Category Archives: Advanced Topics
(Ver 1.3) This is Part 2 in a series of very advanced spiritual Bible lessons on what I believe is a critical and important subject that has been popularly overlooked by so many Bible teachers and students. The more that I have studied this subject the more that I have become absolutely convinced that this is a required Bible theme to learn about. After learning this subject we then must learn how to balance it with other vital spiritual Bible subjects like Faith, Love and Grace to name just 3 other major Bible themes. If you have not read “Part 1” I would recommend that you go back and read this lesson before continuing here.
Too many times in the church a pastor receives a revelation from God on a particular subject and too often they take it way beyond the base revelation to an extreme position of error. This is what I often call “Taking A Truth and Making it THE Only Truth or THE Highest or Most Important Truth without a Regard to any Other Truths in the Bible”. Any Bible truth can be exalted into an extreme position either to the left or to the right of the balanced middle and this will usually cause the belief to become an unbalanced deception. It is happening in many churches today with the Grace truth. Too many modern Bible teachers have taken the awesome truth of God’s revealed Grace and simply ignored the other central themes of God’s Holiness and Judgment to name just two that must be balanced with His Grace correctly.
In today’s Bible lesson we will be introduced to the major theme of “Judgment” from the perspective of the Heavenly Court system. Grace and Judgment are both central themes found from Genesis to Revelation. We can see these subject threads woven together in practically every book. For example, in Genesis 6:8 God says Noah found His Grace. But, within the same context the world was found to be so wicked that God was sorry that He ever created man on the earth (Gen 6:6) and He judged the earth with a great flood. The subjects of Grace and Judgment are found intertwined so closely together that it should absolutely amaze us.
In this lesson we will be looking at this subject of Judgment from the viewpoint of New Testament writers like Paul and Peter. Both wrote about grace but they also included a balanced message of God’s judgment even in the same context. I would be a fool to ignore the subject of divine judgment just because I like the subject of Grace much more. You see our flesh loves the grace message but our spirit should understand that there is still judgment available for sin. Grace is not the freedom to sin with no consequences, but should rather be viewed as a position of humble thankfulness that I was saved from committing sin.
The battle between doing right and doing wrong occurs in our minds. Satan tempts us with thoughts to sin and God convicts us through our spirit. This battle can be called the human conscious. However, the human conscious should be viewed to be the Holy Spirit trying to help us think correctly, and then to say and do what is true, good and right. I, like other Christians am in a war between these two realities. It is my goal and priority to let my born-again spirit overrule my flesh desires but sometimes it is more of a challenge than at other times. I pray that you understand what I am talking about.
I believe the LORD showed me that this lesson series on God’s Divine Spiritual Laws and Court System in Heaven must be read, understood and balanced rightly with today’s extreme Grace teaching that tries to teach us many things that do not touch on what is being stated in the verses that will be clearly covered in this series.
God teaches us very plainly in Hosea 4:6 that His people are destroyed (by Satan) because of their ignorance and stubborn refusal to learn the truth. He is so clear in John 8:32 that it is only by the dedicated continuation in studying the Bible that we will ever learn the actual truth and only then can this truth that we know correctly set us free from the things that the enemy uses to keep us in captivity and bondage.
Therefore, we should learn that what we do not know is being used against us by our legal opponent and adversary Satan to gain an advantage over us while we live here on this planet (2 Cor 2:11). I pray that you will continue to read these lessons with an open and receptive mind avoiding any prejudicial preconceived ideas, thoughts or conclusions towards what is being taught. I believe with all my heart that it is the Holy Spirit’s direction for this information to go forth and be spread to all believers. Pray first before continuing and ask the Holy Spirit to bear witness with the truth and to reveal anything that may be only a man’s opinion on any verse, topic or subject.
We are commanded by God to study and to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). But, only the Holy Spirit can lead us into all truth (Ps 25:5, John 16:13). So put your full confidence in Him and not me or anyone else on the earth. Let’s begin Part 2 with a quick review of the first lesson in which I have added some additional supporting evidence that was not included in the first lesson.
Lesson 1 Review with New Additional Thoughts
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
In the first lesson in the series we should have learned at least two primary essential Bible truths. The first truth came from the Lord recorded by Peter to us in 1 Peter 5:8 and the second came to us from John written in Revelation 12:10. We also learned from two very important Greek words. The first Greek word G476 was translated as “adversary” and this word meant an “opponent in a lawsuit or a court of law”. The second Greek word was G2725 and was translated as an “accuser” and it is defined as a “person who brings a complaint of law to court against someone else that allegedly commits a crime”. Both were very accurate technical descriptions of Satan who God informed us in Revelation 12:10 brings up charges of accusations against us as brothers and sisters in Christ every single day and night. The term “day and night” in Revelation 12:10 must represent a continuous repeated daily action of Satan. These two words are used like this several times in the New Testament and this is the correct way to interpret them.
Always remember that Satan is God’s enemy and our enemy and please never believe that he has no right, power or ability to win a law case over you because he is very tricky and has been around much longer than you and knows so much more than you can imagine. We are in a legal fight for our lives and we must understand that doing nothing to fight or win permits Satan almost automatic victory.
In 1 Peter 5:8 Christians not the world are warned that we have an “adversary” who is named the “devil” and he is plainly defined to be our legal opponent in the court of heavenly law. It is worth noting again that this Greek word translated as “adversary” is only used 4 times in the N.T. and every time it is mentioned it refers to a court case between legal opponents. This was certainly no accident and God is informing us in a very pure direct easy to understand way that this is how He is using this word in 1 Peter 5:8 also. There can be no other logical conclusion that Satan is anything else but a spiritual individual that is bringing up charges before God to gain an advantage over us in order to devour us. If you don’t believe me please hang in there and read all the verses that we will cover today and then tell me if you still believe the same.
We should have learned from reading 1 Peter 5:8 that our adversary the devil (Satan) is described to be going about the whole earth to find someone (primarily a Christian since it was written to us) to devour. I would ask any reader this question to consider, what is Satan seeking (looking for) that permits him to devour some but not others? It would appear to me based upon Job chapter 1 that God places a hedge of protection in order to keep Satan out. Why would it be necessary for a hedge of protection to be present if Satan could do nothing to Job unless he had permission? I find that to be an amazing question. If Satan could only harm someone if granted permission as is taught by many Bible teachers there would be no need for any hedge round about Job. It is fascinating to me to see in Job 1 that Satan accuses God of doing this unjustly and accuses Job of fearing God for no cause. There were at least two accusations brought before God’s court and we need to see this.
However, it is very important to learn from 1 Peter 5:8 that Satan cannot devour everyone. Therefore, there must be something that a Christian does or does not do that permits Satan’s admittance into their lives. Also by antithesis reasoning there must be something that a Christian can do to keep Satan from killing, stealing and destroying their lives. I believe the determining factor is our sin and we will learn why as we continue in this study.
I have concluded from significant study of the book of Job that Job opened the door in the hedge and we will certainly be getting into this part of the subject as we continue the Bible study series. Please expect to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit on what we all need to do to keep Satan as far away from us as is possible in this world. Let’s continue to explore another new thought.
I believe that it is also critical to learn the definition of the title “devil” used by the LORD in 1 Peter 5:8. We should learn these details in order to more fully comprehend the impact of the warning being spoken of by the LORD. I believe the title being used in every verse reveals a great deal about Satan’s specific character, plans and methods of operation. The Greek word G1228 that is translated as “devil” literally means an “accuser”. This title speaks volumes of information to us. It teaches us that Satan and his followers are speaking malicious accusation against us as related in Revelation 12:10 both day and night. Who do you believe they are doing this to? Of course we learned in Job 1 before the law was given Revelation 12 long after Jesus was resurrected from the dead that these accusations have been taken up before God the supreme judge in Heaven. I pray that you will agree that spiritual trials will continue until the middle of the tribulation where all of sudden Satan is finally cast down never to return.
You may remember in Lesson 1 that God connected this verse statement of truth found in 1 Peter 5:8 directly to the activity found in the book of Job using very similar synonymous truths. I believe this was not an accident or chance occurrence and that it confirms that Satan came before the throne of God to hold a court trial of the man Job. I also firmly believe that this connection confirms that these same court trials were occurring even after the death, burial and resurrection of the LORD Jesus in the early church day when Peter wrote this epistle. I believe 1 Peter 5:8 was a part of God’s commentary of the O.T. story of Job that helps us interpret what happened in the book more accurately. Always remember a basic rule of interpretation that the God who wrote the Bible is smarter than both you and I and He will always assist us in the correct interpretation His own writings.
I would recommend that you go and reread Job 1 and 2 again and again from this new legal trial perspective. For example, we should have learned in Job 1:6 that Satan had come into heaven before the presence of God Almighty to present his legal case for obtaining access into Job’s blessed and protected life. We should be able to know that this was an accusatory trial case being presented to God since the spiritual being described is revealed to us by the name “Satan” in Job chapters 1 and 2 nearly 14 times. God’s usage of this name proves to us by the name’s definition that this being was present before God as an “opponent” and an “adversary” present to accuse Job. We should be able to easily see how the name “Satan” in Job and the description “adversary” in 1 Peter 5:8 are married together. One is a Hebrew transliteration (Job) and the other is just a translated Greek word (1 Peter 5). But, both mean the exact same thing.
Again names and titles in the Bible have great significance. None are there by unplanned chance. For example, one of the first direct titles mentioned of Satan found in the Bible is seen in Genesis 3:1. Here, Satan is called by a symbolic description of “serpent”. The title used by God in Genesis 3:1 is a totally different type of informative description. Serpent is in no manner like the other names used in other verses like Satan, devil, accuser or adversary. This teaches us that Satan was not present in the garden to accuse, but to do something else that he is also good at.
If you look up the definition of “serpent” in the Strong’s Concordance you will find it comes from a Hebrew root word H517 that can describe someone who came to Eve’s mind to whisper a magic spell. Wow, that is deeper than many may possibly comprehend. Serpent literally meant someone who was attempting to magically foretell the future to Eve. My main point here is that God reveals what Satan does or is doing to us by his symbols, names and titles. We need to learn this principle and use it to help us understand spiritually what is then happening in the context. Let’s get back to our lesson 1 review.
It is critical to see how God asks Satan where he had come from in Job 1:7. Because God is the omniscient author of the entire Bible He knows the right questions to ask to teach us what is happening. It is this wise question and true answer of Satan that provides the joining evidence that we need to learn from. Satan replies to God’s question very truthfully by saying he had just come from walking up and down on the face of the earth which is the amazing parallel admission of confirmation of the truth that we had learned about Satan in 1 Peter 5:8. This Hebrew word in Job 1:7 which was translated as “going to and fro” literally means that Satan had just come from traveling all around the earth and was there in heaven for an implied purpose. We learned Satan’s motivation for this movement from earth to heaven in God’s commentary description in 1 Peter 5:8. Satan was only searching the earth so that he could locate one of God’s people on the planet that he could devour. This is exactly what Satan does to Job, is it not? If we believe anything has changed from Job to Peter we would be mistaken. Satan was doing the exact same thing in Job’s day as he was doing in Peter’s day and even all the way to the current church now. We are in the exact same church as Peter was writing to therefore, please don’t write off these words as unimportant or as not applying to you.
This direct connected satanic activity description between Job 1:7, 1 Peter 5:8 to Revelation 12:10 is no inadvertent assembly of synonymous truth. God has designed the Bible with tremendous amounts of hidden connected verses and these help us to understand correctly the information that He planned to reveal to us in these last days. I pray that you are learning how God does this so that we do not have to lean onto our own weak human reasoning as so many have.
We then should have learned from Job 1 that it was only after the appearance of Satan before God’s throne of judgment that Satan was given access to come back to the earth to devour (kill, steal and to destroy) Job, his family and his possessions. It is so very clear to me that Satan won this access legally and justly to Job’s life in God’s heavenly court system.
I believe that God is the Supreme Judge of everyone but, I also believe His character is amazingly far above our human comprehension. We cannot ever compare God to any human judge on the earth. I have never seen any human judge that knows everything and never make any errors. No, I believe that God is perfect and does not make any mistakes in judgment and that He is a completely fair and just to humans in every spiritual court case. Therefore, if judgment is pronounced on any man there was a valid cause and reason and we will learn more of this as we continue the series.
I also believe that God is compassionate and merciful in His judgments. Let’s explore this part of the topic briefly. Job is not directly mentioned very many times in the Bible but this next verse is another divine commentary on the court trial and verdict that was rendered in this law case found in the book of Job.
Jas 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
According to God’s Holy Word commentary He showed Job great mercy in His judgment. I know it might not seem that was true by our reading the book, but He did. For example, we can clearly read in Job 1:12 how God restricted Satan from touching or taking the physical life of Job personally. That limitation was a display of His infinite and great mercy. The entire duration of the trial of Job did not last a significant amount of time especially in light of God’s view of time and eternity. God actually restored and blessed Job at the end of the book more than was taken by Satan away from him at the beginning of the book. So again we see God’s infinite forgiveness, grace and mercy at work. Let’s go back to James 5:11 and continue reading further.
The Greek word that was translated as “the end” in this verse in James is G5056. This is a very fascinating word to understand. One of the primary meanings of the Greek word is “the point aimed at as the limit”. It is absolutely critical to know that Satan’s attack usually have a termination point where it will end. I said usually because it does depend upon if we learn the lesson of Job and stop doing what we were doing to let Satan in our life to devour us. If we repent like Job did and close the open door of attack the blessings of God can and will return.
In one other definition of G5056 it can also represent “the price that was paid as a fine or tax”. Wow that is an important legal description of judgment from a trial if you do not know it. Job paid a very heavy price for his sin, but yet I believe that we can read and see that he was able to get his life back on track by repenting at the end of the book before God in Job 42:6. We should clearly learn from this book that if we do the same we can also recover from what we have done to allow Satan’s access into our lives. I believe that knowledge should encourage and inspire us and give us hope.
I know that many will try writing this teaching of Job off by explaining it away as an act of the Sovereign God giving Satan His permission to teach Job a lesson. Others will say this is the Old Testament and we are not now under that law or that covenant. But I cannot agree with those reasonings using any Biblical rational form of belief since God is a loving good God (1 John 4:8, Romans 2:4) and I believe does not work with Satan to correct His people.
Then you must also understand that Job was not at all under the Mosaic law or the Old Covenant since his life story occurred before either existed. What we are learning are three examples of spiritual judgment from heavenly court trials. Job was before the Old Covenant and law, Peter was in the Old Covenant and under the law and then in 1 Peter 5:8 we in the church are the New Covenant people. We will very soon learn more about these legal activities occurring in the New Covenant as we continue in today’s lesson.
I believe in every realm of the Bible that there must have been some human action, words, motivation, emotion or other negative sin committed by Job or others that unlocked the door within God’s hedge of protection in order for Satan to come into their lives to legally devour them. As we learned again from 1 Peter 5:8 that “Satan is going about seeking for someone whom he may devour” and from this we should be able to logically deduct by strong implication that there MUST be something that we do that allows permits or grants Satan this access.
In the first lesson, I listed at least two reasons that I believe the Lord showed me that opened the access door for evil to enter into Job’s life and I also believe there were other reasons stated that I did not mention. These two door opening sins were first Job’s fear and second his pride that caused him to try to judge God and his friends. Both of these are huge and they still occur in church members today. We could write a lot on these two subjects but I do not have the time today. Perhaps the Lord will lead me to write a more detailed lesson just on the trial of Job someday.
In our second key study verse from lesson 1 we read what the Spirit of God said to us in Revelation chapter 12. Here we learned about how in the future when this chapter is prophesied to occur how Satan the “accuser” of the brethren (the Church) will finally be thrown down to the earth to never again be allowed entrance into heaven to accuse us. This clearly taught us that Satan had been authorized to do this legal accusation in the past human history and he must still be accusing the people of God on the earth even now since Revelation chapters 4 through 12 have not been fulfilled. Therefore, these court battles in heaven will continue according to God’s Word right up until the middle of the 7 year tribulation period. Time is running out on Satan’s access and I believe personally that he is working especially hard at holding as many trials as he can to gain access to devour Christian people remaining on the earth.
I pray that you will at least study these things to see if they are true for yourself (Acts 17:11). Let’s move forward into some more New Covenant verses to learn from on this subject. These fresh perspectives on legal things found in the New Covenant will help build a firm foundation for our knowledge on this important spiritual subject. They will confirm that even though we are in the church age of Grace that we are still living in a time where legal trials are still occurring.
New Testament Spiritual Court Confirmations
In today’s lesson, I would like to expand the topic of spiritual court systems and trials to other New Testament Bible verses that will benefit our study to support this truth from the present day New Covenant saved Christian perspective and viewpoint. As I have just tried to say, I want us to learn beyond any shadow of doubt that these heavenly trials are taking place even as I write and type the lesson and as you may be reading this lesson. This would imply that it is even possible that you or I may be on trial presently in heaven and we probably would not know about it until Satan came to execute the sentence. Remember in the examples that I gave in lesson 1 that Job knew nothing of Satan’s attack and he even attributed everything negative that happened to him as being caused by God’s work. Do you remember in Job 1:21 where Job said that it is God that gave and God has taken away? However, Job was very ignorant of God, His truth, His Character His ways and His enemies and when we are ignorant of what is really happening in the spiritual realm we can very easily fall into the same trap to accuse God for what Satan is doing to us.
Even Peter was totally unaware of the fact that Satan had demanded to sift him like wheat until Jesus directly warned Peter and even prayed for him that his “faith” would not fail during this time of trial. That is a great point to learn from. The objective of every satanic attack is Satan’s attempt to get your faith to waiver enough for you to fall away from following after the LORD. Peter learned a tremendous revelation from this legal trial experience and if you read his letters written to us in the church you will find this was very true. We have already read in 1 Peter 5:8 about our legal adversary but we will back up in the letter to the previous chapter to learn more. Let’s observe two of the most important confirming verses that will reveal and ratify this truth of the existence of heavenly trials being carried out in the church now.
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Can you see the words written to us in the church by Peter given according to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? We will begin by observing the initial time reference of the recorded statement. It appears to me to be plainly a present tense “now at the time of writing” statement. According to proper grammatical framing whatever is written directly that follows this introductory time frame must be applied directly to the reader then and by forward association to us the modern reader now. This makes the next statements active until there is a verse that we encounter that reveals the end of the validity of the stated truth being discussed by God. Let’s read what was occurring to them at that time and by forward implication is occurring now to us also.
The immediate statement following the identification of the timing is about the legal court issue of “judgment”. God informs us that “judgment” will begin with us in the church and again the time being stated was clearly present tense “now” as Peter wrote the letter. This means that this stated “judgment” written about was to believers in Peter’s day of life on the earth while alive and could not be referring to a “future” judgment after they were dead even though there are other judgments in the Bible that people will face after death. I hope you understand that there are repeated judgments listed in the Bible. Just because we are judged once now does not mean we cannot be judged again later and vice versa.
Both of these verses were well written relevant warnings to believers. It is very plainly stated about judgment originating with forgiven saved believers in Christ. Notice how in verse 17 that God presents us with a sharp contrast between believers and non-believers and it cannot be any clearer. Then in verse 18 there is a restated direct warning to every Christian that they are just “barely” saved. We could talk about that truth for a long time and we probably should but it is really not the main thought line of this lesson.
I know for sure that we now live in the prophesied church age of God’s Grace (1 Peter 1:10). I know for sure that God’s Grace saved us through faith (Eph 2:8). But, I also know verses like 1 Peter 4:17 and 18 that speak additional truths and these must be aligned correctly with God’s saving grace and forgiveness message. I just can’t teach this enough. It is so very important to learn.
What do these verses in first Peter say to us? Do you think they do not apply to you now? I know with 100% certainty they apply to me and were written to me. I would strongly recommend that you find out if they were written to you also because if they were not then you may not be a real Christ follower.
God wrote to you and I (the righteous and saved) and He informs us very clearly that we may be just “scarcely” saved. This Greek word that was translated as “scarcely” is G3433 and it means “with difficulty”, “hardly” or “scarcely”. Some synonyms of scarcely are “barely”, “narrowly” or “by a small margin”. Some other idioms for this word would be to be saved by “the skin of your teeth” or to be saved “by a whisker”. This Greek word can also mean “with a lot of significant work” we are saved. Wow, have you heard that taught in any church lately? No, I don’t think so. I know I don’t hear it personally being taught but this is what God said. In fact I hear the opposite being taught in churches and on TV.
You see the antonym or antithesis truth of this Greek word G3433 translated as “barely” is to be saved “fully”, “entirely”, “completely” or “totally”. That is the very popular message being spoken of by many extreme Grace Teachers and even other churches who teach a salvation without any further challenges, struggles, or any other human choices to be made in order to remain a Christian. That is just not what the Bible actually says. Please do not misunderstand what I say here. We are not saved by our works. Salvation is ONLY through our faith in God’s finished work of Grace found only in Jesus Christ. But, that does not mean we will never be judged for doing wrong things here on the earth after salvation. Peter clearly is telling us that “judgment” for sin begins with us right now.
We could literally talk a very long time on these two verses in 1 Peter 4 but I pray that we receive what Peter says by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Remember that Peter is also speaking from his own personal direct experience along with God’s inspiration. Remember we have seen how that Peter was judged and demanded to be sifted like wheat. Then we will soon see another example where Peter was present where Christians were judged.
This Greek word G2917 that was translated as “judgment” is the key word that reinforces the truth of a trial system in heaven occurring. This Greek word is defined as “a decision” that has been rendered by an implied Judge with proper authority (God) to make a ruling. The decision can either be for us (in our favor) or against us (in the favor of Satan the accuser). The implied cause of this decision (judgment) is given for the crimes (sins) that have been committed by Christians. This same Greek word can also mean that we could be “condemned” or it is even translated as “damned” in other N.T. verses. We certainly don’t hear these words mentioned in many of our Grace churches do we? Since we all have been guilty of committing sins we can understand a little better why Peter said that we are just “barely” saved, can’t we?
Acts 5 – Another Example of N.T. Judgment #1
Did you ever read Acts chapter 5? Remember that it was Peter that was the man that wrote the words of 1 Peter 5:8 and 4:17-18 for us. Peter is also the man found to be preaching in the book of Acts chapter 5 to saved people of the church when another believer named Ananias comes into the service late to bring his offering to the Lord. However, this man held back some of the money in secret and only gave a part of the money using deception saying that this was all of the money obtained. That was a lie. Immediately the same Peter that we are studying about was inspired by the Holy Spirit of a judgment against Ananias by giving Peter a word of knowledge. Peter asks the man Ananias “Why has Satan filled your heart to LIE to the Holy Ghost?” And immediately Ananias drops dead in the middle of church and his body is carried out and the church service just continues like nothing happened. I seriously believe that a spiritual trial occurred in heaven and a verdict of guilty was determined and the sentence was carried out immediately. You of course can explain it away and believe whet ever you like about these truths. I have heard one popular unnamed TV extreme Grace Preacher say that Ananias wasn’t really a true Christian and this is why he was killed. But, that cannot be the truth based upon what we just read in 1 Peter 4:17. It is my goal to use the Bible to interpret the Bible and 1 Peter 4:17 stated that judgment begins in the church not in the unsaved world..
You will also notice in Acts 5 that this event is repeated again for his wife Sapphira. Please go and reread the story again from a court room trial perspective where a judgment and verdict is rendered and carried out. The saved Christian wife does the exact same sin as her husband and she also drops dead in the middle of church after being confronted by Peter and the Holy Spirit. Wow, after all of this occurs in the church a “great fear” fell on the people in church. It may be that these types of things will occur in the last days also before Jesus returns. We should really learn from them rather than repeat them.
Act 5:11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
“Fear” in this verse is the Greek word G5401 and it means a person who is in a state of “terror”. Why would there be any GREAT fear in the heart of saved Christians if two unsaved people just suddenly dropped dead in the church? Why not weeping? Why not sorrow? Why not compassion? Fear would only be justified for one reason. The only way fear could be appropriately found in Christian believers would be because they knew Ananias and Sapphira were also Christians and judgment just fell on them so it could happen to them in the exact same way. Do you understand this?
It is very foolish for Christians to try to believe these two individuals that were judged by God were anything but Christians. The belief that a loving God would condemn two unsaved people to immediate death and eternal punishment in hell is ludicrous. If God did this in the age of Grace He would have to do it to everyone that is not saved because they all sin. Jesus said very plainly in John 3:17 that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. Please let that verse found in John sink into your heart and grow very deep roots.
I hear too many preachers try to accuse God of judging lost sinners while forgetting that God loves them enough to wait for them to get saved (James 5:7). Why wouldn’t God’s love be the same for Ananias and Shapphira if they were unsaved Christians? I believe God so loved the unsaved world that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
We are going to read several more verses in today’s lesson about this subject. I would strongly recommend that you not stop reading because of what has been taught so far. God is only trying to change our perspective so we can see some potentially new truths in the Bible. All of this so far is to help us think in a fresh and a new way on things in the Bible that we have never seen in this light before. This is really good stuff that will help us fight the enemy’s temptations and accusations that will be coming to us all.
New Testament Judgment #2
We have already observed where Peter said Judgment will begin with the Church. We then just read through Acts 5 for example #1 of an actual judgment that occurred to two Christians. We are now going to turn in the Bible to a verse written by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11. In this verse we are going to be reviewing the implied topic of the heavenly court system to obtain further confirmation that judgment will begin now in the church. Please read this very carefully and accept the fact of truth that this was written directly to you and I personally as Christians:
1Co 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
This is an amazing truth that is too often ignored by everyone reading and teaching from the Bible. It is addressed to “we” and that is a plural pronoun that even includes the “Apostle Paul” the writer, as well as you and I the readers. It always amazes me when a Bible teacher misses the fact that Paul included himself in statements like these. If Paul needed to do this and he wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, how much more do you think we should do this? What was it that Paul needed to do along with us? Paul says very plainly that IF I JUDGE MYSELF, then and only then I will NOT be judged. Wow, that is as insightful as it could get for a lot of Christians. Paul is declaring very simply that a spiritual heavenly trial could have occurred for him if he did not judge his own intentions, emotions, motives, actions and words.
There are two different Greek words spoken of in this verse that we miss totally if we do not look up the original language definitions. The first Greek word translated as “judge” is speaking of our human responsibility and it is not the act of a judge in a court. This Greek word is G1252 and it literally means that we need to separate ourselves thoroughly and completely from sin. This is a human right of choice found and encountered every day of our saved existence. We can do what the world does, live like the world, speak like the world, dress like the world or we can come out from the world and choose to be separate and different than they are. This is our choice. We can choose to either obey God or if we don’t what does God say will happen? God says very clearly that we will be judged for doing what the world does.
Let’s observe the second word in the verse translated as “judged”. This Greek word is G2919 and it does mean that a judge will make a decision over us to possibly condemn or punish us. Don’t take my word for it, go look up the word for yourself and learn.
The Greek Word translated as “should not” is G3756 in verse 31 is much stronger in this stated original Greek language than you can imagine. It literally means the “absolute negative”. It should be translated in this statement as “we are never judged” IF we judge our own self. This is revelation #1 for us to keep from being judged. It is also the #1 reason why Christians are judged. How many Christians think before they speak? How many Christians really think hard about what they are going to do before they do it? How many Christians are going to bars and night clubs acting and looking like the world? I know there are some Christians who are doing better at being separated from the world’s way of doing things than others. But, this is just a small part of the subject of judging yourself first in order for Satan not to bring a case before God about you! If we read the next verse that follows verse 31 God will help clarify the reasoning why He must judge Christians even after all of our sins were forgiven in Christ:
1Co 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Notice the initial wording of the sentence. God begins the statement by speaking a fact of truth about “when we are judged” (G2916). He does not say “IF WE ARE JUDGED”. No it will occur, God leaves no doubt. Then God gives us the #1 reason for this discipline. The God of all knowledge says we must be chastened of the LORD so that we won’t fall into the exact same “condemnation” that the world will be judged with after we die. There are two judgments being spoken of. One in the future is called the “Great White Throne” judgment (Rev 20:11-12) where those that are not written in the book of life will be judged one at a time standing before God. The other judgment that occurs before this is the one that is occurring in the Church age of Grace. This judgment occurs when we sin willfully like the world and God needs to bring correction. This is exactly what happened in Acts 5 believe it or not.
We as Christians can choose to judge ourselves now and choose to be different than the world now so that we can skip this after life judgment. If Ananias and Shapphira would have judged themselves before going into the church service they would not have been struck down dead. I will try to talk more about this as we go on in the series. Lets read some of the preceding context verses of 1 Corinthians 11 in order to learn more on this subject of judgment for those who did not judge themselves:
1Co 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
1Co 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
If we read this context carefully we will confidently confirm that this was written to Christians about Christians concerning spiritual court trial cases that were taking place even when Paul was writing this letter to the church. We should be able to see in verses 29 and 30 how that some in the Corinthian church were found guilty of both spiritual and natural sins. In verse 29 they had been found guilty of eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ unworthily and disrespectfully. It appears from the previous context that this church came and possibly got drunk from too much wine and ate too much bread as if they were gluttons. Paul informs us very clearly that for this reason the result came that many of them (Christians) in the church were either sick or dead because of these abuses. In other words, I believe that Satan had brought the judgment of the LORD against them and oppressed some of these Christians with physical illness that put them in a weakened physical state or Satan had actually been granted permission to take some Christian’s lives. Wow, that is some very amazing truth to apply to our subject of study.
It is so very obvious to me that because of specific sin in the church that some judgments were passed in heaven in order to allow or permit Satan to come down to devour them to make some of them ill and others of them dead. This is exactly what happened to Job. This is exactly what happened to Ananias and Sapphira. This clearly informs us that judgment was passed before they knew of this and that only after Paul wrote to them in order to warn them how to fix it was it learned what the real problem was to begin with. I personally believe that Paul was given a word of knowledge for this church and Paul tells them very plainly that if they would only begin to judge themselves to do things differently than the world that they would never be judged.
Wow, Wow and Wow!!! Who was it that judged them? Who was it that accused them before the judge? Who was it that gained an advantage over them to take them out of this world or make them sick? I hope you can already see the answers are plain. God had to pass judgment because they had not judged themselves. The judgment had to have been initiated by the accuser of the brethren and that is only Satan or at least it should be. I hope and pray that you as a Christian would not pick up a stone to throw at your brother. Please never do this. Don’t act like Satan, but rather choose to act like Christ who said to the woman caught in adultery “Woman where are your accusers? Neither do I condemn you, go your way and sin no more”. What an amazing example lesson to learn from.
I think I have gone long enough in this lesson. We can certainly learn so much more from these chapters in Acts 5 and 1 Corinthians 11 than I was able to go into in today’s lesson. The Lord has provided us all great and very significant meaty spiritual food for thought. We all should take these words of God to heart and meditate on them for a long time. Please study for yourself and verify exactly that what is being said in this series is what the loving God of the Bible actually says as a warning to Christians. God has provided at least two major witnesses to every truth being taught.
Thank you for reading and taking your time to study these advanced Bible lessons. I am truly humbled that God would use anyone as imperfect as me to teach anyone anything. The goodness of God is truly overwhelming me every day of my life. I love the LORD and trust Him to help mold me and you into the highest pattern of Christ Jesus. I pray that you are blessed with every spiritual blessing of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Amen.
(Ver 1.3) This is Part 1 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the revealed subject of God’s Divine Spiritual Laws, Systems and Legal Proceedings. Are there spiritual laws found in heaven? Is there a heavenly courtroom? Are there trials that have taken place in this heavenly realm? If yes, who is the judge? Who is the one that brings charges and against who are the charges addressed at? There are so many things to learn from the Bible that we will not abe able to answer every question in one Bible study. To attempt to do so would do each answer an injustice.
It has always been my priority to teach what God has given to me for free and give it to others without any charge. But, I don’t only want to teach you what God gave to me, but also I wish to teach you a better way to study and learn from His glorious Word. Hopefully, the LORD has used me to teach you how to fish for yourself and not just for me to feed you a fish for a single day.
Like many other lessons that I believe the Lord has given to me, today’s Bible lesson should be viewed as a very advanced spiritual topic intended for Christ followers that are fully committed to grow to become a spiritually mature student of God’s Word able to partake of spiritual meat. Please judge if you meet this requirement before continuing to read this lesson further. It is one of my greatest heart’s desires to not offend or cause any newborn or spiritually immature Christian to stumble or fall causing them to depart from the LORD. I believe that the Apostle Paul wrote with this same quality when he said I would have liked to feed you meat but you were unable to receive it and therefore I could only give you milk. Ok that was my paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 3:2. But, I believe the hidden heart of Paul’s message contained in that verse is that of one of his greatest desires for his students to grow up spiritually. I believe Paul desired people to grow up so that they were able to receive a much stronger spiritual message of truth. Then I believe Paul wanted for each of them to go and spread his message from the word of God to others with the same love for people. Please judge for yourself before you continue.
We in the United States have three branches of Government. These three are a Legislative Branch, an Executive Branch and a Judicial Branch. This was the idea framed by our founding fathers of our nation and they were mostly Christians that I believe modeled their government beliefs on God’s Bible principles. I believe this was not by chance or accident but rather by divine design. I believe God placed His hand on their efforts and blessed them to know things way beyond their natural ability.
In this lesson we are going to focus upon God’s Judicial Branch found in heaven and how the earthly U.S. court system is a pattern of that which God originally designed. Maybe you did not realize that God’s heavenly spiritual government (Kingdom) had a Judicial Branch? If you have read the Bible, I am really not sure how this fact has escaped you but if you search for it you will find that it is very true from Genesis to Revelation. For example, in the Bible the LORD God reveals Himself as the Most High Righteous Judge in so many verses. A named existence of a Heavenly Superior Divine Judge implies very strongly that there also must be found present laws, a courtroom, some legal proceedings and rules, lawsuits, trials, a plaintiff or a prosecuting attorney, a defense attorney and a defendant. I will prove to you using the Bible that these all exist in a form or pattern using the Bible. I will also teach you that there are innumerable court cases that are taking place every day including today right this moment while you are reading about them. Wow, that should at least peak your interest a little bit to desire to learn more about God’s revealed truth.
If you have read very much of the Bible you should already know who the Heavenly Judge is and that is certainly the LORD God and Jesus Christ according to Genesis 18:25, Acts 10:42 and Hebrews 12:23 to list just three of many confirming witnesses of truth. But, there are also so many new implied questions that need to be answered. Who is the plaintiff or prosecuting attorney bringing the charges and cases against someone in God’s Court System? I’ll tell you right now it is Satan and I will prove this later in the lesson. Who is the defendant being charged or sued? I’ll tell you up front again that you are the one being charged by Satan and I will prove this with scriptures also. We will also begin to learn about the charges being made to God by Satan. This should interest you because we will learn that it is our human wrong actions here on the earth that open the door for Satan to bring a lawsuit against us.
Is there a defense attorney in this trial? If so, who is the defense lawyer in the case? I’ll tell you right now we have access to a legal defense team ever since the LORD Jesus Christ died and was resurrected from the dead. You can be introduced to this part of the message by reading an older Bible lesson that I wrote called “Understanding How to Make Jesus Your Legal Advocate Right Now”.
I’m sure you must be asking “How can there ever be a spiritual case of law being brought into a heavenly trial to be heard by God for a Christian if Jesus has truly paid for every sin that we have ever committed or could ever commit in the future?” Many would say “I thought we were not under law but under grace therefore can there really be a spiritual trial now before we die?” Others ask the question “I thought the only judgment was after we die according to Hebrews 9:27?” We know from reading the end of Revelation that there will be a Great White throne Judgment but I believe that there are also other named judgments that will occur after death and even now before death. If there is a judgment that can take place before we die, “What could be the charge brought against a forgiven saved Christian?” These are complex deep questions to answer and God gives us the revelations in the Bible if we dig for them and find them. Seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you and ask and it will be answered (Mat 7:7).
This Bible lesson is a response to a question raised by a good reader doing their homework. They asked the question concerning a message being taught within certain churches that appear to conflict with what is taught in other areas of the Bible. The controversy comes from a modern extreme Grace teaching that is being taught that since Jesus paid for all of our sins, past, present and future there are no longer any consequences for committing any sin or any need to ask for any future forgiveness of a sin. In other words sin is presented to be harmless without any negative penalties. In fact at least one very popular grace preacher teaches we do not even need to ask for forgiveness for any sin and they explain away 1 John 1:9 using illogical natural human reasoning to be written to only unbelievers. But this is certainly not what the Lord has taught me about a better way of Bible interpretation and more specifically sin. This Bible study series will address this topic using several ignored scriptures that must be balanced with the doctrine being misrepresented by some extreme unnamed grace teachers.
You see I do certainly believe that Jesus died once for all sin that has ever been committed, is being perpetrated today and will occur tomorrow. We know this truth from verses like Romans 6:10, 2 Corinthians 5:14 and Hebrews 10:10 to name a few foundational truths on this subject of the comprehensive power of the blood sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. I will say it again for emphasis, I am a very firm believer that there was one sacrifice for every human sin and no further sacrifice was or is necessary. However, we cannot ignore other verses that declare very plainly that the sin of even Christians can still have some major potential consequences. Please do not misunderstand what I am teaching. I am not saying every little sin we commit can cause something significantly bad to occur nor am I teaching that a Christian can lose their salvation by committing a sin. But, I am definitely teaching that Satan is looking at each of our lives very closely to gain an access and entry into our lives to kill, steal or destroy us (John 10:10). That is exactly what we will learn next.
SATAN IS SEARCHING FOR A LEGAL WAY IN
There is another part of the extreme Grace message that must be addressed immediately. While it is true that Satan was defeated by the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, it does not mean that he is not presently trying everything in his power (and he is still very powerful) to get you to fall away from Jesus or not produce any savable fruit to be harvested by Jesus. We need to study the parable of the sower and I wrote about this awhile back so I will not repeat it all here again. Just understand that every soil type in the parable “heard” the word of God and only one group produced any harvestable fruit. Satan successfully destroyed the harvest in every other soil type. Satan desires access into our lives after we hear the Gospel and are saved by believing, accepting and confessing Jesus as our LORD (Romans 10:9-10). There must be some insight given by God that shows us what grants Satan access to be victorious over some and not over others. We could talk about this a long time but we need to get to one of the foundational verses for the lesson:
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
We are starting with a verse that was written directly to “saved born-again” Christians. I take this verse personally as an inspired word of warning written to me and so should you. It is so very clear to me that Satan desires to devour every Christian but can’t. What is it that allows Satan access to attack some Christians and not others? If you do not believe you can do anything to grant or permit the devil access into your life to devour, you have definitely been deceived by an extreme grace teacher. It would be very stupid for the LORD God to inspire Bible writers to warn us about something that could not occur and God is not stupid!
I am now going to begin to introduce you to God’s heavenly court system. There are four main participants in every court case. Those that are the accused can also be known as a defendant, the defense attorney may be present, the prosecutor also known as the plaintiff and then the Judge. Many know of these truths better than others. But, these are the basic main participants of every trial in this natural world and these are all parallel truths for the divine heavenly court cases going on today also.
Notice what I just said. I said this is happening everyday of your life here on the earth. I say this because I believe that every day Satan is looking (seeking, searching and plotting to gain access) using a legal charge to accuse and condemn us with. I want to go back to 1 Peter 5:8 and give you one of the key words that will help us verify one of the key principles that I am teaching. The primary word is “adversary”. This Greek word is G476 and it literally means “your opponent in a court trial”. According to this verse Satan is bringing a legal lawsuit before God on a daily basis in order to gain access to someone (even a Christian) to devour them. What this verse implies is that God must judge the “access demand” to be just in order for Satan’s entry to be legal. Wow, that does not sit well with a lot of modern extreme grace teachers. But, I’m sorry it is what the Bible says, not me.
This Greek word G476 translated as “adversary” occurs in the New Testament only in four verses and it is always applicable to a legal battle between two opponents in a court of law. You may look up these verses to verify these truths by reading verses in Matthew 5:25, Luke 12:58 and Luke 18:3. In every case there is a stated defendant, an adversary and a judge. While there is no legal counsel it may be assumed or implied based upon our knowledge of how natural court cases transpire. We will look deeper to verify the identities of the spiritual participants in God’s heavenly court cases very shortly. But, please understand that God’s word selection of G476 establishes a direct word and subject association to a court trial case that must also be occurring in 1 Peter 5:8 and this is a very critical lesson to learn and apply in a better way of Bible interpretation. See how a word selected by God is used in other verses and it will help to establish the definition in the verse in question.
Based upon 1 Peter 5:8 we can learn by implied reference who the defendant is and who the plaintiff is. Since the verse was a written warning to us in the church, that makes Christians the direct implied defendant being charged. We then can certainly see very plainly that since the devil is stated to be our “adversary” we know clearly that he is the one bringing the case before the Judge. Therefore, the case is being brought up before the implied Judge (God) by Satan in order to accuse us and gain access to attack us.
Let’s get another verse to help us verify this truth. After all God instructs us to use the mouth of two or three witnesses to establish every truth which is another best practice to correctly interpret the Bible. Again this truth must be occurring in a judicial spiritual courtroom before God the Spiritual Judge. I believe that God will always require at least two witnesses to establish every case truth. Please turn in your Bibles and read the following verse found in the Book of Revelation:
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Wow, this verse is of such great significance to our Bible subject that I cannot emphasize it strongly enough. I would like to begin by stating the fact that this verse is a future prophecy that has not yet occurred. We know this by the fact that God tells the author John in Revelation 4:1 to come up to heaven in order to be shown things that will occur in the future. I am a firm believer that everything in Revelation 4 to the end of the book is future prophetic statements that have not yet occurred. I also believe that they are written in Chronological order of occurrence. Therefore, since Revelation 4 through 11 has not occurred Revelation 12 has also not occurred.
What does this verse say? We must really read the context in order to discover the true identity of one of the central figures being named and discussed in this verse. We can read back a few verses in Revelation 12: 7 to begin to learn that Satan is also called the ancient serpent and the great dragon as figuratively speaking titles. Satan has also just been cast down out of heaven after a significant spiritual war. Let’s read these verses to verify where Satan will be cast out of. Turn in your Bible and begin reading with verse 7 to get the more complete revelation of what is going to occur very soon:
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Here are the future prophesied facts given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. First, a spiritual war will occur. It is definitely a spiritual battle and not a natural conflict. Second, the participants of the war are spiritual beings. There is Michael and his angels defending heaven against the dragon (Satan) and his angels attacking heaven. Third, Satan and his angels lose the battle. Fourth, God states that Satan has ONLY NOW lost his place (right and ability) to enter back into heaven ever again in verse 8. What does this teach us? Verses 7 and 8 are teaching us by implied truth that before this event occurs Satan HAD FULL ACCESS and the ability to come and go from and to heaven any time that he wanted. Why do you think this was granted? I personally believe it is because of two main factors. The first factor is that God is just and that God must honor His Word. I believe we are about to learn more by a deeper study that the access granted was for the purpose of putting God’s people aka. Christians on trial.
We now should know that Satan had access into heaven very clearly from the statements found in verses 7 through 10. Now, look at what Satan is called in verse 10. Satan is referred directly by the Word of God to be the “accuser”. In fact the name Satan literally means “adversary”. Remember that “adversary” means “your legal opponent in a law case” and this firmly connects us back to 1 Peter 5:8. The Greek word translated as “accuser” is a very synonymous legal title to “adversary”. An accuser (Greek word G2725) is literally defined by Strong’s as someone that brings a compliant of law before a judge to gain an advantage over an opponent. I added the last part of that definition simply because that is what is being implied by the definition. Why would Satan come up to heaven before the LORD GOD’s court to accuse a “brother” in Christ? It would be extremely wise to give that question a lot of thought before answering quickly.
I believe God is telling us from verse 10 of Revelation 12 that Satan came up to heaven before Him both night and day to bring up complaints and charges against the people of God. We learn this truth by applying the key word “Brethren” to make it personal to Christians in the family of Jesus Christ. The Greek word translated as “brethren” is found over 300 times in the N.T. It can be used for natural or spiritual brothers. But, we use the context to understand that it must be “spiritual brothers” because everything else in the chapter appears to use natural symbols to point us to spiritual truths. I can see this and I pray you can also. You can search your Bible for G80 to learn how Paul and other N.T. writers applied this term “brethren” to the church family members.
Brethren here in this verse 10 must also be interpreted as those that are still living here on the earth since Satan was just thrown down form the spiritual realm of heaven back to the earth in a great fury of rage to wage war against those still not in heaven. I understand that there will be a lot of people that call themselves Christians that will not agree with what the Lord is teaching us here today. But, I’m not responsible to make anyone believe the Bible. All that any teacher can do is to present the facts given and then let the reader decide what they wish to believe for themselves.
While we are on verse 10 of Revelation 12 we must see and learn the second legal word term being mentioned. This term is the Greek word G2723 that was translated as “accused”. Let me review the part of the verse statement that I wish to emphasize. God says here “which accused them before God day and night”. Wow, this is critical to understand. This Greek word G2723 literally means “to be a plaintiff” in a court case. This word plainly means to bring a charge of offence/crime against a defendant. This is clearly describing spiritual court cases that were taking place 24 hours a day where God was the stated judge, Christians were the stated defendants and Satan was the stated plaintiff bringing the charges. All of this legal activity stops after Revelation 12. According to Revelation 12 these spiritual court cases do not cease until half of the tribulation’s seven years have gone by. That literally verifies to us that they are happening right now as you are reading this lesson believe it or not.
BIBLE EXAMPLES OF SPIRITUAL TRIALS
I will end this lesson today with three examples of spiritual trials that have taken place. The first one is a trial that occurred before Jesus was ever born on the earth. I am talking about a trial that is found in the oldest book of the Bible, the book of Job. The story of Job probably occurred way over 4000 years ago. My best guess would be sometime after Noah and before Abraham.
I am not going to go through every verse that I could, but I would recommend that you go and reread Job chapter 1 using the information we have learned in this lesson so far to verify that this is an example of a literal court case being waged against Job a righteous man. In fact it would be good to read the entire book of Job looking at it from a legal court perspective.
This case is being brought before God by Satan who is bringing charges up against him to the Judge. We learn by reading Job 1:6 that the trial definitely takes place in heaven as we have learned he had access to heaven from reading Revelation 12. Satan appears before God and the omniscient Judge asks him two questions. The first question in verse 7 is where have you come from? You know God knows the answer but he asks the question for our benefit to connect us directly with vital information found in 1 Peter 5:8. Remember what this verse said? Satan answers the question truthfully and states he has just come from going to and fro in the earth. Do you now see the direct connection to 1 Peter 5:8? Your adversary the devil (Satan) goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. God is giving us direct connected insight into Job’s court case by connecting us with a verse that helps us to understand the legal procedure taking place in heaven.
The second question asked by God to Satan was “Have you considered my servant Job”. Omniscient God understands that Job was why Satan came up to heaven to start this court case. Satan then asks God a question “Does Job fear God for nothing?” This is the beginning of Satan’s introductory opening statement for his case against Job. Any way I am not going to go through this all in depth in this lesson . But, please understand and apply what we have learned from 1 Peter 5;8 and Revelation 12. “Your adversary the devil goes about the earth like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” and “Satan accused them before God night and day”.
We also learn from reading and studying Job that God informs Satan that he has access to devour Job (all that he has is in your power Job 1:12) and this is what proves that Satan won that court case. Satan obviously has found someone that is able to be devoured.
Satan then goes about Job’s life and kills, steals and destroys a great portion of his family and possessions. It was a very clear victorious court case won by the devil over a righteous man on the earth.
But, what won the case for Satan? I will let you into a couple of significant clues to why the court case was easily won by Satan. There are at least two major things that Job did to open the door in the hedge of protection that God had placed around him. First, it says in Job 3:25 that Job said “the thing that I greatly feared has come upon me”. This verse informs us of the presence of “fear” in Job’s heart and it was this spirit of fear that helps open the door for Satan to win a case against him. Fear is the opposite spiritual force of faith and without faith it is absolutely impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). Therefore, fear is not a connecting force to God but it must be considered an attracting force of Satan.
The second mistake Job made was pride. The Bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace unto the humble (James 4:6). If you read the book of Job you will find that Job was found guilty of judging God and judging others (his friends) without sufficient knowledge to do either. We should be able to understand that judging others and God is a clear sign of pride. Job spoke many things that he was later rebuke by God for saying.
We learn these truths by reading the rest of the book of Job where he is speaking to his friends and later when God speaks to him. Notice in Job 38:2 that God asks Job a question “Who is this that darkens counsel with words without knowledge?” Here is a very good verse that informs us of another legal term. A “Counselor” can be applied to a person of law or legal advice in a courtroom trial. Perhaps you have seen this before. What I am trying to say here is that words spoken in judgment of others without full knowledge can be an access point for Satan to win a judgment against you.
I have said enough about Job to get you started. Now, let’s go read another example court case that transpired only about 2000 years ago.
The second spiritual trial that I want to point out from the Bible occurs while Jesus walked the face of the earth in the flesh with His 12 disciples about 2000 years ago. We will begin reading in Luke 22 and verse 31:
Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
Reading only the English language translation we miss so very much of the stated truth. Jesus is talking directly to Peter and calls him by name twice to emphasize the critical importance of the next statement to follow. Satan as we learned from Revelation 12 and 1 Peter 5 was the direct adversary seeking access by legal complaint against the human Peter in this case. Therefore, we understand that Satan is the plaintiff in this statement of Jesus. The key word that must be examined with deeper understanding is the Greek word G1809 and it is incorrectly translated as “desired” in this verse. While it is true that Satan desires to get to us all but that is not what the Greek word that was selected and written was intended to have been spoken by Jesus. This Greek word literally means “to demand for trial”. Jesus is warning Peter that he has done something that Satan believes gives him access to sift him like wheat. Perhaps you should do a little research about how wheat is sifted. Sifting of wheat is definitely not a nonviolent or peaceful act. Anyone sifting wheat represents someone using their power, ability and force over the wheat being sifted to remove some good from the bad. It would be good to learn more about this but that is not my primary subject. I just want us to focus on the legal issues that must have occurred to give Satan the right to “demand” by a trial to have access to Peter’s life. But, we later learn after this verse that Jesus (Peter’s implied attorney) prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. This does not mean that the sifting would not take place it only means Jesus asked the Father to help Peter come through the trial’s verdict being rendered. It would be great to go and study more about what Peter may have done to be sifted but I don’t really have the time in this lesson.
A MODERN DAY TRIAL
I am not able to go into every sin that a person can commit in order to be bought into spiritual court by Satan the accuser but I will end this part of the lesson with a third true life firsthand experience of this reality that I experienced a few years ago. This testimony concerns the life of my father. I learned of it by living it and hearing from others about it and I trust the testimony of those witnesses that have shared it with me. My father was a pastor for several years. I grew up attending his churches and hearing him preach his sermons.
My father was going to his second Bible school to learn and expand his knowledge of God and the Bible by attending good classes with great teachers. In his second year of this Bible school attendance in the first semester, he was sitting and taking notes when suddenly the man of God giving the lesson stopped and looked right at my father. God was giving the instructor a vision of a great dark cloud resting above the head of my father. The instructor knew from experience what this meant. He knew it was a death cloud that was warning my father that he would die soon. The Bible instructor called my father to the front of the class before all the other students. He put his hand on him and rebuked death and prayed for him. But, the instructor then asked my father to come see him privately so that he could share what else the LORD had given to him in his warning. I was not present when all of this occurred but my mother was in the class and she is one of the primary witnesses to the story and my mother was not a liar. She recounted this testimony after my father died.
I guess you already know that my father did not ever go and see the Bible teacher in private to hear the rest of the warning message from the LORD. A couple of months later my father had a stroke and was carried unconscious in an ambulance to a local hospital. My brother was home when all of this happened and he can testify to the truth of this part of the story. My father died a few days later after being transported. He never regained consciousness. He died like the Bible teacher warned he would.
The Bible teacher performed the funeral for my father and after the funeral my mother learned the rest of the message directly from the teacher that prayed for him. The Bible teacher informed my mother that God had told him to warn my father about his love walk with people. I should rather say that it was a lack of his love that concerned him more. Jesus gave us in the church a new commandment of LOVE and this is one way that Satan gained access into killing my father through his disobedience. I believe very firmly that because my father was not walking in love towards others that Satan brought him up on trial. I believe very firmly based upon spiritual laws that God tried to warn my father by even giving someone a vision of what was about to happen even before it happened. Like the prophet that warned the king in the Old Testament to get his house in order for you shall surely die, the same occurred for my father. However, the king in the Old Testament repented and prayed and he was granted more years on the earth. I believe this was what was happening with my father also. If he had repented and changed he might have lived a much longer life.
But, my father did not cooperate or may not have believed the warning or may have even wanted to go ahead and die. We don’t know the reason why he did nothing to prevent Satan’s attack. But that is what happened to him. The thief came into his life and killed my father just as John 10:10 states.
There was also another door that my parents opened to allow Satan access into their lives in this spiritual court case. After they were first married and before I was born, they went to a fair where they were just having fun. They ran across a fortune teller/palm reader tent and went in to play Satan’s deceptive game in ignorance. The fortune teller informed my mother that she had a long life line and would live a long time on the earth, but when she looked at my father’s hand she told him he would die young. I believe this foolish act set spiritual laws into motion and gave Satan a plot and a plan to bring up before God in my father’s trial. Had my father not gone into the fortune teller based upon his knowledge of God’s word this may have changed his life significantly. Had he rebuked the words spoken over him this may have also changed his life significantly. But doing nothing is certainly the worst option that anyone can choose. My mother informed me of all this after my father had died.
My father was barely 44 years old when he died. My mother lived to the age of 80 and the palm reader’s words both came true. Become aware of the things that can open the door for Satan before it is too late. Dabbling in the occult, fortune tellers, Ouija boards and the like, I believe opens the door for Satan to bring you before God’s court system. Spiritual laws are put into motion by words spoken by us, over us or about us. I believe that if we do not renounce them and rebuke them they will become seeds that grow and produce thorns and thistles in our lives.
Psa 43:1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
This was only a basic overview and introduction of a much deeper subject. There are many other things to learn on this subject of God’s divine justice system. I do appreciate your time in reading and studying the Bible on this website. There are many other lessons that can be freely accessed by searching or clicking on topics and dates. May God bless and keep you until the return of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.
If you would like to continue reading in this series you may click here for “Part 2“.
(Ver 1.1) 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“.
(ver 1.2) This is now Part 6 in a series of very advanced Bible lessons about the subject of deception. I have uncovered a lot of new information in this series and today’s lesson is some more information on the subject using the Bible to help answer and clarify a comment that I got recently. In today’s lesson I will focus on a very important question that was raised when someone told me that a Christian cannot be deceived because God will not permit them to be lost. That is a very common doctrine of theology in many churches, but is that what the Bible actually says? If you have not read this series from the beginning, I would suggest that you go and start reading from “Part 1” first. I will warn you up front that this will be a long lesson. I have a lot of things to cover today. But, if you read it all I believe you will learn much more than just the primary subject about deception. In one of my last Bible lessons I taught about Understanding Bible Prophets, what they are, why they exist and what they can and cannot do. In that lesson I paraphrased a verse that Jesus gave as a warning to us (the church). I thought it was a valid paraphrasing, but my commenter thought otherwise and told me why they thought this was wrong about what I said. I basically said a Christian could be deceived, so Jesus was warning us to be careful. I basically took the scripture personally and felt like this was God speaking to me. But, my commenter had a different point of view using a very different perspective of the Bible and tried to teach me how they understood the Bible. I want to say first that I believe my commenter was a Christian and that we are both climbing the same mountain to reach the peak of knowledge and understanding. However, our views of the scriptures were clearly from very different perspectives, like me being on the north side of the mountain and them being on the south side of the mountain. What I was looking at was not what they were looking at so this will at times cause many of the theological differences to occur within the Body of Christ. The only legitimate way to resolve these types of conflicts is for each party to change positions in order to try to gain the view from the other side of the mountain and then combine the two realities into the view from the top of the mountain. Maybe you do not understand mountain climbing. At the early altitude you are many times within the tree line and you have to rise beyond the trees to finally be able to see out. Then as you ascend your view becomes increasingly different until you reach the top and can see in 360 degrees of every side. In between the bottom and the top there are varying stages of revelation, the higher you go is based upon how much you know and have seen. I’m sorry I like mountains so I may have used this analogy before in another blog. When I was younger I liked camping in Colorado on the top of the mountains. The views were so awesome and the lessons of life are clearly learned from the things that God has created. I believe the world was created by design and that nothing occurs by chance or accident. We therefore, have to become smart enough to learn the lesson that God is trying to present to us with creation while simultaneously giving His written Word first priority in everything. Here were all of my commenter’s words that were shared with me.
In the initial paragraph of this week’s publication you state that, “Jesus also warned us that even the very elect could be deceived by their trickery, Matt 24:24.” KJ
Actual quotation from Matthew’s text: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”
Readers need to know that this verse indicates, “IF POSSIBLE!” In other words, God does not allow this to happen to those who are truly saved nor does he even make it possible. However, he is using this language to cause the reader to understand the intensity of deceit that will be in the world during the last days.
Those who abide in Christ and have the Holy Spirit will not be taken captive by the world. The “perseverance of the saints,” is made possible through the indwelling Holy Spirit… “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil 1:6 KJ
We’ll I read their comment and I know why they said what they did, but the root of the problem is that there is more than one truth in the Bible and it appears to me that my commenter might have been closed to try to see the other scriptures found in the Bible from my view point. This is why we have so many Christian denominations in the world today. One church likes the view from their side of the mountain that they are climbing on and another church stays on the other side of the mountain loving their limited view of the same verse and we have isolationism occurring from our limited perspective view of the Bible. I have said this repeatedly and I will continue to teach it until we all get it, “there is more than one truth in the Bible and we as believers must see them all in order to view the complete actual truth”. No church should exalt one truth and claim that is ALL of the truth that is necessary for you to know. When people do this that is a very serious misrepresentation of God and the Bible and it oversimplifies them both. It is also a common ploy used for deception by Satan. The devil will tell someone one thing so that they ignore the other more important things and he then has them defeated and they do not even understand that they are in this condition. This was Satan’s approach with Eve when she was deceived in the garden. God said “Do not eat or you will surely die”. But, Satan never mentions that part of the subject. Satan says “You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”. That was a new truth that replaced what God said in Eve’s mind. God never told Adam and Eve about what the consequences of death meant and Satan avoided the subject by telling them something else that sounded good on the surface. This was a tricky way to deceive someone, if you ask me. It is also the first time Satan deceived anyone in the Bible so it would be a very good future lesson to explore in this series.
You see I do not deny my commenters scripture references, I just have a problem with the fact that they have ignored the other parts of the Bible in order to interpret them in the way that they have. If we do not use the entire Bible to interpret the Bible we are doing nothing but promote the selective isolated doctrines of men and that is foolish. I tried to explain to my commenter that the law of gravity is a physical law of truth that states it is impossible for a man to fly. So the law of gravity was a valid truth that ruled men for thousands of years. Man believed this truth and lived by this law until finally they discovered another greater truth. When mankind learned of the law of aerodynamics and how that it supersedes the law of gravity this new truth allowed man to fly like a bird. So both laws are great truths, but one truth causes the other truth to become minor or insignificant when viewed and applied correctly. This is how the Bible is written. The Bible contains many truths, with some of them being dependent horizontal truths while other truths are independent vertical or hierarchical truths. Ok, I probably went over the head of many readers with that last statement, but this is an advanced Bible study so I will say things occasionally to get you thinking about old concepts in new more complex ways. Please just try to understand that one truth can supersede another truth. Let me give you a Bible example for what I am trying to say; the Bible says “The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has freed us from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2). This is exactly what I was attempting to say with the example of gravity and aerodynamics. The law of Life in Christ is a much higher law of truth that has nullified the law of sin and death just as the law of aerodynamics has nullified the laws of gravity. I hope you understand these truth concepts, they are very important to know. Let me start by giving you the actual verse that I paraphrased again and show you what Jesus says:
Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Ok here is the exact words written in the KJV ible and we need to actually see what it says. My first point is to notice the words “it were” are in italics and that reveals to us that these words were not written in the original Greek language and they have been added by the translators so we should technically ignore them. So the original verse says “If possible, they (the false Christs and false prophets) shall deceive the very elect”. I immediately wondered who my commenter thought the “very elect” were if they are not Christ’s church. Then I began to wonder what do the words “If possible” mean? According the Strong’s the Greek word translated as “If” is a particle of conditionality. In other words if this is true this occurs, if this is not true then something else occurs. This is a classic programming paradigm called If Then Else Logic and if you are not a programmer you probably do not have a clue what I just said. Nevertheless, the word “If” is always a conditional statement where something else either given or implied is a determining factor for whether what is stated can or cannot occur. Going back to my programming paradigm, when a compiler comes to an If statement a test is made in order to determine the next instruction to execute. When a test occurs, the next instruction that is executed is based upon resulting True or False condition of the test. Do you understand this? You do not have to be a computer programmer to understand this is how you behave every day. If you are hungry you get something to eat and if you are not hungry you don’t. The term “If” certainly does not mean it is NOT POSSIBLE for this to occur. You cannot get that from the definition of the word at any time. The term “possible” is a Greek word (G1415) that means “powerful” or “capable”. We know from the Bible that with God all things are possible. So we must determine what the word “If” coming before the word “possible” can mean. God uses three other Greek words in the New Testament for “impossible” and these are G101, G102 and G418. If God knows the difference between what is possible and what is not possible, I believe that He knows which word to use in what verse. I would suggest that you go and search the New Testament for G1415 (possible) and G102 (impossible). If you look up the definitions of these two words they are actually very revealing. Impossible is a word of “weakness” and possible is a word for “strength”. Which one is God? All things are possible with God meaning all things are strong with God. However, the Bible says “It is impossible for God to lie”. So God displays “weakness” when it comes to speaking lies. These are fascinating concepts that many Christians have not considered. Weakness is a positive when it comes to sin. But, strength in virtue and truth must be admirable. Because the word “If” occurs before the word “possible” God is saying this is possible but it has specific conditions which must be present to cause it to happen. This is a very simple way of saying you can be deceived under the right conditions. According to my commenter, they said it is not possible for a Christian to be deceived, because God would not allow or permit this to occur. I assume from their logic that they believe God controls the outcome of everything based upon the very popular Sovereign God theological doctrine found within many churches and they must feel that man has no further contribution to make to determine their eternal destiny. Go back and read my commenter’s words again.
Readers need to know that this verse indicates, “IF POSSIBLE!” In other words, God does not allow this to happen to those who are truly saved nor does he even make it possible. However, he is using this language to cause the reader to understand the intensity of deceit that will be in the world during the last days.
Hopefully you can see what they are trying to say? My commenter said “IF POSSIBLE” could be substituted for GOD does not allow this to occur”. Wow, is that what it really said? I am really not sure how anyone can arrive at that conclusion or interpretation of the verse, but obviously that is what they said. That is not what Strong’s said the words meant. Since Strong was a Greek and Hebrew expert I rely on his expertise more than my own or the opinions of people who leave me comments. In other words I’m not going to try to say what the verse says without some collaborating and supporting evidence from someone who is or was smarter than I am. If God tells me in another verse in the Bible that it is not possible for a man to be deceived, then that would be the best. If Strong, Thayer or Nave does not say that either then I just cannot override their expertise with my opinion of what I think it means. So whenever someone says “In other words” you better be careful that what is being stated is an actual equivalent phrasing for what was actually stated. The only way that I know of to how you can legitimately do that, is for you to look up all of the words in a dictionary or a thesaurus and then to see what they mean and if they are really valid synonyms. This is just basic Bible study guidelines and rules to follow. I’ll ask you again “What do the words If Possible mean”? Does it mean it is not possible? I do not think so. God tells us in other places in the Bible “It is impossible for Him to lie” (Heb 6:18). God obviously knows when something is possible and when something is not possible to occur and He knows when to use what word for either case. My commenter seemed to think that God wrote it this way to emphasize a point. But, I still think that this is trying to interpret the Bible in isolation without using the other verses found on the subject to help us to understand what is actually being communicated. For example, if you search the Bible you will find that these exact same Greek words translated as “If Possible” are used in other verses in the N.T. If you go and look at one of them they ought to show us if God uses the words in the same way in order to determine if God is being consistent with His words.
Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
As you can hopefully see if you try to say “If possible” means that it is not possible, you must use that logic in this verse also in order to be consistent. So if you try to apply that logic to this verse in Romans, you would make it say “God does not permit you to live peaceably on the earth with all men. I do not think that this is what this verse is saying, do you? Do you understand this logic? Can you find anywhere in the Bible that it says “God does not permit” when used with the words “If Possible”. If it were not possible for a Christian to be deceived then why would God not tell us that anywhere? I think that would be a very good thing to know if that was actually true. Another point that I want to address is the implied statements being made by my commenter. My commenter implies that they are the “true Christians” and therefore they cannot ever be deceived. Since my commenter did not tell me otherwise I have to assume this is what they meant by examining what they have said. If this is what they believe, I feel very strongly that this is an extremely dangerous theology to base your faith. This would be a great theology if they were right, but if they are wrong then what guarantee do they have that they are not deceived already. Since Bible doctrine and theology is a moving target based upon your current knowledge, there is technically no one that can guarantee what they are preaching today is what they will preach tomorrow exactly. I do not know if you understand that statement or not? Truth is a complex subject and many people want to base their eternal destiny upon their limited knowledge of the Bible and God just might show you a new Bible verse tomorrow that completely changes your theology. Since neither you nor I are God we must be open to learning more at all times and this reality alone should cause us to change our theology as we all attempt to get to the summit of the Bible knowledge mountain. What we all need to do is to research the Bible to figure out the actual truth the best way that we can using all of the information that we can obtain on the subject. Study to show ourselves to be approved a workman that will not be put to shame because we rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). So that is what I will try to do again today. You see, I am smart enough to know that I do not know everything. I also think that God is still revealing new things every day. So these two beliefs lead me to be open to change.
Bible study is a rules based system of learning. In other words if you do not know the rules you cannot follow them and therefore there is no way that you will figure out what the truth is. I will not try to give you all of the rules for Bible interpretation today; I have tried to do this in many other Bible lessons so go and read them to learn the correct way to interpret the Bible. I will give you a secret that I use to study the Bible constantly and this may help you if you apply it. When you study a subject search the Bible for the words that you are interested in and find all of the Bible verses that contain those words and then go read what they say. If God uses the same Greek or Hebrew word in every verse then you can be assured you are learning about the exact same subject. Therefore what God says in each verse applies to what is said in every other verse with that same word. This is just a very basic Bible study methodology. You see I know for sure my commenter did not do this or they would have seen what I am going to show you today about the subject of deception. Another Bible study basic is for you to look up the words that you are reading in a Greek or Hebrew dictionary to see what they mean in the original languages. Many times English words have changed and the meanings are no longer the same. For example, in the King James Bible many times the Greek word “agape” is translated as “charity” and this is a total inaccuracy using modern day concepts of the English word for charity. Agape is the Greek word that describes “the God Kind of Love” and that is an important difference between the English word and the Greek word. In fact in the Bible there is more than one Greek word translated as love, how are you going to know the difference if you do not go and search for it? Let me give you the Greek Word definition for “deceive” as it is translated in Matthew 24:24. I think I have given you this definition before in previous lessons, but this is so important that I feel it needs to be restated:
From G4106; to (properly cause to) roam (from safety, truth, or virtue): – go astray, deceive, err, seduce, wander, be out of the way.
You should see by the definition of this Greek word translated as deceive alone that it causes major problems for my commenter’s theology. To roam or to go astray is a clear description of someone who once was on the path of safety, virtue and truth and they have now wandered from it to become lost. Uh oh? It is very clear to me that the Greek word definition shows someone who once knew the truth, but wandered away from it. Are you a Christian today? If you are then it is because someone presented you the truth and you decided to believe it. Can you knowing the truth now choose to walk away from it? According to the definition of this word it is more than possible. The definition of this word “deceive” says people were in the town of Truth and they wandered off and got lost and now cannot find their way back. What are we going to do with that information? Can you see and understand how to apply this? Do you remember when Jesus said “I am the Good Shepherd? Do you know that we are His sheep? Do you know that His sheep can wander off and decide not to follow the shepherd? According to my commenter’s theology this is not possible, because every one of God’s sheep must have a tight choker collar around their necks with a leash that is tied around the shepherd’s staff, so they cannot stray and get lost. The only way to keep a sheep from straying is to tie them and no shepherd that is good will do this to their animals. Please go search the web and see how shepherds lead their sheep. If you want to learn more on this subject you can read my lesson on “Understanding Sheep in the Bible”. Jesus told a story of a sheep getting lost and Him having to go out and find it (Mat 18:12). Jesus is using a story with natural symbolism to convey a spiritual truth about God and us His people. If you look up the words in this verse you will see “go astray” is the same word translated as “deceive” in Mat 24:24. Uh oh? Therefore, we are talking about the exact same subject, yes in both verses? In this story Jesus says He will leave the 99 to try to find the 1 who was deceived to stray. Who is guarding the 99 while He is out looking for the one that was deceived? Can a wolf come and kill one of the 99 sheep while Jesus is looking for the one? Could the wolf already have killed the one sheep that left the safety of the shepherd? Why did God allow one sheep to leave and become deceived? Oh, yea God is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient and is omnipresent. If that was all of the truth then why did God use such human examples to describe Himself when He possessed such gret deity qualities? If God is permitted to use all of His supernatural powers then it would be impossible for any of His sheep to get lost in the first place. Since He clearly tells us that a sheep left the flock and must be searched for this tells us God is not in control of what that sheep did. That sheep was deceived to leave the safety of the flock and the shepherd and that is not good for them. I believe that God chooses not to use His supernatural powers by His own choice. If you can find me scriptures to contradict this belief, I will be happy to change. But, I believe that this is the only viable explanation of how a human example of a shepherd losing a sheep could apply to God. If God does not give His sheep the freewill choice to leave, that would make God a controlling manipulator. If you are a married person, is that the kind of spouse that you desire to be married to? I do not think so! Otherwise I have no explanation of why Jesus used this example to describe Himself and us His sheep. Just notice the story of the sheep and see that Jesus says there are 100 sheep and one is deceived and has been lost because they wandered off by their own choice or will. This is what Jesus is teaching to us; His sheep have the right to leave and they can be deceived. Do you understand this?
Let’s back up in the chapter of Matthew and read some other words that Jesus spoke before this statement in Mat 24:24 in order to examine the context of the statement. If you go back to the first part of the chapter you will see Jesus describing things that will occur in the last days. Since we are living in the last days I believe that means whatever Jesus is about to say applies to us. The disciples then come to Jesus privately in Matthew 24:3 and ask Him, when will these things occur? Who is Jesus speaking to in this chapter? My commenter thinks that Jesus is only speaking to the readers, whoever they are. I do not know about you, but I am reader? I wonder if my commenter is also a reader. I guess they think they are not? Since I know of hardly any unsaved people who read the Bible, I’m not really sure who they are thinking Jesus is speaking to. God says in Matthew 24:3 that He was speaking to the disciples and they were the founding fathers of the church. But, my commenter has determined Jesus was speaking to someone else. However, here is the beginning of Jesus’ answer to the “disciples” question:
Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
Wow, this is obviously a hard saying if Jesus the Son of God is speaking in private to only His own disciples. Jesus clearly says “Beware” and “do not let anyone deceive you”. Does Jesus ever say “It is impossible for them to be deceived”? Is Jesus speaking to the founding fathers of the church? Obviously Jesus does not even come close to saying they cannot be deceived. If Jesus warns His personal disciples, His inner circle of 12 students not to be deceived, it is very obvious to me that they could easily become deceived at any time going forward from that warning. What is a warning? A warning is like when you tell your children do not touch the stove because it is hot. When you said that did you mean it was not possible for them to touch it? Obviously that was not why you warned them not to touch it. This is really not that hard and it only takes a little common sense to see that Jesus would never warn His disciples of something that was not possible to occur.
This revelation alone disqualifies the “Predestination” theology. This knowledge alone invalidates the “Once Saved Always Saved” theology. Here Jesus is speaking to many of the future writers of the New Testament and He says you better be careful or you will be deceived. I will tell you this directly, if it was possible for the disciples to be deceived, then any regular Christian today is in dire straits if they think they cannot ever be deceived. These are very strong words and very important words for you to understand. I also want to point out that this Greek word translated as “deceive” is the exact same word found in Matthew 24:24 so Jesus is definitely giving you relevant information that you need to know about the subject of deception in the last days.
Let’s explore the same information found in Matthew, but this time read it in Mark. Many times one writer will phrase the text in one way differently than the other or they will give you the same information with different words. Plus I like to find two or three witnesses in the Bible to everything that I teach in order to help establish the truth. So let’s turn to Mark 13 and read what Jesus says there:
Mar 13:5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:
Mar13:6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
If you continue to read down in this chapter you will again see that Jesus is speaking of the last days. Since I believe strongly that we are living in the last days, I believe that if you do not take this warning personally as a True Christian that you can be deceived very easily. Every word of God is written to you personally and this verse does not say “If Possible”. It says “Take heed” and that is something that you are required to do, not God! Too many Christians want to put the responsibility all on God. God will not permit me to be tested. God will not permit me to be tempted. God will not permit me to be deceived and that is just not what the Bible says anywhere. Jesus would not have given us a warning if it were not possible for us (the church) to be deceived. If you ignore these Bible verses and think they do not apply to you, I’ll say it again you are in trouble. Think with me for a second and determine who was present to hear these words of Jesus. Weren’t Judas and the other 11 disciples always present when Jesus spoke? What did Judas do? You probably know that Judas betrayed Jesus and turned Him over to be killed for silver. Was Judas deceived? Absolutely, Judas was deceived. He heard the exact same words of truth that Peter heard and every other disciple heard and he still decided not to believe in them and do his own thing. You can clearly read in the Bible that Satan entered into Judas and this caused him to betray Jesus. It is very clear to me that Satan was present to cause any disciple to fall into deception that would permit him to do so. Only Judas because of his greed for money was motivated to ignore his eternal outcome for a monetary short term gain which he soon regretted. However, if one disciple of the twelve can be deceived every disciple can be deceived. If any disciple can be deceived then you can be deceived.
Think with me for another moment about what Jesus said in Matthew 24:24 knowing the context of the verse are about the end time events. Jesus said beware of the “false Christ”. This is a direct reference to the coming anti-Christ which is probably in the world today somewhere. We know there have been foolish men who have claimed to be the Christ and they have caused many to die and be lost. But, if the anti-Christ is a false Christ and Jesus is speaking a warning to the church, what is going to happen when he shows up doing great signs and wonders that only a supernatural being can do. I believe that many Christian will buy into his false message based upon his overwhelming knowledge of how to deceive people. This is why Jesus said in Matthew 24:24 that it is possible for even the elect to be deceived, they should be careful not to allow this to happen.
My commenter said that a “True Christian” cannot be deceived and by this they imply there are false Christians in the world. They further imply they are one of the “True Christians” that are incapable of being deceived. This is of course a very convenient theology to believe in with great personal benefits. It is no wonder that so many Christians have bought into this philosophy. Now whenever, anyone comes up as having been deceived, they can simply say they were never a “True Christian” in the first place. Of course this is not true using the definition of the word “deceive” that we found. Jesus warned us of the coming “False Christs” and the “False Prophets” who will deceive many. By definition a false prophet is a man who says he is a prophet but who is not. It is the same with a false Christ. Finally, a false Christian is one that says they are a Christian and they are not. I do believe that all of these exist in the world today right now. Both the true and the false must coexist in the world simultaneously by simple logic and reasoning.. However, I am not addressing false Christianity because they are already deceived. You do not ever warn someone about something they have already fallen into, right? You can only try to help them out of their pit of deception if they are interested in getting your help. If not, they will remain in the their deception and be content. So by simple logic found in Matthew 24:24 we can determine that Jesus cannot be speaking to anyone, but a Christian who is walking in the Light of Truth. This would be someone who knows the truth, but chooses to walked away from it to do the wrong things.
Let me talk to you about some modern day preachers that have been deceived. I know of several and I could name their names and you would know who I am talking about, but I will not do that. You will probably know who I’m talking about anyway because they were in the news. Anyway one preacher had a national TV ministry and a major Bible school and obviously was doing great things for God when one day he was discovered with a prostitute. This was not good news for his church or his wife and family. Was he just a false Christian or was he a Christian who was deceived? Remember the definition of the word “deceive” from Strong? I recall that “deceive” seems to be defined as someone who was safe in the truth, but who has now wandered off from it. Was this famous preacher a false Christian or just one that knew the truth and decided to do the wrong things anyway? Do you see how complicated this subject really is? I believe that you cannot say this preacher was not a Christian to begin with or that he was a false Christian based upon the fruits that he had exhibited. Jesus said you will know them by their fruits. But, even a preacher, saved and filled with Spirit of God can be deceived to do the wrong things. Plus the fact that this preacher asked for forgiveness and the Bible says that when you do this God will forgive you (1 Jo 1:9). Let me say that deception comes in varying degrees. I believe that any Christian can be deceived to sin, but not be lost completely if they turn and see their mistake and repent. If my commenter thinks they are a perfect Christian that never sins, they are definitely deceived. If they think that it is impossible for them to sin, again there is deception that has already occurred and they better wake up soon. Let me say again that any Christian is capable of sinning and knowing this fact alone we should realize that Satan is out to try to trick us into going back to what our flesh use to want to do all the time; whether it was drugs, sex, cigarettes, alcohol, food or whatever.
Another preacher that will remain nameless had a 5000 member church in the Bible belt of America. His TV ministry was seen nationwide. I went to his church and I saw all of this first hand, so this is not hearsay or speculation. I saw the church and the ministries grow, I saw the salvation of many people while I was in the church. People would get saved in almost every service. I felt the power of God present and things were happening supernaturally so God was present. I sat under the anointing of God and felt the power of God present so I know he was a Christian. I could hear the sermons and read the Bible verses that were being taught and they were sound doctrine. However, over time I saw a change occurring in the senior pastor and the church. He eventually left his wife and married another woman and began to preach some really strange things. There were many personal and church related problems and issues and this senior pastor soon left his new wife and married another woman. The church went from over 5000 members to it is non-existent today. That church went from awesome to nothing in a very short time all because of one man being deceived by Satan. There was clearly a level of deception that had taken place to take this senior pastor from a great man of God to his downfall. All of these examples are warnings for Christians today. I could give you many more examples, but that is just pointless. Just understand that if it can happen to a major church pastor, it can happen to you. If it can happen to a disciple of Jesus it can happen to you.
Let’s go through some Bible verses in the New Testament and see if God says if a Christian can become deceived or not? You are going to have to read your Bible and study it, but they are not complicated if you can open your spiritual eyes and see what God is saying. I will only focus on scriptures written to the church. The Church is the target readers of the Epistles. All of these letters were written to True Christians for instruction and for correction and that is what I hope they do for you today.
1Co 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
These are three direct witnesses that convey the message that Christians can be deceived. You do not write to anyone in the Church and tell them not to fall into deception if it is impossible for them to do this. That would be stupid for God to do. Do you understand that? Are these the Words of God written to you and I? I believe they are. I’m sure there are some people who can explain away what the Bible says, but I choose to take the words of the Bible to be truth. I want you to see that three times God writes to the church and tells them it is their responsibility not to fall into deception. If God could stop it from happening, He would not warn you that it could happen. If you look up the Greek word translated as “deceived”, you will see that it is the same one used by God in Matthew 24:24. Therefore, these verses apply to the subject given and it clearly tells us based upon context that a Christian can be deceived. Let’s go though some more scriptures that say this also using some different phrasing.
Eph 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
1Jn 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
Here are three more direct witnesses from the scripture that clearly say “Let no man deceive you”. Notice that none of them said “God will let no man deceive you”. These words are clearly written to the church and the Apostle John even calls us the “children” of God. It is self-evident that even real Christians can be deceived by an active or inactive participation of their own freewill. If you let someone deceive you, you can make the right choices to keep from being deceived. This is a clear assignment of self-responsibility. If God says “Let no man” there is an alternative outcome to being deceived and it comes back to a conditional statement of dependency upon what you do or permit to be done. Therefore, it is an act of your will or the omission of action by your will that causes you to be deceived. Wow, that is an important statement to learn. Let me give you a funny example. When my wife was young her mom would make her a sandwich and she would need a drink or something and have to get up from the table to get it and when she came back someone had taken a bite out of her sandwich. Well this was a cruel joke by her dad, but she got the point very fast. She never left her food again on the table if she got up to get something. It is like the old saying fool me once shame on you, but fool me twice shame on me. I guess what we need to do as Christians is to learn what we need to do to keep the devil from taking a bite of our sandwich and then keep him from doing it ever again.
Deception is a very important subject and that is why I teach on it so much. It is critical for you to know as much as possible on this subject so that you understand how deception can come so that you will be able to avoid it. Deception will come to you in many forms, in many ways and for many purposes. But, one of the ways is through men who wear sheep’s clothing, but are the hidden wolves underneath (Mat 7:15). God would not warn Christians Not to be deceived, if it were not possible. This is just basic reasoning and logic using simple Bible study techniques to help discover the truth. What we as Christians must realize is that we are in a spiritual warfare for the eventual outcome of our eternal spirits. Satan is highly motivated to deceive even “God’s elect ones”. Satan has the knowledge, power and experience to do it and he does not need God’s permission in order to try to do it and this is what you need to know today.
I’ll end this lesson today with another set of witnesses found in the Bible, but these are a little bit different in what they say and how they say it. But you will still notice that they are definitely written to the Church and spoken by Jesus to us. These verses have some very profound words within them and they definitely apply to the subject of deception, even if the word does not appear in these verses. You see there are more rules to Bible interpretation than what I can tell you about in this one lesson. You will just have to read what Jesus is saying and then figure out how it applies to God, to you, the church, Satan and the subject of deception.
Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Rev 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Rev 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.:
Why does Jesus speak these 6 times about “those that overcome”? Do you understand that these are all promises or rewards from God of something for something? In other words every one of these promises are conditional. It is totally depends upon the fact that if you qualify for the promises then and only then will you be rewarded with the promises. Do you understand that all of these are the words written to the Church? Are not these people the True Christians who have been given these messages? Maybe you think that you are not in the same church as these people that Jesus is speaking to, and if that is the case you are in trouble. I believe Jesus is making a very serious point by repeating this phraseology this many times. Jesus is clearly saying that you have a Major Responsibility to become an overcomer. What does it mean to be an overcomer? Wow, I guess that is something not too many Christians understand unless they were in the military or played a competitive sport or had cancer and finally got a clean bill of health from their doctor. You see an overcomer is only someone who is victorious. Clearly an overcomer is a winner of a battle or conflict. These statements have vast implications written on them. It means you can be a failure by default. It means that you can be a quitter by choice. It means you can be defeated by your enemy. It means you can stray from the narrow path and follow the crowd down the wide path to destruction. These verses tell me that a Christian can be deceived and not be victorious. It is your choice, your will, your decisions and your actions that will either cause you to win or to be defeated. If you follow God and the truth of His word this will never happen, but if someone comes to you with a great false message and you follow that, you have left the truth and been deceived and God will let you go. It means you are in trouble if you believe that God is not going to allow you to be deceived. I do not see anywhere in these verses in Revelation where God guarantees you victory if you quit or don’t fight or don’t want to win, what do you think God is going to do about that? Do you believe that God is going to override your desire to do your own thing to force you to His things? If you think this you are clearly mistaken. God is not going to make you do the right things. God will not force feed you so that you grow in the truth. All God can do is send someone like me to try to steer you back into the right path and if you refuse to listen I’m sorry but there is nothing else He will do for you.
God expects you to do something and you need to learn what that is. One of the first major prophecies in the Bible is one found in Genesis 3:15 where God says “The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent”. I know I paraphrased again. But, that was the verse in a nutshell. We all know the serpent is Satan, but few understand who the Seed of the Woman is referring to. If you want to learn who this is you can read my other Bible lessons to find out for sure. But, I will tell that this woman is the church and she is the one that God expects to be victorious. To be under someone’s foot is a symbolic sign that they are defeated by that person whose foot is on them. You can see this many places in the Bible and one place is in Joshua where God told the nation of Israel everywhere the sole of your feet tread I have given to you. Well Israel is a natural typology of the church in this example. Just as Joshua fought to take the promise land, we are forced to fight a spiritual battle to possess God’s promises. What did we read in Revelations 6 times? We read conditional promises? Was the Promised Land conditional for Israel in the O.T.? What if they had not fought the giants, they would have died in the wilderness like everyone else and missed out on the promise. Hopefully you can understand my point.
You see in Romans 16:20, God writes to the church and says “The God of Peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly”. According to this verse in Romans, we are the Seed of the Woman that was prophesied about in Genesis 3:15. It is the feet of the church that God is going to use to bruise the head of Satan. If this is true, then we as a church have a role of responsibility to participate in its fulfillment. I know there are many Christians who believe God controls everything that happens in the world. These Christians have been deceived already into believing they have no role to play, no responsibility for anything and no accountability if it is not done. It is what I preach to be a “No fault” Christian religion. No matter what happens, it was not my fault. I never planted the seeds that caused that to happen! I never stopped it from happening, but that was not my job! I wonder how these types of Christians get up in the morning and do anything all day long. If everything is completely up to God, it would seem to me that we should not try to do anything all day. It would be best, if we all become vegetables and stayed in bed until God bruises Satan’s head and then comes and takes us all away. You see while Christians believe this C.R.A.P. (Christian Reasoning Applied Poorly) they fail to know that God is waiting on them to become strong enough to fulfill what He has planned. Is God waiting for the church? Is that possible? When God describes to us that He has long patience as He does in James 5:7 that is a clear revelation that God is not controlling everything that happens and He is waiting patiently for something to occur in order for the end to happen. If you do not understand what that is, you better learn it quickly because the end is coming soon ready or not. I plan on me being one of the ones that is ready for the end so if you care to join me let’s work together to fulfill the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. It is only when the church is victorious over Satan that Jesus can look at us as being the overcomers as He clearly stated 6 times that He was looking for in the book of Revelation.
If you have read this entire lesson and still want to believe you can never be deceived, I’m not sure if I can say anything else to prove to your otherwise. Deception is a very large and complex subject found in the Bible. Because you do not understand it, you easily misapply the verses to say that it is impossible for you to be deceived. However, God is never going to force you to see the truth. God will let you go to your grave believing in you erroneous theology. But, you will have to tear those pages out of the Bible of all of the Bible verses that I have given to you today in order to still go to church and believe wrong about deception. There were at least 14 Bible verse witnesses to the fact that church members can be deceived. Since the Bible says in the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established, I have given you overwhelming evidence to the truth. If you deny it your blood is not on my hands. If you have 3 Bible verses that say a Christian can NEVER be deceived, I would love to hear about them. I have gone on long enough today, so please come back next time and I’ll try to speak about a different subject that may be more popular with everyone and less controversial. Just understand my motivation for doing what I do. If I did not care, I would not try to help you. If I did not love you I would not bring you an alternative viewpoint. Do not think that I am here to criticize you; I am only here to try to help. I know I’m not perfect and I know can say things that offend people, but I do not do it to deceive you or cause you harm. If you could see my heart I think you would understand why I address the subject of deception with such a passion. God Bless!
If you want to know how to get saved and know that you are with confidence you can go to: How do I get saved?
(ver 1.2) This is a totally new subject for me and one that few people have studied. However, this is an essential subject to understand for many reasons. I recently got a comment from someone who brought up the subject and I thought it would be good to clarify what a prophet of God is and what they can and cannot do using the Bible. You see we have recently had a string of several false prophets that have proclaimed things to the world that are clearly false. But, these false prophets have had at least a few people who have easily fallen for their deception and that is what concerns me. Jesus actually warned us in the Bible that there would come false prophets (Mat 7:15). Therefore we should become smart enough to recognize the difference between the real and the fictitious. If we do not learn about real prophets, Jesus also warned us that even the very elect could be deceived by their trickery (Mat 24:24). Clearly Jesus had a lot to say about the subject. Yet there are still an extensive number of followers of the false who obviously do not see the deception that is taking place. One current false prophet said that the world was ending on May 21, 2011 and this obviously did not occur but I’m sure he had some good reason for this error. This man was sent millions of dollars that came from people who had given him their money and they were clearly lied to. It could be that this man who predicted the end of the world truly believed that he knew something or he could have been a charlatan who intentionally duped people for their money. I do not know if either of these is true, so I do not judge him. I do however see clearly that his message was false based upon my knowledge of the Bible so I was not deceived. Obviously this was not the case for many other people in the world.
Today we are going to explore Bible verses about prophets and see what God reveals to us about them. Here is a verse found in the New Testament that applies to my subject today directly:
1Co 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
Here we have God giving us some specific instruction and directions of the correct order within a church service. If prophets speak in church let it be limited to only 2 or 3 and then let the rest present judge what is said. This is pretty plain to me. It tells me first off that prophets still exist even in the modern church of God and that we do not accept the words of any one prophet just because he said something. This verse implies that there should be other prophets with the same witness. That is an interesting concept to consider. Did God always send more than one witness (prophet) to a city or a nation with the same message? I personally believe that God did do this. But, it would take hundreds of hours of Bible study to prove it. If you have knowledge in this area, I would appreciate hearing about it. If you look at the obvious Bible examples, I found several places where it would appear that God always sent more than one prophet with the same message. For example the prophets Isaiah, Jonah Nahum and Zephaniah all mention the city Nineveh. Of course they do not have to prophesy at the exact same moment in time, it could be during different times with the same general message. Then there is Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel who say a lot of the same things about the city of Jerusalem. I believe these are examples of God following His own word, which I believe God always does. God says “In the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established” (2 Cor 13:1). What is a witness? A witness is someone who has seen something and can testify of it in a court of law under oath. Guess what a prophet is called many times in the Bible? A prophet is called a “seer” (1 Sam 9:9). A seer is someone who is a witness and can see or has seen something that will happen in the future. How does a prophet see into future things? God does this using many methods. Sometimes a prophet gets a message from God by visions. Sometimes a prophet gets messages from God by dreams. Daniel and John the Revelator were both sent an angel from God with the message. Sometimes a prophet will hear the voice of God like Moses on the mountain top of Mt Sinai or the voice of God from the burning bush. Elijah taught us that God spoke to him in a still small voice in his spirit. It really does not matter right now how the message came, I believe that it primarily matters if there was more than one witness with the same message. I believe this is a very important concept to apply to modern day prophets. If a man stands up in the world and proclaims the end of the world will be on May 21, 2011 that is only the words of one man and that should be an automatic red flag warning that it is a false message. I’ll try to talk more about the concept of more than one witness with the message as I continue in this lesson. I want you to take away from 1 Corinthians 14:21 that we should be able to judge prophecy and that God has established rules to help us to know how to do this. One rule is to let every word be established in the mouths of 2 or 3 prophets and not just any one. Another rule of prophecy is no words of prophecy are open to private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20). This rule implies that God will interpret the prophecy and we cannot make up meaning using human reasoning or logic. These are two laws of correct Bible interpretation that cross over into the realm of prophecy since God has given both by His Spirit.
Another interesting fact of the New Testament is I do not know of any scripture that God says we as Christians should be led by prophecy or the words of a prophet. This of course is a challenge because I believe things have changed from the Old Testament into the New Testament on how God deals with His people. In the Old Testament, God gave the law written on tablets of stone, but in the New Covenant God has written the Law of Love upon our hearts. Clearly these were two different approaches with one being totally natural and the other being completely spiritual. God constantly used prophets in the Old Covenant to get the attention of the people of Israel. But, the church has God inside of them and God can speak directly to our hearts. The words of a prophet are not our God and they should not cause you to do anything that God has not already told you to do by His Spirit that is inside of you. The Bible clearly tells us as Christians “Those who are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God” (Rom 8:14). That means the Spirit of God will tell you personally what you should do, when you should do it and anything else that is important for you to know. This of course requires that you know how to hear the voice of God and that you will obey what He says. If you are a born again Christian and you refuse to listen to the voice of God, God just may send you a prophet to warn you that you are about to die for your lack of willingness to change. I heard the testimony of a man who was sent by God to another preacher to warn him that he needs to examine himself, but the preacher ignored the warning and as a result died a young man. Now a modern prophet can also come to you and confirm what God has already told you, but you will not hear it first from a prophet and then figure out if you should ask God if you should do it. However, this also does not mean we do not need to study the Bible and the words of the prophets to gain the understanding of God. I believe that we should definitely study the Bible and the words of God’s prophets. Here is another similar truth that is important to know. Christians are not to be led by prophecy, but you are supposed to be a doer of the Word of God. I’m not sure if you really understand the difference? I have heard of people in the world who have read about the coming war in Revelation and they have decided to be led by that prophecy to buy guns to help Christ defeat His enemies. This is clearly a misguided approach to being led by a prophecy to do something that God did not tell you to do. Just because God tells you what will happen in the future does not mean you are involved in causing it to happen. Get it? It is God’s responsibility to cause things to be fulfilled as He has spoken and not you. Jesus taught us that we should do what is written, but this was not an all-inclusive statement. If you tried to repeat everything that was written in the Bible you would do some very wrong things that God never told you to do. Being a doer of the Word of God requires that you know how to rightly divide the Word of God and also that you know the difference between good and evil. These are probably some of the most important things that I will say today, so I hope you understood them.
In order not to become deceived, it is best to become educated with as much of God’s truth as you can. Today we will look into the Bible to discover, what is a prophet? How does someone become a prophet? Can a person choose to become a prophet or is it God’s choice? How does God use a prophet? When does God use a prophet? What can a prophet do? Are there still prophets today? Does a prophet know and see everything? Can a prophet actually predict the future? If so, where does this knowledge come from? Is it from God or is it the prophet’s ability? If a prophet prophecies a coming event, can it be changed? These are tough questions to answer but they are all relevant to find the answer so that none of us will be deceived by someone who comes along and predicts an event that obviously contradicts the Bible. I’m not sure if I will be able to answer all of these questions today, but I will get it started so that you will begin to learn some of the basics. I have already tried to answer a couple of them in the introduction so let’s continue to learn.
I searched the Bible for references to prophets and found there were many. The Bible speaks of many men and women who are called prophets and prophetesses of God. Several of the prophets are named and many others are never named. I technically believe that there are more that are not named than those that are named, but it does us the most good to study only those that are named for now. There are actually too many references in the Bible for me to give you all of them so I will only focus in on a few of them. It is also interesting to note that a prophet is not isolated to the Old Testament only. There are many men and women even in the New Testament that do prophesy and speak for God about coming world events. Let me give you a few examples of the named prophets that I found in the Bible:
- Enoch (Jude 1:14)
- Abraham (Gen 18:17, Gen 20:7)
- Isaac (Luke 13:28, Heb 11:20)
- Jacob (Luke 13:28)
- Moses (Genesis – Deuteronomy, Psalms)
- Aaron (Exo 7:1)
- Joshua (Joshua)
- Balaam (2 Peter 2:15-16)
- Eldad (Numbers 11:27)
- Medad (Numbers 11:27)
- Samuel ( 1 Sam 3:20)
- Gad (1 Sam 22:5)
- Nathan (2 Sam 7:2)
- King David (Psalms, Acts 2:29-30)
- King Solomon (Song, Lamentations)
- Obadiah (Obadiah)
- Eliezer (2 Chron 20:27)
- Hosea (Hosea)
- Amos (Amos)
- Micah (Micah)
- Elijah (1 Kings 18:22)
- Elisha (2 Kings 2:15)
- Jonah (2 Kings 14:25, Jonah)
- Isaiah (2 Kings 19:2, Isaiah)
- Joel (Joel)
- Nahum (Nahum)
- Habakkuk (Habakkuk)
- Zephaniah (Ezra 5:1)
- Jeremiah the mouth of the Lord (2 Chron 36:12)
- Ezekiel (Ezekiel)
- Daniel (Daniel, Mark 13:14)
- Shemaiah (2 Chron 12:15)
- Iddo ( 2 Chron 13:22)
- Haggai (Ezra 5:1, Haggai)
- Zechariah (Zechariah)
- Malachi (Malachi)
- Mordecai (Esther)
- Chanani (2 Chron 19:2)
- Oded (2 Chron 15:8)
- Jehu ( 1 Kings 16:7)
- Ahijah (1 Kings
12:15, 1 Kings 14:18)
- Zacharias (Luke 1:67)
- John the Baptist (Luke 7:28)
- Caiaphas (John 11:49-51)
- Judas (Acts 15:32)
- Silas (Acts 15:32)
- Agabus (Acts 21:10)
- John the Revelator (Revelation)
- Miriam (sister to Moses) (Exo 15:20)
- Deborah (the only female among the Judges) (Judges 4:4)
- Huldah (2 Kings 22:14)
- Noadiah (Neh 6:14)
- Abigail (1 Sam 25:3-32)
- Esther (Esther)
- Anna (Luke 2:36)
Jesus called himself a prophet in Matthew 13:57 and John 4:44. The people of Israel called Jesus “the Prophet” in John 7:40. This was a reference to another prophecy of Moses that said “God will raise up a prophet from your brethren” spoken by Peter in Acts 3:22 when he quotes Moses from Deuteronomy 18:15. So when a man comes along and claims to be a prophet I always go back and judge what he says by what the greatest prophet Jesus has said. If the words of a modern day prophet contradict the words of Jesus, I run away from the modern day prophet very fast. Yes there are real modern day prophets of God. Yes they are called by God, appointed by God, anointed by God and used by God still today to bring out a new message or even a new revelation. But their words will never contradict the Bible, they will only reveal it. These modern day prophets are in existence and differ greatly from the false prophets and you need to understand the differences so that you are never deceived. My recent commenter quoted this next verse to me twice and it can easily be misunderstood so I will address it now:
Amo 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
As you can clearly see this verse seems to contradict another verse that I taught you recently that Jesus said in Matthew 24:36. You may recall that I told you Jesus said “No man knows the day or the hour” and yet we have a prophet of God saying God does nothing without revealing it to His prophets first. Which one is it? Or can they both be true at the same time? Here is where you can fall into error very fast, if you are not careful. If Jesus told us that no man will know when He returns to the earth and the prophet Amos seems to imply that God will not send Jesus back unless He first tells His prophets we have a major conflict that needs immediate resolution. The only way that I know of to solve this dilemma is for us to go into the Bible and actually see what God tells us about prophets and what they know and this will enlighten your confusion dramatically, I hope.
Let me start by asking you this question. What if Albert Einstein came to you about 70 years ago and said, “I am going to split an atom and with this act I will unleash such power that no nation will be able to withstand you”. At this point in time there were no nuclear weapons in the world. There were also no nuclear reactors and no one has a clue what is going to occur or how it is going to happen or even when it will happen. Nor does anyone have any comprehension to the hidden power that is about to be unleashed upon the world. Did Einstein not tell you exactly what he was going to do but, yet you would still be in the dark to what he was saying to you? I mean come on, are you a nuclear scientist? Do you have the understanding of how to split an atom? Back in the 1940’s when this was happening you certainly did not.
I believe that this is exactly the situation the human race was in whenever God came to them and tells them what He was going to do. You might know exactly what will happen, but how it will happen, when it will happen and the impact of why it was happening would cause you to still know very little. You have to understand that God’s intelligence is so far above your intelligence that He could tell you exactly what He was going to do and in your mind you would not be able to comprehend much of anything but the general concept of what might happen. Let me give you a direct Bible example of something that God told the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah was told by God that a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel (Isa 7:14). Nowhere did God tell Isaiah how this would occur, when this would occur or why this would occur so Isaiah was given some very important but limited future facts with a very limited capacity of understanding what any of it meant. No one had ever seen a woman have a child without the involvement of a human man, so this was a foreign impossibility. If you think that Isaiah knew more than this or understood more than this, you would be greatly mistaken. Isaiah was clearly one of the greatest Old Testament prophets and he was told many things but only in limited quantities and he understood almost none of them. He wrote down what God had said to him but there is absolutely no way that you can say Isaiah understood what was written. This is the nature of how God works. If God told you everything, you would not need to walk by faith because you could walk by sight. If you knew everything you would not need a God who does know everything. Interesting concept, isn’t it? But, since God teaches you a little bit here and there you are forced to use your faith and believe the things that He has told you without understanding how they will occur or even when they will occur.
Take the book of Revelation written down by John. John prophesies many complex things that will soon occur, yet this book of the Bible is clearly the most misunderstood and controversial book that I know of. The numbers of opinions that surround this book are so vast that it is humorous to search the internet to see what people are saying and thinking about it. It is obviously very clear that God gives us a lot of information in this book while not telling us much of what it actually means on the surface. This is the nature of the prophet! A prophet is a messenger that brings to us words from God, but that does not mean the prophet knows everything about what God said or meant. If John knew more than he wrote in the book of Revelation then he must have withheld the keys to understanding what he wrote. So a true prophet is a man with a message from God that he possibly does not fully comprehend. You need to see that a prophet can bring a word from God, but the message may be a riddle, a puzzle or a hidden secret that needs to be revealed by God in order to be accurately understood by men. This is one of the key reasons when I see someone giving us a prophecy of an exact date and time that I can say they are not a true prophet of God. I think I am going to prove these statements using the Bible to give you examples of how God uses a man to be one of His prophets. In this way you will hopefully see that I am not teaching you my opinion, but that I am teaching you what God has said in His Word.
Have you understood my points so far? Just because God tells the prophet what will happen, it does not mean God will have to tell the prophet when it will happen. Nor does it mean that God has to tell the prophet how it will happen. You cannot find this in the Bible. If you try to make Amos 3:7 say that you are clearly overstepping what the verse says and making it say something beyond what was actually stated by God. You must get very nit-picky when you read the Bible and you must pay attention to every word and then you must not add to them to make them say something additional. Here is a further confirmation to what I am attempting to teach you today about a prophet of God:
1Co 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
Here is Paul calling himself a prophet. Paul tells us that people only know part of the whole truth and therefore they can only prophesy about the small part that they know. If a prophet can only prophesy in part then there is a great deal of information that is not known and not spoken of by the prophet. Do you understand this concept? A prophet of God is not God and therefore they will not know everything. A prophet will only know what he has been told and God is not going to tell one man everything. Let’s go back to the example of a witness to a crime that is called to testify in a court of law. Can a witness testify about the whole crime or only the part that they may have observed? Hopefully you can understand that if a witness testifies about anything that they did not see firsthand that their testimony becomes hearsay and speculation and it is invalid for them to speak in that area. This is how a prophet works also. They either will say what God says to be true or they will say what they want to say and this makes their words invalid.
Let me try to show what else the Bible says about prophets and I want to show you what the prophet Jesus says again on the subject because I believe these words take precedence over all the other words in the Bible and I don’t have time to explain that statement fully today. You can read the words written in the Bible in Red Ink as if they were not any more important than the rest if you want to, but I will not approach the Bible with this attitude. Jesus was God in the flesh, personally here on the earth physically for the first time. Never before had God made Himself known first hand to man in this manner. Sure the Spirit of God would speak to men and even tell them what to tell others, but this time God does not send an angel with a message, God does not tell a man a message to tell others, but God sends Jesus to speak firsthand. Since, I learned that God was so much smarter than I am, I learned that I better pay attention to what He said while He walked among us. Read this verse very carefully because God is speaking here directly to us first hand:
Mat 13:17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.
Here is Jesus speaking to His disciples about Himself and what did He say to them? He says the prophets desired to see what they were seeing. Obviously this means the prophets did not see what the disciples were seeing. You could take this to mean the physical manifestation of what they prophesied would come, but I believe this statement goes way beyond that. The Greek word translated as “see” in this verse is much more diverse than just physical sight. This word is more three dimensional and it has a spiritual and an intellectual side to it that is very profound. It actually means “knowledge” and “understanding”. To know something is a profound subject found in the Bible that conveys sexual intimacy. Adam “knew” his wife and she conceived a son. You see Jesus was telling the disciples that the prophets did not understand what they were told to prophesy about. It was over their head and beyond their capacity of spiritual and intellectual knowledge. Jesus came into the world to bring us light. It was only after the light had come into the world that men began to understand in part and come out of their darkness that they lived in. The Bible says that Jesus came and taught things that were kept hidden from the foundation of the world (Mat 13:35). These are clearly the things that the prophets and righteous men of old wrote about and desired to see but, were totally incapable of understanding because they were still secrets of God. Let me give you another witness to help establish the truth.
1Peter 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
Again we can see Peter this time writing about the prophets who searched diligently for what? Do you see the implied meaning within these words of God? The prophets of old prophesied about the coming Grace of God, but yet they did not have a clue how it would come or when it would come or even who it was to come to. If you do not understand that this is the way God operates with a prophet then you still have a lot to learn from the Bible. This is why many people are easily deceived in the world today. They do not understand that God does not tell His prophet’s everything, so when a man comes along saying I am a prophet and I have been told by God that the end of days will occur at 6 PM on May 21, 2011 they fall for it without seeking to know the real truth. They can easily misapply Amos 3:7 to say I am this prophet who knows the end. However, if the message contradicts what the other prophets of God have said you better run away from him fast.
Let me teach you an Old Testament example that is critical for you to understand how the prophets of God work. We are going to the book of 1 Samuel and read about the prophet Samuel and hopefully you will be able to see how God speaks to His prophet and what He tells them and more importantly what He does not tell him. We will begin with chapter 16 after Saul was anointed by Samuel to be king, but rejected by God for his failure in his character and other factors that I will not get into.
1Sa 16:1 And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.
God tells Samuel to go to Jesse’s house and he will anoint one of his sons to be the new king of Israel. Here is God speaking to the prophet and telling him what He was going to do before He did it as Amos 3:7 said to us. However, notice what God did not say! God did not tell Samuel which son was to be king. God does not name him or tell him what to look for or give him anything specific that I would think would be absolutely critical to know in order to fulfill the prophecy. Why does God leave out such important information as who is to be anointed as the next king of Israel? Did God not know or did God purposely choose not to say? I personally believe that Samuel was required to walk by faith and not by sight? Faith is a requirement in order to please God (Heb 11:6). Faith dictates that you must believe something without having the evidence to prove its existence. Samuel was required by God to go somewhere and believe that God would show him which son would be king. Obedience is another key factor. If Samuel had not gone to Jesse’s house there would have been no King David either. So Samuel is obedient and goes to Jesse’s house by faith:
1 Sa 16:6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him.
You can read every verse if you like, but I’m going to skip down to verse 6 next to show you that Samuel the prophet of God still did not know who the right son is yet. Samuel looks at the son named Eliah and thinks that this one must be him, but you will soon see that it is not. Truly the prophet of God is still walking by faith waiting for God to reveal the right son, but he almost made a mistake and got into the flesh. Samuel almost began to walk by sight by thinking he had found the new future king by observing his external appearance. But, God tells Samuel something very important:
1Sa 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
This is the profound wisdom from God. As Christians we should all learn the lesson being given. We should then apply it to how we elect a president. Ignore how he looks externally, what color he is, or how tall he is, or how skinny he is and see what kind of spiritual fruit that he is producing. I guess I won’t go there today, but you get the idea, I hope and pray. You can continue to read down in this chapter and see that Jesse sends his sons to the prophet one by one from the oldest to the youngest. Seven sons in and seven sons rejected by God. It sure would have saved a lot of Samuel’s time if God had only told him the name of the son that was to become king. Samuel looks at Jesse and asks are these all of the children? Jesse says the youngest is in the field watching the sheep. Sound’s familiar doesn’t it? Was not Jesus also called the Good Shepherd? What I want you to observe is the fact that the prophet of God is not told every detail and was required to walk by faith in order to please God with his obedience. God finally fulfills the original prophecy but it does not occur because of Samuel’s knowledge it only happens because of his faithful obedience. This is a very important key factor for anybody that is called to be a prophet. This is how God operates with every prophet. God never tells the prophet everything that He knows. God only tells the prophet enough to take him to the next step of faith. Faith is one of the most important subjects found in the entire Bible and people want to ignore it to try to figure out how God operates with people. You just cannot do that and correctly interpret the Bible. If you have read my other Bible lessons then you have probably heard me say this before, that there is more than one truth in the Bible and you must use them all to come up with the correct interpretation of God‘s Word. I’m going to keep saying that until everyone gets it.
So I have been going on in this lesson long enough today. I’ll end this lesson with this question. Who is a prophet and how do they become one? Let’s read from the words of the prophet Moses and see another great Old Testament example that is important to understand:
Num 11:29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!
This verse tells us that it is the Spirit of God that makes a man or a woman a prophet. Therefore they cannot make themselves a real prophet without God’s involvement. Just because someone calls themselves a prophet does not mean they are one. I found this fact crosses over to other offices of God in the church. There are people in the world that call themselves an Apostle and clearly this was a self-appointed title. Others assign themselves to be teachers and clearly they are not. But, let’s get back to Moses. You may remember that God selected Moses and Moses did not select himself to be a prophet. If you read the context of this verse in Numbers 11 you will find a man coming to Moses and complaining of others who were prophesying for God outside of Moses. In other words a man under Moses thought this should not be happening because Moses did not authorize it. It did not go in the proper chain of authority. It is funny that God does not have to follow what men think in order to do something new, especially if one of them is questioning God. In this chapter you will find that God was making a point to Moses. God told Moses the prophet what to say to the people and Moses questioned God’s ability to fulfill what He had spoken. You can read this in Numbers 11:18-22 and the surrounding verses. You need to figure out this was a major problem with God for Moses to question His ability. Moses did not want to walk by faith and he wanted the explanation of how God could possibly give the children of Israel flesh to eat for a month. Here is another example of how God desires faith from even His prophets. Since Moses refused to walk by faith God withdrew His Spirit and placed it upon other elders of Israel and they began to prophesy for God. Anyway that is a separate valuable lesson and another conformation that God does not tell even His prophet everything. But you can see what Moses’ reaction to the complaint was. Moses wished that God would put His Spirit upon everyone so that they all could prophesy and become prophets of God. I actually believe this was a prophetic statement of what God intended for us, the church. The prophet Joel actually says this:
Joe 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
This prophecy began to be fulfilled in Acts 2 when the Spirit of God was poured out on the first 120 church members in the upper room and it actually continues to be fulfilled even to today. To prophesy is the action of a prophet and this tells us that it was God’s intention that all could potentially do this. Wow, I do not know if you understand what this is saying. To me it is saying you do not have to be directly labeled a prophet in order to prophesy. If you have the Spirit of God on you and in you, you have everything that you need to prophesy. Wow, that is a tough concept for many Christians to accept and this is probably because they have the Spirit of God in them, but not on them and there is a major difference between these two experiences. If you do not understand that, I’m sorry I do not have time to explain it. Let me review some of my major points about prophets today:
- A prophet knows in part and prophesies only in part.
- A prophet is required to walk by faith.
- A prophet is required to be obedient.
- A prophet may tell you what will happen, but will probably not understand how it will happen, why it will happen or even when it will happen.
- A prophet is just one man and not God and does not know everything.
- The Spirit of God upon someone causes someone to be a real prophet that can prophesy.
- A real prophet’s message is always from God and not from a man and thus will not contradict any other real prophet or the Word of God.
- The words of a prophet should not be taken in isolation, but there should be two or three witnesses (seers) to the actual reality that agree with each other.
- The Bible says we have the capability to judge all prophecy to see if it is legitimate.
- Jesus warned us that there will be coming many false prophets.
- So not everyone that says they are a prophet is a prophet.
- God says look not at the external things of a man, but examine his heart to determine a real prophet.
- There are many, many prophets in the Bible.
- If you can find two or three of them that agree then believe what they say even if you do not understand how it will happen or even when it will happen.
- In the church we are not to be led by prophets or prophecy we are led by the Spirit of God instead.
These are the beginnings of some very important concepts to remember and to learn to live by. In a future lesson on prophets we will explore some more scriptures to expand our knowledge on this subject. Until next time, may God continue to bless you to see and understand His Word! If you have any questions or comments about prophets you are welcome to post them and I will try to respond to each of them. God Bless.
(Ver 2.0) I will get back to teaching on faith and healing very soon. However, I will warn you again today up front that this Bible lesson will potentially offend some people. This is now Part 2 of a lesson series that I have been teaching about a modern day problem that has been running wild in almost every Christian church and ministry in the world. I was not going to write a part 2, but the Spirit of God did not allow me to drop the subject, so here I go again today. We live in a complex world with vast numbers of pressures that are presented to men and women of God and we must all have money to survive and pay our bills. But, this mentality and pressure has caused many Christian ministries of God to justify a selling of the Gospel that only allows for a few rich people to hear and learn the truth of God and it places unjust limitations upon all those who cannot afford to buy it. There are a few exceptions that I can name like Keith Moore who runs Moore Life Ministries and Andrew Womack who runs Andrew Womack Ministries, who both allow you to copy their ministry materials and freely give them to others. They both also freely distribute the Gospel for free. I guess I should point out some minor differences between the two; Andrew Womack has an online store where they post suggested prices for their materials but I assume if you cannot afford those prices they might send them to you anyway. They do say that on their TV show, that if you cannot afford the CD that they are talking about that day that they will send it to you anyway. I also learned today that they have many of their materials available as a free download as MP3 files. Prais God for them! Keith Moore is more technology savvy and will post the entire MP3 file and the WMV video file of his meetings on the internet to allow you to watch or listen to them on your iPod or MP3 player device. Search the internet and look for churches who give away MP3 files of their sermons for free for you to download and listen to and you will see that there are a growing number that have purposely chosen not to prostitute the Gospel for a few dollars so that everyone in the world can hear it for free. These are all examples of innovative new types of ministries of God who care more for people than they do for money. However, it is funny how God works when He sees people who care for what He cares for. It seems that God will always meet the needs of those who are reaching out to people for free and cause them to prosper. You see Keith Moore, who does not charge for the Gospel, flies a jet airplane and is significantly blessed by God and this is an awesome example of God’s blessings on a man who is teaching others the truth and being blessed to do it. This is how it supposed to work in every ministry. Jesus taught us very clearly “freely you have received, so freely give” and if you are not doing this, then you are guilty of spiritual prostitution and I will talk about this directly today.
If you have not read “Part 1” I would truly advise you to start reading there first and then come back and continue with this lesson so that you will better understand what I am preaching today. Many times the Bible and the Truth of God are very difficult to swallow for some people. Some Christian people and even ministers see things in their minds as being acceptable, but in the eyes of God and the eyes of men on the outside it is self-evident to be the wrong approach. Today’s Bible lesson is about the Christian Prostitution of the Word of God and that is a potentially offensive subject to many today, yet this subject needs to be preached regardless of what people think of it at first. A prostitute in the natural world is usually a female who sells herself to others for the sexual pleasures of those who pay her money for what they desire. If you do not understand what prostitution is, you are either blind or extremely naïve. Prostitution is legal in Nevada and some other countries in the world, but just because something is legal does not mean it is right in the eyes of God. That is why I can preach against ministries who are selling their Gospel using the laws of the government to justify their approach to the distribution of the Gospel. Just because Spiritual Prostitution is legal in this country, it does not make it right in the eyes of God either. There are two questions that enter into my mind when I think about the subject of prostitution. First, what makes a woman do this? And second, what makes a man want what she is selling? For the woman, it is usually a desire for the money. For the man who is buying it, it is usually just a lust or the fact that he has a very strong desire for sexual gratification. He obviously sees value in what she is selling and is willing to pay her price. What am I preaching about today? When a man has sex with a woman it is called “knowing” her in the Bible. The Bible says Adam “knew” his wife and she conceived a son (Gen 4:1). This natural sex act is often times called “carnal knowledge”. The “knowing” of a woman is the covenant act of marriage. This is true whether you thought it was true or not. It is also true if she is a paid prostitute or your real wife (1 Cor 6:16). But, we can also have spiritual “knowledge” of God by hearing His Word taught by a preacher or a teacher and this is why I am teaching you about prostitution. There is a direct correlation in the Bible between natural sex to spiritual knowledge if you did not know it! The Word (Logos) of God is called His “seed” in Luke 8:11 and 1 Peter 1:23. The sperm of a man is also called ‘seed” in Leviticus 15:16-18 and Numbers 5:28. Therefore we can conclude the Word of God is His spiritual “seed” sown to give man the knowledge of the truth. So I am discussing a very mature subject today when I describe people who are on the internet selling the “knowledge” of God for money. The selling of the knowledge of God’s Word is equivalent in the spiritual realm to the natural sexual knowledge of a prostitute if it is done for money or profit. Getting or giving the knowledge of God is exactly like having sex in the natural. You need to get a hold of this concept very fast if you are a preacher who is selling your knowledge of God for money! I believe that this is a very serious subject and that is why I am preaching it today at the risk of offending my spiritual brothers. If you know of anyone that is doing this, please share this message with them ASAP!
What makes a prostitute think that she is worthy of this money that she earns? It is usually because she is attractive and does not know of any other way to get money. In other words her looks make her desirable to others and this causes her body to have monetary value. If no one wanted what she had, there would be no prostitutes in the world today, this is just how it works. Here is the major problem that I am talking about today. The Word of God is a highly desirable substance to many people like me. Over twenty years ago I began to hunger for the knowledge of God, so much so that I spent thousands of dollars to obtain this knowledge. I valued what many men of God were teaching so much that I bought it like a natural man after a sexy prostitute. Since this was the fastest and only way that I could get this knowledge, I paid their price. Since I was not a rich man that limited me to what I could give in offerings to them. But, I sacrificed the one for the other. So if I was the John looking for the “knowledge” of God, what does that make these ministers who were selling this knowledge? Wow, that does not leave too many choices does it? Obviously there are many ministries in the world who are spiritual prostitutes of the knowledge of God. This is why when I asked Kenneth Hagin Ministries for permission to copy their materials and give them away for free, that I was shocked when they said to me “NO”, I could not do that. They obviously liked the money more than they liked to help people learn about God. For a ministry that teaches “faith” predominately I do not understand why they do not live by what they preach. You see if there was no demand for this ministry’s materials, there would be no prostitution going on by them selling it. However, since God’s Word has great value to many people in the world they have a golden opportunity to sell their knowledge for a great price. This may be not what they think they are doing, but nonetheless it is what is going on. Jesus actually spoke of this in terms of a man who sold everything he had to buy the pearl of great price. The pearl of great price is actually the knowledge of God that He was speaking of in parable form (Mat 13:45-46).
You see I do not preach against the message that is being taught, it is a great message. I know I have over a 1000 of them on my MP3 player. But, how much do think that it cost me to get all of these? Do you think I got them for free? If you go to their website you will find that they sell MP3 files for $5 each, Tapes and CDs for $7 each and DVDs for $15 each. You do the math and see how much you think I spent. Now, some of these tapes that I bought did not come from them directly. I bought some of them off of eBay and those usually cost me more than what they would have sold them for but, since they were discontinued sets and they did not sell them anymore, I had to do what I had to do to get them. You see the Unnamed TV Ministry has created an artificial state of demand by limiting their materials. Much like the world diamond market controls the number of diamonds on the market so that they can cause the prices to rise. Anytime you put limits on what you are selling this is what you are doing regardless of what you think you are doing. Since you cannot find many of the tapes anymore on their websites, you have to buy what comes up for sell by the chance of people selling them that do not know what they have. Many times people would die and leave their tapes to their children and they would not have a clue what they were so they would sell them in a garage sell or on eBay. This is where I would buy them. For example, Unnamed TV ministries has two yearly meetings where they have a week of intensive training and Bible studies. I have nearly every set of tapes of these meetings going back 25 to 30 years. Sometimes I paid upwards of $10 a tape to buy them off the internet. When there are 16 to 20 tapes in one set, you do the math and tell me how much it cost me. So why did it cost me so much? It is because I was bidding against 10 other people who knew the value of the information on those tapes. It would be like having one hot prostitute and 10 Johns bidding to see who was going to have her tonight. I’m sorry if I’m too blunt sometimes, but somebody needs to wake up to see the truth!
Modern technology permits people to spread the Word of God for the cost of pennies and the majority of the ministries on the earth are still charging many dollars for their valuable spiritual copyrighted information. If you look at my picture that I have included in this paragraph you will see a very small computer chip that I own. On this computer chip I have 500 Kenneth Hagin sermons. So I still value these like the great Words of God that they are. These are the pearl of great price that I have sought after with my money and these are not all of the sermons that I own. I will tell you that I have nearly 2000 of just Kenneth Hagin messages and then I have many other Bible teachers of God for a total of over 10,000 MP3 sermons all together. God knows my heart and sees my hunger to know the truth and God has blessed me tremendously more than I could say. So I appreciate all that I have and I wanted to share it with others around the world and I have been struggling because of the resistance that I have been getting from ministers of the Gospel found in the body of Christ.
About 20 years ago, I was a part of a very large church in a city located in the Bible belt of America. This was a church that was growing and had increased in size to be one of the largest churches in the city. Our senior pastor was on TV teaching the Word of God and ministering to people nationwide, and making a lot of money from it. Our Sunday morning church service was broadcast live to the city on TV. Our church had over 5000 members in it and we thought we were doing very well and were certainly in the perfect will of God. Over time the ministry was attacked by Satan and the news media and things started to change and deteriorate quickly. The senior pastor was under such pressure that he isolated himself and started surrounding himself with ungodly council and advice. He eventually got deep into error, departing from the Word of God and abusing his anointing from God to go in a different independent direction. In his eyes he was just fine and thought nothing was wrong with him. Even after leaving his wife and taking up with another woman he thought he was justified in what he was doing. Well that church does not exist anymore; it went from over 5000 members to zero in a matter of a couple of years. That church building was sold to the city and it is now a convention center. Please learn from the mistakes of this ministry example that no man is justified to do what is right in his own eyes and think they will always have a ministry that can never fail or cease to exist. I know, I was there and I saw it firsthand. I tried to help and do what I could, like I am doing right now but I was pushed out like an enemy of the church and ignored. So it is today in my fight against my brothers in Christ who seem to deny what they are doing is wrong by selling their copyrighted Gospel.
I have learned one very important lesson that if it was not for God and His grace, I would not be doing what I am doing today. Therefore, what I teach and preach is not mine to control, copyright or limit. I am smart enough to see that if it were not for the knowledge of God and the anointing of God I would have absolutely nothing to teach that is worth a dime to anyone. Too many times preachers begin to think too highly of themselves and their abilities and they fall into a trap of believing that they have accomplished and created such a great ministry by their own abilities and talents. When you fall into this trap, it is very easy to think that you own what you are teaching and not give God the credit for what you have that is so valuable to others. When I see the anointing of God on me and what I teach, I stand in awe of the Greater One who is at work and I do not dare to think that I can copyright it since it was not my words to begin with. This is the error that too many ministries have fallen into and they are now so deep in it that it will be extremely difficult for them to get out of it unless they fall on their faces and repent quickly and change.
In my first Bible lesson on this subject, I taught the message of Jesus casting out the money changers from the temple of God and I related this to what is happening today because these men were using their knowledge of God and His Word to create a business. Today I want to continue this Bible lesson with another story that is found in the Bible that certainly applies directly to what I have been teaching you. You can turn to this story in the Book of Acts and find it in chapter 18 so please turn and read it with me and observe what is being said very closely:
Act 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
Here is a man named Simon and he observes the anointing of God in action in the lives of the apostles. Peter is basically laying his hands on new believers in Christ and they are being filled with the Spirit of God with the evidence of speaking in other tongues and Simon offers them money for the power to do this also. Since I am preaching about money, the anointing and ministers today this story certainly applies, doesn’t it? Or at least it should, if people would open their eyes and see what is going on:
Act 8:19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
So Simon desires to have the same power and anointing that is present on Peter to do what Peter was doing, but he is wrongly motivated primarily by greed. He is thinking within himself that with this power, he will be able to get rich. By buying the anointing he will be able to do exactly what Peter was doing and use it for a new spiritual business. Wow, I hope and pray that you can read and see what God is saying here! Here is Peter’s reaction to this offer of prostitution from Simon. You did hear what I just called it, didn’t you?
Act 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
Apparently Peter was not motivated by money and he saw things differently than a lot of modern ministries on the earth do today who seem to be motivated or stimulated by money offers that are coming to them. It is very obvious to me that Peter did not take any money for what he knew was not his to begin with to sell. Are you still listening to what I just said?
Act 8:21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
When you do something wrong does it matter the intentions of why you do it? Then on the other hand can you have perfectly good intentions and still do the wrong things? Both of these are certainly possible today. Here is where it begins to get infinitely more complex. People do many things in the world today out of ignorance even though they are still clearly the wrong things to do. I hope and pray that this is the situation for the ministries that I have named in these lessons and all of the others that I did not name. That is why I like to think that modern ministries are not willfully and intentionally prostituting the gift of God that has been given to them to make a profit from it. However, Peter was smart enough to see that it was wrong either way and that it was not wise for him to partake of the money that was being offered to him. Having the right knowledge of God is the power to say no when a situation is presented that appears to be very good on the surface. Modern ministries today have been presented a very attractive offer for the use or I should say the abuse of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and they have fallen into the trap that has turned the selling of that which does not belong to them into a positive thing for the benefit of what they are doing for God. Could not Peter think the exact same thing in Acts 8? Couldn’t Peter had justified, that this money could be used to help spread the Gospel, so he better take it and just let God figure out what to do next with Simon. Think with me, Peter was a called man of God. Peter was an anointed man of God. Peter was taught by Jesus himself! So Peter had the same things going for him that preachers like Kenneth Hagin or Kenneth Copeland have going for them. I guess I should clarify that Kenneth Hagin went to be with the Lord in 2003, so he is not technically in charge of his ministry anymore and his son runs it today. His son Kenneth W Hagin is on TV and this is probably a part of what is feeding the problem. Maybe you think I am being a critic because I do not like these ministries, but since you do not know me, you would think wrong. It is only because I like them so much that I mention them at all. You see I consider Kenneth Hagin to be a spiritual father of mine, so it hurts me to no end that I have to teach what they are doing is wrong! You have no idea how much I cried when I wrote the first article.
What I want you to learn today is that Peter was in town preaching the Word of God and ministering to the people when he was offered what appeared to be a large sum of cash to give what he did not own to another man. If you do not understand how this applies to the modern world, then you are a spiritually blind man or woman. If you are selling your anointed teaching or preaching materials for a profit you are accepting money for something that you did not produce or could produce without the power of God’s participation. Maybe some of my readers do not understand what the anointing is and we should back up briefly and talk about that. The anointing is God’s Power and Ability for you to do what you have been called to do. The anointing of God is a gift of God like Peter was discussing in Acts 8. In other words, you might have been called to preach, but yet if you are trying to do it all in your own abilities and talents you are laboring in vain and wasting your time (Ps 127:1). To “anoint” is a Bible term that means to smear or rub with oil. The oil is usually viewed to be a type of the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. So to anoint with oil, is a concept that is an outward representation of something that actually transpires internally in our hearts (spirits). That was a brief lesson on the anointing and I know I did not cover it very well. But, since I’m teaching about Peter in Acts, let’s review a statement that Peter makes in his letter to the church:
1Pe 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1Pe 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
I hope that you can see what God is saying to the church in these verses. Since Peter is the scribe for these words, they directly apply to what we just read in Acts 8. Peter basically says that it is the ability that God has given to him that has caused him to do what he has done and it was not him that was doing anything. Think with me about the life of Peter recorded in the scriptures. It was not the same Peter in Acts chapter 2 who stood up and preached to thousands that it was the Peter who denied Jesus 3 times in John 13. What changed or happened to Peter to cause such a drastic transformation to a man who was fearful of other men to a man who was bold to preach the Word of God? The change occurred when God anointed Peter with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit which gave him supernatural power and abilities. I do not mean he could fly like a superman, I mean he had the Power of God upon him and working through him to do things that his natural man could have never accomplished. This is the anointing and the gifting of God that he was describing.
I use to be like the Peter who denied Jesus three times. You see I use to know nothing; I use to have no understanding of the Word of God and I use to have no teaching ability. I may have been called by God as a young child or even still in my mother’s womb as it says for many men of God in the Bible, but, I could not fulfill my destiny using my own determination or skills. It was not until the Holy Spirit came into me, filled me, then anointed me to teach and taught me what to teach that I could dare to teach the Bible at all. This is an essential lesson to learn for anyone in the ministry. It is always the anointing of God that must be present to produce anything of any spiritual value for others. So if you are teaching the Bible without the anointing you are just an entertainer that is making money and you ought to charge admission to your shows. But, if you are anointed by God then you are a man or a woman that is depending on Him to show up and work through you.
Most modern ministries with any integrity would never think of charging you an admission or an entrance fee into one of their meetings like it was a rock concert or a Broadway show. To charge money to allow you to hear the Gospel message of salvation would be a clear violation of the Word of God. However, to charge you money for past Bible lessons that they have recorded seems to be another story entirely in today’s world. I really do not understand how they see these two things to be different. A live teaching and a taped teaching contain the same words, the same message, the same meanings, the same anointing and the same power to save, heal or deliver the people who are listening to it. Why is it permissible in their eyes to charge great deals of money for these old Bible lessons that they do not charge for their new live ones? Why the gift of God is not sold live, but is sold in copies later, I really do not understand? That is a very narrow minded interpretation of the scriptures if you think one is permissible and the other is not. That is being inconsistent and ignorantly irresponsible of what God has given to you as a free gift. Do you not understand these concepts? Am I speaking empty words to empty heads? Or have you closed your mind to what the truth of God is telling you because we live in a modern world? Heaven help us all to get on the same page and work in unity and harmony to reach the entire world for God. I hope that you learned something from this series of lessons and if you agree with what I am saying, please share it with others so that the truth will prevail. God Bless you!
Driving Out the Money Changers from the Temple of God! A Copyrighted Gospel Sold in the Den of Thieves!
(Ver 2.0) I will warn you up front that this Bible lesson will offend some people today. I’m sure after you read this lesson I will have some people who agree with me and others who strongly disagree with me, but I really do pray that you will agree with God’s Word and not my opinions I am not writing this Bible lesson today to seem better than anyone else or to say that I am perfect and I never make any mistakes! I am just writing this article today to point out a major problem that has been running rampant in the Body of Christ. It seems there are certain internal policies called the doctrines of men in many Christian Ministries today who believe that they have the right to limit and control what is being taught to others and even how it can be shared. This is what I call today the “Copyrighted Gospel of Jesus Christ” and you will soon learn more about why I called it this. These offensive policies are giving the body of Christ a black eye and a very poor reputation and what even one Christian man does reflects on all of us as a whole whether we like it or not, since we are just ONE BODY! You see I’m definitely not perfect either and I make a ton of mistakes. But, if someone sees me making a mistake I would greatly appreciate them telling me about it so I can learn, repent and change. This is my attempt at teaching so others will see a different perspective to what they are doing. I try very hard not name names in my lessons, and I will do the same today after considering what these words might do to damage the reputation of certain Christians. Somebody definitely needs to wake up the sleeping giants, sound the alarm and they need to stop what they are doing and this is my deepest prayer. Perhaps God can use this message to do something that might cause a change to occur. I have tried to talk to a few ministries personally and privately first and since this didn’t work, I am now taking the message publicly to the Body of Christ for your attention and consideration. So today I am going to talk about the moneychangers in the Temple of God, who they are and what they are selling in the modern world:
Mat 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
Mat 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
As you can see from these verses in Matthew Jesus is NOT a happy Savior! This is an example of Godly Righteous Anger in action. Many people like to think that God is only Love and that this means He is nice all the time and will put up with your antics indefinitely. The vast gay community embraces the scriptures of God’s love and grace and they ignore the scriptures of sin, repentance and His judgment. Here in Matthew 21:12 Jesus goes into the Temple in Jerusalem and starts casting out those who were there to profit from God’s Word. These were His natural brothers and sisters if you did not know that. So I feel justified to speak of my spiritual brothers and sisters today in the same light. These people in the temple were all religious people who knew what the Bible said and they used this knowledge to make God’s work and His Word a business that caused them to get rich and profit from what did not belong to them. So Jesus got angry and cast them all out! Do you think that God thinks differently about this today than He did back then in the Temple? Do not get me wrong, being rich is not a problem at all, but how you got there is! If you are using God’s Word to prosper you or your ministry then you are a modern day moneychanger in the Temple of God at risk of being driven out before Christ returns for His church very soon. There are many and I do literally mean many Christian ministries that are in danger of this catastrophe today. All you have to do is go on to the internet and search for ministries that do this and you will find them. They have literally thousands of tapes, CDs, Video Tapes, DVDs and books for sell that clearly have huge mark ups and profit margins built into them. They have taken the Word of God that was given to them for free and put a price on it because it was valuable to someone and they can sell it to help pay for their ministry and TV expenses. This is what I call prostituting the Word of God for money and it is going on almost everywhere! Many of these ministries justify this practice with the logic and human reasoning that all of the money just goes back into the ministry and never their personal pockets, but yet most of these ministers and their employees still draw salaries from this income and there lies at least a part of the root of the problem.
So here is where I am going to start to get directly to the point that needs to be said today. I recently asked a very popular Christian TV ministry for permission to distribute copies of their materials for free to those in other countries that cannot afford to buy them. I did not modify the messages or make any changes to them, nor did I charge anyone for any of them. In fact, I mailed them to others with me paying the full cost of shipping. I also took upon myself the duplication costs, the material media expenses and the gas and labor for sending them were all paid by me. So I was never attempting to profit from their copyrighted materials. I was only motivated to help others to learn from the great messages that I had learned from. There is a huge problem with many ministries today; they do not fully understand the advantages of modern technology and the power of it. While the world around them has gone fully digital, these ministries primarily live with an analog mentality. I am a computer geek and I do not deny this one bit. Over 15 years ago I started buying old tapes from certain ministries and I converted them to MP3 files on my computer. This allowed me to keep them electronically so even if the tapes wear out, I still have the message. But, today there are also new MP3 players that you can fit in your little shirt pocket that will hold over 2000 sermons on it. This allows the Gospel to be carried around wherever you go. It also allows the Gospel to be freely and cheaply distributed to others for little to nothing. There are some ministries that are starting to learn about MP3 files now, but they are still stuck in their analog paradigm of selling them for the same cost as their tapes and CDs. That is crazy; do you know how much it would cost to fill up a MP3 player with your $5 MP3 files that cost you pennies to create and distribute? You see we live in a different world today; it is not a reel to reel Gospel mentality anymore. It is not even a cassette tape mentality where you can only put one tape into your tape player to hear the Gospel anymore. It is a digital revolution that has occurred to allow you to carry around 1000’s of your favorite Bible lessons and you can do all of them in a device that is less than 1 inch square or even on your smart phone. Wake UP PEOPLE!
You see this ministry that I asked for permission from, did not care if people had their materials, they only cared that they were given away for free to people outside of their control. How arrogant and controlling is that attitude? According to them anyone is free to go to their website and spend $5,000 – $10,000 to buy all of their ministry materials and they will be mailed directly to them. But, do not ever think you can make copies of them and give them to anyone else or they will sue you because of the copyrighted Gospel only belongs to them. This is a GOSPEL FUNNEL effect that Satan loves. If you limit the Gospel to go through one source of distribution only, it causes the Gospel to in effect be easily stopped or at the least severely hindered.
Does any ministry have the right to be a funnel for the TRUTH? What if Paul had this attitude? Would we have a Bible today? How did the early church grow into the fastest known religion from a small handful to thousands in only a very short time? Could it be the fact that there were no funnels limiting the spread of the truth? Could it be the fact there were no COPYRIGHTED Gospel ministries? All of this sounds a whole lot like the people in the temple who were profiting from selling doves and sacrifices for the people to obey the Word of God. If only the rich could afford to buy their sacrifices, then the poor were in trouble. This is the same situation we have in the world today. We have a bunch of ministries that are preaching a rich man’s Gospel and the poor are left out to fend for themselves.
Let me describe to you the situation so that you understand what is going on. I try to be a man of integrity and I never do anything to profit from preaching or teaching the Word of God as you can tell from reading my Bible lessons on the internet for free. So over the past 30 years, I had bought a bunch of a certain ministries materials costing me thousands of dollars and I thought they were all excellent Bible lessons that everyone should hear. So I emailed this ministry and asked them for permission to make electronic copies to distribute to others free of charge. In other words I would give their materials away to help others for free in order to assist people all over the world learn the same truth of God’s Word that I had learned. Does that sound unreasonable to you? You see after I emailed this well-known TV ministry and asked for this permission to make copies of their materials to give away to others for free, they wrote me back and explained all of their materials were “copyrighted” and I could not give them away to anyone because it was just not allowed by their internal policies. Forget, the Spirit of God said not to do this and forget what the Bible says about spreading the Gospel, they did not mention either of these to be factors in their policy; they just said it was THEIR Policy that forbids me in conjunction with the copyright laws of the United States of America which backs their right to do this. Wow and I thought there was a separation of church and state? I guess the separation is only important if the government is trying to tell the church what to do, but if the church wants to use the government to helps them to make a profit from the Word of God and the Gospel, then that is OK! So I became righteously angry with their email response and this is my attempt to tell the world about it. Since I am a Christian and a man of integrity I have no choice but to abide by their ignorant Godless policy, but you need to know about it so that you can decide if what they are doing is allowable both in your eyes and in the eyes of God. Here is the email response that I got from this ministry:
Because of the great amount of requests we receive from persons both known and unknown to us for duplication of “OUR UNNAMED” Ministries material such as cassette tapes, CDs, video tapes, DVDs, excerpts of books and magazines, printed lessons, etc., we have had to adopt a standard policy in order to be fair to everyone. In times past there has been confusion, misunderstanding and even unauthorized message changes resulting from duplication. Now that all of our materials are copyrighted, we feel it best to deny all requests for duplication. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
Oh, I understand perfectly well! Here is a ministry that charges a great deal of money on their website and in the meetings for their copyrighted Gospel and as long as you can afford to pay their prices you can have a copy of anything you like. If you are rich enough you can even buy one of everything. Oh, I understand perfectly well! But, if you cannot afford to pay $5 for a MP3 file, $7 for a CD or $15 for a DVD then you are screwed! Yes, I understand perfectly! Here is a ministry that is interested ONLY in making a dollar; more than they are for getting people the Word of God to teach them. Here is a ministry that God came for free and taught them what to teach to His people and they turn around and think they own the message. Wow, did you hear what I just said? Here is a ministry that does not allow you to copy “their” messages to give to others because it would cut into their future revenue stream. This is no different than the moneychangers in the Temple of God that Jesus drove out with a whip. If the people of Israel could not afford the moneychangers prices they did without a sacrifice that year. Oh, well maybe they can come back next year and could afford to buy a dove? I understand perfectly! What if the apostle Paul had that attitude? I would bet you that Paul would not have written 2/3 of the New Testament for us to have today. He would have seen how much money he could have made from the revelations of the mystery of the Gospel and only give this valuable information to the rich who could afford to buy it. If Paul would have copyrighted the New Testament, we would not have the Bible today. If the church in Paul’s day was not allowed to make copies of the letters that were written to them by Paul, they would have worn out, died and faded away forever. Do you understand these concepts that I am giving you today? What is the difference between a hand written letter or a scroll in Paul’s day and a CD in our day? They are both the Words of God, are they not? I do not see there is any difference between them. So what gives a ministry the right to limit who gets what they teach and forbid others to copy it? Who died and made them God? Is it only because the government says they can do it, that this makes it permissible in the eyes of everyone? Is the government the God of these ministries who charge for “their” gospel? Listen to what Paul said about this subject and pay very close attention to the Word of God and what He says:
1Co 9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
Wow, when I read this verse I nearly fell on my face and asked God why don’t men see and understand what they are doing with their eternal rewards. They have chosen to sacrifice an eternal reward for a temporary monetary gain. My Bible says in Matthew 6:20 “Lay up for yourself treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt it”. Paul very clearly tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:18 that his reward is great because he has freely given the truth to everyone without a charge. Paul further calls the charge of the Gospel an abuse of the power of God. Are you listening to what God just said? So if you are making ANY money from the Gospel you are abusing God’s power and losing your eternal reward. These are not my Words are they? I did not make this up, did I? Is this what your Bible says about selling the Gospel? What are the vast numbers of ministries doing with the Gospel that they have been given? Do they just ignore the Bible because they can? Most modern ministries when they go to a church to teach in person, they go for free, but then they usually receive an offering for their work that they have done. That is a normal Bible way of doing things in the church and I believe this is acceptable based upon Romans 15:27 and 1 Corinthians 9:11. But, here is where these ministries take it up a notch because of the advent of modern recording technology which was not available in Paul’s day. Because the Gospel can be recorded, preserved, and redistributed in the modern world, it is copied and packaged into an attractive sellable product and peddled everywhere they go for profit and income. Most of the ministries who do this are on television and they see these products as ways to help pay for the very expensive television time costs. So they will offer these valuable lessons on special promotions that will cause people to want them and send in their money so that they can hear the Gospel. So they make millions of dollars from the Gospel of Jesus Christ to help them pay for their TV bills.
When I was younger, I remember going to some Kenneth Copeland Believer’s Conventions and I would always have to pass by the tape tables at the front to get into the auditorium. Of course they were selling the tapes of the meetings that were going on that week, but they were also selling tapes from many years gone by at the same time. I would look at the tape series one after the other and there were normally many of them. My heart hungered for the knowledge of God and I wanted to buy them all. But, I was going to a church that taught us to give offerings and to sow seeds into other ministries. So I had a dilemma and a very hard choice to make since I was not a rich man. Do I buy tapes or do I give an offering? Why did I have to make this choice? It is because they charged so much for their taped Gospel. The Gospel was being peddled for a major profit. This was a clear prostitution of the Word of God and I can see that now, but back then I did not know enough to understand it. Oh, sure it was all nice quality tapes and folders and it takes time to duplicate them and package them. But, when you buy in the bulk like they did you can get these things very cheap and it does not cost you $5 to make one tape. In fact the cost is less than ten percent of that when done in major bulk with an efficient assembly line support process. So even if 50 cents of my $5 goes to cover the cost of making the tape the other $4.50 went to the ministry to pay for their jet airplanes or whatever. Wake up preachers!!! You see the cost of recording, duplication, production and distribution has greatly decreased over time with technology advancements. What use to cost 50 cents is now in the pennies today. What would had happened 25 years ago if preachers gave away their messages for free and allowed you to copy all of them? I believe that Jesus could have come back sooner because the Gospel would have already gone around the globe. Instead we have ministries like Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland who are charging more than ever for their 30 year old copyrighted Gospel and what can we do about it? Do you think charging for the Gospel puts undue constraints upon who is able to hear it and who is not able to hear it? Does any of this sound fair to you? You see the Kenneth Hagin ministry said that they had to be fair by making a blanket NO COPY policy and they forget who they are not being fair to are those that cannot afford to buy their overpriced materials to learn the truth. This Gospel could have been spread around the world with modern technology and the internet for pennies. I have to tell you the truth that Kenneth Copeland does give away a little bit for free on the internet, but Kenneth Hagin Ministries do not give anything away ever for FREE on the internet. So do I sound like the bad guy here? Are you going to shoot the messenger and ignore the message?
Let’s shift our focus off of money for a minute. The Kenneth Hagin Ministry claims that people have abused their materials and even edited them to make them say something that they do not say and this is the justification for copyrighting the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for not permitting anyone to make copies or redistribute the messages. Isn’t it amazing that Satan can use a few people to abuse the Gospel and this is suddenly justification to stop the ministry from spreading the truth to the hands of many more people who want to hear it but can’t afford it? Here is a great ministry with a great message and all it takes is for Satan to abuse it and they shut the doors to make sure it does not go around the world unless they can fully control it. Abuse is a funny lesson to learn from, but this is nothing new. In the natural world people abuse natural food and overeat constantly and we have a generation of kids who are grossly obese because of natural food abuse and the lack of physical exercise. Using the logic of the Unnamed TV Ministry we should control natural food to the masses of children so that they will not hurt themselves with it. In fact this is what our government has hotly debated and they have started to initiate these types of controls in schools and other places. They have limited food service in schools to only good healthy non-fried foods that are low in fat. One government agency in California passed a law that McDonalds could not sell toys in the happy meals to kids because this promoted an unhealthy lifestyle choice. This is how some ministries in the church are reacting to the abuse of God’s spiritual food. You did know that God’s word is spiritual food, didn’t you? If you did not know this you need to read your Bible some more. Because a ministry’s materials were abused they have instigated tight controls to keep it from happening and this is not the way to solve the problem. Did you know that people when they received copies of the Bible written by the Apostles they would make copies of them? Did you know that sometimes some people would abuse this policy and make little subtle changes to the copies and omissions to some of the words in the text because they did not agree with them? Did you know that this is still a point of controversy today in some religious institutions? However, the problem is solved by looking at all of the copies and comparing them. Since there are so many copies of the original manuscripts in the world that we can use to compare, the truth is easily determined. So copy abuse is not a new concept, it was an old concept used by Satan in the early church and it is still the same today. The best way to overcome copy abuse is to ensure that there are more legitimate copies in circulation than there are corrupted copies. If the Unnamed TV Ministry website gave away legit copies for anyone to download and listen to, it would be impossible for Satan to corrupt them all. This is the solution for abuse of the message and it is very easy to solve in this age of technology. A legitimate copy of the Word of God can contain signature information, even file size and date and time stamps and other ways of ensuring the accuracy. Of course any smart criminal can overcome whatever you do to protect your material, so you will never overcome that potential abuse. But, you can ensure that no matter how many abused copies there are in the world, there is still a place where you can get the complete message for FREE. So the solution to keep people from abusing your ministry materials is to flood the market with them so that anyone can get a legitimate copy of it for free from your website. Then no one can stop it or even change it to keep it out of the hands of the people to learn it. Don’t you see how the spread of the Gospel could go around the world in a matter of a few days if only ministries would start to do this?
There are so many ministries on TV and the internet that are guilty of this practice of copyrighting the Gospel of Jesus, that I really cannot name them all. Please do not get me wrong I have no problem with anything these TV ministries teach, that is not the issue at all. They all have a great message from God. The only problem that I have is how much they are charging for it. Also I want to point out that not everyone in the ministry is doing this on the internet. One man that I highly recommend is named Keith Moore (Moore Life Ministries) and he teaches the Bible with great spiritual substance to it and it is all for FREE! Keith Moore Ministries gives away all of their Bible lessons for free and that is an awesome example that he is setting for the Body of Christ. Do me a favor and go to his website and download something and then send him an offering telling him thanks for freely giving us the word of God.
There are many of my favorite Bible preachers and teachers that I have learned a lot from that practice this Limited Funnel Gospel Prostitution and they have gotten a lot of my money in order for me to get this knowledge. If you came to my house you could find hundreds and even thousands of their tapes in boxes in my closet from these guys. There are literally too many TV preachers to name them all. However there are also many churches that follow their examples and do the same with their in church book stores. I do not believe that these ministries are purposely or intentionally keeping the gospel from the masses; I’m trying to give them the benefit of a doubt and convince myself that they are doing what they are doing out of pure ignorance and this is why I teach the way I do today by naming their names. Please join with me to help me proclaim freedom for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Call these ministries until they hear the voice of the people or the voice of God to change their ways to allow the Gospel to be preached without charge. Help me eliminate Gospel copyrights that only line the pockets of the preachers. Help me to take off Gospel limitations so that it can be spread around the world with modern technology. In closing here is the commandment and great commission given to the church by our Lord Jesus Christ:
Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Freely you have received from God, so therefore freely give to men. This does not say to charge to recover you costs, it says to freely give the message of the truth to everyone that will listen. In today’s digital world this is so simple to do.
Maybe you may have noticed that I teach the Bible totally FREE! I do not have a donate button on my website, I do not have a P.O. Box that you can mail to, I do not give you a ministry name, I do not give you my personal name. This is my way of FREELY giving to you what God has given to me! So if I never see a dime from anything I teach, I know that I have a reward awaiting me in heaven that moths and rust cannot take away. I will also tell you that anything that I publish on this site is not mine and I do not own it and therefore you may freely copy it and spread it to anyone that will listen to it or read it. I have an OPEN COPY policy that is based upon FREELY I RECEIVED so FREELY GIVE. You have full permission to abuse it or use it however you like. I do not care! I have done what God has told me to do by publishing it, now you do what God tells you to do with it and be a good steward of His Word too.
Therefore, if no other ministry in the world will distribute the Gospel for Free, I have decided that I will do it! I’m sure this is going to make Satan really angry with me so I would appreciate your prayers. Also, I recently had a commenter who asked if they could sow a seed into my ministry, but I had to turn them down. This was a very difficult decision on my part to make, because I understand the power of sowing and reaping in the Bible. However, I believe that God told me not to accept any money for what I teach. This is one of the main reasons I teach anonymously on the internet. This website is not the words of a man, these are the Words of God and if I treat them as such, somebody out there will see them for what they are and understand their value.
Before I end today let me please say a prayer and if you agree with what I have said today, please also pray this with me in agreement:
Dear God, help Christian ministries to see that everything you have given to them does not belong to them. Cause ministers to come to know that they are just stewards of the Gospel and that you will hold them accountable for what you have given to them freely. Help all ministers to have a compassionate heart for people; a heart that desires everyone to hear and know the truth and not just those who can afford to buy it. Help ministries learn about all of the new technologies that are available in the world and on the internet to help us spread the Words of Grace to everyone who is hungry to hear it. Lord God as ministries transition to a faith based life style of ministry by giving the Gospel for free to everyone, help them with an abundant supply of new partners, donors and contributors that more than make up for the revenue that they will lose from not selling your Words. Open the eyes and hears of our understanding and help us all to be good stewards of the blessed Word of God. Surely the time is short and many in the world still need to hear the truth before you come back, so help us to get this word out as fast and as efficient as we can and to not miss anyone that is open to the Gospel before you return for us. Even so Lord Jesus, come quickly! In Jesus name I pray! Amen!
Thank you and God bless you for taking the time to read my Bible lesson and please share it with someone that you know to help us all get the truth out!
If you would like to continue reading this series of Bible lessons, you can continue with “Part 2“.
Mat 16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
(Ver 1.1) This is Part 2 in a series of advanced Bible lessons on the subject of the signs of the end times. If you have not read from the beginning of the series I would recommend that you go and start with “Part 1“. In the news the last few days the great earthquake in Japan has been very disturbing to many people. However, this is really nothing new, is it? Here we have a major Biblical prophecy unfolding before us and people are very surprised that it is happening. If they would only read their Bibles they have had seen God tell them it was coming. Over the course of the last few years we have had major quakes in Japan, New Zealand, Chile and Haiti. As recently as 2004 we had one of the greatest earthquakes ever registered in the Indian Ocean that caused a massive Tsunami that killed almost a quarter million people. They are predicting that the earthquake in Japan has killed up to 10,000 people. In Chile and New Zealand there were both less than a 1000 deaths. But, in the Haiti earthquake last year there were around 170,000 killed. These are not all of the quakes, just some of the major ones that have made the news because of the deaths and devastations that have occurred. I believe looking back over our history; the largest recorded earthquake occurred around 1964 in Alaska and it measured 9.2 on the Richter scale. So this was less than 50 years ago. While I do not like what is happening, I can read the signs that are being presented to us that the earth is coming to the end of the age. I know there are many confused Christians that do not believe that and I’m sorry that you cannot see the truth. From everything that I have read in the Bible, it is not going to get any better; but, according to God it is going to get much worse. In other words what we have witnessed in the last 50 years is nothing compared to what is about to happen on the earth. I do not want to be a doom and gloom preacher, but I feel like it is somebody’s responsibility to be realistic and warn people of what is coming. I am not here to sell you a book by hyping something up. What I tell is for free. Here is some of the important things that Jesus taught us in the Bible about what is happening right now:
Luk 21:10 Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
Luk 21:11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
I am not acting as a prophet and telling you what will happen today, I’m simply reading the greatest prophet Jesus and seeing what He said to us. In verse 11 Jesus said there are coming “great earthquakes”. Look up the definition of this word “great”. It is the Greek word “megas” that means big, large and mighty. These are just a few things in the Bible that describe what is happening in the world. All of these could be from a story given on the evening news cast. We have seen wars, but these are nothing compared to what is coming.
1Th 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
God says that there are more wars on the horizon to come and therefore, be warned! Many will die! Be warned! God says that when everyone cries for peace and safety in the world that destruction will fall suddenly upon them. Notice I’m not calling for peace or safety in this blog. Did you notice that? There will be Global climate changes, floods and natural disasters that will cause the world’s food supply to dwindle to nothing. Many will die! Be warned! We are not through with the earthquakes either, there are more big ones coming and many will die. Be warned! Fear will become prevalent with all non-Christians. Be warned!
Luk 21:26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Jesus in the same discourse tells us of great fear that will begin to come on men. This fear will cause their hearts to fail and for them to fall dead in the streets. Do not think this is not happening today, it is all around you. Heart failure is the number one killer in the world. Look it up and see if heart failure is not the leading cause of death in the world today.
Luk 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
The potential for Tsunamis is also a growing threat to many people. If you live near a coast, be warned! If you live near known fault lines then be prepared, it is coming! If the seas and waves are roaring as Jesus had said, then there is something causing them like the Japan earthquake this week. The roaring sea wiped out many things, cities, boats, trains, cars, houses, buildings and these all happened in a matter of seconds.
I do not believe that God is causing these things to happen, but yet God knows that they will happen and He tells us of them before they occur. Always remember that God knows the end from the beginning, so nothing is catching Him by surprise, it is only those who ignore His Word that are caught by surprise. I believe that we are very, very close to the return of Jesus. I saw a man on TV the other day that Jesus appeared to in a vision and told him, tell my people I am coming soon. I don’t know about you, but I believed him. Jesus is preparing those who are listening to be ready. To those who do not believe in the rapture, he is saying this is what will happen and why we are gone. You see when we disappear from the face of the planet, there will be many deceivers trying to tell you what happened to us. Since these people were so easily deceived in not believing in the rapture, I think they will continue to be easily deceived into other lies.
Rev 16:18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
Here in this chapter of Revelation, it appears things get dramatically worse. We also seem to see that God has gotten personally involved and has sent angels to pour out the wrath of His fury. God predicts the greatest earthquake in the entire human history is coming in Revelation 16. If you have never read the book of Revelation you are missing a view into a seven year descriptive time that is about to happen. I do not know exactly when it will happen, I just know it is not long from now. So I sound like a “Chicken Little” Christian telling you the sky is falling. If you think this year is bad and the worse that it can get, I can only tell you to ignore me and tell me what happens next year, if I am still here. I am not setting a date, I am not telling you the world is ending tomorrow, I just know things are happening very fast right now. It is like time is accelerating to a climax.
So if you don’t agree with my assessment of the world’s situation from the Bible viewpoint, then that is OK. You do not have to write me a nasty comment. If you just wait a few months we will both see who is right, you or me and you won’t sound like a fool if I’m right. If I am right then I won’t be here to look like a fool, because Jesus said this to me:
Luk 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Jesus personally told me that when I see these things beginning to happen. Did you notice that? Jesus said this was the beginning and not the end of them, so there are definitely more to come. Do you choose to believe what Jesus is saying to you? I definitely do! Jesus told us, fear not, for when these things start to occur you should look up and see that I am coming. I personally believe that Jesus is coming only for those who are looking for Him. So if you are not looking for Him to come, He will not bother you.
Luk 21:27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
We shall behold Him in His Power and Glory in the sky. Therefore, He is not coming to set foot on the earth this time. This is just a coming to catch away His people from the coming turmoil and destruction that will occur on the earth. I really do not understand why people would not want to believe in the rapture, it is right there in front of them and even Jesus describes it to us. Please be wise and heed the Word of God. These are not my words so I am not offended if you do not believe them. Just know that someone tried to tell you what was happening before it happened and you had a chance to hear it. Do you discern the signs of the times? God Bless you to see them!