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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Six Unscriptural Traditions, continued
Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have. (Luke 24:39—NIV)
We shall yet come to realize the Scriptures are oriented toward the physical world, which by the way is superior to the spirit heavens. The Kingdom of God is the clothing of the Glory of God and Heaven with flesh and bones. Isn't this what emerged from the cave of Joseph of Arimathea?
The occult philosophy of Gnosticism was prevalent in the first century. Certain aspects of the Bible seemed to be similar to Gnostic teaching and so Christian doctrine became polluted with this kind of thinking. Scholars maintain that the Book of First John was written to combat Gnosticism. It is my personal opinion that the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians also was a reaction to Gnostic thinking. One can see in this chapter that Paul is fighting against those who say there is no resurrection from the dead.
What is the central idea of Gnosticism, and the resulting antinomianism (we are saved by faith and grace apart from obedience to moral law)?
The central idea of Gnosticism is that the flesh of man is to be disregarded in favor of the salvation of his spirit. Through specialized knowledge the spirit can be redeemed and go to Heaven.
The Gnostics denied that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, maintaining that His bodily appearance was an illusion. Some of the Gnostics lived very sensual lives because of their belief that the physical body would never be redeemed. They would not agree to keep God's commandments, seeing no reason for doing so. This accounts for the Apostle John's insistence that unless we keep God's commandments we do not know Him.
When Jesus claimed to have flesh and bones He was showing that Divine truth is the very opposite of Gnosticism. The two understandings of redemption could not be more opposed. One is the determined enemy of the other.
Evangelical teaching concerning the blood atonement, the bodily resurrection and second coming of the Lord, and the Holy Spirit is of God. But the six traditions we have mentioned, the Lord is coming to take His Church to Heaven, Heaven is the eternal home of the saint, every believer when he or she dies will live in a mansion and walk on a street of gold, we shall receive our reward when we go to Heaven, our physical body will not be raised from the dead, we can never be lost once we have been saved, are much more Gnostic than they are Christian.
Also, the unscriptural doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture of the believers reflects Gnostic tradition in two ways: first by ignoring the resurrection and emphasizing a flight to Heaven; second by teaching that God saves His people from trouble by removing them to another place. In many instances the Bible reveals that God saves His people by protecting them in the lions' den, not by removing them. The ninety-first Psalm is an example of this. Ancient Gnostic traditions give an account of God protecting His favored by removing them from the site of trouble. But we Christians go through the fire and the water without being destroyed! This is the way God usually works.
To be continued.