Monday, July 27, 2009
**In This Issue**
- The Gospel of Judas
What Does the Bible Say About...?
Welcome to the
Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory. RHG is a co-ministry
with Creation Science Ministries. Feel free to send this to your relatives
The Gospel of Judas
the time will come when they will not endure
sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall
they heap to themselves teachers, having itching
ears; And they shall turn away their ears from
the truth, and shall be turned to fables."
Timothy 4:3-4 KJV ER
years comes the idea that there are other
gospels that have been left out of the Cannon.
Every time these other gospels are brought out
into the open, they conger up widespread
debate. One of these
'missing gospels' is found in a 1,700
year old manuscript that claims to tell the
story of Christ Jesus'
last days from the point-of-view of history's
most notorious turncoat. This
so-called "Gospel of Judas" conflicts greatly
with the Biblical account and is only one of
gospels, often called the "Gnostic Gospels".
agree that none of these texts contain
historically reliable information about the life
of Christ Jesus,
and that all were likely written in the second
century or later. However
they do help us learn more about false teachings
that early church leaders,
like the Apostle Paul,
preached against in the
book of Colossians,
Gnosticism is a system of false teachings that
existed during the early centuries of
name came from the Greek word for knowledge,
Gnostics believed that knowledge was the way to
this reason, Gnosticism was condemned as false
and heretical by several writers of the New
Gnostics consisted of diverse groups, from
high-minded people who
abstain from worldly comforts and pleasures
to people lacking moral
Our knowledge of Gnosticism comes from several
there are the Gnostic texts, which are known as
the New Testament Apocrypha. These
texts are not recognized as Scripture because
they contain teachings that
differ from those in the Bible.
Next, there are
the refutations of the Gnostics by the early
church fathers. Some
of the more important ones are Irenaeus,
Refutations of All Heresies;
Epiphanius, Panarion; and Tertullian,
The third source on
Gnosticism that was used here
is the New Testament itself.
teachings were condemned by the writers of the
New Testament. Paul
emphasized a wisdom and knowledge that comes
from God and does not concern itself with idle
speculations, fables, and moral laxity,
shown to us in Colossians 2:8-23; 1
Timothy 1:4; 2 Timothy 2:16-19;
and Titus 1:10-16.
John, both in
his gospel and in the epistles, countered
heretical teaching that,
in a sense, can be considered Gnostic.
The Gnostic Gospels
A large number of imitation documents emerged
during the centuries following the ministries of
the Apostles, that
were universally rejected by the early church.
Copies of a
group of these were found at Nag Hammadi,
in Egypt, dating from
the 3rd and 4th centuries. These
include The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of
Philip, The Gospel of Mary, The Gospel of Truth,
and many others.
They are not "gospels" at all, but rather
speculative opinions, totally devoid of any
verifiable facts. Furthermore,
they were written under false pseudonyms in an
attempt to gain legitimacy. The
early church rejected any documents under
pseudonyms as being inconsistent with the
concept of God-breathed inspiration.
were all written centuries after the Gospel
period, in contrast to
the contemporaneous eyewitness accounts
that we find in the
Ethical behavior among the Gnostics varied
sought to separate themselves from all evil
matter in order to avoid contamination.
Paul may be
opposing such a view in 1 Timothy 4:1-5.
Gnostics, ethical life took the form of
libertinism, acting without
moral restraint, defying established religious
them, knowledge meant freedom to participate in
all sorts of indulgences. Many
reasoned that since they had received divine
knowledge and were truly informed as to their
divine nature, it did not
matter how they lived. Such
an attitude is a gross
misunderstanding of the Gospel.
Paul, on a
number of occasions, reminded his readers that
they were saved from sin to holiness.
They were not to
have an attitude of indifference toward the law.
They had died to sin in their
baptism into Christ Jesus,
(Romans 6:1-11), and
so, were to walk
"in newness of life." John
reminded the Christians that once they had been
saved they were not to continue living in sin (1
These Gnostic teachings also had a disruptive
effect on fellowship in the church.
Those who were
"enlightened" thought of themselves as being
superior to those who did not have such
arose between the spiritual and the fleshly.
This attitude of
superiority is severely condemned in the New
Corinthians 12), who
should love one another,
(1 Corinthians 13; 1 John). Spiritual gifts are
for the Christian community rather than
individual use. They
should promote humility rather than pride,
(1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:11-16).
lest any man spoil you through philosophy and
vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after
the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
What Does the Bible Say About...?
In this section of the
Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.
If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having
printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to
send your question in an email to me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, you may call me
anytime by phone at 801.302-1111.
The question for this issue is, "Please
explain Matthew 23. To whom is Jesus
speaking, and what are the circumstances under
which these things will happen?"
Christ Jesus is speaking with His Jewish disciples about what will happen in the days just prior to His return. He elaborates more on this in His Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 and 25. However, in both passages, He discusses the persecution that will ensue during the Tribulation. In the verse that you question, He advises them:
But when they persecute you in this city, flee you into another: for verily I say to you, You shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come," Matthew 10:23 KJV ER
Those Jewish people who have not taken refuge in Petra, and similar places, but have stayed out in the open in Israel, will be "on the run" during the Tribulation, trying to escape the Antichrist and his forces. He goes on to say that the people may have to run from town to town in order to stay safe. But He also assures them that they will not have run out of places to flee within Israel before He returns at His Second Advent. This also provides assurance to Israel, as a whole, for their own survival. Since the Jewish people will not run out of hiding places, Israel will not totally fall to the Antichrist before Christ Jesus returns.
**MEMORY VERSE OF THE
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be
false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even
denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
Peter 2:1 KJV ER
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