Category Archives: Understanding
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(Ver 1.1) This is Part 2 in a series of very advanced spiritual Bible lessons on what I believe is a very 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 obtains 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”. 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 theme of God’s Holiness and Judgment to name 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 amaze us.
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 the balanced message of God’s judgment 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 my flesh loves grace but our spirit should understand that there is judgment for sin. This is called the human conscious. However, the human conscious should be viewed to be the Holy Spirit trying to help us think, say and do what is true, good and right. I, like other Christians am in a war between these two realities. I try to let my spirit overrule my flesh 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.
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. 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 Revelation 12 and Job 1 that these accusations are being taken up before God the supreme judge in Heaven and will continue until the middle of the tribulation where all of sudden Satan is 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 a very similar synonymous truth. I believe this is not an accident or chance occurrence and that it firmly 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 I am and He will always interpret His own writings.
I would recommend that you go and read Job 1 and 2 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). But, both mean the exact same thing.
Again names and titles in the Bible have great significance. None are there by inadvertent chance. For example one of the first direct titled mentions of Satan found in the Bible is seen in Genesis 3:1. Here, Satan is called the symbolic “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 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 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 today. We are in the exact same church as Peter was writing to therefore, please don’t write off these words as unimportant.
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 God 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 unto 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 judgment seat that Satan came 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 access to Job in God’s heavenly court system.
I believe that God is the Supreme Judge of everyone but, I also believe His character is so far above our human comprehension. We cannot ever compare God to any human judge on the earth. I have never seen any human judge never make any errors. But, I believe God is perfect and does not make any mistakes in judgment and that He is a completely fair and just in every case. Therefore, if judgment is pronounced there is a reason and we will learn why in most cases it must occur.
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 case 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 and stop doing what we were doing to let him 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.
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. Others will say this is Old Testament and we are not 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 you must also understand that Job was not under the law or the old covenant. What we are learning are three examples of judgment and trials. Job was pre 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 New Covenant people. We will very soon learn more of this 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 devour them. As we learned again from 1 Peter 5:8 that Satan is seeking for someone whom that he may devour we should be able to deduct by strong implication that there must be something that we do that allows 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 the “accuser” (Satan) of the brethren (the Church) will finally be thrown down to the earth to never again be allowed 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 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 as I write and type the lesson and even 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 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 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.
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 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. 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 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 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 could not be referring to a future judgment after they were dead even though there are other judgments in the Bible that we 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. Verse 17 is 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? 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 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.
You see the antonym or antithesis 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 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 Jesus Christ. But, that does not mean we will never be judged for doing wrong things here on the earth. Peter clearly is telling us that “judgment” begins with us right now.
We could literally talk a 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 saw 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 – an Example of N.T. Judgment #1
Did you ever read Acts 5:3? Peter was the man that wrote the words of 1 Peter 5:8 and 4:17 and 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. However, the same Peter that we are studying about was inspired by the Holy Spirit of a judgment against Ananias. 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 Grace Preacher say 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 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.
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 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. 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. The really good stuff that will help us fight the enemy’s accusations will be coming later.
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 thoughts, 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” speaking of our human responsibility 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 every day. 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 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 service they would not have been struck down. I will try to talk more about this as we go on in the series. Lets read some of the preceding verses of 1 Corinthians 11 in order to learn more on this subject of judgment for those who do 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 the 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 the Corinthian church was 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 that many of them (Christians) in the church were either sick or dead because of this abuse. In other words, I believe that Satan had brought the judgment of the LORD against them and oppressed some 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 judge themselves to do things differently than the world that they would have never been 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 what is being said in this series is what the loving God of the Bible actually says. 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 1.2) 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.
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. 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 address 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 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 accepting Jesus as our LORD. 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) of a 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 access 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 gains us a direct word and subject association to a court case occurring in 1 Peter 5:8 and this is a very critical lesson to learn about a better way of Bible interpretation.
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 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 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 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 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 access and the ability into heaven any time 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 access was granted was for the purpose of putting Christians on trial.
We now should know that Satan had access into heaven very clearly from the statement found in verses 7 through 10. 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 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. 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 for 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 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 a 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 a 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”.
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 presence of fear in Job’s heat and it was this fear that helps open the door for Satan to win a case against him. Fear is the opposite 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 an attracting force for 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 Jesus statement. 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 that is not what the Greek word written 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 peaceful act. Anyone sifting wheat is 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 in good classes. 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) 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 1.1) 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“
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 1 of a brand new advanced Bible study series concerning the seldom mentioned or taught Bible subject entitled “Biblical Division”. I have personally never heard anyone teach on this subject in the church but this is what God is directing me to share today on the internet to all those that are willing to receive the message. However, I will warn everyone upfront like in many of my other Bible studies that this is a very advanced Bible Study series and it is intended primarily for only spiritually mature Christians to attempt to learn from. This lesson series represents a very unconventional spiritual meat topic presentation and it may not easily be chewed (be received) well by many of my milk drinking younger or spiritually new born Christian brothers and sisters in Christ. I do so hope and pray that you understand what I mean.
Biblical division is definitely a brand new topic to most Christians which has rarely been studied, known or understood. Therefore this subject could be potentially judged controversial or even easily offensive and rejected by a non-serious Christian disciple. People in general are usually closed minded to an unknown or a first heard Bible topic never encountered before. For example, men like Martin Luther brought forth radical new teachings that departed from the normal traditional dominate Church doctrines of the 1500’s. His thoughts and views were fundamentally fresh to most and very dissimilar to anything at that time period that was popularly taught and accepted. Martin Luther was a Bible professor in Germany and he condemned the Catholic Church for their corrupt practices of selling indulgences (forgiveness of sins). His writings were viewed as the catalyst for the Protestant church. However, these seemingly new views have been determined to be very sound theological scriptural teachings and they have now been widely adopted to conform more to what Jesus and the early church actually taught. Martin Luther was still branded a heretic by the religious church leadership and excommunicated from their church. We can clearly learn from this example that religious deception in the church can occur even as it did in the popular church of Martin Luther’s day.
Even today, we must know that not everything that is taught by a modern church is always completely accurate. The only way to prove any subject’s truthfulness is to let the Bible and the Holy Spirit on the inside of us; become our final authority. That is exactly what I want you to do today as you read these lessons. Please get your Bible out and then pray and ask God to open the eyes of your understanding to see what He wants you to see. Prove everything that is stated with your own Bible research and personal relationship with Almighty God. Never and I do mean never believe me or anything that I teach or anyone else teaches unless you can see it in the Bible with sufficient evidence and the Holy Spirit on the inside of you confirming that it is true. The Word of God and the Spirit of God will always agree. Please learn to verify everything and assume or accept nothing just because someone teaches it. Don’t be a David Koresh or Jim Jones type of blind faith follower. Let God be your guide and not any man. It could be a matter of life or death.
While this subject of Biblical Division is a new revelation to most of you today it is actually a very old concept that existed with God from the beginning. It is only becoming new to us today because God is revealing something that has seldom been studied much less noticed or mentioned in any modern church. Of course the reason why it has not been mentioned is probably one of two reasons. First, some Bible teachers have not made the subject of division a real priority to search for or search out to discover it in the Bible. Second, some Bible teachers may have seen the subject while reading in the Bible before but did not consider it important enough to spend time on and therefore made no effort to understand what it could mean. Either way the root cause for “Biblical Division” not being taught is human ignorance. No one can teach what they do not yet know and have learned. I hope that this Bible lesson on the internet will spur interest to learn what God has done.
Therefore I ask that each of you judge yourself before continuing to read in these advanced Bible study lessons. I certainly do not want to offend anyone with any spiritual meaty lesson that I publish. But, I do wish to help everyone grow and mature spiritually in the faith of Jesus Christ. Thank you in advance for using your own sound judgment to being led by His Spirit to know how to proceed. Let’s get started with the subject of Biblical Division.
INTRODUCTION TO DIVISION
What is division? Division is defined in one dictionary as the “action of separating something into two or more parts”. In other words division is a deliberate and intentional act of taking one item that represents a whole and complete named entity and changing it by the thoughtful application of power, force and effort into 2 or more separate and distinct disjointed pieces. This would be very much like a baker slicing their whole and complete freshly baked loaf of bread and cutting it into separate and smaller edible slices. Or division could be viewed like the cook taking their whole baked fresh apple pie and cutting and serving it in 8 individual slices for their guests to eat. Therefore we learn from these examples that division always represents the creation of new individual pieces consisting of a reduced size or nature where each is less than the original greater whole portion before it was split. It is also very important to note that each new divided part is of the same substance as before but just in a reduced portion. Do you see and understand this? This is exactly what division represents in the Bible. There is absolutely no difference. Here are four main points that you should have just learned from this basic definition:
- Division of One Substance
- Separation into New Individual Parts
- Reduction of Size from the Original Whole
- All New Parts are of Like Substance
Does this subject of division, separation and reduction have anything to do with anything found in the Bible, you might be asking? That is a very excellent question to consider. But God’s answer to that question will always include “division plays a very main role in the Bible even if we do not yet understand how it fits into God’s overall designed plan”. That answer is very incomplete and just begs us to ask more questions. We will soon discover that the subject of division has a very significant and strategic role while also being potentially hidden within the Bible. However we must learn that the subject of division is covered by God from the beginning book cover to the ending book cover and we just have not always seen it very clearly. I will tell you at the beginning of this lesson that God’s plan from the start of creation was not only to save man but also to divide man. Also know that God will divide other spiritual and natural entities in the Bible that we will discuss later.
Perhaps you may not believe me when I claim that the subject of division plays a very major role throughout the Bible. That is very wise of you to follow what I asked you before to do. Remember I said don’t follow blindly. So I’ll introduce you to this Bible subject using the Bible interpretation law of first mention. Where, is the subject of division first mentioned in the Bible? If you initiate your reading from the very beginning of the Bible you will only need to go forward three verses in order to find the subject. The very first verse containing a directly revealed, intentional and deliberate act of division by God occurs within the recorded creation event of the Day 1 creation of our world and you will find it in Genesis 1:4. This first named division in verse 4 represents a divine sovereign display of His power and His will and it further embodies an act of God’s supreme intelligence, wisdom and ability. Let’s take a quick look at this in case you have never seen this concept being mentioned so early before in the Bible:
Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
These three verses describe Day 1 of the 7 day creation event of our present world. Six days God worked and the seventh day He rested (Gen 2:1-2). How do we define work? Work represents an activity of mental or physical energy or power designed to achieve a specific purpose for a positive end result. This is entirely what God was doing during the Genesis Day 1 description. Did you notice what type of “work” God performed on this given Day 1? God speaks “Light Be” and then “Light was”. At this time of declaration darkness had already covered the earth in verse 2 so we know that God did not create any darkness on this day. We know from Genesis 1:2 that darkness pre-existed Day 1 of the creation work thus stating the need for light’s existence in the earth’s current situation. I need you to pay attention to what I am trying to say because this will become more important later in the series. Darkness existed prior to Day 1 and God uses His power to make the light to shine on the earth in Day 1 to counter the pre-existing presence of darkness.
God then declares in verse 5 the reason for the introduction of light to our planet. God had spoken the light to shine on the earth in order to “divide” the light from the existing darkness. Next in verse 5, God gives each of these division results a new and separate distinct name calling them “day” and “night”. Wow, this could really get very spiritually deep if I was going to attempt to teach all of the given implications found in these verses but I will save it for another lesson later. Remember what we just learned, that the act of “dividing” light from darkness by God and naming the day and night was all called His own work by His own definition. This divine work was the exact same concept as the baker cutting his loaf of bread or pie into new separate pieces. There is no conceptual difference in the type of work being described by God here in Genesis.
What did God accomplish on Day 1? Without the introduction of light on the earth there could have been no concept of time here. In fact until God named Day and Night the earth had no way to measure time. A day (the period of light) consists of 12 hours and a night (the period of darkness) consists of 12 hours which when combined represent one 24 hour period of time also called a day. One day as you should know is a 24 hour period of time corresponding to one rotation of the earth. This represents a single cycle of what God created to occur repeatedly. It is very interesting to note we would have no concept or understanding of God’s work if He had not named the Day and Night and then called it Day 1.
While all of this is what I believe a literal reality, I believe God did this to teach us a greater symbolic spiritual truth. But I do not have the time to go into this. All I need you to do is to grasp that God’s Day 1 work was something that represents a constructive progress step to accomplish God’s plan for a good outcome for us.
Have we not just learned that even God’s “dividing” work can achieve a positive purpose and end-result? Keep this in your mind that this divine work of dividing introduced to us by God here in Genesis 1 is good. Then think of it as being like a parallel when a baker slices their loaf of bread to eat. Isn’t the slice of bread much better than the entire loaf when you just want a sandwich? Can we begin to now learn a little bit about the impact, value and positive purpose of God’s designed work to divide light from darkness from just this one single Day 1 creation reference? Division appears to me to be very important just based upon this limited understanding so far. Ask yourself “Why was it so important for God to divide at the very beginning of His 6 days of creative work?” We will learn more about this as we progress to understand this subject better.
I just want us to begin to realize how much we potentially do not yet know or understand about the subject of division in the Bible. Before I proceed deeper let’s at least examine the Hebrew word that was translated as “divided” in verse 4 of Genesis 1. This word is H914 and it represents a base Hebrew root word that has the following Strong’s definition:
A primitive root; to divide (in various senses literally or figuratively, separate, distinguish, differ, select, etc.): – (make, put) difference, divide (asunder), (make) separate (self, -ation), sever (out), X utterly.
This Hebrew word’s definition is in tremendous harmonious alignment with the English dictionary definition of “division’ that we examined earlier. As you can read, this Hebrew word means “to divide asunder”, “make separate” and I also want you to see the phrase “sever out”. All of these phrases are valid parts of our Bible subject study today even if we don’t yet fully understand them all right now. However, even if we do not yet understand them completely, please do not let them slip from your minds. Let me give you the list of important points from this Hebrew word definition:
- Divide Asunder
- Make Separate
- Sever Out
To conclude this short subject introduction I will tell you that there are actually at the very minimum 5 major named “divisions” that take place within the very first two chapters of the book of Beginnings also called Genesis and we will look at these in greater detail later in the lesson series. What we just need to understand right now is that these divisions took place during God’s work within creation and therefore each of these divisions must have had a positive divine purpose for us to learn from. Let’s review some of the major things that you should have learned about division:
- Division concerns one Substance Being Cut Apart
- After Division Occurs there are New Individual Pieces
- That which was Divided is a Smaller Portion of the Original Whole
- All New Parts are of Like Original Substance
- Division is Work
- God’s Work on Day 1 was to Divide by Speaking
- New Divided Parts can be Named
Since we have covered the basic introductions to division and its definition let’s start building a foundation for the subject now.
BUILDING THE DIVISION FOUNDATION
A foundation represents the part of a building process that all of the other following parts are raised or built upon. A foundation is the underpinning of the structure and the groundwork of the entire rest of the building process. Nothing can be created structurally sound without a very firm foundation and so it is with Bible study subjects. In the first section of the lesson I already gave you basic foundation definitions and those were very important. But, let me stop right here and provide the main foundation Bible verse that these definitions apply to for the entire series of Bible lessons on this subject of Bible division. Let’s turn to the book of Luke and chapter 12 to begin our construction process to read the foundational verse for the subject of Bible division spoken directly from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ:
Luk 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
This is my LORD Jesus speaking to me and He literally makes a very shocking and a very controversial statement here in this verse. We must first understand who is speaking. Jesus was literally God incarnate. He is called by the Hebrew name “Emanuel” which meant “God with us”. Whatever Jesus said were words that God spoke personally and directly to all of mankind. Therefore God was teaching us about one of the key reasons for His personal appearance upon the earth and it is a very outrageous declaration to say the least. He tells us in this verse “to bring peace on earth” was never His appearance objective but rather He had come into this world to divide it. This announcement from the Lord is a potential major conflict to several other Bible verses and this should raise new questions in our minds. For example let’s review some of the potential conflicts:
Luk 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
We should be able to begin to see from this angelic announcement the rising conflict. At the birth of the Lord Jesus in the city of David called Bethlehem the angels appear to shepherds tending their flocks and they bring them the great news of God’s appearance on the earth. As part of this announcement they declare that there should be peace on earth because of His appearance. However, that is definitely not what Jesus said He came to bring. Both verses contain the same Greek word G1515 that is translated as “peace”. So they both are related by God’s word selection. But there is still the problem of an apparent conflict. Let’s read another verse:
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
There are several Bible verses that appear to conflict with the Lord’s statement in Luke, but especially this one verse found in Isaiah 9:6 where Jesus is clearly called the coming “Prince of Peace”. Isaiah informs us of a prophesied future “Prince of Peace” that will come to the earth and this was certainly an important title describing Jesus. However, Jesus who was this Prince of Peace claimed that to bring peace on earth was not His objective at His initial appearance on earth in Luke 12:51. Whoops I just gave you an important clue in that last statement. I hope you did not miss it.
At least 5 times in the New Testament (Rom 15:33, Rom 16:20, Php 4:9, 1 Th 5:23, Heb 13:20) our God is called the “God of Peace”. Wow, how should we even begin to understand how to resolve these statements of God being peace and Him saying I did not come to the earth to bring any peace? How can the Prince of Peace and the God of Peace not appear here physically on the earth to bring us peace? How do we resolve this conflict?
I think I have already given you the clue if you were paying attention for the resolution of the conflict of peace. The answer that will become more prevalent is based upon timing. Everything that occurs in the plan of God has a set time of appearance. At the first coming of Jesus on the earth there can be no hope for any peace based upon the statement made by Him in Luke 12:51. However, that does not mean that He cannot bring peace later to the earth at a future time and I don’t have the space in this lesson to go into any great detail to when this coming peace will occur. But I want us to understand that when Jesus came to the earth the people of the city of Jerusalem were expecting a natural King but they only saw a spiritual King that did not come to rule them at that time on the earth. It was not God’s timing to rule on the earth during His first appearance. This truth of reality teaches us how to learn more about God’s timing for peace and I hope this will help us all to understand how to resolve what Jesus was saying in Luke 12:51 more clearly. Here are the main three points that you should have learned in this foundation:
- Jesus Came to the Earth to Divide
- And Not to Bring Peace
- But No Peace Now Does Not Mean There Can Be No Peace Ever
Luke 12:51 is my foundational Bible division verse concerning the complete subject of Bible division. Jesus very clearly teaches us that to divide was one of the main purposes for His arrival on the earth. We will now continue this lesson by attempting to understand what Jesus said He did not come to do. Jesus said He did not come to bring peace. So what is peace? I think we need to know more about what Jesus said He did not come to bring us. So let’s find out.
WHAT IS PEACE?
As we continue learning we need to understand as much as we can about what Jesus said that He did not come to do during His initial earthly appearance. Jesus informs us very clearly in Luke 12:51 that He did not come to bring peace during this specified time. Therefore, we need to ask the question “What is peace?” Peace in one English dictionary means “cessation from war”. A cessation of war means there is no longer any aggression, no fighting, no conflict, and no longer any hostilities one towards another. Peace can also mean “a place or state without any disturbance”. Some synonyms of peacefulness could be calmness, tranquility, serenity or quietness and Jesus told us that these were not the purpose for His arrival. We can learn what peace represents in order to better comprehend why Jesus came to the earth. It should become apparent that if Jesus did not come to bring us peace then the opposite of peace was His goal. Can we agree? Let’s review the quick list of what peace represented:
- PEACE = No Wars, No Conflicts, No Fighting, No Hostility
- PEACE = Calmness
- PEACE = Tranquility
- PEACE = Quietness
If Jesus did not come to bring peace then I believe very firmly that He must have come to do the opposite. What is the opposite of peace based upon just these 4 definitions? Jesus must have come to bring a war, a storm of agitation or even a raging wave and force of noise to the earth. I believe all of those that I just stated are true. However, we also need to understand that according to Jesus the opposite of peace appears to be the stated purpose of “division”. Division by the definition of the Lord Jesus is the opposite of peace. Once we consider what division represents it becomes very clear that it is truly the antithesis of any state of undisturbed peace. Please keep thinking on these concepts of what peace “is” and “is not” as we continue to learn why Jesus said He appeared on the earth. Based upon the definitions of peace we can begin to see Jesus came to bring us the opposite and these would be:
I’ll say this again; Jesus speaking in Luke clearly claims that one of His chief purposes for being here on the earth was not to bring anyone or anything peace, calm, quiet or tranquility during His first appearance. Then Jesus claims that one of His actual purposes for being here was to “divide” or bring “division” to something or even someone unnamed here on the earth. What exactly was this on the earth that Jesus came to disturb, to bring unrest to, to disquiet it and to interrupt it with a wave of force of noise and power to cause or effect a division to occur?
We have just briefly covered the subject of peace exploring some synonyms and some antonyms in this section of the lesson. But I believe that I introduced you to some new things to consider. We should have learned that God came to disrupt whatever was considered normal here on the earth. We should have learned that God came to divide the status quo and cause what God desired to occur. We know this because we learned division is a positive work of God and God’s work will always bring about positive results with a purpose. So we should have learned God’s appearance was to bring war on the earth and not any peace. Any war is an act of force between enemies against each other. War is a very clear separation by force and power and a strong division between factions and it will always result in a reduction of the former whole. We should be able to see that war fits very well into the definition of “division”.
- Who is Jesus at war with?
- What does Jesus intend to divide with His appearance on the earth?
- What will be the positive result for this division after it has occurred?
Learning how to answer these questions will be what this lesson series will now be focused upon. However we still need to increase our foundational understanding for the subject of division and we will do that by looking at the subject of “disunion”.
WHAT IS DISUNION?
Let’ review the Greek word translated as “division” that was used by God in Luke 12:51. This Greek word was translated as “division” in this verse. This is a very unique Geek word. In fact this Greek word is only found one time in the entire Bible here in Luke 12:51. This Greek word is G1267 and here is the Strong’s definition:
G1267 – From G1266; disunion (of opinion and conduct): – division.
The Greek word G1267 translated as “division” in this verse in Luke 12:51 literally means something has been divided. It also literally means “disunion” (of opinion and conduct). Wow, that is a new amazing and very essential declaration that Jesus is trying to teach us concerning His positive purpose to divide here on the earth. A state of “disunion” is clearly the opposite of a state of “union”. A union is a representation of two or more entities becoming one single entity with unified authority. Therefore disunion is like the one loaf of bread becoming many individual slices of bread that was mentioned earlier. Disunion conforms to what we have learned about division up until this point of the lesson.
Disunion is a word that literally means the breaking up of a federation or union. Disunion comes from a lack of unity and agreement. Whenever even one person in a group is not in full agreement there can result a state of disharmony, discord and conflict. Disagreement is the root cause for much disunion. I wish to introduce you to two new potential reasons for Jesus appearance on the earth to divide using Strong’s definition. First, Jesus was saying I came to divide the opinions or “beliefs” of men on the earth. Second He was further saying that He came to divide the conduct of men here on the earth. Either of these acts of God would bring about a war like state of disunity. That is so very important what I just said. We will definitely be talking about that a lot more in this lesson later. But we need to look more into the subject of “disunions” first.
Let’s talk about the concept of “disunions”. The word “disunion” means to break up something that was a whole or complete named entity into smaller distinct separate pieces. For example the disunion of an earthly sovereign federation will result in the division of that nation into smaller nations. Take for instance the disunion of the U.S.S.R. that took place back in 1991. Do you remember what U.S.S.R. stood for? The U.S.S.R. stood for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The U.S.S.R was one sovereign named union containing states that were broken apart to form the new D.S.S.R = “Disunion of Soviet Socialist Republic”. Of course that was just a joke but what resulted from the disunion were several new separate smaller sovereign states. The united nation of the U.S.S.R. clearly qualified to be a candidate for division and disunion. Down throughout human history there have been many nations, empires and kingdoms that have risen to only become divided, conquered and fall. Nation and kingdom partitioning is a very constant and prevalent example of divisions and disunions. Could this concept be related to something that Jesus was referring to that He came to do? We will soon find out that it is exactly what He came to do but let us look at another prevalent type of natural disunion first.
The natural case of divorce from the divinely created institution of marriage also represents a form of very prevalent natural disharmony, disruption and disunion occurring in our world too frequently. A divorce is the dividing into individual pieces and the separation from God’s defined condition of being in the state that God called a “One Flesh” union (Gen 2:24). Marriage represents the “union” of two individuals (1 male and 1 female) into one new family unit but divorce is the clear antithesis state called disunion. Divorce occurs when the one named married family entity becomes two separated, partitioned and disjointed individuals that can no longer be considered a sovereign family covenant union. If Bob and Sally Jones get a divorce the Jones Household and family has become disjointed in disunity and can no longer even exist. This will always result in two lesser named entities lacking completeness and wholeness.
I have only briefly introduced you to two types of “disunions” and “divisions” so far in this section. One is that of a natural sovereign nation being divided and the other is the concept of a natural sovereign family being divided up by acts of force or power. Both are differing levels of sovereign authority. Both can be divided by force and power. Viewing them to be a positive work is another dilemma since neither sound like positive end results and I would definitely agree with that for now looking only at things from a purely natural perspective. But there are other ways that we need to consider and I will talk about them soon enough.
Let’s continue our Greek word study and move down a level to the root word. The Greek word G1267 that means “disunion” comes from another Greek root word G1266 which means “to partition thoroughly”. This just keeps getting better and better, deeper and deeper and more and more complex doesn’t it? To partition means “to divide something”, “to split apart something” or “to break up something” using a stated or implied wall of separation. Partitioning is an understood act of constructive building through a display of intelligence combined with a force of power to create the divide. This concept of partitioning is further based upon a rule of authority hierarchy. Those which are building the partition are of much greater authority than that which is being affected by the division. What I just said was so important I want you to see it again:
PARTITIONING = an Understood Act of Constructive Building through a Display of Intelligence Combined with the Application of Force or Power to Create A Divide.
For example, a criminal after conviction is divided or partitioned from the mainstream population by a greater force of authority and placed behind a separating barrier which can be named or labeled as partitions or the prison walls of separation. Within our society the greater government authority created these partitioning walls of separation. The separating walls of the prison will keep the prisoners in but also will keep all others in the general population out. We can certainly see some potential positive aspects of division in this example. Therefore, we should learn that division is defined as an act of separating one whole and greater item (the general population) into smaller or lesser items (prisoners and free people). Using my quick example, our population is being separated by an act of law and authority into those that are free and those that are incarcerated. This is just a natural concept that helps us in understanding the spiritual Bible concept more clearly and God’s stated plan of division.
What was Jesus partitioning through His physical appearance here on the earth? What walls were being constructed by His appearance on the earth? I’ll begin to answer these questions in the next section. The information covered in this section should begin to give you some major clues to why Jesus came to earth. Jesus has built a dividing wall partition with His appearance on the earth. Let’s review the list of points we learned in this section:
- Disunion is a Force of Disagreement Dividing Two or More Groups
- Disunion is the Division of a Single Kingdom
- Disunion is like the Division of a Whole Family
- Division is the Separation of Two Entities using a Partition or Wall of Separation
There were other good points made in this section but these are the ones that need to be carried forward into the next section. We will now take a look at God’s plan of division and how it was prophesied to be implemented by the coming Lord of Glory.
GOD’S PLAN OF DISUNION/DIVISION
In the last section I talked about the disunion of a natural nation, empire or a kingdom as well as well as the disunion of a natural family. Both of these types of disunion that were going to be implemented by God’s design and plan in order to protect the righteous from the unrighteous. God came to the earth in the form of a man in order to divide His kingdom and to divide His family. God does this primarily to separate and partition that which was good from that which was judged as evil. I believe this is an excellent time to introduce you to a prophecy that applies directly to what God was doing in Jesus. Please turn to the book of Malachi and read what the LORD says:
Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Mal 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Mal 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
These are verses prophesying a coming division. Did you see it? These are the works of the LORD that were coming through Christ Jesus. God is going to separate the righteous from the wicked. He is going to make it known (able to discern between) those that serve Him and those that do not. The Hebrew word H996 that was translated “between” in verse 18 reveals to us this story. This word means to make a “distinction” between two or more things. It is a comparative stipulation that is used as a preposition to describe those that are named after the statement. This Hebrew word H996 comes from the root word H995 which means “to separate” mentally. To separate mentally is just another synonymous phrase of division that means God will divide them with a partition of thought so we can understand that there is a difference between them in our minds. The ability to distinguish between good and evil and right and wrong is a mental partitioning process. God actually warns us about this in the Bible:
Isa 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
We can clearly see these happening even in the world today if we observe the actions of people closely. It has become increasingly difficult for people to “discern” between good and evil. The lines have shifted to allow what we use to believe was evil to become good and vice-versa. God is warning all those on the earth that cannot discern between two opposites in this verse. God says you are in trouble if you call good evil or evil good. That is exactly what is transpiring in our world today. It is everywhere on TV, in movies and on the internet. Good is being called evil and evil is clearly being promoted to be good and normal. God is teaching us about one of the walls of separation that will and is dividing us all.
The blurring of distinct lines of good and evil today is the devil’s plan to undo what God has already accomplished in Christ Jesus. Satan wants us to not be able to recognize between good and evil and that is what is happening in this world. Satan would like to get Christians to regress and become passive to accept sin, evil and etc. I still believe that God’s plan will prevail in those that desire to follow Him as Malachi predicts. Real Christians will know what is right and good and what is wrong and evil even if the world does not.
I want to stop here and teach you why things are named by God. God gives things, people and places names to show that they are different. Giving objects and people names are a form of the process of division. When your child is born you name your son or daughter to give them distinction. This new name separates them from the other children and makes them unique. Do you remember what God did in Genesis 1:3-5 on day 1 of creation? God spoke to introduce the light into the world which was then separated from the darkness and after God did this He named the light “day” and the darkness He called “night”. Did you notice that in the verse in Isaiah 5:20 God also mentioned light and darkness? Is that a coincidence? No, it certainly is not. Light represents good and darkness represents evil symbolically throughout the Bible. This is God’s way of connecting the dots for us to learn His plan. God was going to separate good from evil from the very beginning of creation. Can you begin to see this?
This concept is exactly what God was doing here in these Malachi verses also. God says there will be one separate group called the “Righteous” and another group called the “Wicked”. Those are the names of distinction and separation given by divine appointment and purpose. These represent the dividing lines between two groups of beings. This certainly includes mankind but it also must include angelic heavenly beings also.
Wow, I just introduced so much potentially new information to you so fast that I pray that you understood it all. We could go through other prophecies of division but I am trying to keep this lesson as concise as possible to not overwhelm anyone with too much information. I hope to cover this subject in much more detail as the series continues. So please be patient and kind and believe with me that God will say everything that needs to be said in His right timing. Let’s recap what we should have learned from this section quickly.
God is going to build:
- A Mental Wall of Partition for Discernment in People
- A Wall Between the Righteous and the Unrighteous
- A Wall Between the Good and the Evil
- A Wall to Perceive Between Right and Wrong
- A Wall of Separation Between the Light and the Darkness
We could literally talk for many hours on these subjects but I just want you to begin learning the basics for and of division now. I think today I am going to only go into one more introductory topic to help point us to future lessons.
CONFIRMING JESUS’ PURPOSE FOR DIVISION
I have already introduced you to the concept that God came to earth to divide His kingdom and to divide His family but we need further scriptural confirmation to assist in these statements and beliefs. Both a nation and a family dissolution are very clear examples of types of extremely prevalent earthly natural disunions. However, both of these natural examples of disunion have direct application to what Jesus said that He came to do here on the earth believe it or not. Let’s look at a new verse that Jesus spoke about this direct subject of division to help us to confirm the reality of one of God’s primary purposes for sending Jesus into our world was to divide His kingdom and family.
Jesus actually talks about this subject of division much more than many realize. It is very clear to me from learning this subject now that Jesus understood His reason for coming into the world far better than anyone else at that time including Satan and all his angels and demons. We will now turn back to the book of Luke again and read a verse found in close context with our initial foundation division verse found in Luke 12:51. Please, turn back to chapter 11 and begin to read in verse 17:
Luk 11:17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.
Jesus begins the statement with the word “Every”. “Every” is the Greek word G3956 that literally means “every”. I am just being funny with that last statement but that is exactly what the Greek word means. The Greek word G3956 means “every”, “any”, “all” and “the whole”. Therefore, G3956 is an all-inclusive adjective describing the noun “kingdom” that leaves no kingdom out of the statement. Do you understand that? There cannot be any “kingdom” in existence either past, present or future that is omitted from this statement of truth given to us by the Lord Jesus. I cannot say that more plainly and this is such a very important concept to learn. Jesus is not a liar and He would have phrased the statement differently if there were any kingdoms that could be excluded from being mentioned. I do hope you understand what God is saying by His selective use of the word “EVERY”.
So we learn immediately from the mouth of Jesus that “any” or “every” kingdom named or unnamed directly or indirectly will fall if it is divided against itself. Therefore we learn from the Bible what we already know from human history that any kingdom can be divided into two or more smaller pieces and even cease to exist completely. For example the Roman Empire ceased to exist. The Persian Empire has ceased to exist. The Babylonian Empire has ceased to exist, and etc. Today division of nations is still a very prevalent topic with the nation of Israel. Peace talks are dominated with the division of Israel into two nations giving their land to a new nation called Palestine. Satan is using God’s law of division to try to eliminate Israel and you should know that.
Did you know that this statement from Jesus absolutely must include the “Kingdom of God” and the “Kingdom of Heaven”? You probably never thought of that, did you? Does that sound offensive to you for me to imply that the omnipotent God’s kingdom can be divided, fall and possibly cease to exist? Please understand that I did not say it. I just gained that knowledge from what Jesus said because He included these two kingdom references in the statement by selecting and speaking the word “EVERY” in union with the noun “KINGDOM”. Wow, I think there could be a lot of upset religious people not very happy with this lesson after reading that but this statement is still true.
Do you remember that I talked about a whole pie being cut into pieces? Let’s change the pie to a Kingdom and ask if it can be divided in the same way? Jesus is peaking about a whole kingdom pie that will be divided if it is fighting against itself and He tells us that it will become desolate (a dry empty place) if it is experiencing any condition of discord, disharmony or even disagreement. What happens to a pie after it has been cut and divided against itself? It is usually dished out and served and the pie dish has been left an empty dry mess of crumbs. That is what Jesus is describing that will happen to any kingdom that is divided also. There is an old proverb that says “United we stand but divided we fall” and that is an accurate phrasing of what Jesus just taught us about God’s Kingdom.
These truths are precisely the reason that I mentioned the U.S.S.R. previously. The U.S.S.R. was a very good example of a modern kingdom that has been divided against itself. This whole nation was split into several smaller nations even now which are still fighting among themselves. There was even recently reported heavy fighting in the Ukraine and Russia was blamed to be fueling the discord. Note the fact what Jesus said again. Jesus said “Do you think that I came to bring peace? I say No but rather division”. That was my paraphrase of the original key verse statement but it does represent an accurate message of the original. No nation or kingdom that experiences division can or will experience any peace after it has been divided. Now ask yourself what Kingdom is Jesus from? Where did Jesus come down from to enter into the earth? These are basic fundamental questions that you should be able to answer in your sleep. Jesus came down from the Kingdom of God and from the Kingdom of Heaven in order that He might divide them with war and I believe this very firmly.
Now consider the second part of the statement made by Jesus concerning division in Luke 11:17. Jesus declares that a house divided will also fall. This Greek word translated as “house” means a dwelling where a family resides. This is why I talked about the concept of divorce earlier also. A divorce represents the destruction of a sovereign family unit. The result of the family division is a whole entity that no longer exists or we could say a family unit that has been brought to the state of non-existence. This is exactly why Jesus was making this statement in Luke because it concerns His purpose for coming to the earth.
We should be able to find out by close Bible study that Jesus has come down from the Kingdom of Heaven directly from the spiritual family of God to bring about a division to both realities. We can begin to learn this truth simply by reading verses like John 6:50-51 where He describes His flesh as the bread that came down from heaven. In these words are found the concept of the loaf of freshly baked bread that I presented earlier. His body was broken and we must eat of it in order to live. All those that do not eat of this bread will die. That is a very clear division of separation being inferred. There are many other verses but I will help you with one about the family of God next for you to know that God has a family that can be divided.
If you study the Bible by searching for the word “house” you will find more than enough verses that will confirm what we need to know about the existence of God’s spiritual family. For example, in John 14:2 you will find Jesus talking about His Father’s house. He claims there are many mansions in this location. The Greek word in this verse is G3613 and it comes directly from the Greek word G3624 that Jesus spoke of in Luke 11:17 about a house divided. Both words were translated as house and both words mean a literal family dwelling place. I can give many other references but I do not want to take the time in this lesson introduction. Just begin to realize that God has a spiritual family and this family can and has been divided by the plan, will and the work of God through Jesus Christ.
If this is true what Jesus is teaching us then the implication of both of these divisions will dictate God’s need for a new spiritual family and a new spiritual kingdom since both will be brought to the level of non-existence as Jesus has prophesied. I hope you realize that Jesus was a prophet also and spoke what would come to pass in many of His recorded statements in the Gospels. I warned you that this Bible lesson would take us into some really deep waters which may go over the heads of some weaker carnal Christians. If this describes you please just stop reading and go to a different Bible lesson. So let’s review the main points from this section of the lesson. We learned these Bible facts:
- Every Divided Kingdom Will Be Made Desolate
- Every Divided Family Will Fall
- God Has a Kingdom Which Can Be Divided
- God Has a Family that Can Also Fall
All of these Bible facts of Truth point us in the direction for God’s personal appearance on the earth to divide. These help us tremendously to understand a very complex hidden Bible subject.
I hope and pray that you have learned at least a little more on this subject of Biblical Division than you ever knew before. I know there was a lot of new information given but I also know that there is a whole lot more to learn. I would recommend that you go back and at least reread the main points from each section of the lesson. This will help us put the pieces of the division puzzle together correctly. I will be continuing in this series with more confirming scriptures to help us believe in God’s Word. Thank you for taking your time to read and study the Bible with me. I do value your time greatly and I do not wish to waste any of it. If you would care to leave me a comment or question I would appreciate it. Also please share this website with your friends and relatives so everyone can learn more about the Lord and the soon coming King Jesus Christ. God Bless you.
Click now if you would like to continue reading “Part 2“.
Bible Basics: Jesus Asks “Who Do You Say That I Am?” Part 2 – Believing in the Name of Jesus is a Requirement NOW!
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 2 of a very fundamental and rudimentary but essential Bible Subject for every Christian to study, learn, understand and be able to share in an instant with all others in the world! What is that vital subject you ask? The subject that I am referring to is “Who is Jesus to you?” If you did not read from the beginning I would strongly recommend that you go back to “Part 1” to begin reading the series because all of that information will not be repeated again and it was very important for your understanding of who Jesus should be to you. The first lesson was a focused approach to understanding the significance of some of the most important revealed “Names” of Jesus in the Bible. If you read the first lesson you know that I introduced you to 3 of these primary names of Jesus found in the New Testament. There are of course several other revealed names and titles of Jesus that I did not mention. Later in the series we will explore more of these names but I will mention at least two other direct names today in this lesson.
I hope after reading Part 1 that you at least have a better comprehension for the importance of these 3 Bible names of Jesus that were covered. These names were 1) Jesus, 2) Emmanuel and 3) The Word of God. All three names connected us directly to a personal divine appearance on the earth of the creator Lord God coming from heaven in the form of a man like us. In today’s lesson we will expand the subject of these 3 names by adding two new names “Lord” and “King” and we will begin to address the question of what benefit is there for believing in these names of Jesus? Were there any benefits in the early Church? Are there any benefits to these names in the modern church? Why is it important for us to even believe in the names of Jesus? What occurs if we do not believe in Jesus being God in the flesh or in His revealed names? We will soon be learning what the Bible says about what will happen if we believe in His name and what will happen if we do not. Wow that sounds imperative to know.
In many of my Bible studies I place an added emphasis upon how to study the Bible. Today’s lesson will be more of this type of double teaching effort. I want to provide the reader with valuable spiritual information but at the same time I desire to teach a few of the rules and methods for how the information was obtained. In this way I am teaching the reader more about “how to fish for information” than simply just offering them a “onetime fish meal of information”. Of course the number one rule for every Bible study method is for us to be led by the Spirit of God and listen for His guidance as we study the Bible by faith. Following this rule will insure that we are on the right path to not deviate from the way of finding the truth. The Spirit of God is Truth (John 14:17) and we are told that He will guide us into all Truth (John 16:13).
INTRODUCTION TO THE NAME OF THE LORD
Let’s begin this Bible study using the important Bible study technique called “The Law of First Mention. Today’s Bible study’s primary focus is upon the importance of knowing, understanding and believing in the name of Jesus. So we will go back into the O.T. to find the name of God that is found within this name Jesus. Perhaps you do not understand what the law of first mention represents. I found through years of Bible study that the law of first mention is a very useful study technique to learn from and use. This study law introduces us to the subject where God first mentions what we are interested in learning. I have found consistently that God places key information in every initial subject reference that is critical to understanding almost every other subject reference in the rest of the Bible. Since we learned in lesson 1 that the original language Hebrew name of Jesus was comprised of two Hebrew root words “Jehovah and Saves” we will focus in on the O.T. references to the name of God, Jehovah. The first time this name Jehovah is used by God in the O.T. is found in Genesis 2. Let us read the verse and learn what God introduces us to in this first subject mention:
Gen 2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
Did you notice that this verse connects the name Jehovah directly to the God of creation and the creation event itself? In Genesis 1 the name of God primarily mentioned is H430 Elohim which is normally translated as “God”. However in this verse in Genesis 2 Jehovah and Elohim are joined and used in conjunction together as a connecting force for equality, for clarification and for further definition. I believe this simply teaches us that Jehovah is Elohim and Elohim is Jehovah. Why is this important? It is only important because in the New Testament in John 1 we saw another direct reference to GOD and to the creation event that must be included with Genesis 2:4 in order to be understood more thoroughly. Let’s review the first three verses of John 1:
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1 are parallel creation event verses connected together by God’s design. God in the book of John further clarifies and bring newly defined light and revelation to the subject of creation and the Creator. God is being declared equivalent to the Word in these verses and we are clearly informed that the Word created everything that was made. We can now go back and reread Genesis 1 and find that this is exactly what happened. God spoke His Word and the created things came forth and produce life.
In these verses in John the name of God is the Greek word “Theos” and this is the equivalent of the Hebrew name of God “Elohim” by direct association. Notice, in Genesis 1:1 God says “In the beginning God (Elohim)…” and in John 1:1 God says “In the beginning God (Theos)…”. I know technically it says “In the Beginning was the Word” but later in the verse God tells us the Word was God (Theos) and that is a basic Algebraic law at work that says if A = B and B = C then A = C. Therefore I hope you understand why it is legal to say Elohim and Theos are equivalent but I will offer additional evidence as I continue in the lesson and probably repeat what I have said for the benefit of everyone.
One of the things that I want to teach in this lesson is that anytime God quotes even a portion of a verse from the O.T. in the N.T., He is connecting the words across a language boundary. I hope you understand the importance of knowing this. This technique of word structure, definition and equivalency is part of God’s internal technical design of the entire Bible. God used this technique of quotation to help us and teach us the way through the complexity introduced by His usage between two main separations of languages found within the original Bible manuscripts. The O.T. was written in predominately Hebrew and the N.T. was written in exclusively the Greek language. So how do we resolve this major language separation when studying any subject in both the Old and the New Testaments? We do it by finding and using God’s laws designed for us to follow. Following God’s laws of how to cross language boundaries provide us very specific rules and boundary limits to avoid an “anything goes approach to Bible interpretation”. Without following God’s established rules there is only a random unstructured chaos approach to interpretation taking place based upon human reasoning and that will usually fail us 100 times out of 100 attempts. That is exactly why there are thousands of different Christian denominations in the world today. Too many people are ignoring God’s rules and inventing their own ways to understand the Bible.
What we learn from this divinely designed language connection technique is that the Greek word Theos (G2316) is the equivalent word found within the Hebrew as the word Elohim (H430). Do you understand this? What I am saying is, if we were translating the O.T. original Hebrew language into the Greek language we would make the Hebrew word Elohim read as “Theos” because this is exactly what God did in the Bible and we should follow His example. Conversely if we were translating the N.T. into Hebrew the Greek word “Theos” would be translated into “Elohim” because of God’s choice and not mine. This is not that complicated but it is still a very essential concept to learn for correct Bible understanding and interpretation. We can further confirm this truth of the word equivalence between the Hebrew Elohim and the Greek Theos by looking at several verses but I will give only one other verse to keep the lesson shorter:
Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
This is an excellent verse to expand our knowledge from. Jesus is quoting a commonly known O.T. verse in this statement within the Gospel account. Here in Matthew God directly connects two very key Greek words together that we need to know. The first Greek word is G2316 (Theos) which was translated as God and is the same word found in John 1:1 that we just looked at. But now we can also see the second Greek word being connected to God (Theos) is G2962 (Kurios) which is translated as Lord in this verse. This is the exact same word and name connection that God made in Genesis 2:4 if you recall. The “Lord God” is in fact the name that I am looking for to further understand. Now let’s go and review the original Hebrew statement being quoted by Jesus to learn the original Hebrew language words:
Deu 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.
Here again are the two key words LORD and God that are being researched having been connected by God’s design to the New Testament in the Matthew 4:7 quotation. The Hebrew word H430 that was translated into English as “God” is Elohim and the Hebrew word H3068 that was translated as “LORD” in English is Jehovah. We now have a very direct confirmation that the Hebrew word Jehovah is directly linked and is equivalent to the Greek word Kurios and the Hebrew word Elohim is directly linked and is equivalent to the Greek word Theos in all of scripture. Do you understand why I could just say this? If not there are more than enough verses quoted in the N.T. that you could go through to prove this statement if you want to do the work. This is a very critical part of correct Bible study to find these types of details. This should leave no room for doubt that we are on the right track learning about who is named LORD in both the O.T. and the N.T. I do hope that you are beginning to understand where I am going.
Now let’s go back to John 1 and review again. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God (Theos = Elohim) and the Word was God (Theos = Elohim). I just inserted the Greek and Hebrew equivalent words in this verse to help bring clarification to what God is speaking of. John 1:1 is very clearly telling us that the Word is God (Theos = Elohim) and it further teaches us in verse 2 that the Word was with God in the beginning. The terms “with God” and “is God” sound like conflicting statements but these are only possible because of the triune nature of God Almighty (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
Then in verse 3 God (Theos = Elohim) speaks clearly that all things that were made by God (Theos = Elohim) and everything that was made was made by the Word. Wow that is awesome information to teach us something very new and profound. Go back and review Genesis 2:4 again to make the connection. Genesis 2:4 said “Jehovah Elohim” created the heavens and the earth. Do you see the direct connection being made to who Jehovah was? Can you see that the “Word = God” in John 1 is the exact same God as the “Jehovah = God” in Genesis 2:4? Both are speaking of who created our world. I believe overwhelmingly that the LORD GOD is the same as the WORD GOD and they are equivalent and I will prove that statement further as I continue in the lesson.
Let’s review some of the basic mathematical laws again to help us understand the Bible more clearly. The Bible was authored by the same God that created math so it just makes logical sense for us to apply the same laws of God’s math design to God’s application of His Word. Do you remember what I said earlier? I said that God Theos = God Elohin by God’s usage of quoted O.T. verses found in the N.T. I then said LORD Kurios = LORD Jehovah using the same type God’s N.T. quoted examples. Now using John 1 we learn how God connects the “Word” was equal to “God” which was equal to “Theos” which was equal to “Elohim”. I think this may be going over the head of many of my readers but that does not mean that I should not be teaching it. Now using the divinely connected verses of Deuteronomy 6:17 and Matthew 4:7 we learned that Jehovah Elohim (Hebrew) = LORD God (English) = Kurios Theos (Greek). I think I need to say this again because it is so very important for you to embrace, using O.T. quoted verse words in the New Testament we now know that Jehovah Elohim = Kurious Theos = LORD God. I am just laying a very important foundation for more knowledge that is coming.
Ok if I haven’t left you behind so far I want to go a bit deeper. Recall from lesson 1 that Joshua was the original Hebrew name of Jesus. Never, never forget that Jesus was born a Jew and spoke the Hebrew language and not the Greek language. Jesus said very plainly that He was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel (Mat 15:24). When people met Jesus on the road they called Him “Yeshua” (Hebrew) = Joshua (English transliteration) = Jesus (Greek to English transliteration). This Hebrew name came down from heaven and was given to Him by an angel of the LORD GOD. As I have stated more than once we should know that the name Joshua was the Hebrew word H3091 and this meant “Jehovah Saved” which comes from two root words H3068 Jehovah and H3467 yasha being joined together. We have just learned that Jehovah (Hebrew) = Kurios (Greek). Therefore we can by the mathematical law of equivalency say Jesus’ name was the same as Kurios Saved because that would be the legal name using the Greek language equivalent. Why is this important? We will soon find out very quickly as we continue. I hope and pray that you are interested in learning because this is only going to get better.
I have already established who the Word of God was stated to be in Lesson 1 of this series. The Word of God was a given name for Jesus revealed by God to us in the N.T. (Revelation 19:3). I have just emphasized that the name of Jesus was a Hebrew name originally and it is comprised of two key words Jehovah Saves. We are discovering further confirmation that Jesus was Jehovah come to save His people just as He was prophesied to do. So let’s now move on to further study that subject in the next section of the lesson to go even deeper.
CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD
Psa 20:9 Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.
This is my opening key verse to this entire section of the lesson. Please, notice what God says. The verse begins with “Save Lord”. Uh oh do you remember what that means in Hebrew? Opening in this verse are found the two key Hebrew root words that comprise the name of Joshua and Jesus. These words that were translated correctly as “save” and “LORD” are H3467 and H3068. Wow this is pretty good stuff if you are paying attention. I’ll say it again “these are the exact two Hebrew words that make up the name of Jesus” and this verse in the Bible calls Him the King that saves the people that call upon Him. Save us Lord (JEHOVAH) is the cry being made by the people in this verse. These were people on the earth crying out for the LORD to save them. So let me ask you who came to save them? Who is your savior today? Is it not Jesus? I know Jesus saved me for sure, but I cannot speak for you.
We are told that they are crying out and calling for a king to save them. I’ll ask you again, “Who is this king that will save them”? Wow again, because if you know the N.T. just a little bit you know that Jesus is called the “King of kings” in Revelation 19:16 another divinely appointed name and title. I told you earlier that we were going to learn a new Name of Jesus today and that was it. Jesus is the KING of kings which clearly qualifies Him to be called upon according to this verse. Now know and believe that Jesus is this King and make the connection being made to Jesus our Savior and Lord in Psalms 20:9. Jehovah Saves = Joshua/Jesus and the people are calling upon this King named Jehovah for their salvation. Could it really be that Jesus is this prophesied King that will come to save us who call upon the Lord/JEHOVAH? I believe beyond a shadow of doubt that it is Him and we will certainly see many more verses in this lesson that will affirm that this King is Jesus.
What I am trying to teach over and over in this lesson until we all get it is that Jehovah is Jesus and Jesus is the Jehovah God that has saved us when we believe in Him and call upon His name. Now let’s shift our focus slightly to a different first mention in the O.T. concerning those that “called on the name of JEHOVAH”. In this part of the section we will look at when men first began to call on the name of the Lord in the Old Testament. This is accomplished by a simple Bible text search within a good Bible search software program like “eSword”. If you do the search you will find the first mention of the words “name of the Lord” to be in Gen 4:26:
Gen 4:26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
Seth is the third named son of Adam and Eve. Seth has a son and names him Enos. Enos is the same as the Hebrew word H582 that means “mortal” and I find that fact very interesting when observed by what God connects within the context of this verse to this name Enos being given. Enos was born approximately 235 years after Adam’s creation. You may recall by reading earlier in the context of Genesis 4 that Adam and Eve had a son named “Cain” first and then they had another son named “Abel”. The older brother Cain murders his younger brother Abel and this is the first direct mention of any natural human death occurring in our world in the Bible. I’ll say it again that this natural death of Abel entering into the world was the first recorded occurrence of human mortality to actually be observed by any other human on the earth. God plainly prophesied and warned Adam that death would come if he sinned and disobeyed God’s command. It was truly the sinful disobedience of Adam that allowed death to enter into the world according to Romans 5:12. I personally believe that it was the observed death of Abel the first human’s blood to be shed upon the earth that caused this verse in Genesis 4:26 to come to pass.
I believe that as soon as men and women on the earth began to realize the great impact and consequences of human sin they began to call upon the name of the Lord/Jehovah. Why do you think that people would feel the need to call on the name of the Lord in Genesis 4:26? What were they calling Him for? That is a very great question to ponder. What benefit was there to calling on the name Jehovah at this time or anytime? Was there actually any profit for doing this? I firmly believe that there was then and still is now. Let’s look at an example of one O.T. stated benefit for calling upon the name of the Lord:
Psa 99:6 Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
Notice that Moses, Aaron and Samuel all called on the God named Jehovah. Let me ask you this question, if you are calling on the name of Buddha will the LORD God named Jehovah answer? If you are calling on the name of Hare Krishna will the LORD Jehovah answer? What about the name of the sun god Ra or the mythological god named Zeus? What if you called upon the name Allah? Will the LORD Jehovah answer to any of these names? Let’s look at a great Bible example of why it is so very important to call upon the right name and the right God:
1Ki 18:24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
Wow this verse is pretty awesome. Elijah challenges the priests of the false gods and tells them to call upon the name of their gods and he would call upon the name of Jehovah the true living God just like Moses, Aaron and Samuel did and the God that answered by fire would be God. That was an overwhelming display of faith in the name of Jehovah by Elijah. If you read the rest of the chapter you will find who heard, who answered and who prevailed in this challenge and it was the God named Jehovah. Was there any advantage gained by Elijah for him to call upon Jehovah? It is very self-evident that there was a great benefit found in this example for Elijah’s faith and wise choice to call upon Jehovah.
This is just a very basic fact of truth being taught. If you called me by the name of John when my real name was Ron, please understand that I will probably not answer you. If you want a response from anyone you should probably know their name. If you want someone to answer you, it is wise to call them by their name. These are very simple truths yet extremely important to know. We could say that this “call on the right name and He will answer knowledge” is just “common sense” but yet this human quality seems to be an escaping virtue to possess these days for so many. God gives us examples in Psalms 99:6 of a few select men that called upon His name. These men were Moses, Aaron and Samuel and they are said to have all called upon the name of Jehovah and it tells us clearly that they received a response from Him. That is the first astounding benefit revealed by God in this lesson for believing in His name and calling upon the name of the Lord. God teaches us that if we call upon His name then He will hear us and He will answer because He is no respecter of persons. Therefore, if your LORD is Jesus then call upon Jesus and see if He hears and answers the same as Jehovah did in these examples. I believe that we have already established with scripture that Jesus was Jehovah in the flesh in lesson 1 but we re exploring more evidence in this lesson to remove all doubt.
CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD BENEFITS
I introduced you to just one of the benefits to calling upon the name of the Lord in the previous section. This section will continue the lesson with more of the stated benefits for believing in the name of the correct Lord and calling upon His name. I want to begin this section of the lesson with a verse for you to read and then ask you a question to why it is important. Please read over this verse carefully noting what is stated and then you begin to ask yourself questions from what you believe that God has given to you to know:
Act 4:18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
Notice the Apostles were teaching others about Jesus and this made the Jews very angry. But more specifically notice that the apostles were teaching directly about the “name of Jesus”. Wow that sounds important to me. Why would it even be necessary for the apostles to teach in the name of Jesus? Could there have been any directly stated or even implied benefits that were attached to this name that needed to be made known to the others that heard? Could the others that heard the name of Jesus being taught also gain any benefits from hearing about His name? Why would Satan not want the “name of Jesus” to be spread to others? According to this verse there must be some great significance for teaching in the name of Jesus that the enemy wants to silence. This name of Jesus sounds very important to me and I hope you will agree. This is exactly why I am spending so much time teaching on the name of Jesus.
We are studying the reasons why the belief in the name of Jesus and calling on His name is very essential. We have discovered that when we call upon the name of the Lord, He says that He hears us and that He will answer. We can learn some very key facts to know about the name of the Lord Jesus if we open our spiritual eyes to see and receive them. The word benefit is defined as “an advantage or a profit gained from something given or obtained”. The something in this case given is for us “to believe in the name of Jesus” and then “to call upon this name of Jesus”. The profit and advantage gained from doing these two simple things may be far greater than you can possibly imagine right now. Before I go further I’ll state the antithesis truth of what I just said. The opposite truth states that the losses and disadvantages that are faced by not believing in the name of the Lord and not calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus could be infinitely consequential to your life. Let’s get started with learning some of the essential benefits and advantages for learning the name of the LORD:
Psa 116:12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
Psa 116:13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
Here are two great subject verses. The Hebrew word in verse 12 translated as benefits means to “bestow on” or to “deal bountifully” with someone. That reveals to us that God by His freewill and sovereign choice has placed His infinite divine grace and favor upon those that call upon His name. But many will try to say that these verses are not about Jesus so why are you including it here? However that is really not true. Almost everything in the Old Testament points us to Jesus even if you do not see it at first. I teach that Jesus is the central themed subject of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
Verse 12 teaches us that we cannot earn or repay what God is prophesied to do for us in this verse or now has done for us after Christ has come. However, this undeserved gift is truly a New Testament Grace concept. What is God talking about here that cannot be repaid? Verse 13 gives us a glimpse into what one of these coming benefits is. Salvation is the stated primary subject benefit for believing and calling on the name of the LORD. However, this “cup of salvation” must be taken by the one that it is being offered to. God does not force anyone to drink from this saving cup. This cup is what God has offered to every man, woman and child on the earth. God has extended the cup of salvation to each of us in this life. If we choose to take it we will be saved. How does this work? God tells you in the last part of verse 13. We must call upon the name of the LORD. Again that sounds critical to know. Could that be the reason why the Apostles in Acts were teaching the people about the name of Jesus?
The key name of God found in verses 12 and 13 are translated as LORD which is the Hebrew word H3068 again referred to in English transliteration as “Jehovah”. The Hebrew word Jehovah is included by God in over 5500 verses of the O.T. Jehovah is also a root word of the name of the English transliterated name of Jesus as I have previously taught several times now. What we need to do is to learn if there are any other supporting God given connections of Jesus being Jehovah. So let’s establish truth using the Bible and the Spirit of God to guide us. Consider this important subject verse next:
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Here in this chapter’s context is found the primary subjects of human salvation in conjunction with the belief and placing our faith in the name of Jesus in order to be saved. Did you notice what this verse said? God tells us that whoever shall choose to make a decision and call on the name of the LORD they and they alone will be saved. Who is this LORD? I believe if you are intelligent you will know that this LORD is speaking of only Jesus Christ.
Now please know and understand that this verse in Romans 10:13 is a direct quotation of another Old Testament verse about Jehovah found in Joel 2:32. Wow, that is just an amazing coincidence that God through the inspired writer Paul would use an obscure O.T. verse to teach us that the N.T. man named Jesus is the same LORD as O.T. named Jehovah. You see the Hebrew word that is translated as LORD in Joel 2:32 is Jehovah (H3068) the exact word found in over 5500 verses of the Old Testament and the Greek word in Romans 10:13 that is translated as Lord is Kurios (G2932) the same word we have been learning is the equivalent language match. Again these two verses in Romans and Joel further establish that the Greek word G2932 and the Hebrew word H3068 are equivalent words about the same subject just across a language division boundary. Are you getting it yet? I hope so.
I hope and pray that you are beginning to learn why this is so important. God is teaching us that the O.T. Jehovah (LORD) is the same as the N.T. Lord Jesus using the direct law of inspired quotation. They must both be the same person called by one name “LORD” in two different languages. God is teaching us that it was Him, the Jehovah/Lord God that became Jesus and walked among us to save us. Why can’t people see this? People do not see the truth because the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:4 their minds have been blinded by the god of this world (Satan). Satan is still trying to stop people like me from teaching on the name of Jesus and who He is. There is truly nothing new under the sun.
There are so very many people who call themselves saved Christians and ignore the Bible. They do not believe that Jesus was God come in the flesh and I believe this endangers their salvation tremendously. These types of people take their selective verses and attempt to prove Jesus was just a man, just a prophet or even just an angel sent down from heaven. This type of belief leaves God’s direct participation and contribution in our salvation process completely out of the picture. It would further make Jesus an impersonal created unwilling participant and would certainly deny His deity. In other words some believe that God sent or created someone else instead of coming Himself to save us. That type of belief denies the name of Jesus to be meaningful. Wow that is such a huge deception being pulled over the spiritual eyes of people. Let’s move to two other verse witnesses that Jesus Himself spoke:
Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Joh 13:13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.
In the first verse Jesus asks “Why do you call me Lord (Kurios) and do not do what I say?” In the second verse Jesus says “You call me teacher and Lord (Kurios) and you speak well because I am (He)”. However, remember again the basic fact that Jesus was a Jew and spoke Hebrew, so He was not speaking the Greek language when He said these statements even though it was recorded in the Greek language for us to read. This means from our previous study that Jesus said Luke 6:46 “Why call you me “Jehovah” “Jehovah” and do not do what I say?” and in John 13:13 He said “You call me teacher and JEHOVAH and You are correct I am”. Wow, Wow and Wow! Are you receiving who Jesus claimed to be? Get what Jesus is saying. Think like a Hebrew for a few moments! Put yourself in the audience when Jesus made these statements and you will soon understand why many picked up stones to kill Him.
Jesus is directly claiming to be God Almighty in the flesh with both of these statements. Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus ever dispute being the Jehovah LORD. Nowhere does Jesus ever deny being God Jehovah incarnate. In fact the completely opposite is actually found true. Jesus repeatedly alluded to the fact that He had come down from heaven and that He and His Father were ONE (John 10:30). Yet so many people refuse to see the truth and they choose to buy into a lie of Satan so easily. Here is another additional witness to insure the accuracy of Jesus being Jehovah:
Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Let every word of truth be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses the Bible teaches. God again quotes the prophet Joel here in this verse in Acts. This verse is a duplication of Roman’s 10:13 statement. The Apostle Peter after being filled with the Holy Ghost stands up and preaches to the multitude that was found present to hear him. If you read the context you will find that He is speaking directly of Jesus as being this “Lord” that Joel prophesied about coming. Wow again, is that not just a little bit crazy? I’m being humorous by asking that question. No, Peter was not crazy. Peter was a Jewish man also and he was quoting a Hebrew verse about Jehovah claiming that it was written about Jesus. Therefore, Peter claimed that Jesus was Jehovah come down to the earth and was teaching this to anyone that hears it.
We just read that Jesus Himself claimed to be Jehovah. Then if men like Peter believed Jesus was Jehovah and Paul believed Jesus was Jehovah why don’t you? We would have to follow a completely different and false Gospel in order to believe in a salvation process that did not come from the God Jehovah personally being present on the earth to die for our sins. I would strongly suggest that you go and reread Roman 10 and Acts 2 again and again to see how God used the Joel prophecy to describe Jesus as being LORD (Jehovah). This is exactly what was being proclaimed by the early church believe it or not. I am going to take this divine message even deeper to help you to learn the truth. You are probably familiar with this verse but hopefully new light will shine upon it so that you will see it differently:
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Paul a Jew writes that “if you will confess (call, speak, say) with your mouth the LORD Jesus….you will be saved”. The Greek word translated as “LORD” in this verse is the same G2962 Kurios that we have learned is the equivalent to the Hebrew Jehovah. Now change this one word Lord in the sentence and reread the verse:
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth JEHOVAH is Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
I made three minor but legitimate changes to the KJV Bible verse. I took away “the”, added “is” and change Lord to the Equivalent Hebrew word “JEHOVAH”. All of this was legal. I will confirm this with using the amplified translation:
Rom 10:9 Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord (JEHOVAH) and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Notice how the amplified translated the original Greek. I added the word (JEHOVAH) to bring clarity because this was the original Hebrew equivalent word. The amplified Bible said for us to say “Jesus is LORD” and by the law of Algebraic equivalence we know that we can or should say “Jesus is Jehovah”. BY believing who Jesus was and making this statement we are declaring Jesus to be Jehovah our God and this verse says when we do that we will be saved. This harmonizes precisely with the verses we just looked at in Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21.
What we are learning is that our New Covenant salvation is found in believing that Jesus is the God Jehovah. Before we end this section we will observe an additional essential reference for this part of the benefits to the name of Jesus subject study:
Act 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
Act 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Here in these verses we find the primary reason for believing in the name of Jesus and calling upon His name. Peter very clearly teaches us that there is no other name under heaven given among men where we can even think to be saved. Wow, wow and wow!!! Here we again get confirmation that the name of Jesus is an absolute necessity for being saved. This implies that we must know who this name was given to and what He represents. What makes this name different than anyone else’s name on the earth? Why would Satan want us to not teach about this name, learn or know this name? Anyone telling you that Jesus was not God is from Satan and you have a choice to believe them or not. I am telling you plainly that Jesus was God using more than enough verses from the Bible to establish the truth and you have the same choice to believe what I say from the Bible or not.
We should learn that salvation is the primary need to learn, know and believe in the name of Jesus, but there is also another quick reference given to us in verse 10 that should be mentioned. If you read the context you will find why Peter is speaking about Jesus and His name. Peter had just used his faith in the name of Jesus to cause a lame man at the temple gate to walk. It was this name of Jesus that Peter said made the man whole. The Greek word translated as whole means to be healed and made complete. That teaches us that salvation is much more than just God taking our spirits to heaven after we die. No the Greek word translated as salvation is “sozo” and it means to be made whole spiritually, mentally and physically. Go back in Acts and read verse 9 where Peter is telling the elders “by what means this man was made whole”. The Greek word “whole” in this verse is G4928 “sozo” and it means “to save, deliver or protect”. This word is used in the N.T. in a varied and wide all-inclusive process. The name of Jesus saves us in so many ways that most of us have not yet realized or believed. I’m really not going to get into this part of the meaning of salvation any further in this lesson. I have other lessons that will expand upon this if you are interested.
What we must conclude from just these few verses that I have gone through so far today is that Jesus was Jehovah come down to save, deliver and protect us by our faith in His name and saying He is our Jehovah (LORD). That is what the name Jesus means and that was what has occurred and is offered to you if you choose to believe it and receive it. Therefore, our salvation is the most important reason for believing in and calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus. This truth was clearly established in Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21. We are commanded to call upon His name and God says we will be saved. Satan will fight you over this and try with all his power to get you not to believe this because this will take you out of his kingdom of darkness and he will no longer be your lord. I seriously hope and pray that you understand what is being said here because the antithesis truth not directly stated is that if you do not believe or call upon the name of Jesus you will not be saved and go to hell.
DIVINE SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE NAME OF JESUS
I am going to conclude this name of Jesus Bible lesson with a final message of warning. This warning comes directly from God’s Word and not from my imagination. I am just the messenger that is delivering the warning. Paul is writing to the church in these next few verses and we should take special heed to what is stated especially in the light of what we have learned so far about Jesus is Lord/Jehovah. Turn to Philippians chapter 2 and read with me:
Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Php 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Php 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Php 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
According to God people can bow their knees to the name of the LORD Jesus right now by their choice or they will be forced to bow later without a choice. There are no other options given to us. It is and always will be a right now decision by an act of freewill humble submission and surrender or later by an act of superior force. You need to spend a lot of time reading these verses and understanding what is being revealed about Jesus conforms to everything that I have taught up until this point and then realize who God claimed Himself to be in His written Holy Word. Verses 5 through 8 teach us about God coming down from heaven and taking on the form of a human male. He humbles Himself to be a servant in order to die on a cross for our sins. Verse 9 is referring to God raising Jesus from the dead to ascend back into heaven being given a much superior name above every other name.
Read down to verse 11 and notice who Jesus is written by God’s design to be again. God tells us in this verse that every tongue will confess that “Jesus is LORD”. Who is this LORD? Always remember that the Greek word translated as “LORD” is G2962 Kurios the exact same word that we learned earlier that was equivalent to the Hebrew word H3068 JEHOVAH by God’s definition? If God inspired the writer Paul to write this message in his native Hebrew language instead of the Greek, what would it have said? Remember the writer Paul was a native Jew by his own admission. Paul would have thought thoughts primarily in the Hebrew language. Therefore, reread the statement inserting the Hebrew word equivalent, “every tongue will confess that JESUS CHRIST IS JEHOVAH”. Wow that is a very strong word of warning for us to believe in right now. I really do not understand why people do not think when they read the Bible. The truth is staring them right in the face but it is hidden from their view by wrong thinking. Please confess that Jesus is Jehovah right now because later you will be forced to say it but it will be too late.
We have only begun to touch on this very major subject of believing that Jesus is Jehovah and calling upon the name of Jesus to be saved. I have only introduced you to a very small portion of the importance of the name of Jesus. However, we have seen more than enough reasons and evidence to confirm the significance of why it is vitally essential to know Jesus by name and who He was as Jehovah incarnate. I have also taught on why we all need to believe and call upon this name in order to be saved using multiple verse confirmations. We have learned a few reasons to know what is gained from believing in the name of Jesus and by calling upon Him by name. It is very clear from Bible research that the early church taught on this subject of the name of Jesus everywhere they encountered people that needed to be saved. If the early church placed such great emphasis on Jesus being Jehovah why should we not do the exact same? I will list a few benefits for doing this now again for a quick synopsis overview:
- When we believe on Him we will call and when we do not believe we will not call.
- When we call upon Him, He will hear us.
- When He hears us, God says that He will answer.
- All who believe and call on the name of the LORD Jesus will be saved.
- Salvation is found in absolutely no other name but the name of Jesus.
- I’ll say it again, there is no other name given to men whereby we may be saved.
- Never forget to tell people that Jesus is Jehovah.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this Bible lesson. I do pray that it opened your eyes to see some things that you have never considered before about Jesus and God’s Word. I hope and pray that this lesson will give sufficient evidence to convince any doubters to confess Jesus is Jehovah now. If you have the opportunity to share my website with your friends and family I would be so grateful for your help spread the Word of God to others. Thank you all and God Bless you until next time.
(Ver 1.1) Today I am teaching another lesson on the highly controversial subject of “predestination” or “election” as it is also referred to many times. This is Part 4 of what should be a basic Bible study series concerning a very difficult and easily misunderstood Bible subject that is taken to extremes to place deception into the minds and lives of Christians. Satan does this to remove human “freewill” as being a factor for salvation. It further removes human responsibility to getting saved or staying saved. The extreme predestination philosophy allows an anything goes belief for acceptable human behavior without consequences of guilt or punishment. It removes the need for repentance, believing, learning, growing up spiritually and many other factors for a successful Christian life. If you have not read this series form the beginning I would strongly recommend that you go back and start with “Part 1” and then proceed forward to today’s Bible lesson. In doing this you will get a more complete understanding of the entire subject.
In today’s lesson I will begin addressing more specifically two sets of Bible verses that are commonly used by extreme teachers to preach their erroneous doctrine of extreme “predestination”. I received a question from a friend and this will be an answer for everyone to read and benefit from. I was asked about Ephesians 1:3-11 and Romans 8:28-30 and I have to admit that reading these verses in isolation certainly gives us all the appearance of a valid “predestination” theology on the surface. But was this what God did? Did God predestine some to heaven and some to hell without any human participation or determination upon where they wanted to go?
It might surprise you that I agree with a part of the “predestination” theology. The word “predestinate” is certainly a part of the Bible and this means we need to learn about it. Bible “Predestination” simply means a divine plan was put into place by the sovereign mind and will of God and God putting His plan into action has predetermined the outcome result. That is “predestination” in a very limited definition form. Predestination simply means a predetermined outcome was planned by God by placing severe limits upon the possible outcomes. That is what the word means and that is what God is bound to do but taking that definition and teaching what people do today is totally absurd.
I completely agree that God had a plan in place for human salvation long before He did anything to create our world. This plan involved Jesus who was the Almighty God in the flesh coming to the earth as the sacrificial lamb (Rev 13:8). Therefore God predetermined before man even existed that He would come down to the earth in the form of sinful flesh (Rom 8:3) to die for the payment of our sins removing our penalty for them while we were all yet sinners (Romans 5:8). This is the part of the doctrine of “Predestination” that I believe in with my whole heart and I hope and pray that you do also.
I also totally agree that God has omniscient foreknowledge of every event within human history and uses these events to put His plan into effect. However, the problem that arises very quickly is when people take these basic truths and stretch them into realms of beliefs that are not stated in the Bible. For example many people teach that God has predestined some to go to heaven and some to go to hell by His sovereign will and choice. That part of the doctrine of predestination represents a line in the sand that I refuse to cross because it violates God’s written word and makes Him to be a liar and my God is not a liar. I have already taught in three lessons about many things concerning why extreme predestination does not balance or conform to God’s entire precious Holy Word and we will be going into even more verses today because this is absolutely so important and vital for every Christian to understand.
AN INTRODUCTION AGAIN TO SALVATION
I realize that these verses that were given to me from Ephesians and Romans appear to confirm predestination as a legitimate theological doctrine. I’m very sure that these are two of the primary references being used by pastors to teach on the subject of “predestination”. But the extreme teaching and interpretation of these verses is by far not even close to being a correct or accurate representation of who God is or what God says. These extreme teachings are certainly not balanced properly with the rest of the Bible. For example let’s begin talking briefly about how we were saved according to scriptures:
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Here we have some of the most important basics of Christianity and salvation. God declares that we have been saved by God’s Grace but only in conjunction through our faith and we have been also made the children of God by our Faith in Christ Jesus also given only by God’s Grace. Therefore it is only because of our faith and belief in Jesus that has accomplished salvation by God’s Grace. If we have NO faith in Christ and choose NOT to believe in Him then we are not saved nor are we called His children. Knowing this truth is the foundation for the rest of Christianity which causes spiritual growth to continue helping us to see our role, relationship and purpose for being saved in Christ. Therefore I’m going to say something that may blow your mind but according to God’s Word it is the freewill choice of man to believe that determines whether or not we are selected (saved) and not God selecting us that determined our salvation. I’ll probably get a lot of negative comments and may even lose some readers because of that statement but so what I’m not going to change God’s word to fit your theology. It is really so very simple yet this scriptural truth of human faith being the determining factor for our salvation is ignored completely by many extreme “predestination” only preachers. Let’s look at a new verse briefly to learn an additional confirmation of who should be considered the chosen and how they became this:
2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
We should be able to clearly see at first glance that God has chosen us from the beginning. This is a basic predestination verse that teachers like to grab hold of to easily misunderstand the subject. However, this verse is another example of divine and human partnership working together to achieve our salvation. You see there are two direct things mentioned that God does in this verse and these are 1). God has chosen us to (for) salvation and God has done this 2). Through a process called sanctification. Then there are two direct things that we as Christians are said to do and these are 1). Give thanks to God for what He has done and 2). Believe the truth. The key word I want to focus upon is the Greek word G4102 translated as “belief” in this verse. This Greek word literally means to be persuaded of something. It can be translated as “believe” or “belief” or even “faith”. This is a word for humans not God. This Greek word represents what we do. It is a verb action of human response after hearing the Gospel (good news) of what God has done through Jesus Christ. We are required to have faith in order to please God according to Hebrew 11:6. Thus we are given one of the primary reasons for being chosen or selected by God is because of our faith. In other words if you don’t believe or have any faith you will not be selected. Do you understand this? People want to say it was only God’s sovereign choice and His right to choose some and reject others that caused us to be saved or lost but that is foolish thinking based upon poor human reasoning with no scriptural backing for that belief. No, the truth is that we determine whether we will be selected by our faith in Jesus Christ. It is so easy when you finally see it.
I was asked specifically about Romans 8:28-30 and Ephesians 1:3-11. I’ll talk about Romans 8 first in this lesson but everything that is written could apply to Ephesians 1 also. There are at least three mistakes that Bible teachers take upon themselves with their wrong interpretations of these scriptures that cause error to go forth to be taught. First they ignore the context of the verses and that is taking phrases out of their setting to say what they think they want them to say instead of what they actually say. Second there is a common problem of seeing verses from the wrong scriptural point of view to make the verses again say what they want instead of what God actually said being balanced with all other verses on the subject of human FREEWILL. You see context is also much more than just the verses in the surrounding chapter. Context must also include the whole Bible and every scripture that is related to the subject directly or indirectly. God is one author of one book and people taking one statement without the rest will lead us to error. Third there is the problem that occurs when an assumption is drawn based upon no direct facts being given. We must not make assumptions if God does not give us two or three witnesses to our belief.
Let’s go over a quick overview of good interpretation and understanding principles. We need to first learn to read and study the context of the verse within the chapter, the book, and the entire Bible in order to understand any single statement better and more clearly. Next then we need to read the Bible using the correct perspective. Many times we should consider what is written from God’s viewpoint since He is the admitted author of the text. God’s viewpoint is normally from a very spiritual perspective because He is a Spirit. God’s spiritual viewpoint is superior and normally conflicts with the human natural viewpoint (Romans 8:7). We learn this principle from several Bible selections including Romans 8 that we are currently studying but consider another reference found in 1 Samuel 16:7 when God spoke to the prophet and told him not to look on the outward appearance of the man (flesh) because God looks upon his heart (spirit). Wow, that is an awesome bit of knowledge to learn from and apply in our lives and study today.
Now consider the fact that there are other possible verses in the Bible that are directly related to the subject of “predestination”. These verses must also be considered contextual information that should be weighed together. Wouldn’t any or all of these other verses possibly have an impact in determining how we need to believe in the whole subject of predestination? I believe they do. Finally after reading and studying the whole subject we should be able to gather together all the known facts and use these to drive our belief process after we have felt confident that we understand the verses adequately enough to do so. Finally, as part of the drawing conclusions process we must never conclude anything unless we have 2 to 3 factual Bible witnesses of the conclusion from the Bible and I’m going to talk about this next.
For example NOWHERE in the Bible does it say that God predestined men to go to hell and that is a very wrong assumption and belief that many people have created in their minds and have bought into it like it was the truth because they think they were “selected” to go to heaven and therefore nothing they ever did effected them to get saved or nothing they will ever do can or will ever change their status of salvation. What a lie of the devil. If that was actually true then a lot of the N.T. is not necessary. In fact we can take that further and say the Bible as a whole is unnecessary for salvation. No one would need to preach the gospel, no one would need to believe the Gospel, and no one would need to go to church, no one needs to read the Bible and no one would even need to pray because God’s will would always be done regardless of what we do or say or pray. Also there would be no need for there to be any BIBLE commandments from God or instructions or warnings in the Bible for us to not be deceived or to depart from the Lord (Heb 3:12, 1 Tim 4:16, Gal 5:15, 1 Cor 10:12, 1 Cor 15:33, Gal 6:7, Luk 21:8, …. and others).
Let’s talk about the context first of Romans 8. The verses directly prior to these verses asked about speak of praying in tongues also called praying in the Spirit. I know it does not say it directly but that is how God wrote it in order to give man a choice to believe or not believe in speaking and praying in tongues. So let’s read the preceding two verses for direct contextual understanding:
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Rom 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Ok “intercession is mentioned twice and “prayer” is directly mentioned in verse 26. The key to knowing this is not just any kind of prayer is the fact that God is helping us to pray it. Therefore this is a supernatural prayer language because man can only pray a natural type of prayer language without God’s help. Do you understand this? God gives us the ability to pray supernaturally by helping us with the words to speak that cannot be normally uttered with natural human reasoning as He has stated in verse 26. In the Greek language this word means these words cannot be understood r spoken with the normal human articulate speech process. When we pray in the Spirit, God gives us the words and these are usually words not understood by people but rather they are heard by God and known by God for our benefit and this is why God says in verse 28 that He will cause all things to work together for our good. God does this primarily so that Satan does not know what is being prayed and can make an effort to stop it from coming to pass.
The reason I talked about praying in tongues is because the next verses following these statements are now conditional upon people praying in the Spirit in order to be qualified for what is said to happen next. Uh oh that changes everything or at least it should. We could talk a lot about other things written about in chapter 8. For example there is a whole discourse concerning the flesh verses the spirit. Those walking the flesh are not qualifying for the rest of the chapter either. But I know I was asked about the verses concerning “predestination” and that is where I will go next. Let’s jump down to verse 30 to see where the controversy really begins:
Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
This verse begins with “Whom He did predestinate”. Ok, this is pretty compelling if you only read it in isolation that God selected some and therefore must have rejected others by assumed indirection even though it does not say that directly. It is clear that God did select those that this verse was written to in the church but again nowhere does it say that God rejected those that were not in the church. I MEAN NO WHERE! Also there is a Greek word found here that needs our further attention. This Greek word is G2564 and it was translated as “called” twice in this verse. This Greek word means to “bid” or to “call” someone. What exactly does that mean?
Let’s say we go outside our house on the back porch and don’t see our dog. We could “call” the dog and see if he will come to us by yelling his name. The “call” would be an invitation to come and that is exactly what this verse is saying to us. God has invited us to come. What would make the dog not interested in coming to us when we called? It could be the fact that they are occupied with something they value more like a big bone that they are chewing on. Whatever the reason for not coming the dog has the choice of freewill to come or not to come and this is what we must realize is joined within the context of the subject of God “predestining” us. This is where we need to look afresh at this verse from the God spiritual perspective and weigh the context of the rest of the Bible also. I’ll do this with an introduction to a new way to think about predestination.
Why couldn’t God call and invite everyone through a plan of salvation called “to predestine” and offer to them all an invitation to come and be at His big wedding party in heaven? Then why couldn’t God send out all of the invitations to everyone to come to be a part of this party by an act of their choice to attend? But then what if only those people that actually showed up (chose by an act of their freewill) to come to the wedding party would be called those that were “selected”? In other words what if God has predestined everyone to show up for a huge big wedding party but yet not many valued or regarded the invitation as important and therefore did not come and what if this was the reason that caused them to not be selected? Could this possibly be the truth? Wow, I really think it is according to the Words of Jesus in the Bible. Let’s go read some words written in red ink within the distant context of Romans 8 that must be balanced with Romans 8. You should be able to read these verses and see my “what if” story in a parable form given by the Lord Jesus that helps us to learn what I was just trying to teach:
Mat 22:1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
Mat 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
Mat 22:3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
I’ll stop here and make some quick important points. The King in this parable is a representation of God. The Son in this parable is a symbolic representation of the Jesus Christ. The marriage in this parable is a symbolic representation for the New Covenant. His servants in this parable were His prophets and they called to the wedding the children of natural Israel but they would not come to the wedding by an act of their own stupid choice. The Greek word translated as “call” in verse 3 of Matthew 22 is the exact same Greek word found in Romans 8:30 making a direct divine connection to the same subject being spoken of by God. Does this not have anything to do directly with selection or God’s predestination process? Didn’t God call them all to come? Didn’t God desire them to come? Wasn’t it the will of God for them to come? I mean come on and think. God selected them and invited them to come but THEY WOULD NOT. Get it? This is really not rocket science and it is right there in front of our faces. Are we going to believe God or are we going to believe the traditional errors of man?
Mat 22:4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
Mat 22:5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
Mat 22:6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
Mat 22:7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
These verses were written about the natural nation of Israel. The natural nation of Israel was overrun and laid low over and over because of God’s displeasure for their ignorant choices and killing His servants. It is more than clear that this was not the plan of God for their lives. It was more than clear that God sent His servants to invite them to the wedding feast. It is more than clear that it was their own actions that caused them not to come in and be a part of the process. This is called man’s “freewill” and this must be taken into account when teaching anything about “predestination”. Now continue to read the rest of the parable because this is how we were selected:
Mat 22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
Mat 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
Mat 22:10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
So God goes forth into the rest of the Gentile world with more prophets and teachers inviting them all to come to the wedding and guess what I came by own freewill choice to believe and now because of my choices I have been selected. Also because I am now selected I now go into the world and preach the Gospel to others so they can also be selected by an act of their own freewill choice and faith in Jesus Christ. Wow this is how God designed it to work. We either believe and are saved or we don’t believe and we are damned by our own freewill choices (Mk 16:16).
Mat 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
Mat 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Mat 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
In this parable there are only two types of people mentioned that are rejected from being at the wedding and these were the one man without a wedding garment and those that chose not to even attend. However, this one man without a wedding garment also represents the man’s own foolish choice to try to come to the wedding without being properly clothed. This verse was symbolically talking about people who call themselves Christians but have not “PUT ON CHRIST” (Gal 3:27). This parable is all symbolism but this story gives us natural realities that apply directly to predestination and election.
I hope that everyone can read this over carefully and see the truths beings presented. This is exactly what I have been attempting to teach about salvation, election and predestination. Everyone is invited but only those that choose to show up to the wedding properly attired get to stay in the party to be called the select or elect ones and all others are left outside trying to get in. Remember the parable of the 10 virgins? This is the exact same reality. All 10 were invited but only 5 were prepared and entered in and the others were left out because of their lack of preparedness. Wow, this teaches us plainly that human FREEWILLL choices have a great determination to who is “selected”. We can choose to not attend the wedding or we can even choose not to dress for the wedding and both of these will cause us to NOT be selected. I don’t know how to teach it more clearly.
Let’s look at another verse to help us with the Bible basics of selection or predestination. I will give you a verse found in the Book of Hebrews that has nothing to do on the surface with this subject of predestination yet it has everything to do with it by indirect subject content and contextual association. God is speaking to Christians in this verse so read the words like they were written to you personally:
Heb 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Here is an additional confirmation that God had a divine plan from the foundation of the world. But, back up and see who it is that has been determined to enter in. Believing is stated to be the determining factor for entering into God’s rest. Those that have not believed do not enter in and those that believe do enter in. The entrance door is God’s Word and believing in God’s word gives us entrance.
I am trying to teach a difficult subject called election or predestination but not the way it is normally taught by many confused people. Becoming God’s elect is based upon a partnership between God’s divine grace and human faith. God is not a respecter of persons as we should know by now but God is most definitely a respecter of faith. The basis of what is taught by many predestination teachers would make God a respecter of persons by selecting some and rejecting others. This would make the Bible a lie and that is a conflicting problem with their philosophy. The only way to balance and resolve the conflict correctly is to understand that any good gift given to men by God is received by their faith. Any good thing ever given to men, done to men or done for men is only received or we could say entered into by individual freewill human faith. This is the way that God designed it to work.
Hebrews 4:3 is just further evidence that proves faith is a necessary part of the plan of God established from the foundation of the world. Read it again and again until you get it and accept it into your heart. Write a big sign and put it up on your wall and it should say “We who believe do enter in….”. What God is plainly saying is that everyone is invited to believe but only those that choose to do it are selected. God has predestined everyone to salvation but only those that have chosen to dress and come into the wedding will be selected and those that do not believe, or have not prepared themselves or have other more important things to do will be shut out when the door closes. That is the truth of God, believe it or not.
Thank you again for reading and studying the Bible with me. I appreciate your time and diligence to read and verify what is written in these lessons. Do not ever buy into a teacher’s words without your own personal verification. Allow the Spirit of God to minister and lead you into all truth. Be blessed and be a blessing to all that you meet every day. I’ll try to do another lesson on Ephesians 1 soon. I hope these word help you to better understand the Bible and your role in being selected.
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 1 of a very fundamental and rudimentary essential Bible Subject for every Christian to study, learn, understand and be able to share in an instant with all others in the world! Who is Jesus Christ? Is Jesus the most important person mentioned in the Bible or any other book available to read? If He is, then why is He so important? Many today in the world in other religions simply call Jesus just another human originator of a new religious system that died just like other religion founders like Mohammed or Buddha. Others in certain religions recognize Jesus to be nothing but another prophet of God like Moses, Mohammed or Joseph Smith. There are even many people in the world today that read from the Bible and believe Jesus to be far from divine. Are any of these the truth? Was Jesus just an ordinary man like me? If He was then I believe that I am one of the biggest fools in the world for following Him. Today we will explore just the Bible verses that teach us who Jesus really was described to be. We will be specifically focused on some of the revealed names of Jesus in the Bible and what they relate to us. Later in this series we will also look at the recorded words and claims of Jesus and see who He professed and claimed to be. I hope and pray that you have a very open mind to receive the truth as written and inspired by the Holy Spirit from the Bible. We will be exploring the basics of Bible truth that are the essential foundation for God’s grace and our salvation through our faith in Jesus Christ.
INTRODUCTION TO THE QUESTION “WHO IS JESUS?”
Jesus asks His disciples two very simple questions in the book of Matthew. And their answers to these questions will determine much more than you can imagine. At this point in time when these questions were asked to the disciples by Jesus they had been with Him for a long time following Him from place to place. They had witnessed many very significant things done by Jesus and heard many teachings from this man they called Rabbi (John 1:38). We will begin this section with reading in Matthew 16 and verse 13. Please observe the first question:
Mat 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
Why would Jesus even need to ask anyone who He was? There were a lot of people that obviously heard of Jesus but why would it be necessary to ask these people know who Jesus is? Anyone can know of someone but that is totally different than knowing them or knowing who they are, isn’t it? So who is Jesus? Jesus is asking those that were closer to Him than anyone else “who do men think that I am?” This is the question that is still very valid for today. Jesus could come to you and ask the exact same question. What would you say to Him? Perhaps you would need to go and take a survey in order to find out what men said about Jesus. Today, it is much simpler to just go and search the internet and see what people are writing about Him. Then notice how very wide and diverse the answers were.
Mat 16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
The disciples answer “Some say Jesus was John the Baptist”. Other men claim Jesus was Elijah. Still others claim Jesus to be the prophet Jeremiah. Even other men claimed Jesus to be just another one of the prophets but did not know which one. What a diverse set of possibilities for the identity of Jesus. However there is a common theme to them all. They were all calling Jesus a human man acting as a prophet but there was not any majority agreement to which prophet he was. This is still the most popular belief today in most false religions. The general consensus is that Jesus was simply a prophet or holy man like many others; Muhammad, Buddha, John Smith or even the Dalai Lama. This would place Jesus Christ on their exact same level of humanity but is this, the whole truth? Is this all that Jesus claimed to be? Let’s see the second question being asked by Jesus then and now:
Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Now Jesus changes the question and makes the question very personal. The question has substantially narrowed from “who do OTHER men say that I am” to “who do YOU say that I am”? Jesus was making a point by asking these two questions in succession. Jesus is teaching them that it does not matter what other men think but it does matter greatly what we think individually. Wow, I don’t know if you just got what God said there or not but it was very substantial. What Jesus is saying is that someone else’s opinion of Him is not going to help you or save you. Let’s look at their answer and see if anything changes.
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Peter answers the question of the Lord with an amazingly new and different perspective to the identity of Jesus. Two things are directly stated by Peter and you need to notice that neither of these stated beliefs of Peter is denied by Jesus. There was no rebuke from Jesus for any of Peter’s answer. In fact the opposite is true if you read down into the next verse. Jesus praises Peter and tells Him this answered revelation came from His Father and not from any man. That is a very significant amount of information to learn from. Jesus teaches us that there are at least two possible sources for knowledge and only one source is praise worthy. The knowledge originating from God is implied to be very good and noteworthy and the knowledge coming from ignorant men was judged as not important. Did you see that? Who is your source for who Jesus is? Is it God or is it a man? It would be extremely wise to figure this out now before it is too late.
Peter could have gone along with the majority wrong opinion. Peter could have chosen to conform to the religious crowd. Peter could have listened to popular peer pressure. Certainly the popular human concept is still what is taught today by many. But I believe that there still exists a God that can reveal the truth to anyone that asks Him and seeks Him with their whole heart.
What were the two God revealed things about Jesus that Peter gave as an answered reply? The first was that Jesus was the Christ. Wow, what exactly does that mean? Many of us have heard the combined named “Jesus Christ” but this title “Christ” was not the last name of Jesus. And you better also know that “Jesus Christ” is not something you say when you slam the door on your finger. Let’s look up the Greek word translated as “Christ” and learn:
From G5548; anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus: – Christ.
I want to begin with the definition and say Christ is an “epithet” for Jesus. What is an “epithet”? An “epithet” is a word that is used to describe the person being referenced. It is an adjective description. If you understand what an adjective is then you should already understand that an adjective is used to distinguish one man from another. If there is only one Jesus for example no one would need to say “Jesus Christ”. But since there were and still are others then this is one way to make Him uniquely important to the conversation.
Here in this definition is a new connection to a Hebrew word being established along with a meaning of someone that is anointed. The literal definition of the Greek word G5547 translated as the adjective “Christ” means “the anointed one”. Jesus is called “the Christ” by Peter and Jesus does not deny it. This title Christ is only significant because of Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled when Jesus begins His ministry. The Hebrew word being connected in this Greek word definition is H4899. In order to connect the Hebrew word “Messiah” to the Greek word G5547 translated as “Christ” we need to do some homework and search for the title in the O.T. If you do this you will find one key “Messiah” prophecy in the book of Daniel. If you go and read Daniel 9:25-26 you will find the verses that I am referring to. It would take a very long study to try to explain just these two verses so that will not be covered today. But I do want you to notice the Hebrew word that was translated as “Messiah’. This Hebrew word is H4899 and it has the following Strong’s definition:
From H4886; anointed; usually a consecrated person (as a king, priest, or saint); specifically the Messiah: – anointed, Messiah.
As you can observe in the definition this word has the exact same meaning as the Greek word G5547. We can therefore conclude that these two words are equivalent in both languages. I also want to point out that this word can apply to more than Jesus Christ. Any king, priest or even a saint can be anointed by the Spirit of God and this tends to lead some to say that Jesus was just another anointed man like so many others. In that regard if that was the only criteria being analyzed that would be a true statement. However, Peter did not stop talking with calling Jesus “the Christ” and he mentioned another quality that must also be considered.
Do you remember the second statement that Peter made? Go back and reread it if you did not recall that Peter said that Jesus was the “Son of the living God”. Wow that description makes Jesus unique and unlike any other anointed human born on this planet. Jesus had a great opportunity to rebuke Peter for this statement if it was a false claim but Jesus very clearly did not do it. This means that Jesus was confirming His identity to be the “Son of God” with His praise for what Peter had just spoken and because He said that this had been revealed to him by God, His Father. We will talk more about Jesus claiming to be the “Son of God” as we continue in this lesson series. But, Jesus claiming to be “the Son of the living God” is one of the most important things for anyone desiring to be a Christian to learn and believe by faith. I will tell you very plainly right now that if you do not believe that Jesus was the Son of the Living God then you are not a Christian and you are lost and going to hell. This is a very plain and simple truth found in 1 John 2:22-23 so please go and read it.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NAMES
I’m going to shift the focus for a moment to teach briefly an introduction about another very relevant Bible subject concerning “names”. This rabbit trail subject should be a Bible study series all by itself but an introduction will help our study of who Jesus claimed to be and should provide a great benefit to us by us understanding His names. Almost everyone in the Bible was given a name not by chance but rather the name given to them reflected a situation, quality, circumstance or characteristic of something very specific about the person. For example, these given names could have been a reflection on the circumstances surrounding their entrance into the world. Perhaps you remember in Genesis 35:18 when Rachel gives birth to her last son. She called the boy child by the name “Benoni” and this name meant “son of my sorrows” and then she died. But his father named him “Benjamin” which meant “son of my right hand”. God gives such great significance to names in the Bible and these name meanings are often overlooked and ignored but they all have a divine purpose. I will also say that if Benjamin would have been called by the name given of his mother then this would have changed his entire life and who he was tremendously. But since Benjamin was given a name change and a very different positive name he was blessed and favored.
Let’s go over a couple of other significant name changes that made a major difference for those people in the Bible to prove the significance of this subject. The man Abram was selected by God and given a promise by God in Genesis 12. The Hebrew name “Abram” means “high father”. Yet God changes Abram’s name to “Abraham” that meant “a father of a multitude” and it was only after this name change transpired that the promise began to be fulfilled. There is a revealed law of God found in the Bible that as long as the earth endures seed time and harvest will never cease (Gen 8:22). This divine law teaches the concept of cause and effect. In other words for every observable effect (harvest) God teaches us that there must be a cause for it (a seed sown). Some seed sown transpired to cause the promise to be made manifest to see the harvest and I am convinced that God’s name change to Abraham was a major role for this event occurring. Perhaps you will understand that statement as you continue to learn the God given facts of the Bible.
I’ll give you at least one other significant Bible name example. You may recall reading in Genesis 32:29 about Jacob wrestling with an angel. Jacob we are told prevailed against the angel and again as a result, the angel changes Jacob’s name from Jacob to Israel because of this victory. The name Israel obviously came from God and from heaven and you need to know this. When God gives a man a name it usually causes something good to occur and this is just another example. The name Jacob meant “heal catcher” and this name described the circumstances of his birth. But the name “Israel” is a Hebrew name that means “he will rule as God”. I’ll say this again, when God gives you a name there is a great seed that was planted to bring about a divine harvest and this is so very important to understand.
Modern names of people are really no different from Biblical names of people and they often reflect who a person is and what kind of person they present themselves to be. For example I was eating at a restaurant and my server’s name was named “Tisha”. I looked up the name’s meaning on the internet and it meant “joyful” and “happy”. This name meaning fit the personality of the lady very accurately.
What I am attempting to teach you is that it maters what the name of a person is in the Bible and even in the world today still. I am also trying to teach that it matters who gives a person the name and why it was given. In other words why and where the name originates from is critical and the name can certainly influence the outcome on a person’s entire life greatly. Let’s examine the Hebrew word that is translated as the English word “name”. This word’s meaning may shed some additional light of confirmation upon the significance of “names” in the Bible:
A primitive word (perhaps rather from H7760 through the idea of definite and conspicuous position; compare H8064); an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character: – + base, [in-] fame [-ous], name (-d), renown, report.
This Hebrew word means an “appellation”. This word means the act of giving something or someone a name. Then notice the next statement “a mark or memorial of individuality”. Wow that is a very important definition. God and people name things to mark them as being different from other things that may even be similar in appearance. For example any normal family with identical twins will always give each child a different name. This unique name separates one identical twin from the other. When a parent wants a specific twin they will call their name and this should bring the one called. Clearly names matter because it causes a separation from others to occur.
Then notice in this Hebrew word there is an associated implied meaning of any given name. According to the definition a name can carry the positive implication of “honor”, “authority” or it can even denote personal “character”. This positive truth can also be taken from a negative antithesis truth perspective. A negative name given to someone can cause them a negative outcome in life like dishonor or even bad character. I’m trying to teach you how things work in the spiritual realm. If you call your kids stupid then they will become more stupid. If you call your kids lazy then they will become lazier. Whatever names you have placed on your children are all seeds to mold their lives either building character or destroying their character.
I’ll end this introduction to the significance of names in the Bible with this truth. There are so many significant names given to us in the Bible that we often overlook the lesser names mentioned only a few times. For example in Genesis 5 there is a genealogy given to us by the inspiration of God concerning the first eleven men. This genealogy begins from Adam the first man to Noah and then to his son Shem in succession. The name Adam means “man” and the name Noah means “comfort”, the name Shem means “name” and this. Let’s just go through all of the names for review:
If you take the meanings of each of these 11 names given to us in the Bible and combine them into a sentence, you will find the Gospel of Jesus’ coming into the world and one of the primary reasons for His appearing. Here is the sentence using the Hebrew name meanings:
Man (has) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God will come down teaching (and) His death shall bring the despairing comfort (by or through His) Name.
I hope that you are beginning to see how Jesus is even mentioned indirectly here in the names of two prominent Bible men (Adam and Noah) and 9 other relatively obscure men in the Bible. This hidden reference to Jesus using only the names of men certainly is beyond chance or random occurrence. This information had to be placed there by God’s design and plan and this teaches us plainly that God even uses names in the Bible to inform us of things that are very important for us to learn and know. I will give credit for the majority of this information to Chuck Missler and you can find it on his website. I added the name of Shem to what he taught because this should have been given. Remember this prophecy using the 11 names because this will be readdressed in this Bible study later. Let’s move on to the specific name of Jesus next.
INTRODUCTION TO THE NAME OF JESUS
We will continue our Bible study concerning “who is Jesus” with a statement being made to Joseph from an angel sent from the Lord. In this statement is the name of the male child to be born to Joseph’s wife Mary. This name comes from God just like the name of Jacob came directly from God through an angel giving it great divine significance and purpose.
Mat 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
I want to reemphasize this point that the name of “Jesus” came directly from heaven and not from Joseph or Mary or any other human. This fact gives the name of Jesus a divine reason and purpose for being given. The next thing that you need to know is that the name “Jesus” is an English transliteration of the Greek name “Iēsous” being written in the book of Matthew. A transliteration is nothing but a man’s attempt to transfer and preserve a name from one language’s alphabet to another by using similar sounding vowels and constantans. The problem we begin to encounter very quickly is when we realize that the man Jesus was not English nor was He a Greek. Neither of these names would be correct based upon the nationality of Jesus. The genealogy of Jesus given to us in Matthew and Luke both prove that Jesus descended from the Hebrew nation a descendant of Abraham and David. Therefore the name of Jesus should be a Hebrew name and this is exactly what we discover when we look up the Greek word in the Strong’s dictionary:
Of Hebrew origin [H3091]; Jesus (that is, Jehoshua), the name of our Lord and two (three) other Israelites: – Jesus.
You should be able to quickly recognize that the Greek word name has a Hebrew origin. It is also apparent that the name of Jesus was not a completely unique name and that there were other Hebrew men that were also given this famous name. But we still need to ask the question why did the angel tell the man Joseph to name the child Jesus? In order to answer that question we need to revert further to the original Hebrew. Let’s look up the name H3091 and find its meaning:
From H3068 and H3467; Jehovah-saved; Jehoshua (that is, Joshua), the Jewish leader: – Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua. Compare H1954, H3442.
The English transliterated name for the Hebrew word H3091 is “Jehoshua” or “Joshua”. This name literally means “Jehovah saved” in the original Hebrew meaning. This Hebrew word is made from two Hebrew root words being combined together. The first word is H3068 meaning “Jehovah” and the second being H3467 meaning “saved”. “Jehovah” is simply one of the key names for God found within the Old Testament. The name Jehovah is used by God in over 5000 verses. The name Jehovah (H3068) simply means “Self Existent or Eternal One” and was most often translated as “LORD”.
The Hebrew word H3467 simply means “to save”, “to deliver”, “to free”, “to be made safe”, “salvation” and even “to get victory”. This part of the definition goes along with the statement made to Joseph in Matthew 1 if you will recall the angel said “you shall call His name Jesus because He will save His people”. We can learn from the meaning of the name that Jesus was the hidden fulfilled prophecy of the genealogy of Genesis 5 using the 11 names of Bible men. Remember this prophecy predicted that “the Blessed God would come down teaching and His death gives the despairing comfort through His name”. The despairing are simply humans that were held captive prisoners within the darkness of this world. The Name of Jesus was the God given name that men were required to believe upon and we will talk abut this more in the series as we go. This is exactly what transpired. The name of Jesus shows us by its definition that He was the Jehovah God that delivers and saves His people. This is now the second Biblical confirmation that Jesus was God in the flesh that came down to the earth. Let’s move to new name given to Jesus and study a further confirmation.
JESUS = GOD WITH US!
We are now going to explore another name given to Jesus in the Bible. This name will be the third conformation that Jesus was God in the flesh come to the earth from heaven. I will first give you the name found in the Greek New Testament. This name is found in a verse of Matthew 1. Please read it very carefully not overlooking any of the words in the stated scripture.
Mat 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
First consider the beginning of the verse where God declares a “virgin” will be with child. A virgin simply means an unmarried daughter and this clearly implies that she has never had sex with any man. Right there that gives us the first impression of a supernatural conception. Next the Greek words translated as “be with child” simply means that she is pregnant in her womb. Next the author (God) says she will bring forth (birth) a son. Here is where we get to the good stuff. God say “They shall call his name Emmanuel”. Wow, this is a very meaningful name that was being bestowed upon Jesus. Of course this name is meaningless if you don’t know what the definition of the Hebrew word being given to us is.
What we have just witnessed in this verse is a very vital principle (rule) that God teaches us to how to understand selected parts of the Bible. I have already been using this principle when I taught on the meaning of the name of Jesus earlier in this Bible lesson. This principle given to us by God is the simple fact that names have meaning and that these meanings have significance to indicate something important about the one being named. This principle also teaches us very directly that we need to go back to the original language meaning in order to insure the significance.
Perhaps you missed it again. The name “Emmanuel” in this verse is just another Greek to English transliteration. This Greek word (G1694) was also a transliteration from the Hebrew original name H6005 which was transliterated into English in the Old Testament as “Immanuel”. This is further confirmation that what I did for the name of Jesus going back to Joshua was very legitimate. Finally I want you to see in this verse the Greek word (G3177) that was translated into “interpreted”. This Greek word literally means to “translate” from one language into another. What God is doing is confirming the fact that names have meanings and these meanings have purpose as I have already stated. Let’s go back and research the original prophecy that this verse in Matthew is quoted from:
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
This verse quite literally says that this will be a “sign” given by the omnipotent God. This Hebrew word (H226) that was translated as “sign” can mean “evidence” or even a “monument”. In other words Jesus will be the visible proof for the name being given to Him. So what did this name ‘Immanuel” given from God mean? You read it in Matthew but it was not given here in Isaiah because you are assumed to already know Hebrew if you are reading the Old Testament because it was written to Hebrews. This is a reason that God wrote the meaning out in the New Testament because it was predominately read by Gentiles who needed to learn more about this old language.
If you knew the Hebrew language then you would find that “Immanuel” means “God with us”. If we break down the Hebrew root words found within this name we should start with the ending syllable “el” which is the short form for one of the prominent names of God in the Old Testament “Elohim”. The short form name “el” for God is used in almost 150 other names in the Old Testament and that is an interesting study all by itself. Then go back to the beginning syllable of the name “Im” and this means “with” or even “in”. Now look at what remains in the middle “man”. Put them together it could read something .like “God in the form of man” which could also means “God with men”.
Do you understand these God given principles? I’ll say it one more time, names have meanings in the Bible and these meanings are important especially based upon who gives the person this name. Any name given to anyone by God is of the ultimate importance since God is supreme. Based on Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23 God comes down from heaven in the form of a man to be with us, to walk among us and to live like us but as a higher example. So far we have found 4 witnesses in the Bible that claims Jesus to be God in the flesh but there are more. Let’s examine another name of Jesus.
GOD THE WORD BECAME FLESH
All Bible truth is found only by searching and studying the Bible with the Holy Spirit’s help to reveal it to us so we are able to see it clearly. This is why the Bible is not understood by even many Christians. They are not studying, not searching or not praying and asking God to open their eyes to the truth and lead them into it. We are going to need to search to find the names of Jesus in order to discover who He really is. I’ll give you three verses to read next and then talk about them:
Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Rev 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
Rev 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
Did you see the two names of Jesus given to Him by God? First there is the one called “Faithful and True” and this can only be a name for the divine God since every human can and will fail us. Then in verse 13 He is called by the name “The Word of God”. It is this name “The Word of God” that I want to focus upon next. But both of these names prove that Jesus was God in the flesh come to the earth as a man. How do they do that you ask? Well again you have to study and read the Bible to find the answers. The real answers don’t fall on you like a piece of ripe fruit from a tree that you are laying under doing nothing.
The book Revelation was written by the inspiration and revelation of God through a man named John. John wrote other books of the New Testament and we need to go back to the first book in order to find the answer to who “The Word of God” represents. Read these next two verses to begin with from the first chapter of John:
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
God is the primary subject of both verses and the verse begins with the statment “In the beginning was The Word”. This statement is talking about Jesus indirectly since Jesus is called the Word of God in Revelation 19:13. Jesus is being indirectly called the Word again with a direct association of the Word for the theme of God being the primary direct subject. The Word was with God and the Word was God. If you know anything about the laws of mathematics you understand that if A=B and B=C then A=C. Therefore if the Word = God (John 1:1) and Jesus = the Word (Rev 19:13) then God = Jesus by undeniable mathematical proof. I’m not going to go through every verse in this chapter of John because that would take too long but I will give you 4 more verses for you to read:
Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
Joh 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
These verses begin with “He was in the world”. Who is He? This is talking about Jesus in conjunction to the primary subject still being God. Then notice what it says, “The world was made by Him”. Again this is a combined reference to the Spirit of God, the Word of God and God the Father because these three revealed personalities are all the same God (1 Jn 1:5:7). Only God created the world. You can go back to Genesis 1:1 and read this plainly. In the beginning “God” (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth. Now remember God says in Isaiah Immanuel (El = Elohim) is coming to be with us.
In verse 12 God tells us that if we believe on His name He will give us the power to become the sons of God. Why am I teaching you all about the names of Jesus in this lesson? I’m teaching you this so that you might believe in His names in order to be saved. I am teaching on the names of Jesus to reveal Him to be God in the flesh. Did you read verse 14? More importantly did you actually see what it says in verse 14? It says The Word (THE WORD = GOD verse 1) was made flesh and dwelt among us. God dwelling among us is just the name “Immanuel” again written out in definition form. Jesus is declared to be God with us in the form of a man (flesh).
God directly connects John 1:1 with Genesis 1:1 by the same three simple words “In the Beginning”. Whenever God does something like this it is not an accident or chance occurrence. God is telling us they are about the same themed subject. In Genesis 1:1 it said “In the Beginning God” and in John 1:1 it said “In the Beginning was the Word”. This is God’s hidden way of saying “I am the Word and I created the world”. You see there is another hidden reference to Jesus found in Genesis 1:1. I have written about this before in other lesson but it fits very well with what God is saying here that I will repeat it.
Gen 1:1 In the beginning (the A-Z) God created the heaven and the earth.
The fourth word of the Bible in Genesis 1:1 was omitted by the translators because they did not know what it meant. This fourth untranslated word was technically not a word at all but rather the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Uh oh, that should turn some light bulbs on in your brain if you have read the Bible very much. Genesis 1:1 should read in the English “In the Beginning the A-Z God created…”. The A-Z God is another hidden reference to Jesus because Jesus said in Revelation 1:11 “I am the Alpha and the Omega”. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet. In other words Jesus was saying in English “I am the A to Z”. This is exactly who Genesis 1:1 said created the world that we live in. Wow, this is great stuff if you open your eyes of your heart and let it in. I guarantee you that it will save you from hell if you begin to believe it.
This is really not that complicated but Satan does not want these truths to be known. Satan perverts the truth to change Jesus from being divine (God in the flesh) to being only a man (a descendant of Adam) or a prophet to defeat you. Satan does everything in His power to blind the minds of people so that they cannot see the obvious truth of God’s Word in order to be saved (2 Cor 4:4).
I have gone over multiple truths in this Bible lesson that declares Jesus to have come from God in heaven. Not only this but that Jesus was God in the flesh. The Bible says let every word be established in truth by the mouths of two or three witnesses (2 Cor 13:1). I have given you double that with at least 5 to 6 witnesses that Jesus was the God of creation come to the earth in the flesh. We started this lesson with Jesus asking us all “Who do you say that I am?” We then went into the significance of names in the Bible and I introduced you to a hidden prophecy of Jesus coming into the earth in the flesh in the genealogy found in Genesis 5.
We then went into three of the primary names given to Jesus in the Bible, 1) Jesus, 2) Emmanuel and 3) The Word of God. The name of Jesus was the Hebrew name, Joshua and we found that Joshua meant “Jehovah Saved”. Therefore Jesus was this God named Jehovah that came down from heaven to save His people just as was prophesied to occur. We then talked about the name “Immanuel” and that this meant “God with us”. We then talked about Jesus being the Word of God that came in the flesh and it was this A-Z God that created the world that we live in. If you are still wavering and doubting after all of this evidence then I don’t know what else to say that will help you. Go back and reread your Bible and all of the verses that I just gave you. Study the names of Jesus until you have them memorized.
This was only Part 1 in the series of lessons on “Who do you say that I am?” I will be going over more scriptural evidence for Jesus being God in the next lesson in this series. I want to thank you for being open minded enough to read this lesson and I pray that God will help you to see Him in all His glory. Help me spread the word of truth to your friends. Tell them about my website. Send them links to my lessons. Please, help me spread God’s Word so that we can reach the lost world. Jesus is coming back very, very soon. The timing cannot be that far off based upon current world events transpiring. We need to reach everyone that we can and help everyone that we can so that none will perish. Thank you for your prayers of support, because they are very needed and valuable to me. God bless you and keep you until the next time. Always remember the correct answer to the question “Who do you say that I am” is “You are Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God, my Savior, my Lord and my God”. God Bless you!
If you would like to continue reading in this series you may go to “Part 2” now.