PART 3 THE SPIRITUALITY PUZZLE

PART 3 The Spirituality Puzzle

What causes someone to become a child of God and have assurance of eternal life?                        

 

Chapter 3

Jesus Public Ministry

How Can Someone Have A Relationship And Fellowship With Christ?

     This dispensation, called the Age of Christ’s Incarnation, is a period of time from the birth of Christ to the day of Pentecost. In order to determine if an unbeliever had a relationship with Christ, based on what we have learned from previous dispensations, this would probably refer to either believing in him or in something he said. If there is something else, then hopefully we will find out what this is.

     Before we begin, we should be at least aware as to who Christ is. Christ is one of the members of the trinity, the other two being God the Father and the Holy Spirit, each of whom preexisted time. What we are essentially saying is there is one God, who reveals himself in three persons, each being deity with distinct roles in order to accomplish his plan for mankind.

     This is a very interesting period of time. The time seemed ripe for the coming of the Messiah of the Jews. They were under Roman domination. Restrictions were applied that prevented the Jewish courts for implementing sentences of death for related transgressions. And there was an awareness as to what the qualifications were of the Messiah should he show up.

     What were some of these qualifications? They were looking for someone who was of the lineage of King David whose birth was natural, meaning he had to have both a human father and mother. Eventually, this person would become a Jewish king and be called the ‘king Messiah’.

Malachi 4:5-6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

John 7:31 And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?

     Two things would occur that would allow the Jews to recognize his coming. First, the prophet Elijah would miraculously reappear on earth before the Messiah’s birth, and when he did arrive signs would accompany him. Furthermore, he would be recognized as the king of the Jews, a political leader who would defeat their enemies and bring in a golden era of peace and prosperity34.

     So, a person named Jesus arrived on the scene. He began his public ministry at age 30 and proceeded to unveil to the people and the religious establishment a new message, a distinct purpose, miraculous signs, and an alarming revelation as to who he is. As he went about from village to village and from city to city, certain people were called to accompany him. As we have asked this question earlier, we will ask it again here.

 

     What caused an unbeliever to have a relationship with Christ during his incarnation?

     The verses which follow should give us clear indication of what this was.

  • John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
  • John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
  • John 7:37-39 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
  • Luke 9:18-20 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.

     We can conclude that in order for an unbeliever to have a relationship with Christ during his incarnation, they must believe that he is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

     With that said we will again ask the next question, which we have asked in the earlier dispensations.

 

     What caused a believer to have fellowship with Christ during his incarnation?

     We have learned from the earlier dispensations that to have fellowship meant a few things such as: to be righteous in conduct; to act on what God said; to be faithful (of doing reliably the tasks associated with an office or title35). What we can do now is take a look at the many scriptural declarations that Jesus made in the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in order to determine what would have caused his disciples to have fellowship with him.      

  • Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
  • Matthew 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.         
  • Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.           
  • Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.                       
  • Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

     At first glance, it would appear that having fellowship referred to acting on what Christ said, and this is not to say that a believer shouldn’t act on what Christ says, but I believe that there is a verse mentioned here which indicates that something should be taking place in a believer’s life before they act on what He says. What is it, you ask? Let’s take a look at this verse and find out.

 

Let Him Deny Himself

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

     Jesus said to his disciples, if anyone wants to be a follower of mine let him/her deny him/her self (give up their natural inclinations, and part with all the affections of the flesh36), and take up their own cross (be resigned to bear what is brought upon him - suffering, shame, and death, which he cannot escape, but be eager to endure it, meet it with a solemn joy, be glad that he is counted worthy of it37), and follow me. What this verse seems to be focusing on is not so much on what we should do, but on the attitude, which should be prevalent before the doing.

     The only way a believer can give up their natural inclinations is to receive the inclinations of someone else, this someone else was told to us by Jesus as to whom it would be if someone believed in Him, this being the person of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, in order to take up our cross and bear suffering, shame, and death, we need a new nature and a new perspective about ourselves, others, and the circumstances of life, the revelation of which would be declared to his disciples in the next dispensation and written down to form the New Testament canon.

     Because the indwelling Holy Spirit would not be given to his disciples until after Jesus ascended to heaven on the day of Pentecost, then we would have to conclude that in the dispensation of the incarnation of Christ having fellowship with him would be based on whatever it was that he commanded them to do (i.e. preach the kingdom of heaven, heal the sick, cast out demons, etc.).

     We have another question for us to look at, which will take on more significance when we ask this same question again along with the previous two questions about relationship and fellowship in the next dispensation, called the Church Age. And here is the question.

 

     If there is little or no evidence of fellowship with Christ does this indicate that the person who believed in him was never saved in the first place or if he/she was, then could they have lost their salvation?

     When we talk about losing one’s salvation in these dispensations what we are really talking about is having the place or destination where an Old Testament saint would normally go and reside in at physical death, be changed. And as for churches who believe that a lack of fellowship with Christ (not being obedient to his commands) would indicate that the person was never saved in the first place, this will be addressed with more clarity using scripture from the next dispensation, which is called the Church Age.

     This begs the question, can no fellowship or a lack thereof affect a believer’s relationship with God? We will attempt to answer this in the next chapter.

 

Chapter 4

Little Or No Fellowship – Loss Of Relationship With Yahweh Or Christ?

     If there is little or no evidence of fellowship (being righteous in conduct; doing whatever was commanded) could this result in the loss of an Old Testament believers’ relationship (credited righteousness; treated as a righteous person; being admitted to His favor) with Yahweh or Christ which initially came about by believing in Him or in what He had said?

     We will attempt to answer this by means of trying to answer the following two questions.

     Is there an example of a believer in the Old Testament who exhibited no fellowship at all and was yet was addressed as being righteous (just)?

     Is there an example of a believer who was clearly identified as having a relationship with God but with little or no evidence of fellowship with him and yet was identified as someone who after physical death would go to a place where only the Old Testament saints would reside, which would indicate that his/her relationship was not affected?

     If there are examples that their relationship with God was still intact, then this would provide clear evidence that in all likelihood the same would probably hold true for a New Testament believer unless scriptures from the Church Age indicated that there was a drastic change in protocol in this regard.

     So, the first person, we will take a look, at lived during the Age of the Gentiles. I will give you a hint as to who he is. He was given first choice by his uncle to pick the best land for his flocks. Another hint is his wife turned back and looked, and became a pillar of salt. I think you know who he is now.

    

Lot

2 Peter 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

     The first thing that stands out to me is that Lot was called “just”. This word also means righteous. Does this word mean that he had a relationship (declared righteous; accepted as righteous) with God or does this mean that he was in fellowship (righteous in conduct) with God? So, here is your test. What do you think the answer is, does the word “just” (righteous) in this verse refer to relationship or fellowship?

     How can we go about best determining the answer? What might help us is, if we were to look at his life and find out that he did not exhibit any righteous behavior, then we could conclude that this word means he had only a relationship with God. With this in mind, let’s take a look at his life. 

Genesis 13:11-12 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

     When Abram, Lot’s uncle, was called by God to leave the Ur of the Chaldees to go to a particular geographical place, He promised him and his ancestors a land inheritance. As we know, his nephew Lot along with others accompanied him on the journey. Over time, the population of both of their families and livestock grew to the point where they had to consider splitting up as the land could not support all of them.

     So, Abram allowed Lot to choose first whatever place he wanted to go to. He chose for his family to dwell in the plain of Jordan that contained five cities, the one of which he decided to eventually settle down in was called Sodom. Abram on the other hand, chose for his family to dwell in the land of Canaan. Just what kind of place did just (righteous) Lot choose to reside in?

Genesis 18:20-21 And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

     These verses tell us that the Lord became aware that the cry (the outrage; the conduct or behavior that is extremely violent and bad38) of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah was great (was multiplied; was everywhere). And their sin was very grievous (heinous - totally reprehensible39). We can’t blame Lot for moving there as how would he know the state of wickedness amongst its inhabitants. The good news was that while he resided there, he had time to preach the gospel of Yahweh to his children and to the inhabitants. Right? Are there any examples of this? I’m sure we’ll find some.

Genesis 18:22-23 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

     Unbeknownst to Lot, the Lord appeared (refers to a theophany – a manifestation or appearance of God or a god to a person40) to his uncle Abraham (at this time his name was no longer Abram) about the idea of destroying all of the five cities of the plain with Sodom being one of them. Two angels are sent to Lot to warn him of the upcoming judgment. Abraham is trying to avert this disaster by interceding on their behalf.

     He asked the Lord, will you still destroy these cities if there reside in them so many righteous? And God would answer no. Abraham would ask the same question over and over again and again with the number of righteous being found less than the number mentioned before. He stopped after asking, what if there are ten righteous? Why? Maybe he thought that if there were a total of less than ten righteous in all of the five cities of the plain that they were too far gone in their wickedness to respond to the Gospel of Yahweh.

Genesis 19:1-2 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.

     The two angels have now arrived at the gates of Sodom and find just (righteous) Lot being a gracious host bowing himself with his face toward the ground, and following which he invited them to lodge at his house. Surely these actions are evidence of fellowship (righteousness in conduct; doing whatever was commanded) with Yahweh.    

     According to the customs of time, the gate of a city was an arched entrance where the inhabitants assembled either for social intercourse or to transact public business41. And the bowing was a sign to show respect to superiors and to demonstrate peaceful intentions42. These responses were cultural and were not necessarily evidence of Noah operating by faith (his will acting on what God told him43). Are there any other examples of his behavior that might evidence fellowship (being righteous in conduct; doing whatever was commanded)?

Genesis 19:5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

     As the story goes, the two angels of the Lord came into Lot’s house and are ready to settle in for the night, but all of a sudden, the men of the city surrounded the house and called unto Lot to send these men (the angels) outside so that they may “know them” (have homosexual relations with them). I’m sure Lot will respond to their request with Godly integrity.

Genesis 19:8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

     He basically said to them instead of taking these men take my two daughters and do whatever you want to them. Lot didn’t pray to Yahweh for guidance, but decided to use human reason to address the situation. It’s pretty obvious that Lot was not operating in fellowship (righteous conduct). Are there any other examples of his conduct that we can look at that would convince us that he had fellowship with God?

     Lot was told by the two angels to tell any friends, relatives, sons, and daughters of the upcoming judgment so that they might join him in the escape. Scriptures seem to indicate that he had at least four daughters, two of whom were living at home, while the remaining two were married and living elsewhere. Unfortunately, when the time came to leave Sodom only Lot, his wife, and the two daughters that were living at home were ready to leave. As they were leaving all of them were instructed not to look back on the city during their escape, however, his wife didn’t heed the instruction. She looked back, and was turned into a pillar of salt. Thus, the cities of the plain and all the inhabitants were destroyed as foretold.

Genesis 19:30-36 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.

     Eventually, Lot and his two daughters found safety in a mountain. Lot had an opportunity to resume what hopefully was going on with him and his family while they lived in Sodom which was to teach his two daughters the ways of Yahweh. Is this what we find out transpired?

     His two daughters are now conniving together to try and get their father drunk so that unaware to him he would have sexual relations with each thus resulting in their pregnancy. I’m sure that Lot would not allow this drinking binge to take place, but rather would drink in moderation always keeping in mind how important it was to keep his testimony before Yahweh and them. Well, I say, what testimony? They got him drunk on two separate consecutive occasions with the result that he had sexual relations with each resulting in pregnancy. So much for just (righteous) Lot!

2 Peter 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

     This verse that we started with tells us a lot more about him in that he was vexed (continually tormented) with the shameless manner of life of the wicked (those who are morally corrupt). His actions revealed his heart. He didn’t follow Yahweh, but followed his own desires. Did the fact that there was no evidence of fellowship (righteousness conduct) annul his relationship (declared righteous; accepted as righteous) with Yahweh? No. He was still called just (righteous). His relationship with Yahweh was kept intact, even though there was no evidence of fellowship (righteous in conduct; doing whatever was commanded) with Him.

      The next person we will look at is one of the kings of Israel who presided over all 12 tribes at the same time. There were only three kings who presided over all 12 tribes, i.e. King Saul, King David, and King Solomon. All three transgressed the Mosaic Law, however, only one of them for the most part evidenced little or no fellowship (righteous in conduct; doing whatever was commanded) with God throughout his life. Do you know which one I am talking about?

 

King Saul

Before the Jews were ruled by kings, they were under the rule of Judges, who were men or women whom God raised up when they cried unto him for deliverance or protection from their enemies. The Jews no longer wanted to remain under the rule of Judges, as those who were appointed to be their future rulers were found to be corrupt. So, they desired for a king to rule over them as other nations. God gave them their request anointing a man named Saul to be their first king.

     Saul during this time had been sent by his father along with one of the servants to find some donkeys that had strayed. After looking for a while and not finding them, he is ready to return home. However, having reached the land of Zuph on his travels his servant told him of a prophet of God who if inquired of might provide the answer as to where the animals had gone.

     When they arrived in the city, the prophet Samuel is told by God that this is the man who will be Israel’s next king. Samuel and Saul met at the gate of the city and Samuel said to him these words, And on whom is all the desire of Israel? 1 Samuel 9:20 It appears that after hearing this Saul realized he was chosen to be the next leader of Israel. After dining with Samuel and 30 others, he was instructed by him in the word of God on the following morning. After which Samuel anointed him to be king. Thus, it appears at this time that Saul entered into a relationship with Yahweh.

1 Samuel 10:5-7 After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.

     He was then instructed by Samuel to go to a certain city and meet up with a company of prophets at which time the Spirit of the Lord would come upon him (on-resting Spirit), and he would be turned into another man. After which, Samuel called the 12 tribes to gather together and Saul was subsequently brought before them as their new king. All appears good. Israel has their king albeit one who has the Spirit of God. What could go wrong!

1 Samuel 11:5-6 And, behold, Saul came after the herd out of the field; and Saul said, What aileth the people that they weep? And they told him the tidings of the men of Jabesh. And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.

     Initially, Saul gave evidence of fellowship (righteous in conduct; doing whatever was commanded) with Yahweh soon after his proclamation as king. The Ammonites were

threatening to destroy a Jewish city called Jabesh-gilead. When Saul heard about it, the Spirit of God came upon him and he sent word throughout all the land for help and over 300,000 Jews responded. And when the day of battle took place the Ammonites were soundly defeated. All began well, but it was soon to crumble.

     Two years later, another battle was about to happen. This time it was to be between Israel and the Philistines. The prophet Samuel told Saul to not act, but wait for him to arrive for a duration of seven days at which time when he does, he will sacrifice to the Lord. On the seventh day, with still no sign of Samuel and feeling the pressure of the Philistine forces who could attack at any moment Saul took it upon himself to offer sacrifice. Soon thereafter, Samuel arrived and scolded him for what he had done. He told him that because of this transgression God has his sight set on someone else to become the next king. This appears to be the beginning of Saul’s downward spiral.

     What I would like to do next is illustrate how that at this point on, he no longer communed with the Lord. Let’s take a look at these examples of his carnal behavior.

~ Saul did not utterly destroy the Amalekites, their king, and livestock per command of the prophet Samuel. 1 Samuel 14:3, 9

~ The on-resting Spirit departs from him and he is given from the Lord an evil spirit. 1 Samuel 16:14

~ Saul did not seek the Lord nor respond himself to the challenge made by the champion of the Philistines named Goliath to send someone out from the army to fight him mano on mano before the battle. 1 Samuel 17:10-11

~ Saul became jealous of a young man named David who volunteered to fight and kill Goliath and because of such received more accolades than him in respect to their military conquests. 1 Samuel 17:7-9

~ Saul attempted to kill David with a spear in the palace while he was providing for him comfort when playing the harp. 1 Samuel 18:10-11

~ Saul set David as commander over a thousand of his army and promised his daughter Merab in marriage, however, the true intentions of which arrangement was that David might be killed in battle. When the time came for the marriage to be consummated, Saul gave his daughter in marriage to someone else. 1 Samuel 18:13, 17-19

~ Saul being made aware that another one of his other daughters named Michal loved David offered her to him in marriage on the condition that he would go out and slay 100 Philistines with the hope that he would be slain in this endeavor. 1 Samuel 18:20-27

~ Saul put a bounty on David asking his son Jonathon and his servants to kill him. 1 Samuel 19:1

~ Saul’s son Jonathon seems to have made peace with his father and David. However, when David returns to the palace and plays the harp, Saul attempts to kill him again. 1 Samuel 19:7, 9-10

~ Saul devised to kill David while he is at home with his wife Michal. She somehow found out about this plot and told him to flee a.s.a.p. 1 Samuel 19:11-12

~ Saul set out on a campaign with his army to find out wherever it was that David had decided to reside, to hunt him down and kill him. 1 Samuel 19:18-20

 

     I could continue on and on, but it’s pretty evident that Saul was no longer in fellowship with the Lord. His behavior was so ungodly that one could assume that if anyone would lose their relationship with Yahweh it would be him. Is there any indication that he lost his relationship (credited righteousness; treated as a righteous man; admitted to his favor; declared as righteous; accepted as righteous) with Yahweh?

     Before I attempt to answer this, we need to know where the Old Testament saints went after death. Did they go to heaven? In order to answer this, I believe it is best served for us to look at a parable. What is a parable? A parable is "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning"44.  It may ordinarily signify an imaginary story, yet one that in its details could have actually transpired, the purpose of the story being to illustrate and inculcate some higher spiritual truth... The argumentative or doctrinal value of parables is found in this, that they may, in accordance with the analogy of Scripture, illustrate truth already clearly expressed elsewhere45.     

     Let’s go to the book of Luke 16:19-31. You might have read about this parable before. This is about the rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. The main thing that I wanted us to focus on was the place where each one of them went following physical death.

22-23 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

     We are clearly told that both of these men went to hell albeit in two different compartments. The rich man went to a place that I will call Torments. The beggar went to a different place called Abraham’s bosom. The rich man, suffering from intense heat, asked Abraham if he could send Lazarus to him with some water so that his tongue might be cooled. Abraham said this was impossible for there was no way to get from one place to the other as there was a great gulf between the two places.

     And then the rich man asked if Lazarus could be sent back to the land of the living and warn his five brothers of this God-forsaken place. Abraham’s response was that they have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. In other words, the Gospel of Yahweh will be presented and they like you will have an opportunity to respond to it and thus avoid going to the place you are residing in.

     How does this parable relate to king Saul? Let’s go to 1 Samuel chapter 28. Saul and his army are set to meet the Philistines in battle, and while he is observant of their much larger force, he is very concerned that this could result not only in defeat but also in his death.

1 Samuel 28:6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

     He realized that he needed divine council that would provide for him an answer as to how the outcome of the battle would go. He can’t go to the prophet Samuel because he has since died. So, he tried to obtain divine council through three different means by:

Dreams – praying to God that he would answer him in this manner.

Urim – going to the high priest, asking him council, and seeking an answer from the response by one of the two stones that were placed over the garment he was wearing, called an Ephod.

Prophets – asking one of them to consult the Lord on behalf of the disclosed situation.

     However, no answer was forthcoming from any of these means. So, he decided to seek council from a forbidden source, a witch. How the mighty have fallen! Saul’s servants are sent to seek for a woman who can provide council. They finally find one at a place called Endor. Saul asked her to get in touch with someone whom he believes will provide for him the council he needed, this person being the deceased prophet Samuel.

1 Samuel 28:15-17 And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the Lord hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David:

    The witch does her thing and to her amazement the prophet Samuel appeared and Saul proceeds to ask him as to the outcome of the battle with the Philistines. Samuel told him that not only will Israel lose the battle but both he and his sons will perish. And then Samuel made this astounding statement to the king whom God has rejected.

1 Samuel 28:19 Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.

     He conveyed to him that both he and his sons will be with him where he is residing following their demise. And where is it that Samuel and the Old Testament saints went when they died, to Abraham’s bosom? This is clear evidence that both Saul and each of his sons had a relationship with Yahweh. And that irrespective of Saul’s daily decisions to not be in fellowship (righteous in conduct) with Yahweh his relationship with him was not forfeited.

     Before we go on and look at the next dispensation, called the Church Age, let’s summarize as to what we have learned concerning the answers to the following questions in each dispensation.

 

The Age of the Gentiles

What caused an unbeliever to have a relationship with Yahweh?

An unbeliever entered into a relationship with Yahweh by believing in his blessings or what He had promised would come to pass, and because of such he/she would be righteous (declared righteous; would have righteousness credited to his/her account; admitted to God’s favor and friendship; be regarded as a righteous person; be accepted as righteous; be given a seal of righteousness). Romans 4:3

 

What caused a believer to have fellowship with Yahweh?

A believer had fellowship (became righteous in conduct; experiential righteousness) with Yahweh by faith (his will acted on what God told him46). Hebrews 11:7

 

The Age of Israel

What caused an unbeliever to have a relationship with Yahweh?

     An unbeliever has a relationship with Yahweh by believing in Him or in what he had said and as such He would impute to him/her righteousness (credited righteousness to him/her; treated him/her as a righteous man/woman; admitted him/her to his favor). Romans 4:6

 

What caused a believer to have fellowship with Yahweh?

     A believer evidenced fellowship (being righteous in conduct) with Yahweh by being faithful (of doing reliably the tasks associated with an office or title47). Hebrews 3:5

 

The Incarnation of Christ

What caused someone to have relationship with Jesus during his incarnation?

     A unbeliever had a relationship with Jesus if they believed in Him as the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

 

What caused someone to have fellowship with Jesus during his incarnation?

     They had fellowship with Him if they were obedient to his commands (i.e. preach the kingdom of heaven, heal the sick, cast out demons, etc.).

 

Did little or no evidence of fellowship in any of these dispensations cause a believer to lose their relationship with Yahweh or Jesus?

     No. As evidenced by Lot and King Saul a believer’s spiritual standing in time and their eternal destiny was not affected by little or no fellowship.

     We have one more dispensation to look at, and this is called the Church Age, the age in which we, Christians, currently live in. The questions we have been attempting to answer in each dispensation concerning relationship, fellowship, and salvation, we will now attempt to answer in this dispensation.

      However, what we will find out is there are at least four different views or avenues concerning what constitutes salvation i.e. someone finding God or becoming a child of God and going to a better place at death. Will each of these avenues accomplish such or only one of them? Let’s find out.

 

Endnotes

34Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary Pc Study Bible version 5, 1986, 28 November 2018 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

35UBS New Testament.

36Calvin's Commentaries Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 29 November 2018 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

37The Pulpit Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 29 November 2018

˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

38UBS Old Testament.

39Dictionary.com.

40Dictionary.

41Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 30 November 2018 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

42IVP Bible Background Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 30 November 2018 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

43The Bible Exposition Commentary.

44Easton.

45International Standard Bible Dictionary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 30 November 2018 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

46The Bible Exposition Commentary.

47UBS New Testament.

 

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Synopsis
During Jesus public ministry what caused someone to have a relationship and fellowship with him?
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