Back to Egypt
In the course of teaching over the last 18 years, I have found that many doctrines talk, and assumptions people make are not due to a good reading or interpretation of scripture, but are rather more about folklore and legend.
Understanding covenant and the whole of Scripture enables us to see a comprehensive “plan” so to speak, that clarifies hermeneutics.
Also, people are very quick to add meaning and fill in the blanks to make arguments where the Bible is silent. There are many examples but in Mark 16: 16-18, and Hebrews 1, there are quick and easy ones. There are two glaring mistakes people make when talking about wonders today. These wonders, originally used in the Old Testament, were signs that what was happening was of God. After the first century, though, the program changed a bit. People today use these verses to justify snake handling and drinking poison and such. Here are the two problems. The first is that verses 9-19 are considered dubious because they are absent from many of the earlier manuscripts. Some believe they were added later. That being said, when looking at verse 17, the verb pisteusasi,(pisteusasi), it is in the aorist tense, making the words “have believed” a past and present but not future tense. A better reading might be “those who have believed up until today.” This throws an enormous kink in the handlers snake. Those snake handlers would have to be over 2,000 years old to be the kind of people Jesus was talking about in that verse, if in fact it was a scripture at all. Do you know any of those people? They sure would make the news. This goes for those other signs as well. It was for the Apostles, not us. In Verses 14-19 of Mark 16, Jesus is talking directly to the Apostles about their unbelief. There are many more questions raised by this verse that can be addressed at another time. Even allowing for this passage to be Scripture, it does not say what people try to make it say. It is not talking about believers today; it is talking about believers who were saved before Jesus’ ascension to heaven.
Another problem is foretelling prophecy, which is distinctly addressed and ignored by people who what to be modern day soothsayers. In Hebrews 1: 1-2, God tells us His covenant plan. He tells us in verse 1 that in “past times” or long ago and in many ways, He spoke to man through the patriarchs and prophets, BUT NOW (in the eskatwn, eschaton) God is speaking to man through Christ. These verses show us the breaking in of the Kingdom of God. Just as in Romans 7:6-25 and John 16:7-15) and a new way of God communicating with His people. His Spirit (Holy Spirit) will now do what the prophets did in the Old Covenant. The Holy Spirit bears witness to the person, directly from God, therefore, a prophet is unnecessary. Secondly, after Christ’s death and resurrection, the prophets message of the coming Messiah had been fulfilled (John 17:1-5). Peter, talking about the fulfillment of Joel 2;28-32, shows that these signs and wonders were a sign that the old was gone and the new had come (Hebrews 8:7-9:1). Jesus’ offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, made these Old Covenant roles of prophet, priest, and king obsolete. We now have no necessity for a human prophet, priest, or king, these people have been replaced by the Trinity. The prophet’s job was to foretell Christ, teach, comfort, and guide the people. Christ has arrived and the Holy Spirit (John 16) does the rest inside each believer, rather than having a human prophet appointed. This is not to say that pastors are unnecessary; however, their role is significantly different than of a prophet or a priest.
The death of the Old Covenant began in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and ended at the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. The end of the first century brought the death of the apostles and the completion of the Word of God. There was no longer a need for the Old Covenant signs, wonders, prophets, or priests anymore. God was doing a new thing (2Cor 5:17-21).
People, who insist on going “back to Egypt” and resurrecting the Old Covenant signs and roles, are creating a new religion that is not based on the finished work of Christ. They deny that Christ has brought in the new. A good and comprehensive study of Scripture does not justify some of the charlatanism that goes on today. It is not necessary for God to go backwards now that Christ has come, and now that the Holy Spirit speaks directly to hearts. Just as the Judaizers tried to pull back the Galatians, current Old Covenant proponents are trying to do the same to immature believers today. The miracles are not in what we do, the miracle is in what Christ has already done. Be happy, be free, and don’t go back to Egypt. Enter the Promised Land…the Kingdom is now.