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The Astonishing Power of False Doctrine

18 Sep
False Doctrine

from Google Images

It is often presumed by Biblical scholars that, because the Apostles presumed Jesus was a spirit and Jesus’ statement that he was not a spirit (Luke 24:37, 39) confirms the doctrine that there are indeed disembodied spirits, but this is a very poor interpretation of the text. For example, the Lord’s mention of the gods in the Old Testament cannot be construed to mean there are actually gods like Molech, Baal, or Chemosh etc. When one wishes to expose the lies of a false doctrine, one often needs to refer to the lie by name. This is what Jesus did. The Pharisees believed in spirits of the dead (Acts 23:9) and, therefore, would have taught the people so. Jesus’ invitation for the disciples to touch him and place their fingers in his wounds was meant, not only for them to believe he was risen indeed, but to expose the Pharisees’ false doctrine for what it was.

Although the disciples touched Jesus and placed their fingers in his wounds (Luke 24:41), still they disbelieved, thinking his presence was simply too good to be true. Such is the power of false doctrine. On the other hand, when Abraham was told that Sarah would bear a child in her old age, he laughed at the idea (Genesis 17:17), but gleefully accepted the truth told him by the Lord. Abraham had no false doctrine to compete with what the Lord told him. He wasn’t listening to men who claimed they knew God. He simply believed, and it was counted to him as righteousness. Nevertheless, the Apostles and the other disciples with them were still in darkness, and, ultimately, they would have rejected the truth of God, if they didn’t submit to the proof set before them and believe (cf. Romans 1:21-23, 28).

According to the text, the Apostles had been rejecting what they saw, what they heard and what they touched (Luke 24:38, 41; cf. John 20:27; 1John 1:1). They rejected three of the five gates, with which the Lord blessed man in order to gather information from the world around him. Why would they do this? I have found men are very willing to believe an unsupportable understanding in order to reject the truth of God. Folks just naturally believe they are able to become wise, and in thinking they are, they become fools (Romans 1:22), because we are too willing to reject the truth in favor of a favorite thought of our own.

Next, Jesus asked the disciples for something to eat (Luke 24:41). He appeared to them around the time of the evening meal, so there was still plenty of food on the tables where they had been reclining. So, Jesus took what they gave him and ate before them (Luke 24:42-43), and, in doing so, proved he was who he said he was, because, according to their understanding of spirits, a spirit without a body is unable to consume food, nor could food nourish it, because it is already dead!

Engaging in the practice of speaking with familiar spirits (spirits of the dead) was forbidden (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; Deut. 18:11; Isa. 8:19). Yet, the Pharisees had a doctrine that, if one who sought to inquire of a familiar spirit, he could fast and spend the night in a cemetery. In so doing, the familiar spirit would rest upon him, and he would be enabled to foretell the future.[1] While it was a forbidden practice, it encouraged the belief in the existence of disembodied spirits, which is what the disciples in the beginning assumed Jesus was (Luke 24:37).

Luke mentions to Theophilus, the Jewish high priest (cir. 37-40 AD), that Jesus’ resurrection was made known through many infallible proofs (G5039) in Acts 1:3. I would think that Jesus consuming food would be one of those proofs. After all, how could a disembodied spirit, presumably having no digestive system, consume food. Moreover, for what purpose would he need food, since the spirit, by definition, is a spirit of the dead. Food of any kind couldn’t help it live.

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[1] Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 65b

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Posted by on September 18, 2018 in Gospel of Luke

 

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