Know Your Bible
January 1999

ON JOHN 3:16

By Windell Wiser

(Editor's Note: This issue of "KNOW YOUR BIBLE" is to refute a false teaching being advocated about Mattthew, Mark, Luke, and John belonging in the canon of the Old Testament scriptures and the consequences of such teaching. I thank Brother Wiser for his willingness to write this material which is much needed to focus attention back to what the truth of God's word teaches. Read it prayerfully and carefully. ERH)

Bro. Billingsly says, "John 3:16, like all other passages in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - before the cross - was Old Testament teaching of the law of Moses for only the nation of Israel". If this is true there are some very grave and serious consequences!

(1) Every verse in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, up until the cross, would have to be treated just like Exodus through Malachi. It would be used for our learning, patience, comfort and hope (Rom.15:4); examples and admonition (I Cor.10:6,11); to produce faith (2 Tim.1:5; Rom.10:17); to make us wise unto salvation (2 Tim.3:15); and "for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16, 17); but not for law.

(2) Paul said, "The law is good, if a man use it lawfully" (I Tim.1:8). Notice whom the law was made for (I Tim.1:9-11). It would not be lawful to bind the law of Moses as law on Christians. According to bro. Billingsly, the doctrine of the new birth is the law of Moses, because it is the teaching of Christ (Jn. 3:3-5) before the cross just like John 3:16. Therefore, any person - Windell Wiser, Dan Billingsly, the apostle Peter (I Pet. 1:23), the apostle Paul (I Cor. 4:15; Eph. 5:26; Tit. 3:5); or any one else who preaches the new birth as law has used the law of Moses unlawfully and is thus guilty of sin, according to bro. Billingsly. Paul said, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace" (Gal. 5:4). This would mean that Christ became of no effect for Peter and Paul; and both Peter and Paul fell from grace for teaching the new birth as law.

The same applications can be made for many other passages in MML and J, before the cross, which he says is the law of Moses. Please Study (Mt. 18:15-17). In this passage "church" could not mean the people that Jesus purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28); because, according to Dan, it was teaching before the cross and could be only the law of Moses! Jesus said, "I will build my church" (Mt. 16:18), but this is before the cross. According to Dan, in Jno. 3:16, "gave" is past tense so it applies only to his birth in this world as the last prophet of Israel. It cannot refer to God giving His Son to die on the cross and save whosoever believeth in Him enough to be baptized into Christ!!! (Gal. 3:26, 27; Rom. 6:3) I suppose this would mean Jesus had already been tried and crucified when Isaiah wrote (Isa. 53), because he used words in the past tense to describe the trial and crucifixion of Christ. If past tense in Jno. 3:16 rules out God giving, yet future, His Son to die on the cross; would not future tense in Mt. 16:18 mean Christ had already built his church, as the Baptist teach?

Bro. Billingsly admits that the word "world" sometimes means the whole "world"; but somehow it can't mean that in Jno. 3:16. Somehow he knows that "world" has to be limited to the children of Israel. So "church" cannot include Gentiles in Mt. 16:18 and Mt. 18:15-17. Neither can "born again" mean what Peter taught in (I Pet. 1:23). Why would Billingsly know all of this??? Because, he is a drowning man reaching for a straw to justify people living in an unscriptural marriage.

(3) Dan says Jesus taught the law of Moses in Mt. 19 about marriage and divorce. (You may obtain a copy of my answer to his material on Marriage by writing to the Oakland Church of Christ, 12648 New Cut Road Athens, Al. 35611). He says "except for fornication" is the same as "some uncleanness, or unseemly thing (ASV)" (Dt. 24:1). He says Jesus and Moses taught the same thing, though Moses says a woman put away from her husband may marry another man (Dt. 24:1, 2); and Jesus says whosoever marries her that is put away committeth adultery(Mt. 19:9; 5:32; Lk. 16:18).

Bro. Billingsly is in real trouble when he rules out Gentiles in Jno. 3:16. He insists that "world" is used in a limited sense (only the children of Israel). "Gave" is past tense referring only to the birth of Christ and not His death on the cross. He thus has the Jews saved eternally on the basis of believing Jesus is the Messiah. The Hebrew writer said, "Almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb. 9:22). It must be the Jews were saved by the blood of bulls and goats when they believed Christ was the Messiah, since John 3:16 does not include the death of Christ. Yet the Hebrew writer said, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins" (Heb. 10:4). Again, he said "He is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb. 9:15). The truth is, he cannot get the Jews saved until Jesus died on the cross, no matter how much he perverts Jno. 3:16. The truth is, God gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life, whether he be Jew or Gentile. Jesus came to seek and save that which is lost whether Jew or Gentile (Lk. 19:10). The truth is, no one was forgiven of sins, whether Jew or Gentile, until Jesus tasted death for every man. (Heb. 2:9). Bro. Billingsly says, "before the cross and at the same time, Jesus also played the role of the Messiah that God promised to Israel, He was the Redeemer of Israel (Matt. 1:21; Lk. 24:21)". Billingsly has Jesus saving and redeeming Israel before He died on the cross. He did not save and redeem Gentiles, or alien sinners, until the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. To redeem means to buy back (Lev. 25:25-34). We were all sold as slaves to sin (Rom. 3:23). When did Jesus buy us back? How did Jesus redeem Israel? Were any of the Israelites redeemed before Jesus died on the cross? The truth is, Jesus bought all of us back by His death on the cross. Jesus tasted death for every man, but only those baptized into His death (Rom. 6:3) are actually redeemed, or forgiven. Jesus came only to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel", for his personal ministry, and it was not lawful to give the bread to the dogs (Mt.15:26,27), during his personal ministry. Yet Jesus died for the "dogs" too. No one was redeemed before Jesus paid the redeeming price. About 3000 souls were redeemed on Pentecost (Acts 2). It was to Jews first and also to the Greeks (Rom.1:16). It was for the Jews only on the day of Pentecost. It began to the Gentiles in Acts 10.

(4) Those who have my book, Marriage Divorce And Remarriage: an answer to Dan Billingsly, will notice that bro. Billingsly contends that in the sermon on the Mount Jesus is quoting from the rabbinical fathers and not Moses. However, in this article on Jno. 3:16 he tells us Jesus is quoting Moses in Mt. 5:21. If Jesus is quoting Moses in Mt. 5:21; he is also quoting Moses in Mt. 5:27; Mt. 5:31; Mt. 5:33; Mt. 5:38; and Mt. 5:43. In each case He quotes Moses, He responds with "I say unto you". Each time what Jesus said was different from what Moses said. Jesus went further than Moses and was stricter than Moses. What Jesus taught in the sermon on the Mount was not the law of Moses. He quoted Moses and then taught the law of Christ. Where did Moses say "Swear not at all"; "Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall many her that is divorced committeth adultery"; "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart"; "whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also"; and "Love your enemies"???

(5) Bro. Billingsly says "eternal life" as used in Jno. 3:15 is found fifteen times in MML and J -- before the cross, and every time it refers to "eternal life" for obedient Jews who kept the Old Testament law of Moses. Two of those passages are Jn. 10:28 and Mt. 25:46. In Jn.10, Jesus promises eternal life to His sheep. In Mt. 25, Jesus separates the sheep from the goats. This would mean that only Jews are sheep in both Jn.10 and Mt 25. "All nations", in Mt 25:32, would mean the same thing as "the world" in Jn. 3:16; (i.e. only Jews). No Gentile will be present at the judgment (though all nations will be there) and God did not give His Son to any Gentile (though God loved the world). Remember that Mt. 25 was before the cross, just like Jn. 3:16, and thus (accord- ing to Dan) only the law of Moses. There- fore, only Jews will be judged in the judgment Christ is talking about in Mt. 25.

(6) You ask, "Why would bro. Billingsly take Jn. 3:16 away from the Gentile world?" He does it for only one reason! He wants to get rid of Mt. 19:9 and Mt. 5:31, 32. He wants the teaching of Christ on marriage and divorce nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14). He wants the teaching of Christ on marriage and divorce abolished (Eph.2:15). He is willing to sacrifice all of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John before the cross, in order to get rid of the teaching of Christ on marriage and divorce. How sad!!! He may be willing to sacrifice it, and nail it all to the cross; but, he will face all of the teaching of Christ, which is not the law of Moses, (including Mt.19:9 and Mt. 5: 31,32) at the judgment in the last day (Jn. 12:48).

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