologians? Though the biblical author (Paul) could not see the scope of his Captain's position, he could see the Captain. He asserted in verse eleven, "For it was fitting for Him (God) to make the Captain (AND those who are being made holy through Him) all of one." If there was ever a need for a "oneness camp" it is now, not to be used as a concept defining a non-Trinitarian God, but a "oneness people." (Note: The characters of any drama are subject to and are at one with the author!)
Here is why the Apostles, being at one with the Trinity underscored how they obeyed the Father, exalted the Son and were in lock-step with the Spirit. This was and still is the only definition of God's people. Should this be the definition of the church today, what a wonderful entity it would be.
Act 3 revealed the early church had no difficulty with their union with the Captain, but they preached a quantity not heard in modern churches. They preached thusly,
Acts 3:19-24 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said to the fathers, 'The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 'And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.'Although the word "repent" is rarely uttered with any significance in today's religious circles, it still precedes and is the absolute starting point of conversion. Such predicates the receiving of the promises which are so freely bantered about in Christian gatherings. It is the only alternative to being "utterly destroyed."
Inquiry should be made as to why the book of Hebrews is so seldom chosen for a chapter by chapter, verse by verse study. Does its teaching intimidate those in Jewish circles including the Messianic groups? Does it teaching fall crossway into the path of predetermined doctrines? Does it prompt too much discussion if a dialogue starts, especially around the passages about falling away and failing?
Fjordbak's* exegesis and commentary is one which confronts the reader with those kind of passages, passages which indict Judaism's failure as the people of God and those which warn Christians to avoid the same consequence. The message to Christendom is focused in chapter thirteen:
"Do Not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace…Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate, Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach."
*Fjordbak, Everitt M., An Exposition and Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Wisdom House Publishers, Dallas, Texas, 1983.Until Next Month,
Dr. C.R. Oliver, PhD
To subscribe to this newsletter send an e-mail to Zadokpublicationsemail@example.com.