Tag Archives: Bible


Sound doctrine must be encouraged right from the start for the newly baptised. That means the teaching of Jesus and the apostles recorded for us in the New Testament documents. An intensive approach is necessary until a foundation and unity in Christ is experienced to bring maturity and stops the person being tossed around by every wind of doctrine. Ephesians 4:1-16 says it all.

The Gospel is enough if it is the full message and based on sound apostolic teaching.

Paul’s letters are packed with warnings to people about losing what has been given at the start. It’s a constant theme. also Peter’s and James and John. The lot.

Sound doctrine in Jesus must replace everything else. Must replace all the additions and sacred cows that have gathered momentum and weight and accumulation by teachers in Christendom and away from the simplicity of Jesus and life, oneness and love centred only in him.

But what tends to happen amounts to adding to what people have already learned.

No. We must start from scratch—from Jesus only. That’s what the first disciples had to do. That’s what we must teach— the New Covenant and what that means, and stress its importance—the simple teaching of who we are in Christ—new men and women—who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. Cant serve two masters.

You cannot live the New Covenant life in Jesus’ blood while remaining in some other covenant, like a covenant of Churchianity or of a man-made organisation, or of a denomination—or one of your own choice.

The whole understanding of doctrine in current historic Churchianity is sick, stuck in a kind of poor renovation of Old Covenant shadows, yet fraught with splits, competitiveness, unbelief, envy, lust for power, desire to make a name for ourselves  . . . . . .

For example, what did Jesus teach about “the church”? Nothing. Just 2 passages in Mathew alone which today do not have the meaning anywhere near what he meant.

Instead Christendom is all about this imported c….. word.

Most people have no idea what the original Greek word (ekklesia) means because its translation to c….. in all English bibles is religious, Romish, worldly, even pagan.  Jesus gave NO command about forming churches. Instead he told us to love one another and sure, that means togetherness, yes. It means caring, service, sacrifice for others, being servants and above all, loving one another. Gathering like they did originally.

He told us to make disciples, heal the sick, set the oppressed free, love one another, lead a holy life, receive the Holy Spirit, walk in the Spirit . . . . . . . . . .

Christendom and its micro offshoots continue to do what he did not command and ignore what He DID command.

Christendom is in most places, a mere shadow of the Old Covenant—and without even the wonderful glory of the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant is a shadow of the New Covenant. But we have made the Old Covenant look by comparison far more glorious than what we see today—at least it had a supernatural glory.

The apostles declared that the glory of the New Covenant makes the old look a mere shadow. New Covenant life makes the old seem to have no glory at all says Paul (see 2 Corinthians 3).

You and I must start obeying the sound doctrine of the new covenant! Today.

No time to lose.

Who’s this Melchizedek?

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (Heb 6:19-20 NASB)

 Get prepared to be nourished, inspired, surprised and intrigued by some amazing words of God.

You might ask : why this unexpected entry of this strange, mysterious, immortal figure, Melchizedek, in this Letter to the Hebrews?

Now Jews were used to having a high priest. The author of The Letter to the Hebrews is giving these people of Jewish background every reason for them to prefer Jesus’ high-priesthood to that of the Old Covenant system of Moses still being practiced in their day. They must not go back into Judaism.

Melchizedek appears first in Genesis 14:17-20 as part of the story of Abraham. Melchizedek is described as ‘priest of God Most High’. But for a Jew, who could be greater than their illustrious father, Abraham? Yet this Melchizedek is clearly greater. Abraham pays tithes to him. Abraham receives Melchizedek’s blessing.

Melchizedek is described as king of Salem, priest of the Most High God and his name meant king of righteousness and king of Salem (= peace). He is without father or mother or ancestry, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but having been made like the Son of God, he remains a priest forever. (Heb 7:1—3)

Who is this mysterious Melchizedek really? And who else does this description of him bring to your mind?

Of course! In this letter, Jesus is being compared with Melchizedek who appears twice in the Tanakh, the Old Testament scriptures – the bible Jesus read.

That passage in Genesis 14:17-20 seems quite irrelevant in the story of Abraham—a strange intrusion in the narrative. Yet this superlative, towering figure, Melchizedek, and the description there, are now at the end of the day, our day, seen to be of great significance.

In the letter we are given quotes from David’s Psalm 110, in which the LORD God is said to invite David’s ‘lord’ to ‘sit at my right hand’ (110:1) and then swears to this David’s lord that he is ‘a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek’ (110:4). This second mention of Melchizedek also must have seemed puzzling for its readers at that time. Just who is David’s ‘lord’ if it is not the LORD God but One to sit at His right hand?

You may remember Jesus threw that puzzling question from Psalm 110 about ‘David’s lord’ to his religious antagonists 1000 years after David wrote that: “How is it that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? (Mat 22:43-44, Luke 20:41). That question remained unanswered and no wonder. Do you get it? Do you see what Jesus was claiming here?

So then, not long after Jesus put that critical question to the religious authorities, this Melchizedek pops up again in this First Century letter. Jesus is our great high priest after the order of Melchizedek—that is, after the order of an indestructible life! This is obviously superior to the Levitical priestly order (the Old Testament/Covenant). Jesus is THE great high priest, the only mediator. Eternal. The temporary priestly order of the Old Testament is now obsolete! Jesus is our great high priest who meets our needs now by divine appointment and in the power of an endless life.

Truly, we have a sure advocate with the Father, one who knows what it’s like to be human! At the place of ultimate power and authority is a man who is the Son of God our mediator. Praise the Lord.

Here is remarkable evidence of the unity of the scriptures and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Firstly, we have a prophetic view given to Abraham about future times, far beyond anything yet to come in the Law of Moses, or the Old Covenant. Then, right out of the blue, God reveals his eternal mind to David, the Psalm writer. God made that promise to the Son to come by speaking a millennium far into the future. Thirdly, Jesus knew the Psalms and understood this was about himself, the Son of God! Then fourthly, in this Letter to the Hebrews, placed there by the same Holy Spirit, we are reading something that shows up plainly where no one had gone before, to draw attention to the awesome work that Messiah Jesus carries on in the heavenly place. For us!

Do you get it? Are you excited? Aren’t the scriptures amazing?

That’s another reason why I trust God that these ancient writings preserved for us so carefully by the Jewish people are sufficient and trustworthy to speak to my heart and mind the things God wants to say.

He speaks today! Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.

He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Heb 7:24—25, NASB).


Journey along a road less travelled

Why would you start a conversation around the book, Genesis? It certainly is a great pity that for most Bible readers, the journey through the Torah, the prophets and the wisdom writings (‘the Old Testament’) is a road less travelled. But that’s where we – people meeting together in a small study group – are headed for a while to check out the foundations of what we know as the Hebrew faith and the Christian faith before its subversion.

 Where to begin? The storytellers of the Hebrew Scriptures would shout “In the beginning!”

 But we might want to start with the story of someone we know more about, perhaps even know personally –Jesus of Nazareth. So, where would he have started?

 In the account of Jesus’ work we call The Gospel of Matthew, it is recorded that Jesus stunned his protagonists by asking them

 Haven’t you read that He who originally made them male and female and said, ‘for this reason, a man leaves father and mother and is joined to his wife, becoming one flesh?’    Mat 19:4-5

 The way Jesus is recorded putting this question, shows he saw that the words he quoted from his Bible at Genesis 2:24 were equivalent to being the Creator’s words. That shows extraordinary respect for the Jewish scriptures which the Jews referred to as the Tanakh.

Listening to Jesus, being with him constantly and seeing his work, the first New Testament writers had to radically change their understanding of what the Kingdom of God and its Messiah were all about.

 Because Jesus gave the New Testament writers their understanding, and taught them how to use, interpret, and apply the Hebrew Bible, we too hope to take this road and start with the book Genesis. In the beginning.

 Our reading of these treasures would be better informed and moulded if we patterned it after the only, truly revealed expositor we have –Jesus’ life, teachings, and especially His use of Hebrew Scripture. We shall keep him in mind on this road.

 So let’s try to see the scriptures through the eyes of a Jew. But that’s not easy. To do this we will need to think quite differently. For a start, the Hebrew storytellers never set out to prove the existence of God. Proving the existence of something or someone was not on their agenda. Neither were they abstract thinkers but they were anchored in the everyday life of their community and the nations around them.

Why prove the existence of the God they knew, who had made himself known to them?  God had spoken, had been in touch, had revealed his purposes for them.  They experienced God, talked with him, related to him as a person, a greatly transcendent one, yet accessible. They were made in his image, fitted out for person to person communication.  Do you have to prove the existence of your father or your kids or even people you have never met such as Barak Obama or Abraham Lincoln? No, these are self evident.

In fact, it was not until the rise of Greek thinking and culture that setting out to prove anything was commonly undertaken – when science, mathematics and philosophy got going. You would think that with the advent of science the Greeks and Romans would set aside the myths of their gods of the natural world but that was not the case.

But for the Hebrews, the Lord God did things and they knew it. God had set up the universe for Homo sapiens, the crown of creation. They knew that God was separate from his creation and not part of it. And they knew that God was One, a  Unity and not like the invented deities of human imagination, gods made in the human image. For the polytheists, the gods were part of the physical universe and were thought to behave very much like their inventors.

But this book is different. We are able to read this ancient book Genesis with a strange confidence that what we are reading is of immense significance. There is a solidness about its legend-like appearance. Behind what appears to be myth in Genesis 1 to 3, we discover an anti-myth as Jonathon Sachs said recently to a Sydney audience. The Genesis creation story is one which is diametrically opposed to the other creation stories of the polytheistic societies of the ancient world. Totally different. For starters, the universe had a beginning. It is not eternal. Big bang.

We are very aware of the atheistic and rationalistic and scientistic arguments advanced in our media from the likes of Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins. Why are they so fundamentalist, even religious, in their dogmas? Are they threatened by the evidences that even young children can see, by the music which they cannot hear, by the poetry which they cannot appreciate? They are trying to lay a foundation which leaves God right out of a closed system and eliminates freedom, responsibility, love and justice by their adamant insistence that human beings are nothing more than “biological robots” without souls, consciousness, free will. We have no value as anything other than a collection of cells. This thinking leads to murder, rape, chaos, gross injustice, justification of genocide  ….  

So we keep this in mind as we start to read Genesis. As in most of these ancient scriptures, if we tune in we will hear, yes hear, stories about God, his creation and ourselves. Stories of hope based on reality. These are stories of Everyman, for Everyman. He gave us stories, not formulas. Not dogma. Stories.  Stories of hope.

A few of us are meeting weekly in a Brisbane suburban home to read Genesis and we expect to hear the Lord’s voice from its pages and experience his authority. So maybe you can get on this road less travelled along with us.