Category Archives: Bible Study
(Ver 1.2) Today is Part 9 in a series of advanced lessons on Understanding Bible Faith. If you have not been reading this series from the beginning I would recommend that you go and start with “Part 1”. Today’s lesson is about having faith when it looks like it is not working. We all struggle in this area at some point of time in our lives. If you think you are different than everybody else, then you are deceived. You can go through the Bible and read over and over about the stories of men who did great things for God and see that God had done great things for them and they all at one time or the other struggled to say, “God where are you?”. One of the greatest prophets of God was Elijah. He called down fire from God to consume the prophets of Baal. Elijah stopped it from raining on the earth for three and half years and then commanded it to rain and it rained. After all of these things, Elijah went into the wilderness downcast and depressed and asked God to kill him. I am always amazed when I read the Gospels about Jesus hanging on the cross (Mat 27:46). Here is the God of my Salvation dying on the cross for me and He says in the Hebrew tongue “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? These words are translated as “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” Wow, I have difficulty comprehending that! You should read through the Psalms of David and see how many times it looks like David is alone and in despair trying to encourage himself in the Lord. David’s confidence level, clearly was feigning and wavering in the face of his circumstances. In fact these words spoken by Jesus on the cross were originally written down by David in Psalm 22:1. Remember David was the one that killed the lion, the bear and then the giant Goliath. But, yet when he was alone in a cave hiding from Saul, he felt despair. We can see that it does not matter how many great things that God has done, we can all feel like we have been left alone. What we learn is that there will always come times when life’s situations will seem overwhelming to us. I have been there and I’m sure you have been there also. Perhaps you are there today and that is why God is using me to write to you. In this world there are events occurring daily that are extremely troubling. Prices are rising, people are losing jobs, there are wars and riots all over the world, and there are earthquakes and death everywhere. It is very easy to get into despair. In the past few weeks, I have been teaching a series of lessons on having Bible faith in God’s Word. As part of the lessons I taught that having confidence in God is an essential element to having success. If the woman with the issue of blood did not have any confidence in what she heard about Jesus, she would not have gone fighting through the crowd to get her healing. If you have no confidence then you have no faith. So you should judge yourself and see where your confidence in God is on a daily basis. You might have great confidence today and no confidence tomorrow. You cannot judge your current confidence level upon your past experiences as you have learned from the examples of David and Elijah. Today I am doing what I am teaching you to do, I am checking up on my confidence level to see if I am where I need to be.
1Jn 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
Here is the first great faith verse to know and to understand about prayer. This verse speaks of you having confidence. This verse is talking about prayer to God and asking for Him to do something for you. But, it qualifies the fact that there is a correct prayer and there is an incorrect prayer. God informs us that you better only ask Him for something that is His will or He will not even hear our prayer. How do we know what to pray for then based upon that? If you recall in my Faith series, I taught you about possessing the Promised Land. We are supposed to go through the Bible and learn what God has promised to us and only then will we know what His will is. God’s will is always based upon God’s word. You see if you are praying for God to heal you today, I’m sorry but you may not have any confidence in God. Are you asking according to His will? If you are what scriptures are you using to base your confidence? What is the will of God for healing you? Do you have any divine promises that says He will heal you? If you can quote the verses to me, then you have a sound foundational basis for having confidence, if you cannot quote them and you have to go look them up, then you have no confidence because you do not know what God has spoken.
It is like a man who prays for salvation from God. He is very sincere and he opens his mouth and says “God please save me” over and over again. What is God’s reaction to that type of prayer? I believe that God will say “I came to the earth, I died on the cross, and I shed my blood for your salvation already, what do you expect me to do now?” God would also say “I already did save you; my part is done now you do your part and receive it”. I heard a story of a man who kept telling a preacher, “When God gets ready he will save me”. This preacher tried to tell the man that God had done His part to save him already. But, the man just kept believing, that God was going to save him some day. When this man was very old lying on his death bed he still believed the same thing and died and went to hell. When people think and believe wrong they do without the blessing of God. If you are waiting on God to do something, you are thinking wrong and you better learn to change to see that God has already given you the Promised Land and He is waiting on you to possess it. These are examples of praying in error, believing in error and doing without. When you pray and ask for something that God says has already been given to you then you are basically saying to God “I don’t believe you Lord”; “Please give me the Promised Land”. God is still going to tell you “It is yours already”. But, you are going to say I’m still in the wilderness and I don’t have it and God is going to say by faith you do. That is one of the primary problems that Christians have today, God says by faith you will possess it and by having no faith you will miss out on it and die in the wilderness.
1Jn 5:15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
If you actually know something then you can have great confidence in it happening. However, it depends upon who is speaking to you, doesn’t it? If I told you that I will meet tomorrow in Washington D.C. at the capitol rotunda, would you have any confidence of the meeting happening? Not, if you do not know me. You see you are only going to have confidence in those that you know who are faithful and true. If you do not know that God is faithful and true then you will have no confidence in Him answering your prayer either. So what did we just learn about how to pray with confidence?
- Find the Bible promises that have been given to you.
- Put them into your heart by speaking them to yourself over and over.
- Pray in faith according to the promise that was given to you believing you receive it.
- Since you prayed and asked God knowing His will, you now know the Bible says God heard you.
- Since you know God heard you, you now know that you have what you asked for by faith.
- Therefore, you don’t pray and ask God for it again tomorrow because it looks like it didn’t happen.
- What I like to do is to thank God for giving me the answer, even though I do not see it in the natural yet.
- Then once it does show up in the natural, then I fight to hold on to it so that Satan does not come to try to take it away from me.
It sounds easy until you realize that it takes time for the answer to arrive from God. When Daniel prayed to God and asked for a simple answer, he waited and fasted for three weeks and finally the angel of God arrived with the answer. I do not know how long it would have taken if it was a really big thing that Daniel needed, but it makes me wonder. We like to think that God is omnipotent and can just cause things to happen instantly. But, this is not what the Bible teaches us. The angel told Daniel the very day you prayed I was sent by God, but the prince of Persia withstood me so that I could not come (Dan 10:13). You see there are spiritual forces other than God in the world and these are not on God’s side. These evil spirits are set to destroy you, kill you and steal from you and they are doing everything in their power to cause God’s blessings not to come to you. These are some of the spiritual giants of the Promised Land that will come to try to keep you out. So just because you pray according to the will of God and you know that He heard you, you will be presented a daily challenge for a time to believe that you have what God has given to you. This is why God says for you to Fight the Good Fight of Faith (1 Tim 6:12). Faith is a spiritual fight to possess the Promised Land and you are responsible for this fight. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world (Eph 6:12).
When praying and asking God for anything and it does not happen in a reasonable timeframe, learn to recognize where the problem lies. If you have prayed for something for 10 years and God is still silent about it, then God is not the problem you are. I once heard a minister say this; “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. This same minister said if I pray and God does not answer in a short time, then I change and find out what I’m doing wrong. You see God tells us that He is always faithful and God says He does not ever change (Mal 3:6). So if God is not changing where does the change need to occur in order for you to see your miracle? Wow, I said some really important things today, but this is one of the greatest ones that you need to learn quickly. Quit praying for things that God has already said “I’ve done that!”. Quit praying for the same thing over and over. Either get into faith and receive the answer from God or start to realize that you may just be wasting your breath.
Pro 3:26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.
Pro 14:26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
Here are just a couple of verses about having confidence in God. It appears to me that having confidence in God helps to save us from trouble. God speaks of a place of refuge which is like a safe house in a major storm. God speaks of not being taken, and that is again speaking of being kept safe. Perhaps I should discuss a little bit about what “confidence” is. If I have confidence in someone, then I can put my trust in them. This is the common bond to a healthy marriage. When each spouse trusts the other, they have confidence in their decisions and actions that they are true. If you spouse is unfaithful you learn very quickly that trust is gone. This is our relationship with God also. We have a covenant with the Most High God. In the eyes of God this is a marriage contract built on mutual trust. I hope you understand these concepts. If you do not, go and read my Bible lessons on “Understanding Covenants”.
Rth 2:12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.
You see the trust concept plays a huge role in your relationship with God. The better you know Him the more you will learn to trust Him. The less you know Him the minimum amount of confidence you will have in Him. I believe God understands the concept that trust grows. Here in this verse in Ruth, God is saying that the woman Ruth has grown to trust in the God of Israel. After all she was a Gentile who was not in covenant with Him. She had no basis for having any confidence in the God of Israel. Yet she by faith learned to grow in trust of the Lord and became one of the women in the lineage of Jesus.
Pro 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
God is telling you that you can trust His words. You can put your full confidence in what God says. This is a basic model of having faith in a God that you cannot see and cannot prove exists, yet you believe He will do what He said He will do. I will tell you today that God will move heaven and earth for any man or woman on the earth that will believe Him.
2Ch 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.
This verse tells me that God is searching for someone to bless. It clearly tells us the eyes of God are in heavy search mode looking for someone. What have we learned from reading the Bible is the key determining factor to whether God does anything for anybody on the earth? You better say it is because they had faith. You can go and read Hebrews chapter 11 and see that God’s Faith hall of fame encompasses most of the famously named individuals who did great exploits for God in the Old Testament. God lists these people to show you that faith was the determining factor for their success in life. The basis of their success however was also because they had great confidence in their God and His ability to save and deliver them. So we are not putting our confidence in ourselves or our ability to do anything, we are merely exalting God to His rightful place as the source of all of our confidence and trust.
I had a man today, write me and tell me I sounded arrogant in what I teach. This man clearly did not understand the concept of confidence and trust. If I taught things that I learned on my own abilities then I would be having confidence in me and that would be arrogance and foolishness. However, I teach things that God has taught me and therefore I have learned that I can depend upon Him and put all my confidence in Him so sometimes I come across sounding arrogant to narrow minded people, but hopefully to others, they will also see that they can learn to have the same level of confidence that I possess and grow in it to become even greater. I am not talking about me or you being great, I’m talking about our confidence in God being great and growing. You can learn to have confidence in God also and someday you will see that you may also sound a little arrogant. Just do not confuse arrogance with confidence because they both sound very similar to the untrained ear. You can learn to trust Him. But, you are going to have to find out what He said in His word in order to do this. Read the Bible like it is a personal letter written only to you. Claim what you need and then go and possess it. God Bless!
If you would like to continue reading in this series of lessons about faith then go to “Part 10“.
(Ver 1.3) This is now Part 8 in a series of very advanced studies about the subject of Bible Faith. Today’s lesson will be a continuation of the lesson that I taught on last time about Using Your Faith to Possess the Promised Land. In this lesson the Promised Land was described to us to be entering God’s Rest found in Hebrews 3 and 4. What we discovered was that the children of Israel coming out of Egypt represented a natural type of the spiriutal church and God’s salvation from Satan and the world of darkness. We definitely learn from this type that salvation was not the end of the Christian journey, but rather the beginning of our spiritual walk through the wilderness where we hear and learn the Word of God personally. You might recall that after the children of Israel left Egypt they had to go through the Red Sea that was parted for them by the hand of God. We are taught in the N.T. that this was a type of natural baptism into Moses that corresponds to Christians that are now spiritually baptized into Christ during salvation (1 Cor 10:2). The symbolism in this O.T. story is quite extensive and has many applications and lessons for the church. The Red Sea is really a type of the Blood of Christ that we have been baptized into. The cloud by day and the fire by night is a type of the leading of the Holy Spirit today in the church. The Bible tells us that those who are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God (Rom 8:14). Just as the cloud led the children of Israel through the wilderness, so the Holy Spirit leads us today. The Promised Land in the story of the children of Israel represents the promises of God that God has given to the church to possess today. You see, the truth of Christianity is not about the promises that we make to God, it is really much more about the promises that God has already made to us. Just as God told Israel “I have given you the land”, God is saying to the church “I have given you the victory over poverty, sickness, emotional despair, distress and the other things that He has given to us as promises in His Word” and we are to go into the this spiritual land and take them by our faith. Here is another interesting parallel. The children of Israel wandered for 40 years into the wilderness until finally a generation came along to possess the promise land. If you consider the church age has been going on for approximately 40 Jubilees then you will realize that we are the spiritual generation prophesied to take the Promised Land. A Jubilee is a 50 year period where God’s plan has recorded many secret parallels. If you multiply 40 x 50 you get 2000 years. All of these are amazing parallels that speak that we are God’s people that will take the land already given to us. Here are just a few of the promises of God found in the Old Testament. I will give you these as examples so that you know what to look for.
Pro 1:23 “I will make known my words unto you”.
Joel 2:25 “I will restore to you the years..”
Joel 2:28 “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh…”
Jer 30:17 “I will restore health to you and I will heal thee of your wounds…”
Jer 33:6 “I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth”.
Nah 1:13 “For now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder”.
Zec 3:4 “I will clothe thee with a change of raiment”.
Whenever God tells you that He will do something, these represent God’s promises that have been given to you and He is committed to fulfill them. These are just a few of the promises of God found in His Word that can be possessed by men and women in the earth, if they mix their faith with them. Just as we learned that Israel was given the Promised Land, they did not possess it because God says they did not mix any faith with the Gospel that was spoken to them (Heb 4:2); this still applies to you today also. The only way to possess the promises of God that have already been given to you is by you mixing your faith to possess them. I’m sorry I sometimes repeat myself, but I want you to get it. Hopefully you have read all of these faith lessons in the series and you have been taking notes so that you can learn this important subject. In my opinion, Faith is one of the top three subjects that every Christian should know completely. We have found that faith is more complex than just simply believing in something or someone. We have seen that faith involves several independent subjects working together in harmony to produce a positive result. If you have not read this series from the beginning I would suggest that you go back and start reading with “Part 1”.
Just as the children of Israel sent spies into the Promised Land to investigate their possession, we can do the same still today using God’s word. You see the spies of Israel went in and found giants and these are a type of something in our Promised Land. There are still many spiritual enemies trying to intimidate you and to try to keep you from walking in the victory that God has already given to you. Today I will be the spy that gives you the report of these enemies and what you do with this information is up to you, just like it was up to the children of Israel what they did. I plan on being a type of Joshua and not a type of the ten spies with the evil report, but hopefully you will learn what to do. The first spiritual enemy that I want to discuss is the giant of ignorance. Here is one of my favorite Bible verses because of what God teaches us:
Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
To be destroyed is the opposite of being victorious so this sound like it applies to our story of the children of Israel and why they died in the wilderness. Ignorance is the opposite of possessing knowledge. What we have here is one of the primary reasons that God’s people are defeated easily. God reveals to us (His New Covenant People) that we will also be destroyed if we remain ignorant and unlearned. Therefore, the knowledge of God should be the number one goal for the people of God. Let’s put this into context with the subject of having faith. We learned that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom 10:17). So if we have not heard the Word of God it is impossible to have any faith. If you have not heard the Word of God, then you are ignorant of the Word of God and therefore you are easily defeated. In order to not be ignorant you are going to have to hear from God and this involves Him teaching you His knowledge.
Pro 11:9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
God gives us clues in the Bible and here is one of them that I am attempting to teach you about today. God is saying that “knowledge” will cause His people to be delivered from their adversary. It is very obvious to me that the lack of knowledge is being stated as one of the key factors to why you are defeated. Because you never knew or understood what faith was, you were constantly defeated. But, now that you are learning about faith you are a potential threat to the enemy of ignorance and Satan. You see Satan wants you ignorant. He is doing all that he can to keep you from knowing the truth. As long as you are ignorant of the truth you are no threat of taking the Promised Land. Knowing this fact alone should cause you to become a more diligent Bible student. You should try to do what I do and spend hours a day in the Word of God. I know in today’s busy world this is almost impossible, but learn what God said in Proverbs “The knowledge of God is greater than obtaining gold” (Prov 8:10). You see God is saying knowing His word should be your number one priority above you working to get rich. Please understand that God does not care if you are rich, but know this that He does cares if you are ignorant. One of the wealthiest men in the entire Bible was Solomon. His wealth is still spoken of today. However please note how Solomon got this way. Solomon wrote some of the greatest wisdom books found in the Bible. Therefore, Solomon had the wisdom of God and this caused him to be rich mentally and physically. This ought to tell you something about you knowing the ways of God that it will cause you to become wealthy. Israel was primarily defeated in the wilderness because of their ignorance. So ignorance is the first giant of faith land that is attempting to defeat you. Let’s move on to the next giant in the land.
The next spiritual giant that will come against you is the giant of “fear”. The ten spies of Israel brought back an evil report and their words caused fear to spread throughout the people. It was this fear that caused the majority of the people of God to die in the wilderness never to see the good land that God had already given to them. Over the course of 40 years the children of Israel died one by one and were defeated, except for Joshua and Caleb. You see Joshua and Caleb said they were well able to take the land and they were never afraid. Joshua and Caleb did not allow fear to rule their lives or their outcome. Let’s look at a verse of scripture that Jesus is teaching us about the giant of fear:
Luk 8:50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
If you read the context of this verse you will discover that this is another faith lesson within a faith lesson from the Lord God. A man comes up to Jesus and he asks Jesus to come to his house to heal his only daughter because she is dying. While Jesus is on the way to his house, the woman with the issue of blood comes and touches His clothes and gets healed as we have already talked a lot about her faith. Before Jesus could finish with the woman with the issue of blood, some messengers come to the man with the sick daughter and informs him it is too late, your daughter is dead. However, death is not the end of the story, is it? Jesus only looks at the man and says “Fear not, only believe and she will be made whole”. Do you see what is happening here? Here is a faith choice between two reports being given to a man in a highly pressure filled moment of time. One report is very evil and the other is a good report from God and the man has a critical internal decision to make in a split second. This man could get into fear and believe the evil report or stay in faith and believe the report of the Lord. Jesus heard the same report as the man did, but it did not affect Jesus in the least. If you go and continue reading this story Jesus does make it to the man’s house and Jesus makes everyone leave except for the parents. Jesus speaks to the daughter and she arises from the bed healed. Which report did the father believe? Do you think it mattered? I know that it mattered and he believed the words of God. This is again the story of the children of Israel who had a choice to make and they chose fear and death in the wilderness. This man chose faith and saw his daughter raised from the dead. That is pretty awesome if you ask me. Let us look at another faith story about the giant of fear in faith land:
Mar 4:40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
If you read the context of this verse you will see that Jesus is asleep in the boat and the disciples are trying to sail across a large body of water and suddenly a storm arises. Now, Jesus had already said they were going to the other side so these were the faith filled words of God already spoken informing the disciples of the outcome before it happens. Just as God had told the children of Israel “I have given you the land” they let their fear of the inhabitants of the land conquer them without a battle or a fight. So when the disciples looked at their enemy of the wind and the waves, like the children of Israel in the wilderness they caved to the fear and were easily defeated also without a battle or a fight. They ignored Jesus’ words for the sight of the physical surroundings and circumstances and Jesus is awaken and was not happy at all with them. Jesus stills the winds and the waves with His words and then turns to the disciples and declares there is a major problem here. “Why are you so fearful?” Fear is always the opposite of having any faith. So when you see your situation to be unwinnable or insurmountable and you get into fear, you are about to sink your boat. Jesus was the only one on the boat that had any faith and fortunately for them He was there. What were the disciples expected to do differently? That is a really good question to consider. I personally believe that if they would have believed the words of Jesus, they might have gone to lay down with Jesus and gone to sleep also. I do not recall Jesus telling them they had to sail the boat to get across the body of water. Maybe you and they assumed this, but that is not always good to assume what Jesus wants you to do. Regardless of what they did or didn’t do, I do not believe that they would have drowned or that their boat would have been lost if they would have stayed in faith. Of course what the disciples really should have done was what Jesus did; get up and speak to the problem to cause it to stop. I never think it is wrong to do what Jesus did. Oh, yea they are not God, how can they do this? You see the problem with people is that they think that they cannot do what Jesus did because they think He is God in His omnipotent power. But, that is just not true. Jesus was God, but God had become a man just like you and me and if He could do something, then we can do the same thing. What Jesus did was to set us an example that we can do the exact same things that He did. Do you recall what Jesus said? Jesus said in John 14:12 “The works that I do, shall you do and greater works shall you do because I go to my Father”. Was Jesus telling us that we could do what He did? I believe that is exactly what He was saying to me, you can decide to do with it what you want to and even ignore it if you like. I believe that Jesus expected them to do what He did and they chose to believe the circumstances instead. The spiritual giants of fear, panic, dread, fright, and being afraid are all still very real and they exist today. Satan will cause the circumstances to look just as formidable as the children of Israel were facing and he will even cause people to come to you and tell you how bad it is, to get you into fear. This could be a doctor’s report that says you only have a short time to live. It could be many different things, but yet Jesus taught us that it will come and you will have to choose not to believe it. Let us move on to another faith land giant that is trying to defeat you:
Mat 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
Here is another faith lesson from the God of creation. Jesus is walking on the water and the disciples are in a boat and Jesus is about to pass them by when they see Him and they think it is a spirit or a ghost. After all men can’t walk on water so they thought. Anyway Peter suddenly gets faith and thinks if Jesus can walk on water then I can do this also. Peter is beginning to catch on to what Jesus was teaching. Peter saw that Jesus was setting them an example showing them what they could do. So Peter says to Jesus “If it is you, bid me to come”. Of course Jesus had no choice but to say “Come” because it was Him. Peter steps out of the boat onto the water and he begins to walk to Jesus and this is a really amazing feat and I’ll tell you why. Peter was walking on the water by his own faith and not the faith of Jesus. He based his faith on the Words of God, but it was his faith that kept him from sinking, until he started thinking about what he was doing. You see the Bible says that Peter began to observe the wind and the waves and this caused something to change in his previous water walking faith level. This is an important faith lesson for you to learn today. It concerns the circumstances that you will also be faced with. If you begin to believe today that you are healed and tomorrow things look worse than they did today, what will your reaction be? You can clearly see by Jesus’s words that He told Peter you should not doubt. He asked Peter “Why did you doubt”. By Jesus asking this question it is obvious that it was Peter’s doubt that caused him to begin to sink, so it had to be Peter’s faith that caused him to walk on the water. What is doubt? Here is a definition from the Strong’s concordance of this word:
From G1364 properly to duplicate, that is, (mentally) to waver (in opinion): – doubt.
This word comes from a root word meaning twice. It is basically saying to us that those who are double minded are those who are in doubt. We can quickly learn that being single minded and focused is the state of faith and being double minded is the state of doubt. This word can mean to waver and this means to hesitate or change your confidence. It is sometimes difficult to understand when we are double minded and when we have thoughts from Satan that are contrary to having faith but we will have to learn the difference. Remember an earlier faith lessons I taught about the factor of having “confidence”? Having confidence today and not tomorrow is being double minded and allowing doubt to rule your life and your spirit. If you believe today that God has done what he has promised and tomorrow when it looks worse you no longer have the same confidence then you are in doubt. The Bible teaches us this that “We walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). This means that we do not observe our surroundings with your physical senses and allow them to control us. What if Peter would have ignored the environmental circumstances while he was walking on the water and not looked at the wind and the waves, what would have happened? This is actually a very good faith lesson to learn and it teaches us to ignore the circumstances of life and to only focus on the rpomise of the Word of God. Keep your eyes on Jesus and the Word of God and ignore your external circumstances. Of course I’m not saying for you to stop taking your medicine or to do something stupid. I’m just saying keep your eyes on Jesus no matter what is happening around you. I believe that if Peter would have only looked at Jesus, they could have walked to the other side together. So this is the giant of doubt that will come to try to keep you out of possessing the Promised Land. I can almost guarantee you that all of these enemies will show up to fight against you. Even Jesus had opportunities to get into fear, to doubt, or to become worried, to waver or to allow the circumstance to overwhelm Him. But, He set the example for us to follow and we need to learn to follow Him and all of His ways. These are probably not all of the enemies in your faith battle, but they are some of the most important ones for you to learn about that I know of. Overcome the giant of ignorance by gaining the knowledge of God. Overcome the spirit of fear by resisting it. When the giant of doubt comes, keep your eyes focused on Jesus and He will see you through to victory. I hope that you enjoyed my Bible faith lesson about Possessing the Promised Land and that you can take away something that will cause you to become victorious. I still have a lot to talk about on understanding this subject of Bible faith, so please continue studying the Bible with me. God Bless.
If you would like to continue reading this series of lessons about Bible faith you can continue to “Part 9“.
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 7 in a series of very advanced studies about the subject of Bible Faith. Today’s lesson will be an extended message on a subject that I just barely mentioned briefly in my last lesson. Sometimes you cannot cover everything in one lesson and so you have to spread the information out to give the details in limited proportions. I try not to overwhelm people with too much complex information all at once. Hopefully the way that I teach a subject is in an arrangement of understandable chunks that allows you to learn it a little bit at a time. When I learned computer programming, this is exactly how they taught it in school to me. They taught an introduction to computer programming class first that was the basic concepts of the subject. This introductory class was a prerequisite to the next subject of computer programming and each class became progressively more advanced. If they would have covered the advanced subjects first, they would have had no one graduate or pass, but since they started with the basics and moved to the more complex subjects many more people were able to learn it and become programmers. Well this is the way you should approach your Bible study also. Subjects in the Bible range from basic to expert levels. My Bible studies are generally very advanced complex subject studies. They are intended for people who know the basics of the Bible already. Paul called this teaching the meat of the Word of God and Paul had the same problem that I do sometimes. Paul told the Corinthian church, I could not feed you meat because you were babes in need of milk (1 Cor 3:2). I do teach some milk basics occasionally, but not always. If you do not understand Bible basics you should find a really good Bible teacher who goes over these concepts or you should ask me questions and I will try to answer them so you will be able to better understand the complex things that God wants you to learn and grow in spiritually.
We have been progressively moving through the subject of Bible faith and today I want to teach a lesson on possessing the Promised Land using your faith. Of course this is a strange concept to teach since we are not of the nation of Israel who lived in the Old Testament and many of us therefore think that this Old Testament story does not apply to us. However, God teaches us something very profoundly different in the New Testament and this is what I will cover today. If you have not been reading this series from the beginning I would strongly suggest that you go back and start with “Part 1” first and work your way forward. Learn to look up the Bible verses that I include in these lessons in your Bible, take notes and learn to make hi-lights and underline important parts that you did not know or have never thought of before. Learn to see what the Bible says while you learn how to study the Bible and that will help you infinitely more than the things that I teach you today. If you can learn how to fish you will be much better off than depending on me to do all of your fishing for you. I hope you understand what I just said.
Heb 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
Here is a very strange verse about faith. God is comparing two groups of people, us and them. But, who is us and who is them? You have to back up and read the context to find the answers to those questions. If you go back and read chapter 3 you will find references to the children of Israel coming out of the nation of Egypt. The entire chapter is focused in on the subject of entering into God’s rest. It is implied that the promise land was the land of God’s rest. But, the rest of chapter 3 informs us that the majority of Israel perished in the wilderness and did not enter into God’s rest. God’s rest is exactly a type of something that we are focused in on today. It says in chapter 3 very clearly that the children of Israel did not enter in because of their unbelief. I have only mentioned this maybe a couple of times in this series, that unbelief is the opposite of faith. Actually unbelief is belief, just wrong belief in the wrong words. You may recall that Israel sent 12 spies into the promise land and ten returned with an evil report saying we are not able to possess it. The majority of Israel believed the evil report and as a result entered into unbelief of what God had said. So the “them” in this verse that I gave you is concretely confirmed to be the children of Israel. Now, if you go to Hebrews 3:1 you will see who it says is the “us”:
Heb 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
Obviously then Christ Jesus is said to be the Apostle and High Priest of the church. The “us” in this verse is referring to those who have believed the Gospel that was preached. These are the Joshua and Caleb type of Christians who will actually get to enter into God’s Promised Land. Is that you also? I know that is me, but you may not know that this is you. Only you can believe for you. I cannot have faith for you to be saved. Everyone is required to have faith for themselves. So that is a basic faith lesson that you should have already learned or understood from the first six lessons in this series about faith. It might have never been taught to you directly, but it was an implied teaching in many of the lessons. Just learn that faith is personal and only your faith will cause things to happen for you. Jesus never looked at anyone and said “Be of good cheer, My Faith has made you whole”. Did Jesus have faith? I believe that He did, but I also believe that Jesus could not force His faith to work for anyone else either.
So we have discovered a concept of us versus them being stated. God says, according to Hebrews 4:2, the gospel was preached to both groups, but only one group called “us” is profiting from it. The concept of mixing faith with the Word of God is what is being taught and many people do not even know this is a requirement. If you think, you can see that there are many people who hear the gospel in churches and on TV and they are never saved. Why is that? God tells us, that it is because they did not mix any faith with what they heard. You can clearly understand that faith is a freewill choice of man and a personal responsibility that God cannot override. Mixing faith with the Word of God is described to be a partnership agreement. Think of it like God gives you some faith ingredients to make a faith cake. You are taking what He has given you and putting all of these faith ingredients for a faith cake into a large bowl and then you are supposed to turn the mixer on to combine the ingredients. This is exactly what God is saying. Bible faith consists of several key ingredients that I have mentioned to you and each of these is supposed to be added in the correct order to get the proper results. Using the analogy of the cake, what if you left out the eggs or the flour? Would the cake turn out? If you have ever cooked before you know that following the recipe is a requirement for repeated results. Well, this is what God is teaching you now. Learn the ingredients of Faith and then mix them together in the correct order to get results. God does His part and you are responsible for doing your part. I have heard numerous ignorant people try to tell me I am wrong, but I ignore them because they lack spiritual knowledge. I have also heard several misinformed preachers try to tell me that God is not a formula. That salvation is not a formula. That faith is not a formula. In their minds they have rejected the truth in the Bible for their own personal interpretation of reality. If God did not want you to learn about this subject, why would God have put so many examples, definitions and scriptures about it in the Bible? You see you can clearly find that it must be very important to learn and to implement if you can actually understand what it all says. So I’m not teaching you a formula for success, I’m just teaching you the Bible and you can do with it whatever you want.
Faith as you recall always starts with hearing the Word of God. Faith then progresses through a series of steps that includes you understanding what you heard and then choosing and deciding to believe it to be the truth. I then taught you that those who believe will speak what they believe and then do what they say. This is just a basic reality of how faith works and today I am going to show you why you still need to mix faith with the Word of God to produce any positive results.
Heb 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
Here is God telling the church that there is still a promise land left to possess. This verse is written to you and you are still required to possess the promises of God with your faith. God taught us that this is entering into His rest. We read verse 2 earlier so let’s skip down to verse 3 and see what God is saying to the church:
Heb 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Wow, this is very difficult to accept. Remember what believing is? Belief is the opposite of unbelief, so we are back to having faith. Remember that belief is accepting the Word of God as fact and that unbelief is rejecting the word of God in favor of someone else’s opinion. We learned this by studying the children of Israel and the 12 spies that they sent into the promise land. This verse in Hebrews 4:3 says those that have faith and believe the Word of God have entered into the rest. Wow, again and double wow! Do you feel like you are in rest? I just watched the evening world news and it is almost scary what is happening in the world. The evening news is reporting riots and people being killed. The price of the world basic necessity of gasoline is going sky high with no end in sight. The news is reporting escalating food prices and food shortages because of weather related catastrophes around the world. The government problems with the out of control economies of the world are in dire straits. There is trouble and confusion in every city and it appears to be getting worse and not better. So are you in rest? After hearing about the trouble it is a very difficult thing to consider. However, God clearly tells us that those who have believed have entered into rest. Rest represents the promises of God and the symbolic Promised Land. I personally believe that God is calling those things that be not as though they were and I’ll talk more about that soon.
If you recall, the children of Israel came out of Egypt by the mighty demonstration of the hand of God. God used His servant Moses to deliver the people of Israel from their bondage of Egyptian slavery that lasted 430 years. It is almost comical to not see the spiritual implications given to us in this natural historical story of deliverance. The children of Adam in the world were in bondage to Satan for 4030 years when the servant of God named, Jesus died on the cross in another mighty demonstration of the hand of God. Therefore, the deliverance from Egypt is a type of the salvation of Jesus from the dominion of Satan. Now, there are vast numbers of Christian churches that only emphasize deliverance from Egypt. They teach salvation like it is going out of style and then neglect to mention what happens in the wilderness? Does the story of the children of Israel stop with salvation? You see the story does not end at deliverance and salvation; it is only there that the beginning of the new story of life after salvation starts to appear and open up. Salvation is not the end all results for Christians in the world. If it were the end results, then we should get people saved and kill them so that they go directly to heaven. Obviously this does not make any sense does it? What we learn in reading about the children of Israel is that God had given to Abraham a land and this land was theirs but yet they did not possess it yet. God called this entering into His rest. That almost sound like an oxymoronic expression since Israel was required to take the promise land by force and to kill all of the giants that were in it. God called this fight a rest and it sounds much more like an extended effort of battle or work. That is the complexity of the Bible, isn’t it? Surely you can still see the parallels being given to us (the church) that we are required to possess the promise land. What exactly is this Promised Land that we are supposed to mix our faith with to possess today?
1Jn 2:25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
Do you understand that God has made you promises in His word? What is the definition of a promise? This Greek word “promised” means the following “to assert something respecting oneself”. A promise is always a word based commitment to do something. If I said I promise to meet you at 3:00 PM in the lobby. I committed to do something to cause the meeting to happen like I said. This is the nature of a promise and it is totally based upon the integrity of the person who spoke the promise. If someone makes you a promise that has no moral character or integrity, then you should know not to count on it happening. This is where the integrity of God comes into play. If you are a Christian then you should know Him well enough to realize that it is impossible for God to lie. Then you must accept that the Bible is God speaking to you personally. Therefore, if it is impossible for God to lie and you can find a promise in the Bible from God, telling you personally that He will do something, then that is your opportunity to go and possess it by mixing faith with it. This is the New Covenant Promised Land which comes from an Old Covenant pattern and I’ll give you another Bible verse to help you begin to see it:
2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
What does God say in this verse? Does He not say that you have been given promises? These are not just any normal promises according to this verse. God calls them exceedingly great and very precious promises. That means that they are free, but they did not cost Him nothing to provide them to you. What God is saying is that they are highly valuable to possess, but yet we do not all possess them do we? This verse says “that you might become partakers”. You could call these people the potential possessors of the Promised Land. But, this promise land is always conditional and it is never dumped into your laps with you doing nothing. You see using the natural nation of Israel as our examples, there were many of them who died in the wilderness and never entered into the best that God had already given to them. This was the land that flowed with milk and honey and many, many never saw it. What can we learn from this lesson? Obviously according to Hebrews 4 we saw that they did not mix any faith and therefore they died without it. They heard that God had given them the land, but refused to believe it. So they did not enter into it and died in their unbelief.
2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
Here is another verse from the mouth of God telling us that He has given to us “Promises”. Is there only one promise? According to these last two verses there are many promises. We obviously do not know very many of them, do we? It would be very much worth our time to go through the Bible to discover what God has promised to give us. Maybe in a future Bible study series I will do this. God definitely tells us that He has given to us promises, but like the children of Israel we are required to mix faith with these promises in order to possess them. Let’s review another Old Testament example of God’s promise and how it was fulfilled to learn some more of the concepts of mixing faith.
Rom 9:9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.
Here in this verse we are told that God made Abram and Sarai a promise to have a son. If you have read this story in Genesis, you know that Sarai was a barren woman unable to have children most of her life. So when God comes to Abram and Sarai they have a great desire for an heir, but did not know how to cause it to happen. God appeared to Abram and told him that his seed would become as the stars of the heaven and the sands of the sea shore (Gen 22:17). Yet, years and years went by and nothing happened. Sarai got desperate and gave Hagar to her husband so that they could have a child this way. We can learn that Abram and Sarai knew how babies were made, so that was not the problem. This turned out to be a huge mistake and we still see the conflict going on in the world today. This was man’s attempt to fulfill the promise of God and this never works. You cannot do by works of the flesh, what God has given to you to possess only by faith. So how did God get Abram into faith? That is a very interesting question to consider. Remember what I taught you about the woman with the issue of blood? “For she said” and then it happened. God tricks Abram into having faith. Before this next verse that I’m going to give you, Abram asks God “what will you give me seeing I go childless?” Abram saw himself as a childless man and this is not faith. What if God in the first chapter of Genesis saw only darkness and He could not envision light? Would light have come? Light came only because God could see the light inside of Him and then He spoke it out and then light was. This is the concept of “calling those things that be not as though they were” that I talked about earlier. Read this next verse that I will give you from the story of Abram:
Gen 17:5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
God tells Abram I have made you a father of many nations even before he has had a child through his wife Sarai. This is God calling Abram a father before he was a father. God tells Abram, “no longer is your name Abram, but it shall be called Abraham”. This is a very tricky way of getting Abram to have faith. If you read my last Bible lesson you understand that almost every Hebrew name has a hidden meaning and the name Abraham is no different. The name Abraham means “a father of a multitude”. Now everywhere Abraham goes and speaks his name, he is calling himself a father of many. Is Abraham speaking what God said? Is Abraham now calling himself the father of many sons? Do you understand that this is the concept that the woman with the issue of blood also did? She called herself healed before she was healed. God told Abraham you are the father of many nations and now Abraham believes God and because he tells everyone his name, he speaks it before it happens. This is an amazing faith lesson and you should pay very close attention to it. Abraham’s faith was based upon the Word of God and your faith must be based upon the Word of God. Abraham had a promise from God; you must have a promise from God also. Abraham believed God and you must believe God before you see the evidence. Remember faith is your only evidence that you possess before it happens. Abraham learned to have confidence in God and you must learn to have confidence in Him. By Abraham speaking his name on a daily basis, he began to expect it to happen and in less than a year, he had the promised son through his wife Sarah. This is how faith works according the Word of God.
So go through the Bible and find your promise that you need and then mix your faith to possess it. If you want to live a full life, then go find the promise that says “With a long life I will satisfy you” (Psalm 91:16). If you want to be healed, the go find the promise of healing that says “By whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). These are just two of the promises of God and there are hundreds of others. If you want to possess them, do what Abraham did and call yourself with them. If you have no children or are unable to have children and you want children, begin to say I am the father of a son or a daughter. I am the mother of a son or a daughter. When you call yourself one and believe it, God says you will have it. This is how you poses the Promised Land and enter into the rest of God. Do not be naïve to think that it will happen like magic, be prepared for the enemies of this spiritual Promised Land to resist you tooth and nail. There are always spiritual giants that still exist today. However, possessing God’s Promised Land is a spiritual internal battle that will be fought on inside of you mostly in your mind. I believe that it will be worth the effort if you want to possess it. I’m sure that Joshua and Caleb were very glad after they had taken the land that was said by God to be theirs 40 years earlier. I literally poured my heart and my tears into this lesson so that I could help someone that is faced with a challenge today. I pray that you will learn to become a doer of the Word of God and not a hearer only. God Bless you all as we strive to enter into His rest. In the next lesson I will be teaching about the spiritual enemies to your faith fight.
If you like to continue reading this series of lessons about Bible Faith please go to “Part 8“.
Understanding Bible Faith! What Is Bible Faith and What Makes it Different than Other Types of Faith? Part 6
(Ver 1.4) This is Part 6 in a series of very advanced studies about the subject of Bible Faith. Today’s lesson will be a discussion concerning the definition of Bible faith, then we will have a discussion about what faith is and then finally how your Bible faith is different from another person’s faith like those that believe in Islam, Buddha or whoever. If you have been reading this series of lessons, you should know that the subject of faith is a very complex topic to completely understand, like most other subjects found in the Bible. In the last lesson I discussed 8 basic factors that all contributed to you having faith. I also went into the Old Testament and even showed how faith was demonstrated in the life of David and how all of the steps that i listed were still valid for what was written about concerning David’s faith. You should be able to draw out these steps in the lives of anybody in the Bible that is said to have faith. Go through the list of faith heroes found in Hebrews 11 and see who God has inducted into the faith hall of fame and then go read about them again in the Old Testament. See how they heard God say something, see how they received what was spoken, understanding it and then believed it. Then watch and listen to everything that they say and do. See if they expect anything to happen. See if they have any confidence in God coming through for them. Elijah is a great faith man. He called down fire from heanven. He spoke words that caused it not to rain for three and half years. Go and read these stories again and you will see that God honored their faith when nothing else would work. Even though God never mentioned faith as a factor, God always moved the mightiest when a man was established in faith and believed God’s Word. Here are the steps that I have listed for you to review:
- Your Will
- Your Ability to Hear
- Your Understanding of the Word Heard
- Your Beliefs
- Your Confidence
- Your Words
- Your Expectation Level
- Your Actions
These are what I call the Faith Partners that must be present and working in unity to produce results. I hope that you have read all of the previous lessons for I will not be repeating that information in any great detail and it was all very important to know. So if you have not read from the beginning I would suggest that you go back and start reading with “Part 1”.
In speaking of faith it is interesting to note that everyone in the world, saved or unsaved has faith to some degree. That sounds like a contradiction to a statement that I made in an earlier lesson where I told you that the Bible says “For all men do not have faith” (2 Th 3:2). But, what we must realize is that there are different types of faith and God is speaking of Bible faith in 2 Thessalonians 3:2 and not common human faith that everyone possesses. Faith is a basic human characteristic created by God. Faith is based upon ignorance and since every human is ignorant, we all have to have faith. Let me try to explain that last statement in different terms. Since none of us are God, our knowledge is extremely limited; would you agree with that statement? We therefore, on a daily basis accept many things by our faith and we do not even realize that this is what we are doing. For example, the sun rise this morning came by natural human faith. Now just because we have seen thousands of sunrises in the past does not necessarily prove or mean that there will be another one tomorrow. If you believe that there will be one then you are in effect placing your faith in your past experiences. You believe that the sun will rise tomorrow and thus your confidence and expectations are set based upon only on your past experiences or your current knowledge of how the earth rotates around the sun. There is no proof or evidence for the sun coming up tomorrow, because it has not happened yet. After it happens then you have the proof or evidence, but before it happens you can only believe that it will happen. This is common human faith, just not Bible faith. Let me try to give you another different example of having common faith. If you make a date with someone to have dinner at a certain time and place and you show up, then you had faith based upon what? Your faith is based upon the word of agreement from that person that you were supposed to meet with. Now depending upon who that person was, your confidence level and expectation level of them showing up might be great or it might be very small based upon your past experiences with them. This is acting out your faith in the real world, but this is not Bible faith. Showing up at a dinner date is an act of faith, you start with words with a friend, the two of you agree with the words that were heard to make the arrangements, you understand the arrangement, you believe the arrangement and then you wait for the time and go to the restaurant to meet with them. If your confidence level was correct you expect them to show up on time. That is how common faith works and we do it every day. Do you understand how human ignorance plays a role in both of these examples that I just gave you? In both cases you must believe in something that you cannot prove will happen. So let’s discuss what is different about Bible faith. The only difference is God is the one that we are expecting to show up; it is based upon His word that we are putting our confidence in. It is the Word of God that we must hear spoken and we must understand these words. Next we must believe the words and put our full confidence in Him and His Word. That is Bible faith and it is the exact same process that you went through to make a dinner reservation with a friend. Here is the challenge to Bible faith; no one has ever seen God. You cannot prove that God exists. So you take His existence by your faith and this is beginning of Bible faith, but not the end of it. God can then do many great things as your faith progresses upward to greater levels.
Do you realize that the Bible says it is impossible for God to lie? (Heb. 6:18, Tit. 1:2, Rom. 3:4) There are very few things in the Bible that it says that God cannot ever do and lie is definitely one of the few things that God is completely incapable of doing. Why is that important? It is important because it helps establish your confidence level in what the Bible says and the Word of God is the basis for Bible faith. If God says something in the Bible and you can claim it for yourself then God says you can have it (2 Cor 1:20). Many ignorant Christians have derogatorily called this a “name it and claim it” false religion. But, that is their problem and not mine, I’m just studying the Bible and seeing what it says and you can do whatever you like and ignore the parts of the Bible that do not fit your theology, if that is what you want to do. What these Christians do not realize is that faith is how they became a Christian and if they have no faith, then they are not Christians. The word of God is a handbook written to you personally. The words in it are written to you as a personal love letter and this is the basis or the foundation to your house of faith. You are building a faith house and your faith foundation must be the Word of God.
I am trying to teach you that everyone in the world has faith, but few have faith in God and even fewer have actual faith in His Word. Jesus taught us that wide is the path that leads to destruction and many are those that find this path (Mat 7:13). Jesus went on to say that narrow is the path to life and few are those who find it. Since both paths contain people with faith it is extremely sad to me that only a few get to live with God forever. What do the people on the wide path to destruction, have their faith in? They either believe there is no God, no judgment, no hell, no eternity, etc., or they believe in Buddha, Mohammed, Hare Krishna, the Dali Lama or some other false religion. Everyone believes something in the world, even the atheist believes there is no God, and the Hindu believes there is another chance coming in the next life, and on and on. Man was created by God to believe in something and this is what people do every day for good or evil.
That was my introduction to the definition of faith. As you can see it is complex while being based upon simple binary concepts. I learned this approach as a computer programmer. You take the complex system and reduce it to rudimentary understandable pieces and learn those and then as each part works together the complex system works as a whole. A binary concept is one where only two possible answers exist. In the binary world of computers everything is based upon either ones or zeros. That is the basis for the concepts of faith. You either, hear or you don’t hear. You either understand or you don’t understand. You either believe or you don’t believe. Just basic binary choices, yet making the right choices can result in great things and making the wrong choice can lead you down the wide path to destruction. I want to give you the classic Bible definition of what faith is according to the Word of God. This definition is found in the first verse of Hebrews 11 which is the famous “Faith Hall of Fame” chapter found in the Bible:
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
There are many people who have read this verse but do not understand what it means and I was one of those in the past. As you can see this verse contains the classic Bible construction of a definition being revealed to us. Whenever God gives us this information, it is a classic spiritual redefinition of a word that we thought we understood. This verse says “Faith IS” and then goes into what faith should be to us. I will take it word for word and hopefully elaborate on what it actually is saying. The first word in the verse is the word “Now” and this is a reference to time. Time is a concept expressed in three different dimensions. Time can be past, present or future. So we can clearly see that faith is said to be a present tense reality. In other words your faith that you had yesterday is not a factor and your faith that you will have tomorrow is also not a factor. It is only the faith that you have right now that is a factor to what happens to you right now. When people came up to Jesus, He would always rebuke them for having no faith or He would commend them for having great faith. When was their faith important or not important, effective or not effective to Jesus? You can clearly see that faith only mattered at the exact time when Jesus was speaking to them. Jesus never cared if they had faith yesterday and Jesus never cared if they might change and have faith tomorrow. Jesus never told anyone to go get more faith and come back tomorrow. If you had no faith right then and there, you got nothing from Jesus. The woman with the issue of blood got healed because she had right now faith at the instance when she needed it the most. All of the other people in the crowd had no faith while they were touching Him and none of them got healed. Do you understand now how important faith is? The next word in Hebrews 11 is “Faith” and since “Faith” is what we are defining, I will not be discussing that word.
So let’s move to the definition part of the Hebrews 11:1 verse and the words translated as “the substance”. This Greek word translated as “substance” is not easily understood unless you look up the definition in the Strong’s concordance and read what it says. This Greek word translated as “substance” means “confidence”. Here is one of the key 8 faith partners that I gave you earlier. Do you have any cofidence?
- Do you have confidence in the existence of God?
- Do you have confidence in the ability of God?
- Do you have confidence in God’s Word?
- Do you have confidence that God will do what He said?
Confidence is a multi-dimensional critical building block to having faith and I just listed four things that you need to have confidence in. if you have confidence in only 3 out of 4 of those things, then your confidence is lacking and you need to learn more of the Bible. Today, you might have confidence in one area but not every area that I just raised. Only you will be able to evaluate your level of confidence in each of those areas.
What is confidence based on? If you have experience with someone then you base your confidence level upon your experience. So what if you are new to someone? What do you have to base your confidence in? Confidence is a factor of trust. The better you know someone the more you trust them. This is another reason people fail to receive from God. They do not know God. They do not know the character of God. They do not know the integrity of God. They do not know the promises of God. You are going to have to ask yourself, do you trust God?
Psa 115:11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
There are too many verses in the Bible for me to give you them all about trusting in God. The word trust also contains multiple concepts. First, it means to have confidence in. Next, it means to be sure of. Next, it means to be certain of. There are a number of synonymous terms like be assured, be confident, be convinced, be firm and to be unquestioning. Trust and confidence go hand and hand and they are both essential partners to your faith.
The next Greek word in this verse is translated as “things hoped for”. This again is a very difficult word to understand unless you look up the definition in the Strong’s. The word translated as “hoped” is actually poorly translated in today’s English language. When we hope for something in the modern world we normally just wish that this was what was happening. I have heard many ministers about to pray for someone and they ask them “will you be healed now when I lay my hands on you?”, and the answer is usually “I sure hope so”. This means the people wished it would happen but that they did not actually have any confidence that it was going to happen. Let’s take this back to the woman with the issue of blood. Remember what she said? She said “If I touch His clothes, I will be made whole”. There is absolutely no doubts in that statement to her not having any confidence that it would not happen. What would have changed if she said “I hope I will be made whole”? You see she would not have been healed. Hope is not having full confidence and this Greek word in Hebrews 11 does not mean to “hope“, it means “to expect” and this is based upon your confidence level. So we are back to having confidence and expecting something to happen as the woman with the issue of blood did. The last part of this definition says this “the evidence of things not seen”. As we come to the conclusion we see that having faith from the Bible definition is our evidence of what we do not see with our physical eyes. What is evidence? In a court of law “evidence” is the “proof” of innocence or guilt. Why is God introducing you to legal terms and court room procedures in this definition? It is because God is the Supreme Judge and His ways are the Spiritual Laws that govern what happens to us. So you better understand that faith is the component that will either exonerate you or your lack of faith will convict you on judgment day. Did you know that Faith was a spiritual Law? This is why God is introducing legal court terms like evidence:
Rom 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
According to the Word of God, Faith is a spiritual law that is the opposite of another spiritual law called the “law of works”. Those in the Old Covenant were trying to achieve salvation by the law of works. Israel was given 5 books of the Law and these contained instructions from God of the does and don’ts of everything that was permissible on a daily basis. Jesus came and changed everything and said “He that believes on me shall have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus came to reveal the law of faith which professes salvation that is based upon believing. This was obviously a radical departure from the law of works. However, the Bible tells us very clearly that Christians have been justified by faith and that no flesh shall be justified by keeping the Law of Moses (Acts 13:39). You see the term “justified” in the Greek language means to be found innocent. Again we see the legal ramification of terms and words that are usually only associated with a court of law.
Let’s take this information and relate it back to the woman with the issue of blood. What evidence did the woman have from the time that she left her house until the time she touched Jesus’ clothes? At no time before touching Jesus did the woman feel differently or feel like she was healed, yet she continued to press through the crowd until she reached Jesus. Technically speaking at no time did the woman have any physical evidence to being healed or that she would be healed. But, by the definition of faith given to us in Hebrews 11:1, we see that her faith must have been her evidence. Because she heard and believed on Jesus and had confidence in what she heard to be the truth, she expected to get healed when she touched Him. Here is the law of faith and how it works. Faith must be present internally to see the external results. Because she believed that she was already healed internally in her spirit, the external manifestation of this reality showed up on the outside. This is still exactly how faith works in the modern world without Jesus being here physically. Like I told you before, you cannot go and touch him physically today, but that does not mean you cannot touch Him spiritually and that He is still looking for your faith to give you what you need.
If you would like to conintue reading in this series about Bible Faith, please continue to “Part 7“.
(Ver 1.3) This is Part 5 in a series of advanced studies about the subject of Bible Faith. Today’s lesson will be a further expansion of the basic foundational truths surrounding faith and a discussion of the differences between having faith today in the modern world versus that of having faith back when Jesus walked the face of the planet. Are there any differences to having faith today to that of when Jesus was walking among us? In the modern world we are faced with an enormous set of challenges. There are the distractions of technology, the media and the internet. We have had numerous natural disasters, economic pressures, threats of violence, wars, riots, terrorism and other things that can consume our focus in recent days. Maybe you have been where I have been and have thought the same things that I have thought. I have personally thought it would have been nice to live in the days when Jesus was physically walking around and living with us. Life was just so much simpler back them and you could have seen the God of creation in the flesh. Wouldn’t it have been nice to see Him physically speaking, healing, walking on water, raising the dead and doing the things that we can only read about today? Sometimes people think that if I had just lived back then, it would have been easy to get healed and I would not have to put up with this disease anymore. I wouldn’t have to put up with this sickness or this disease if I only lived when Jesus was here. If, I could have just gone to see Him and bam I would have been healed like everyone else. However, when you study the Bible you actually come to a much different understanding of reality and that is what I will discuss today. If you have not been reading this series of lesson from the beginning I would suggest that you go back and start with “Part 1”.
I want to start today by turning to the book of Mark chapter 6 and reading a story of Jesus that is often ignored. In this story of Jesus, He is visiting some old friends and relatives and we see a very different reality of how difficult it was back then to get healed even from the Son of God walking among you.
Mar 6:5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
Mar 6:6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
People like to think that Jesus was God in His omnipotent power and that He could do anything that He wanted to on the earth when He was here. However, that is not what the Bible actually teaches us. According to these verses in Mark 6, it says that Jesus wanted to heal them, but He could not. Wow, that is very earth shattering to the theology of many confused Christians. This verse does not say that “He would not heal them”, it says very clearly that “He could not heal them”. That clearly tells us this is not God in His omnipotent power. What would cause God not to be able to do anything? What would limit God’s ability on the earth? You should really think about that before you try to answer. If you have been reading this series of lessons on Bible faith you have learned that Jesus rebuked people for having no faith and praised others for having great faith. Jesus would always emphasize a person’s faith and no other factors were given for anyone getting healed. So if no one gets healed here in this story in Mark 6, why didn’t they? Verse 5 says Jesus tried to do His mighty works there, but was not able to and then in verse 6 it reveals to us why He could not do anything there. In verse 6, it says Jesus marveled at their unbelief. The term “marveled” comes from a Greek root word to “to see” or “to perceive”. Jesus saw that they had no faith and was astonished. If you learned what I taught in the last lesson, you saw that believing was a key factor for having faith that grows and works. You first had to hear, you then had to understand what you heard and next you had to believe what you heard. This was the people’s problem in this chapter of Mark 6. These people heard that He was anointed, understood what it meant, but refused to believe it by a purposeful act of their own freewill. Pay attention to what I just said, it was not Jesus’ choice to not give them faith; it was there choice not to believe that caused them their problems. That is the first thing that you need to know about that I did not cover in the last lesson. You see I could not cover everything in one lesson or I would have overwhelmed you with too much information all at once. What you need to realize is that faith is more complicated than just four simple steps and miraculously you are healed, saved and delivered from every problem. Your “will” is a determining factor to whether or not you believe what you hear. What I am trying to show you is that faith is an internal choice that you make after you hear and understand. You can choose to believe or you can choose not to believe, it is always your choice. You can read in John chapter 5 about a story where Jesus teaches us this lesson about faith and you will see this point being emphasized. In John 5:6 Jesus approaches a lame man at the Pool of Bethesda and says this to him “Will you be made whole”? Why is Jesus asking this man, this question? Apparently it is not all up to God’s will but it was up to this man’s will to whether or not he was to be made whole again. That was a very direct question that reveals the man’s will played a major part in the man getting healed. What we must realize is that Jesus is not diminishing the man’s faith to be a factor; He was only emphasizing the man’s will needed to be adjusted. The man when asked this by Jesus said “I don’t have anyone who will help me”. In other words the man was making an excuse why he was not healed by blaming others that did not help him and this was what Jesus was trying to correct. Jesus was in effect saying to him it is not their fault that you are not healed, it is your own fault and that does not go over well with people who like to blame everyone else and not take any responsibility upon themselves.
Let’s discuss briefly what is your will? Your will is a key part of your internal unseen soul realm. Your soul is made up of your mind (ability to think, reason and your memory), your will (ability to choose and make choices) and your emotions (love, hate, happiness, sadness, etc.). Your will determines what you do today. If you get up in the morning instead of lying in bed all day, then you exercised your will to get out of bed. If you ate breakfast, you exercised your will to determine what to eat and then to eat. Your will is a conscious decision to do something. Jesus is basically informing us that if you are going to get healed then it is up to your will and not God’s will that makes it happen. In other words if you are waiting on God to heal you, you are not going to get healed. Let’s examine the woman with the issue of blood again and see what she did that fits this reality. She heard about Jesus, understood what she heard and believed it and then she did what? She made a decision to go get healed. If she had done nothing or waited for Jesus to come to her she would not be mentioned in the Bible. It was only because of a conscious act of her will that she is found in the Bible at all. So a decision that she made with her will played a huge role in the fact that she got her healing. I wish that was all of the factors, but that is not all of the factors and it gets more complex than this. So hang in there as we learn some more about faith’s prerequisites and partners to get answers using your faith.
Let’s get back to Mark 6 and see why these people did not let Jesus do any mighty works there. These people failed in step 3 of God’s faith building Bible class. Unbelief is a diametrically opposed force to faith. You cannot have faith and unbelief at the same time and get healed; they in effect cancel each other out. There is one story in the Bible that seems to show you can have both, but I believe that faith and doubt can occur in two different realms of reality. Real Faith is of the heart, and doubts can occur in your mind. What you are supposed to learn today is that Bible faith is of the heart or the spirit and it does not occur in your mind. However, to get faith into your heart takes a trip through your mind and I’ll talk more about that soon.
Luk 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
Where does Jesus say you need to believe? You can actually see that Jesus is associating true faith to the spirit of man. To believe with your heart is the goal that you are after. That also implies that you can believe with your head as a mental choice and not with your heart. The mental realm is a doorway to your spirit, but it is not your spirit. In order for God’s word to work you are going to have to get it into your spirit. How do you do this? In elementary school as children, you would say the multiplication tables over and over out loud until you knew them by heart. Guess what that is how you get God’s word into your heart also. When you get something in your heart abundantly you do not have to figure out the answer, it will just automatically come out. In other words when asked what is 6 times 9 you would just say 54 and you do not have to do a calculation to figure out the correct answer. This is what you are after with the word of God also. You should be able to say exactly what the Bible says about your situation without looking it up. You do this by speaking and mediating on it day and night as God told Joshua in Joshua 1:8:
Jos 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
This is God speaking to you today. If you think that this is a private message to Joshua, you do not understand God very much. God is saying that you must keep His words in your mouth all the time. The Hebrew word translated as “meditate” means to “murmur”. To murmur is a term that means to speak under your breath as in to mutter to oneself. God is telling Joshua how to be successful in life and this applies to you also. The net effect of this action is God builds faith in the heart of Joshua and he is able to lead his people into the Promised Land. It is very difficult to explain the difference between head faith and heart faith. If you learn God’s word and say it over and over until you get it inside your spirit, you will know when you have it and I won’t have to explain it to you. There will come a time when it will be obvious to you also. I will talk more about this soon.
What caused these people Mark 6 not to believe? You can obviously learn that believing with your heart is a key component to whether you will get healed or remain the same from this lesson. The people in Mark 6 were the people of Jesus’ hometown where He grew up as a child to become a man. All of these people knew Him intimately and personally, they saw Him physically for many years and yet after being baptized by John and anointed by God, they refused to believe that Jesus was anointed by an act of their will. You see the problem they had was that they could not overcome the mental conflict that was occurring in their minds when they recalled all of the years that He was with them and never did anything extraordinary. They had put Jesus into a box of familiarity and it caused them to miss the great works that He wanted to do. Apparently living back in the days of Jesus is not that much of an advantage to getting healed as I thought originally. It would seem that the more you knew about Jesus the less likely you were to believe that He was anointed and chosen of God. Did you ever think about this? Why did Jesus choose a bunch of strangers to be His disciples? It was simply because they did not know who He was that allowed them to follow Him blindly. It would appear from this information that knowing Jesus would have been a major stumbling block to you getting healed rather than the other way around. So after I read this story, I was glad I did not live back then and see Jesus personally.
In the last lesson on Bible Faith that I did, I gave you one of the greatest faith lessons found in the Bible about the woman with the issue of blood who was sick for 12 years and when she had heard of Jesus she risked public stoning and pressed through the crowd to touch His garment and she was healed. I have been using this story repeatedly because it holds valuable lessons on how faith works that we need to understand. In this lesson I further described that Jesus said it was her faith that had caused her to be made whole. In studying this story you should become aware that it was only this woman who got healed and no one else present was healed who was in the crowd. When Jesus asked “Who touched me”, the disciples told Jesus that everyone is touching you. Why were all of these people touching Jesus? They must have needed something. I do not think that Jesus was seen to be a rock star personality in those days. Jesus did not get up and sing love songs and the women would faint and scream. The crowds of people were there because Jesus had claimed to be anointed by God, but yet none of these people knew that it required more than just a physical touch to get their answer. What we learn from this information is that Jesus does not place any priority on people, but He does place a huge priority on faith. I want to go over another scripture in this story that I intentionally left out of the last lesson to teach you some additional factors about this woman’s faith. I want to show you why this woman had faith and no one else in the crowd did and we will begin reading in verse 27 of Mark 5:
Mar 5:27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
We can clearly assume that everyone that was there to touch Jesus that day was there because they had heard the same thing that this woman had heard and that was He was anointed by God. So hearing was not the issue for anyone present, everyone present must have heard about Him the same way. They all must have understood what an anointed one meant. They all must have believed that He was anointed. They all came to touch Him, but only one woman got healed. It must have been another factor that caused this woman to get healed while others did not and that is why I want to show you what is found in verse 28:
Mar 5:28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
We understand from reading this verse that it is out of sequence in time. In other words these are words spoken by the woman before she got to Jesus. Do you understand that? I want to describe the Greek word translated as “for” first in the verse. You see this word in the Strong’s means “to assign a reason”. In other words God is giving us the reason for this woman’s faith. That means it is important to understand. I alluded to this factor in my last lesson and I talked a little bit about it earlier when I mentioned Joshua, but today I want to emphasize it with some extra teaching on the subject of “speaking your faith”. If you have read my other Bible lessons, you know that I teach a lot about the power of words spoken. Here is another example, of this reality using this lesson in Mark 5. We already saw in verse 31 that Jesus said, “Daughter, thy faith has made you whole”. Therefore, we know that the woman had faith before she got to Jesus. Here is how I know that the woman possessed faith before she ever physically saw Jesus:
Luk 17:6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
Here is God speaking to you right here and right now. God says “if you had faith, you would say”. The opposite truth to this statement is “if you had no faith you would be silent”. Wow, that is really good stuff. Does God say that speaking is doing faith? Remember what step four of my last faith lesson was? God said you must 1) hear, 2) understand, 3) believe and 4) do. Step four is always doing your faith. We can clearly see that based upon God’s word here in Luke 17:6 that this woman had faith and was doing her faith because she has said something positive. Remember earlier I tried to teach you that real faith was of the heart and you get this faith by speaking to yourself over and over. This is what this woman must have done. Jesus taught us that “from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Mat 12:34). So whatever comes out of your mouth is what you have abundantly put into your heart. We can clearly understand that this woman had faith from her heart that God says resulted in her healing and that she possessed this before she arrived to where Jesus was because she was saying something.
However, it was not just saying something that was important; it was really more what she believed and then what said. She said “If I touch His clothes, I will be made whole”. Was this prophetic? Was this an amazing coincidence? You have to understand the power of words to see that she got exactly what she said. We should all learn to watch what we say after reading stories like this in the Bible. The woman is never focused on her sickness; her words are only directed at her being whole. If you walk around talking about how bad you feel and how sick you are, you are probably going to stay that way. God is teaching you a concept found in the Bible that is radically different than any concept you get from your doctor. Thinking positively, believing positively and speaking positively will result in good things happening to you. Do you remember what God says in Joel 3:10 “Let the weak say I am strong”. Why would God almighty teach weak people to say what they are not? Wow that is very strange isn’t it? However, God’s ways are not our ways and if you want the God kind of results you are going to have to change to do it His way. This is the major difference between this woman who got healed and the others who touched Jesus but did not get healed. It is obvious to me that none of the others believed or said that they would be made whole. They were just there to try it out and see if anything happened.
It is virtually impossible to teach about faith and not talk about spoken words. These two subjects are intimately connected to each other. The woman with the issue of blood was in effect calling herself whole before she was whole. This is a Bible faith concept revealed to us in Romans 4:17. In this verse God tells us that He called Abraham a father of many nations before He became the father of many nations. In this story of Abraham God changes the name of Abram to Abraham and this causes him to start saying what God said. Abraham was an old man now, but as soon as he starts saying “I am Abraham” which means “father of nations”, He becomes a father that year. God uses your words to produce the results in your life whether you want to believe it or not that is how it works. This faith concept of calling things that are not as though they are, will also work for you today. If you are sick and you want to get healed, be like this woman and start calling yourself whole before you are whole and don’t stop doing this just because it looks worse tomorrow than it does today. This woman could have given up and said there are just too many people for me to get through to Jesus. It is just too hard and it looks impossible. But, she went and made her way through the crowds of people pushing to get to Jesus and when she made it and touched His clothes and she was healed. Would it have mattered if she said “I might be healed”. I think it would have mattered a lot. You see might is a word that implies “might not”, or “depends upon something” I don’t know or some other factor that demonstrates a lack of confidence. If you have no confidence in the Word of God or the anointing you would say “might” or “maybe”. But, if you have great confidence and expect to get healed when you touch Him, then you would say “I will be made whole”. Because the woman had faith in God’s word and His anointing she could say this the way that she did. So I just introduced you to two new determining factors or faith partners that contribute to you having faith. Your confidence level determines your expectation level and these two factors are essential to receiving anything from God. I further showed you that “saying” is a part of doing and some tines it can be all you need to do.
As you can begin to see, Bible faith is a complex subject that is related to many other subjects. We have seen that being willing to hear something new is the introductory level of obtaining faith. Then we learned that you must hear the Word to get faith started. I then showed you how understanding what you heard is a determining factor to having correct Bible faith. I then showed you how believing is an essential factor to having Bible faith. Today I introduced you to your will playing a role in what you decide to believe. Then I taught you that doing is a part of having your faith work for you. Today I introduced you to “speaking” as being a part of doing and getting faith abundantly in your heart. I also showed you that what you say will be dependent upon your level of confidence in what you believe. Finally, the woman with the issue of blood expected to be healed when she touched Jesus, so expectation is another essential piece of having faith that receives. If you don’t expect to get healed you will not get healed. Bible Faith is complex, like a transmission in a car is complex. If you do not think so, you should go unbolt your transmission off of your car and take it apart and see if you are smart enough to put it back together correctly. It takes a lot of training and experience to be a great transmission mechanic and to rebuild a transmission. This is the same way with faith. There are many cross related subjects that you must study to fully understand this complex Bible subject. I wish I could simplify it more, but I did not write the Bible and I did not invent faith so I must learn to work with God’s definitions and the information given to us in the Bible, just like you must do the same.
When you begin to understand how faith works, you will better understand the examples of faith given to us in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. Take for example, the famous story of David and Goliath. Did faith have anything to do with what happens in this story? You should go back and read it again and see what you see that is different now. David heard there was a giant and asks what will be done for the man who kills this giant. It would appear that hearing was a factor in the story. When you read this story notice what David says very carefully and see if he is not speaking words of faith. It is a very powerful faith filled story with words that come from the mouth of David. David said “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine?” In other words who is this one that is not in covenant with the almighty God of Israel? Then David says to Goliath “this day will I take your head from your shoulders and feed your carcass to the birds of the air”. Before David did anything, he always said what he would do. Then David did it acting out his faith in His God. This story exhibits David’s high confidence level in his God’s ability and thus David expected to win the battle and not to be defeated. There were no doubts in the heart of the future King of Israel. But, also realize that before David killed the giant Goliath, David had faith experiences with a lion and a bear. In other words, faith is a progressive undertaking of experiences and previous victories that causes your confidence level to increase. If you start small, your faith can grow to the giant killing level, but if you start with the giant level, you might be easily defeated. Here is a modified list of faith factors that has increased significantly since the last lesson, but hopefully you can see and understand them better now.
- Bible Faith is based upon truth in the Bible.
- Being open to the truth allows truth the opportunity to come to you.
- Hearing the truth is the beginning of obtaining Bible faith.
- Understanding God’s Word spiritually will open the door to allow it into your heart.
- Believing and speaking the Truth will plant it firmly in your heart in abundance.
- Choosing to decide to believe it and do it are both conscious acts of your will.
- Your confidence in the truth determines your level of effort, your commitment and your expectation level for it coming to pass in your life.
- Expect the answer to occur even when it looks impossible. Expecting is like ordering a package from the internet and knowing it will arrive any day very soon.
- Do what you said and receive the answer.
These are the basic steps and factors to having Bible faith in the modern world. It just so happens to be the same as we found in the days when Jesus was walking the face of the earth that we learned about from the woman with the issue of blood. These faith steps also apply to other Old Testament saints like David and Joshua. Faith has not really changed at all, and Jesus has certainly not changed. So whatever He did back then is what is available to you today. I know you cannot touch His physical garment, but you can do everything else that the woman with the issue of blood did and get healed the same way by touching His Spirit. God still sees your faith today and it will still work the same. The Spirit of God is everywhere all at once and His power is available to you right now, but it is only accessed by your faith. In closing I want to emphasize one point that I have seen in the past. There are some people who believe if they throw away their medicine they will be healed. They look at this as an act of their faith. However, that is usually presumptive foolishness that gets you killed. Taking medicine does not heal you and not taking medicine certainly does not heal you. There are no examples in the Bible of people throwing away medicine and getting healed anywhere, so you cannot base your faith on this. Go to the doctor, take your medicine and believe and say that God has healed you and made you whole anyway. When you are healed you will know when not to take any medicine. Your words are much more important to your healing than you not taking any medicine. You begin to say that you are healed and whole and still take your medicine. “Let the sick say I am whole”, that is what Joel 3:10 could say if you want to see it that way. I also want to say that I write these lessons speaking about sickness because many people need to be healed and that is why I have focused in on only one part of receiving from God. But, I want to emphasize that every part of the steps that I just listed will work for whatever you need from God. Maybe it is a job? Maybe it is some money to help pay your bills? The only things that is going to change on my list is what scriptures you need to hear in order to get faith for your need. The Bible contains God’s promises and the New Covenant is built upon better promises than the Old Covenant. So go find the promises of God written about your need and use those to build your faith for what you need today. The rest of the steps are still the same. I hope that clarified a question that someone might have had about faith and how to make it work for a different need other than healing. Thanks for taking the time to study the Bible with me and to see God’s truth.
If you would like to continue reading in this series of Bible lessons on Faith you can go to “Part 6“.
(Ver 1.1) This will be an extremely advanced Bible study about a subject that many married Christians have thought on at one time or the other. Today, I want to focus in on a challenging question that I had presented to me from a reader. It was an excellent question and I appreciate getting stimulating questions form people. She wondered if her marriage between her and her husband would still be able to continue after this life ends. She told me that they loved each other greatly and did not want the marriage to ever end. She had read some of my other lessons where I taught some potentially troubling things that concerned her future marriage to her husband and thus the reason for the question. I do want to say up front that I admire this couple’s resolve and dedication to each other. It is a highly commendable attitude to take hold of and to keep. Anyone going into a marriage should be fully committed to that marriage for however long it might be and for whatever negative things that might occur. Recently on the national news a very prominent Christian TV personality was caught cheating on his wife. This couple after several years of counseling and help from God has decided to remain together and are attempting to rebuild the trust that was lost. While I do not admire the actions of the man to cheat, I do admire that he sees fit to change and get it right and for his wife’s ability to forgive. So this is a very hard question to answer without potentially offending someone or causing anyone to become discouraged, but I will try to do the best that I know how from my current level of knowledge of the Bible and then I’ll let you decide what you want to believe. Let’s first start talking about what marriage is.
Mal 2:14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
Jer 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
You can surely see from these verses in Malachi and Jeremiah that God says a marriage is defined to be a covenant in His eyes. A Bible blood covenant is a legally binding contract between the husband and the wife based upon the Word of God. God told Israel, that I made a covenant with you when I took you out of Egypt and I was your husband. That would make Israel His wife in covenant with God. These are very clear definitions to what a covenant and a marriage are. A covenant and a marriage are clearly synonymous terms for the same thing. When a Christian couple unites in covenant marriage they become “one flesh” according to the Word of God and the law of marriage. You can read this fact in several places in the Bible, but the first time it is mentioned is when Adam and Eve are created in Genesis 2. The body of the wife was taken from the body of her husband and God says they are one flesh (Gen 2:24). This is God’s natural law of marriage covenant between a male and a female and this law is still in effect in the New Testament (Mat 19:5, Mark 10:8, Rom 7:2, Eph 5:31). You do understand that Adam and Eve were created before the Old Covenant. So anything that happens before the old covenant is still in effect after the old covenant has ended. In the eyes of God if you marry someone and consummate that marriage, you are now one flesh that cannot be legally separated for any reason except two Bible exceptions that are given to us by God. God gives us only one legitimate reason for divorce and this is infidelity (Mat 5:32, Mat 19:9). Divorce is the legal end to a marriage covenant contract and God says that this is only permissible if your spouse is unfaithful. If your spouse is adulterous and sleeps around, you are free to divorce them without fear of punishment, legal recourse or retribution from God. This is what the Bible says, so if you divorced for any other reasons you will have some future issues with God. I’m not going to go there anymore since divorce is not my primary subject. The only other legal end to a marriage covenant is when one spouse dies a physical death. According to God’s word that marriage is over.
Rom 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
According to this verse it is very clear that God says the law of marriage is null and void when death occurs. As long as you both are alive and neither is unfaithful you are bound by the law of marriage and God. But, as soon as your spouse dies, then you are not bound to that legal covenant any more. We can recognize that death is a legal separating force for the termination of covenants. This is actually a very important Bible concept that I might not get into fully in this lesson. This concept is introduced when Ruth says to Naomi I will go where you go and your people will be my people. Then Ruth 1:17 says until death part thee from me. This is a popular wedding vow phrase that many have spoken when they were married. The bride and the groom were promising to be faithful until death do we part. You can read about this in some of my other lessons of why God did this and how He used it to terminate His covenant with Lucifer. I want you to see the Greek definition for the word translated as “loosed” found in Romans 7:2:
From G2596 and G691; to be (render) entirely idle (useless), literally or figuratively: – abolish, cease, cumber, deliver, destroy, do away, become (make) of no (none, without) effect, fail, loose, bring (come) to nought, put away (down), vanish away, make void.
It would seem to me that this word is a very strong definition for the termination of a marriage covenant. You can read in the definition “vanish away”, “make void”, “render idle”, “abolish”, “cease”, “destroy” and you can clearly see that there is really no other way to take these statements other than literally. A death when it occurs in a marriage covenant represents a separating force that renders your previous obligations ineffective, useless and vain. So while you would like to think that your marriage is eternal you must take the words of the most intelligent being (God) to be a greater witness to what actually occurs. If you choose to ignore God’s words for what you want to believe it does not cause God’s words to fail or not to come to pass.
I heard a minister say once that he and his wife had made a covenant to stay together in heaven. They enjoyed each other so much that they could not bear to part like my reader. While he did not give any scriptures to back this promise, I’m totally convinced that it might be a possibility for them in some degree. You see I do not know of any scripture that says you cannot speak to others in heaven and establish relationships or friendships. This would further mean if you can speak with someone then you can do other things with that person as well, like walk the streets of gold, eat, fellowship, or whatever. While Jesus was on the earth, He constantly said “According to your faith…” and “As you have believed…”. Jesus seemed to emphasize the faith and beliefs of the people to be a determining factor to what happened to them on the earth. Is faith still a determining factor in heaven? Is how you believe still a defining influence to what you get throughout eternity? That is an excellent question to consider. I personally believe that God would not have gone to such extensive efforts to produce a people of faith, if faith was not a future eternal gift to possess and use. Here is a Bible verse that tends to give that impression also:
1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
God says that there “abides” faith, hope and love and God seems to indicate that these will continue forever. Faith is mentioned first, but God says Love is the greatest of these three. Since the Bible says that God is Love, we know that love is an eternal concept that will never end. If Love will be a dominant characteristic in heaven then faith will surely be there also. The Greek word translated as “abide” means “to continue”, “to be present”, “to endure” and “to stay in a given place”. This word seems to indicate that faith will be present in heaven and if it is like it was on the earth, what you believe is usually always what you get out of life, good, bad or indifferent.
So I have concluded that it might be entirely possible to remain in a relationship in heaven if that is what you both believed for. Now the complexity factor is increased because of this additional emphasis which you must place on the Bible. Bible faith or beliefs are always based upon what God tells us in the Bible. If God says anything is for you, then you can believe it is yours and possess it. Then there is inverse truth to that law which is that you cannot believe God for something that violates His Word and expect to get it. Therefore, if you believe for something that is sinful, hurtful, harmful, lustful, or a violation of the Word of God you will probably not get what you were expecting. Let’s say a man wants to live with a woman in eternity that was another man’s wife on the earth, would that be permissible or even remotely possible? You can begin to see the complexity that is involved in multiple personalities wanting the same thing and what is the resolution? I guess what we need to do is figure out what the Bible actually says on the subject and then believe for that. In our world, people marry and divorce like it is no big deal. There are many people in the world who have married multiple times. Some have done this because their spouses have all died, but others have done it because they thought the grass was greener on the other side of the hill. What happens when a person in our world is married multiple times and then they are saved and go to be with the Lord? Jesus actually was presented this hypothetical question in the Gospels and here is this story:
Mat 22:24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
It is very interesting to note that the Law of Moses does not tell a woman to remain unmarried if her husband has died and she has had no children. In fact the Law that God gave to Moses actually commands the opposite. It is interesting to note that God is not opposed to being married multiple times and you should think about that. It is more important to God why you have been married multiple times and not if you have been married multiple times. Here in this story the woman’s dead husband’s younger brother is supposed to marry her and raise up children for his dead brother. This means to have sex with her and give her children. So we can clearly see that God is saying something can’t we? Now the additional complexity comes in if they have already had children, then there is not a requirement to remarry and it is permissible for her children to take care of her in her old age. The law was intended to give a childless widow an option that would cause her to not stoop to prostitution to feed herself. I believe that God was looking out for the widow in this law and that it has spiritual meanings attached to it that I cannot get into today.
Mat 22:25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:
So in the hypothetical question being presented to Jesus there are said to be seven brothers and one woman. The first brother dies and leaves his wife to his brother, like the Law of Moses so states.
Mat 22:26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
They continue to go through the list of brothers in ordered succession and each has had their turn to be married to the same woman in this world. This is one woman who had seven different husbands. Surely you have read this in the Bible before? But, did you understand it?
Mat 22:27 And last of all the woman died also.
Finally the woman dies and is buried and then what? This is where we are today in this lesson of what happens next after this life? The men that were standing with Jesus are about to ask him a question. Here is the question finally presented after the long background discourse:
Mat 22:28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
Jesus was being questioned by a group of Jews who did not believe in the resurrection from the dead. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, so they were trying to get Jesus to see their point of view by asking a hypothetical question about it as a trick. The Pharisees did believe in the resurrection based upon words, from something that they had read in the Old Testament it gave them the impression that death was not the end of the journey. So the Sadducees ask Jesus which husband will this woman belong to since she was “one flesh” with all of them. Wow, that is a tough, tough question to answer unless you are God who knows how to handle hard questions.
Mat 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
So here we go with the response of the creator of the universe and this is a potentially explosive answer that can be interpreted many wrong ways. If you look at just the first part of the entire response you could say that these guys did not understand the scriptures and Jesus was saying there was no resurrection coming. But, that is not what Jesus said at all. Jesus literally said “You are in error not understanding the scriptures or the power of God”. This verse actually gives us some tremendous insight into two things. The answer to their question was clearly found in the Old Testament, if we can see it and understand it. The next item to consider is that the Power of God is involved in the solution to the mystery. Jesus was in effect saying if you understood how powerful God was, you would not be asking such a foolish natural question. Wow, that is tough right there to handle isn’t it? It almost sounds like my reader’s question of can I still be married to my husband in heaven? Would Jesus give the same answer to my reader’s question as He did to the one that these guys asked? I do not know for sure how to answer that. I just know that God says “With Him ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE”. So I’m not sure if I helped or hurt with that last statement. Let’s continue through the answer that Jesus gives us and see what else He has to say:
Mat 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
Here we have a very interesting statement where Jesus continues His answer to the men’s question. Did you see what Jesus said? Jesus definitely said there is a resurrection coming, it has not occurred yet, so it is a future event within God’s calendar. Next, Jesus said after the resurrection that people will neither marry or be given in marriage. Let’s stop there and think about that part of the statement. The Greek word translated as “marry” means to wed and applies to either sex, male or female. God says males and females will not marry after they are raised in the resurrection. Then the Greek word “given in marriage” is a term only for females when a daughter is given to her future husband to become his bride. These are very familiar topics and subjects that we are all familiar with in this world. We see this happening all around us. But, Jesus clearly says that this is not what will happen after the resurrection occurs. The question then shifts to why? Does it mean it is not possible or just not permitted or could it be a third option that you have not considered? You see in the world today you see things from a very narrowly focused point of view. What will change after the resurrection occurs? Is it possible that you will not have the same desires and your focus will experience a transformation which will permit you to see things completely different? Read this verse very carefully:
1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
There seems to be some clues in the Bible that we do not see things very clearly in this world. In other words our spiritual vision is clouded and our perspectives are skewed. I believe what God is saying to us is that what we hold as valuable in this world, when reflected on could become very minor to us when viewed correctly in the next world. Think about this statement very closely and consider the words written there for you. If you can only see a small part of this world and only know a minor slice of the greater truth that will be revealed later, how can you make a determination now what you will want in the next spiritual dimension? Your desire to stay married with your present spouse might just change dramatically once you see the awesome power of God. Your spouse might be the center of your world today, but in the presence of God they could fade and become much less important to you. I do not mean to say that you will not love them, but according to this verse in first Corinthians you will see them more clearly along with God.
I can almost feel the disappointment that my reader no doubt might be feeling right now. But, let’s continue with the answer that Jesus is speaking of in his response to marriage after the resurrection. After Jesus says we will not marry, Jesus says something else that is very profound; he says “we will be as the angels of God”. We can clearly understand from this statement that angels pre-existed man. Angels were not created to look like us; we were created to look like them. But, how are the angels of God? Jesus implies that angels do not marry each other either. The implication is that they could marry but that this is not the design of God for them to marry. You can take this to mean that there must be both male and female angels can’t you? If there were not any female angels then God would not be able to compare us to them. We could never be like them, if there were only males. Do you understand that? You see when I read in Genesis where the “sons of God” (angels) had sex with the daughters of Adam (women) on the earth and created a race of giants, I wondered if there were any female angels. It is clear that God says there are male angels. If God created male angels with male sexual organs and no female angels it would not make any logical sense to me. I guess I’m getting off of the subject somewhat, but it is a very fascinating concept to consider. I have to conclude that if people who are resurrected can become like the angels and female humans are included in this group there has to be female angels that exist or they would not really be like anyone else. The major thing to learn from this statement is that after the resurrection, we will be like the angels of God. Whatever they do, we can do, whatever they are we are very similar, however they live, we will live also. Please remember this and I will try to talk more about the angels later. However, Jesus is not through answering the question and we must see the rest of the answer and put it together correctly:
Mat 22:31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
Here is Jesus beginning to give us another very deep revelation of the spiritual realm. As you can clearly read, Jesus has not finished speaking about the resurrection. This next statement is a direct revelation that is very powerful to know:
Mat 22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
Wow, this is a hard saying from God. It will go over your head if you are not careful to observe the words that are being communicated on the subject of the resurrection. What was Jesus saying with this statement? The words of the prophet were written many hundreds of years after the physical deaths of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God is saying that at the time the prophet wrote these words, these three men were not dead. These words confounded the Sadducees who were listening and put them to silence. You see I have had several very ignorant commenters try to teach me about what happens after physical death occurs and they should have noticed what Jesus just said before they try to tell me what they think. Some have said the soul and spirit sleep and do not know anything until the time of resurrection. Some of them have tried to say that the human life is ended when a person dies and there is nothing else for them. But, God Himself says that they did not die and they are alive and the resurrection has not yet occurred. Here is one of the most important things you should learn from today’s lesson about spiritual things. If you are a Christian and your body dies in this world, the Bible says your spirit departs and is present with the Lord (Php 1:23). Jesus is saying that physical death is not the end; it is only a change of address. Death is a departure from the physical realm and an entrance into the spiritual realm. Did you understand what I just said? If you did not you should go and read it until you do understand it or just ask me some questions about the parts that you do not understand. What you need to see is that Jesus when speaking to these men on the earth said God is the God of the living and not the dead. God said Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who had died physically hundreds of years earlier, were not spiritually dead but were called alive. Let me give you a verse that I alluded to earlier about changing your of perspective after you die:
1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
What I see from studying the Bible are people’s desires, viewpoints and perspectives are purely based upon what they know and have experienced up until this point in time. In other words your favorite food might be apple pie on the earth, but who knows what it will be when you get to heaven since God could have things there that you have never experienced. People think that because the love found in their current family has been so special and real to them, that it cannot get any better so I will be happy if I just have this throughout eternity. However, God says in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that we have no idea or clue to the great and awesome things that He has planned for those who love Him. I tried to tell you this before, but when you are standing on the streets of gold surrounded by mansions and an innumerable company of angels with the awesome light coming from the throne of God, if you still think and feel the same way that you do today, then God has failed in you knowing Him.
I heard a minister teach about a vision of heaven that he had once where he appeared there and saw things that were so amazing that they are difficult to describe in human terms. He saw spiritual things and even people he knew and talked to them. One of his relatives a sister was there and he got to speak to her. She had died a number of years earlier and she asked him questions about her family that she left there was doing and I think these questions shocked him. You see she did not know what was happening on the earth in the physical realm so she had to ask questions about it to her brother who had just came from there to visit. Her brother did not tell her that her husband had remarried but, said that they were all doing fine. You see people in heaven do not see things the same way and they do not care about the natural realm in what you ate today and what we are wearing or even who you are married to. People in heaven do not care what kind of car you are driving or what kind of house you are living in. Things in the natural realm are very unimportant to people in the spiritual realm. It is a complete opposite perspective to what people on the earth are focused in on. Those in heaven only care if you know Jesus and are saved and that you are growing up spiritually. The eternal things are so much more important than the natural things of this world, that our perspectives are totally different after we leave here. Here is a verse that certainly applies to what I am trying to say to you today:
1Co 7:34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
God is comparing two women in this verse and it clearly says there is a major difference between them. But, do not take it out of context or try to say that God is saying you should not get married. You see if people did not get married and have children, there would be no harvest for God to come back to get. God is simply showing us how a perspective changes when you are married. You see things differently than someone who is not married. You can also take this into the spiritual realm comparison between someone who is spiritual versus someone who is naturally minded. If you are focused on Jesus, then you want to please Him and if you are married your focus is shifted to your spouse. When you get to heaven, who do you want your focus to be on? What do you think God wants your focus to be on?
So I am not saying today that you will not love your spouse when you get to heaven. I’m not saying you cannot spend a lot of time with your former spouse in heaven. I am just saying that in heaven you will see things more clearly than you do today. You will be able to see God for the first time there and you will know Him better than you have ever known Him. I personally believe that the experience of heaven will truly be overwhelming. I believe God has some awesome things prepared for us and when we begin to see them, the past will become just what it was, a spec of inconsequential meaning that pales to the definition of an eternity with God. The human mind cannot fully comprehend infinite and eternal concepts of time. No doubt we will be able to do things in eternity that we never imagined in our short life span on the earth. So I have much more to say on this subject, but I have gone long enough today. I’ll give you a list of key points from today’s lesson about marriage before and after the resurrection.
- Marriage is a blood covenant union between a man and a woman.
- Divorce is not permitted except for infidelity.
- There is a physical resurrection coming where we get a new glorified body.
- Just because you die physically does not mean you are not alive spiritually. You exist just not here in the physical realm.
- After you die physically, your marriage in the natural realm is over.
- This does not mean Christians will not know each other in the spiritual realm in fact you will definitely carry over your memories and experiences in this life into the next.
- We will see things clearly then and not be limited in our perspective as we are now.
- Jesus said in the next realm we will:
- Not marry
- Not be given in marriage
- Be as the angels in heaven
I see marriage, children and families as natural things that God has created for us to teach us about spiritual things. If we did not have these things we would not be able to understand the future spiritual reality that we will soon all experience with Him. So my reader asked me if her marriage could continue and this is a difficult question to attempt to answer today. I hope I have not disappointed anyone in my answer with what the Bible says. I do not believe that you will be disappointed after you get to heaven in any degree. There are many things that you do not know yet, so keep learning them and you will see things more and more clearly as we approach Him who is calling us to a greater and higher ability to see.
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 4 in a series of advanced Bible studies about the subject of Bible Faith. Today’s lesson will be a basic foundational definition to how to get Faith. There are many people in the world who claim to have faith and yet when pressed for a definition of what faith is to them, they cannot tell you. Then if you asked them how did you get this faith, again they cannot tell you. Therefore, we are going to explore the basic Bible subject of faith to help people understand what faith is and where faith comes from. Technically speaking you do not have to know how transmissions work, to drive a car and faith is the same way to some extent. You can drive a car by just automatically learning which gear to be in and press the gas and you are off and running. Salvation can be this way also. You do not have to know that it takes faith to use your faith to be saved, yet your faith is still the determining factor to whether you are saved or not. So we could liken your faith to be your spiritual transmission and God and His power and Grace to be the spiritual engine to the car. Without both of these two key components working flawlessly together in harmony, your spiritual car is not going to move. Hopefully you will understand this analogy better as we continue through this lesson. If you have not read this series of lessons from the beginning, I would recommend that you go back and read starting at “Part 1”.
In order to understand what faith is, let’s first find out how faith comes. If you did not know that faith comes then you did not read my first lessons very closely. In a previous lesson I described a verse found in Romans 12:3 that said that all Bible faith comes from God. This verse told us that God has dealt to every man (among you) faith. I explained that verse in that lesson, so I will not repeat the explanation here. Just read it and recognize that God has faith to give, so we as men and women must receive it. Also, in a previous lesson I taught that faith is measurable and quantifiable ranging anywhere from zero or none upwards to full of faith, the maximum that you can have. Remember that your faith can vary in that range of measurable numbers based upon something. Jesus would look at His disciples and rebuke them for having “no faith” and then for a few people that Jesus ran into, He would praise them for having “great faith”. Obviously there is a great deal of difference between those two ranges found on the faith value chart. We can conclude based upon the information that we learned in lesson 3 that faith comes in stages and can grow or increase up the chart to the highest levels. But, how do you get faith and how do you increase your faith that you already have. If you were a car, and your gas tank was empty you would simply go and fill it, does this simple concept also apply to faith? Can I go to the Faith station and fill my Faith tank? That is where we are at in the lesson today so let’s go to the Bible and see what God has to say to us.
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
God gives us a major revelation concerning faith in this verse of Romans. God ties the amount of faith that you possess to the amount of Words of God that you hear. Of course, it is much more complicated than that simple statement. If you could get faith by just hearing God’s Word, then you would just need to go buy the Bible on CD and play it all the time and you should have faith to move mountains left and right. Obviously it takes more than just hearing to get faith. But, hearing is where you faith lesson begins today to teach you about how to get more faith. Let me teach you the progressive steps to getting faith and then we will look at this in the scriptures to find if we can prove what I just said. Faith depends upon you doing the following steps and there are 4 possible reasons why faith does not come and only 1 instance where your faith actually grows. Read these 5 examples very carefully and see if you can see what God is teaching you:
Faith Comes by Hearing, but they:
- Don’t Listen or Refuse to Hear!
- Listen but don’t understand what is Said.
- Hear, Understand but don’t believe it.
- Hear, Understand, Believe and then don’t do it.
- Hear, Understand, Believe and then do it and finally they have faith that grows.
Wow, I do not know if you understood what I just said but it was good. These same concepts are how you learn things in school. You go to class, you either choose to hear your teacher or reject her words by closing your mind to them. Then you can hear her words, but not understand what was being taught. Right there is your opportunity to ask questions or remain ignorant. Next you can hear your teacher teach you about history and then not believe that it happened. Next, you hear your teacher teach you about algebra, understand it, believe it but just not do the work and you will fail that class. Finally, when you achieve to all of the first four requirements, hearing, understanding, believing and doing is when your faith will grow and increase and you can move to the next higher faith grade level. That was how faith works in a nutshell. It is the basis of how faith comes and how you put it to work for you. Let’s examine if we can find faith demonstrated to us in a Bible example that we are given and see if this is how it really works:
Mar 5:25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
Mar 5:26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
Mar 5:27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
Mar 5:28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
Mar 5:29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
Here is story of a woman who was diseased for 12 years. But, did you notice what the Bible says happened to this woman? I tried to underline some of the important parts for your careful consideration. It says in verse 27 that she had “heard” of Jesus. How does faith come? According to Romans 10:17 faith comes by hearing. So right there we know that this is the first requirement for having faith. She obviously heard something that gave her faith and it must have been the Word of God according to Romans 10:17. What did she hear? While we are not told what she heard directly, we can make an assumption based upon other scriptures that it had to be something from the Old Testament. Remember what Jesus did after being baptized by John? Jesus went into the synagogue one day and open the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and read from it “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and He has anointed me” and then he continues to say “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:18-21). If you think that Jesus did this only one time, you would probably be making a wrong assumption. I personally believe that Jesus read this verse of Isaiah everywhere He went to build the people’s faith. So I believe that this woman with the issue of blood had heard what Jesus had said. Now right there she must have understood what was spoken and you clearly see that she believed it by what these verses in Mark 5 say that she does after hearing. Here is a woman that should not be out in public, but she has heard of Jesus and decides to get healed. She does not ask Jesus or anyone else if it is permissible to do anything; she simply presses through the crowds that were also touching Jesus, sneaks up on the back of Jesus and touches His garment surreptitiously. The Bible says that instantly she felt in her body the disease was gone. Immediately, Jesus felt power had flowed from Him and he turned to ask “Who touched me”. Wow, this is one of the best faith lessons in the Bible that I know of and it clearly demonstrates the principles that I have outlined. A woman hears about Jesus, understands what she heard, chooses to believe it and then acts upon her faith and goes and gets healed and Jesus did not know it was happening until after it happened.
Mar 5:31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
The disciples look at Jesus like He is crazy and say to Him, Master everyone is touching you. Here is a definitive clue to the difference between a physical touch and a spiritual touch. The crowd was touching Jesus physically, but this woman with faith touched Him spiritually and there is a major difference between those two realities. That is why I get some critics who write me and tell me how wrong I am and I get some people who have spiritual eyes to tell me “Wow that was good”. If I could make everyone see things the way God sees them, I would certainly do that, but I can’t and God won’t so we have what we have in the world today. Faith is a spiritual force and not a physical feeling.
Mar 5:33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
The woman was caught, but now that she is healed it is legal for her to be in public again, so she goes to Jesus and falls down before Him. She is obviously grateful and thankful and she tells him the truth.
Mar 5:34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
Jesus confirms to everyone present and to us His readers that it was the woman’s faith that made her whole. You see if it was only up to God’s power, everyone would be falling down before Him thanking Him for their healing, but no one else present got healed. Jesus clearly tells us that it was her faith that was the determining factor for her healing. It was her faith that made her whole. The Greek word for “whole” is the word “sozo” and it means to “save” or to “deliver”. This is the word that is translated many times as “saved” or “salvation”. Faith as you can see was the cause for her salvation. People, who do not want to see this, claim that everything that happens to them is what God has caused to happen. If is funny that God does not say this in the Bible anywhere. Jesus could have told the woman with the issue of blood “Be of good cheer, my power has saved you”, but God does not say this. Are you able to see the truth? I pray that you do. So what does this story in Mark reveal to us that the woman did:
- She heard the truth.
- She understood the truth.
- She believed the truth.
- She acted on the truth.
- She was saved because of her faith.
That was faith in a nutshell again and it confirms what God taught you earlier. So did you hear it? Did you understand it? Do you believe it? What will you do with it? Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God. So if you want to increase your faith that is what you need to do. It technically means that you have to be an open and receptive type of vessel in order to hear. If you are not being open to the Word of God you will not hear it to begin with. So decide in your heart to be a vessel that is willing to change and then go and hear the word of God until you understand it. Next, if you believe what you have heard is the truth, then you are ready to take hold of the hem of His garment and receive the power of God for your answer. Your faith is the transmission that causes your spiritual car to accelerate and to go places. God’s Grace is the Motor that supplies the power to your spiritual car to change your location. You can keep your car in the garage and never use it to go anywhere in the world or you can do what Jesus taught “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you would say…”. I hope that you enjoyed this basic Bible faith lesson and that you learned something that can be useful with your walk with God. Until next time, I will let you go and review this lesson and see if you truly understood it and then you can write me and tell me about how it worked for you. God Bless.
If you would like to continue reading in this series of lessons on faith, you can go to “Part 5“.
(Ver 1.3) This is Part 3 in an advanced series of lessons on understanding the basic concepts of faith found in the Bible. To have basic and advanced in the same sentence is almost an oxymoronic expression, but I am attempting to simplify a very complex subject so that anyone who wants to can understand it. In the first lesson I gave you an overview of the origin of faith and how that God had faith when He created the world so therefore I taught you that faith was not a brand new concept found only in the New Testament. I further showed you definitive scriptures from Hebrews 11 that described Old Testament faith examples even though God never emphasized or taught this to be a required quality to possess. However, you can clearly see that many people are included in the Bible simply because of their faith. For example, we are told that Rahab the harlot had faith and then we are told in Matthew that she becomes a key figure in the life and genealogy of Jesus (Mat 1:5) because of her faith (Heb 11:31). I taught you that faith is a rudimentary subject of Bible theology which is foundational to you being a real Christian. I also showed you that faith was an essential element for your salvation. Many people want to emphasize God’s sovereignty and ignore man’s faith. I had a commenter like that yesterday. He blasted me pretty well with his religious rhetoric and I’m just going to smile and ignore it. When you discover the balance in the Bible of putting things together correctly you learn to ignore unbalanced ignorant people who know about God but, who do not know God personally.
We have not yet technically defined what faith is, or determined where faith comes from fully, or how you get faith to grow or described how faith works, but we will eventually get there, but probably not today. Today I want to show you some more very important foundational Bible concepts about faith that God reveals to us from a series of scriptures that describes to us, that the amount of faith that we possess is quantifiable or measureable. In other words not everyone has the same amount of faith and that is going to upset some people’s theology greatly. You see I have heard it taught in some churches that God gives everyone the same amount of faith and that all faith comes from God. However, both of those statements are only partially true or I should say just a part of the complete truth. When people teach things like this, they claim that it is not up to us to do anything to have faith and they alleviate us from having any responsibility or accountability for our actions. They in effect seem to place all of the responsibility upon God and that relieves them from having to do anything. This is what I call the “Blameless Christian” theology; a theory of which some confused men on the earth teach. They believe that whatever happens to them in the world, it was just not their fault and therefore they could have done nothing to change it from happening, whether it was good, bad or indifferent. Wow, someday these men and women are going to be very disappointed when God begins to ask them some very basic direct questions about what they were thinking. If you have not read this series of lesson from the beginning I would suggest that you go back and start reading with “Part 1”.
What do I mean when I say that faith is measureable or quantifiable? Here in the U.S. we have a set of standards that may be different than you are used to in your country. However, the concepts are identical regardless of the standard being utilized. We measure the size of boards when building a house and precise calculations are made to keep the house level, plumb and square. Then here in the U.S., almost everything in the grocery store is sold by weight, volume or some other identifiable and quantifiable quality that makes them more fairly priced. If you go to the market and buy some grapes, they are normally weighed and then the price is calculated from that. This is the only fair way of buying and selling grapes since grapes can vary in size and the number of grapes on each vine differs. This is what I am trying to teach you today, that faith even though you cannot see it, it is also a measureable spiritual substance according to God and He is able to tell how much that you possess, even if you can’t. Like buying grapes, God is also able to measure your faith to determine how much you enjoy. In the natural realm, this would normally involve a measuring device like a scale along with a computation or calculation for the total amount found, but since we are discussing a spiritual reality this is going to be a little bit more complex than that. I think I want to start this lesson with a Bible verse that is widely taught that confuses people. Here in this verse it would at first seem to imply that faith is a substance that God has given to everyone in equal amounts, but upon closer examination, I believe it says something much different:
Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Here is God teaching us where Bible faith ultimately comes from. If God can give faith to a man, then all Bible faith must ultimately come from God. This is a further confirmation that faith existed with God before God created man. I mean it only makes since that if He can give something away, then He must first possess it before He can hand it to you. I certainly believe this statement that Bible faith comes from God and the Bible. That is the first key element to note in this verse. However, just because God has given you something, does not mean that you have possessed it or that is all there is to give. In other words I could give you a drink of water in a cup, but you only took a sip and threw the rest away. Did you possess everything that I gave you? Was it up to me to make you drink the water? Do you think that I had any more water or was that all of the water that I had? Do you understand the complexity of spiritual things based upon a simple example of a glass of natural water? There is absolutely no way that I can make you have all of the water that I have and drink it. I could have another pitcher of water to refill your cup after you drank that one. I could have a well of water that is able to refill that pitcher after you drink that much. It could be a never ending supply of water. So to say that God gave faith to every man and that they all received the same amount is pretty crazy using my cup of water example.
Bible faith is clearly a spiritual substance given to us by a spiritual God. Then it says that God has given every man “the measure of faith” and this is where the controversy begins to get deeper. This verse cannot be talking about every human on the earth or it would contradict what the Bible says in other places and God’s Word does not contradict itself ever when interpreted correctly. You see the Bible clearly tells us in other places that every man does not have faith and if you look in 2 Thessalonians 3:2 you will see this is true. Therefore, we have a potential scripture conflict that needs resolution. The way to resolve this conflict is to note the context of the given verses. If you read the entire chapter in 2 Thessalonians you will see that God is speaking about unsaved wicked and evil men not having faith and in Romans 12:3 the context is clearly written about men who are Christians because God says “to every man among you”. Romans 12:3 is written to church members who have to possess faith to be a Christian. So we can conclude that even if God has given faith to every man (saved or unsaved), that everyone does not possess it because they have not received the free full gift from God. This is like if you have a party and invited 12 people and you put out 12 pieces of cake for them and say come and get it. Whose responsibility is it now to take the cake and enjoy it? The host of the party is not responsible to make you take your cake and eat it, so if you choose not to come and get it, you lose out and the host of the party has done their job. This is how salvation works, God is not responsible to make you take your salvation cake and eat it. It is totally up to you to partake of Christ by faith and taste and see that He is good. You see you may not know that you like cake, until you try it by faith. I guess I got off the main subject of did God give to every man “faith” and the same amount. Here is where the controversy continues. I have heard several preachers say that this verse in Romans 12:3, proves that we all have the same amount of faith, but in actuality that is not what God is saying and if you teach it that way you contradict several other scriptures that clearly teach a radically different truth. Let’s start by analyzing the word translated as “dealt”. If you were playing a card game you would normally deal out the cards equally to every participant and this is where people probably get the initial idea or concept of everyone having the same amount or an equal distribution of faith cards, but here is the actual definition for this word from Strong’s:
From G3313; to part, that is, (literally) to apportion, bestow, share, or (figuratively) to disunite, differ: – deal, be difference between, distribute, divide, give part.
Nowhere in this definition does it ever say or even imply that the portions divided are equal. In fact I get the opposite inference from reading this definition that the portions are greatly varying from each other. Do you see this when you read it? But then I have heard that it is the words “the measure” given in this verse that implies everyone is given the identical portion of faith. However, let’s look at the definition of the word “measure” also from the Strong’s:
An apparently primary word; a measure (“metre”), literally or figuratively; by implication a limited portion (degree): – measure.
Here in this definition it does not say “the” measure it says “a” measure and that changes it dramatically. When you read all of the definition it says that out of all of the faith that is possible we have been given a very limited portion of it and if you try to say that means we are all equal you would be assuming incorrectly. The translators of the KJV Bible obviously thought wrong and put the word “the” in their translation instead of the word “a” and came up with this incorrect wording. If you like you can check other translations like the NASB and Young’s Literal Translation and see that they translated it correctly to say “as to each God did deal a measure of faith”. What I will do now is try to show you this position of everyone possessing differing amounts of faith using the Bible to help us establish this truth. Let me give you some Bible examples of this in order to make my point more clear.
Mar 4:40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
Here is a verse of scripture where Jesus and the disciples are crossing over a large body of water which appears to be the Sea of Galilee and a storm arises that appears to be their demise. However, Jesus is asleep in the back of the boat and the disciple have to wake him up and after Jesus calms the sea and winds, He looks at them and rebukes them for having no faith. The state of “No Faith” would have to represent a complete absence of the spiritual substance of faith from them. If you had a scale that weighed grapes, this would be zero or the state of having no grapes. If you had a bucket this would be the state of it being empty or void of any substance. You do understand this don’t you? If Jesus is saying “where is your faith”, then Jesus is clearly expecting them to have faith and they do not. Why is Jesus looking for faith? You should ask yourself that question and try to come up with the correct answer. In reading this story it would appear to me that Jesus is not a happy faith leader and He clearly tells them they better get with the God faith program. I also believe that He is talking to you and I right now also.
Mat 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
Here we can read another rebuke from the God of creation to His followers. I have only noticed one thing in the Gospels that Jesus ever rebuked His followers for, maybe you can find something I did not and if so please let me know. But, it appears to me that Jesus is blaming the disciple’s lack of faith for their inability to cast out the devil from this man’s son. This is a further confirmation that faith represents the power to remove an evil spiritual force or enemy. So clearly faith is a number one priority to Jesus and these are two examples where Jesus declares that He expected His followers to have some faith and He could not find any when He looked at them. So this is two examples of where people had no faith. Now let us go up the spiritual faith scale to where Jesus said someone had just a little bit of faith.
Mat 6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Here is the first occurrence of the word “faith” in the New Testament. Jesus is speaking and it is clear to me that Jesus has some inside information that we do not normally possess. Jesus is comparing some natural things that God accomplishes by clothing the grass of the field and He compares this to clothing people who He says are much more valuable than grass. Then Jesus says something very profound. Jesus said these people that he was speaking to had “little” faith. The word “little” here means “puny” or an “insignificant” amount of faith. If I had a 5 liter bucket and I poured a couple of drops of milk into it that is what Jesus is talking about here in this statement. Jesus is clearly saying that faith is a measureable substance and that you can have just a very tiny portion of it. Do you understand this? There are five times found in the Bible that Jesus refers to people having “little faith” and these can be found in Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31, 16:8 and Luke 12:28. Let’s move on to another very different example of contrasting faith that Jesus gives us from that of no faith or little faith:
Mat 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Here is the second time faith is mentioned in the New Testament and this time it is dramatically different than the first time. Jesus is speaking about a Roman centurion here in this verse. A Roman centurion was a military man that Jesus said had “great” faith. The term “great” means a very large amount in quantity. You can clearly see that this is the complete opposite of the term “little” faith. In my bucket analogy it would be like pouring in milk to reach almost the top. These verses fascinate me tremendously. They clearly tell me that Jesus was looking for faith by His reaction to when He found it and didn’t find it. It also clearly tells me that the amount of faith that people possessed was not up to God or Jesus. Otherwise Jesus would have not been surprised to find a Roman centurion with great faith and the children of Israel with little faith to no faith. If it was God who was dealing out the faith and He wanted Israel to have great faith, then they would have clearly had it. Do you see my logic here? This tells me that “faith” while it comes from God it does not depend upon God solely and completely for how much we have. In other words we have a major part and role to play in the situation and we will definitely talk more about this in other lessons. Let me give you another example of great faith:
Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
There are only a very few number of people in the Bible that Jesus ever commended for having “great” faith and this woman in this chapter of Matthew is certainly one of them. Later in these lessons on faith we will discuss why some had great faith and why some had little faith but that is not my subject today. What I want to demonstrate to you is the fact that Jesus said “faith” was measurable and that the amount that a person had was not dependent upon God’s actions alone. It is very interesting to note in this story that this woman is another example of a Gentile being ministered to by the King of the Jews who clearly said that He was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Yet Jesus ministered to her and the Roman centurion and Jesus said both of them had “great” faith. It is very clear to me that great “faith” gets God’s attention no matter who possesses it. I firmly believe that we as Christians should be doing whatever it takes to achieve to this level of great faith so that we can be praised by God. Did that sound arrogant? Do you want God to say to you “well done thou good and faithful servant”? If you do then I believe it is going to take you having great faith.
Mat 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
Here is a scripture that I have touched on some before, but I will give you another perspective on this verse given what we have learned. We have clearly seen that Jesus rebuked his disciples for having no faith. Jesus also said of others that they had little faith. Then we saw that Jesus clearly said some had great faith. Because, Jesus does not appear to measure or qualify the amount of faith that is being observed, I make the logical conclusion from that information that Jesus puts their faith somewhere in the middle of the scale. In other words their faith was not just a little bit and it was not a huge great amount, I believe that it was just right faith for the situation they were in. I’ll call this the Goldilocks Faith, just for the sake of argument. In the Goldilocks story she is always looking for the just right fit for her size. It is an interesting concept to consider, if you can have varying degrees of faith from zero to a whole bunch, then you should be able to evaluate your faith and measure what you can and cannot do with it. Many times people want to have million dollar faith when they don’t have the faith for 50 cents. This is where faith gets a bad rap in churches and people begin to teach this faith stuff doesn’t work. You should read the life story of a man named Smith Wigglesworth and learn that he did not start out raising people from the dead and that this only came after years of developing his faith to this level. Smith Wigglesworth also started an orphanage that when he began he had nothing with little faith to even get it going. But, by the time of the end of his life came he ran a home for hundreds of orphan children that cost big bucks to sustain. Smith Wigglesworth learned the conepts of faith from God and learned how to grow his faith. He wrote a book about this called “Ever Increasing Faith” teaching us that faith grows. Let’s think briefly about the men who carried the lame man up on the roof, if they had no faith or little faith, they would not have gone through such extraordinary ways to get to Jesus. However, if they had possessed great faith, they would not have had to go through such extraordinary efforts to get to Jesus. It is a complex paradox of how faith works. The Roman centurion told Jesus “You do not have to come to my house to heal my servant, just speak the word only and he will be healed”. You see if the Roman centurion had middle of the road faith, he would have had Jesus come and lay hands on him. If the Roman centurion had no faith or little faith he would have not even come to Jesus and his servant would have probably died. Wow, I just gave you a quick introduction to how faith works and what faith does depending upon the amount of faith that you possess. That was an introduction to stuff to come.
It is also imperative to make another observation from these few verses that we have read in Matthew. Jesus has not died on the cross, been raised from the dead nor ascended back into heaven and yet Jesus is speaking of “faith” as being a critical element to who receives a miracle from Him and who does not. This fact further proves the existence of faith as being an essential and present factor in the Old Testament even though it has not technically been revealed in the Word of God up until this point in time of the physical ministry of Jesus. Let’s move on to another quantifiable measure of faith found in the Bible.
Act 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
Here we have a measurement of faith that should be the ultimate goal of every Christian. Here in this verse of Acts God describes a man named Stephen. In this verse God says that Stephen was “full” of faith. Using my bucket analogy again, that would mean a bucket that overflowed with milk; in other words a bucket that you could not put any more faith into. This was the condition of this man and this concept is totally difficult for me to even comprehend. God is clearly contrasting the amounts of faith in at least five different levels. We had no faith, little faith, just right faith, great faith and full of faith and we could logically assume that there are varying ranges of faith in between these levels given to us like a gas gauge. In fact using my bucket analogy we could have a totally empty bucket all the way to the overflowing bucket level.
We have learned a lot about faith today. Faith is a measureable and quantifiable spiritual substance that the total amount of faith contained in every human can vary dramatically from none to overflowing amounts. We have seen repeatedly that faith was a substance that God expected to be present in every person that was ministered to by Jesus and we can conclude that God expects this in us Christians the same way. Here are some other facts about faith that we have discovered today:
- Bible faith ultimately comes from God.
- However Jesus and the Bible said some had No Faith.
- Jesus taught us that some people had only Little Faith.
- Jesus taught us that some people had “Just Right” Faith to be made whole.
- Jesus also taught us that a few people had Great Faith that exceeded His expectations.
- Later in Acts we saw Stephen being described as being Full of Faith.
- All of these are differing levels of the same spiritual substance from Zero to Maximum.
- We again saw that Jesus was looking for faith in everyone that He encountered.
- People were praised by God for having faith and rebuked by Him for not having any or just having a little bit.
- Finally, we can logically conclude from all of this infrmation given to us today that since faith is measureable that the current level of our faith can be increased no matter where we currently are at on the faith scale.
Do you understand the importance of studying this subject of Bible Faith? Are you beginning to see the significance that God put on this subject of faith in the Bible? I hope you have learned something that will help you in your walk with God and that this new knowledge will be put to use to help further the Kingdom of God. God Bless you until next time.
If you would like to continue reading this series of lessons on Bible faith you can go to “Part 4“.
(Ver 1.1) Today is a lesson to me because I am challenged at times with turning the other cheek when people write me hateful self-righteous comments on my website, my flesh wants to strike back, but my spirit feels compassion and love for them. This is a very constant internal struggle that we are all faced with over the course of our lives. This is a battle of our wills, between what our flesh wants and what our spirit wants to do and as long as we live on the earth this is a never ending cycle. Satan is bent upon getting real Christians to come out of the spiritual dimension and to get them back into the physical fight with our brothers and sisters but, we must learn that there is a higher path and ground to stand on. So when a commenter left me a message yesterday telling me I’m not a Christian, my flesh wanted to write them back and tell them they were a self-righteous idiot to stand in the seat of judgment against a fellow Christian. They didn’t know me, so they had no idea what I was or was not. They obviously just read some words on a web-site and I guess I didn’t believe like they did so they have concluded I don’t know God. Wow, I find that attitude very humorous. People can act so foolishly and not even know it. The Bible says in Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to you who call evil good and good evil”. In the very next verse in Isaiah God says “Woe to you that are wise in your own eyes”. In other words God calls someone who judges incorrectly and raises their own self higher than others, a person who is in jeopardy of being judged by God.
So rather than doing what my flesh wants to do today, I will teach on love towards your brother. In doing this I will feed my spirit on the right things to do and build up myself to become stronger in this area. You see I technically do not know if my commenter was my brother or not, but I will give them the benefit of a doubt since they were reading a Christian’s blog about Advanced Spiritual Bible study.
Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
To be kind means that you have the opportunity to not be kind at times. It would seem that this occurs more often than you might think. People can be easily misunderstood; their words can be taken incorrectly very easily. Reading someone’s writing is not like hearing a person’s voice where you can pick up on voice changes, inflections, sarcasm, humor and emphasized or deemphasized expressions or whatever. I have found that writing online is probably harder than just talking to someone in person because of these challenges. So while I do not intend to offend anyone, I know sometimes I do. The term translated as “kind affection” is a Greek word that is interesting to note in this verse. The word means an “emotional cherishing or fondness of a family member”. Did you know I was in your family that is if you are a Christian? Obviously if you are not a Christian you are not in my family which is the family of the Most High God. I am in the family of Jesus Christ and I know this for a fact whether you do or not. Did you know that God has a spiritual family? Christians need to learn this first and then learn how to treat their fellow family members with kindness.
Here in this verse we have another word that is translated as love, but is a different type of love. The Greek word “philadelphia” is the word that is translated as “brotherly love”. Brotherly love is a “fraternal love” of your family again. If you did not know that there are different types of love in the Bible you should do a study on that subject. Most intelligent people understand that you love your wife differently than you love your sister. Unless your sister happens to be your wife, like Abraham’s wife was. In John 3:16 it says “God so loved the world that He gave…”. In John 3:16 the Greek word for love is “agape”. This word in John 3:16 is the God kind of love where God loved us while we were even sinners and died for us when we did not deserve it, earn it, or ever could. The Bible tells us that God is “Agape” in 1 John 4:8. It does not say that God has Agape, it says He is Agape. Then if you are a Christian this Agape is now a part of your spirit. Agape is an unconditional God kind of love that every Christian possesses in their spirits. However, getting “Agape” out to the external is a different subject entirely. Philadelphia is similar but yet different. It is kind of like the saying you can choose your friends but you cannot choose your relatives. Well sometimes your natural relatives can be the most challenging to love, so it is in the spiritual family of God also. In the real world you can walk away from someone being hateful, but if this is your brother doing this at the family dinner, then you have an opportunity to overcome the same internal challenge that I have been going through today. Do you retaliate or do you try to smile and say something kind. Wow, that is a bigger challenge than you can imagine.
Next, in this verse it says “in honor”. This is an interesting concept. This word in the Greek means “something valuable” or “a great price paid”. This word in 1 Peter 2:7 is used to describe Jesus Christ as being the “precious” stone that the builders rejected. This is the exact same Greek word used in Romans 12:10 as “honor”. Anything that is “precious” in the eyes of God should be precious to you also. I believe that God is saying to treat others as being precious as you are. Wouldn’t it be a nicer church if people would just do what God said? I hope and pray that someday they will become a doer of the word of God and not just a hearer only. The last phrase in this verse Romans 12:10 says to “prefer one another”. This is another amazing truth that is very profound. This Greek word translated as “preferring” means to “lead the way for others”. Wow, is that a strong statement. So obviously when someone hits you verbally and you want to hit them back, God instructs us to become an example to them so that they can be directed into the right path. I use to have a sign in my office that said “He who leads when no one follows, only takes a walk”. So today I am attempting to take a few people on the internet down a path of brotherly love and I am hoping someone will learn to follow.
1Co 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
I’m not Paul and I’m certainly not Jesus, but I’m trying to follow their examples. The Christian way is a complex life style that can be simplified if you approach your existence using God’s words to guide you into the right things to do. Because people do not know the Bible they do not follow the Bible. God says in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge”. Instead of getting the right knowledge from God, a lot of the time people are deceived into a distracted priority for a lesser way of learning and doing. I am attempting to come up to a higher spiritual dimension today and to set an example of what to do when someone calls you names unjustly. This will probably not be the last time that someone does this to me, so this will probably not be the last time that I write about love on this website. I trust that those of you, who can see the difference, you have some understanding in what kind of spiritual battle I have been going through today. Now that I read the Bible about love and looked up the definitions, reminding myself of the truth, I have a better and stronger resolve to do the words of God towards others. So if you have been a faithful reader of this website, I apologize for writing a Bible lesson directly and mostly at myself. I hope that you will display some grace towards the things that we probably all face at one time or the other and to my brother who left me this hateful comment, I will tell you that I love you anyway and I will pray that you will do the same in the future. God Bless!
(Ver 1.2) This is a basic rebuttal to a man who left me a very ignorant comment on one of my posts. He was adamantly opposed to the concept that Jesus could possibly come back and catch His church up before the tribulation occurred. He basically took some verses out of context and gave them some natural interpretations to justify his ignorant position and beliefs. I have learned not to reply to my critics and their hateful words because they are not interested in getting help or learning the truth. I may read their comments to see if I can learn something, but I then delete them and move on. So if you want to leave me a hateful bunch of reasons of why I’m wrong, please do not waste either of our times. So today’s lesson is not for my commenter but, only for those who are willing to hear the truth and to change. That is what makes me different than my commenter, I am perfectly willing to change if anyone can give me spiritual Bible verses that say I am wrong, and then I will change very fast. What this man was guilty of is an attempt to put his limitations and definitions on what God can do. It is very clear to me that God will never violate His word. You can always count on the fact that God will do whatever He says. However, it is also very clear to me that there are many people in the world who do not understand God’s word so they have come up with erroneous conclusions that put limitations on what God can do in their mind. It is interesting to note that God is not limited in His ability to what you have in your mind and what you think that He can do. Your interpretation of God’s word does not limit His ability to do what He said He would do. Your wrong interpretations of His word will only affect you personally and what He will do for you and it will have no effect when He comes to rapture me out of here in a very short time from now. I am going to start by giving you his main scripture that this man said was proof for why Jesus could not come back before the tribulation ended and then hopefully show you how narrow minded and blind his argument was.
Act 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
According to my very ignorant commenter, he claimed that this verse says that Jesus has returned to heaven and must remain there until the time when all things that have been written about have been completed, fulfilled, accomplished or performed. In other words according to him Jesus cannot ever come back to the earth to rapture the church before the tribulation because every prophecy has not been fulfilled in his mind. I wonder who died and made this reader God. Clearly he acts like he knows more than God when he can tell God what he can do and what he can’t do. Clearly he does not know how to read the Bible and see that Jesus has already been back to the earth several times since ascending into the heavens and being seated at the right hand of Majesty. He is attempting to put God into his little box and God is not interested in his mindless interpretations. According to my reader he saw where Scofield said that Israel must be restored to the seed of David before Jesus returns. Therefore he has concluded that a pre-tribulation rapture of the church is impossible without understanding that the Seed of David has already been restored His Kingdom. I went and reviewed Scofield’s notes on the subject and I do not have any idea how this man came to his conclusions based upon this information. It is very clear to me that he is thinking of spiritual things in the terms of natural interpretations, definitions and realities and not seeing that they have already been fulfilled in Christ. Let’s go back and see what God said to David:
2Sa 7:16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
The basis of the Davidic Covenant is established when the prophet Nathan comes to speak to David in 2 Samuel 7. You can go and read the entire chapter if you like. I just want to focus in on one verse for now and this occurs in verse 16. God says to King David that He will make David’s house and kingdom an eternal everlasting one. Since David died physically and has not been resurrected, God was obviously not speaking to David who was incapable of fulfilling this prophecy. In fact there were no sons of David who were ever capable of fulfilling this prophecy until God became his son in Jesus. If you understand the genealogies of Jesus given to us in Matthew and Luke you know that these are two different ancestries of two different people. If you do not know this you better go and study it again in detail. Both lineages go through David, but after David the one in Matthew is through David’s son Solomon and the other one in Luke is through David’s son Nathan. So it is very clear that they are not the same person who comes to the end of this list. Both do not end up at Jesus, only one does. So how do you resolve this problem? You have to realize that the genealogy in Matthew is that of Joseph and the genealogy in Luke is that of Mary the mother of Jesus and I do not have time to prove this to you in this lesson. Use your brain and read it and hopefully you will see it. What we understand from the Bible is that Joseph was not the father of Jesus, so in order for Jesus to be born a physical son of David his physical mother must have been a daughter of David. This is the only way the Davidic covenant would ever be fulfilled eternally. Jesus Christ is the only son of David that is alive today to take his father’s throne and since Jesus is eternally alive His kingdom is also eternal.
What I am going to do now is to change subjects for a bit to show you that Jesus is not limited to the words of an ignorant commenter to what He can do. According to my commenter, it is not possible for Jesus to return to the earth because we read in Acts 3:21 that heaven has received him until all things have been restored in the earth. It is very obvious to me that my commenter is expecting an earthly Kingdom to be reestablished like David’s kingdom and that only this would fulfill the prophecy in his mind. However, Jesus is not limited to your interpretation of the scripture, so He can return to the earth as often as he likes and you can’t do anything about it. Let’s look at a couple of examples in the Bible where it clearly tells us that Jesus came back to the earth after being seated in heaven:
Act 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
Uh oh? What did this verse say? Did Jesus appear to Saul on the road to Damascus? Didn’t Jesus know this was not permitted according to my deceived commenter? I guess Jesus didn’t read Scofield commentary and decided to show up and talk with Saul anyway. This verse also says that Jesus was the one that sent Ananias personally to Saul. How did Jesus accomplish this while being in heaven? Apparently Jesus appeared to Ananias and told him to go to see Saul. You can read this in the surrounding verses of chapter 9 how that Jesus appears to Ananias in a vision. What is a vision? A vision is the appearing of Jesus in a spiritual form on the earth where a man is permitted to see him spiritually. Maybe you do not understand spiritual visions because you have never had one. So that is probably the most difficult obstacle for you to overcome. You need to learn about what visions are and how visions occur using the Bible. I wrote a Bible lesson about this subject so you should go and read that if you want to know if they are “Real or Fantasy”. Here we have a verse that says very clearly that Jesus appeared to two different people on the earth after going back to heaven and you will have to ignore them completely to hold on to your deceived ideas of what Jesus can and can’t do in the earth before the tribulation occurs. Here is a much more detailed account of the appearing of Jesus to Saul on the road to Damascus and you should pay close attention to this story to see if God is saying this is the way it happened or not:
Act 26:12 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
We can definitely see that Paul is describing his journey and the reasons behind the journey. Saul was given authority of the chief priests to persecute the church of Jesus Christ. That is what he intended to do when something happened to interrupt his plans:
Act 26:13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
A very bright light shines from heaven into the natural realm on the road to Damascus and Saul and his traveling companions see it. This light is compared to the light of the sun. Of course Jesus is called the Sun of Righteousness in Malachi so this is not uncommon to describe the appearing of Jesus as being a very bright light from heaven. In fact if you look through your Bible you will see that Jesus is described to be either light or various synonymous terms for the sun around ten times just in the New Testament. If you do not know where these verses are you can check out my post on the “The Names, Titles, Symbols of Jesus”.
Act 26:14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
You see in my Bible, the words of Jesus are in Red Ink so that they are easily recognizable. If Saul is on the earth on the road to Damascus, how is it possible that Jesus can appear and speak to him, since Jesus is obviously not permitted to come back to the earth until the restoration of all things be accomplished? Wow, I wonder how stupid you have to be to come up with some of these false teachings. People really need to open their spiritual eyes and see what the Bible actually says before they open their mouths and prove how ignorant that they are. It is very clear to me that my commenter has a scriptural dilemma to resolve; a conflict of monumental proportions. Either the prophecies that he says have not been fulfilled and God is a liar or the prophecies have been fulfilled in the spiritual realm.
Act 26:15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
This verse must baffle the minds of many of the mindless deceived people in the world. Saul was persecuting the church and Jesus says he was persecuting Him personally. How is that even possible? If you think only naturally it is not possible, but if you begin to think spiritually it is very possible. You see the problem is when people do not see things spiritually they are limited to their natural view points and these are clearly not what God intended for us to use. The Bible clearly says that the people in the church are the “body of Christ” and members in particular (Rom 12:5, 1 Cor 12:27, Eph 4:12, Eph 5:23). Just as the human body is made up of millions and billions of individual cells, God is saying my spiritual body is made up of millions and billions of individual people. I’m about to blow some of your minds with my next statement of revelation so get ready for a new bomb shell. You can clearly see according to the Bible that Christ has NEVER technically left the earth fully yet! As long as the church is here Christ is here since we are His body and He is our head. So obviously my ignorant commenter is just a bit confused and does not know what he is talking about in this instance. If Jesus never left the earth then it is perfectly legal for Him to return anytime He likes for any reason He likes and this would include the rapture of the church, His body. When the church is raptured and only when the church departs the earth has Christ fully left the earth. However, it is more complicated than that since even after the rapture occurs more people on the earth can become Christians also and choose to believe.
Act 26:16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
So according to the words of Jesus himself, He has appeared to Saul to make him a witness to the truth. Wouldn’t it be nice if Jesus would do this with everybody on the earth? However, there is no Bible verse that says He will do this so do not pray for Jesus to come and appear to you, for more than likely your prayer will be answered by Satan and not God. You can clearly see in this verse that Jesus is saying that He has appeared to Saul for a specific purpose and then in the final statement of this verse Jesus claims that He will come back to teach him more things in the future. The statement that Jesus made goes from present tense to future tense and it is very important for you to see this. Jesus is able to appear to anyone that He wishes at any time. It is His choice to do this and not yours. I have heard more than one modern minister say that Jesus appeared to them in a vision and that He taught them something very important to tell us. So if Jesus wants to come back to the earth, He is not going to check with you and see if it is OK for Him to come. Get it? He is the head of the church and not you!
Act 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.
Here is just another Bible example of how Jesus came to Paul and appeared to him on the earth without asking for anyone’s permission. Please understand the precedence that is being established and is presented to you. If the Bible records these specific instances where Jesus appeared on the earth after His physical ascension into heaven, then there is absolutely nothing stopping Him from coming to rapture His church body out before the tribulation has started. This is really not rocket science but you do have to have the eyes that see spiritual things. You do understand that Jesus does not have to set foot on the earth to catch His church up to where He is, don’t you? So technically speaking the rapture of the church is not Jesus setting foot on the earth at all. We are going up to meet him and he doesn’t have to come down to get us. Therefore, your argument for no rapture is purely fictional rhetoric.
So back to the Davidic covenant; let’s return to this and see what else the Bible says. We know that Jesus Christ is called the son of David in Matthew 1:1, 9:27, 12:23, 15:22, 20:30-31, 21:9, 21:15, 22:42-45, Luke 1:32, Rom 1:3, 2 Tim 2:8, and Rev 22:16 to name a few of the verses that reveal this information to us. Then you can read in Revelation 1:8 that Jesus says “I am alive forevermore”. So clearly Jesus has been resurrected never to die again. Based upon these scriptures Jesus certainly qualifies to be the eternal ruler of his father David’s throne which was prophesied in the Old Testament.
Luk 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
Luk 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
Luk 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
What we must do after reading this angelic prophecy given to Mary about her coming son Jesus is determine if God is declaring a natural kingdom or a spiritual kingdom. There are obviously many Christians who do not understand that there is a difference and this is their first mistake. What these Christians do is to think naturally first, without considering or finding out if there is any other way that this prophecy could be fulfilled in the spiritual realm. For example, in many of my Bible lessons I have taught you that the Bible declares that there are three different cities named Jerusalem. So when you read a prophecy of Jerusalem you must determine which city is being spoken of. I guess this concept blows the mind of many people and they are just not making the connection. I believe that they are having trouble making the leap from natural into spiritual things. There is only one city in the natural named Jerusalem in the Bible and this is all they can wrap their minds around, but the Bible teaches us that there are two other cities in the spiritual realm called by the exact same name. This makes correct Bible interpretation infinitely more complex. By assuming that a scripture is speaking of the natural city you are more than likely missing the truth. You see we can find many verses in the Bible that reveal there is a major difference between these two realms. For example, read Matthew 5:34 and 23:22 to see God’s throne being described as a place in heaven. This is clearly a spiritual location, a spiritual throne and a spiritual kingdom based upon the fact that God is a spirit (John 4:24). If you can see the existence of parallel realities in the Bible you will be far above the capabilities of many people who read the Bible using their natural one dimensional mind. I guess I need to do a Bible teaching on the reality of the spiritual nation of Israel. I have avoided this subject because of the potential controversy that it can stir up. You see I have read other people’s blogs after they have written about spiritual Israel and they are attacked vehemently by narrow minded spiritually blind people who cannot see the truth and what the Bible says. Let me ask those who fight this Bible subject so enthusiastically if there is like the Bible says a spiritual city called Jerusalem, what is it the capital of? We can clearly understand that natural Jerusalem was and is the capital city of the natural nation of Israel here on the earth. Can you not think logically enough to conclude that a spiritual nation of Israel must exist if God names his new heavenly city Jerusalem in Revelation 21? I mean come on and use your brain.
I guess I have gone long enough in today’s lesson. I have not fully covered the subject about the Davidic Covenant and there are many other scriptures that we could add to this discussion. I want you to think with me if God tells David in 2 Samuel that his kingdom will be an eternal one, what do you think that implies? To me it is obvious that it is not a natural kingdom here on this earth. There are many Bible verses that say that Jesus will come back and establishes a 1000 year reign of peace on the earth. This is God’s day of rest prophesied from Genesis 1. I think that there are some confused people who are expecting Jesus to set up His eternal kingdom in this 1000 year time frame and that is why they say that the rapture cannot take place until this happens. However, this is just more misguided interpretations of the Bible while they clearly are not looking for the real answers. Did you know that the 1000 year natural reign of Christ is not forever? I mean think! It clearly only lasts a 1000 years and then what? The Bible tells us that Satan will be released from the pit to deceive again. So everyone who is born during the 1000 years of the righteous reign of Christ will be given the opportunity to make a choice and to be deceived like we have all had these same choices to make. There is an eternal Kingdom of God and the Bible says it is in me right now. Jesus clearly taught us where His kingdom was located when He said “the Kingdom of God is in you” (Luke 17:21). So men are looking for external things while God has established His kingdom on the inside of us in a spiritual realm you cannot see. Either change your perspective to see the truth or choose to remain in your deception. Thanks for reading my Bible lesson on the Davidic Covenant and why the rapture can take place at any time. God Bless!