How Do They Do That?

 

I.         We have discussed a doctrine in the past which has been advocated which declares the gospel accounts: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are Old Testament books.

            A.        It is not hard to refute the belief, but I want to use an article written by one of its proponents as an illustration to help us learn how to spot faulty reasoning.

            B.        The article in question is titled “Is John 3:16 Old or New Testament Doctrine?”

                        1.         It doesn’t matter who was the author, but in this case his name is Dan Billingsly.

II.        Statements of Belief

            A.        The article, as most do, starts out with a series of assertions

            B.        “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.”

                        1.         This is the statement which needs to be proven.

                        2.         No verses back up this assertion, so it should not be accepted on face value.

            C.        “John 3:16 was the old covenant teaching of Jesus the Messiah, the last Old Testament “prophet” that God sent to Israel (Deut. 18:15-18; Lk. 13:33; 24:19; Acts 3:12-26)”

                        1.         This assertion does present passages to back up its claim, so let’s look them up

                        2.         Deut 18:15-18 - A prophesy by Moses promising a coming prophet

                                    a.         The prophet will be like Moses.

                                    b.         The prophet will come from the Israelite nation.

                                    c.         The prophet would teach God’s words.

                                    d.         What this passage doesn’t teach:

                                                (1)       That the prophet would teach Old Covenant doctrine.

                                                (2)       That this prophet would be an Old Testament prophet

                                                (3)       That this prophet would be sent to Israel.

                                    e.         What a minute, the passage did say like Moses and Moses did teach the Old Law

                                                (1)       True, but you are assuming the like in this case is similar teaching restricted to the Old Law.

                                                (2)       Moses as a prophet, leader of Israel, deliverer from bondage, presenter of a new law (at that time), and a mediator between God and His people. Which one or more of theses aspects of Moses was Jesus like?

                                                (3)       You can be like someone without doing or teaching exactly the same thing.

                        3.         Luke 13:33 - Jesus calls himself a prophet

                        4.         Luke 24:19 - The disciples called Jesus a prophet

                        5.         Acts 3:12-26 - In verses 22-26, Peter states that Jesus was the prophet Moses referred to.

                                    a.         Peter did not say Jesus taught the old covenant.

                                    b.         Peter did not say Jesus was an Old Testament prophet

                                    c.         Peter did say that Jesus was the seed through which ALL the families of the earth would be blessed.

                                                (1)       Peter did say that the blessing was sent to the Jews first.

                        6.         These verses only prove that Jesus was a prophet whose’s teaching blesses all the families of the earth, starting with the Jews.

                                    a.         This is not what was claimed

                                    b.         His statement, as a whole, remains unproven.

                                    c.         This is a common tacit, often used by false teachers. Prove a portion of a statement and the reader assumes the remainder of the statement is also true.

            D.        “At the time of John 3:16, as described in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – before the cross, while under the authority and force of the law of Moses, Jesus came to “seek and save” only “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 1:21; 2:6; 15:24; Lk. 19:10) . . . Jesus did not come to [sic] only to Old Testament Israel to “seek and save” alien Gentiles. The Gentiles did not enter into new covenant relationship with God until Acts 10.”

                        1.         Again, let us examine the verses.

                        2.         Matthew 1:21 - Jesus would save his people from their sins.

                        3.         Matthew 2:6 - Jesus would shepherd the people of Israel.

                        4.         Matthew 15:24 - Jesus states to a Canaanite woman (verse 22) that he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

                                    a.         This appears to prove his point. Jesus declined to aid her daughter because his mission was only for the Israelites.

                                    b.         The problem is if you read on, Jesus grants her desire in verse 28.

                                                (1)       Now, either Jesus violated what he just said, or what he said had something more to it.

                                                (2)       It appears Jesus was testing the woman.

                                    c.         This is not the only time Jesus healed Gentiles.

                                                (1)       Luke 7:2-10 - The centurion’s slave was healed and Jesus proclaim that no one in Israel had as great faith as this man.

                                    d.         There is an assumption that since Jesus was only sent to Israel that his mission was limited to Israel.

                                                (1)       Isa 42:1 - He would bring justice to the nations.

                                                (2)       Isa 42:6-7 - Jesus would be a covenant for the people and a light to the Gentiles.

                                                (3)       Isa 49:6 - To save only Israel was too small of a mission for God’s son. He would save to the ends of the earth.

                                                (4)       Some of the prophecies about Jesus at his birth were quoted, but notice Simeon’s in Luke 2:28-32.

                                                (5)       Mark 5:19-20 - Jesus sent a man into the Gentile region of the country to preach.

                        5.         Luke 19:10 - Jesus’ mission was to seek and save the lost. The scope of who was lost is not defined

                                    a.         John 10:14-16 - Jesus had more sheep than just the house of Israel.

                        6.         Here the problem is that a verse is pulled out of context, which seems to support the position, but the applied meaning is not weighed in the light of the entire Bible’s teaching.

                                    a.         Whenever someone makes a claim of exclusiveness, then the Bible needs to be examined to see if those bounds are followed.

                                    b.         Look at Matthew 15:24 - Does this verse say that Jesus came only to seek and save the lost sheep of the house of Israel?

                                                (1)       Jesus was sent only to Israel, but this verse is not discussing salvation but the use of miracles.

                                                (2)       Two verses (Luke 19:10 and Matthew 15:24) were combined to say what neither verse stated!

                                                (3)       Again, this is a common tacit among false teachers: Combine two truths to produce a falsehood.

III.       Now, let us examine some of this man’s statements regarding John 3:16 in particular.

            A.        “In the Old Testament age of John 3:16, God “loved” his old covenant people in Israel. God’s old covenant “love” for Israel, during the Mosaical age, excluded all Gentile nations of the alien “world” from this old covenant “love” for only Israel (Eph 2:11-12) . . . [He then quotes Deut. 7:7-9] . . . The Old Testament “love” of John 3:16 was confined only to the “world” of Old Testament Israel, it did not extend to “all nations” of the pagan, heathen, Gentile “world.”“

                        1.         Notice the exclusive language. God love Israel, therefore He did not love the Gentiles.

                                    a.         To prove, either verses need to be shown that God’s love was only for the Israelites or the context of the Bible needs to be searched to show that God never showed love to the Gentiles.

                        2.         First examine the verses

                                    a.         Eph. 2:11-12 - The Gentiles were excluded from the covenant, had no hope and were without God in the world.

                                    b.         Deut 7:7-9 - God loved the Israelites, showing it by freeing them and giving them a covenant.

                                    c.         Neither verse says that God did not love the Gentiles while the old covenant was in effect.

                                                (1)       The Gentiles did not have a covenant with God and they were without God, but this verse doesn’t state why they were without God.

                                                (2)       The God leave the Gentiles or did the Gentiles leave God?

                                                (3)       Paul said it was the later

                                                            (a)       Rom 1:21-23 - They left the knowledge of God

                                                            (b)       While they were without a written law, Paul said they were not lawless - Rom 2:13-15

                        3.         Did God show love only to the Israelites?

                                    a.         Jonah was sent to the Assyrians, the enemy of Israel, to bring them to repentance. God spared Nineveh. Does this sound like a God who did not care?

                                    b.         Jesus was almost stoned for pointing out that God showed love to the Gentiles - Luke 4:25-27

                        4.         Exclusion is declared based on a few verses.

                                    a.         This is no different than those who read the verse about faith saving and then declaring we are saved by faith alone.

                                    b.         Watch out whenever the word “only” comes up in an argument. The person making such an argument has the greater burden of proof, but they will often gloss over the exclusive part.

            B.        “The word “world” in John 3:16 refers to the “world” of Old Testament Israel, not to the alien “world” of the Gentile nations, because every other word in John 3:16 speaks only to Jews under the Old Testament law of Moses. While the word “world” sometimes refers to the whole “world” or inhabitants on the planet earth, the word is also used to describe only the “world” of Old Testament Israel. This is the way the word “world” is used in John 3:16.”

                        1.         John 12:19 and Matthew 18:7 are sited as proof.

                        2.         First notice the circular reasoning.

                                    a.         “World” in John 3:16 has to refer to Israel because John 3:16 is addressed to Israel.

                                    b.         The article is attempting to prove that John 3:16 is addressed only to Israel, therefore you use your assertion to prove your point.

                                    c.         This is like the reasoning of evolutionists.

                                                (1)       The fossils are date based on the age of the rocks, but the rocks are dated by the fossils found within them.

                        3.         Let’s examine the verses

                                    a.         John 12:19 - The Pharisees are complaining that the world is following Jesus.

                                                (1)       There is nothing in this verse which shows they are only talking about Israel.

                                                (2)       We know that Jesus had Gentile followers (see verse 20-21)

                                    b.         Matthew 18:7 - Again there is nothing in this passage which indicates a limited scope for the word world.

                                                (1)       In fact the context refers to the coming kingdom of heaven (verse 3) which is the church.

                                                (2)       The church drew members from all nations.

                                    c.         The word world is used 77 times in the NASB version of the gospels.

                                                (1)       Luke 21:26 - Talking about the destruction of Jerusalem talks about things coming upon the world. Even here one does not have to conclude that only Israel is being discussed.

                                                (2)       John 18:20 - Jesus spoke openly in the world, referring to his teachings in Israel, but again we do not have to conclude that world is limited to only Israel.

                                                (3)       It is used to talk about the physical world, the nations, and the lost.

                                                (4)       I did not find one verse which showed an obvious limit to Israel only, but I found many verses were it is obviously greater than Israel.

                                    d.         Even if such a verse existed, how does it prove that the world in John 3:16 is limited to Israel?

                        4.         Circular reasoning is not proof.

                        5.         Use of a word in one manner in one verse is not proof that the word is used in the same manner in every verse.

                        6.         Use of a word in one manner in one verse is not proof it is used in the same manner in other verse, especially when other verses show other uses.

            C.        “Notice that the word “gave” is in the past tense. It refers to something that had already occurred before the time of John 3:16. It did not refer to something that would happen at some time in the future, such as Christ giving himself on the cross. The word “gave” in John 3:16 refers to the fleshly birth of Jesus in Israel and God’s giving Jesus as the Messiah to Old Testament Israel. The biblical fact is, at Christ’s birth, God “gave” him to be the Redeemer and Savior of Old Testament Israel. . . . Christ was not the Savior of the world at the time of John 3:16. He did not become the Savior of the world of alien sinners until after the “end” of the Old Testament age, his resurrection, his ascension into heaven, and the beginning of the New Testament age in Acts 2.”

                        1.         It sounds reasonable that a word in past tense refers to a past event.

                                    a.         However, the Bible does use the past tense to refer to future events.

                                    b.         Example, Isaiah 53:4-5 refers to the death of Christ – an event 700 years into the future – in the past tense.

                                    c.         Past tense is often used to show the certainty of an event. It is a foregone conclusion.

                                    d.         Mark 11:24 - Pray as if your prayer was already granted.

                        2.         When did God give Jesus to save the world

                                    a.         Was it at his death? Was it at his birth?

                                    b.         I Peter 1:18-21 - Peter said he was given before the world was created

                        3.         Notice too that it is stated that Christ saved Israel first and then the Gentiles.

                                    a.         Heb 9:22 - forgiveness of sins requires the shedding of blood.

                                    b.         Heb. 10:4 - The shedding of animal blood, as under the Old Law, was not enough.

                                    c.         Heb 9:15 - Redemption came with the death of Jesus for those under the Old Law.

                                    d.         Notice this: When Jesus made his statement in John 3:16, salvation had not yet come to Israel or anyone else. It came only when Jesus died. So once again, a past tense verb is being used to refer to a future event.

                                    e.         Heb 2:9 - But that one death was not just for the Jews. When Jesus died, he died for everyone – Jews and Gentiles alike.

                                    f.         Jesus became the whole world’s savior when he died.- Rom 5:6-10,18

                        4.         Be careful of assumptions without proof. Even reasonable sounding assertions can be false when examined in detail.

            D.        “Christ’s use of the word “whosoever,” like that of God and Moses, referred only to the Jews of Israel – “whosoever” in Old Testament Israel.

                        1.         He then refers to Leviticus 20:2, Exodus 31:15, and Leviticus 19:20-21 as proof that whosoever refers to Jews.

                        2.         Don’t you just love it! Here we take the English translation of a Greek word, find a verse where a Hebrew word is translated to the same English word and then assert they all have the same limited meaning!

                        3.         Even if every use of the Hebrew word translated “whosoever” was limited to the Jews does not imply that the Greek word has the same restriction.

                                    a.         But then the Hebrew doesn’t restrict the meaning of the word whosoever to just Jews.

                                    b.         The English word is not limited to just the Jews.

                                    c.         The Greek word is not limited to just the Jews.

                        4.         Even if you can find a passage where the Greek word is limited in scope to the Jews, it does not prove that the word has the same limit in John 3:16.

                        5.         Watch out for slight of hand tricks where substitutions are made without a justifiable reason. Magicians do this for entertainment. False teachers do it to deceive the masses.

            E.        “The Old Testament plan of salvation for Israel during the time of MMLJ – before the cross, as Christ himself taught, was for the Jews to “believe” in him as the Messiah and to keep the law of Moses. Christ makes this clear in Matthew 19, by his commandment to the Jewish man who had asked what he had to do to have eternal life under the Messiah’s teaching of the law of Moses. . . . [Matthew 19:16-20 is then quoted] . . . John 3:16 contains the Old Testament plan of salvation for only Israel, it did not contain the New Testament plan of salvation.”

                        1.         Belief in the Messiah and his message was required by the Old Law, such as in Deut. 18:15,18-19

                        2.         However, belief in the Messiah (or Christ) is also required by the New Law - Acts 16:31

                        3.         What is being assert and yet is not taught in the Bible is that these beliefs are different.

                                    a.         Here are two coins. They are from different years. Are they different? They have the same name, they have the same value.

                        4.         As we already have shown, salvation did not come to the Jews with just belief. It required the death of Jesus Christ. The same requirements for the Gentile’s salvation.

                        5.         Notice that there is also an assertion that Jesus only taught the Jews to follow the Old Testament and to believe on him.

                                    a.         First, Jesus never told the rich young ruler to believe on him.

                                    b.         Second, it sounds like Jesus is teaching the young man to follow only the law of Moses, and the verses quoted seem to support it, until you read the next verse.

                                    c.         Can anyone find a commandment in Moses’ law which states that a Jew must sell all he has and give to the poor?

                                                (1)       It is not there!!!

                                                (2)       Some say, well as a prophet, Jesus could reveal something new.

                                                (3)       To say this is to admit that Jesus could as a prophet reveal a new law – the very thing that is they are attempting to disprove.

                        6.         When verses are being quoted, read the verses before and after.

                                    a.         False impressions can be given when only a portion of a passage is given.

                                    b.         A good teacher will try to keep passages used within its context.

                                    c.         A deceiver will only show parts that seem to give his view a favorable light.

                                    d.         David Copperfield once made the Statue of Liberty disappear.

                                                (1)       He restricted the view of the audience with curtains.

                                                (2)       He planted the suggestion of what he wanted them to believe.

                                                (3)       He gave them a brief view through those curtains after the stage and the audience were rotated slightly.

                                                (4)       False teachers work the same way.

            F.        “The phrase “eternal life” is used fifteen times in MMLJ – before the cross, and every time it refers to the promise of “eternal life” for obedient Jews who kept the Old Testament law of Moses. This phrase is not used in MMLJ – before the cross – to describe “eternal” or “everlasting” life by faith and obedience to the New Testament “gospel.” The phrase “everlasting life” is used eleven times in MMLJ – before the cross, and every time it refers to the promise of “everlasting life” for obedient Jews who kept the Old Testament law of Moses. Here is what Jesus said about “eternal” or “everlasting” life to only the Jews of Old Testament Israel. You will note that Jesus never reveals the New Testament plan of salvation for “eternal life” in any of these Old Testament passages.”

                        1.         He then goes on to quote John 3:36; 5:24, 38-39; 6:47; Matthew 15:24; John 10:27-28; 5:46-47; 6:29, 68-69; 8:31-32; 12:11; 6:38; 7:16-17.

                                    a.         It is an impressive list of passages, but I want you to note that they are not all the passages which mention eternal life or everlasting life. Some of these passages don’t mention either phrase.

                                    b.         They assert that belief in Jesus Christ is essential for salvation.

                                    c.         Those being addressed in these verse were Jews.

                                    d.         But the missing ingredient is that none of these verses indicate that this teaching was exclusively for the Jews. We only have this author’s assertion that this was the case.

                        2.         Let us examine John 10:27-28

                                    a.         Jesus’ sheep will follow him and have eternal life.

                                    b.         But if you start at verse 25-26 you will find Jesus saying that these Jews he was addressing were NOT his sheep.

                                    c.         Because only a portion of Jesus’ statement was quoted, the opposite impression is given.

                                    d.         Also, back up to John 10:14-16. Jesus says he has other sheep (non-Jewish).

                                    e.         Jesus was teaching eternal life for the sheep who listened to his voice. The Jews refused, but Jesus had other sheep who would listen.

                                    f.         The eternal life here is not limited to the Jews only.

                        3.         Salvation was promised to all

                                    a.         John 12:50 - God’s commandments are eternal life

                                    b.         For who? John 12:44-46 - it is for everyone who believes in Christ.

                        4.         However, there is a more plain passage that was skipped.

                                    a.         In the discussion of the final Judgment, when the sheep and the goats are separated, we learn that righteous will have eternal life - Matthew 25:46.

                                    b.         Who is being divided? People from all nations – Matthew 25:32

                                    c.         Here is a clear passage which speaks of all nations (Jews and Gentiles) receiving eternal life if they are found righteous.

                                    d.         The passage is in Matthew and takes place before the cross. A direct contradiction of what was asserted.

                        5.         Watch out when someone tries to overwhelm you with passages

                                    a.         Don’t get lazy and assume they have overwhelming evidence.

                                    b.         Examine each one. Does it address the point being asserted or is it only filler? (Jehovah Witnesses are notorious for using fillers.)

                                    c.         Examine the context of each passage. Is it really saying what is being asserted?

                                    d.         When someone says every instance says something, look at every instance to see if it so. Often the passages not sited are the interesting ones.


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.



John 3:16 was the old covenant teaching of Jesus the Messiah, the last Old Testament “prophet” that God sent to Israel (Deut. 18:15-18; Lk. 13:33; 24:19; Acts 3:12-26)



At the time of John 3:16, as described in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – before the cross, while under the authority and force of the law of Moses, Jesus came to “seek and save” only “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 1:21; 2:6; 15:24; Lk. 19:10) . . . Jesus did not come to [sic] only to Old Testament Israel to “seek and save” alien Gentiles. The Gentiles did not enter into new covenant relationship with God until Acts 10.



In the Old Testament age of John 3:16, God “loved” his old covenant people in Israel. God’s old covenant “love” for Israel, during the Mosaical age, excluded all Gentile nations of the alien “world” from this old covenant “love” for only Israel (Eph 2:11-12) . . . [He then quotes Deut. 7:7-9] . . . The Old Testament “love” of John 3:16 was confined only to the “world” of Old Testament Israel, it did not extend to “all nations” of the pagan, heathen, Gentile “world.”



The word “world” in John 3:16 refers to the “world” of Old Testament Israel, not to the alien “world” of the Gentile nations, because every other word in John 3:16 speaks only to Jews under the Old Testament law of Moses. While the word “world” sometimes refers to the whole “world” or inhabitants on the planet earth, the word is also used to describe only the “world” of Old Testament Israel. This is the way the word “world” is used in John 3:16.



Notice that the word “gave” is in the past tense. It refers to something that had already occurred before the time of John 3:16. It did not refer to something that would happen at some time in the future, such as Christ giving himself on the cross. The word “gave” in John 3:16 refers to the fleshly birth of Jesus in Israel and God’s giving Jesus as the Messiah to Old Testament Israel. The biblical fact is, at Christ’s birth, God “gave” him to be the Redeemer and Savior of Old Testament Israel. . . . Christ was not the Savior of the world at the time of John 3:16. He did not become the Savior of the world of alien sinners until after the “end” of the Old Testament age, his resurrection, his ascension into heaven, and the beginning of the New Testament age in Acts 2.



Christ’s use of the word “whosoever,” like that of God and Moses, referred only to the Jews of Israel – “whosoever” in Old Testament Israel.



The Old Testament plan of salvation for Israel during the time of MMLJ – before the cross, as Christ himself taught, was for the Jews to “believe” in him as the Messiah and to keep the law of Moses. Christ makes this clear in Matthew 19, by his commandment to the Jewish man who had asked what he had to do to have eternal life under the Messiah’s teaching of the law of Moses. . . . [Matthew 19:16-20 is then quoted] . . . John 3:16 contains the Old Testament plan of salvation for only Israel, it did not contain the New Testament plan of salvation.


The phrase “eternal life” is used fifteen times in MMLJ – before the cross, and every time it refers to the promise of “eternal life” for obedient Jews who kept the Old Testament law of Moses. This phrase is not used in MMLJ – before the cross – to describe “eternal” or “everlasting” life by faith and obedience to the New Testament “gospel.” The phrase “everlasting life” is used eleven times in MMLJ – before the cross, and every time it refers to the promise of “everlasting life” for obedient Jews who kept the Old Testament law of Moses. Here is what Jesus said about “eternal” or “everlasting” life to only the Jews of Old Testament Israel. You will note that Jesus never reveals the New Testament plan of salvation for “eternal life” in any of these Old Testament passages.