(Ver 1.0) This is a plea to my United States readers and subscribers. If you live in another nation this may not apply to you. It is past time for U.S. Christians to wake up and get motivated and involved in the God given responsibilities that He has provided to us in our nation by voting. Voting is a Constitutional right and a privilege in the United States of America that is not available to the majority of the over 7 billion people on planet earth. So many nations have no say in who leads them and makes the laws. For example, any communist nation or socialist nation if they even hold elections are not real elections and are fixed for the power of the ruling class’ agenda. But, here in America we have a government for the people and by the people and we are allowed the right to choose who makes our laws. But, one man said it this way and it applies to voting “the only thing that is necessary for Satan and evil to win is for GOOD CHRISTIANS to do NOTHING”.
Please do not take this privilege lightly or for granted. Every election should be as important as a Presidential election year. Tomorrow is NOT a presidential election year and the number of participants in the election usually drops very significantly. That makes your vote tomorrow even more important than in a larger election. Your vote matters and it will count significantly more than you can possibly imagine if you choose to align and agree with voting according to God’s Truth, Morals and Values found in the Bible.
The indifference and passivity of the real blood bought saved Christian Church member MUST come to an end. We MUST not remain silent anymore or we will continue to allow Satan to win and to shove his agenda down us and over us. Satan has almost eliminated all Christian morals and values in our public education system because Christians have either not voted or did not vote correctly in alignment with Bible Truth, either way Satan has been winning. Public prayer has been eliminated and the Bible has been banned by Satan’s design from the influence of young impressionable minds. Girls are not taught to know they are girls to act like ladies and boys are not taught to know they are boys and to act like gentlemen. Please help stop this insanity for you and your children’s sake.
Practically every University of old was founded by Christians to teach people the Bible, but now real Bible Truth and Christianity is rare to be found taught in any of them. We are in a tremendous unseen spiritual warfare. Satan causes the distraction of being busy with minor unimportant things and other cares of this life to cause Christians to look the other way at the evils rapidly taking over our nation and voting to change them. Our children’s future will be doomed if we do not cooperate to participate with God and His WORD and go and vote with Him! Teach YOUR children through a living example to demonstrate your unwavering commitment to show them the importance and priority an election should be given by going and voting. This will help us ALL now and them in the future. Then discuss with your Children why you voted and who you voted for. Train up a child in the way that they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.
This election taking place on November 6, 2018 will either be a victory for Satan if Christians remain apathetic or for Jesus if His Body obeys Him and acts according to agree with His Word. I am a very firm believer that God will judge every Christian for “if they voted” and “how they voted”. Please vote as an informed Christian and not a guessing Christian. Please go and read both the Republican and Democratic Platforms. These are each party’s stance, beliefs and goals for our nation’s future course and direction. Please determine which platform aligns the closest to God’s Word and Truth found in the BIBLE. It is only with us agreeing with God and the Bible that we have any assurance of being saved as a Christian. I ask ALL Christians to pray first before voting to ask Him who He would like you to vote for. Seek God’s wisdom, guidance and direction and then submit to His wise LORDSHIP and leadership to obey.
I do not believe that God will command or force anyone who to vote for. That would be wrong and a clear violation of our freewill to choose good or evil. Like Adam in the beginning God set before him a choice and then gave him the right to make the wrong choice. His wrong choice had major consequences for all of us still today. This principle is still true today. All of our wrong choices up till now and those that we may choose to make tomorrow will potentially have the same lasting consequences for all of our children in the tomorrows to come. This is why we MUST find the right people to vote for with God’s Word as our basis to vote.
I’ll end this encouragement to go and vote with this information. My wife and I voted for all Republicans. We chose this by careful prayer and Bible study. We understand that the Republican platform more closely aligns with God’s Word than the opposition party of the Democrats. We understood that even if Republicans were not perfect we had to choose who it was that was closer alignment with God’s values. For example, the Republican platform supports more closely the “Right of Human Life” including unborn babies and the Democrats do not. Democrats support the murder of an unborn child even up to the day before a child is born. Many of these terminated children being killed by doctors in the womb could survive if brought out of the womb and modern medical technology was used for the good of life instead of their death. I can’t support that.
Democrats have aligned themselves with the removal of all of God and Bible references from Public Schools, Government buildings and meetings and even our military. Almost anything that promotes God, Jesus or the Bible is off limits to Democrats and to the people that they govern. Democrats have aligned very strongly with the redefinition of a Biblical Family being between one husband and one wife. I can’t support that either. Our last Democrat President allowed the United Nations to condemn Israel one of our closest allies without using the U.S. veto power to overrule it. This spoke volumes to me. Democrats are moving to a socialist agenda very, very rapidly and I could go on and on and on about the major issues that I see that are in direct conflict with sound Bible principles of morality and values. I pray that you will do your research and then make the right choice to vote with God.
I pray that I did not offend you but if I did, I will not apologize for speaking the truth in love. The apostle Paul had the same problem. In Galatians 4:16 he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit “I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” We all need to become more like the Apostle Paul. Ask other Christian friends and relatives to go and vote and then tell them the reason why you did and who you voted for. Provide everyone Bible reasons why you voted how you did and not your opinion. Be an encourager, a blessing and choose to speak the truth in love despite the threat of losing them as friend. Finally, if you are going to leave me a hateful comment about this blog, I may or may not read it. But, I will definitely not post it on my website. May God bless you, guide you and lead you to vote His will and His way. I love you all.
(Ver 1.1) This is Part 1 in a series of very essential basic Bible lessons concerning the subject of Understanding the Parable of the Sower. This may be a very familiar subject to many Christians but this assumed familiarity could cause some to not open their heart and mind to receive from God something fresh. A spirit of pride caused by an assumed broad knowledge of a subject will too often cause some to not accept exactly what was new that God wanted to teach. However, I believe that many of the fundamental concepts found in this Bible lesson series should be a delight for most Christians to receive, learn and apply. We do appreciate your prayers and the time reading these Bible lessons. We hope they are a blessing and we pray for all our readers. We will begin the subject study with this outstanding claim by the LORD Jesus:
Mar 4:13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
We will be diving deep into some of the fundamental principles that were taught by the LORD Jesus from this parable. Many of these are deep spiritual truths that are not easily found even though they were given to us in a simple natural parable form. According to Mark 4:13, Jesus claimed that to know and understand this parable was the most important parable there is. It is significantly stated by Jesus in this verse that if we do not know and understand this parable then grasping even the basics of any other parable would probably be futile. This is why I believe the LORD wanted us to study this subject today. Today will be the first basic lesson and subject introduction in the series. Then we will break down the spiritual elements in more depth in subsequent lessons. Let’s get started.
From an in-depth study of this subject it has become evident that the Parable of the Sower is a direct lesson on how and why some humans obtain “faith” for “eternal salvation” and why many others fail to receive. I have concluded that there are two disparate types of people being described in this parable. There were those at the end of the parable that obtained “faith for salvation” and produced spiritual fruit and then there were those at the beginning and middle of the parable that either never had faith to be saved or abandoned their faith to produce no lasting spiritual fruit. Those that produced lasting “fruit” live and those that do not produce lasting “fruit” eventually die and go to hell. The entire process of faith, salvation, human choices and how each work together to produce fruit is God’s design of the seed sowing process. It is also revealed that this process of seed sowing has revealed enemies that assisted in the process to cause wrong human choice for a crop failure. These truths are all summarized in this parable.
Bible faith is one of the central and primary themes of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I believe that it is essential that we all learn and understand as much as we can about what has been revealed to us by God on this vital subject of Bible Faith. We know from reading Hebrews 11: 6 that if we do not have any faith it is absolutely impossible to please God. We also learn from reading Ephesians 2:8 that we are only saved by God’s grace through our faith. Based upon just these two verses alone, God makes it sound like that if we do not have faith we are in serious trouble. This to me is why we need to study the subject of “Bible Faith”. I am mentioning this first to inform all readers that understanding Bible Faith is one key to understanding this Parable. If you have not read the series on this website about this subject I would strongly recommend that you do so by clicking “Understanding Bible Faith Part 1”.
I believe that every human has the God given right to choose to participate in the “God kind of faith” (Mk 11:22) fully, partially or regrettably to choose not to partake whatsoever. Humans even have the God given right to choose to initially participate and then to turn back to choose to walk away from God’s plan for their life. I can hear people say, “faith is not that important and is only mentioned a very few times in the Bible”. If we do a search on the English word “faith”, it occurs only twice in the KJV Old Testament with it then being found in 229 verses in the KJV New Testament. Clearly the emphasis of faith was increased significantly by the LORD to His people in the New Covenant. There are 788,258 words found in the KJV Bible and I will admit that there are so many other words and subjects in the Bible mentioned more frequently than faith. “LORD” is mentioned 7365, “God” is mentioned 4293, Israel 2509, and we could go on and on with many other words. I found these numbers off of a website and I did not attempt to verify them so please don’t use them as the Gospel. I was only attempting to make a point that many other words and subjects have a greater mention besides faith. But, yet I still believe that this subject and topic of “Faith” is one of the top 3 themes that every Christian must learn after being saved.
I can still hear people say “I just can’t find faith in very many chapters of my Bible”. What I have learned from years of Bible study is that we must search for whatever we want to find (Mat 7:7). If we are not looking for faith we will never find faith. But, I believe that if we learn to change our focus on the known features, characteristics and values of faith then we will be able to find faith almost everywhere. What I am trying to say is that just because a verse, passage, chapter or book does not contain the actual word “faith’ does not mean the subject is not found there. Too many Christians are reading the Bible with wrong thought perspectives and would truly be amazed what is found in the Bible by learning to view the words on the page more like God designed them to be “as spiritual truth”. This is literally a very true Bible study methodology for any subject.
I desire in this introduction just to help us shift our focus. Just because the “Parable of the Sower” never mentions the word “Faith” does not mean that it is not directly all about the subject. I desire to teach the concepts of how a familiar set of verses that are often used to teach other subjects can contain a vast amount of truth on the subject of “faith” if we are willing to rethink to change our perspectives. In this series, I plan to visit many verses that do not mention faith directly in both the Old and New Testaments in order to show how God can use them to actually teach us key hidden “faith” principles. We will also explore related verses in other parts of the Bible that greatly assist us in understanding concepts not directly mentioned in the Parable.
We will be using this information to focus on how to understand the “Parable of the Sower”. In this lesson series we will hopefully learn to search and find relationships in this parable to the subject of faith, salvation, right and wrong words, right and wrong human choices and the spiritual battle of good versus evil for all human lives. I trust God to help me do this and to help you to also open your heart and mind to receive it and then for you to become an Acts 17:11 noble Berean and go and verify what was taught in your personal Bible study time. Please, please, please, do not take my word for anything if you do not see it in your own Bible.
INTRODUCTION TO GOD’S PROCESS OF SALVATION AND FAITH
IN THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
As I have previously mentioned, I would like for us to rethink the Parable of the Sower in the light of it being one of God’s revealed processes and projects to activate faith in humans for their eternal spiritual salvation. It has become very clear to me through Bible study that Jesus’ taught us a great spiritual representation of how human salvation by His extraordinary Grace through our humble cooperative faith works using a natural seed planting and farming truth many call the “Parable of the Sower”. Every parable ever taught by Jesus in the Bible was a natural truth that helps us to understand a far superior spiritual unseen and unknown truth. I have grown into the belief that this greater spiritual truth taught by Jesus in this parable is concerning primarily God’s extended grace and mercy for human salvation through their freewill choice to believe in His Word.
I further believe that this parable represents a description of how people are either saved or lost through a spiritual war of words (good vs. evil) that will take place in the human mind and heart. I also believe that this hidden unseen spiritual warfare helps to influence the decisions that a person makes concerning their salvation depending upon which spirit they choose to yield to. A person’s focused choices of importance, priority, value and worth towards God’s spoken Word will determine their eternal destiny after this natural life ends. Does this sound interesting to study? I hope and pray it does.
It amazes me that Jesus taught all of these hidden spiritual truths being described in a natural farming concept and process. The natural and the spiritual processes represent two parallel realities of truths. Growing natural food and growing spiritual faith for salvation (aka fruit) were taught to us by Jesus to represent a common paradigm. This to me is so amazing. The truth has been hiding in plain sight for the entire duration of human history on this earth. This truly displays the Omniscience and Wisdom of God.
Even though Jesus was speaking and teaching in natural terms created from the beginning, He was really not teaching us about natural farming. As I just stated humans have known this natural process of farming for literally many thousands of years. Through these basic principles of life found in simple to understand naturally created methods of farming, we can now begin to understand how spiritual life occurs or in many cases does not occur. Let’s now read the “Parable of the Sower” to refresh our memory. But also, please read the Parable with a notepad and a pencil or pen so that you can list the main items that you find as important and those that may jump out at you as you read.
Mar 4:3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
Mar 4:4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
Mar 4:5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
Mar 4:6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
Mar 4:7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
Mar 4:8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
Mar 4:9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Jesus used such a very simplistic natural farming design and process to explain to us the incredibly vital interrelated subjects of God’s Word, the devil, words, faith, salvation, listening, hearing, understanding, salvation enemies and making right choices to name only a few basic concepts that I have observed. These are just a few of the most critical and highest spiritual truths that I have found so far in the Parable. I know you may not see all of these by just skimming the parable in a rapid surface reading. In fact I believe it is practically impossible to know what the parable is really about by only reading the parable. I view the parable as a type of riddle or puzzle being presented for curious humans to dig into to solve.
I believe that there are far too many Christians that have not given this living natural example the priority and emphasis that it deserves. I believe that it is essential for every Christian to learn this parable as soon as possible after being born again in order to help them to begin to mature and grow spiritually. Reading the parable you should have noticed some of the main components being mentioned as I asked you to do. I found at least 10 symbolic references that I want us to focus upon. I’ll list them for your consideration and you can compare my list with your list:
- A Sower
- 4-6 Types of Soil (Depending upon viewpoint)
- 3 different Soils that produce no fruit or no enduring fruit
- 1-3 Soils with increasing levels of fruit production (30%, 60%, or 100%)
- Enemy Birds
- Enemy Stones
- Enemy Sun Heat
- Enemy Thorns or Weeds
Wow, this list is so vital to understand in-depth. However, I will be unable to give a complete study of every symbol in this first lesson. But, we will try to explore these items in increasing depth later in the series. Today we will only try to introduce the important spiritual symbols given by Jesus. Before we get into this discussion please review the explanation of the parable from Jesus. Use your notepad and your pencil to find what Jesus said the key elements represent and then list what each of them symbolically represented next to their corresponding symbol:
Mar 4:10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
Mar 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
Mar 4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
Mar 4:13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
Mar 4:14 The sower soweth the word.
Mar 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Mar 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
Mar 4:17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
Mar 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
Mar 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
Mar 4:20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
This explanation from Jesus of the Parable is also absolutely awesome. We should obviously understand that Jesus knew and understood what every symbol represented and how all the positive elements worked together to cause the plan of God to succeed and how all the negative elements worked to cause the plan of God to fail. I hope that you can agree that it should be obvious to us that some symbolic elements worked favorably together to produce a good fruit crop while other symbolic elements fought against the planned process for a positive outcome in order to keep the fruit seed and fruit crop from succeeding. This is the introduction to the spiritual battle that is taking place in the unseen spiritual realm. It is a spiritual war for human lives. I pray that you are paying close attention to what was just said, because this is very important in the rest of this revealed truth.
In verse 11 Jesus revealed to us that these combined natural elements fashioned into a symbolic parable form represented a divine mystery. The Greek word translated as “mystery” is G3466 and it literally means “to shut the mouth in order to keep a secret”. All God had to do was not speak to humans and we all would be very ignorant concerning any truth of spiritual realities. But, God was now beginning to open His mouth through Jesus to explain these many hidden secrets. At the time when Jesus was physically on the earth He was the only one speaking to a limited few humans at that time. But, since these words were written in a book form we today can also benefit by studying and applying them.
We must also notice what else Jesus said in verse 11. He told His disciples that at that time He did not desire to give everyone the secret’s explanation that He had spoken the parable to. He said “Unto you it is given but unto them that are on the outside I speak only in parables”. That is still a basic principle that is true today. Just because most everyone can find a Bible and can read the Bible does not mean that any of it is understandable to them. We confirm this principle from reading 1 Corinthians 2:14 that informed us those spiritual things of God are not received by a natural man because they are spiritually discerned. Spiritually asleep people (Eph 5:14) are usually unable to feed on deep spiritual things of the Spirit. Here now is my list of some of the major points that I found listed and what I believe that they are revealed to represent:
|1. Sower||A Spiritual Bible Preacher or Teacher (Specifically Jesus in this parable when it was spoken the first time, it later became any real Bible teacher)|
|2. Seed||Seed=Symbolic Spiritual Spoken Words from God|
|3. Soil||Heart (aka the spirit) of a human, God’s Spiritual Garden|
|4. Enemy Birds||Spiritual opponent called Satan, devils & demons that Blind Human Minds using words in the form of thoughts|
|5. Enemy Stones||The wrong hard hearted choice to not do the Word that was heard (Sown into their heart)|
|6. Enemy Sun Heat||Tormenting Words of Persecution sent because the Word of God was Believed. Persecution pressures many to make the wrong choices to returning to a life of sin|
|7. Enemy Thorns||Satanic Worldly Distractions &Temptations of the flesh and mind|
|8. Fruit||God’s goal for His Seed sown (a spiritual harvest – representing the fruits of the spirit and human salvation)|
I regret that I am unable to go into a great level of detail for every Parable Element in this list today. I will attempt to cover every element found here in this list later in subsequent lessons in the series. I would also recommend that you go and read the explanations of the Parable in the books of Matthew and Luke because these contain additional information that the book of Mark does not include. I will be referring to some of these other writer’s explanations in this series but I will not be giving the entire verses in this lesson in order to decrease the length.
In my list I have focused on what I considered to be 3 dependably positive elements, 4 consistently negative elements and one element that I will list into a variable, changeable or unstable category. The 3 positive elements listed in the parable were the sower, the seed and a good fruitful outcome that was produced from the combined sower and seed elements. The success of these 3 consistently positive elements (seed, sower and fruit) represents a successful “faith” process and project taking place in a human heart (soil). The 4 potential consistently negative elements were described as enemies to the positive elements and these were called 1) birds, 2) stones, 3) heat and 4) thorns. The single element that I considered to be the lone variable or a changeable element is the soil (heart of man). The soil is clearly the most frequently mentioned item of the parable being spoken of at least 4 times. I believe that this makes the soil one of God’s major focused items in the entire description. I will also say that the consistently positive and negative elements are all spiritual. The soil changeable element can either be carnal or spiritual dependent upon right or wrong choices made from thoughts selected.
I’m going to end this lesson with this introduction to the subject. I pray that this has at least raised your interest into learning more. In the next lesson in the series we will move into a greater detailed description of each element named beginning with the “Seed” symbolic element first. Thank you for reading and studying the Bible with us. We are humbled to know that there are people that spend their valuable time on this website. May God continue to lead you, guide you, direct you and bless you.
We are so very blessed to have so many readers and subscribers who LOVE the Bible this much to study with us on AGAPEGEEK. We will be praying for you all this coming 2018 year. We also appreciate your prayers for us also. Thank you to every prayer partner. God has continued to bless us because of your prayers.
HAVE A VERY BLESSED CHRISTMAS!
From the AGAPEGEEK Website
(Ver 1.3) This is Part 2 in a series of very advanced spiritual Bible lessons on what I believe is a critical and important subject that has been popularly overlooked by so many Bible teachers and students. The more that I have studied this subject the more that I have become absolutely convinced that this is a required Bible theme to learn about. After learning this subject we then must learn how to balance it with other vital spiritual Bible subjects like Faith, Love and Grace to name just 3 other major Bible themes. If you have not read “Part 1” I would recommend that you go back and read this lesson before continuing here.
Too many times in the church a pastor receives a revelation from God on a particular subject and too often they take it way beyond the base revelation to an extreme position of error. This is what I often call “Taking A Truth and Making it THE Only Truth or THE Highest or Most Important Truth without a Regard to any Other Truths in the Bible”. Any Bible truth can be exalted into an extreme position either to the left or to the right of the balanced middle and this will usually cause the belief to become an unbalanced deception. It is happening in many churches today with the Grace truth. Too many modern Bible teachers have taken the awesome truth of God’s revealed Grace and simply ignored the other central themes of God’s Holiness and Judgment to name just two that must be balanced with His Grace correctly.
In today’s Bible lesson we will be introduced to the major theme of “Judgment” from the perspective of the Heavenly Court system. Grace and Judgment are both central themes found from Genesis to Revelation. We can see these subject threads woven together in practically every book. For example, in Genesis 6:8 God says Noah found His Grace. But, within the same context the world was found to be so wicked that God was sorry that He ever created man on the earth (Gen 6:6) and He judged the earth with a great flood. The subjects of Grace and Judgment are found intertwined so closely together that it should absolutely amaze us.
In this lesson we will be looking at this subject of Judgment from the viewpoint of New Testament writers like Paul and Peter. Both wrote about grace but they also included a balanced message of God’s judgment even in the same context. I would be a fool to ignore the subject of divine judgment just because I like the subject of Grace much more. You see our flesh loves the grace message but our spirit should understand that there is still judgment available for sin. Grace is not the freedom to sin with no consequences, but should rather be viewed as a position of humble thankfulness that I was saved from committing sin.
The battle between doing right and doing wrong occurs in our minds. Satan tempts us with thoughts to sin and God convicts us through our spirit. This battle can be called the human conscious. However, the human conscious should be viewed to be the Holy Spirit trying to help us think correctly, and then to say and do what is true, good and right. I, like other Christians am in a war between these two realities. It is my goal and priority to let my born-again spirit overrule my flesh desires but sometimes it is more of a challenge than at other times. I pray that you understand what I am talking about.
I believe the LORD showed me that this lesson series on God’s Divine Spiritual Laws and Court System in Heaven must be read, understood and balanced rightly with today’s extreme Grace teaching that tries to teach us many things that do not touch on what is being stated in the verses that will be clearly covered in this series.
God teaches us very plainly in Hosea 4:6 that His people are destroyed (by Satan) because of their ignorance and stubborn refusal to learn the truth. He is so clear in John 8:32 that it is only by the dedicated continuation in studying the Bible that we will ever learn the actual truth and only then can this truth that we know correctly set us free from the things that the enemy uses to keep us in captivity and bondage.
Therefore, we should learn that what we do not know is being used against us by our legal opponent and adversary Satan to gain an advantage over us while we live here on this planet (2 Cor 2:11). I pray that you will continue to read these lessons with an open and receptive mind avoiding any prejudicial preconceived ideas, thoughts or conclusions towards what is being taught. I believe with all my heart that it is the Holy Spirit’s direction for this information to go forth and be spread to all believers. Pray first before continuing and ask the Holy Spirit to bear witness with the truth and to reveal anything that may be only a man’s opinion on any verse, topic or subject.
We are commanded by God to study and to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). But, only the Holy Spirit can lead us into all truth (Ps 25:5, John 16:13). So put your full confidence in Him and not me or anyone else on the earth. Let’s begin Part 2 with a quick review of the first lesson in which I have added some additional supporting evidence that was not included in the first lesson.
Lesson 1 Review with New Additional Thoughts
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
In the first lesson in the series we should have learned at least two primary essential Bible truths. The first truth came from the Lord recorded by Peter to us in 1 Peter 5:8 and the second came to us from John written in Revelation 12:10. We also learned from two very important Greek words. The first Greek word G476 was translated as “adversary” and this word meant an “opponent in a lawsuit or a court of law”. The second Greek word was G2725 and was translated as an “accuser” and it is defined as a “person who brings a complaint of law to court against someone else that allegedly commits a crime”. Both were very accurate technical descriptions of Satan who God informed us in Revelation 12:10 brings up charges of accusations against us as brothers and sisters in Christ every single day and night. The term “day and night” in Revelation 12:10 must represent a continuous repeated daily action of Satan. These two words are used like this several times in the New Testament and this is the correct way to interpret them.
Always remember that Satan is God’s enemy and our enemy and please never believe that he has no right, power or ability to win a law case over you because he is very tricky and has been around much longer than you and knows so much more than you can imagine. We are in a legal fight for our lives and we must understand that doing nothing to fight or win permits Satan almost automatic victory.
In 1 Peter 5:8 Christians not the world are warned that we have an “adversary” who is named the “devil” and he is plainly defined to be our legal opponent in the court of heavenly law. It is worth noting again that this Greek word translated as “adversary” is only used 4 times in the N.T. and every time it is mentioned it refers to a court case between legal opponents. This was certainly no accident and God is informing us in a very pure direct easy to understand way that this is how He is using this word in 1 Peter 5:8 also. There can be no other logical conclusion that Satan is anything else but a spiritual individual that is bringing up charges before God to gain an advantage over us in order to devour us. If you don’t believe me please hang in there and read all the verses that we will cover today and then tell me if you still believe the same.
We should have learned from reading 1 Peter 5:8 that our adversary the devil (Satan) is described to be going about the whole earth to find someone (primarily a Christian since it was written to us) to devour. I would ask any reader this question to consider, what is Satan seeking (looking for) that permits him to devour some but not others? It would appear to me based upon Job chapter 1 that God places a hedge of protection in order to keep Satan out. Why would it be necessary for a hedge of protection to be present if Satan could do nothing to Job unless he had permission? I find that to be an amazing question. If Satan could only harm someone if granted permission as is taught by many Bible teachers there would be no need for any hedge round about Job. It is fascinating to me to see in Job 1 that Satan accuses God of doing this unjustly and accuses Job of fearing God for no cause. There were at least two accusations brought before God’s court and we need to see this.
However, it is very important to learn from 1 Peter 5:8 that Satan cannot devour everyone. Therefore, there must be something that a Christian does or does not do that permits Satan’s admittance into their lives. Also by antithesis reasoning there must be something that a Christian can do to keep Satan from killing, stealing and destroying their lives. I believe the determining factor is our sin and we will learn why as we continue in this study.
I have concluded from significant study of the book of Job that Job opened the door in the hedge and we will certainly be getting into this part of the subject as we continue the Bible study series. Please expect to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit on what we all need to do to keep Satan as far away from us as is possible in this world. Let’s continue to explore another new thought.
I believe that it is also critical to learn the definition of the title “devil” used by the LORD in 1 Peter 5:8. We should learn these details in order to more fully comprehend the impact of the warning being spoken of by the LORD. I believe the title being used in every verse reveals a great deal about Satan’s specific character, plans and methods of operation. The Greek word G1228 that is translated as “devil” literally means an “accuser”. This title speaks volumes of information to us. It teaches us that Satan and his followers are speaking malicious accusation against us as related in Revelation 12:10 both day and night. Who do you believe they are doing this to? Of course we learned in Job 1 before the law was given Revelation 12 long after Jesus was resurrected from the dead that these accusations have been taken up before God the supreme judge in Heaven. I pray that you will agree that spiritual trials will continue until the middle of the tribulation where all of sudden Satan is finally cast down never to return.
You may remember in Lesson 1 that God connected this verse statement of truth found in 1 Peter 5:8 directly to the activity found in the book of Job using very similar synonymous truths. I believe this was not an accident or chance occurrence and that it confirms that Satan came before the throne of God to hold a court trial of the man Job. I also firmly believe that this connection confirms that these same court trials were occurring even after the death, burial and resurrection of the LORD Jesus in the early church day when Peter wrote this epistle. I believe 1 Peter 5:8 was a part of God’s commentary of the O.T. story of Job that helps us interpret what happened in the book more accurately. Always remember a basic rule of interpretation that the God who wrote the Bible is smarter than both you and I and He will always assist us in the correct interpretation His own writings.
I would recommend that you go and reread Job 1 and 2 again and again from this new legal trial perspective. For example, we should have learned in Job 1:6 that Satan had come into heaven before the presence of God Almighty to present his legal case for obtaining access into Job’s blessed and protected life. We should be able to know that this was an accusatory trial case being presented to God since the spiritual being described is revealed to us by the name “Satan” in Job chapters 1 and 2 nearly 14 times. God’s usage of this name proves to us by the name’s definition that this being was present before God as an “opponent” and an “adversary” present to accuse Job. We should be able to easily see how the name “Satan” in Job and the description “adversary” in 1 Peter 5:8 are married together. One is a Hebrew transliteration (Job) and the other is just a translated Greek word (1 Peter 5). But, both mean the exact same thing.
Again names and titles in the Bible have great significance. None are there by unplanned chance. For example, one of the first direct titles mentioned of Satan found in the Bible is seen in Genesis 3:1. Here, Satan is called by a symbolic description of “serpent”. The title used by God in Genesis 3:1 is a totally different type of informative description. Serpent is in no manner like the other names used in other verses like Satan, devil, accuser or adversary. This teaches us that Satan was not present in the garden to accuse, but to do something else that he is also good at.
If you look up the definition of “serpent” in the Strong’s Concordance you will find it comes from a Hebrew root word H517 that can describe someone who came to Eve’s mind to whisper a magic spell. Wow, that is deeper than many may possibly comprehend. Serpent literally meant someone who was attempting to magically foretell the future to Eve. My main point here is that God reveals what Satan does or is doing to us by his symbols, names and titles. We need to learn this principle and use it to help us understand spiritually what is then happening in the context. Let’s get back to our lesson 1 review.
It is critical to see how God asks Satan where he had come from in Job 1:7. Because God is the omniscient author of the entire Bible He knows the right questions to ask to teach us what is happening. It is this wise question and true answer of Satan that provides the joining evidence that we need to learn from. Satan replies to God’s question very truthfully by saying he had just come from walking up and down on the face of the earth which is the amazing parallel admission of confirmation of the truth that we had learned about Satan in 1 Peter 5:8. This Hebrew word in Job 1:7 which was translated as “going to and fro” literally means that Satan had just come from traveling all around the earth and was there in heaven for an implied purpose. We learned Satan’s motivation for this movement from earth to heaven in God’s commentary description in 1 Peter 5:8. Satan was only searching the earth so that he could locate one of God’s people on the planet that he could devour. This is exactly what Satan does to Job, is it not? If we believe anything has changed from Job to Peter we would be mistaken. Satan was doing the exact same thing in Job’s day as he was doing in Peter’s day and even all the way to the current church now. We are in the exact same church as Peter was writing to therefore, please don’t write off these words as unimportant or as not applying to you.
This direct connected satanic activity description between Job 1:7, 1 Peter 5:8 to Revelation 12:10 is no inadvertent assembly of synonymous truth. God has designed the Bible with tremendous amounts of hidden connected verses and these help us to understand correctly the information that He planned to reveal to us in these last days. I pray that you are learning how God does this so that we do not have to lean onto our own weak human reasoning as so many have.
We then should have learned from Job 1 that it was only after the appearance of Satan before God’s throne of judgment that Satan was given access to come back to the earth to devour (kill, steal and to destroy) Job, his family and his possessions. It is so very clear to me that Satan won this access legally and justly to Job’s life in God’s heavenly court system.
I believe that God is the Supreme Judge of everyone but, I also believe His character is amazingly far above our human comprehension. We cannot ever compare God to any human judge on the earth. I have never seen any human judge that knows everything and never make any errors. No, I believe that God is perfect and does not make any mistakes in judgment and that He is a completely fair and just to humans in every spiritual court case. Therefore, if judgment is pronounced on any man there was a valid cause and reason and we will learn more of this as we continue the series.
I also believe that God is compassionate and merciful in His judgments. Let’s explore this part of the topic briefly. Job is not directly mentioned very many times in the Bible but this next verse is another divine commentary on the court trial and verdict that was rendered in this law case found in the book of Job.
Jas 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
According to God’s Holy Word commentary He showed Job great mercy in His judgment. I know it might not seem that was true by our reading the book, but He did. For example, we can clearly read in Job 1:12 how God restricted Satan from touching or taking the physical life of Job personally. That limitation was a display of His infinite and great mercy. The entire duration of the trial of Job did not last a significant amount of time especially in light of God’s view of time and eternity. God actually restored and blessed Job at the end of the book more than was taken by Satan away from him at the beginning of the book. So again we see God’s infinite forgiveness, grace and mercy at work. Let’s go back to James 5:11 and continue reading further.
The Greek word that was translated as “the end” in this verse in James is G5056. This is a very fascinating word to understand. One of the primary meanings of the Greek word is “the point aimed at as the limit”. It is absolutely critical to know that Satan’s attack usually have a termination point where it will end. I said usually because it does depend upon if we learn the lesson of Job and stop doing what we were doing to let Satan in our life to devour us. If we repent like Job did and close the open door of attack the blessings of God can and will return.
In one other definition of G5056 it can also represent “the price that was paid as a fine or tax”. Wow that is an important legal description of judgment from a trial if you do not know it. Job paid a very heavy price for his sin, but yet I believe that we can read and see that he was able to get his life back on track by repenting at the end of the book before God in Job 42:6. We should clearly learn from this book that if we do the same we can also recover from what we have done to allow Satan’s access into our lives. I believe that knowledge should encourage and inspire us and give us hope.
I know that many will try writing this teaching of Job off by explaining it away as an act of the Sovereign God giving Satan His permission to teach Job a lesson. Others will say this is the Old Testament and we are not now under that law or that covenant. But I cannot agree with those reasonings using any Biblical rational form of belief since God is a loving good God (1 John 4:8, Romans 2:4) and I believe does not work with Satan to correct His people.
Then you must also understand that Job was not at all under the Mosaic law or the Old Covenant since his life story occurred before either existed. What we are learning are three examples of spiritual judgment from heavenly court trials. Job was before the Old Covenant and law, Peter was in the Old Covenant and under the law and then in 1 Peter 5:8 we in the church are the New Covenant people. We will very soon learn more about these legal activities occurring in the New Covenant as we continue in today’s lesson.
I believe in every realm of the Bible that there must have been some human action, words, motivation, emotion or other negative sin committed by Job or others that unlocked the door within God’s hedge of protection in order for Satan to come into their lives to legally devour them. As we learned again from 1 Peter 5:8 that “Satan is going about seeking for someone whom he may devour” and from this we should be able to logically deduct by strong implication that there MUST be something that we do that allows permits or grants Satan this access.
In the first lesson, I listed at least two reasons that I believe the Lord showed me that opened the access door for evil to enter into Job’s life and I also believe there were other reasons stated that I did not mention. These two door opening sins were first Job’s fear and second his pride that caused him to try to judge God and his friends. Both of these are huge and they still occur in church members today. We could write a lot on these two subjects but I do not have the time today. Perhaps the Lord will lead me to write a more detailed lesson just on the trial of Job someday.
In our second key study verse from lesson 1 we read what the Spirit of God said to us in Revelation chapter 12. Here we learned about how in the future when this chapter is prophesied to occur how Satan the “accuser” of the brethren (the Church) will finally be thrown down to the earth to never again be allowed entrance into heaven to accuse us. This clearly taught us that Satan had been authorized to do this legal accusation in the past human history and he must still be accusing the people of God on the earth even now since Revelation chapters 4 through 12 have not been fulfilled. Therefore, these court battles in heaven will continue according to God’s Word right up until the middle of the 7 year tribulation period. Time is running out on Satan’s access and I believe personally that he is working especially hard at holding as many trials as he can to gain access to devour Christian people remaining on the earth.
I pray that you will at least study these things to see if they are true for yourself (Acts 17:11). Let’s move forward into some more New Covenant verses to learn from on this subject. These fresh perspectives on legal things found in the New Covenant will help build a firm foundation for our knowledge on this important spiritual subject. They will confirm that even though we are in the church age of Grace that we are still living in a time where legal trials are still occurring.
New Testament Spiritual Court Confirmations
In today’s lesson, I would like to expand the topic of spiritual court systems and trials to other New Testament Bible verses that will benefit our study to support this truth from the present day New Covenant saved Christian perspective and viewpoint. As I have just tried to say, I want us to learn beyond any shadow of doubt that these heavenly trials are taking place even as I write and type the lesson and as you may be reading this lesson. This would imply that it is even possible that you or I may be on trial presently in heaven and we probably would not know about it until Satan came to execute the sentence. Remember in the examples that I gave in lesson 1 that Job knew nothing of Satan’s attack and he even attributed everything negative that happened to him as being caused by God’s work. Do you remember in Job 1:21 where Job said that it is God that gave and God has taken away? However, Job was very ignorant of God, His truth, His Character His ways and His enemies and when we are ignorant of what is really happening in the spiritual realm we can very easily fall into the same trap to accuse God for what Satan is doing to us.
Even Peter was totally unaware of the fact that Satan had demanded to sift him like wheat until Jesus directly warned Peter and even prayed for him that his “faith” would not fail during this time of trial. That is a great point to learn from. The objective of every satanic attack is Satan’s attempt to get your faith to waiver enough for you to fall away from following after the LORD. Peter learned a tremendous revelation from this legal trial experience and if you read his letters written to us in the church you will find this was very true. We have already read in 1 Peter 5:8 about our legal adversary but we will back up in the letter to the previous chapter to learn more. Let’s observe two of the most important confirming verses that will reveal and ratify this truth of the existence of heavenly trials being carried out in the church now.
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Can you see the words written to us in the church by Peter given according to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? We will begin by observing the initial time reference of the recorded statement. It appears to me to be plainly a present tense “now at the time of writing” statement. According to proper grammatical framing whatever is written directly that follows this introductory time frame must be applied directly to the reader then and by forward association to us the modern reader now. This makes the next statements active until there is a verse that we encounter that reveals the end of the validity of the stated truth being discussed by God. Let’s read what was occurring to them at that time and by forward implication is occurring now to us also.
The immediate statement following the identification of the timing is about the legal court issue of “judgment”. God informs us that “judgment” will begin with us in the church and again the time being stated was clearly present tense “now” as Peter wrote the letter. This means that this stated “judgment” written about was to believers in Peter’s day of life on the earth while alive and could not be referring to a “future” judgment after they were dead even though there are other judgments in the Bible that people will face after death. I hope you understand that there are repeated judgments listed in the Bible. Just because we are judged once now does not mean we cannot be judged again later and vice versa.
Both of these verses were well written relevant warnings to believers. It is very plainly stated about judgment originating with forgiven saved believers in Christ. Notice how in verse 17 that God presents us with a sharp contrast between believers and non-believers and it cannot be any clearer. Then in verse 18 there is a restated direct warning to every Christian that they are just “barely” saved. We could talk about that truth for a long time and we probably should but it is really not the main thought line of this lesson.
I know for sure that we now live in the prophesied church age of God’s Grace (1 Peter 1:10). I know for sure that God’s Grace saved us through faith (Eph 2:8). But, I also know verses like 1 Peter 4:17 and 18 that speak additional truths and these must be aligned correctly with God’s saving grace and forgiveness message. I just can’t teach this enough. It is so very important to learn.
What do these verses in first Peter say to us? Do you think they do not apply to you now? I know with 100% certainty they apply to me and were written to me. I would strongly recommend that you find out if they were written to you also because if they were not then you may not be a real Christ follower.
God wrote to you and I (the righteous and saved) and He informs us very clearly that we may be just “scarcely” saved. This Greek word that was translated as “scarcely” is G3433 and it means “with difficulty”, “hardly” or “scarcely”. Some synonyms of scarcely are “barely”, “narrowly” or “by a small margin”. Some other idioms for this word would be to be saved by “the skin of your teeth” or to be saved “by a whisker”. This Greek word can also mean “with a lot of significant work” we are saved. Wow, have you heard that taught in any church lately? No, I don’t think so. I know I don’t hear it personally being taught but this is what God said. In fact I hear the opposite being taught in churches and on TV.
You see the antonym or antithesis truth of this Greek word G3433 translated as “barely” is to be saved “fully”, “entirely”, “completely” or “totally”. That is the very popular message being spoken of by many extreme Grace Teachers and even other churches who teach a salvation without any further challenges, struggles, or any other human choices to be made in order to remain a Christian. That is just not what the Bible actually says. Please do not misunderstand what I say here. We are not saved by our works. Salvation is ONLY through our faith in God’s finished work of Grace found only in Jesus Christ. But, that does not mean we will never be judged for doing wrong things here on the earth after salvation. Peter clearly is telling us that “judgment” for sin begins with us right now.
We could literally talk a very long time on these two verses in 1 Peter 4 but I pray that we receive what Peter says by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Remember that Peter is also speaking from his own personal direct experience along with God’s inspiration. Remember we have seen how that Peter was judged and demanded to be sifted like wheat. Then we will soon see another example where Peter was present where Christians were judged.
This Greek word G2917 that was translated as “judgment” is the key word that reinforces the truth of a trial system in heaven occurring. This Greek word is defined as “a decision” that has been rendered by an implied Judge with proper authority (God) to make a ruling. The decision can either be for us (in our favor) or against us (in the favor of Satan the accuser). The implied cause of this decision (judgment) is given for the crimes (sins) that have been committed by Christians. This same Greek word can also mean that we could be “condemned” or it is even translated as “damned” in other N.T. verses. We certainly don’t hear these words mentioned in many of our Grace churches do we? Since we all have been guilty of committing sins we can understand a little better why Peter said that we are just “barely” saved, can’t we?
Acts 5 – Another Example of N.T. Judgment #1
Did you ever read Acts chapter 5? Remember that it was Peter that was the man that wrote the words of 1 Peter 5:8 and 4:17-18 for us. Peter is also the man found to be preaching in the book of Acts chapter 5 to saved people of the church when another believer named Ananias comes into the service late to bring his offering to the Lord. However, this man held back some of the money in secret and only gave a part of the money using deception saying that this was all of the money obtained. That was a lie. Immediately the same Peter that we are studying about was inspired by the Holy Spirit of a judgment against Ananias by giving Peter a word of knowledge. Peter asks the man Ananias “Why has Satan filled your heart to LIE to the Holy Ghost?” And immediately Ananias drops dead in the middle of church and his body is carried out and the church service just continues like nothing happened. I seriously believe that a spiritual trial occurred in heaven and a verdict of guilty was determined and the sentence was carried out immediately. You of course can explain it away and believe whet ever you like about these truths. I have heard one popular unnamed TV extreme Grace Preacher say that Ananias wasn’t really a true Christian and this is why he was killed. But, that cannot be the truth based upon what we just read in 1 Peter 4:17. It is my goal to use the Bible to interpret the Bible and 1 Peter 4:17 stated that judgment begins in the church not in the unsaved world..
You will also notice in Acts 5 that this event is repeated again for his wife Sapphira. Please go and reread the story again from a court room trial perspective where a judgment and verdict is rendered and carried out. The saved Christian wife does the exact same sin as her husband and she also drops dead in the middle of church after being confronted by Peter and the Holy Spirit. Wow, after all of this occurs in the church a “great fear” fell on the people in church. It may be that these types of things will occur in the last days also before Jesus returns. We should really learn from them rather than repeat them.
Act 5:11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
“Fear” in this verse is the Greek word G5401 and it means a person who is in a state of “terror”. Why would there be any GREAT fear in the heart of saved Christians if two unsaved people just suddenly dropped dead in the church? Why not weeping? Why not sorrow? Why not compassion? Fear would only be justified for one reason. The only way fear could be appropriately found in Christian believers would be because they knew Ananias and Sapphira were also Christians and judgment just fell on them so it could happen to them in the exact same way. Do you understand this?
It is very foolish for Christians to try to believe these two individuals that were judged by God were anything but Christians. The belief that a loving God would condemn two unsaved people to immediate death and eternal punishment in hell is ludicrous. If God did this in the age of Grace He would have to do it to everyone that is not saved because they all sin. Jesus said very plainly in John 3:17 that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. Please let that verse found in John sink into your heart and grow very deep roots.
I hear too many preachers try to accuse God of judging lost sinners while forgetting that God loves them enough to wait for them to get saved (James 5:7). Why wouldn’t God’s love be the same for Ananias and Shapphira if they were unsaved Christians? I believe God so loved the unsaved world that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
We are going to read several more verses in today’s lesson about this subject. I would strongly recommend that you not stop reading because of what has been taught so far. God is only trying to change our perspective so we can see some potentially new truths in the Bible. All of this so far is to help us think in a fresh and a new way on things in the Bible that we have never seen in this light before. This is really good stuff that will help us fight the enemy’s temptations and accusations that will be coming to us all.
New Testament Judgment #2
We have already observed where Peter said Judgment will begin with the Church. We then just read through Acts 5 for example #1 of an actual judgment that occurred to two Christians. We are now going to turn in the Bible to a verse written by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11. In this verse we are going to be reviewing the implied topic of the heavenly court system to obtain further confirmation that judgment will begin now in the church. Please read this very carefully and accept the fact of truth that this was written directly to you and I personally as Christians:
1Co 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
This is an amazing truth that is too often ignored by everyone reading and teaching from the Bible. It is addressed to “we” and that is a plural pronoun that even includes the “Apostle Paul” the writer, as well as you and I the readers. It always amazes me when a Bible teacher misses the fact that Paul included himself in statements like these. If Paul needed to do this and he wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, how much more do you think we should do this? What was it that Paul needed to do along with us? Paul says very plainly that IF I JUDGE MYSELF, then and only then I will NOT be judged. Wow, that is as insightful as it could get for a lot of Christians. Paul is declaring very simply that a spiritual heavenly trial could have occurred for him if he did not judge his own intentions, emotions, motives, actions and words.
There are two different Greek words spoken of in this verse that we miss totally if we do not look up the original language definitions. The first Greek word translated as “judge” is speaking of our human responsibility and it is not the act of a judge in a court. This Greek word is G1252 and it literally means that we need to separate ourselves thoroughly and completely from sin. This is a human right of choice found and encountered every day of our saved existence. We can do what the world does, live like the world, speak like the world, dress like the world or we can come out from the world and choose to be separate and different than they are. This is our choice. We can choose to either obey God or if we don’t what does God say will happen? God says very clearly that we will be judged for doing what the world does.
Let’s observe the second word in the verse translated as “judged”. This Greek word is G2919 and it does mean that a judge will make a decision over us to possibly condemn or punish us. Don’t take my word for it, go look up the word for yourself and learn.
The Greek Word translated as “should not” is G3756 in verse 31 is much stronger in this stated original Greek language than you can imagine. It literally means the “absolute negative”. It should be translated in this statement as “we are never judged” IF we judge our own self. This is revelation #1 for us to keep from being judged. It is also the #1 reason why Christians are judged. How many Christians think before they speak? How many Christians really think hard about what they are going to do before they do it? How many Christians are going to bars and night clubs acting and looking like the world? I know there are some Christians who are doing better at being separated from the world’s way of doing things than others. But, this is just a small part of the subject of judging yourself first in order for Satan not to bring a case before God about you! If we read the next verse that follows verse 31 God will help clarify the reasoning why He must judge Christians even after all of our sins were forgiven in Christ:
1Co 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Notice the initial wording of the sentence. God begins the statement by speaking a fact of truth about “when we are judged” (G2916). He does not say “IF WE ARE JUDGED”. No it will occur, God leaves no doubt. Then God gives us the #1 reason for this discipline. The God of all knowledge says we must be chastened of the LORD so that we won’t fall into the exact same “condemnation” that the world will be judged with after we die. There are two judgments being spoken of. One in the future is called the “Great White Throne” judgment (Rev 20:11-12) where those that are not written in the book of life will be judged one at a time standing before God. The other judgment that occurs before this is the one that is occurring in the Church age of Grace. This judgment occurs when we sin willfully like the world and God needs to bring correction. This is exactly what happened in Acts 5 believe it or not.
We as Christians can choose to judge ourselves now and choose to be different than the world now so that we can skip this after life judgment. If Ananias and Shapphira would have judged themselves before going into the church service they would not have been struck down dead. I will try to talk more about this as we go on in the series. Lets read some of the preceding context verses of 1 Corinthians 11 in order to learn more on this subject of judgment for those who did not judge themselves:
1Co 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
1Co 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
If we read this context carefully we will confidently confirm that this was written to Christians about Christians concerning spiritual court trial cases that were taking place even when Paul was writing this letter to the church. We should be able to see in verses 29 and 30 how that some in the Corinthian church were found guilty of both spiritual and natural sins. In verse 29 they had been found guilty of eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ unworthily and disrespectfully. It appears from the previous context that this church came and possibly got drunk from too much wine and ate too much bread as if they were gluttons. Paul informs us very clearly that for this reason the result came that many of them (Christians) in the church were either sick or dead because of these abuses. In other words, I believe that Satan had brought the judgment of the LORD against them and oppressed some of these Christians with physical illness that put them in a weakened physical state or Satan had actually been granted permission to take some Christian’s lives. Wow, that is some very amazing truth to apply to our subject of study.
It is so very obvious to me that because of specific sin in the church that some judgments were passed in heaven in order to allow or permit Satan to come down to devour them to make some of them ill and others of them dead. This is exactly what happened to Job. This is exactly what happened to Ananias and Sapphira. This clearly informs us that judgment was passed before they knew of this and that only after Paul wrote to them in order to warn them how to fix it was it learned what the real problem was to begin with. I personally believe that Paul was given a word of knowledge for this church and Paul tells them very plainly that if they would only begin to judge themselves to do things differently than the world that they would never be judged.
Wow, Wow and Wow!!! Who was it that judged them? Who was it that accused them before the judge? Who was it that gained an advantage over them to take them out of this world or make them sick? I hope you can already see the answers are plain. God had to pass judgment because they had not judged themselves. The judgment had to have been initiated by the accuser of the brethren and that is only Satan or at least it should be. I hope and pray that you as a Christian would not pick up a stone to throw at your brother. Please never do this. Don’t act like Satan, but rather choose to act like Christ who said to the woman caught in adultery “Woman where are your accusers? Neither do I condemn you, go your way and sin no more”. What an amazing example lesson to learn from.
I think I have gone long enough in this lesson. We can certainly learn so much more from these chapters in Acts 5 and 1 Corinthians 11 than I was able to go into in today’s lesson. The Lord has provided us all great and very significant meaty spiritual food for thought. We all should take these words of God to heart and meditate on them for a long time. Please study for yourself and verify exactly that what is being said in this series is what the loving God of the Bible actually says as a warning to Christians. God has provided at least two major witnesses to every truth being taught.
Thank you for reading and taking your time to study these advanced Bible lessons. I am truly humbled that God would use anyone as imperfect as me to teach anyone anything. The goodness of God is truly overwhelming me every day of my life. I love the LORD and trust Him to help mold me and you into the highest pattern of Christ Jesus. I pray that you are blessed with every spiritual blessing of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Amen.
(Ver 1.3) This is Part 1 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the revealed subject of God’s Divine Spiritual Laws, Systems and Legal Proceedings. Are there spiritual laws found in heaven? Is there a heavenly courtroom? Are there trials that have taken place in this heavenly realm? If yes, who is the judge? Who is the one that brings charges and against who are the charges addressed at? There are so many things to learn from the Bible that we will not abe able to answer every question in one Bible study. To attempt to do so would do each answer an injustice.
It has always been my priority to teach what God has given to me for free and give it to others without any charge. But, I don’t only want to teach you what God gave to me, but also I wish to teach you a better way to study and learn from His glorious Word. Hopefully, the LORD has used me to teach you how to fish for yourself and not just for me to feed you a fish for a single day.
Like many other lessons that I believe the Lord has given to me, today’s Bible lesson should be viewed as a very advanced spiritual topic intended for Christ followers that are fully committed to grow to become a spiritually mature student of God’s Word able to partake of spiritual meat. Please judge if you meet this requirement before continuing to read this lesson further. It is one of my greatest heart’s desires to not offend or cause any newborn or spiritually immature Christian to stumble or fall causing them to depart from the LORD. I believe that the Apostle Paul wrote with this same quality when he said I would have liked to feed you meat but you were unable to receive it and therefore I could only give you milk. Ok that was my paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 3:2. But, I believe the hidden heart of Paul’s message contained in that verse is that of one of his greatest desires for his students to grow up spiritually. I believe Paul desired people to grow up so that they were able to receive a much stronger spiritual message of truth. Then I believe Paul wanted for each of them to go and spread his message from the word of God to others with the same love for people. Please judge for yourself before you continue.
We in the United States have three branches of Government. These three are a Legislative Branch, an Executive Branch and a Judicial Branch. This was the idea framed by our founding fathers of our nation and they were mostly Christians that I believe modeled their government beliefs on God’s Bible principles. I believe this was not by chance or accident but rather by divine design. I believe God placed His hand on their efforts and blessed them to know things way beyond their natural ability.
In this lesson we are going to focus upon God’s Judicial Branch found in heaven and how the earthly U.S. court system is a pattern of that which God originally designed. Maybe you did not realize that God’s heavenly spiritual government (Kingdom) had a Judicial Branch? If you have read the Bible, I am really not sure how this fact has escaped you but if you search for it you will find that it is very true from Genesis to Revelation. For example, in the Bible the LORD God reveals Himself as the Most High Righteous Judge in so many verses. A named existence of a Heavenly Superior Divine Judge implies very strongly that there also must be found present laws, a courtroom, some legal proceedings and rules, lawsuits, trials, a plaintiff or a prosecuting attorney, a defense attorney and a defendant. I will prove to you using the Bible that these all exist in a form or pattern using the Bible. I will also teach you that there are innumerable court cases that are taking place every day including today right this moment while you are reading about them. Wow, that should at least peak your interest a little bit to desire to learn more about God’s revealed truth.
If you have read very much of the Bible you should already know who the Heavenly Judge is and that is certainly the LORD God and Jesus Christ according to Genesis 18:25, Acts 10:42 and Hebrews 12:23 to list just three of many confirming witnesses of truth. But, there are also so many new implied questions that need to be answered. Who is the plaintiff or prosecuting attorney bringing the charges and cases against someone in God’s Court System? I’ll tell you right now it is Satan and I will prove this later in the lesson. Who is the defendant being charged or sued? I’ll tell you up front again that you are the one being charged by Satan and I will prove this with scriptures also. We will also begin to learn about the charges being made to God by Satan. This should interest you because we will learn that it is our human wrong actions here on the earth that open the door for Satan to bring a lawsuit against us.
Is there a defense attorney in this trial? If so, who is the defense lawyer in the case? I’ll tell you right now we have access to a legal defense team ever since the LORD Jesus Christ died and was resurrected from the dead. You can be introduced to this part of the message by reading an older Bible lesson that I wrote called “Understanding How to Make Jesus Your Legal Advocate Right Now”.
I’m sure you must be asking “How can there ever be a spiritual case of law being brought into a heavenly trial to be heard by God for a Christian if Jesus has truly paid for every sin that we have ever committed or could ever commit in the future?” Many would say “I thought we were not under law but under grace therefore can there really be a spiritual trial now before we die?” Others ask the question “I thought the only judgment was after we die according to Hebrews 9:27?” We know from reading the end of Revelation that there will be a Great White throne Judgment but I believe that there are also other named judgments that will occur after death and even now before death. If there is a judgment that can take place before we die, “What could be the charge brought against a forgiven saved Christian?” These are complex deep questions to answer and God gives us the revelations in the Bible if we dig for them and find them. Seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you and ask and it will be answered (Mat 7:7).
This Bible lesson is a response to a question raised by a good reader doing their homework. They asked the question concerning a message being taught within certain churches that appear to conflict with what is taught in other areas of the Bible. The controversy comes from a modern extreme Grace teaching that is being taught that since Jesus paid for all of our sins, past, present and future there are no longer any consequences for committing any sin or any need to ask for any future forgiveness of a sin. In other words sin is presented to be harmless without any negative penalties. In fact at least one very popular grace preacher teaches we do not even need to ask for forgiveness for any sin and they explain away 1 John 1:9 using illogical natural human reasoning to be written to only unbelievers. But this is certainly not what the Lord has taught me about a better way of Bible interpretation and more specifically sin. This Bible study series will address this topic using several ignored scriptures that must be balanced with the doctrine being misrepresented by some extreme unnamed grace teachers.
You see I do certainly believe that Jesus died once for all sin that has ever been committed, is being perpetrated today and will occur tomorrow. We know this truth from verses like Romans 6:10, 2 Corinthians 5:14 and Hebrews 10:10 to name a few foundational truths on this subject of the comprehensive power of the blood sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. I will say it again for emphasis, I am a very firm believer that there was one sacrifice for every human sin and no further sacrifice was or is necessary. However, we cannot ignore other verses that declare very plainly that the sin of even Christians can still have some major potential consequences. Please do not misunderstand what I am teaching. I am not saying every little sin we commit can cause something significantly bad to occur nor am I teaching that a Christian can lose their salvation by committing a sin. But, I am definitely teaching that Satan is looking at each of our lives very closely to gain an access and entry into our lives to kill, steal or destroy us (John 10:10). That is exactly what we will learn next.
SATAN IS SEARCHING FOR A LEGAL WAY IN
There is another part of the extreme Grace message that must be addressed immediately. While it is true that Satan was defeated by the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, it does not mean that he is not presently trying everything in his power (and he is still very powerful) to get you to fall away from Jesus or not produce any savable fruit to be harvested by Jesus. We need to study the parable of the sower and I wrote about this awhile back so I will not repeat it all here again. Just understand that every soil type in the parable “heard” the word of God and only one group produced any harvestable fruit. Satan successfully destroyed the harvest in every other soil type. Satan desires access into our lives after we hear the Gospel and are saved by believing, accepting and confessing Jesus as our LORD (Romans 10:9-10). There must be some insight given by God that shows us what grants Satan access to be victorious over some and not over others. We could talk about this a long time but we need to get to one of the foundational verses for the lesson:
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
We are starting with a verse that was written directly to “saved born-again” Christians. I take this verse personally as an inspired word of warning written to me and so should you. It is so very clear to me that Satan desires to devour every Christian but can’t. What is it that allows Satan access to attack some Christians and not others? If you do not believe you can do anything to grant or permit the devil access into your life to devour, you have definitely been deceived by an extreme grace teacher. It would be very stupid for the LORD God to inspire Bible writers to warn us about something that could not occur and God is not stupid!
I am now going to begin to introduce you to God’s heavenly court system. There are four main participants in every court case. Those that are the accused can also be known as a defendant, the defense attorney may be present, the prosecutor also known as the plaintiff and then the Judge. Many know of these truths better than others. But, these are the basic main participants of every trial in this natural world and these are all parallel truths for the divine heavenly court cases going on today also.
Notice what I just said. I said this is happening everyday of your life here on the earth. I say this because I believe that every day Satan is looking (seeking, searching and plotting to gain access) using a legal charge to accuse and condemn us with. I want to go back to 1 Peter 5:8 and give you one of the key words that will help us verify one of the key principles that I am teaching. The primary word is “adversary”. This Greek word is G476 and it literally means “your opponent in a court trial”. According to this verse Satan is bringing a legal lawsuit before God on a daily basis in order to gain access to someone (even a Christian) to devour them. What this verse implies is that God must judge the “access demand” to be just in order for Satan’s entry to be legal. Wow, that does not sit well with a lot of modern extreme grace teachers. But, I’m sorry it is what the Bible says, not me.
This Greek word G476 translated as “adversary” occurs in the New Testament only in four verses and it is always applicable to a legal battle between two opponents in a court of law. You may look up these verses to verify these truths by reading verses in Matthew 5:25, Luke 12:58 and Luke 18:3. In every case there is a stated defendant, an adversary and a judge. While there is no legal counsel it may be assumed or implied based upon our knowledge of how natural court cases transpire. We will look deeper to verify the identities of the spiritual participants in God’s heavenly court cases very shortly. But, please understand that God’s word selection of G476 establishes a direct word and subject association to a court trial case that must also be occurring in 1 Peter 5:8 and this is a very critical lesson to learn and apply in a better way of Bible interpretation. See how a word selected by God is used in other verses and it will help to establish the definition in the verse in question.
Based upon 1 Peter 5:8 we can learn by implied reference who the defendant is and who the plaintiff is. Since the verse was a written warning to us in the church, that makes Christians the direct implied defendant being charged. We then can certainly see very plainly that since the devil is stated to be our “adversary” we know clearly that he is the one bringing the case before the Judge. Therefore, the case is being brought up before the implied Judge (God) by Satan in order to accuse us and gain access to attack us.
Let’s get another verse to help us verify this truth. After all God instructs us to use the mouth of two or three witnesses to establish every truth which is another best practice to correctly interpret the Bible. Again this truth must be occurring in a judicial spiritual courtroom before God the Spiritual Judge. I believe that God will always require at least two witnesses to establish every case truth. Please turn in your Bibles and read the following verse found in the Book of Revelation:
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Wow, this verse is of such great significance to our Bible subject that I cannot emphasize it strongly enough. I would like to begin by stating the fact that this verse is a future prophecy that has not yet occurred. We know this by the fact that God tells the author John in Revelation 4:1 to come up to heaven in order to be shown things that will occur in the future. I am a firm believer that everything in Revelation 4 to the end of the book is future prophetic statements that have not yet occurred. I also believe that they are written in Chronological order of occurrence. Therefore, since Revelation 4 through 11 has not occurred Revelation 12 has also not occurred.
What does this verse say? We must really read the context in order to discover the true identity of one of the central figures being named and discussed in this verse. We can read back a few verses in Revelation 12: 7 to begin to learn that Satan is also called the ancient serpent and the great dragon as figuratively speaking titles. Satan has also just been cast down out of heaven after a significant spiritual war. Let’s read these verses to verify where Satan will be cast out of. Turn in your Bible and begin reading with verse 7 to get the more complete revelation of what is going to occur very soon:
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Here are the future prophesied facts given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. First, a spiritual war will occur. It is definitely a spiritual battle and not a natural conflict. Second, the participants of the war are spiritual beings. There is Michael and his angels defending heaven against the dragon (Satan) and his angels attacking heaven. Third, Satan and his angels lose the battle. Fourth, God states that Satan has ONLY NOW lost his place (right and ability) to enter back into heaven ever again in verse 8. What does this teach us? Verses 7 and 8 are teaching us by implied truth that before this event occurs Satan HAD FULL ACCESS and the ability to come and go from and to heaven any time that he wanted. Why do you think this was granted? I personally believe it is because of two main factors. The first factor is that God is just and that God must honor His Word. I believe we are about to learn more by a deeper study that the access granted was for the purpose of putting God’s people aka. Christians on trial.
We now should know that Satan had access into heaven very clearly from the statements found in verses 7 through 10. Now, look at what Satan is called in verse 10. Satan is referred directly by the Word of God to be the “accuser”. In fact the name Satan literally means “adversary”. Remember that “adversary” means “your legal opponent in a law case” and this firmly connects us back to 1 Peter 5:8. The Greek word translated as “accuser” is a very synonymous legal title to “adversary”. An accuser (Greek word G2725) is literally defined by Strong’s as someone that brings a compliant of law before a judge to gain an advantage over an opponent. I added the last part of that definition simply because that is what is being implied by the definition. Why would Satan come up to heaven before the LORD GOD’s court to accuse a “brother” in Christ? It would be extremely wise to give that question a lot of thought before answering quickly.
I believe God is telling us from verse 10 of Revelation 12 that Satan came up to heaven before Him both night and day to bring up complaints and charges against the people of God. We learn this truth by applying the key word “Brethren” to make it personal to Christians in the family of Jesus Christ. The Greek word translated as “brethren” is found over 300 times in the N.T. It can be used for natural or spiritual brothers. But, we use the context to understand that it must be “spiritual brothers” because everything else in the chapter appears to use natural symbols to point us to spiritual truths. I can see this and I pray you can also. You can search your Bible for G80 to learn how Paul and other N.T. writers applied this term “brethren” to the church family members.
Brethren here in this verse 10 must also be interpreted as those that are still living here on the earth since Satan was just thrown down form the spiritual realm of heaven back to the earth in a great fury of rage to wage war against those still not in heaven. I understand that there will be a lot of people that call themselves Christians that will not agree with what the Lord is teaching us here today. But, I’m not responsible to make anyone believe the Bible. All that any teacher can do is to present the facts given and then let the reader decide what they wish to believe for themselves.
While we are on verse 10 of Revelation 12 we must see and learn the second legal word term being mentioned. This term is the Greek word G2723 that was translated as “accused”. Let me review the part of the verse statement that I wish to emphasize. God says here “which accused them before God day and night”. Wow, this is critical to understand. This Greek word G2723 literally means “to be a plaintiff” in a court case. This word plainly means to bring a charge of offence/crime against a defendant. This is clearly describing spiritual court cases that were taking place 24 hours a day where God was the stated judge, Christians were the stated defendants and Satan was the stated plaintiff bringing the charges. All of this legal activity stops after Revelation 12. According to Revelation 12 these spiritual court cases do not cease until half of the tribulation’s seven years have gone by. That literally verifies to us that they are happening right now as you are reading this lesson believe it or not.
BIBLE EXAMPLES OF SPIRITUAL TRIALS
I will end this lesson today with three examples of spiritual trials that have taken place. The first one is a trial that occurred before Jesus was ever born on the earth. I am talking about a trial that is found in the oldest book of the Bible, the book of Job. The story of Job probably occurred way over 4000 years ago. My best guess would be sometime after Noah and before Abraham.
I am not going to go through every verse that I could, but I would recommend that you go and reread Job chapter 1 using the information we have learned in this lesson so far to verify that this is an example of a literal court case being waged against Job a righteous man. In fact it would be good to read the entire book of Job looking at it from a legal court perspective.
This case is being brought before God by Satan who is bringing charges up against him to the Judge. We learn by reading Job 1:6 that the trial definitely takes place in heaven as we have learned he had access to heaven from reading Revelation 12. Satan appears before God and the omniscient Judge asks him two questions. The first question in verse 7 is where have you come from? You know God knows the answer but he asks the question for our benefit to connect us directly with vital information found in 1 Peter 5:8. Remember what this verse said? Satan answers the question truthfully and states he has just come from going to and fro in the earth. Do you now see the direct connection to 1 Peter 5:8? Your adversary the devil (Satan) goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. God is giving us direct connected insight into Job’s court case by connecting us with a verse that helps us to understand the legal procedure taking place in heaven.
The second question asked by God to Satan was “Have you considered my servant Job”. Omniscient God understands that Job was why Satan came up to heaven to start this court case. Satan then asks God a question “Does Job fear God for nothing?” This is the beginning of Satan’s introductory opening statement for his case against Job. Any way I am not going to go through this all in depth in this lesson . But, please understand and apply what we have learned from 1 Peter 5;8 and Revelation 12. “Your adversary the devil goes about the earth like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” and “Satan accused them before God night and day”.
We also learn from reading and studying Job that God informs Satan that he has access to devour Job (all that he has is in your power Job 1:12) and this is what proves that Satan won that court case. Satan obviously has found someone that is able to be devoured.
Satan then goes about Job’s life and kills, steals and destroys a great portion of his family and possessions. It was a very clear victorious court case won by the devil over a righteous man on the earth.
But, what won the case for Satan? I will let you into a couple of significant clues to why the court case was easily won by Satan. There are at least two major things that Job did to open the door in the hedge of protection that God had placed around him. First, it says in Job 3:25 that Job said “the thing that I greatly feared has come upon me”. This verse informs us of the presence of “fear” in Job’s heart and it was this spirit of fear that helps open the door for Satan to win a case against him. Fear is the opposite spiritual force of faith and without faith it is absolutely impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). Therefore, fear is not a connecting force to God but it must be considered an attracting force of Satan.
The second mistake Job made was pride. The Bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace unto the humble (James 4:6). If you read the book of Job you will find that Job was found guilty of judging God and judging others (his friends) without sufficient knowledge to do either. We should be able to understand that judging others and God is a clear sign of pride. Job spoke many things that he was later rebuke by God for saying.
We learn these truths by reading the rest of the book of Job where he is speaking to his friends and later when God speaks to him. Notice in Job 38:2 that God asks Job a question “Who is this that darkens counsel with words without knowledge?” Here is a very good verse that informs us of another legal term. A “Counselor” can be applied to a person of law or legal advice in a courtroom trial. Perhaps you have seen this before. What I am trying to say here is that words spoken in judgment of others without full knowledge can be an access point for Satan to win a judgment against you.
I have said enough about Job to get you started. Now, let’s go read another example court case that transpired only about 2000 years ago.
The second spiritual trial that I want to point out from the Bible occurs while Jesus walked the face of the earth in the flesh with His 12 disciples about 2000 years ago. We will begin reading in Luke 22 and verse 31:
Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
Reading only the English language translation we miss so very much of the stated truth. Jesus is talking directly to Peter and calls him by name twice to emphasize the critical importance of the next statement to follow. Satan as we learned from Revelation 12 and 1 Peter 5 was the direct adversary seeking access by legal complaint against the human Peter in this case. Therefore, we understand that Satan is the plaintiff in this statement of Jesus. The key word that must be examined with deeper understanding is the Greek word G1809 and it is incorrectly translated as “desired” in this verse. While it is true that Satan desires to get to us all but that is not what the Greek word that was selected and written was intended to have been spoken by Jesus. This Greek word literally means “to demand for trial”. Jesus is warning Peter that he has done something that Satan believes gives him access to sift him like wheat. Perhaps you should do a little research about how wheat is sifted. Sifting of wheat is definitely not a nonviolent or peaceful act. Anyone sifting wheat represents someone using their power, ability and force over the wheat being sifted to remove some good from the bad. It would be good to learn more about this but that is not my primary subject. I just want us to focus on the legal issues that must have occurred to give Satan the right to “demand” by a trial to have access to Peter’s life. But, we later learn after this verse that Jesus (Peter’s implied attorney) prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. This does not mean that the sifting would not take place it only means Jesus asked the Father to help Peter come through the trial’s verdict being rendered. It would be great to go and study more about what Peter may have done to be sifted but I don’t really have the time in this lesson.
A MODERN DAY TRIAL
I am not able to go into every sin that a person can commit in order to be bought into spiritual court by Satan the accuser but I will end this part of the lesson with a third true life firsthand experience of this reality that I experienced a few years ago. This testimony concerns the life of my father. I learned of it by living it and hearing from others about it and I trust the testimony of those witnesses that have shared it with me. My father was a pastor for several years. I grew up attending his churches and hearing him preach his sermons.
My father was going to his second Bible school to learn and expand his knowledge of God and the Bible by attending good classes with great teachers. In his second year of this Bible school attendance in the first semester, he was sitting and taking notes when suddenly the man of God giving the lesson stopped and looked right at my father. God was giving the instructor a vision of a great dark cloud resting above the head of my father. The instructor knew from experience what this meant. He knew it was a death cloud that was warning my father that he would die soon. The Bible instructor called my father to the front of the class before all the other students. He put his hand on him and rebuked death and prayed for him. But, the instructor then asked my father to come see him privately so that he could share what else the LORD had given to him in his warning. I was not present when all of this occurred but my mother was in the class and she is one of the primary witnesses to the story and my mother was not a liar. She recounted this testimony after my father died.
I guess you already know that my father did not ever go and see the Bible teacher in private to hear the rest of the warning message from the LORD. A couple of months later my father had a stroke and was carried unconscious in an ambulance to a local hospital. My brother was home when all of this happened and he can testify to the truth of this part of the story. My father died a few days later after being transported. He never regained consciousness. He died like the Bible teacher warned he would.
The Bible teacher performed the funeral for my father and after the funeral my mother learned the rest of the message directly from the teacher that prayed for him. The Bible teacher informed my mother that God had told him to warn my father about his love walk with people. I should rather say that it was a lack of his love that concerned him more. Jesus gave us in the church a new commandment of LOVE and this is one way that Satan gained access into killing my father through his disobedience. I believe very firmly that because my father was not walking in love towards others that Satan brought him up on trial. I believe very firmly based upon spiritual laws that God tried to warn my father by even giving someone a vision of what was about to happen even before it happened. Like the prophet that warned the king in the Old Testament to get his house in order for you shall surely die, the same occurred for my father. However, the king in the Old Testament repented and prayed and he was granted more years on the earth. I believe this was what was happening with my father also. If he had repented and changed he might have lived a much longer life.
But, my father did not cooperate or may not have believed the warning or may have even wanted to go ahead and die. We don’t know the reason why he did nothing to prevent Satan’s attack. But that is what happened to him. The thief came into his life and killed my father just as John 10:10 states.
There was also another door that my parents opened to allow Satan access into their lives in this spiritual court case. After they were first married and before I was born, they went to a fair where they were just having fun. They ran across a fortune teller/palm reader tent and went in to play Satan’s deceptive game in ignorance. The fortune teller informed my mother that she had a long life line and would live a long time on the earth, but when she looked at my father’s hand she told him he would die young. I believe this foolish act set spiritual laws into motion and gave Satan a plot and a plan to bring up before God in my father’s trial. Had my father not gone into the fortune teller based upon his knowledge of God’s word this may have changed his life significantly. Had he rebuked the words spoken over him this may have also changed his life significantly. But doing nothing is certainly the worst option that anyone can choose. My mother informed me of all this after my father had died.
My father was barely 44 years old when he died. My mother lived to the age of 80 and the palm reader’s words both came true. Become aware of the things that can open the door for Satan before it is too late. Dabbling in the occult, fortune tellers, Ouija boards and the like, I believe opens the door for Satan to bring you before God’s court system. Spiritual laws are put into motion by words spoken by us, over us or about us. I believe that if we do not renounce them and rebuke them they will become seeds that grow and produce thorns and thistles in our lives.
Psa 43:1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
This was only a basic overview and introduction of a much deeper subject. There are many other things to learn on this subject of God’s divine justice system. I do appreciate your time in reading and studying the Bible on this website. There are many other lessons that can be freely accessed by searching or clicking on topics and dates. May God bless and keep you until the return of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.
If you would like to continue reading in this series you may click here for “Part 2“.
(Ver 1.1) Today I believe that I am led to share a testimony from a friend. I personally believe the Bible very strongly. I believe the Bible is the inspired spoken word of an Almighty God that has been written down by human men for our spiritual benefit to learn and grow from it. God’s word says in Ecclesiastes 1:9 that there is nothing new under the sun. This verse informs me very clearly that history repeats itself. What has been will be again. And this lesson also teaches us that if we do not learn what has happened to others we can very easily fall into the same trap of Satan our self. I believe that any one of us should say “if not for the grace of God there go I” when reading about what others have done or not done. I ask you to read this testimony with an open mind but also with a heart of love, mercy and forgiveness. I know there will be some that will feel superior and self-righteous while reading this like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11 that prayed and said “I thank you God that I am not as other men” and named sins that others were guilty of like a true hypocrite would. However, this self-righteous Pharisee was condemned by Jesus for his attitude and his words and I believe that it would be very wise for us all to not to choose to do the same. Please allow me to give you the foundational Bible verse for this short lesson:
2Co 2:10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
2Co 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
In verse 11 is found the primary focused warning written to Christians concerning for us to not be ignorant of Satan’s traps, plans and pursuits. But, the context of this statement is clearly about our forgiveness and more specifically about us forgiving other men for what they have done. According to the inspired word of God in Mark 11:25, if we do not forgive what others have done, God will not forgive us either of our sins. I believe this teaches us that there is a divine spiritual law of reciprocal activity. I believe that how we treat others will be how God will treat us and this is His divine reciprocal choice. Therefore, if we forgive others we will be forgiven and if we do not forgive others we are in serious trouble. Please learn to forgive others, it is an absolute necessity.
Before we read the testimony I would like us to learn another very important truth from this verse 11. This verse plainly states that if we do not forgive others it will open the door for our enemy Satan to come in and attack us. This truth is very similar to what occurred in the life of Job but Job’s sin was different than what is being spoken of here in Verse 11. Here in verse 11 God informs us that Satan is able to take advantage over any Christian if we allow Him to do so by our wrong actions of implied un-forgiveness. Perhaps soon the Lord will lead me to write a more complete Study on the subject of how we open the door for the enemy but that is really not the main subject today.
Let’s read the testimony and learn what the enemy did to one of our dear brothers in Christ. Try to think about what is said from his perspective and not your own personal viewpoint like a Pharisee.
LOST & FOUND
This is my testimony:
“I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.
Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch, like me.
Through many dangers toils and snares, I have already come.
How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.”
(lyrics, from the song, Amazing Grace)
In the safe recesses of my memory is that time so many years ago cuddling on my mother’s lap while she read to me the classic children story, “The Little Engine that Could,” by Watty Piper. I would have her read it every night if my way prevailed, and sometimes mom would read it two times in one sitting: “Again, again,” my young voice pled. It was such a monumental struggle for that little engine to pull those cars full of toys up that mountain for delivery to the children on the other side. That captivating thought flooded my mind: “I think I can, I think I can.” Despite its size, the little engine triumphantly pulls the train up that mountain. Would it? Could it? The image was real and I sensed even then that life at times could be a challenge and a true struggle. As a mere child of four, I began to grasp this lesson that life may at times be a struggle reaching the other side to that place of joy and victory.
Two decades later, in my early twenties, I found myself singing in a Christian band. Often we sang this somewhat country classic, “Life is Like a Mountain Railway.” In this song the lyrics warn, “…we must make the run successful from the cradle to the grave. Watch the curves that fill the tunnel, never falter never fail; keep your hands upon the throttle and your eyes upon the rail. Blessed Savior there to guide us, Till we reach that blissful shore, And the angels there to join us, In God’s grace…, forevermore…” I see a thread and theme from early life. Many years from those moments that single message of struggle I have surely known. Yet, the Savior of my soul has never left or forsaken me, though at times I had strayed, wandered, and taken my eyes off the rails, He has always kept His eyes upon me.
I learned early the fallacy of believing that once you confess Jesus as your personal Lord, and personally accept His sacrificial crucifixion, that life will be an effortless and pain-free endeavor. No, it has not been that. I learned a phrase when acquiring my pilot license. This phrase was a seasoned pilot’s definition of flying: “Flying,” he said, “are hours of boredom, broken up by moments of sheer terror!” Christian life might be like that too.
Another analogy which helps explains how I experience life as a Christian is to recall the two years spent in a war zone. A variation to the old pilots’ thoughts was an enemy strategy of deliberately leading us into a state of lethargy. Days would go by, weeks, and maybe a month and his presence seemed to vanish. There would be little or no confrontations. The enemy would lay low, hide, retreat, allowing the thought to develop in us that he was either beaten or uninterested. Slipping into relative peacefulness you never saw hell dropping on top of you. In the middle of a fitful sleep, the sky would explode with light and fire, concussions of rockets knocking you from your bunk. Noises of confusion as people ran yelling orders, weapons rattling as everyone scrambled for orientation, the smell of sulfurs and fears all combined in that dark. For days following such attacks, we would again become hyper vigilant to movement, sounds, and imaginations. You had to realize that the enemy was unpredictable and ruthless. No matter the seeming peaceful state you enjoyed, in a war zone you had to always remain prepared.
Clearly, a harsh reality was to know that though many people loved you at home, there were well-armed people very close by who hated you for simply being you. This was a hard concept to embrace emotionally – that another living person actually would kill you without any regret or regard. Over the two years in that place I had to be reminded on many occasions this was a war zone and blood could be spilt at any moment. Today I am reminded that Christians may struggle with the idea someone hates them and labors to harm them. We mostly tend to see ourselves as lovable, kind, sensitive, and peaceable; why would anyone hate you or desire your ruin?
I became a Christian one year after I was discharge from the U.S. Army. Although I’d never known the true Gospel or the acceptance of Jesus’ personal gift to me, memories of childhood are full of a consciousness of God’s existence and even His presence. I believed in God, I simply didn’t know His Word or just how deep and profound was my need for His righteousness and acceptance. By His plan I was led to hear the Gospel of Jesus preached, and my heart opened to ‘hear’ the Truth. With a faith, only gained as a gift, I was willing and able to call out and ask for forgiveness and acceptance, embracing Jesus’ sacrifice and the provision of His eternal life indwelling me daily. At twenty-one, my feet and heart were set on a new course. The Word of God was coming alive in me, a passion and gratefulness washed over me. I was free from guilt, free from wandering in the darkness of life and given a purpose and qualification to pursue my Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus, with the help and power of the Holy Spirit. I began to run.
After becoming ‘saved’ my resume,’ so to speak, began to grow and included a number of wonderful activities and accomplishments. I’d become the president of the Christian Fellowship in college, and the co-founder of a contemporary Christian band and theatrical ministry travelling much of New England proclaiming the good news on college campuses, coffee houses, park concerts and churches. Out of that ministry came a radio ministry which I hosted for five years. Eventually I was trained and prepared to launch out on a new church ministry. The church began with approximately twelve dedicated people as we began ministering in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Over the following fifteen years our family at home increased, and the church too grew in new members and growing outreaches. In some ways it all seemed quite successful, with lots of effective outreaches, joys, and progress – perhaps as men judge progress. Though it was understood struggles could and did come, most things were manageable and the enemy seemed at bay and easily contained. In hindsight, and with further spiritual growth, I think too much of our methods for handling conflict were undertaken in fleshly and carnal ways, depending on our human capabilities and gifting. I had thought I was prepared and equipped for a prosperous Christian life and ministry, I don’t believe I ever would have imagined the viciousness and true spiritual battles yet to be faced in life. Though I’d studied ‘spiritual warfare’ through reading books, hearing sermons, and of course studying the Bible, the battles to come would compound beyond my imagination.
Certainly in those years simple and relatively ineffective skirmishes had to be faced. However, the first and most devastating battle and conflict came when my wife and I endured the still birth of our full term baby son, Jedidiah. The agony of losing him was unimaginable. The enemy made a move, he had a foothold. Between guilt, anger, uncertainty, hurt, loss, and unending questions living in my mind, this attack wounded deeply. In further hindsight, it was a harbinger of intense battles yet to be waged.
The toll of poor choices, such as putting other interests before our marital union, including but not limited to inattention, alienation of affections, over commitments to many so-called important activities, including ‘Christian work,’ led to the degeneration and finally dissolution of marriage. While the marriage was failing the church suffered greatly. Eventually, as people began to leave, the ministry came to a close. Not only had the battle raged externally, the inward condition was too troubled to continue reaching out to others. This seemed total devastation, and life began a further downward spiral. I sincerely began to doubt if “I could.” One might wonder if the battles were over.
No, it was far from over. Doubts flooded my soul; how could God let these things happen? How far away from God’s will had I been? Could I ever really hear God’s will and know how to follow? Had I been so unfaithful God simply did not desire my fellowship any longer? I was in a wilderness, it was hard to hear, hard to feel, sometimes hard to care. I questioned my prayer, honestly thinking perhaps I had committed an unpardonable sin (I realize today how this sounds, yet then it was overwhelming). Feeling and believing myself unworthy, with a strong sense of failure, satan was relentless. He knew I was one struggling to stay off the mat, like a fighter pummeled. Perhaps I was heading for the final knock-out. Surely it appeared faith to believe God loved me was being knocked out of me under a relentless flurry of strikes. Not only was I not able to love myself, surely God no longer cared either. Satanic influence was overwhelming. A sad consequence was running from God’s Word. What I began to see in Scripture was condemnation and judgment of so many failures. My mind was being blinded, my eyes shutting under the force of so many punches.
My behaviors reflected this loss. I became reclusive. I was afraid to speak the truth – even to myself. Little did I know, but an incident which occurred a year after the marriage ended, would soon be used as a complete knock-out punch. Not only had I been rejected by a wife, I surely must be rejected by God. Desperate for companionship and acceptance I was now susceptible to even more poor choices. What began as an innocent moment of consolation with a vulnerable woman, lapsed into inappropriate intimacy. This was but a momentary mutual action, and one which did not consummate in other than brief petting, however, it would be more than enough for Satan to throw the haymaker and accuse me of behavior which never took place. Seven years later the story had escalated and false accusations were brought against me. I was accused and convicted of an indecent assault.
The day I heard the judge pronounce a prison sentence, I certainly knew my life was finally and perhaps mercifully over. I was so alone and afraid. Clearly God must now despise me. I must have been cast out. I had some defect which I may have been unaware and which meant God could not love me. Did I bring this on myself? Nothing was clear. Would clarity ever come to me?
Within the first twenty-four hours of prison, perhaps that which I feared most seemed to face me. I was being confronted by a large African man in a prison cell block, accompanied by a Spanish speaking Porte Rican. The previous twenty-four hours found me plunging into a deep abyss of darkness, fear, anxiety, and despair believing that I would never know God’s love or care again. This seemed the ultimate abandonment, the bottom, a profound loss of hope and self abhorrence; it was a dreadful aloneness. What would become of me? What would my grandchildren think? What about my children, how could they manage this horror?
And there he was, towering over me, a huge man, speaking to me in such a thick African accent I could barely understand. His question, “Are you okay?” “Are you okay?” over and over he asked. He was blocking me and I couldn’t see anything but this giant and threatening looking man. Finally I said, “No, I am not okay!” And then as he looked at me, with what I now know were deeply compassionate eyes, the most amazing sounds came from him. He began to minister wonderful, loving words to me, expressing that God knows where I am, and that He is here with me, that He has never left me or forsaken me. He began to share that through all of this, God had a big plan for me, and He was going to use this to shape me anew….
And then his voice seemed to slip away and I no longer actually heard his continued speaking or the terrible sounds of the cell block. Rather, I seemed to leave that cell block and went someplace in my spirit that was quite, safe and peaceful. There I faced the Holy Spirit One on one. Though my questions were not directly addressed, I knew He was aware, and what He did was fill me with peace, with confidence, and with the assurance of His love and clearly His acceptance and compassionate comfort. Though I realized the answers I needed so desperately wouldn’t happen then, I knew an assurance of His control coming alive in me again. I actually knew the reality was that “all things work together for those who love Him…” Though burdened with guilt, doubts, and a sense of abandonment, and feeling profoundly lost during this season of battle, I now knew He was not going to let me go! I knew more and more would be revealed as I trusted in Him once again, fully and without apprehension or insecurity.
The suffering did not end completely that night, but the awareness I was really no longer in chains, no longer a prisoner to what I could only imagine to be failure, guilt, shame, and to letting my Lord down, began to flood my life, and has continued to this very day. And then, as if awakening from a dream, the awareness of my terrible surroundings came in to focus again and I spoke once more to this man, his name I learned was Adam. I simply said, “I am okay now!” Though still facing many unknowns, there was within a new courage, a sure hope and that certain assurance He was with me through it all.
Is it biblical as a Christian to be touched a second time, a third time, again and again? This is a question you may ask yourself. When we speak of salvation is it a one-time event, or is this an ongoing saving? Though I’ve walked through a deep and dark valley, I have found the battle is won and our Lord’s grace is sufficient for me. What I have found is that “Greater is He which is in me than he that is in the world.” What I have found is that “What (satan) intends for evil, God intends for good.” What I have found is that “When I am truly weak, He is truly strong.” What I have found is that when others forsake and bare false witness, with harsh judgment, He embraces and accepts and walks with you. What I have found is that He has a balm of healing and restoration in which He brings double, triple, and unknown levels of restoration, hope, confidence and love. All of these testify that when He saves you it is an everlasting salvation and one which Satan cannot snatch, though he may expend wicked energies and efforts to destroy us at any opportunity.
I have found we really do live in a world of spiritual battles, and unless we stand prepared to engage, with God’s Word, with unwavering faith and without doubt, anyone can stumble, anyone can fall. And there are many biblical warnings that we should never stand proud in ourselves believing we could never fall or let the Lord down. I have found the evil one is paying close attention and he is crouched at the door. But, I have found that though a child of God fall, our Father will not walk past and look elsewhere. He will stoop to our lowest place and with the heart of the Good Samaritan, He will bind our wounds, He will bring us to a safe place, and He will pay whatever the price to see we are rewarded our place with Him in His everlasting Kingdom of love and peace. And finally, for now, I have found that the Callings of God are without repentance (without a change of His heart), and that “what He began in us He is faithful to bring to pass.”
We all have failed and come short of the Glory of God. If you have never failed then you are free to cast the first stone at my friend. But for me I will not be picking up any stones. Love will always restore a brother and help a brother that is turned around and is making the effort to do what is right. There was only one sinless man on the earth and His name was Jesus Christ. He did not come into the world to condemn the world and this was the main lesson from John 8:11 and John 3:17.
Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
We could spend days on this verse alone. We all too often look at another man’s faults while ignoring our own. The problem with this verse is that it is extremely conditional. Only a few people that I have seen in my life qualify to ever be called truly “spiritual”. It would take me more time to explain this truth than I also have today. I will simply inform you that I do not yet feel that I qualify to be at this level of this category. I am human as well as my friend. I have made mistakes and have been in the flesh sometime too often. It is my heart’s desire to become more spiritual and I pray that it will be yours as well.
My main point from Galatians 6:1 is that we should be on a pathway that helps to restore people back into the fellowship with Christ. If anyone that calls themselves a Christian and is not trying to build up a brother that has fallen then I believe that they are either extremely carnal Christians or I doubt seriously that they are a Christian at all.
I would like to end this mini lesson with the warning that is given to us in Galatians 6:1. Here we find a similar bit of wise counsel that we read first in 2 Corinthians 2:11. Remember when Paul said Satan could get an advantage over us? That is the similar advice being transferred to us in this statement “lest we also be tempted”. The implied words not being directly related to us is that if we don’t forgive someone for what they have done and then pursue (make an effort) to restore them back to the LORD, we our self could be carried away by the same trap of deception. I find that very powerful and more than just a suggestion to follow after.
I pray that this testimony has been an encouragement to someone. Perhaps you have fallen in a similar way. It is not too late for you to turn your life around as my friend did.
If you have a comment about this lesson, you are free to share it. However, if you are going to be mean spirited and unforgiving, I will warn you that I will probably not publish your comment. Also, if you have a good testimony like my friend about how God has worked and changed you, I would love for you to share that.
My friend that wrote his testimony is doing well. God has helped him tremendously and blessed him. He reads his Bible, and studies it. He goes to church. He prays for me and others. He has been a great encouragement to me. I believe that the Spirit of God led my new friend to contact me and get to know me. I am very happy to call him my friend and I praise God for a new brother in Christ that I will hopefully meet here or in heaven soon.
Thank you for reading and studying the Bible with me on this website. I am always amazed at the love and grace of God that permits me to do this for Him. May God bless you and keep you.
(Ver 1.1) I was studying the Bible recently and was led across something that I believe was very good for us all to learn from. I believe the Holy Spirit pointed this out so that we could learn a potential new perspective on a familiar story that we have all probably heard taught more than once. This will be a Bible basics subject lesson on one of the most important subjects found in the Bible called love. Uh oh? I may have just lost a bunch of readers. How boring that is, you might think. You might say to me “I don’t have any problem with my love walk!” At least that is probably what you think right now. However, I believe the subject of love is the central theme of the entire Bible and a vastly misunderstood subject. I believe no other subject comes close to its importance in the Bible and I pray that you will agree.
INTRODUCTION TO LOVE
You may already know that there is more than one Greek word in the New Testament that is translated into the English word “love”. I believe that is a significant problem. If we don’t spend the time in digging deeper to know the original language words and definitions we will probably miss the most important message that God was trying to teach us. I believe words matter more than we can imagine, especially God’s words. I believe the chosen words of God are not by accident, chance or placed into the Bible by random human selection or influence. God is a highly intelligent being beyond our normal human capability to understand. Therefore, when God selects two different Greek words for “love” and uses them both in the same verse setting that must mean something very important even if we don’t yet understand what is. I pray that you will agree and even if you don’t yet agree I pray that you will at least be open minded enough to continue reading.
I recently read a Bible commenter’s opinion on this subject of the Greek word choices being made in the New Testament. This person believed that each human writer influenced the text and word selection for the love word choice. They implied that the every Greek love word was synonymously interchangeable and one word could easily be replaced with another without changing the meaning of the verse. But, I could not disagree any more. This type of logic removes God’s participation in the word selection process almost completely. You see I am a firm believer in this next verse that we must use as a foundation to base all of our Bible beliefs on. I recommend that we all memorize this verse and never let it slip away from our minds:
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
“All” is one of the key words to focus on first. This verse clearly informs us that it concerns and applies to the whole Bible and every word that it contains. In the Bible that would include every Hebrew and Greek Word of the original text that produced the translated 783,137 English KJV words. However, I must disqualify the translated words. I do not believe that any of the translated words were God inspired. There are just way too many subjective translator opinions and errors imbedded to be found to conclude it is perfect like I believe the original text is. I am not saying that we must all learn Greek and Hebrew in order to understand anything in the Bible. But, I am saying that we all need to become a Berean type of Bible student like is found in Acts 17:11. These Berean Christians were commended in the Bible for digging deep to confirm whatever is taught by men to be the truth is actually what God stated in the Holy scriptures. I pray again that you understand how important this is. Otherwise, we may just fall for any wind of doctrine that sounds the best and ignore what God actually said.
Today’s mini Bible lesson concerns two Greek words primarily that are both translated as “love” in the New Testament. These two Greek words in review are “Agapao” G25 and “Phileo” G5368. You should be able to notice that these words are obviously two significantly different words based upon appearance, spelling and pronunciation alone and we have not yet attempted to learn the definitions. We will dig into these love types much deeper as we continue the lesson.
JESUS TEACHES A HIGHER LOVE
Our Bible lesson is found in the book of John chapter 21. It occurs after the events of the death of Jesus on a Roman cross, the burial of His body in a tomb for 3 days and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. I believe that this event that we can study today was Jesus attempting to restore and help Peter to grow into a higher level of confident love following his denial 3 times of Jesus Christ just a few days earlier. We will begin reading about this event beginning in verse 15 of John 21 and then we will continue reading down until verse 17. Please read all of the verses carefully as the subject overview and then I will begin to break them down to help reveal a hidden message not easily found in the English translation:
Joh 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
Joh 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Joh 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
What did you get out of this reading? Did anything draw your attention from what I originally introduced you to before reading the verses? Maybe nothing jumped out at you. That is OK, but maybe the Holy Spirit pointed out something new for you to see and that is really great. I believe that is God’s way. He can use the same verse(s) to speak an infinite number of things to each and every person differently. Let’s go through the verses one at time now and learn what we can see by digging deeper into them rather than a surface only reading, as I like to call it. Let’s reread verse 15 first:
Joh 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
Jesus suddenly focuses on one disciple named Peter and asks him a very direct and personal question concerning their relationship. I believe Jesus did this on purpose and by design to help strengthen and encourage Peter’s faith. You might recall in Luke 22:31 the writer Luke gives us some related very important information. In Luke 22:31 Jesus informs Peter that Satan had desired to sift him like wheat. But, then Jesus informs Peter that He had prayed that his faith would not fail. Also later in this chapter of Luke Jesus informs Peter that he will deny him 3 times before the cock crows the night that He would be betrayed. I believe that Peter is being told these things so that he might be prepared for them and then afterwards that he would also understand that Jesus is fully the Christ as Peter declared in Matthew 16:16. Remember when Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter answered to Him saying “You are the Christ the Son of God”.
I firmly believe that Peter like the rest of the disciples struggled tremendously after seeing Jesus taken prisoner, beaten and then crucified on a cross to die. This had to be a major blow to their beliefs in Him. Once His body was laid in the tomb and the rock was rolled over it and sealed with guards posted in front of it, they had to at least think that they had made a great mistake in following this man. I just can’t imagine the full impact of the challenges to their faith that they were facing during this time of extreme circumstances. Give it some thought and see how you may have reacted. What would you have done after seeing all of this? I know we can read the Bible now and we may think that we may have been able to stand stronger than they did but I really don’t believe that is true.
No matter how great you believe your faith in Jesus Christ is now, Satan will come to you and try to shake your foundation of faith just like he did with Peter. This is what happened to Peter and I believe that Jesus did all He could do to prepare Peter’s heart for these events. For example, in John 21:15 Jesus begins a lesson of assurance by asking Peter a basic very personal question. Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me more than these?” I believe that Jesus is simply asking “Are you sure that you love me Peter?” It is interesting that Jesus also adds a comparison of Peter’s love level with the other disciples’ love level. The question contains the key word “more” and this is added by Jesus to teach Peter and us that a love amount can vary in measure, intensity, type and capacity. Jesus was teaching us that our love level for Him may not be as great as other’s love level yet and that we may need to grow more in our love. By this question, Jesus is implying we can all grow up in a higher level of love. Can you see this?
Here is another very important point to make when studying any text in the Bible. We must understand that there were no punctuation marks in the original Greek text that I know of. No periods, no commas, no exclamation marks, no question marks as we know in the English language. Therefore, we should be able to understand that the tone of voice being spoken in could potentially be different than we believe changing the entire meaning of the words being spoken.
For example, if Jesus yelled “LOVEST ME MORE THAN THESE!!!” Would a screaming angry and mad Jesus change how we viewed the question? It would definitely do that for me. However, that type of Jesus personality screaming at Peter would contradict with His revealed character and nature found in many scriptures verses that reveal Him to be a man of great and intense love, mercy and compassion. Therefore, this statement cannot be an angry Jesus questioning the loyalty of Peter simply because He knew Peter denied Him. No, I believe that the words were spoken very softly and graciously to Peter in a great loving and compassionate tone of voice that grabbed the heart of Peter’s attention immediately. I believe Peter could also see the great concern in the Master’s eyes and perceive the great kindness in the heart of Jesus.
Here is where I want to introduce you to the first Greek word G25 that was translated as “lovest” in the question directed at Peter. This Greek word represents the highest type of “Agape” divine love. This category of love is the highest form of any type of love listed in the Bible. It is always an underserved, unearned and unconditional love type that is being extended to another person regardless of what occurs or how they act towards the person showing it. I believe this is the most important and highest type of love in the Bible. This is why my blog is called “AgapeGeek”. I simply desire to teach the Bible in a way that displays God’s love to every reader. I hope you understand the basic concepts of the God kind of Agape love. If you don’t please ask any specific question and I will attempt to explain it with the Lord’s help.
Ok, Jesus asked Peter if he loved “Agapao” Him more than these. The answer to this simple question should have been either “yes” or “no”. However, Peter must have ignored the love word because he does not answer the question correctly at all. Of course you won’t see this by just reading the English translation. Only if we dig much deeper into the Greek words can we begin to understand the problem that Jesus was dealing with.
In the English Peter appears to answer correctly by saying “Yes, Lord you know that I love you”. But, Peter changed the Greek word “love” type from the G25 “agapao” category of love to the much lower and less committed G5368 “phileo” human category of love and that was not what Jesus asked, was it? You see the “phileo” category of love is merely a fond type of relationship that we can have with a good human friend. This is a love category on a much subordinate carnal level of conditional feelings. In other words if a friend said or did something wrong or mean to us, this might change our liking of fondness level or feelings for them. However, the “agape” G26 type of love that Jesus was asking about would continue on unmoved despite the friend’s wrong actions or words.
I believe I can begin to feel the Lord Jesus heart drop at hearing Peter’s answered response. I believe there becomes a greater level of sadness upon each of the following question attempts to get Peter to change his answer to raise his love walk with Jesus. You did notice that Jesus asked Peter the same question 3 times, didn’t you? Why is Jesus being so repetitious? As we continue to study this discussion further we should be able to see that Peter becomes a little more sad after each question. I believe the “phileo” love that Peter claimed that he possessed was certainly being tested and I believe that Jesus was teaching Peter to try to come up higher to the “agapao” type of love that He originally asked. Let’s read the second verse question:
Joh 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Here is another almost identical question and response session as was read in verse 15. However, Jesus asks Peter, do you “agapao” me but drops the “more than these” part of the question. Why did Jesus omit the “more than these”? I believe to show Peter to focus on his “agape” love and not anyone else. And Peter again answers “Lord you know that I “phileo” you. I believe another difference in this Q&A session from the previous one is the tone of Jesus’ and Peter’s voices being adjusted. I believe Jesus asked His question with much greater, love, compassion and even some added sadness and disappointment and I believe that Peter answered with even a greater level of grief and frustration not understanding yet why it was asked again. This is what I believe makes the most sense in the story, but I know this is my personal interpretation and you can believe otherwise if you choose.
I still ask myself and God why the omission of the “more than these” as part of the question. The only answer to that question that I have been able to determine is the fact that Jesus is giving Peter a much greater emphasis to the specific Greek word “agapao” type of love. I even believe that Jesus is making an implied statement that maybe no one “agapao” loved Him yet. But this might be wrong since John was one of the disciples there and he is often referred to as the “love” disciple since he wrote more about the subject than all of the others combined. Now let’s read the last time the question is asked and observe what changes now:
Joh 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Reading the English translation it appears that almost nothing changed. So God is either wasting a lot of words and Peter’s time asking him the same question or we are just missing the point and I believe it is us missing the point. You see Jesus changed the question dramatically the third time He asks and He used a totally different Greek word this time. Why would Jesus do this and what was the reason for the modification? If we dig deeper into the Greek language again we will learn that in the third question Jesus dramatically lowers the love level asked to Peter to a level of “phileo”, Peter’s previous two responses. I believe that Jesus changes His tone of voice to a much greater sound of sadness and hurt. I believe completely that Jesus was saying this paraphrase “oh Peter, what do you mean that you are only my friend?”
I believe we can begin to see Peter’s change of heart in this attempt of Jesus to get him to love Him on the highest unconditional level. The KJV Bible translates Peter’s feelings as an emotion of “grief”. The Greek word G3076 that is translated as “grieved” literally means that Peter was greatly saddened by Jesus asking Him 3 times. However, I believe this is not completely accurate simply because Jesus did not ask Peter the same question the same way, 3 different times. Either Peter is clueless to what Jesus was attempting to ask him or I am. Please ask yourself this question and see if you can think of a reason why Jesus comes down to a much inferior love type in the final question.
WHY DID JESUS WANT PETER TO AGAPE HIM?
Please allow me to give you a solid foundation for why I believe that Jesus is attempting to teach Peter about his “phileo” love to change it into an “agapeo” love. We will begin this section with a verse spoken by Jesus before His death on the cross and subsequent ressurtion. Let’s turn our Bibles to John chapter 14 and read:
Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
You see Jesus taught this truth to us that if we “agape” (G26) Him, we will keep His commandments and this certainly implies that we will not let them slip away from our hearts and minds. If the words of Jesus are first in our minds this will help us so that can continue to do them even in the tough times of persecution and other life challenges. This is why I believe that Jesus asks Peter what appears to be 3 different times in the English KJV translation what appears to be the same question. I believe Jesus was teaching Peter the difference between just a human friend kind of love that can fail and the God kind of love that will never fail. The God kind of love will obey Him and the friend kind of love may not obey when the going gets too tough and hard. I believe Jesus was teaching us all that the road ahead is going to get very rocky and rough and we will need to raise our “love” level up much higher in order to endure it to keep doing what Jesus wants us to do for Him.
Joh 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
Joh 21:19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
We should be able to understand more clearly what Jesus was trying to emphasize to Peter by reading the rest of the story in verses 18 and 19. Reading these verses we learn quickly that Jesus changes from the right now do you love me to the future tense of years to come. This informs me that the “Agape” love is what is going to be needed to endure the life that Peter was going to experience. If you read early church history you should find that Peter is crucified upside down on a cross. Wow what a horrible death that was. Not to mention the times he spent in jails and chains for preaching the gospel. If Peter had not raised his love walk to the love level of Agape I do not believe Peter would have been able to succeed in following Christ’s example fully.
All we need to do is to read Acts chapter 2 to find out how quickly the “love” level was raised to God’s Agape type of love in Peter’s life. Remember that Peter goes from denying Jesus 3 time only 50 days earlier to now preaching about Him in public to thousands. Can you see how this is a fulfillment of the command of Jesus to “Feed my Sheep”? I can see it very clearly. This act of preaching was a demonstration of Peter’s divine love and it displays such an amazing transformation from his previous “phileo” level of love commitment to Jesus.
I believe that this is a lesson for each Christ follower. We do not fully know what will happen to us tomorrow but we can prepare for even the worst possible events by embracing the God kind of Agape Love. I pray this short Bible lesson was a great blessing to you and an encouraging word from the Lord to raise your love walk with Him. May God bless you always.
(Ver 1.0) This is Part 2 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible studies about a subject of significant proportions and value that is rarely being taught. Because of a lack of teaching on the subject of division, many false beliefs have tried to creep into the church. One such belief is known by some as the doctrine of “Universal Salvation”. Within this false belief people think incorrectly that just because God is not willing for any to perish according to 2 Peter 3:9 and because God is sovereign they believe that no one will ever go to hell or be forever separated from Him. However, that is not what the Bible actually teaches us when it is divided correctly. Please understand that Satan is fighting this divine message of division with his great and convincing powers of deception. He is doing his utmost best to not let Christians or the world know that there remains a default separation of eternal fiery torment that people must choose to avoid. It is only by this one way of escape named Jesus Christ that they can be saved. They must make Jesus Christ their own personal LORD and SAVIOR or they will be eternally separated from God to be with Satan. I’ll talk more about this later.
Division Series Foundational Verse
It has been awhile since I was able to continue this series so I will review the lesson series foundational scripture verse. I pray that you took the time to read Part 1 already. I am sorry, but I am unable to attempt to cover everything that was taught in the first lesson here again. I believe that God gave to me the foundational basis of these Biblical division lessons and this verse comes from the mouth of Jesus spoken to us in Luke 12:51. Here in this statement Jesus reveals a hidden prophetic reason for His personal appearance in the flesh here on the earth. Please read the statement carefully and even go back and reread the context if you like.
Luk 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
Jesus states very clearly that He has not come into the world to bring peace. Then Jesus also said very clearly that “division” was then and I believe still is now one of the primary reasons for His first coming. Please notice that this division is stated by the associated combined statement to be the antithesis of “peace”. I believe that this disunity with peace was one of His crucial reasons for appearing here in the flesh on the earth. Do you believe Jesus knew what He was saying when He spoke these words? Do you believe Jesus was speaking the truth? If He was not speaking literally the truth here then this raises doubtful questions about every other word that was written that He spoke also. I personally am going to believe Him. Others can make their own choice.
This statement of Jesus was truly a very mysterious declaration of truth. This goes against many Christian’s theological reasoning and thinking. On the surface this statement appears to contradict with several verses that I went over in lesson 1. Another potential contradictory verse came to my mind is found in John 3:16. Jesus said in John 3:16 that “God so loved the world (in its entirety) that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.
If we just read the first part of John 3:16 and ignore the last adjoining conditional statement we may think that Jesus’ plan to divide the world in Luke 12:51 is a strong contradiction to God so loved us to save the entire lost world. But, Jesus attaches a major condition in order to obtain this salvation for all humans and He informs us that we MUST believe in Him in order to not be eternally lost.
Does everyone in the world believe in Jesus? The answer is an obvious NO! Once you understand that being saved or lost is a human conditional belief in Jesus and who He is and what He did for us then possibly you can begin to understand why Jesus said He came to divide the nations of earth and not to unite them all in peace. Let’s continue in this lesson with some new statements from Jesus that are clearly related to the statement of Luke 12:51.
Jesus WILL Divide the Sheep from the Goats
Today we will carry on this vital Bible study series with a few additional direct teachings of Jesus that support the belief that His appearing on the earth was to bring division based upon our personal belief in Him. I personally believe the following words written in red ink in the KJV Bible are some of the most clear and direct words of a coming prophesied division that we can find in the Bible. Please read these words very slowly and carefully and pay attention to what is being communicated and notice the timing of these events.
Mat 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Mat 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
Mat 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Mat 25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Mat 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Mat 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Mat 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Mat 25:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Mat 25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Mat 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Starting with verse 31 we should be able to begin to understand the timing for the prophetic statements that are being made by Jesus in verses 32 through 46. Jesus was then and still is now informing us what will occur at His second coming to the earth. This will be a future event that is probably much sooner than we can imagine. I want you to first notice in verse 31 that Jesus said that He will be bringing with Him all of the Holy angels to assist Him in this event. Wow, that is amazing information that implies to us that there must be other “unholy” angels that are not included in the number. We can understand this plainly by the addition of the adjective “holy” since this is a limiting qualifier that reduces the scope of the total angel group class (the noun) that is being spoken of. It would be the exact same as if Jesus said he would bring with him “all the red angels” eliminating the blue angels, green angels, yellow angels, etc. The inclusion of the word “all” means “every” and none are excluded and this simply informs us that there are No holy angels that are omitted. This is the first statement of division being made in this subject discussion. There will be 2/3 of the angels called holy that will remain with the LORD and the other 1/3 angels that will not be with Him we can call the “unholy” angels and we learn this information by reading about them in Revelation 12:4.
The holy angels that are for the LORD Jesus in verse 32 will then gather all of the people of the nations of the earth together for the final judgment of each individual. This is plainly stated but it cannot be viewed as a confirmation to the false belief of “universal salvation” because not everyone in these nations will be saved as we will read. Only those that qualify by their correct beliefs in Jesus will be saved. All others will perish just as we read in John 3:16. However, perish does not mean that they will cease to exist. That belief would contradict too many other verses that I do not have time to teach on in this lesson.
One of the key words found in verse 32 was translated into English as “separate”. This is a direct reference to our Bible study subject of division. We are unmistakably informed by Jesus that He will be the one that will divide the people of every nation just as we read in Luke 12:51 that He said He came to do. This Greek word G873 translated as “separate” literally means to set apart by a boundary. Synonyms can be “divide” and “sever” and it comes from two Greek root words that mean to “partition off”. Jesus is teaching us that there is a coming portioned boundary or a wall of separation between two very different groups of people and we are about to find out who these are in the next verses.
Notice at the end of verse 32 in Matthew 25 that Jesus tells us of Him separating people like a shepherd removes his sheep from his goats. One of the key words for correct interpretation in this separation is the word “like”. This clearly informs us that Jesus is about to begin speaking about literal spiritual truths using figurative natural symbols. However in this interpretation process knowing what is figurative and what is literal is what becomes important. Know how to rightly divide the spiritual truth using the natural symbols is a major part of the subject of division but not my main topic today. Please just note that most of the next nouns being referred to will be symbolic but the verbs I believe are very literal.
Jesus said “like” a shepherd separates his sheep from his goats is the action that is about to take place. I found that statement so very interesting and it raised a lot of questions in my mind. For example, is it necessary to separate sheep from goats? Why would a shepherd do this? How would a shepherd do this? These are just a few of the questions that were raised by the statement.
Verse 33 informs us that Jesus will set the sheep at His right hand and the goats at His left hand. I found this to be a very interesting concept to try to grasp and I asked another questions can sheep and goats even live together in the natural? If yes, then why would it be necessary for sheep and goats to be separated by natural shepherds?
Do sheep and goats fight each other or is there some other created reason that sheep and goats should be separated? I did some research and discovered that the mineral “copper” is the primary reason for any natural need of separation and division. Feeding copper to sheep kills them but copper is a nutritional necessity for all goats. Without copper in a goat diet they will die. Therefore, goats must have copper to live and sheep absolutely must not because it will kill them. Could any of this information have spiritual meaning and significance to our Bible study subject? I believe it does.
There is a unique quality of copper given to us in the Bible that I will only touch on in this lesson briefly. The English word copper is translated from the Hebrew word H5178 in the Old Testament and this word is most often translated as “brass”. However, this is even more interesting because it is also translated as the English word “filthiness”. There is a very powerful hidden message being given to us by the LORD Jesus in the separation of the sheep from the goats lesson. The sheep represent pure beings without any filth being found present in them and the separated goats represent beings that must have filth in their lives in order to live. Sheep living in continued filth will die but remaining pure without partaking of the copper filth diet (sin) they will live. I found that to be truly amazing. I believe the Lord led me to this to teach us the basic need for separation and division between these two groups. Filth represents sin and cannot remain in those standing on His right hand representing symbolic sheep. But, those standing on His left hand representing symbolic “goats” seem to indicate that sin will never depart from them.
Matthew 25:34 tells us that those (symbolic sheep) on His right hand will be called “blessed” and they alone are invited to enter into the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. In sharp contrast in Matthew 25:41 those on His left hand (symbolic goats) will be called “cursed” and commanded to depart from His sight into everlasting fire prepared for Satan and his angels. This is further confirmation that there are two prepared destinations determined for two kinds of people and two kinds of angels. The angels with God were called holy earlier and these combined angels with the goats are both joined with Satan to go to hell. Hell is the destination location where sin and filth is associated. Wow, that is really some very powerful words of revelation from Jesus.
Jesus ends the lesson in verse 46 of Matthew 25 with two very diverse ending locations for these opposing groups. Those sheep that will be called righteous have received eternal life while those goats that depart and go into eternal punishment we know are unrighteous. I am not going to go into every verse of this teaching to show why sheep are rewarded and goats are punished. You can do that for yourself or ask specific questions if you like in a comment.
Please take away from this lesson that there is a major division of separation that will be taking place. Both the sheep and goats live together for a time and it is a personal choice which one you are. Those that are goats that will be separated in the future to be on His left hand should be warned now to choose the free gift of eternal life as soon as they can before it is too late. Let’s continue to a new parallel teaching from Jesus.
Dividing the Wheat from the Tares
There is more than one message of division found in the Bible being spoken from the direct lips of Jesus. In fact this message is a central theme given by God from Genesis to Revelation. We can read this message repeatedly in almost every book of the Bible in some form. I believe that division was the plan of God before He even created our present world. Adam’s sin did not take God by surprise. I believe that God always has an answer prepared before there is any known stated problem. I want to continue this lesson today with another very direct and plain message of division given to us by Jesus in the book of Matthew. We will begin reading in chapter 13 and verse 24:
Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Mat 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
Mat 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
Mat 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
Mat 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
Mat 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
This is another message of divine spiritual importance given to us by God using symbolic figurative natural language to describe supernatural realities. The basic rule of interpretation for this parable is similar to the sheep and goats message. The nouns should generally be viewed as symbolic while the verbs should generally be taken as literal acts done to or by those that are represented by the symbolic nouns. It must be understood that this parable is stated to also be a likeness of the truth and not the complete truth in detail. That does not mean it is not true. But it does mean the timing of the events and specifics of the events are not al plainly stated. This higher spiritual message represents a natural message given to us on a much lower human level. God does this so that we can possibly understand it more easily than if He described the spiritual events from His superior divine intelligence viewpoint.
Maybe, you are not fully grasping what I was trying to teach. But, I hope and pray that you are. Let’s talk about this idea and concept in a bit more detail. The Greek word translated as “likened” in verse 24 is G3666. This Greek word is used to make a comparison between two separate realities, truths, people, etc. It is used 15 times in 15 different verses. The majority of the time it is translated in a form of ‘like”. For example, someone could say “oranges” are like “tangerines” and if someone had an experience of tasting, smelling and feeling a tangerine and never had an orange. This comparison knowledge gives the tangerine person a step up on understanding unknown oranges. However, the tangerine person also learns that oranges are not tangerines while they more easily comprehend that they contain some amazing similarities of experience, quality and type. This is exactly like what Jesus was teaching us also. Jesus is simply saying that the Kingdom of Heaven is very similar to and closely resembles a natural wheat and tare harvest cycle from the beginning to the ending process in many distinct ways. However, always remember that it is not an exact match just as a tangerine is not an exact rendition or a replacement for an orange.
Since the spiritual realm cannot be comprehended or confirmed by the five natural human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight or sound, it is a very complex task for any human to understand it. This is why God informs us in Romans 1:20 that His secret hidden qualities of His power and supremacy were clearly given to us to understand by things that He had created in our world all around us. Jesus reveals this truth repeatedly by using natural parables of sheep and goats and wheat and tares which represent likeness of the real. I believe that this clearly demonstrates God extreme intelligence and it truly amazes me. Let’s go through a list some of the key symbolic nouns found in this wheat and tare parable to help us understand the major spiritual players being described.
|Man||God/Jesus (Son of Man)||Mat 13:37; Mat 13:41|
|Good Seed||Word of God and People that Believe it||Luke 8:11|
|Field||Hearts of people in the world||Luke 8:15; Mat 18:38|
|Tare Seeds||Evil words producing evil people (children of Satan)||Mat 13:39|
|Wheat||Saved people producing fruit (children of God)||Luke 8:15|
|Tares||Lost people children of Satan||Mat 13:38|
|Harvest||End of the Age||Mat 13:39|
|Reapers||Holy Angels||Mat 13:39|
This is a great parable containing very significant hidden spiritual information that was not revealed clearly to any human or even angels before Jesus came to the earth to teach it to us. God is the symbolic man that owns the field. The field represents the world of people and more specifically their hidden spiritual heart. John 3:16 said God so loved the “world” so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for them all so that they might be saved if they believe. Sorry but that was just my paraphrase of a very important verse that I can’t stop telling you about.
I believe that the “good seed” sown into the field that produces the fruitful wheat is always the “Word of God” according to the Mark 4 parable of the sower. I also believe the good seed wheat crop that is taken at “harvest” time to be placed in the field owner’s barn (heaven) is specifically saved Christians that believed in Jesus. Harvest is revealed to be the end of this age and the reapers that bring in the harvest represent the holy angels again.
There is a very clear distinction given to us by Jesus between righteous people (wheat) and unrighteous people (tares). God makes a division of separated difference between those that are “good” and those that are not good. Wheat represents the good people and the tares represent the evil people. However, we know from both observation and parable teaching that the wheat and tares reside in the same world growing up together. What we learn from this parable is that the children of God will be eternally separated from the children of the devil. The children of Satan will be burned by fire which represents their eternal destination within hell. Those called wheat that have been saved will be gathered into a place of separated safety and peace.
There are some basic keys of spiritual knowledge given to us in this stated parable. For example, to the untrained (unsaved) eye both the wheat and the tares growing together can appear very similar. However, the tare plant when closely examined represents just a fake looking real wheat plant. The tares have a dark black seed on the inside and this represents the kingdom of darkness that fills their human heart. Ripe tares stand up proudly and arrogantly while the ripe wheat plant bows humbly to their maker in the wind. You can do other research to learn more about these differences if you like.
I think I should point out a few potential major problems with taking everything literal in this parable. For example, there is a stated man that owns a field. This man is named to be Jesus. But only the natural man Jesus walking the earth ever slept. The spiritual God never sleeps nor slumbers according to verses like Psalm 121:4. Since God is omniscient and omnipresent it is impossible for any enemy to plant bad seeds in His field without Him knowing fully about it. However, Jesus chose to make this information apart of the parable to help us to know something. I believe this information shows us that God did not stop the evil sower by divine choice but rather permitted him to come into the world to sow his seed. There would just be too many scriptural contradictions to believe otherwise.
Here is another reality that I struggled with in the telling of this parable. Have you considered the order of mention for the described sequence of events? Jesus describes the owner of the field that sowed the good seed is Himself saying the owner was the “Son of Man”. Jesus also said that the field received the good seed first and then the evil seed sower named Satan came afterwards.
We know from reading the Bible that Jesus does not appear physically on the earth until approximately 4000 years after Adam was created on the planet. Satan is first mentioned in Genesis 3 as the serpent that deceived them. This was clearly way before the personal appearance of Jesus (Son of Man) to sow good seeds. I struggled for awhile to believe that the good seed was planted before the evil seed that produced the tares. To resolve this in my mind I believe the Lord showed me the solution and I will cover this very quickly:
Gen 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
Notice what this verse appears to say in Genesis 2. The LORD God planted a garden…”. That is exactly what the parable we are reading describes to us. This is clearly before Genesis 3 and the introduction of the bad seed sower. This sower can only be the pre-incarnate Jesus that is planting the good seed. I hope you understand that this Genesis 2 planting was only “GOOD” seed sown by the LORD God? The only interpretation that can be viewed to make this correct is that Jesus was with God and was God as it is clearly laid out to us in John 1:1 and then later He became a man in the flesh as declared in John 1:14. I’m apologize if I don’t spend more time explaining this truth, but I believe that would take a significant time to cover.
This parable can be viewed as complicated very easily. I wish I could spend time to dig deeper into it. If you have any specific questions that rise up in your spirit, please let me know about them and I will trust the Lord to help me to answer them. Let’s move on quickly to another parable message from Jesus on the subject of division.
Dividing the Catch Caught from the Sea
Jesus repeatedly teaches us about the subject of a coming great division from many different perspectives. All of these perspectives were given to us using basic natural patterns of symbolic terms that the everyday common man could easily understand. As you should recall we’ve already seen the subject of division taught to us from a rancher/shepherd perspective. In this lesson the shepherd was tending his combined flock of both goats and sheep. However, only the sheep being placed on His right hand are saved and the goats on the left hand are lost. We have also seen the exact same type of division principle occurring in a distinct farming example where there will be the separating of the good grains of wheat from the inedible crop of tares. Again the wheat is saved and the tares are lost. Now Jesus is going to teach us again on the subject of division from the common level of many of His chosen disciple followers. Four of the twelve or one third of the disciples were fishermen. Therefore, this next parable should have definitely made both common and logical sense to them. Let’s read 4 verses found again in Matthew 13 and pay close attention to the similar symbolic concepts being communicated on:
Mat 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
Mat 13:48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
Mat 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
Mat 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
I found this parable very interesting. Jesus chose Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow him and they were all very experienced fishermen that did this type of work being described day after day for years. They would all get into their boats and launch out into the sea every work day. Then they would then throw their nets into the sea and draw it back up into the boats for their catch. After hauling the nets back up into the boats they would have to separate all of their good catch selecting each out individually from their bad or unclean catch. Every fish that was judged to be good was put into vessels to be separated completely from those that were deemed not to be good for anything. This dividing effort took place after close examination of each fish one by one. All that were determined to not be worth keeping were thrown away. Wow, how can we all not see the truth?
The parallels of truth being given are truly amazing between all of these parables. Even though each parable used different noun types to teach the truth the verbs types are practically identical or very synonymous. Notice how in each setting the good and the evil live within the same setting and environment. Notice how in each setting workers and servants are laboring to bring in the good and the bad and then are used to separate them completely and permanently. Notice how the good is always saved and the bad is always burned.
One of the key subject words in this fishing catch description is found in Matthew 13:49 and it was translated as the English word “sever”. This Greek word translated as “sever” is G873 and is the exact same Greek word as was found in Matthew 25:13 in the discussion of the parable of the sheep being “separated” from goats. God directly connects these two passages by His divine word selection and this confirms that we are studying the exact same subject and event.
The Bible clearly teaches us that in the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word of truth be established. Jesus has just given us three very profound witnesses of truth using three different natural examples of division taking place all prophesying of a future spiritual division. In every example the end result is identical. In every example the good and evil co-existed together in the same worldly environment until the time of the “end of the age” came and then there is a judgment that is made and an eternal separation occurs. There is almost no room for mistaken understanding, misinterpretation or misalignment of the truth in any of these parables. I believe that Jesus not only gives us the parables to teach us the subject of division that He said He came to do in Luke 12:51, but I also believe that He consistently explains each to leave no doubt to their meanings. It is only by ignoring the truth that we should remain ignorant on this subject.
There are more lessons, parables and verses on the critical subject of division that came directly from the mouth of Jesus, but I did not get to teach on all of these today. Take for example the parable of the 10 virgins. All came together to meet the bridegroom, who represents Jesus symbolically. This is the exact same message of coexistence as in every other previous parable. Then separation occurs with only 5 virgins entering behind the door and the other 5 foolish virgins were shut out completely. This is just the exact same division subject and an identical wall of separation being communicated from a new and different natural perspective.
Each time a new example is given by Jesus there can be new truths complimentarily added to enhance our understanding of the basic foundation of divisional truth. However, none of these new truths will ever change the foundational truth of division. I pray that you are grasping these concepts and receiving their truth.
I’ll end this part of the Bible lesson series on division with this warning from the Lord Jesus. Jesus makes a statement in Matthew 7 that should put a great deal of righteous fear into our thinking process. This verse is about the subject of division even though the word does not appear in the statement. Please read the verse and learn what is said:
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Jesus clearly warns us “Not everyone that calls Him Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven”. It would appear that calling Jesus LORD, even though it is a major part of the way to get to heaven it still does not guarantee our entry. It would appear to me that entry is conditional upon us doing the will of the Father also. This is a plain statement of division. This statement is speaking of people who will be positioned on the left hand of the LORD called goats, tares, unclean fish or foolish virgins. They will be told to depart from Him because He never knew them.
There is coming a great division between the righteous and the unrighteous, the just and the unjust, the good and the evil, the saved and the unsaved, the wise and the foolish and the clean and the unclean. It was stated by Jesus that this was one of the primary reasons for His appearance here on the earth. The division began spiritually when Jesus from the Kingdom of God paid the great price of our redemption purchasing us from Satan and the kingdom of darkness with His blood. The death of Jesus on a wooden cross was the sealed fate of separation of good from evil. Jesus then rose from the dead to become the only doorway to salvation. By entering into this door you can be included in the narrow path that Jesus said only few would find to enter. Jesus warned very clearly in Matthew 7:13 that wide is the pathway that leads to destruction and many are there that will fall for this trick of Satan to be lead astray. You have an enemy named Satan that has come to kill, steal and destroy as many as will allow him access either willingly or by deception.
I hope and pray that you have enjoyed this lesson and have learned at least something that you can share with others. The Lord willing, I will attempt to do at least one more lesson in this series sometime in the future. The coming end of the age could be here before we all know it. We should learn as much as we can to warn others before it is too late for them. God bless you and thank you for your prayers of support. I do greatly appreciate them.
(Ver 1.1) This is Part 2 in a series of advanced Bible study lessons concerning the increasing growth of the persecution of the church today. I believe sincerely that this was a message that the Spirit of God spoke to me recently in the middle of the night. This message of warning I believe was very clearly given. Therefore, I feel led to pray for every reader to grow in spiritual discernment to be able to perceive this persecution that is already beginning to happen all around us and to stand strong in their faith in the face of it. If you have not read this series of lessons from the beginning I would highly recommend that you go back and start with “Part 1” first.
Please realize that this Bible study subject is intended and I believe that it was designed by the Lord for mature spiritual Christians primarily. It may potentially address many advanced new spiritual topics that may offend, or cause fear or confuse a new or immature Christian. It is my greatest heart’s desire above teaching what I believe that the LORD gives me to share, to never intentionally offend or cause fear to occur in any new Christian which cause them to fall away from seeking to learn more. I believe very sincerely that it is essential for any Bible message being taught to not introduce a spirit of fear into any Christian’s heart (2 Tim 1:7). I believe this even when the message concerns a coming increased level of hatred towards Christians that may occur. When reading this message, fear should not be the end result. If it is then I have failed. Therefore, please perform a self-evaluation, praying first asking the Lord to lead you if you should continue to read and study this subject before continuing. Thank you.
In the first lesson God introduced the subject matter using a message revealed within the life of a man named “Saul” of Tarsus. Saul of Tarsus was a very religious zealot that believed he was doing well by persecuting and killing Christians when in actuality he was being deceived and used by Satan to do evil. We can learn this from reading Saul’s own subsequent writings to us in the church where he describes to us that he was just the human flesh and blood game piece being played, influenced and manipulated by the evil unseen spiritual force called Satan.
As you should recall, Part 1 introduced the subject of persecution from the viewpoint of 4 different perspectives. One perspective was that of the human persecutor Saul. Another perspective was from God’s viewpoint and another was from the observation of the one in the church being persecuted. Finally, the last perspective was from Satan. Satan’s viewpoint represented his beliefs based upon his versions of truth and reality. However, I was only able to touch that part of the discussion very briefly.
Today I want to focus more in-depth on the actual spiritual enemy’s perspective and the reasoning given to us in the Bible behind why Satan is so highly motivated to persecute the church. I believe if we can understand why our enemy desires to hurt us we will better know how to resist, withstand and even overcome the attacks.
But let’s first be reminded of a good definition of what “persecution” is from the dictionary.
Persecution: hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs.
Persecution is the act of someone causing hurt, harm, injury or even death to another human simply because of a strong disagreement or differences between someone’s appearance, associations or beliefs. Persecution can be physical, mental or emotional and even all of the above at once. You must also know that the roots of all persecution originate from seeds of evil planted from the kingdom of darkness and we will soon learn why these occur. That was only a very brief overview of what was covered in Part 1. Therefore, let’s get started on a new lesson about the subject of “persecution”.
SECTION 1: OBTAINING A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHO THE SPIRIT OF SAUL REPRESENTS
It may have been difficult for a few readers to understand the stated concept of the warning that I believe was given to us by the LORD concerning “beware, the rise of the spirit of Saul”. Is it possible that this was a direct reference to the external spiritual being named Satan? This “spirit of Saul” statement could possibly be a reference to at least three different possible interpretations. Think with me logically for a moment. First, this reference could be the actual human spirit of Saul himself returning to the earth as we read about Samuel returning to the earth in 1 Samuel 28 to speak with the first Saul king of Israel. If you have studied the Bible you should already understand that man was created by God as a tri-part being; 1) man is a spirit that possesses 2) a soul (a mind, will and emotions) and this spirit lives in 3) a physical body (1 Th 5:23). That is one possible logical interpretation.
Second, a “spirit of Saul” statement could be referring to just the rise of a hostile attitude towards Christians without being related to any one person of direct responsibility. Please review this one dictionary definition of the word “spirit”:
spirit: those qualities regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character of a person, nation, or group or in the thought and attitudes of a particular period.
Using this definition we could take the character, thoughts or attitudes of anyone on the earth similar to the man named Saul and say that is what is returning to the earth today and I believe that would be correct to a great extent. However, we must ask is there something or someone that is driving these things to reoccur today? Is there anyone that can be identified to be directly responsible for the evil? I believe the answer is yes. I based this belief upon two important characteristics 1) the TRUTH OF THE BIBLE and 2) God’s created laws of physics.
I would be foolish to attempt to teach the laws of physics in a Bible lesson on persecution. But you may be wise to extend some effort to study this subject to learn more about the subject of causality. This basic principle of physics teaches us for every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. In other words even basic common sense teaches us that nothing good or evil happens without an originating cause. Simply speaking we should understand that cars do not assemble themselves. If you can see a car, you must logically assume a designer and creator of that car.
I believe this principle of causality is also the basis for the subject of persecution also. Persecution does not occur by accident or random chance. It must be directly caused by a being capable to desire it, design it, initiate it and control it for an intended purpose. This brings us to the third possible interpretation for the “spirit of Saul”.
The third possible interpretation for a “spirit of Saul” statement could be a direct reference to an independent external supernatural spiritual being influencing the natural man Saul. I believe very firmly that this was the way that it is being used by the Holy Spirit in the message. In fact I believe it was an indirect reference to Satan and can be no other possible spiritual being. If you also believe this is true then you just might wish to skip the remainder of this section of the lesson because it is going to be designed to provide other Biblical confirmations of that subject matter only. The section following this confirmation in the Bible lesson will continue to get into new material on the subject of “persecution”. You are free to move directly down to the next section if you feel led by the Spirit of God to do so now.
I will do my best to provide a couple of quick examples of this type of stated truth for the “spirit of Saul” utilizing additional associated subjects and related references in the Bible. Each new reference type given should help us establish the basic concept that the “spirit of Saul” can legally be referring us to a completely different independent responsible spirit other than the human spirit of the man being directly named.
The Bible contains multiple repeated patterns that can assist us to prove basic spiritual concepts. We can find these and use the occurrence of each Bible reality to support our understanding of possible types and examples which are similar. For example, please read this next equally patterned verse that I believe was revealed to me by the Lord very carefully and see what God is saying about a spirit and two natural men named Elijah and Elisha:
2Ki 2:15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.
Here in this reference of the “spirit of Elijah” is found the exact same form of the principle and pattern as what was given within the “spirit of Saul” statement. However, in this revealed pattern there is a major difference in the transferred type of spirit that was now resting upon this man Elisha originally resting on Elijah. The major difference is between good and evil. Elijah and Elisha were men of God that do things that are good and Saul was a man guilty of doing evil. This represents an antithesis truth comparison. Both are related patterns upon opposite ends of a truth spectrum.
I believe that this shifted spirit being transferred from Elijah to Elisha must be the good Holy Spirit. I believe very firmly that the Hebrew word H7307 which was translated as “spirit” in this verse should have been translated as the capitalized word “Spirit”. Translators capitalized this word as “Spirit” in over 30 other O.T. verses. Therefore, it is a very legitimate way to use the word when it is recognized to be referring to God’s divine Holy Spirit.
This lower case translation as “spirit” just causes significant confusion and it conflicts with other verses found in the Bible. For example, I have found no verses in the Bible that reveal that a man’s human spirit can be transferred to or ever exist inside the body of a completely different named human being. We can easily observe this truth from reading a literal true story that Jesus taught to us. For example go and read in Luke chapter 16 where Jesus tells us of the natural deaths of two actual men, one an unnamed rich man and the other a poor beggar named Lazarus. Upon the death of each man, both human spirits depart their dead bodies and leave the earth immediately being carried away by the angels to two different locations under the earth’s surface. Knowing this truth alone makes it impossible for the literal stated “spirit of Elijah” to represent Elijah’s actual human spirit. The “spirit of Elijah” cannot come back or even stay on the earth to rest upon another human body named Elisha. That would be a very false teaching likened to “reincarnation”.
Also remember a related story found in Luke chapter 9 when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain top and both Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus talking. It is worthy to note that the Bible does not say that this was Elisha’s appearance. Therefore the spirit of Elijah must be separate from Elisha in 2 Kings and afterwards in Luke 9. It would be very logical to think that this is the way it was then and still is now. We can further confirm this truth seeing the departure of Elijah’s body and his spirit when he was taken away from the sight of Elisha being separated by a fiery chariot in 2 King 2:11.
2Ki 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
The fact that both Elijah and Elisha appear together in repeated verses found in 1 Kings 19, 2 Kings 2 and 3 prove that both men are human and possess independent human spirits. The fact that Elijah is stated to depart the earth further proves that Elijah is no longer here to rest on Elisha. Therefore, this referenced “spirit of Elijah” in 2 Kings 2:15 cannot be a literal interpretation for Elijah himself to remain here on the earth.
There are just too many implied controversies and conflicts given to us for us to believe that the human spirit of Elijah could possibly be transferred up and away from the earth but still remain here on the earth to rest upon the human spirit of Elisha. I’ll say it again in a different way, there is just absolutely no way that this belief of a human spirit transfer can fit any type of knowledge or understanding of central truth found in the Bible. Therefore, God must be speaking of a different spirit that was transferred from Elijah to Elisha and this Spirit must be the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at another related contextual verse to help us understand this more clearly:
2Ki 2:9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
Here is a great new mini lesson to help verify that the “spirit of Elijah” in 2 Kings 2:15 must be translated as the “Spirit on Elijah” in order to not conflict with contextual Bible truth. First, notice that Elijah says “He is about to be taken away”. That statement would be a clear lie if his spirit remained on the earth to rest upon Elisha. Do you understand this? A man is his spirit and a man is not his physical body. The physical body is simply the house that the man’s spirit lives within. Remember what Paul wrote us in 2 Corinthians 5:8 “to be absent from the body is to present with the Lord”. Wow, I hope you can put this verse together to see the truth with the “spirit of Elijah”.
Also, notice that there is a potential major conflict found on the surface by Elisha’s request to Elijah. Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Again I believe this word should be capitalized as “Elijah’s Spirit” to be seen correctly as God’s Holy Spirit that was resting upon Elijah. You see God’s Spirit resting upon Elijah was just the unseen reality that Elijah possessed personally. Then notice what Elisha asks for more specifically. Elisha asks for a “double portion” of this spirit and again this can only be a double portion of God’s Spirit.
I have found no Bible references that infer that a man’s human spirit can increase in any measured capacity, quantity or status other than to grow in qualities like faith, strength and wisdom. I believe from years of Bible study that the human child that is formed in the womb of a woman has been given a fully formed and complete human spirit from God. I believe that this human spirit is in its full presence and measured capacity. I do believe that this spirit grows in knowledge, understanding and wisdom but I believe that this is not the increased size of the human spirit. Therefore, I believe that any stated increased “double portion” of Elijah’s human spirit presents another major Bible conflict. However, if we translate and interpret this Old Testament request in this verse using revealed knowledge of the N.T. we will quickly learn the truth. For example, read this:
Joh 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
As you read the context of this verse you can clearly see that this verse is speaking of Jesus. God declared in His written Holy Word that Jesus had been given the “Spirit of God” in complete fullness without any limitations or reduced amounts of capability to measure. The Greek word G3358 translated in this verse as “measure” literally means “a limited or reduced portion of the complete or total” and by God placing the negative G3756 translated as “not” before this word it changes the meaning to say to us that there can be no reduced limits to the Spirit that was given to Jesus. We could literally say God’s Spirit was given to Jesus in the fullest possible measured capacity. Therefore, Jesus had the total possible amount of God’s Holy Spirit resting upon Him. I hope and pray that you can see this truth because the unstated implications are also amazing.
This statement of truth about Jesus implies that every other human here on the earth can only possess the Holy Spirit in some much “lesser amount” or “reduced or limited portion” than what Jesus had. This truth teaches us so very much. For example if you believe that you have all of the Spirit of God that you can possibly have just because you were born-again then you are very deceived. There is always more of God that is available to come upon you, if you just ask for Him to come and receive Him by faith.
This means when Elisha asks Elijah for a double portion of his “Spirit”, Elisha could only be legally asking for a greater portioned amount of God’s Spirit than what was present on Elijah at that time. The increased amount of double of what Elijah had resting upon him was what was requested. I hope you understood this basic logical truth. I believe very clearly that God’s Spirit is the only single spirit that can be given and transferred to and from any human to another in greater amounts. However, this does get more complicated by the fact found in the Words of Jesus when He declares that a demon can exit out of man and then return with 7 other demons that are more evil than himself (Mat 12:45).
I’ll end this small part of the confirmation by proving the Holy Spirit can “rest” on humans. This will help us further support the claim that the spirit of Elijah must be the Holy Spirit and no other. And this fact will assistus to better understand how the “spirit of Saul” can also be transferred to rest upon other humans also. In Acts 2:3 when the Holy Spirit falls upon the 120 in the upper room God declares that His Spirit “Sat” upon each of them. That term “sat” is simply a synonymous way to say God’s Spirit “rested” on each human spirit present in a limited amount. This was the exact same spiritual concept being studied in 2 Kings.
Num 11:25 And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
We can use one of the basic interpretation principles called the “law of first mention” and find that the Spirit of God rested on other people in the O.T. For example this truth is found in Numbers 11:25-26 where God clearly states using the exact same Hebrew word translated as “rest” as we have been observing in reference to Elisha. In these verses in Numbers God rested upon Moses and this same Spirit was then also transferred and given to rest upon the 70 elders that were called to help Moses govern and manage the people of the LORD. That makes it very plain to me what God was speaking of in 2 Kings 2:15.
I’ve spent more than enough time on this rabbit trail study proving that the “spirit of Elijah” can only be correctly understood to be “God’s Spirit resting on Elijah” and it could only be His Spirit that can legally be transferred in an increased portion to rest on Elisha. These truths helps to support the claim that the “spirit of Saul” can also legally be understood to be Satan’s spirit upon Saul that is being transferred from one human (Saul) to another.
I will conclude this section of our persecution lesson with one further confirmation to how Satan can use multiple humans to bring persecution upon Christ and Christians. This will help us to see how one spiritual being can be transferred from human to human. We will read four verses found in the book Luke. I’m sure you have seen these before but they do teach us plainly about the root “spirit” that is truly behind persecution:
Luk 22:2 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.
Luk 22:3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
Luk 22:4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.
Luk 22:5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
Please note in verse 2 that God says the religious leaders in Israel sought to kill Jesus. Also note that in John 10:10 Jesus claimed that Satan was the one that came to the earth to kill, steal and destroy. I find that very interesting, don’t you? It would appear to me that Satan had already entered into the hearts of these religious men in order for them to want to kill Jesus. Please recall who Jesus claimed was behind these rulers by reading these words spoken in John 8:
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
You see Jesus informs these religious leaders that they desired to kill Him and that this was the desire give to them from their father. Who did Jesus say was their father? Was it God? No it was not! Jesus was saying they were “of” their father the devil (aka Satan). Wow, that is very strong language. The root of murder according to Jesus is of the devil because he is stated to be the murderer from the beginning of the world.
Jesus was warning these religious human men concerning who birthed and controlled their 1) desires, 2) intentions, 3) thoughts and 4) their actions. But, these religious zealots completely ignored His warnings. I believe that it is quite possible that one of our main subject’s Saul was standing in their presence when these words were spoken. Wow, can you imagine that?
Go back and reread Luke 22:3 again. It is very clearly stated that Satan entered into Judas before Judas ever betrayed Jesus to the Jews. Note the important concept being taught to us. The spirit of Satan was not on or in Judas but then he came from somewhere or someone else to now be found present in Judas. This statement reveals the very important concept that is being taught about spiritual transference. The Holy Spirit, demons, devils and even Satan can be transferred from one human to another human as we have clearly observed in scripture.
The religious rulers of Israel were thrilled with this man Judas coming to help them trap, take prisoner, persecute and kill Jesus. This is no different than what Satan did through the man Saul to persecute and kill those in the church later after the death of Judas and the ascension of Jesus. What I am saying is that the same spirit of Satan that came upon these religious leaders, Judas and Saul must be the same spirit that is now coming upon people in our world today to spread the same evil upon the church.
This is such valuable information to learn from. It teaches us the root cause behind the observed effect of church persecution is spiritual in origin and nature. Judas went out and killed himself because of his great error in judgement to give into Satan and yet this did not end the persecution of believers. Therefore, Judas cannot be the root cause of the persecution to Christ or Christians. Judas was only a simple pawn chess piece that could be used to attack Christ and then be sacrificed and thrown away in a human garbage pile. Satan could easily find another human to fulfill his further evil work on the earth. Please see what Paul wrote about this unseen work of Satan:
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Paul states very clearly “what is” the root cause source of evil in this world. Paul is a very wise and learned man from things he learned from the Lord Jesus and his personal life experiences. Paul says there is a prince of the air that has the power and ability to work in men and women on the earth that willfully disobey the Word of God.
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
We could spend a lot of time just on this verse but I want to point out just a few key points found in this great truth statement. Satan is walking the earth just as we are informed he does in the first chapter of the book of Job. The Greek word G666 which was translated as “devour” is a very interesting word to study. This word literally means to swallow up as in gulping down a large glass of a beverage. This is what Satan is trying to do to everyone in the world today. Satan is an equal opportunity destroyer and it does not matter if you are saved or not saved. He is looking for someone to drink in and use. However this is only possible for people that open the door for him to come in to consume them.
Spiritual transference and influence is still true today in our world. Human terrorists are not our real root problem. One terrorist blows himself up to kill people and then Satan has many other men, women and children to step into their role to be the next murderer. I hope and pray that you will embrace these truths and take them to heart to see how persecution and the transfer of spirits work. Let’s change the focus and learn more about why Satan wants to persecute you.
SECTION 2: ONE OF SATAN’S PRIMARY MOTIVATIONS FOR PERSECUTION
At the end of the first lesson in the series, I included a few verses from Revelation 12 that described how as the time of the end shortens, Satan’s fury and hatred increases. I believe this fury is growing exponentially as the end becomes nearer. I also believe that this rage will continue to rise until after he is thrown down to the earth the final time having lost his soon coming war in heaven with God’s holy angels. I believe these verses describe to us a spiritual being in tremendous panic mode. Let’s reread a little to refresh our memory:
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Prior to these two verses in Revelation chapter 12, Satan (the symbolic dragon) was stated to have swept down with his dragon’s tail one third of the angels (the symbolic stars). These evil angels have fallen to the earth with Satan from heaven and that is not good news for the people left remaining on the earth. But, here in verses 7 and 8 we learn some very important information concerning Satan. First, think with me and ask why would a created being of inferior powers and ability choose to come against his all-knowing and all-powerful creator? Doesn’t Satan have any fear of God? I believe sincerely that Satan has tremendous fear of God. But, I also believe that he considers that he has no choice except to fight against God in order to try to survive what is prophesied to come. Satan knows so very clearly by reading the end of the Bible that he is going to be cast into hell very soon where he will have to spend all of eternity in punishment, anguish and torment.
Remember that Satan has been in heaven, led worship around the throne of God and has lived the best life and seen such superior things which were far better than anything we could possibly imagine here on the earth. Satan was created a model of perfection, created in a realm of perfection with the perfect association to the creator God who was and is perfect. Why he chose to willfully and purposely rebel against a good and loving God is certainly an amazing mystery to most of us Christians. Let’s review Satan’s end:
Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
As you can plainly read in Revelation, Satan has a very dismal prophesied future. This is exactly why I believe Satan is highly motivated to try to find any way possible to not go there. Do not forget that when Satan was created, he was an example of perfection from God’s best and highest order of His creation. Satan continued as the model of “perfection” right up until the time that “sin’ was found in him through his pride (Eze 28:15). I believe that it was Satan’s pride that caused him to think more highly than he ought to think of himself and I believe that it is now his survival instinct that causes him to fight diligently against God and His great power here on earth and in heaven.
I hope that you understand these truths because Satan definitely does. Everything that a Christian is destined for in eternity with the Almighty God, Satan has already experienced and I believe he is not happy to say the least to lose it all. Let’s take a quick little exploration trip down a new rabbit trail on the subject concerning demons and devils to better understand Satan’s knowledge. Please, read with me in Matthew 8:
Mat 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
Mat 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
Jesus traveling through the countryside encounters men that were possessed by devils. Please notice what the devils shriek when they see the LORD JESUS coming at them. We can clearly see from their statements that these devils know exactly who Jesus is and even call Him the “Son of God”. Being the “Son of God” was certainly the truth and one of His primary given names. Did you know that devils know and can speak the truth at times? Please notice the beginning of the question asked to Jesus “What have we to do with you?” That was a question displaying their great fear of Jesus. This statements ends with still another fearful question that begins with “Have you come to torment us before the time?” Wow, what great fear these devils exhibit! Can you agree?
Reading the devil’s questions we see that these spirit beings in a human know the truth that there is coming a future “set time” that will begin their eternal never ending torment. They also speak this truth long before the book of Revelation was ever written. We also learn by their questions that the timing for this torment described in the future written Revelation 20 was not during the first appearing of Jesus the Son of God upon the earth. This extraordinary knowledge of truth was way beyond that of any human comprehension on the earth at that time except for Jesus’ knowledge. Jesus never denies these statements of truth nor does He contradict them. They are completely agreed with due to the silence of Jesus. Let’s review the facts of truth just given:
- Devils have a very great fear of being tormented.
- Demons, devils and evil spirits know that there is an appointed time of eternal torment.
- The timing of eternal punishment and torment is stated to be in the future.
All of these three observed truths declare that every devil possesses a very great fear of God and of the coming time of never ending retribution. Did you know that devils and demons possessed this very tremendous terror of God and His power even back at the appearance of Jesus the first time on the earth? If the lower levels of devils feared God’s future plans for them way back then how much more do you think their leader Satan and all of them fear these never changing plans right now? I believe that this fear is even greater today than it ever was back then.
Jas 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Notice what the half-brother of Jesus reveals to us in his awesome letter to the church. James commends us in the church for having a holy belief in the one true God. Then James implies by his adjoining statement that this belief should cause a righteous fear of God to similarly be present in us. We can conclude this, because, James says that we are doing well to possess this belief in one God since the devils “also” believe and they tremble in fear. What I am introducing in this section of the Understanding Persecution lesson is what I believe is Satan’s number one reason for persecuting the church and it is called “FEAR”. Satan fears the omnipotent God more than I can describe in this lesson and it is primarily this great terror that causes his excessive hatred and rage against us in the church today. Please take this summary statement to heart and never forget it:
- Fear is the driving motivational evil force for everything wicked that Satan does to the church using persecution.
SECTION 3: INTRODUCTION TO SATAN’S NUMBER ONE GOAL FOR PERSECUTING THE CHURCH
Wow, if it is true that Satan is primarily motivated by the fear of God to commit persecution, what is his primary goal and objective for persecuting, killing and destroying Christians on the earth for the last 2000 years? What benefits to Satan could this evil work of persecution potentially gain him? I believe that is a great question to answer and understand. And I believe the answer has not changed ever since Satan killed Abel in Genesis.
Always, remember that Satan has been in the death business since the world began (Heb 2:14). He wants us in the church dead and not only us but also the entire nation of Israel. Why is that? If Satan is already defeated as we learn in the New Testament, why is he still fighting so hard to kill everyone that God has selected? Why does the religion of Islam call Christians in America the great Satan and the nation of Israel the little Satan? It sounds to me like Satan is afraid of us both and even our existences here on the earth. Both of these nations must possess something that Satan fears as much as God. What could this be?
Again we know from reading the words of Jesus in John 10:10 that Satan came into the world illegally to literally 1) kill, 2) steal and 3) destroy us while Jesus explained that His purpose for coming into the world was the antithesis to give us life and that life more abundantly. These were and are still two opposing forces that are fighting against each other to prevail. Satan should be viewed as our enemy trying to bring us to death but Jesus the greater one came as our provider of life more abundant. Satan is certainly evil and Jesus is so exceedingly good.
We should now know from just reading this lesson that these three evil acts of Satan were and still are “fear of God” motivated. Therefore, I’ll ask again, what possible profit does Satan potentially gain from killing Christians, stealing from Christians and destroying Christian and their works? This will become the focus of this section and we will let God’s Word answer these very important questions.
There is a really simple answer to the introduction of this section’s questions if we think about it and begin to ask some additional direct questions. Of course asking the right direct questions would certainly help us. How about beginning by asking this question, “How did you become a Christian?” I believe that if we can correctly answer that question that we will begin to travel down the right pathway to finding the truth about what is Satan’s primary benefit for the persecution of God’s people. I’ll start this section with a familiar Bible verse found in 2 Corinthians:
2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
God contrasts two truths and one is given to be greater than the other. These are seen things verses unseen things and the unseen things must be viewed to take priority over the sense realm things. The unseen things are clearly spiritual in nature. If you are really a Christian that has been born again, you possess two very powerful unseen spiritual realities that Satan fears tremendously. Every real Christian believer has these two unseen internal truths that speak to declare Satan’s greatest fear. What are these two unseen internal and never ending unseen spiritual qualities that any real Christian possesses? These two unseen realities in us that Satan hates and fears the most are 1) the Spirit of God and 2) the Word of God.
1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
After becoming a Christian the Spirit of God dwells directly in us. That is why Satan fears you and wants to remove you from his worldly domain of darkness. If there were no Christians in the world today restraining and resisting Satan what would be the moral condition of the world today? I hate to imagine what would be happening based upon what is happening all around us already.
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
If you were born again, it happened because you received the Word of God into your spirit. It is the presence of this powerful incorruptible Word (seed) that is one of the major factors that Satan fears you. This is so important that I can’t say it enough. The Word of God and the Spirit of God are one and if you are a real Christian you have both in you in some measured portion which can be increased and even grow but I don’t have time to teach that today. Let’s review a verse very quickly to see why the Word of God in you is so scary to Satan.
Rom 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
Wow, I love this verse of Godly truth. This verse represents a foundation for the second unseen reality that Satan hates about you as a Christian. The Word of God should be in the mouth of every believer and we should be able to see that it is only this Word of Faith being in our mouth that represents our offensive weapon against Satan according to Ephesians 6:17. Every time Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus spoke the Word of Faith to him “It is written” and after three attempts to get Jesus to fail Satan left him in defeat. I believe very sincerely that this removal of the Word of God from your heart and from your mouth is the number one goal for all evil persecution. If Satan can eliminate the Word of God from your heart with external threats and pressures from this world you will become no threat to Satan.
For the exact same motivation of fear that Satan attacks the all-powerful God in heaven in Revelation 12, he is coming against any real saved born again Christian now in the church. I believe that Satan is highly driven trying to save himself from going to hell as I have previously demonstrated and that this foolish behavior will continue to increase as the time for the end of this age is growing shorter. I also believe that Satan’s chances for success are zero. Yet I believe strongly that he will definitely still try to fight to win in order to attempt to change his inevitable outcome in whatever way that he believes he can do to help him the most. If you do not believe Satan is still fighting to win over you and over God, then you may be very deceived. Verses like Ephesians 6:11-12, James 4:7, 1 Timothy 6:12, 2 Timothy 4:7, and 1 Peter 5:9 to name a few all prove that every Christian is still in a spiritual battle until Satan is completely removed from this world.
As we learned earlier, Satan is not omnipresent nor is he omniscient. Satan does not come close to knowing what God knows or even understanding why God has done many things the way that He has done them. God clearly uses seemingly foolish strategies in the eyes of Satan to defeat him (1 Cor 1:27). Satan never understood why Jesus came down from heaven to the earth to become a human man. The devils clearly thought it was to torment them before the time appointed. I believe that Satan and his devils were all in terror when Jesus began to cast them out of people here on the earth using His anointed power. Acts 10:38 says “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and Power who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil”. You see until Jesus came down to the earth, every devil practically had complete free reign to do as they pleased to humans if humans were tricked to open the door to let them in. Jesus turned the world of the devils upside down so that they didn’t know what to expect next or what to do with Jesus to stop this major change to their long existence on the earth. God reveals this to us in this truth:
1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
1Co 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
These two verses confirm the reality that Satan and all of his devils don’t know much about God’s ways. These two verses inform us that God had a very secret plan found within sending Jesus to the earth. This plan literally included the voluntary death of Jesus on the cross and God says if Satan would have known this no devil would have allowed this to occur because I believe it sealed their doomed fate and destiny.
What did I say earlier was one of the things that we possessed now that Satan is in great fear of? Remember one item was the “Word of God” as it is being mentioned in verse 7 of 2 Corinthians 2. I believe this is the planned motivating goal of Satan. He believes that if he can stop us from gaining any more knowledge of God’s Word that this will possibly extend, delay or even end the future plan of God to put them into hell. However, we still have the Word of God that we can read further and learn more from:
Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Col 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
We should be able to easily learn from reading these verses that this death that Jesus experienced on the cross caused the triumphant defeat and the downfall of Satan and all of his unseen spiritual rulers of this world. This should be very excellent news for those that are still being persecuted by Satan today and those in the days to come. It also should raise new questions in your mind. For example, if Satan is a defeated enemy why does he still exist here on the earth and how is it that he still has any power or ability to persecute anyone? I wish I had time to try to explain that completely, but I do not in this lesson. In order to understand Satan’s goal for committing persecution we need to dive much deeper into the subject of the incorruptible word of God’s seed that I just introduced into the lesson. We will do this by analyzing some familiar verses next.
SECTION 4: UNDERSTANDING PERSECUTION IN THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
In a previous section I said Satan feared two truths, the 1). Spirit of God and the 2) Word of God in the heart of every born again believer. Then I taught that this fear was the primary motivation for all Christian persecution. Now, I’m going to continue to confirm and expand this fact in this part of the lesson to help us better understand it. We will be turning to the most important parable found in the Gospels in order to better comprehend the reason(s) why the church is being persecuted. This essential parable that I am referring to is often called the “Parable of the Sower” but we must begin to understand that it contains so much more information than just a simple message of a man coming to plant some seeds in what appears to be random types of ground.
We will soon discover by using a new look that this seed parable also contains our four perspectives concerning persecution. These were, 1) God’s perspective, 2) Satan’s perspective, and both the 3) persecuted church and the 4) persecutor’s viewpoint. I will not include every verse of this parable in order to attempt to shorten the lesson today, but I would recommend that you go and reread all of the verses for yourself to refresh your memory to confirm what is being taught.
I will inform you upfront in this section that it contains some potentially brand new ideas that I believe the Holy Spirit just gave me concerning this parable. While I was studying the subject I believe that the Lord showed me how this parable fits my life in more ways than I thought. I believe the Holy Spirit said to me in my spirit that this parable represents the ONLY true pathway to becoming a real saved mature born again believer. I believe this is described from the beginning of our salvation all the way to the best possible end result of our salvation of producing a 100 fold spiritual fruit return on God’s investment in our hearts. I will also inform you that this parable teaches us at least 6 things that Satan does to every hearer of the Gospel in order to keep that person from becoming a saved overcoming threat to his kingdom.
Let’s examine a very quick overview of the parable. In this parable a “sower” came to the earth spreading seed on 6 different types of ground (soil, hearts). Three types of ground (soil, hearts) produced no lasting fruit for a harvest and three types of ground (soil, hearts) produced increasing levels of lasting harvestable fruit. We should know from the explanation of the parable given by Jesus that the main seed being sown in heart to produce fruit represents the “Word of God”. That is very important to know since I believe this is what Satan fears. We should also know that the original man that sowed the good seed was sent down from heaven and His name was Jesus. We can further understand that the soil represents 6 different distinct states of the internal unseen spiritual human heart. Now, we should be able to logically deduce from just this amount of basic information alone that the end result of the seed (Word of God) sown is spiritual fruit and without this being found present it is impossible for us to be saved according to the Bible. I’ll repeat this very important verse for further emphasis:
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Jesus declared in John 3:7 “You must be born again” in order to enter the Kingdom of God. Did you notice what God says about His seed here in this verse of first Peter? God’s seed is confirmed by the inspired writings of Peter to be God’s Word and it is ONLY this successfully sown incorruptible good seed in a man’s heart that causes him to be born again. I believe this is a good time for us to get into the divinely created natural birth process in order to better understand this concept of being born again. God’s process of being “born again” spiritually is a direct parallel concept to the created natural process of being born in the natural human way.
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
God gives us great wisdom in the New Testament concerning how to understand hidden and unseen spiritual truths. God clearly says for us to look at naturally created patterns of things to see and understand hidden spiritual concepts we do not see or understand. This is why we are going to go briefly through the parallel process of human reproduction.
I will not be excessively graphic in this description because most of you should already know how human babies are made. However, for those few that don’t, the natural process takes two opposite humans to produce one new baby. These two human requirements are always one male seed provider and one female seed receiver. The human male always possesses the necessary seed for human conception and must sow it just as the sower of God’s word (a male named Jesus) possessed the spiritual seed that must be planted in a spiritual woman to cause a spiritual birth to potentially occur. Both seeds (the natural and the spiritual) are implanted internally just in two very different ways for two very different intended destinations and results. However, both successful seed processes produce the same end result called “fruit”.
Luk 1:42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
In the natural woman’s womb there is found an “egg” normally produced monthly that can be potentially implanted by the sown male’s seed. This natural sowing process to produce the human baby fruit as we just read in Luke 1:42 is a very real parallel to the parable of the sower that informs us not every seed that was sown takes root or produces fruit. Both the spiritual seeds and the natural seeds have enemies that can try to prevent the seed sown from bearing any fruit. Some human couples take great lengths of time to produce a child in the natural and so it is with the spiritual re-birth process. Some humans live all of their lives and get born again on their death beds if they are blessed to hear the gospel and receive it. Just as having sex does not guarantee human fruit, so it is with hearing the Word of God. There are so many that hear the truth of the Gospel and simply die and go to hell, not receiving it.
The womb of the woman is a direct parallel representation of the human heart (spirit). The female womb is an ever changing environment that goes in cycles of lesser degrees and greater degrees of fertilization and so it is with the human heart. A human’s heart may be very tender and fertile to receive the word of God today but tomorrow it may be completely hardened because of life’s ever changing circumstances.
In the natural the male is always the sower of seed and it is only this seed successfully sown at the perfect timing that will potentially produce any fruit of a child. However, even as the parable indicates, there can be problems that cause the termination of the pregnancy and no child/fruit is delivered. I’m sure some readers know this reality by great trial of experience.
That was only a very rapid overview of a naturally created and inspired process that was designed to be a view into the spiritual birth process. I pray that you will accept this as we continue to learn more and I encourage you to give this process some more thought and write me a good comment at the end of this lesson to share it with others.
As in the parallel of human reproduction, the “Parable of the Sower” reveals much more than just the planned attempt at producing good fruit. There is and always will be an enemy in this realm that will try to prevent the spiritual rebirth from taking place. Satan does this in at least 6 different ways in the parable of the Sower. If you allow Satan to steal the seed sown from your heart, there will be no new spiritual birth that will occur to produce any lasting or saving spiritual fruit. Therefore, it is simple to see if there is no lasting Seed of God in the human heart, there will be no end result of any eternal salvation fruit.
The Holy Spirit reminded me as I was writing this lesson that I have personally been almost every type of the 6 different soil conditions mentioned in this parable by my own freewill choices. I believe that if you are a real born again Christian, then you have chosen to be most of these soil types also and endured to make the necessary changes and adjustments to go further. I did not say you had to go through every soil type. I believe you may have been blessed to bypass one or more soil types that do not produce fruit. However, that does not mean you bypassed the attacks of Satan to try to steal the seed from your heart affecting those soil types. Please, just begin to understand that it is the human’s choice which soil type that he or she wants to be.
For example, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I was the one that chose to be hard hearted pathway soil that allowed Satan to easily steal the Word of God that was sown in my heart as a very young man. The Holy Spirit then reminded me that it was my choice later in life that allowed the Word of God to come in on my shallow stony heart when I did receive God’s seed with gladness. However, when Satan came as he does to every seed of God listener I became offended and turned away from God and produced no fruit. As a result I failed to move into salvation to produce fruit. God then reminded me of the phase of my life when I chose to receive the Word of God being more tenderhearted but I again allowed Satan’s evil seed to also enter in through the cares of this world to choke out the good seed and again there was still no Godly fruit produced for salvation.
I am now by my own determined choice, in a more lasting “fruitful” stage of my life having made the personal selections to not allow my poor past mistakes to keep me apart from producing any harvestable spiritual fruit. I am not saying that I am perfect now or that I have yet arrived at the one hundred fold return level of fruitful production but I believe that I am on the way to get there. I hope this short testimony gives you a brand new perspective on what the parable of the sower represents and further helps you to evaluate where you might choose to be in this parable being described today. I would be very excited to read your testimony of your path to salvation if you would care to share it in a comment. It would be my great pleasure to read how you overcame the struggles and attacks of the enemy in any soil type. Let’s start reading the “Parable of the Sower” in Mark chapter 4:
Mar 4:14 The sower soweth the word.
Mar 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Ok, heart condition 1 was called the “way side soil” and this soil type represents a very hard compacted trampled on heart condition which does not allow the Word of God to even enter into it to take any root. Therefore, there is no salvation that can take place for this type of person. In this soil type the seed (the Word of God) is very easily stolen away by the enemy of God (Satan) because there can be no understanding of any of the Word that was heard. I’ll say this again using a few different words. The reasons given for the ease of seed theft is first, a hard-hearted condition by a personal choice which caused a second condition of no real hearing or understanding of the Word of God to be able to enter into it. I very firmly believe that this “way side” soil condition represents a person that has never been saved even if they went to church over and over and over. I believe that this soil type is like a man having sexual relations with his wife but the sperm sown never reached anywhere close to the egg inside her because it is blocked by some contraceptive device or substance or even by some physical condition that does not allow the seed to be implanted.
Like I said earlier, this way side soil type represented me in the early years of my life. I was raised in church but I was not really interested in hearing any of the Word of God that was being spoken. I let the words go in one ear and immediately exit out the other ear being closed minded and uninterested. I placed no value upon the Word and treated it with disdained unimportance. There was no priority of importance or value given to the message and therefore the seed being sown was very easily stolen from my hard hearted condition.
Mar 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
Mar 4:17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
The second soil condition is called “stony ground” and this was me when I was in my teens and early 20’s. My heart had started to have a very small amount of softness on the surface to receive only some basic concepts of the Word of God but, because I lacked any deep understanding and maturity I simply fell away when Satan persecuted or afflicted me with any pressure. The main difference between the second type of soil and that of the first is that this soil has just a very small amount of loose soil (tenderness) that allows the seed to enter into it slightly. But, because of no great ability of the seed to go deeper into the heart it simply dries up and dies unborn. I believe this soil type can represent a woman that has a pregnancy occur but soon experiences a miscarriage because of some unforeseen circumstances from a natural enemy. Perhaps you have experienced this and if so I am sorry for your loss.
Mar 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
Mar 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
The third condition of the soil is called “thorny ground”. I believe that this was me in my late 20’s and 30’s. I was easily distracted by the cares of this life and the pursuit of worldly things and these personal choices allowed these thorn seeds to also enter in my hear to grow and develop and their presence choked out God’s planted seed in my heart again to produce no fruit. I believe this can be many, many things. For example, reading fiction books instead of the Bible allows evil seed to come into the heart. Watching worldly movies also can bring into a heart evil seeds that choke out God’s Word. Desiring fame, riches, cars, houses, boats, etc. can all allow evil seeds into a heart that produce no fruit.
I will remind you again that this entire parable concerns the primary subject of human salvation also called being born again. It describes the process entirely from the beginning steps all the way to either a successful completion to produce some spiritual fruit or there is the other side likened to a crop failure where no lasting fruit is produced. It also reveals there are spiritual enemies and plans to abort the entire process and all of their techniques are intended to terminate God’s designed saving process. Real spiritual salvation always begins with the impartation of God’s good spiritual seed called the Gospel and ends with at least some real lasting spiritual fruit being produced. Those that produced no fruit were not saved and those that produce even a little bit of lasting fruit are saved. Remember that Jesus said “You will know them (saved or unsaved) by their fruits” (Mat 7:16).
According to the interpretation of this natural parable the sower’s goal is to plant spiritual seed that produces spiritual fruit and He does this by speaking the Word of God into all types of human hearts every chance that He has. The seed that is sown is clearly for an intended good return. Therefore, without hearing the Word of God there is no hope for our salvation and Satan knows this. Wow, we now are finally beginning to really understand the primary goal for human persecution. Satan is doing everything in his power to get God’s seed out of our hearts so that there is no fruit produced.
I would like for us to pay close attention to verse 15 of Mark 4 again. Here in this verse Jesus said when the sower’s word falls upon the “way side” type of soil that Satan comes immediately after the word was sown (heard) in order to take away the “Word of God that was planted in their hearts”. I’ll let you in on another secret. We must understand that this technique of Satan happens for every type of soil, not just the “way side” soil type. Jesus was only teaching us how easy it is to successfully steal away the seed that was sown in this soil type. But, please believe me when I say that Satan will use any and every one of his techniques to attempt to get God’s spiritual crop to fail at anytime.
Please allow me to stop and explain the parable further using some additional depth. We should be able to see that there are only two constants in the parable that never change. These two unchangeable realities are the “Seed” Word of God and the God that spoke the “Seed”. Everything else in the parable represents a variable substance or in other words a temporary or changeable reality. For example, Satan changed from a good being to an evil being. However, based upon the Bible, I do not believe that Satan can change back to be good being again.
Two other major variables given in this parable are the “soil types” and the 1) techniques used to steal away the 2) Word sown from the soil. The sower in this parable certainly has changed from Jesus to you and I, but we are all technically still the body of Christ. We can also assume that the human “persecutor” being used by Satan can change but a persecutor is just another hard hearted soil type that is clearly stated to potentially change by their own personal human choices. For example we have already seen the man Saul become converted to become a sower of God’s Seed named Paul.
I’ve already touched on this subject of the changing soil types, but let’s go deeper still into this part of the discussion. Who determines what type of soil that you are? Does God predetermine your soil type before you were conceived in the womb or maybe during the time you were growing in your mother’s womb? If you believe yes, that type of faith is very wrong. This type of false belief is based upon an erroneous extreme sovereign God predestination doctrine that preaches nothing happens expect it be the will, purpose and plan of God. In this type of extreme belief the human plays absolutely no role in being saved or being lost because that was all prearranged by God’s sovereign choice, power and divine will. However, that is not the truth but rather a deception of Satan’s design. I’ll tell you plainly again that it is you and only you that chooses to believe to be saved and you are also the only one that determines what soil type that you are represented to be from your childhood to the right now present time. Here is just one confirmation to what I just taught:
Luk 10:40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
Luk 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
Luk 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
I inserted these verses to help confirm the soil type is the human’s choice. Jesus clearly places all responsibility for listening and hearing the Word of God that He spoke upon the listener. Mary made the clear right choice and Martha was distracted and burdened by making the very clear wrong choice. Mary represented good ground by her wise selection and Martha in this story represents “thorny ground” because she was loaded down with the cares of this world that choked out everything that was being spoken in her house. Wow, that is very powerful.
You can be as hard hearted as you can possibly be and yet you can also choose to change immediately to become as tender hearted as God wants you to become if you will ask and allow God to help you to change. This was a perfect description of Saul. Saul encountered Jesus and from that moment forward he never looked back on who or what he had chosen to be in the past, except to regret his previous bad choices. I would highly recommend that we all choose to become the best “good ground” that produces much fruit by applying God’s Grace and Word through our faith in Him and His Word. Let’s reread some previous verses from the lips of Jesus again:
Mar 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
Mar 4:17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
Here again are the very essential verses concerning our primary lesson subject on persecution. As I previously stated this is often called the “Parable of the Sower” but technically remember that it is the story of the successful or unsuccessful salvation process. God is using an exact matched discussion for the 4 different viewpoints that we have been studying about in this series on persecution. In this parable there is the “sower” and this viewpoint represents God Almighty’s perspective. It is God’s Word that is being directly sown into the hearts of all people on the earth by it being spoken to them. What was God’s objective for sowing His Word? The Word of God was given to mankind by God in order for them to produce fruit and the existence of this fruit is the primary recognized pattern that proves someone is a true Christian (Mat 7:20).
From God’s perspective He desires to sow His Word into the hearts of all people in order that they might be saved. Notice that I said that they “might” be saved. Even though God is not willing that anyone perish (2 Peter 3:9), God does not force His Word of truth or salvation upon anyone. Even though God desires every man, woman and child to be saved it is up to every person to choose to be a Mary type or a Martha type of hearer, deciding what type of soil that they want to be.
Satan is your stated enemy because of God’s sown Word found in your human heart and Satan causes persecution to come because of the Word of God. Maybe you have never realized this before but Satan does not fear you without God’s Seed in your heart. But, when the Word of God (the Seed) and the Spirit of God is found within your heart Satan has a major problem. It is the Word of God in your heart that Satan fears because it and it alone has the power to put Satan to flight. But, only if you know it, understand it and are willing to use it against him by speaking it, does he fear you. This is still the given number one reason found in the entire N.T. for every demonic attack on Christ followers. If Satan can take God’s Word from your heart you are “ABSOLUTELY NO THREAT” to him.
There are definitely unstated and implied symbolic human “persecutors” in this parable of the sower as related indirectly in verse 17 of Mark 4. The unstated persecutors are like the man “Saul” we have been learning from. This type of man was one of the hard hearted types of soil that failed to allow the Seed of God into his heart to produce any fruits of salvation. Saul definitely qualified as a man that the Word of God fell on by the “way side” and Satan did come into his heart to take the seed immediately upon hearing it by using thoughts, ideas and suggestions of deception to distract him from seeing any truth. I hope you understand this principle because it will be what Satan does to you also if you are not yet saved reading this lesson.
Just because “persecution” was only mentioned in one type of soil called the “stony ground” please do not get the erroneous idea that you will never be persecuted if you are choosing to be some other type of soil such as the “way side” or “good ground”. That would be very foolish to think that way. Like I taught before, Jesus was only pointing out when “persecution” could be the most effective on this one type of rocky ground. But, I believe that if you have heard and choose to continue to hear the Word of God, you should expect “persecution” from Satan to come almost immediately after hearing any new Words of God. I firmly believe that persecution will be inevitable and will not cease in this age to those that live Godly (2 Tim 3:12).
We have only briefly touched on the subject of persecution using the 4 different revealed perspectives found within the “Parable of the Sower”. God’s perspective in this parable is certainly to save and empower all of humanity by planting within us His Holy Word. Satan’s perspective was found to be fear motivated and this causes him to try to get the Word of God out of the hearts of all humans to render God’s powerful seed ineffective. Satan accomplishes this using many given plans and devices including affliction and persecution. The third perspective given is called the soil and this represents the human where the seed tries to fall to enter in after being heard. This man has the choice to become saved and fruitful by enduring the enemy’s attack plans or to remain unsaved by allowing the enemy to steal the valuable seed from his heart. The final indirect perspective was from human people being used to take the word from your heart as a pawn of Satan. Wow, I hope you are receiving all of this great information because I believe that this section of the lesson was really good and essential information for every Christian.
SECTION 6: PERSECUTION TO THE CHURCH IS INEVITABLE
Just living a Godly and Holy lifestyle will bring you the reality of persecution, God guarantees it in His Word. Whenever you do not look like those in the world, talk like them, curse like them, drink like them, party like them, take drugs like them, have sex like them, etc. it make you stand out as being strangely different and even abnormal to them. It just takes one person of light going against the entire flow of the dark world to get the full focused attention of persecution.
Joh 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
In the entire life of Jesus, he did absolutely nothing deserving of ridicule, persecution and death, yet all of these happened to him. He was completely sinless in His life on the earth and yet it was this lifestyle that was hated by most of the religious leaders of the nation of Israel. According to the words of Jesus, we should be no different than Him. They persecuted Him beyond human comprehension and all of this persecution was unjust. I am definitely not greater than Jesus and therefore, Jesus guarantees me to be persecuted. He does you also if you are His.
Mat 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
According to Jesus, not everyone is qualified to be persecuted because many are not saved even though they say they are a Christian. If you are not being persecuted, I would ask yourself why not? What am I doing or not doing before a person of the world that makes me fit into their model of normal? Notice what verse 11 says. Jesus says you are blessed “WHEN” men persecute you. He did not say “IF”.
I believe that it could very difficult to feel that you are blessed when someone is beating you, torturing you and putting you into prison for no good reason. It would be completely different if we were guilty of a crime. The thief hanging on the cross spoke to the other one and declared that they were getting what they deserved but Jesus was not. However, Jesus is still giving us some real positive encouragement to endure in verse 10. He is declaring to us that we can stand through it all, if we look at the big eternal picture and can see that this life is a very short insignificant period of time.
Rev 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
I’ll end this section with this one verse found in Revelation. This is Jesus speaking again to the church. He tells them very plainly they will suffer persecution to the extent of jail and even death. Then Jesus says very clearly if you endure it there is a righteous reward in doing so and this is what we speak of briefly in section 7 of this lesson. However, in conclusion I want you to see what Jesus said in Revelation 2:10. Jesus is plainly informing us of the root cause of persecution. Jesus clearly says it is coming from the devil even though Jesus is speaking indirectly of natural men and natural prison buildings that are used by Satan. Wow, that is very important confirmation to the root cause of all “persecution”.
SECTION 7: THE CORRECT PERSECUTION CHRISTIAN REACTION
A Christian’s reaction to being persecuted could be many different possible personal choices. We could choose to be very angry and to even resist and fight back. That is what most people in the world would certainly do. However, that is definitely not what the higher Christian examples in the Bible teach us to do. I’m going to end today’s lesson with two very quick examples of the correct Christian response to being persecuted. I believe that if we are able to follow these two great examples, we will be significantly rewarded by the Lord in the life eternal to come as we just read in Revelation 2:10.
Luk 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Jesus was our model of perfection that all Christian standards should be following after. While He hung on the cross He said something that goes against all human logic and reasoning. Jesus said “Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing”. This statement proves two incredible things to us. First it proves that Jesus knew that it was NOT these people that did this to him and second he also knew that they were doing it all unconsciously being led to do it by the unseen spirit of Satan. This truth completely supports the beginning foundation of the lesson series on persecution. Remember when we learned that we (Christians) are not wrestling against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world (Eph 6:12).
Christians often believe so very wrong. Many Christians believe that Jesus lived an unobtainable life example that was far out of their reach to achieve. However, that is just not the truth. According to the writings of Paul in Romans 8:11 a Christian has the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead living on the inside of them. This was God’s plan of salvation to come on the inside of every Christian to help them to live Christ’s example. We are not doing it all alone. We have a helper according to Jesus in John 16:7. Wow, that is great news.
The second example in today’s lesson is that of a normal man like you and I that we talked about in the first lesson. His name was Stephen. Hopefully you will recall that it was Stephen that was stoned to death as Saul watched and consented gleefully to his death:
Act 7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Stephen was not Jesus. Stephen was not even one of the original 12 disciples of Jesus. In fact Stephen literally came from the ranks of just basic Christian disciples like most of us. Sure Acts 6 says Stephen was chosen by the 12 to administer some affairs of the church along with six other men, but that does mean he was better than you or I.
Stephen did absolutely nothing deserving death and here he was being stoned. What was the reaction of Stephen to his unjust violent and painful persecution of death? Hopefully you can see that it was practically identical to that of Jesus’ reaction? How was this possible? How could a Christian disciple possibly ask and pray “Lord, do not hold this sin against these people” while he was being stoned? This type of reaction defies all human natural thinking.
The first time Stephen is ever mentioned in the entire Bible is Acts 6:15. There is no record that he ever walked with Jesus or even saw Him in the flesh as Jesus ministered personally here on the earth for three and half years. So who was this unknown man that had the power to follow exactly after the pattern of Jesus’ forgiving example? Wow, I believe Stephen could just possibly be one of the men that got saved when Peter stood up and preached the Gospel in Acts 2. It was probably a year or less from Acts 2 when Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit until he as stoned to death. That was a very short time of being a Christian to endure such a death.
I firmly believe that God put the example of Stephen in the Bible to prove that if he could respond correctly to persecution then anyone could do it. This includes me, you and anyone else that will get saved from now till Jesus returns for us. Do you think you will be able to do this same response when you are persecuted? Can you follow the example of Jesus and Stephen? The answer is yes, but will you choose to do so? You will if you are committed to Christ.
What is the number one factor for choosing the correct reaction to persecution? I believe the answer to that question is love. Jesus certainly had this great love and I believe Stephen had it also. It takes a great amount of love to forgive someone while they are killing you. If you don’t have this love, you can get it by asking Jesus to come into your heart, right now. I believe that this is absolutely the only way to do respond correctly during persecution. If you are not saved and believe you can die like this, please ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior right now. It will be the best decision you have ever made and ever will make. Please leave me a comment if you have enjoyed this lesson. God bless you and thank you for reading this Bible lesson.
(Ver 1.1) What a strange title for a Bible study? What could this possibly mean to us here in this modern world? Who was Saul? What is this spirit of Saul reference? I was recently awakened in the middle of the night at exactly 3 AM and suddenly these words arose up in my spirit saying “Beware the rise of the spirit of Saul”. Then Bible verses came to my memory about this actual historical man named Saul and this Bible lesson is the result of my middle of the night awakening. I believe this message was from God speaking to us all a warning according to His stated works in John 16:13. I believe God was informing us of a coming resurgence of an old spiritual force that persecuted the early church and I believe it will become as “great as” or even greater than what the early church encountered and endured. I believe that it is obvious that this is the increasing trend and movement found within the present unsaved world, all those living in darkness (Eph 2:2).
Modern unsaved people living in the world today are identical to all others that came before them. They are all opening a door to allow the repeat of a pattern of ignorance that causes them to not comprehend the difference between that which is called “good” or that which is called “evil”. In them there is no understanding or acknowledgement of who or what represents the true God of good or who or what represents the false deceiving god of evil (Satan). That which God called evil in His Word is being tremendously magnified and exalted by the unsaved world to be called normal and good and everything that God called “good” is being called evil at the same time (Isa 5:20). Anyone that speaks against what is called evil by God is being persecuted and called a bigoted intolerant hate monger. What a sad condition the world has fallen into and I believe by observation that it is getting worse.
Today Christians that are simply speaking the truth in love warning those that are on the way to hell are being labeled as evil. This must break the heart of God greatly and we will see an example of this in the lesson. If you knew that the highway that you were traveling on had a major bridge on it and that it had just collapsed, would you not try to stop everyone that was about to fall to their death because of the deep drop off? The drivers of the cars on the road at night are about to die because of their ignorance and inability to see the truth. Wouldn’t you warn them? That is what every mature believing Christian is faced with today. We can shut up and be silent or we can cry out and try to save them. It is our choice but any warning given may be ridiculed and laughed at by those being warned because probably most will not believe it.
Jesus gave us many warnings about these end times before His return to the earth. One warning to us was very clear when He said “As it was in the days of Noah and of Lot so shall it also be again in the days right before the coming of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26-30). I am very sure that this statement describes the exact days that we live in right now. It is by no chance or accident that Jesus (God in the Flesh) chose these two biblical events to describe the times directly before His return (2 Peter 2:5-6). However, that is really not what this Bible lesson message is concerning directly. The message of Noah’s flood and Sodom’s destruction is however an indirect applicable truth to this lesson of warning about the subject of coming persecution. Noah was laughed at and the angels in Sodom were commanded to come out and have sex with the men. How appropriate are these two witnesses of truth?
Introduction to the Spirit of Saul
Let us now get to God’s basic message concerning the “spirit of Saul” warning spoken to me. The main subject of today’s lesson is concerning the theme of persecution. We will be looking at this subject from at least three or four different perspectives. The first perspective is that of the persecutor. The second perspective is that of the Almighty God. The third perspective of persecution will be driven from the one being persecuted and these are Christians. And the final perspective introduced today is that of the enemy Satan..
- The Persecutor’s Perspective
- Almighty God’s Perspective
- The Persecuted Church’s Perspective
- Satan’s Perspective
We will similarly be addressing basic definitions and questions concerning this very important and timely subject. We will also look for scriptural answers in the Bible for why persecution occurs and who is ultimately behind it all. As part of the study we will briefly introduce why God allows persecution to occur and see what His attitude and response was in the past and could be again today since we know God does not change (Malachi 3:6). As a final part of the Christian perspective discussion in today’s lesson we will introduce how a Christian’s expectations should already be preset before this persecution occurs to them. Please don’t be surprise when God warns us that persecution will occur if we are living for God and obeying His Word and boldly declaring His truth in love to the lost and dying world.
2Ti 3:12 Yea, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
God promises us that we will be persecuted if we are living for Him and following after Christ’s example. It would be wise based upon these words to check if you are being persecuted. If you are not I would then check to see if you are following Jesus. In Luke chapter 21 Jesus informs us of the coming end of the age describing wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines that are already occurring and then in verse 12 Jesus said before the end of all these things you will be persecuted. Jesus’ warning to us in the Gospels is just another witness to the message that I heard from God personally.
Bible basics teach us that humans are designed by our creator God as a triune being made in the image of the Almighty God. A human is a freewill spirit being that possesses a soul (a mind, a will and our emotions) that lives in mortal human body (1 Thes 5:23). However, this spirit of Saul warning was not a warning that the natural man Saul written about in the Bible will return to the earth because that would violate scriptures and make God a liar (Heb 9:27). Therefore, we need to learn more about what the message could mean by rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). We will however, briefly study the life of Saul to learn from it the persecutor’s perspective and I will begin by reading a verse concerning the stoning death of Stephen in the early church description found in Acts 7.
Act 7:58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
Please allow me to provide a very quick overview of the context of this verse so we can better understand this part of the message. The context actually begins back in chapter 6 and it is a story concerning a Christian man named Stephen. He was ministering to people and doing many signs, wonders and miracles the same as Jesus did before him here on the earth. It is important to know that Stephen was not one of the original 12 disciples of Jesus yet he did the same types of miraculous works as Jesus did. I find that fact very important and fascinating as many in the church today teach miracles passed away with the death of the 12 disciples. Oh well? Oh Lord, please help us all to see the truth.
These supernatural miraculous works done by God through Stephen were not well received because of the accompanying message being preached concerning salvation only through faith in Jesus Christ who was recently condemned to death by a similar type of court with made up evidence that Stephen stood before. Men from the synagogue accused Stephen of blasphemy and soon he was on trial before the leadership of the Jewish synagogue. It is during this trial that Stephen gives a great overview of the Old Testament and how it applies to the gospel message of Jesus Christ. However, this message was not well received either. The Jewish leaders refused to listen and stopped up their ears and then took up stones to kill Stephen. Stephen sees a vision of heaven while being stoned of Jesus standing at the right hand of God as they hurl their deadly stones. That brings us now to verse 58 which was just quoted.
This verse 58 is the first time that the name “Saul” is mentioned in the N.T. The Hebrew name Saul occurs approximately 26 times in the book of Acts alone. This N.T. Saul is the exact same Hebrew name as the first king of the O.T. nation of Israel. By the number of mentions in the book of Acts we can easily see that the man Saul was a very prominent figure to learn about and learn from. We learn from reading the N.T. that Saul was a young devout religious man and a very self-righteous zealot man during this time of the birth of the church in the first 8 chapters of Acts. We can learn more about the background of this man named Saul by reading in his writings because he wrote nearly 2/3 of the N.T.:
Php 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
Php 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Php 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Reading here Saul/Paul claims to be of a very noble stock of the natural nation of Israel. He was circumcised according to Mosaic Law on the 8th day after his birth. He was by no doubt raised in a very strict home that observed all of the Jewish Holy days, laws and Sabbaths. He also must have spent a very significant time in reading the Law of Moses growing up in the strict order to become a Pharisee. I can speculate that Saul must have thought very highly of himself, during this time and he must have been very proud of his learned position of authority. However, if we read in Proverbs 16:18 we see a verse that Saul appears to have possibly ignored. This verse says “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”.
We can learn while studying his life that Saul spent a great amount of his time persecuting, hunting down, imprisoning and even killing any of those that confessed faith in Jesus Christ. However, was this natural man named Saul the actual main source of the problem of the persecution to the church? Could there have been a greater force of influential power behind this evil man persuading and even controlling his thoughts and actions? I believe according to the future writings of this man named Saul there was certainly a much greater spiritual force that helped influence him to do all this evil to other people on the earth. Let’s read one verse to confirm this reality:
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
What we must glean in the beginning of this lesson is that physical natural people that are persecuting us are not our real problem even though it looks like it on the visible surface. Saul/Paul in this verse teaches us that Christians are not at odds with anyone of the divinely created flesh and blood design order. However, he does reveal very clearly earlier in this chapter that we are at war and he names the enemy here in verse 12 of Ephesians 6 to be hidden unseen spiritual forces and the evil invisible rulers of this present world that rule the kingdom of darkness. This truth will become considerably more important as we continue this lesson to learn how we should react to persecution. This information helps to better comprehend who and what the “spirit of Saul” is referring to in the warning. I am completely convinced that the “spirit of Saul” reference on the rise in our world is a reference to Satan our adversary and all of his demonic followers. Let’s review what we should have just learned in this section:
- People Persecute Other People
- We Will Be Persecuted if We Live Right
- We are at War
- It Appears That Humans are Our Enemies
- But, Our Actual Enemy is Not a Human
- We are at War With Unseen Spiritual Beings
- These Invisible Spiritual Beings Influence Humans To Do Evil
Persecuting the Church Today is still the same as Personally Persecuting Jesus
If the naturally born Hebrew man named Saul was not the real problem being spoken of by the LORD, why would God say “Beware the return of the spirit of Saul” to us? The answer to that question is because as we should have learned that unseen spirit beings are at the root of every seen evil event occurring in the world. I am convinced that the natural man Saul was not who the early church was wresting against based upon what he later wrote in Ephesians 6. However, why would a man do something so evil and suddenly then change and not do it anymore? That is a really good and important question. I believe the answer to that is that the natural man Saul was unmistakably a very deceived man who bought into and believed in so many lies given to him from the real enemy Satan. I believe the natural man Saul was doing what he thought was right in his own blinded mind (2 Cor 4:4) and was performing what he thought was pleasing towards God even though what he was doing against Christians on the earth was very wrong and taken very personally by Jesus. Let’s continue reading additional truth in the book of Acts about the death of Stephen:
Act 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
These are some of the last recorded words spoken by Stephen the first martyr of the early church to his murderers and they reveal how their wrong actions were being received by the LORD Jesus. Please notice when reading this verse that in Colossians 3:1, Paul teaches us that the LORD Jesus ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven but here in this recorded vision of heaven Jesus is intentionally standing up on his feet observing the wrong being done to his servant Stephen. Wow this verse speaks literal volumes to me. Jesus showed such great love and concern for what is happening to Stephen that He makes the personal choice to stand up from His seated position of rest and authority to welcome Stephen into His spiritual realm presence. I believe that this position of Jesus standing teaches us that Jesus wanted to do more to stop it from occurring but did not again by choice. You might remember that later Paul formerly Saul would teach us “to be absent from the body is to be present with the LORD” (2 Cor 5:8). Therefore, when Stephen was killed, his spirit immediately departed his physical body to be in the presence of Jesus where Jesus was personally standing up to observe and welcome him into heaven.
Since the murder of Stephen there have been countless numbers of other Christ followers that have been killed and have gone to be with the LORD simply because of their beliefs in Jesus. No actual crime was necessary for either Stephen or any other saint to be persecuted with evil acts. We should learn from “how was Stephen persecuted” in order to know what to expect again today. If you read the context of the chapter you will find that leaders gathered false witnesses to accuse Stephen (Acts 6:13-14). These false accusers used the semblance of law and order to justify their evil done to others. They were clearly disobeying their laws by speaking their lies and perjuring themselves before man and God but in their minds they were justified to do so. I recently learned this is taking place in people in Islam. They are taught that it is permitted for them to lie to others in the world in order to promote the greater cause of spreading Islam. This is clearly of demonic influence since the Bible teaches Christians that “all liars will have their part in the lake of fire” (Rev 21:8).
This is what is coming now to Christians here in this world whether you believe it or not. It is already occurring in many nations of the world right now. Terrorists kill many people just because they are Christian. Islamic governments and their extremist religious people of that nation are persecuting, imprisoning, torturing and killing Christians daily. Communist nations also throw into prisons people who are reading their Bibles and being a Christian that walks in love trying to save others from hell. Who could have seen all of this coming? I believe only Jesus and this is why the warning is being given to us today. Let’s please continue reading in the book of Acts:
Act 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Act 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
Act 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
Act 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
The Greek word G4909 that was translated as “consented” in Acts 8:1 is a word that means Saul was “very pleased” by the murder of Stephen. In fact this Greek word implies that Saul took great pleasure in watching Stephen die. The zealot Saul after the death of Stephen then takes out after other Christians to do the same with them. Saul is very intent upon forcing his will and reason upon everyone that is preaching Jesus to be the only way. This is a very common motivation for persecution. The demand is frequently made to Christians to deny the Lord Jesus Christ, convert or die.
Look at Acts 8:3 and notice what begins to happen to the Church of Jesus Christ. Both men and women were taken to prison just for being a professing Christian. Also notice in this chapter the complete removal of basic human rights of privacy by the people committing these evil acts. Acts 8:3 tells us clearly that there was a house to house search for Christians done by Saul. This is exactly what is about to happen and even has started to shine on the horizon here in America. For example, there have been Christian people who refused to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples because of their beliefs in God, Jesus, the TRUTH of the Bible and they have spent time in jail. I believe the house to house search for Christians will also come as the world continues to slip into greater realms of deceived darkness. It already has taken place in other nations.
Act 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
Act 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
Act 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
Act 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Saul continued speaking his great threats of violence directed at and towards all Christians. He began moving out of the city of Jerusalem to other nearby regions. Notice that the persecution taking place was with the authority of the law givers and administrators. Wow, is this not happening now? Law givers and judges in America are making so many decisions that violate the Truth of the Word of God that it is literally shocking to me. Evil now is prevailing by the misguided interpretation of the law and the wrong definition of what is good vs. evil. Watch for laws to continue to come to support this evil behavior. Watch for the removal of basic human rights that have been guaranteed up until this point in time.
Saul was on the road to a city named Damascus in these verses of chapter 9 of Acts to bring about more evil in the name of good. However, things this time didn’t go so well for Saul’s way when the LORD interrupted his journey with a very personal touch and a very strong message of truth. Instantly a great light shown down from heaven and a powerful voice came down clearly saying to Saul alone “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me”. As in the death of Stephen again we can recognize how Jesus was taking personal notice of what was being done to Christians by this natural man named Saul. We can learn a very important lesson from these awesome words of truth. The first thing that we should have just learned from reading these verses is that coming against any Christian for any negative reason is the exact same thing as coming against the risen divine LORD Jesus Christ. The second thing that we should have just learned from this is that Jesus takes these acts of evil personally. Why does Jesus take persecuting a Christian the same as persecuting Him? Saul/Paul clearly writes to us later in the New Testament and informs us in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that “Christians here in this world are the body of Christ”. Natural people who choose to persecute Christians must learn and realize before it is too late that it is not wise to come against Jesus’ body here on the earth. Jesus Christ is a far greater Spiritual Force than the spiritual force that is tricking them to do this evil (1 Jn 4:4). Wow, I do not believe that very many people understand this truth yet.
I will go further and also say that this revealed truth is true regardless of your salvation state, being either saved or unsaved. If you are not a Christian and you are persecuting a Christian mentally, physically, emotionally, legally or verbally you are coming against the greatest spiritual force of power which is much greater than you can possibly imagine. My point is that this same message of warning is true for a Christian that comes against other Christians as it is for an unbeliever to come against a believer. This is still true even though you may believe that you are totally right and they are totally teaching false doctrines that you do not believe in. Let’s review a summary of the major points in this section of the lesson:
- Persecutors believe they are doing “good” in their own minds.
- Persecutors are very pleased when they are victorious over and even cause the death of a Christian.
- Persecutors are deceived people that believe they are good and Christians are evil.
- Persecutors obviously do not believe, know or understand that they are deceived.
- Persecutors will use the law to back their agenda of persecution.
- Persecutors love to force their will and beliefs upon others.
- Persecutors feel justified to do evil because their rule of law is in agreement with them.
- Persecutors will use lies and break laws if there is a greater good for the expansion of their beliefs to occur.
- Persecutor’s goals are the complete removal of all Christian freedoms and privacy and eventually the end of all Christians.
- God takes note and watches all persecution that occurs to the Church.
- God takes all human persecution of the church personally.
- God says to persecutors coming against the church “Why are you persecuting me?”
- A Christian is the Body of Christ on the earth.
- Anyone persecuting a Christian is persecuting the LORD personally.
- A Christian when killed by persecution goes to be with the LORD instantly.
- Christians will be persecuted falsely without doing any evil.
THE CONVERSION OF SAUL THE PERSECUTOR
God showed the evil man Saul some very great mercy by appearing to him on the road to Damascus. Paul the former Saul will forever be grateful for the exceeding great compassion given to him. While I believe it is within God’s power and ability for the Lord Jesus to do this with everyone that persecutes His body, I do not believe that He will and I may try to talk about this later but if not you will have to wait for another opportunity for me to try to explain why the Lord may not come down to save you from every evil doer on the planet personally. We should have learned this truth when reading about the death of Stephen.
Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Act 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
I personally believe from understanding Romans 10:9-10 that Saul became a Christian falling on his knees on the road to Damascus. I hope you understand how you and I became a Christian. To be saved we must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that God raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead after being crucified and buried 3 days and we must then confess Him as our LORD and Saul certainly did both of these while on the road to Damascus. We can confirm this belief simply by reading Acts 9:17 when God sends a disciple named Ananias to Saul for him to receive his sight and to be filled with the Spirit of God. Upon entering the house where Saul was waiting, Ananias calls the man Saul his spiritual brother and this is only possible and true if Saul has already received the Spirit of God being born again on the road to Damascus. Therefore, Saul became exactly what he was fighting against and persecuting and that was very fortunate for him.
1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
God gives us another quick confirmation for what was just taught concerning Saul’s salvation on the road to Damascus written directly from the hand of Paul. Here in this chapter and verse Paul tells us about several others seeing Jesus personally after His resurrection. Then Saul says that he also saw him providing us an incredible revelation that he was then reborn “abnormally” during this encounter. Saul was speaking of his spiritual rebirth (John 3:3) but I do not have the time to explain all of this more fully in this lesson. Please just accept the facts that 1) Jesus appears to Saul, 2) Saul asks who he was, 3) Jesus identifies Himself, and 4) Saul then believes what he heard and acknowledges Him as his LORD and that was the definition of an abnormal spiritual rebirth.
We are extremely blessed to have Saul the former evil persecutor of Christians become a Christ follower. After his salvation, Saul was given such great revelation from Jesus Christ of the Truth. Saul would go on in his life of Christian ministry to write approximately 2/3 of the New Testament. I believe that without Saul’s conversion that we would not have all of the information that we needed for us to be victorious Christians. I know that this salvation of a persecutor seems to be off the mainline subject but I believe it is very important to know as a Christian. Let’s look at some writings of Saul/Paul and learn from him what he thought of this great transformation that he experienced:
1Ti 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
1Ti 1:13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
1Ti 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
1Ti 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
We can learn the most valuable information concerning a persecutor’s perspective by reading the N.T. since Paul was a former persecutor and he writes about it. As we can read in verse 12, Paul is so very thankful. Here is a man that has now realized that he was headed for an eternal existence of pain and suffering in hell but now suddenly has been given the free gift of eternal life, a purpose and a new destiny. I can identify with Saul’s heartfelt change. I know I am also eternally grateful for the free gift of God’s salvation and I know I don’t deserve it and neither did Saul. We are all sinners (Rom 3:23) and deserve hell but God paid the penalty price for our sins (2 Cor 5:21). Thank you Jesus!
Paul lists just a few of his guilty sins in verse 13 that he was personally participating in while persecuting Christians. Let’s go through these to better understand the dramatic change that took place in the heart of Saul. The first sin listed was Saul calling himself a “blasphemer” and this is a Greek word that reveals significant amounts of new information that we should learn from. According to the Strong’s definition of G989 translated as “blasphemer” it means to be scurrilous towards someone. This word scurrilous has the following dictionary definition:
Scurrilous : making or spreading scandalous claims about someone with the intention of damaging their reputation
This is exactly what Saul was doing to the early church. He used the words of his mouth to slander, accuse, condemn and judge the church falsely. But even though Saul thought he was fighting against evil human people that were deceived, Jesus informed Saul that He was blaspheming against God personally. This is pretty amazing information and I pray that it will hopefully cause someone to shut their mouth when speaking against Christians.
However, this Greek word G989 has some deeper more specific meanings for sinning against God with the words coming out of our mouths. Remember what Acts 8:1 and Acts 9:1 said that we looked at earlier? Acts 8:1 used the word that was translated as “consented”. This implies that Saul consented to words of others spoken against Stephen in addition to the actual murder of Stephen. Saul did both of these willingly, physically, emotionally, mentally as well as verbally as both a willing direct instigator and participant and as an indirect accessory that watched others cast the stones. These represent sins of both commission and omission.
Acts 9:1 is much clearer when it informed us that Saul spoke direct “threats” against Jesus and His body and this is a strong example of what blasphemy is defined to be in the Bible. I personally believe that a man or woman on the earth that speaks against a preacher or prophet of God or even just against one of God’s children is risking great consequences and danger if they do not repent like Saul did and change. Jesus will certainly take all of these words personally either now in this world or later at judgment day. Words have power and words have consequences.
The second sin that Paul lists is being a “persecutor” of the church, which is the body of Christ. This Greek word translated as “persecutor” means someone who is in pursuit of another. However, this type of pursuit can not be for the good of the individual(s) being pursued as revealed to us by God in the passages we read about Saul in Acts chapters 7, 8 and 9. Let’s quickly examine some synonyms for the word “persecute”. Persecute is the same as words like “oppress”, “abuse”, “accuse”, “condemn”, “ill-treatment”, “torment”, “torture”, “martyr” and others could be added and we get this idea of truth because these are exactly what Saul did to the Christian members in the early church. It is very important to note that Saul thought that what he was doing was what was right and good in the eyes of God and the government leadership of that day.
The third sin listed by Paul in verse 13 is “injurious” and this again is synonymous with the word persecute. Being injurious was a further explanation for what great evil sin he was guilty of. I believe this word literally means physical injuries were taking place upon men and women in the name of good. However, this word can also mean a verbal assault as well as a physical assault. I am convinced that doing any Christian hurt and harm physically, mentally or emotionally is equivalent to the abuse and persecution of Jesus Christ that the Jews did to Him personally when they crucified Him on the cross in the eyes of God.
If we continue to read past Saul’s list of sins in verse 13 we will observe Saul’s stated appreciation for the Lord’s mercy being provided to him. Saul informs us that he received mercy instead of what he should have been given. Wow, that is the amazing love of God being displayed to a very deceived and evil man.
Did you also notice in this written passage that Saul declared why he was given this great mercy from God? Why was this unthinkable mercy available to Saul even after all he had done? Why was the judgment of the Almighty God not immediately given to Saul? Why instead was mercy given? Paul tells us the answers in verse 13 that God’s mercy was available to him because of his own great “ignorance” of the truth.
This revelation of mercy based upon ignorance reveals so very much to us about God, people who persecute the church and about the Christian people who are being persecuted. According to God’s inspired Holy Word written through Paul, his ignorance and his unbelief were two of the main reasons that the church was then being persecuted and I believe these are the two main reasons the church is still going to be persecuted today.
Even though Saul was a very learned and educated man, he was extremely ignorant of the truth that really mattered. Yet Saul did not know how ignorant he was while he was sinning killing Stephen. Please understand that no one that is ever deceived believes that they are deceived. This is impossible simply because of the existence of their ignorance of the truth. That is everyone’s problem “we simply don’t know what we don’t know yet”. That is the mysterious advantage of the deceiver Satan. Satan uses the weapon of human ignorance to destroy us (Hosea 4:6). Satan can present enough lies with some basic mixed truth to allow a human to think that they are doing good for God when they are actually doing the evil plan that Satan desires them to do. Satan is a revealed master deceiver (Rev 12:9)
Persecutors justify their evil actions in their minds overruling the evidence for clear evil acts with the belief that they are doing a greater good for a higher power of authority. Recently here in North Carolina, USA we have been in the news around the world because our state passed a law that disallowed men from going into women’s restrooms and women from going into men’s restrooms. This law was designed to protect innocent children from predators. Yet, North Carolina has been accused of being biased, prejudiced, intolerant, discriminatory, bigoted and even hate filled towards a select few people who demand the right to go into any restroom that they sexually currently “identify” with. Wow, where has truth gone? Absolute truth, reason and morality have certainly passed highly over the minds of everyone that has been protesting against the law. All of these deceived people are extremely ignorant of God’s truth. We should ask ourselves a simple basic question, if truth is based simply upon how someone thinks and feels today; how and when will truth all change when they think and feel differently tomorrow? Where do we ever draw the line of absolute? It sounds like a constant moving target. If we change the line of truth drawn today that was established then tomorrow it will become even more distant away from the standard of truth tomorrow. I could teach an entire series on this but this is not the subject and I will not go there today.
Saul did such significant evil and justified it because he believed he was knowledgeable, correct and backed by the law. Saul was greatly deceived into believing in their popular religious human traditions. Satan filled the mind of Saul with replacement knowledge that sounded good to him. However, it was still Saul’s ignorance of the actual truth that caused him to carry out the will and plan of Satan. Once Saul came to the saving knowledge of the truth, suddenly the thoughts he had as a persecutor were gone. Wow, that is good news for persecutor’s today. There remains hope for everyone to be saved.
Just as Satan influenced and controlled the unsaved people like Saul nearly two thousand years ago to persecute the church, this is the same warning being given to us today. The spirit of Saul (Satan) is still at work in people today and these deceived people will rise up and begin to persecute the church with increasing enthusiasm before Jesus returns. It has already started and we can clearly learn this from the Spirit of God’s message of warning or we can remain an ostrich Christian and bury our heads in the sand and choose to ignore it pretending it is not happening. I would recommend that we do not ignore it or pretend that it is not happening already.
I personally expect some very negative comments for the truth that I published today. You will receive the same soon if you are speaking the truth to anyone in the world today concerning their life style personal choices. The spirit of Saul is alive and well on the planet.
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.
Did you know that God allows people to be ignorant, wrong and to even do evil and sin? This truth has always been an extreme mystery in the minds of many Christians “Why doesn’t God stop all of this evil?” This would take another series of lesson’s to explain this to you today. Therefore, I will leave that to another day also. But we must at least first begin to understand that God does allow evil to occur in the world and is not the one that is causing it to occur and we can simply learn this truth by reading the story of the stoning of Stephen in Acts. Jesus was found standing at the right hand of God observing the evil being done and did nothing to cause it or to stop it. Wow, that boggles the mind of many religious people in the world. I believe that God’s passive observation made it appear to Saul that he was doing what God desires and that He is for them and it temporarily reinforces their wrong behavior. However, the wages of their sin will still overcome them and they will be judged for what they have done on the earth according to the truth found in the Bible. The main point in this paragraph is that God will allow this persecution to continue so we better learn it is coming.
I have talked briefly about the persecutor’s reasoning and justification for persecuting the church as well as the superior divine perspective on the persecution situation to allow it to occur. Now in conclusion I want to speak to the church’s reaction to this coming persecution. What was the reaction to this evil in the early church and what will probably happen in these end times? I believe that the early church’s reaction was both natural and supernatural.
Act 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.
Reread Acts 8:4. God reveals to us all the two fold reaction to the great havoc being perpetrated upon the church. First notice the fact that it did not stop the Gospel from being preached. It did however cause the people to scatter. What does scatter mean? This Greek word is a based upon a farming concept of “sowing” seed. This is a great revelation since it is concerning the “Word” of God being spread to the entire world. Remember when Jesus taught the parable of the Sower in Mark 4? The sower sowed the Word of God. The seed being sown was God’s Word and this is the only thing possible today in the world that can save people and turn them from hell.
The end result of persecution in the early church was a greater spread of the Word of God, an explosion of salvations in many new locations and this is exactly what will happen today in the end of the church age.
The Greek word translated as “preaching” in this verse is a word that means “to announce good news” to someone. What kind of person would still be trying their best to preach the good news of God’s salvation to anyone that was or still is trying to imprison and kill them? The normal human tendency or reaction against persecution is for us to fight back, or to defend oneself or even to run away and hide in a cave to not be found. I have seen people plan and do all of these in this modern world. Which would you do? Wow, that is a very great question to consider. If you are a Christian would you be able to do nothing but be forgiving and loving to the persecutor and turn your other cheek? Consider the warning and then make a good choice now before being faced with it.
- Persecutors believe they are doing what pleases God and their lawgivers.
- Persecutors don’t believe they are sinning.
- Persecutors believe their words spoken against Christians are good.
- Persecutor’s goals are to damage the reputation of God and Christians.
- Persecutors believe causing physical injury to Christians is good.
- Persecutors believe they know the truth and are not ignorant.
- Persecutors believe others are deceived and they are not.
- Persecutors believe there is no God to answer to or Satan influencing them.
- God sees all of the sins of everyone including persecutors.
- A persecutor can be saved and change their evil ways.
- God says speaking against a Christian is equivalent to “blasphemy”.
- God says killing a Christian is the same as nailing Jesus to the cross.
- God will show mercy to any sinner including murderous persecutors.
- God tells us that persecutors are extremely ignorant of the truth.
- A Christian has gained saving knowledge of the truth.
- A Christian was shown great mercy by God and is thankful for it.
- A Christian desires to share this saving knowledge of Jesus with others even though it costs them their own life.
- A real and maturing Christian begins seeing things happening in the world from God’s perspective.
In conclusion I want us to see a future prophecy concerning the coming persecution of the church. Revelation chapter 4 and verse 1 God calls for John to come up to heaven so that he can be shown things that will happen in the future and this includes this prophetic chapter of Revelation 12. Let’s read just verse 12 and 13 concerning our main subject study to learn Satan’s motivating factor for increasing persecution upon the church during the end time.
Rev 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
This chapter in Revelation 12 totally fascinates me. I could spend a long time trying to convince you who the woman in this chapter symbolically represents but I have already tried to do this in another lesson series. I will summarize briefly that lesson series by saying this woman being described can only fit the pattern of the church that is being persecuted by Satan. We learn this easily by the symbolism that she is clothed with at the beginning of the chapter and by the statements within the chapter. For example read verse 11:
Rev 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
This is the immediate preceding contextual verse and it can only apply to those that are in the church. I have heard this verse quoted in many church services and they are applying these words to themselves and their struggles in this life with the devil. It is the Word of God and the Blood of Jesus that were given to us by Jesus in the church to insure us we will overcome Satan. If you have not read the Revelation 12 series of lessons I would strongly recommend that you do so. I do not have the time to repeat every detailed verse.
Let’s go back quickly to verse 12 and review the message from God. This is clearly a warning from God given to the inhabitants of the earth through the apostle John. In this verse Satan has been cast down from heaven after a great spiritual warfare and according to this prophecy he is in a furious way committing murder on the earth. If you look up and study the Greek word that is translated as “wrath” it comes from a root word that can mean to slaughter, kill or sacrifice someone. This sounds a lot like what Saul was doing doesn’t it? This simply confirms what we learned earlier. It was the spirit of Satan influencing and controlling Saul through his ignorance that caused the persecution of the church to begin on the earth.
As it was in the beginning of the church age so shall it also be at the end of the church age. Persecution is the key word found in verse 13 of Revelation 12. Satan in this verse is still persecuting the same woman that he was persecuting using Saul that we read about in Acts. We in the church are not a different woman; we just have newly grown members within the same body of Christ. If you are confused about what I just said I would strongly recommend you read the Bible lesson that I wrote a long time ago about “How the Church Became the Body of Christ”.
During this end-time persecution it will also be Satan using new ignorant people with the exact same spirit behind it all. If you look up the Greek word in verse 13 translated as “persecute” it is G1377 which was also the word spoken to Saul while on the road to Damascus by Jesus “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” God connects the two verses with His word selection and the message is very plain to me that God is speaking of the same subject being done to the same church body.
Today’s lesson was just a basic introduction to the broad subject of “persecution” and the spirit of Saul that is behind it. I believe God awakened me in the night to bring this message of warning to those that would receive it and learn from it. There is a rising of evil on the earth taking place. The enemy’s rage is increasing as the end of the age draws closer. How you react to it may just determine where you spend eternity. A Christian that withdraws and conforms to the world view may be greatly disappointed with their choice. However, standing up for the truth of God’s Word and proclaiming it boldly will certainly cause us to be persecuted. I will conclude today’s Bible message with these words from my Lord Jesus:
Mat 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Mat 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
I wanted to talk more about Satan’s perspective for persecution today but I will try my best (the LORD willing) to cover this part of the topic in the next lesson Part 2.
Thank you for reading and studying the Bible with me. I hope this word of warning given by the Lord Jesus will be taken to heart and it will help you to prepare for what is certainly coming. God bless you all very much and thank you for your prayers for me as I will continue to pray for you also.
If you would like to continue to read the next lesson in this series please click here “PART 2“