The cause of much confusion among Christians today is caused by application, or more specifically the wrong application. We were taught to pay little attention, if any, to who is being spoken to in scripture. Teachers constantly want to find some way to apply every verse in scripture to us. Teachers ask; “what does this verse mean to you.” The Bible is very clear in most places about the group being spoken to. Are you paying attention to the application? You could save yourself much grief and frustration by figuring out who a verse applies to. More than 90% of the Bible applies to Israel. You could understand the Bible so much clearer just understanding this simple FACT. Jesus’ earthly ministry did not apply to you either. I say this because Jesus told us so. Jesus sent the Apostle Paul as his apostle to the gentiles. But even in Paul’s books there are times Paul talks specifically to Jews or is speaking about the Jews. This means you must constantly be reading to understand the application of the verses you are reading. MOST of Christianity does not do this. How can I know this? I have read the doctrinal statements of many different denominations. As I read these statements, I notice many verses taken from Israel’s context and inserted into ours. It’s been said every verse has three applications: 1. Historical 2. Spiritual and 3. Doctrinal. We can learn much about history from the Bible. We can gain spiritual insight about God and his character from scripture. Doctrine however is where the rubber meets the road. Doctrine is how we learn what to believe and how to believe. Sadly, most Christians were taught to get their doctrine from anywhere in the Bible they wish. Many verses have a doctrinal context we can learn from but, you must discern if the doctrine is yours for today or is it about Israel’s past or Israel’s future? Since MOST of the Bible is addressed to Israel or written about Israel, you MUST be careful to not apply doctrine to yourself that the Bible does not apply to you. Righty dividing the doctrine taught in the Bible is of utmost importance. Look around you. The vast majority of all the things Christians are confused about is caused by MISAPPLICATION. Many verses have doctrine in them but this does not mean the doctrine is for you or about you. I constantly say; “leave the verses alone” “God says what he means and means what he says” We must trust the Holy Spirit and stop changing the verses. We must learn to give the Bible free course in our life regardless of our statement of faith. A statement of faith is worthless is it is not based on verses WRITTEN TO US. God will restore Israel! Because he said he would. If your church statement of faith if full of Israel’s promises and Israel’s doctrine, it’s time to find a church that trusts God at his word.
When I was growing up Gilligan’s Island was a popular TV show. As you probably already know, every opportunity for the cast aways to get off the Island always ended up in defeat leaving them stranded on the Island. The Apostle Paul has something to say about cast aways. He asks a simple question in Romans 11:1. The question is “Hath God cast away his people.” Paul then very clearly answers his own question in verse 2 with, “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” No doubt your church teaches doctrine every week that would seam to make the opposite argument that Paul does. By and large most churches today pay no attention to Paul’s statement. Churches that teach openly about the many guarantee’s God made to Israel of their restoration into their land are rare no doubt. Israel’s restoration does not preach well nor does it teach well I must assume. The Bible however OVERWELMINGLY teaches that Israel WILL BE restored into their land. Why I ask you would Jesus have quoted from the following section of scripture at the start of his earthly ministry if he never intended to do these things?
Isa 61:1 ¶ The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
4 ¶ And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
6 But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
THESE VERSES ARE NOT ABOUT YOU! The Bible gives these verses to Israel. Jesus said these verses to Israel. Paul believed these verses just as they are written. Why must Christianity take these verses guaranteeing Israel’s restoration and put them on cards and signs? I hear “beauty for ashes” in Christian songs and read it in Christian books but never in the context of Israel’s restoration. It’s a sad state of affairs in Christianity today that people have no problem rewriting scripture to give something they want to themselves. We complain each time Congress votes themselves a raise, while we take anything we want from Israel and apply it to ourselves. Stop stealing what is not yours. The reason you struggle understanding the Bible is because of application! Stop trying to apply anything you find in scripture to yourself. If the Bible does not apply it to you then it’s NOT YOURS. Understanding the Bible is this simple. Israel has not been cast away forever. Israel is temporarily blinded as Paul explains later in Romans chapter 11.
Ro 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Israel is spiritually blind right now while God is dealing with mankind in GRACE. This period of time Paul describes as a mystery. In other words, it was kept secret. God is showing mercy to everyone right now. (Rom 11:32) Notice this time we are in IS NOT permanent. In verse 2 of Isaiah chapter 61 shown above Jesus mentions the acceptable day of the Lord (Luke 4:19) but stops before mentioning the wrath Isaiah talks about. Why? Because Jesus knew about the mystery we are in now. Jesus knew the wrath comes later. These things become clear when we rightly divide the scriptures and leave God’s programs alone. All we do here is let God say what he says TO WHOM he says it. Then, we leave it TO WHOM it is given. Stop mixing things God made separate and the Bible will become understandable! If this sounds too good to be true, ITS NOT. God actually made it this simple.
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul