Category Archives: Bible Basics
Bible Basics: Jesus Asks “Who Do You Say That I Am?” Part 2 – Believing in the Name of Jesus is a Requirement NOW!
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 2 of a very fundamental and rudimentary but essential Bible Subject for every Christian to study, learn, understand and be able to share in an instant with all others in the world! What is that vital subject you ask? The subject that I am referring to is “Who is Jesus to you?” If you did not read from the beginning I would strongly recommend that you go back to “Part 1” to begin reading the series because all of that information will not be repeated again and it was very important for your understanding of who Jesus should be to you. The first lesson was a focused approach to understanding the significance of some of the most important revealed “Names” of Jesus in the Bible. If you read the first lesson you know that I introduced you to 3 of these primary names of Jesus found in the New Testament. There are of course several other revealed names and titles of Jesus that I did not mention. Later in the series we will explore more of these names but I will mention at least two other direct names today in this lesson.
I hope after reading Part 1 that you at least have a better comprehension for the importance of these 3 Bible names of Jesus that were covered. These names were 1) Jesus, 2) Emmanuel and 3) The Word of God. All three names connected us directly to a personal divine appearance on the earth of the creator Lord God coming from heaven in the form of a man like us. In today’s lesson we will expand the subject of these 3 names by adding two new names “Lord” and “King” and we will begin to address the question of what benefit is there for believing in these names of Jesus? Were there any benefits in the early Church? Are there any benefits to these names in the modern church? Why is it important for us to even believe in the names of Jesus? What occurs if we do not believe in Jesus being God in the flesh or in His revealed names? We will soon be learning what the Bible says about what will happen if we believe in His name and what will happen if we do not. Wow that sounds imperative to know.
In many of my Bible studies I place an added emphasis upon how to study the Bible. Today’s lesson will be more of this type of double teaching effort. I want to provide the reader with valuable spiritual information but at the same time I desire to teach a few of the rules and methods for how the information was obtained. In this way I am teaching the reader more about “how to fish for information” than simply just offering them a “onetime fish meal of information”. Of course the number one rule for every Bible study method is for us to be led by the Spirit of God and listen for His guidance as we study the Bible by faith. Following this rule will insure that we are on the right path to not deviate from the way of finding the truth. The Spirit of God is Truth (John 14:17) and we are told that He will guide us into all Truth (John 16:13).
INTRODUCTION TO THE NAME OF THE LORD
Let’s begin this Bible study using the important Bible study technique called “The Law of First Mention. Today’s Bible study’s primary focus is upon the importance of knowing, understanding and believing in the name of Jesus. So we will go back into the O.T. to find the name of God that is found within this name Jesus. Perhaps you do not understand what the law of first mention represents. I found through years of Bible study that the law of first mention is a very useful study technique to learn from and use. This study law introduces us to the subject where God first mentions what we are interested in learning. I have found consistently that God places key information in every initial subject reference that is critical to understanding almost every other subject reference in the rest of the Bible. Since we learned in lesson 1 that the original language Hebrew name of Jesus was comprised of two Hebrew root words “Jehovah and Saves” we will focus in on the O.T. references to the name of God, Jehovah. The first time this name Jehovah is used by God in the O.T. is found in Genesis 2. Let us read the verse and learn what God introduces us to in this first subject mention:
Gen 2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
Did you notice that this verse connects the name Jehovah directly to the God of creation and the creation event itself? In Genesis 1 the name of God primarily mentioned is H430 Elohim which is normally translated as “God”. However in this verse in Genesis 2 Jehovah and Elohim are joined and used in conjunction together as a connecting force for equality, for clarification and for further definition. I believe this simply teaches us that Jehovah is Elohim and Elohim is Jehovah. Why is this important? It is only important because in the New Testament in John 1 we saw another direct reference to GOD and to the creation event that must be included with Genesis 2:4 in order to be understood more thoroughly. Let’s review the first three verses of John 1:
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1 are parallel creation event verses connected together by God’s design. God in the book of John further clarifies and bring newly defined light and revelation to the subject of creation and the Creator. God is being declared equivalent to the Word in these verses and we are clearly informed that the Word created everything that was made. We can now go back and reread Genesis 1 and find that this is exactly what happened. God spoke His Word and the created things came forth and produce life.
In these verses in John the name of God is the Greek word “Theos” and this is the equivalent of the Hebrew name of God “Elohim” by direct association. Notice, in Genesis 1:1 God says “In the beginning God (Elohim)…” and in John 1:1 God says “In the beginning God (Theos)…”. I know technically it says “In the Beginning was the Word” but later in the verse God tells us the Word was God (Theos) and that is a basic Algebraic law at work that says if A = B and B = C then A = C. Therefore I hope you understand why it is legal to say Elohim and Theos are equivalent but I will offer additional evidence as I continue in the lesson and probably repeat what I have said for the benefit of everyone.
One of the things that I want to teach in this lesson is that anytime God quotes even a portion of a verse from the O.T. in the N.T., He is connecting the words across a language boundary. I hope you understand the importance of knowing this. This technique of word structure, definition and equivalency is part of God’s internal technical design of the entire Bible. God used this technique of quotation to help us and teach us the way through the complexity introduced by His usage between two main separations of languages found within the original Bible manuscripts. The O.T. was written in predominately Hebrew and the N.T. was written in exclusively the Greek language. So how do we resolve this major language separation when studying any subject in both the Old and the New Testaments? We do it by finding and using God’s laws designed for us to follow. Following God’s laws of how to cross language boundaries provide us very specific rules and boundary limits to avoid an “anything goes approach to Bible interpretation”. Without following God’s established rules there is only a random unstructured chaos approach to interpretation taking place based upon human reasoning and that will usually fail us 100 times out of 100 attempts. That is exactly why there are thousands of different Christian denominations in the world today. Too many people are ignoring God’s rules and inventing their own ways to understand the Bible.
What we learn from this divinely designed language connection technique is that the Greek word Theos (G2316) is the equivalent word found within the Hebrew as the word Elohim (H430). Do you understand this? What I am saying is, if we were translating the O.T. original Hebrew language into the Greek language we would make the Hebrew word Elohim read as “Theos” because this is exactly what God did in the Bible and we should follow His example. Conversely if we were translating the N.T. into Hebrew the Greek word “Theos” would be translated into “Elohim” because of God’s choice and not mine. This is not that complicated but it is still a very essential concept to learn for correct Bible understanding and interpretation. We can further confirm this truth of the word equivalence between the Hebrew Elohim and the Greek Theos by looking at several verses but I will give only one other verse to keep the lesson shorter:
Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
This is an excellent verse to expand our knowledge from. Jesus is quoting a commonly known O.T. verse in this statement within the Gospel account. Here in Matthew God directly connects two very key Greek words together that we need to know. The first Greek word is G2316 (Theos) which was translated as God and is the same word found in John 1:1 that we just looked at. But now we can also see the second Greek word being connected to God (Theos) is G2962 (Kurios) which is translated as Lord in this verse. This is the exact same word and name connection that God made in Genesis 2:4 if you recall. The “Lord God” is in fact the name that I am looking for to further understand. Now let’s go and review the original Hebrew statement being quoted by Jesus to learn the original Hebrew language words:
Deu 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.
Here again are the two key words LORD and God that are being researched having been connected by God’s design to the New Testament in the Matthew 4:7 quotation. The Hebrew word H430 that was translated into English as “God” is Elohim and the Hebrew word H3068 that was translated as “LORD” in English is Jehovah. We now have a very direct confirmation that the Hebrew word Jehovah is directly linked and is equivalent to the Greek word Kurios and the Hebrew word Elohim is directly linked and is equivalent to the Greek word Theos in all of scripture. Do you understand why I could just say this? If not there are more than enough verses quoted in the N.T. that you could go through to prove this statement if you want to do the work. This is a very critical part of correct Bible study to find these types of details. This should leave no room for doubt that we are on the right track learning about who is named LORD in both the O.T. and the N.T. I do hope that you are beginning to understand where I am going.
Now let’s go back to John 1 and review again. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God (Theos = Elohim) and the Word was God (Theos = Elohim). I just inserted the Greek and Hebrew equivalent words in this verse to help bring clarification to what God is speaking of. John 1:1 is very clearly telling us that the Word is God (Theos = Elohim) and it further teaches us in verse 2 that the Word was with God in the beginning. The terms “with God” and “is God” sound like conflicting statements but these are only possible because of the triune nature of God Almighty (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
Then in verse 3 God (Theos = Elohim) speaks clearly that all things that were made by God (Theos = Elohim) and everything that was made was made by the Word. Wow that is awesome information to teach us something very new and profound. Go back and review Genesis 2:4 again to make the connection. Genesis 2:4 said “Jehovah Elohim” created the heavens and the earth. Do you see the direct connection being made to who Jehovah was? Can you see that the “Word = God” in John 1 is the exact same God as the “Jehovah = God” in Genesis 2:4? Both are speaking of who created our world. I believe overwhelmingly that the LORD GOD is the same as the WORD GOD and they are equivalent and I will prove that statement further as I continue in the lesson.
Let’s review some of the basic mathematical laws again to help us understand the Bible more clearly. The Bible was authored by the same God that created math so it just makes logical sense for us to apply the same laws of God’s math design to God’s application of His Word. Do you remember what I said earlier? I said that God Theos = God Elohin by God’s usage of quoted O.T. verses found in the N.T. I then said LORD Kurios = LORD Jehovah using the same type God’s N.T. quoted examples. Now using John 1 we learn how God connects the “Word” was equal to “God” which was equal to “Theos” which was equal to “Elohim”. I think this may be going over the head of many of my readers but that does not mean that I should not be teaching it. Now using the divinely connected verses of Deuteronomy 6:17 and Matthew 4:7 we learned that Jehovah Elohim (Hebrew) = LORD God (English) = Kurios Theos (Greek). I think I need to say this again because it is so very important for you to embrace, using O.T. quoted verse words in the New Testament we now know that Jehovah Elohim = Kurious Theos = LORD God. I am just laying a very important foundation for more knowledge that is coming.
Ok if I haven’t left you behind so far I want to go a bit deeper. Recall from lesson 1 that Joshua was the original Hebrew name of Jesus. Never, never forget that Jesus was born a Jew and spoke the Hebrew language and not the Greek language. Jesus said very plainly that He was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel (Mat 15:24). When people met Jesus on the road they called Him “Yeshua” (Hebrew) = Joshua (English transliteration) = Jesus (Greek to English transliteration). This Hebrew name came down from heaven and was given to Him by an angel of the LORD GOD. As I have stated more than once we should know that the name Joshua was the Hebrew word H3091 and this meant “Jehovah Saved” which comes from two root words H3068 Jehovah and H3467 yasha being joined together. We have just learned that Jehovah (Hebrew) = Kurios (Greek). Therefore we can by the mathematical law of equivalency say Jesus’ name was the same as Kurios Saved because that would be the legal name using the Greek language equivalent. Why is this important? We will soon find out very quickly as we continue. I hope and pray that you are interested in learning because this is only going to get better.
I have already established who the Word of God was stated to be in Lesson 1 of this series. The Word of God was a given name for Jesus revealed by God to us in the N.T. (Revelation 19:3). I have just emphasized that the name of Jesus was a Hebrew name originally and it is comprised of two key words Jehovah Saves. We are discovering further confirmation that Jesus was Jehovah come to save His people just as He was prophesied to do. So let’s now move on to further study that subject in the next section of the lesson to go even deeper.
CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD
Psa 20:9 Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.
This is my opening key verse to this entire section of the lesson. Please, notice what God says. The verse begins with “Save Lord”. Uh oh do you remember what that means in Hebrew? Opening in this verse are found the two key Hebrew root words that comprise the name of Joshua and Jesus. These words that were translated correctly as “save” and “LORD” are H3467 and H3068. Wow this is pretty good stuff if you are paying attention. I’ll say it again “these are the exact two Hebrew words that make up the name of Jesus” and this verse in the Bible calls Him the King that saves the people that call upon Him. Save us Lord (JEHOVAH) is the cry being made by the people in this verse. These were people on the earth crying out for the LORD to save them. So let me ask you who came to save them? Who is your savior today? Is it not Jesus? I know Jesus saved me for sure, but I cannot speak for you.
We are told that they are crying out and calling for a king to save them. I’ll ask you again, “Who is this king that will save them”? Wow again, because if you know the N.T. just a little bit you know that Jesus is called the “King of kings” in Revelation 19:16 another divinely appointed name and title. I told you earlier that we were going to learn a new Name of Jesus today and that was it. Jesus is the KING of kings which clearly qualifies Him to be called upon according to this verse. Now know and believe that Jesus is this King and make the connection being made to Jesus our Savior and Lord in Psalms 20:9. Jehovah Saves = Joshua/Jesus and the people are calling upon this King named Jehovah for their salvation. Could it really be that Jesus is this prophesied King that will come to save us who call upon the Lord/JEHOVAH? I believe beyond a shadow of doubt that it is Him and we will certainly see many more verses in this lesson that will affirm that this King is Jesus.
What I am trying to teach over and over in this lesson until we all get it is that Jehovah is Jesus and Jesus is the Jehovah God that has saved us when we believe in Him and call upon His name. Now let’s shift our focus slightly to a different first mention in the O.T. concerning those that “called on the name of JEHOVAH”. In this part of the section we will look at when men first began to call on the name of the Lord in the Old Testament. This is accomplished by a simple Bible text search within a good Bible search software program like “eSword”. If you do the search you will find the first mention of the words “name of the Lord” to be in Gen 4:26:
Gen 4:26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
Seth is the third named son of Adam and Eve. Seth has a son and names him Enos. Enos is the same as the Hebrew word H582 that means “mortal” and I find that fact very interesting when observed by what God connects within the context of this verse to this name Enos being given. Enos was born approximately 235 years after Adam’s creation. You may recall by reading earlier in the context of Genesis 4 that Adam and Eve had a son named “Cain” first and then they had another son named “Abel”. The older brother Cain murders his younger brother Abel and this is the first direct mention of any natural human death occurring in our world in the Bible. I’ll say it again that this natural death of Abel entering into the world was the first recorded occurrence of human mortality to actually be observed by any other human on the earth. God plainly prophesied and warned Adam that death would come if he sinned and disobeyed God’s command. It was truly the sinful disobedience of Adam that allowed death to enter into the world according to Romans 5:12. I personally believe that it was the observed death of Abel the first human’s blood to be shed upon the earth that caused this verse in Genesis 4:26 to come to pass.
I believe that as soon as men and women on the earth began to realize the great impact and consequences of human sin they began to call upon the name of the Lord/Jehovah. Why do you think that people would feel the need to call on the name of the Lord in Genesis 4:26? What were they calling Him for? That is a very great question to ponder. What benefit was there to calling on the name Jehovah at this time or anytime? Was there actually any profit for doing this? I firmly believe that there was then and still is now. Let’s look at an example of one O.T. stated benefit for calling upon the name of the Lord:
Psa 99:6 Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
Notice that Moses, Aaron and Samuel all called on the God named Jehovah. Let me ask you this question, if you are calling on the name of Buddha will the LORD God named Jehovah answer? If you are calling on the name of Hare Krishna will the LORD Jehovah answer? What about the name of the sun god Ra or the mythological god named Zeus? What if you called upon the name Allah? Will the LORD Jehovah answer to any of these names? Let’s look at a great Bible example of why it is so very important to call upon the right name and the right God:
1Ki 18:24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
Wow this verse is pretty awesome. Elijah challenges the priests of the false gods and tells them to call upon the name of their gods and he would call upon the name of Jehovah the true living God just like Moses, Aaron and Samuel did and the God that answered by fire would be God. That was an overwhelming display of faith in the name of Jehovah by Elijah. If you read the rest of the chapter you will find who heard, who answered and who prevailed in this challenge and it was the God named Jehovah. Was there any advantage gained by Elijah for him to call upon Jehovah? It is very self-evident that there was a great benefit found in this example for Elijah’s faith and wise choice to call upon Jehovah.
This is just a very basic fact of truth being taught. If you called me by the name of John when my real name was Ron, please understand that I will probably not answer you. If you want a response from anyone you should probably know their name. If you want someone to answer you, it is wise to call them by their name. These are very simple truths yet extremely important to know. We could say that this “call on the right name and He will answer knowledge” is just “common sense” but yet this human quality seems to be an escaping virtue to possess these days for so many. God gives us examples in Psalms 99:6 of a few select men that called upon His name. These men were Moses, Aaron and Samuel and they are said to have all called upon the name of Jehovah and it tells us clearly that they received a response from Him. That is the first astounding benefit revealed by God in this lesson for believing in His name and calling upon the name of the Lord. God teaches us that if we call upon His name then He will hear us and He will answer because He is no respecter of persons. Therefore, if your LORD is Jesus then call upon Jesus and see if He hears and answers the same as Jehovah did in these examples. I believe that we have already established with scripture that Jesus was Jehovah in the flesh in lesson 1 but we re exploring more evidence in this lesson to remove all doubt.
CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD BENEFITS
I introduced you to just one of the benefits to calling upon the name of the Lord in the previous section. This section will continue the lesson with more of the stated benefits for believing in the name of the correct Lord and calling upon His name. I want to begin this section of the lesson with a verse for you to read and then ask you a question to why it is important. Please read over this verse carefully noting what is stated and then you begin to ask yourself questions from what you believe that God has given to you to know:
Act 4:18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
Notice the Apostles were teaching others about Jesus and this made the Jews very angry. But more specifically notice that the apostles were teaching directly about the “name of Jesus”. Wow that sounds important to me. Why would it even be necessary for the apostles to teach in the name of Jesus? Could there have been any directly stated or even implied benefits that were attached to this name that needed to be made known to the others that heard? Could the others that heard the name of Jesus being taught also gain any benefits from hearing about His name? Why would Satan not want the “name of Jesus” to be spread to others? According to this verse there must be some great significance for teaching in the name of Jesus that the enemy wants to silence. This name of Jesus sounds very important to me and I hope you will agree. This is exactly why I am spending so much time teaching on the name of Jesus.
We are studying the reasons why the belief in the name of Jesus and calling on His name is very essential. We have discovered that when we call upon the name of the Lord, He says that He hears us and that He will answer. We can learn some very key facts to know about the name of the Lord Jesus if we open our spiritual eyes to see and receive them. The word benefit is defined as “an advantage or a profit gained from something given or obtained”. The something in this case given is for us “to believe in the name of Jesus” and then “to call upon this name of Jesus”. The profit and advantage gained from doing these two simple things may be far greater than you can possibly imagine right now. Before I go further I’ll state the antithesis truth of what I just said. The opposite truth states that the losses and disadvantages that are faced by not believing in the name of the Lord and not calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus could be infinitely consequential to your life. Let’s get started with learning some of the essential benefits and advantages for learning the name of the LORD:
Psa 116:12 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
Psa 116:13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.
Here are two great subject verses. The Hebrew word in verse 12 translated as benefits means to “bestow on” or to “deal bountifully” with someone. That reveals to us that God by His freewill and sovereign choice has placed His infinite divine grace and favor upon those that call upon His name. But many will try to say that these verses are not about Jesus so why are you including it here? However that is really not true. Almost everything in the Old Testament points us to Jesus even if you do not see it at first. I teach that Jesus is the central themed subject of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
Verse 12 teaches us that we cannot earn or repay what God is prophesied to do for us in this verse or now has done for us after Christ has come. However, this undeserved gift is truly a New Testament Grace concept. What is God talking about here that cannot be repaid? Verse 13 gives us a glimpse into what one of these coming benefits is. Salvation is the stated primary subject benefit for believing and calling on the name of the LORD. However, this “cup of salvation” must be taken by the one that it is being offered to. God does not force anyone to drink from this saving cup. This cup is what God has offered to every man, woman and child on the earth. God has extended the cup of salvation to each of us in this life. If we choose to take it we will be saved. How does this work? God tells you in the last part of verse 13. We must call upon the name of the LORD. Again that sounds critical to know. Could that be the reason why the Apostles in Acts were teaching the people about the name of Jesus?
The key name of God found in verses 12 and 13 are translated as LORD which is the Hebrew word H3068 again referred to in English transliteration as “Jehovah”. The Hebrew word Jehovah is included by God in over 5500 verses of the O.T. Jehovah is also a root word of the name of the English transliterated name of Jesus as I have previously taught several times now. What we need to do is to learn if there are any other supporting God given connections of Jesus being Jehovah. So let’s establish truth using the Bible and the Spirit of God to guide us. Consider this important subject verse next:
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Here in this chapter’s context is found the primary subjects of human salvation in conjunction with the belief and placing our faith in the name of Jesus in order to be saved. Did you notice what this verse said? God tells us that whoever shall choose to make a decision and call on the name of the LORD they and they alone will be saved. Who is this LORD? I believe if you are intelligent you will know that this LORD is speaking of only Jesus Christ.
Now please know and understand that this verse in Romans 10:13 is a direct quotation of another Old Testament verse about Jehovah found in Joel 2:32. Wow, that is just an amazing coincidence that God through the inspired writer Paul would use an obscure O.T. verse to teach us that the N.T. man named Jesus is the same LORD as O.T. named Jehovah. You see the Hebrew word that is translated as LORD in Joel 2:32 is Jehovah (H3068) the exact word found in over 5500 verses of the Old Testament and the Greek word in Romans 10:13 that is translated as Lord is Kurios (G2932) the same word we have been learning is the equivalent language match. Again these two verses in Romans and Joel further establish that the Greek word G2932 and the Hebrew word H3068 are equivalent words about the same subject just across a language division boundary. Are you getting it yet? I hope so.
I hope and pray that you are beginning to learn why this is so important. God is teaching us that the O.T. Jehovah (LORD) is the same as the N.T. Lord Jesus using the direct law of inspired quotation. They must both be the same person called by one name “LORD” in two different languages. God is teaching us that it was Him, the Jehovah/Lord God that became Jesus and walked among us to save us. Why can’t people see this? People do not see the truth because the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:4 their minds have been blinded by the god of this world (Satan). Satan is still trying to stop people like me from teaching on the name of Jesus and who He is. There is truly nothing new under the sun.
There are so very many people who call themselves saved Christians and ignore the Bible. They do not believe that Jesus was God come in the flesh and I believe this endangers their salvation tremendously. These types of people take their selective verses and attempt to prove Jesus was just a man, just a prophet or even just an angel sent down from heaven. This type of belief leaves God’s direct participation and contribution in our salvation process completely out of the picture. It would further make Jesus an impersonal created unwilling participant and would certainly deny His deity. In other words some believe that God sent or created someone else instead of coming Himself to save us. That type of belief denies the name of Jesus to be meaningful. Wow that is such a huge deception being pulled over the spiritual eyes of people. Let’s move to two other verse witnesses that Jesus Himself spoke:
Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Joh 13:13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.
In the first verse Jesus asks “Why do you call me Lord (Kurios) and do not do what I say?” In the second verse Jesus says “You call me teacher and Lord (Kurios) and you speak well because I am (He)”. However, remember again the basic fact that Jesus was a Jew and spoke Hebrew, so He was not speaking the Greek language when He said these statements even though it was recorded in the Greek language for us to read. This means from our previous study that Jesus said Luke 6:46 “Why call you me “Jehovah” “Jehovah” and do not do what I say?” and in John 13:13 He said “You call me teacher and JEHOVAH and You are correct I am”. Wow, Wow and Wow! Are you receiving who Jesus claimed to be? Get what Jesus is saying. Think like a Hebrew for a few moments! Put yourself in the audience when Jesus made these statements and you will soon understand why many picked up stones to kill Him.
Jesus is directly claiming to be God Almighty in the flesh with both of these statements. Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus ever dispute being the Jehovah LORD. Nowhere does Jesus ever deny being God Jehovah incarnate. In fact the completely opposite is actually found true. Jesus repeatedly alluded to the fact that He had come down from heaven and that He and His Father were ONE (John 10:30). Yet so many people refuse to see the truth and they choose to buy into a lie of Satan so easily. Here is another additional witness to insure the accuracy of Jesus being Jehovah:
Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Let every word of truth be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses the Bible teaches. God again quotes the prophet Joel here in this verse in Acts. This verse is a duplication of Roman’s 10:13 statement. The Apostle Peter after being filled with the Holy Ghost stands up and preaches to the multitude that was found present to hear him. If you read the context you will find that He is speaking directly of Jesus as being this “Lord” that Joel prophesied about coming. Wow again, is that not just a little bit crazy? I’m being humorous by asking that question. No, Peter was not crazy. Peter was a Jewish man also and he was quoting a Hebrew verse about Jehovah claiming that it was written about Jesus. Therefore, Peter claimed that Jesus was Jehovah come down to the earth and was teaching this to anyone that hears it.
We just read that Jesus Himself claimed to be Jehovah. Then if men like Peter believed Jesus was Jehovah and Paul believed Jesus was Jehovah why don’t you? We would have to follow a completely different and false Gospel in order to believe in a salvation process that did not come from the God Jehovah personally being present on the earth to die for our sins. I would strongly suggest that you go and reread Roman 10 and Acts 2 again and again to see how God used the Joel prophecy to describe Jesus as being LORD (Jehovah). This is exactly what was being proclaimed by the early church believe it or not. I am going to take this divine message even deeper to help you to learn the truth. You are probably familiar with this verse but hopefully new light will shine upon it so that you will see it differently:
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Paul a Jew writes that “if you will confess (call, speak, say) with your mouth the LORD Jesus….you will be saved”. The Greek word translated as “LORD” in this verse is the same G2962 Kurios that we have learned is the equivalent to the Hebrew Jehovah. Now change this one word Lord in the sentence and reread the verse:
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth JEHOVAH is Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
I made three minor but legitimate changes to the KJV Bible verse. I took away “the”, added “is” and change Lord to the Equivalent Hebrew word “JEHOVAH”. All of this was legal. I will confirm this with using the amplified translation:
Rom 10:9 Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord (JEHOVAH) and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Notice how the amplified translated the original Greek. I added the word (JEHOVAH) to bring clarity because this was the original Hebrew equivalent word. The amplified Bible said for us to say “Jesus is LORD” and by the law of Algebraic equivalence we know that we can or should say “Jesus is Jehovah”. BY believing who Jesus was and making this statement we are declaring Jesus to be Jehovah our God and this verse says when we do that we will be saved. This harmonizes precisely with the verses we just looked at in Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21.
What we are learning is that our New Covenant salvation is found in believing that Jesus is the God Jehovah. Before we end this section we will observe an additional essential reference for this part of the benefits to the name of Jesus subject study:
Act 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
Act 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Here in these verses we find the primary reason for believing in the name of Jesus and calling upon His name. Peter very clearly teaches us that there is no other name under heaven given among men where we can even think to be saved. Wow, wow and wow!!! Here we again get confirmation that the name of Jesus is an absolute necessity for being saved. This implies that we must know who this name was given to and what He represents. What makes this name different than anyone else’s name on the earth? Why would Satan want us to not teach about this name, learn or know this name? Anyone telling you that Jesus was not God is from Satan and you have a choice to believe them or not. I am telling you plainly that Jesus was God using more than enough verses from the Bible to establish the truth and you have the same choice to believe what I say from the Bible or not.
We should learn that salvation is the primary need to learn, know and believe in the name of Jesus, but there is also another quick reference given to us in verse 10 that should be mentioned. If you read the context you will find why Peter is speaking about Jesus and His name. Peter had just used his faith in the name of Jesus to cause a lame man at the temple gate to walk. It was this name of Jesus that Peter said made the man whole. The Greek word translated as whole means to be healed and made complete. That teaches us that salvation is much more than just God taking our spirits to heaven after we die. No the Greek word translated as salvation is “sozo” and it means to be made whole spiritually, mentally and physically. Go back in Acts and read verse 9 where Peter is telling the elders “by what means this man was made whole”. The Greek word “whole” in this verse is G4928 “sozo” and it means “to save, deliver or protect”. This word is used in the N.T. in a varied and wide all-inclusive process. The name of Jesus saves us in so many ways that most of us have not yet realized or believed. I’m really not going to get into this part of the meaning of salvation any further in this lesson. I have other lessons that will expand upon this if you are interested.
What we must conclude from just these few verses that I have gone through so far today is that Jesus was Jehovah come down to save, deliver and protect us by our faith in His name and saying He is our Jehovah (LORD). That is what the name Jesus means and that was what has occurred and is offered to you if you choose to believe it and receive it. Therefore, our salvation is the most important reason for believing in and calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus. This truth was clearly established in Romans 10:13 and Acts 2:21. We are commanded to call upon His name and God says we will be saved. Satan will fight you over this and try with all his power to get you not to believe this because this will take you out of his kingdom of darkness and he will no longer be your lord. I seriously hope and pray that you understand what is being said here because the antithesis truth not directly stated is that if you do not believe or call upon the name of Jesus you will not be saved and go to hell.
DIVINE SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE NAME OF JESUS
I am going to conclude this name of Jesus Bible lesson with a final message of warning. This warning comes directly from God’s Word and not from my imagination. I am just the messenger that is delivering the warning. Paul is writing to the church in these next few verses and we should take special heed to what is stated especially in the light of what we have learned so far about Jesus is Lord/Jehovah. Turn to Philippians chapter 2 and read with me:
Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Php 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Php 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Php 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
According to God people can bow their knees to the name of the LORD Jesus right now by their choice or they will be forced to bow later without a choice. There are no other options given to us. It is and always will be a right now decision by an act of freewill humble submission and surrender or later by an act of superior force. You need to spend a lot of time reading these verses and understanding what is being revealed about Jesus conforms to everything that I have taught up until this point and then realize who God claimed Himself to be in His written Holy Word. Verses 5 through 8 teach us about God coming down from heaven and taking on the form of a human male. He humbles Himself to be a servant in order to die on a cross for our sins. Verse 9 is referring to God raising Jesus from the dead to ascend back into heaven being given a much superior name above every other name.
Read down to verse 11 and notice who Jesus is written by God’s design to be again. God tells us in this verse that every tongue will confess that “Jesus is LORD”. Who is this LORD? Always remember that the Greek word translated as “LORD” is G2962 Kurios the exact same word that we learned earlier that was equivalent to the Hebrew word H3068 JEHOVAH by God’s definition? If God inspired the writer Paul to write this message in his native Hebrew language instead of the Greek, what would it have said? Remember the writer Paul was a native Jew by his own admission. Paul would have thought thoughts primarily in the Hebrew language. Therefore, reread the statement inserting the Hebrew word equivalent, “every tongue will confess that JESUS CHRIST IS JEHOVAH”. Wow that is a very strong word of warning for us to believe in right now. I really do not understand why people do not think when they read the Bible. The truth is staring them right in the face but it is hidden from their view by wrong thinking. Please confess that Jesus is Jehovah right now because later you will be forced to say it but it will be too late.
We have only begun to touch on this very major subject of believing that Jesus is Jehovah and calling upon the name of Jesus to be saved. I have only introduced you to a very small portion of the importance of the name of Jesus. However, we have seen more than enough reasons and evidence to confirm the significance of why it is vitally essential to know Jesus by name and who He was as Jehovah incarnate. I have also taught on why we all need to believe and call upon this name in order to be saved using multiple verse confirmations. We have learned a few reasons to know what is gained from believing in the name of Jesus and by calling upon Him by name. It is very clear from Bible research that the early church taught on this subject of the name of Jesus everywhere they encountered people that needed to be saved. If the early church placed such great emphasis on Jesus being Jehovah why should we not do the exact same? I will list a few benefits for doing this now again for a quick synopsis overview:
- When we believe on Him we will call and when we do not believe we will not call.
- When we call upon Him, He will hear us.
- When He hears us, God says that He will answer.
- All who believe and call on the name of the LORD Jesus will be saved.
- Salvation is found in absolutely no other name but the name of Jesus.
- I’ll say it again, there is no other name given to men whereby we may be saved.
- Never forget to tell people that Jesus is Jehovah.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this Bible lesson. I do pray that it opened your eyes to see some things that you have never considered before about Jesus and God’s Word. I hope and pray that this lesson will give sufficient evidence to convince any doubters to confess Jesus is Jehovah now. If you have the opportunity to share my website with your friends and family I would be so grateful for your help spread the Word of God to others. Thank you all and God Bless you until next time.
(Ver 1.1) Today I am teaching another lesson on the highly controversial subject of “predestination” or “election” as it is also referred to many times. This is Part 4 of what should be a basic Bible study series concerning a very difficult and easily misunderstood Bible subject that is taken to extremes to place deception into the minds and lives of Christians. Satan does this to remove human “freewill” as being a factor for salvation. It further removes human responsibility to getting saved or staying saved. The extreme predestination philosophy allows an anything goes belief for acceptable human behavior without consequences of guilt or punishment. It removes the need for repentance, believing, learning, growing up spiritually and many other factors for a successful Christian life. If you have not read this series form the beginning I would strongly recommend that you go back and start with “Part 1” and then proceed forward to today’s Bible lesson. In doing this you will get a more complete understanding of the entire subject.
In today’s lesson I will begin addressing more specifically two sets of Bible verses that are commonly used by extreme teachers to preach their erroneous doctrine of extreme “predestination”. I received a question from a friend and this will be an answer for everyone to read and benefit from. I was asked about Ephesians 1:3-11 and Romans 8:28-30 and I have to admit that reading these verses in isolation certainly gives us all the appearance of a valid “predestination” theology on the surface. But was this what God did? Did God predestine some to heaven and some to hell without any human participation or determination upon where they wanted to go?
It might surprise you that I agree with a part of the “predestination” theology. The word “predestinate” is certainly a part of the Bible and this means we need to learn about it. Bible “Predestination” simply means a divine plan was put into place by the sovereign mind and will of God and God putting His plan into action has predetermined the outcome result. That is “predestination” in a very limited definition form. Predestination simply means a predetermined outcome was planned by God by placing severe limits upon the possible outcomes. That is what the word means and that is what God is bound to do but taking that definition and teaching what people do today is totally absurd.
I completely agree that God had a plan in place for human salvation long before He did anything to create our world. This plan involved Jesus who was the Almighty God in the flesh coming to the earth as the sacrificial lamb (Rev 13:8). Therefore God predetermined before man even existed that He would come down to the earth in the form of sinful flesh (Rom 8:3) to die for the payment of our sins removing our penalty for them while we were all yet sinners (Romans 5:8). This is the part of the doctrine of “Predestination” that I believe in with my whole heart and I hope and pray that you do also.
I also totally agree that God has omniscient foreknowledge of every event within human history and uses these events to put His plan into effect. However, the problem that arises very quickly is when people take these basic truths and stretch them into realms of beliefs that are not stated in the Bible. For example many people teach that God has predestined some to go to heaven and some to go to hell by His sovereign will and choice. That part of the doctrine of predestination represents a line in the sand that I refuse to cross because it violates God’s written word and makes Him to be a liar and my God is not a liar. I have already taught in three lessons about many things concerning why extreme predestination does not balance or conform to God’s entire precious Holy Word and we will be going into even more verses today because this is absolutely so important and vital for every Christian to understand.
AN INTRODUCTION AGAIN TO SALVATION
I realize that these verses that were given to me from Ephesians and Romans appear to confirm predestination as a legitimate theological doctrine. I’m very sure that these are two of the primary references being used by pastors to teach on the subject of “predestination”. But the extreme teaching and interpretation of these verses is by far not even close to being a correct or accurate representation of who God is or what God says. These extreme teachings are certainly not balanced properly with the rest of the Bible. For example let’s begin talking briefly about how we were saved according to scriptures:
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Here we have some of the most important basics of Christianity and salvation. God declares that we have been saved by God’s Grace but only in conjunction through our faith and we have been also made the children of God by our Faith in Christ Jesus also given only by God’s Grace. Therefore it is only because of our faith and belief in Jesus that has accomplished salvation by God’s Grace. If we have NO faith in Christ and choose NOT to believe in Him then we are not saved nor are we called His children. Knowing this truth is the foundation for the rest of Christianity which causes spiritual growth to continue helping us to see our role, relationship and purpose for being saved in Christ. Therefore I’m going to say something that may blow your mind but according to God’s Word it is the freewill choice of man to believe that determines whether or not we are selected (saved) and not God selecting us that determined our salvation. I’ll probably get a lot of negative comments and may even lose some readers because of that statement but so what I’m not going to change God’s word to fit your theology. It is really so very simple yet this scriptural truth of human faith being the determining factor for our salvation is ignored completely by many extreme “predestination” only preachers. Let’s look at a new verse briefly to learn an additional confirmation of who should be considered the chosen and how they became this:
2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
We should be able to clearly see at first glance that God has chosen us from the beginning. This is a basic predestination verse that teachers like to grab hold of to easily misunderstand the subject. However, this verse is another example of divine and human partnership working together to achieve our salvation. You see there are two direct things mentioned that God does in this verse and these are 1). God has chosen us to (for) salvation and God has done this 2). Through a process called sanctification. Then there are two direct things that we as Christians are said to do and these are 1). Give thanks to God for what He has done and 2). Believe the truth. The key word I want to focus upon is the Greek word G4102 translated as “belief” in this verse. This Greek word literally means to be persuaded of something. It can be translated as “believe” or “belief” or even “faith”. This is a word for humans not God. This Greek word represents what we do. It is a verb action of human response after hearing the Gospel (good news) of what God has done through Jesus Christ. We are required to have faith in order to please God according to Hebrew 11:6. Thus we are given one of the primary reasons for being chosen or selected by God is because of our faith. In other words if you don’t believe or have any faith you will not be selected. Do you understand this? People want to say it was only God’s sovereign choice and His right to choose some and reject others that caused us to be saved or lost but that is foolish thinking based upon poor human reasoning with no scriptural backing for that belief. No, the truth is that we determine whether we will be selected by our faith in Jesus Christ. It is so easy when you finally see it.
I was asked specifically about Romans 8:28-30 and Ephesians 1:3-11. I’ll talk about Romans 8 first in this lesson but everything that is written could apply to Ephesians 1 also. There are at least three mistakes that Bible teachers take upon themselves with their wrong interpretations of these scriptures that cause error to go forth to be taught. First they ignore the context of the verses and that is taking phrases out of their setting to say what they think they want them to say instead of what they actually say. Second there is a common problem of seeing verses from the wrong scriptural point of view to make the verses again say what they want instead of what God actually said being balanced with all other verses on the subject of human FREEWILL. You see context is also much more than just the verses in the surrounding chapter. Context must also include the whole Bible and every scripture that is related to the subject directly or indirectly. God is one author of one book and people taking one statement without the rest will lead us to error. Third there is the problem that occurs when an assumption is drawn based upon no direct facts being given. We must not make assumptions if God does not give us two or three witnesses to our belief.
Let’s go over a quick overview of good interpretation and understanding principles. We need to first learn to read and study the context of the verse within the chapter, the book, and the entire Bible in order to understand any single statement better and more clearly. Next then we need to read the Bible using the correct perspective. Many times we should consider what is written from God’s viewpoint since He is the admitted author of the text. God’s viewpoint is normally from a very spiritual perspective because He is a Spirit. God’s spiritual viewpoint is superior and normally conflicts with the human natural viewpoint (Romans 8:7). We learn this principle from several Bible selections including Romans 8 that we are currently studying but consider another reference found in 1 Samuel 16:7 when God spoke to the prophet and told him not to look on the outward appearance of the man (flesh) because God looks upon his heart (spirit). Wow, that is an awesome bit of knowledge to learn from and apply in our lives and study today.
Now consider the fact that there are other possible verses in the Bible that are directly related to the subject of “predestination”. These verses must also be considered contextual information that should be weighed together. Wouldn’t any or all of these other verses possibly have an impact in determining how we need to believe in the whole subject of predestination? I believe they do. Finally after reading and studying the whole subject we should be able to gather together all the known facts and use these to drive our belief process after we have felt confident that we understand the verses adequately enough to do so. Finally, as part of the drawing conclusions process we must never conclude anything unless we have 2 to 3 factual Bible witnesses of the conclusion from the Bible and I’m going to talk about this next.
For example NOWHERE in the Bible does it say that God predestined men to go to hell and that is a very wrong assumption and belief that many people have created in their minds and have bought into it like it was the truth because they think they were “selected” to go to heaven and therefore nothing they ever did effected them to get saved or nothing they will ever do can or will ever change their status of salvation. What a lie of the devil. If that was actually true then a lot of the N.T. is not necessary. In fact we can take that further and say the Bible as a whole is unnecessary for salvation. No one would need to preach the gospel, no one would need to believe the Gospel, and no one would need to go to church, no one needs to read the Bible and no one would even need to pray because God’s will would always be done regardless of what we do or say or pray. Also there would be no need for there to be any BIBLE commandments from God or instructions or warnings in the Bible for us to not be deceived or to depart from the Lord (Heb 3:12, 1 Tim 4:16, Gal 5:15, 1 Cor 10:12, 1 Cor 15:33, Gal 6:7, Luk 21:8, …. and others).
Let’s talk about the context first of Romans 8. The verses directly prior to these verses asked about speak of praying in tongues also called praying in the Spirit. I know it does not say it directly but that is how God wrote it in order to give man a choice to believe or not believe in speaking and praying in tongues. So let’s read the preceding two verses for direct contextual understanding:
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Rom 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Ok “intercession is mentioned twice and “prayer” is directly mentioned in verse 26. The key to knowing this is not just any kind of prayer is the fact that God is helping us to pray it. Therefore this is a supernatural prayer language because man can only pray a natural type of prayer language without God’s help. Do you understand this? God gives us the ability to pray supernaturally by helping us with the words to speak that cannot be normally uttered with natural human reasoning as He has stated in verse 26. In the Greek language this word means these words cannot be understood r spoken with the normal human articulate speech process. When we pray in the Spirit, God gives us the words and these are usually words not understood by people but rather they are heard by God and known by God for our benefit and this is why God says in verse 28 that He will cause all things to work together for our good. God does this primarily so that Satan does not know what is being prayed and can make an effort to stop it from coming to pass.
The reason I talked about praying in tongues is because the next verses following these statements are now conditional upon people praying in the Spirit in order to be qualified for what is said to happen next. Uh oh that changes everything or at least it should. We could talk a lot about other things written about in chapter 8. For example there is a whole discourse concerning the flesh verses the spirit. Those walking the flesh are not qualifying for the rest of the chapter either. But I know I was asked about the verses concerning “predestination” and that is where I will go next. Let’s jump down to verse 30 to see where the controversy really begins:
Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
This verse begins with “Whom He did predestinate”. Ok, this is pretty compelling if you only read it in isolation that God selected some and therefore must have rejected others by assumed indirection even though it does not say that directly. It is clear that God did select those that this verse was written to in the church but again nowhere does it say that God rejected those that were not in the church. I MEAN NO WHERE! Also there is a Greek word found here that needs our further attention. This Greek word is G2564 and it was translated as “called” twice in this verse. This Greek word means to “bid” or to “call” someone. What exactly does that mean?
Let’s say we go outside our house on the back porch and don’t see our dog. We could “call” the dog and see if he will come to us by yelling his name. The “call” would be an invitation to come and that is exactly what this verse is saying to us. God has invited us to come. What would make the dog not interested in coming to us when we called? It could be the fact that they are occupied with something they value more like a big bone that they are chewing on. Whatever the reason for not coming the dog has the choice of freewill to come or not to come and this is what we must realize is joined within the context of the subject of God “predestining” us. This is where we need to look afresh at this verse from the God spiritual perspective and weigh the context of the rest of the Bible also. I’ll do this with an introduction to a new way to think about predestination.
Why couldn’t God call and invite everyone through a plan of salvation called “to predestine” and offer to them all an invitation to come and be at His big wedding party in heaven? Then why couldn’t God send out all of the invitations to everyone to come to be a part of this party by an act of their choice to attend? But then what if only those people that actually showed up (chose by an act of their freewill) to come to the wedding party would be called those that were “selected”? In other words what if God has predestined everyone to show up for a huge big wedding party but yet not many valued or regarded the invitation as important and therefore did not come and what if this was the reason that caused them to not be selected? Could this possibly be the truth? Wow, I really think it is according to the Words of Jesus in the Bible. Let’s go read some words written in red ink within the distant context of Romans 8 that must be balanced with Romans 8. You should be able to read these verses and see my “what if” story in a parable form given by the Lord Jesus that helps us to learn what I was just trying to teach:
Mat 22:1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
Mat 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
Mat 22:3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
I’ll stop here and make some quick important points. The King in this parable is a representation of God. The Son in this parable is a symbolic representation of the Jesus Christ. The marriage in this parable is a symbolic representation for the New Covenant. His servants in this parable were His prophets and they called to the wedding the children of natural Israel but they would not come to the wedding by an act of their own stupid choice. The Greek word translated as “call” in verse 3 of Matthew 22 is the exact same Greek word found in Romans 8:30 making a direct divine connection to the same subject being spoken of by God. Does this not have anything to do directly with selection or God’s predestination process? Didn’t God call them all to come? Didn’t God desire them to come? Wasn’t it the will of God for them to come? I mean come on and think. God selected them and invited them to come but THEY WOULD NOT. Get it? This is really not rocket science and it is right there in front of our faces. Are we going to believe God or are we going to believe the traditional errors of man?
Mat 22:4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
Mat 22:5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
Mat 22:6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
Mat 22:7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
These verses were written about the natural nation of Israel. The natural nation of Israel was overrun and laid low over and over because of God’s displeasure for their ignorant choices and killing His servants. It is more than clear that this was not the plan of God for their lives. It was more than clear that God sent His servants to invite them to the wedding feast. It is more than clear that it was their own actions that caused them not to come in and be a part of the process. This is called man’s “freewill” and this must be taken into account when teaching anything about “predestination”. Now continue to read the rest of the parable because this is how we were selected:
Mat 22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
Mat 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
Mat 22:10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
So God goes forth into the rest of the Gentile world with more prophets and teachers inviting them all to come to the wedding and guess what I came by own freewill choice to believe and now because of my choices I have been selected. Also because I am now selected I now go into the world and preach the Gospel to others so they can also be selected by an act of their own freewill choice and faith in Jesus Christ. Wow this is how God designed it to work. We either believe and are saved or we don’t believe and we are damned by our own freewill choices (Mk 16:16).
Mat 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
Mat 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Mat 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
In this parable there are only two types of people mentioned that are rejected from being at the wedding and these were the one man without a wedding garment and those that chose not to even attend. However, this one man without a wedding garment also represents the man’s own foolish choice to try to come to the wedding without being properly clothed. This verse was symbolically talking about people who call themselves Christians but have not “PUT ON CHRIST” (Gal 3:27). This parable is all symbolism but this story gives us natural realities that apply directly to predestination and election.
I hope that everyone can read this over carefully and see the truths beings presented. This is exactly what I have been attempting to teach about salvation, election and predestination. Everyone is invited but only those that choose to show up to the wedding properly attired get to stay in the party to be called the select or elect ones and all others are left outside trying to get in. Remember the parable of the 10 virgins? This is the exact same reality. All 10 were invited but only 5 were prepared and entered in and the others were left out because of their lack of preparedness. Wow, this teaches us plainly that human FREEWILLL choices have a great determination to who is “selected”. We can choose to not attend the wedding or we can even choose not to dress for the wedding and both of these will cause us to NOT be selected. I don’t know how to teach it more clearly.
Let’s look at another verse to help us with the Bible basics of selection or predestination. I will give you a verse found in the Book of Hebrews that has nothing to do on the surface with this subject of predestination yet it has everything to do with it by indirect subject content and contextual association. God is speaking to Christians in this verse so read the words like they were written to you personally:
Heb 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Here is an additional confirmation that God had a divine plan from the foundation of the world. But, back up and see who it is that has been determined to enter in. Believing is stated to be the determining factor for entering into God’s rest. Those that have not believed do not enter in and those that believe do enter in. The entrance door is God’s Word and believing in God’s word gives us entrance.
I am trying to teach a difficult subject called election or predestination but not the way it is normally taught by many confused people. Becoming God’s elect is based upon a partnership between God’s divine grace and human faith. God is not a respecter of persons as we should know by now but God is most definitely a respecter of faith. The basis of what is taught by many predestination teachers would make God a respecter of persons by selecting some and rejecting others. This would make the Bible a lie and that is a conflicting problem with their philosophy. The only way to balance and resolve the conflict correctly is to understand that any good gift given to men by God is received by their faith. Any good thing ever given to men, done to men or done for men is only received or we could say entered into by individual freewill human faith. This is the way that God designed it to work.
Hebrews 4:3 is just further evidence that proves faith is a necessary part of the plan of God established from the foundation of the world. Read it again and again until you get it and accept it into your heart. Write a big sign and put it up on your wall and it should say “We who believe do enter in….”. What God is plainly saying is that everyone is invited to believe but only those that choose to do it are selected. God has predestined everyone to salvation but only those that have chosen to dress and come into the wedding will be selected and those that do not believe, or have not prepared themselves or have other more important things to do will be shut out when the door closes. That is the truth of God, believe it or not.
Thank you again for reading and studying the Bible with me. I appreciate your time and diligence to read and verify what is written in these lessons. Do not ever buy into a teacher’s words without your own personal verification. Allow the Spirit of God to minister and lead you into all truth. Be blessed and be a blessing to all that you meet every day. I’ll try to do another lesson on Ephesians 1 soon. I hope these word help you to better understand the Bible and your role in being selected.
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 1 of a very fundamental and rudimentary essential Bible Subject for every Christian to study, learn, understand and be able to share in an instant with all others in the world! Who is Jesus Christ? Is Jesus the most important person mentioned in the Bible or any other book available to read? If He is, then why is He so important? Many today in the world in other religions simply call Jesus just another human originator of a new religious system that died just like other religion founders like Mohammed or Buddha. Others in certain religions recognize Jesus to be nothing but another prophet of God like Moses, Mohammed or Joseph Smith. There are even many people in the world today that read from the Bible and believe Jesus to be far from divine. Are any of these the truth? Was Jesus just an ordinary man like me? If He was then I believe that I am one of the biggest fools in the world for following Him. Today we will explore just the Bible verses that teach us who Jesus really was described to be. We will be specifically focused on some of the revealed names of Jesus in the Bible and what they relate to us. Later in this series we will also look at the recorded words and claims of Jesus and see who He professed and claimed to be. I hope and pray that you have a very open mind to receive the truth as written and inspired by the Holy Spirit from the Bible. We will be exploring the basics of Bible truth that are the essential foundation for God’s grace and our salvation through our faith in Jesus Christ.
INTRODUCTION TO THE QUESTION “WHO IS JESUS?”
Jesus asks His disciples two very simple questions in the book of Matthew. And their answers to these questions will determine much more than you can imagine. At this point in time when these questions were asked to the disciples by Jesus they had been with Him for a long time following Him from place to place. They had witnessed many very significant things done by Jesus and heard many teachings from this man they called Rabbi (John 1:38). We will begin this section with reading in Matthew 16 and verse 13. Please observe the first question:
Mat 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
Why would Jesus even need to ask anyone who He was? There were a lot of people that obviously heard of Jesus but why would it be necessary to ask these people know who Jesus is? Anyone can know of someone but that is totally different than knowing them or knowing who they are, isn’t it? So who is Jesus? Jesus is asking those that were closer to Him than anyone else “who do men think that I am?” This is the question that is still very valid for today. Jesus could come to you and ask the exact same question. What would you say to Him? Perhaps you would need to go and take a survey in order to find out what men said about Jesus. Today, it is much simpler to just go and search the internet and see what people are writing about Him. Then notice how very wide and diverse the answers were.
Mat 16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
The disciples answer “Some say Jesus was John the Baptist”. Other men claim Jesus was Elijah. Still others claim Jesus to be the prophet Jeremiah. Even other men claimed Jesus to be just another one of the prophets but did not know which one. What a diverse set of possibilities for the identity of Jesus. However there is a common theme to them all. They were all calling Jesus a human man acting as a prophet but there was not any majority agreement to which prophet he was. This is still the most popular belief today in most false religions. The general consensus is that Jesus was simply a prophet or holy man like many others; Muhammad, Buddha, John Smith or even the Dalai Lama. This would place Jesus Christ on their exact same level of humanity but is this, the whole truth? Is this all that Jesus claimed to be? Let’s see the second question being asked by Jesus then and now:
Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Now Jesus changes the question and makes the question very personal. The question has substantially narrowed from “who do OTHER men say that I am” to “who do YOU say that I am”? Jesus was making a point by asking these two questions in succession. Jesus is teaching them that it does not matter what other men think but it does matter greatly what we think individually. Wow, I don’t know if you just got what God said there or not but it was very substantial. What Jesus is saying is that someone else’s opinion of Him is not going to help you or save you. Let’s look at their answer and see if anything changes.
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Peter answers the question of the Lord with an amazingly new and different perspective to the identity of Jesus. Two things are directly stated by Peter and you need to notice that neither of these stated beliefs of Peter is denied by Jesus. There was no rebuke from Jesus for any of Peter’s answer. In fact the opposite is true if you read down into the next verse. Jesus praises Peter and tells Him this answered revelation came from His Father and not from any man. That is a very significant amount of information to learn from. Jesus teaches us that there are at least two possible sources for knowledge and only one source is praise worthy. The knowledge originating from God is implied to be very good and noteworthy and the knowledge coming from ignorant men was judged as not important. Did you see that? Who is your source for who Jesus is? Is it God or is it a man? It would be extremely wise to figure this out now before it is too late.
Peter could have gone along with the majority wrong opinion. Peter could have chosen to conform to the religious crowd. Peter could have listened to popular peer pressure. Certainly the popular human concept is still what is taught today by many. But I believe that there still exists a God that can reveal the truth to anyone that asks Him and seeks Him with their whole heart.
What were the two God revealed things about Jesus that Peter gave as an answered reply? The first was that Jesus was the Christ. Wow, what exactly does that mean? Many of us have heard the combined named “Jesus Christ” but this title “Christ” was not the last name of Jesus. And you better also know that “Jesus Christ” is not something you say when you slam the door on your finger. Let’s look up the Greek word translated as “Christ” and learn:
From G5548; anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus: – Christ.
I want to begin with the definition and say Christ is an “epithet” for Jesus. What is an “epithet”? An “epithet” is a word that is used to describe the person being referenced. It is an adjective description. If you understand what an adjective is then you should already understand that an adjective is used to distinguish one man from another. If there is only one Jesus for example no one would need to say “Jesus Christ”. But since there were and still are others then this is one way to make Him uniquely important to the conversation.
Here in this definition is a new connection to a Hebrew word being established along with a meaning of someone that is anointed. The literal definition of the Greek word G5547 translated as the adjective “Christ” means “the anointed one”. Jesus is called “the Christ” by Peter and Jesus does not deny it. This title Christ is only significant because of Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled when Jesus begins His ministry. The Hebrew word being connected in this Greek word definition is H4899. In order to connect the Hebrew word “Messiah” to the Greek word G5547 translated as “Christ” we need to do some homework and search for the title in the O.T. If you do this you will find one key “Messiah” prophecy in the book of Daniel. If you go and read Daniel 9:25-26 you will find the verses that I am referring to. It would take a very long study to try to explain just these two verses so that will not be covered today. But I do want you to notice the Hebrew word that was translated as “Messiah’. This Hebrew word is H4899 and it has the following Strong’s definition:
From H4886; anointed; usually a consecrated person (as a king, priest, or saint); specifically the Messiah: – anointed, Messiah.
As you can observe in the definition this word has the exact same meaning as the Greek word G5547. We can therefore conclude that these two words are equivalent in both languages. I also want to point out that this word can apply to more than Jesus Christ. Any king, priest or even a saint can be anointed by the Spirit of God and this tends to lead some to say that Jesus was just another anointed man like so many others. In that regard if that was the only criteria being analyzed that would be a true statement. However, Peter did not stop talking with calling Jesus “the Christ” and he mentioned another quality that must also be considered.
Do you remember the second statement that Peter made? Go back and reread it if you did not recall that Peter said that Jesus was the “Son of the living God”. Wow that description makes Jesus unique and unlike any other anointed human born on this planet. Jesus had a great opportunity to rebuke Peter for this statement if it was a false claim but Jesus very clearly did not do it. This means that Jesus was confirming His identity to be the “Son of God” with His praise for what Peter had just spoken and because He said that this had been revealed to him by God, His Father. We will talk more about Jesus claiming to be the “Son of God” as we continue in this lesson series. But, Jesus claiming to be “the Son of the living God” is one of the most important things for anyone desiring to be a Christian to learn and believe by faith. I will tell you very plainly right now that if you do not believe that Jesus was the Son of the Living God then you are not a Christian and you are lost and going to hell. This is a very plain and simple truth found in 1 John 2:22-23 so please go and read it.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NAMES
I’m going to shift the focus for a moment to teach briefly an introduction about another very relevant Bible subject concerning “names”. This rabbit trail subject should be a Bible study series all by itself but an introduction will help our study of who Jesus claimed to be and should provide a great benefit to us by us understanding His names. Almost everyone in the Bible was given a name not by chance but rather the name given to them reflected a situation, quality, circumstance or characteristic of something very specific about the person. For example, these given names could have been a reflection on the circumstances surrounding their entrance into the world. Perhaps you remember in Genesis 35:18 when Rachel gives birth to her last son. She called the boy child by the name “Benoni” and this name meant “son of my sorrows” and then she died. But his father named him “Benjamin” which meant “son of my right hand”. God gives such great significance to names in the Bible and these name meanings are often overlooked and ignored but they all have a divine purpose. I will also say that if Benjamin would have been called by the name given of his mother then this would have changed his entire life and who he was tremendously. But since Benjamin was given a name change and a very different positive name he was blessed and favored.
Let’s go over a couple of other significant name changes that made a major difference for those people in the Bible to prove the significance of this subject. The man Abram was selected by God and given a promise by God in Genesis 12. The Hebrew name “Abram” means “high father”. Yet God changes Abram’s name to “Abraham” that meant “a father of a multitude” and it was only after this name change transpired that the promise began to be fulfilled. There is a revealed law of God found in the Bible that as long as the earth endures seed time and harvest will never cease (Gen 8:22). This divine law teaches the concept of cause and effect. In other words for every observable effect (harvest) God teaches us that there must be a cause for it (a seed sown). Some seed sown transpired to cause the promise to be made manifest to see the harvest and I am convinced that God’s name change to Abraham was a major role for this event occurring. Perhaps you will understand that statement as you continue to learn the God given facts of the Bible.
I’ll give you at least one other significant Bible name example. You may recall reading in Genesis 32:29 about Jacob wrestling with an angel. Jacob we are told prevailed against the angel and again as a result, the angel changes Jacob’s name from Jacob to Israel because of this victory. The name Israel obviously came from God and from heaven and you need to know this. When God gives a man a name it usually causes something good to occur and this is just another example. The name Jacob meant “heal catcher” and this name described the circumstances of his birth. But the name “Israel” is a Hebrew name that means “he will rule as God”. I’ll say this again, when God gives you a name there is a great seed that was planted to bring about a divine harvest and this is so very important to understand.
Modern names of people are really no different from Biblical names of people and they often reflect who a person is and what kind of person they present themselves to be. For example I was eating at a restaurant and my server’s name was named “Tisha”. I looked up the name’s meaning on the internet and it meant “joyful” and “happy”. This name meaning fit the personality of the lady very accurately.
What I am attempting to teach you is that it maters what the name of a person is in the Bible and even in the world today still. I am also trying to teach that it matters who gives a person the name and why it was given. In other words why and where the name originates from is critical and the name can certainly influence the outcome on a person’s entire life greatly. Let’s examine the Hebrew word that is translated as the English word “name”. This word’s meaning may shed some additional light of confirmation upon the significance of “names” in the Bible:
A primitive word (perhaps rather from H7760 through the idea of definite and conspicuous position; compare H8064); an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character: – + base, [in-] fame [-ous], name (-d), renown, report.
This Hebrew word means an “appellation”. This word means the act of giving something or someone a name. Then notice the next statement “a mark or memorial of individuality”. Wow that is a very important definition. God and people name things to mark them as being different from other things that may even be similar in appearance. For example any normal family with identical twins will always give each child a different name. This unique name separates one identical twin from the other. When a parent wants a specific twin they will call their name and this should bring the one called. Clearly names matter because it causes a separation from others to occur.
Then notice in this Hebrew word there is an associated implied meaning of any given name. According to the definition a name can carry the positive implication of “honor”, “authority” or it can even denote personal “character”. This positive truth can also be taken from a negative antithesis truth perspective. A negative name given to someone can cause them a negative outcome in life like dishonor or even bad character. I’m trying to teach you how things work in the spiritual realm. If you call your kids stupid then they will become more stupid. If you call your kids lazy then they will become lazier. Whatever names you have placed on your children are all seeds to mold their lives either building character or destroying their character.
I’ll end this introduction to the significance of names in the Bible with this truth. There are so many significant names given to us in the Bible that we often overlook the lesser names mentioned only a few times. For example in Genesis 5 there is a genealogy given to us by the inspiration of God concerning the first eleven men. This genealogy begins from Adam the first man to Noah and then to his son Shem in succession. The name Adam means “man” and the name Noah means “comfort”, the name Shem means “name” and this. Let’s just go through all of the names for review:
If you take the meanings of each of these 11 names given to us in the Bible and combine them into a sentence, you will find the Gospel of Jesus’ coming into the world and one of the primary reasons for His appearing. Here is the sentence using the Hebrew name meanings:
Man (has) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God will come down teaching (and) His death shall bring the despairing comfort (by or through His) Name.
I hope that you are beginning to see how Jesus is even mentioned indirectly here in the names of two prominent Bible men (Adam and Noah) and 9 other relatively obscure men in the Bible. This hidden reference to Jesus using only the names of men certainly is beyond chance or random occurrence. This information had to be placed there by God’s design and plan and this teaches us plainly that God even uses names in the Bible to inform us of things that are very important for us to learn and know. I will give credit for the majority of this information to Chuck Missler and you can find it on his website. I added the name of Shem to what he taught because this should have been given. Remember this prophecy using the 11 names because this will be readdressed in this Bible study later. Let’s move on to the specific name of Jesus next.
INTRODUCTION TO THE NAME OF JESUS
We will continue our Bible study concerning “who is Jesus” with a statement being made to Joseph from an angel sent from the Lord. In this statement is the name of the male child to be born to Joseph’s wife Mary. This name comes from God just like the name of Jacob came directly from God through an angel giving it great divine significance and purpose.
Mat 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
I want to reemphasize this point that the name of “Jesus” came directly from heaven and not from Joseph or Mary or any other human. This fact gives the name of Jesus a divine reason and purpose for being given. The next thing that you need to know is that the name “Jesus” is an English transliteration of the Greek name “Iēsous” being written in the book of Matthew. A transliteration is nothing but a man’s attempt to transfer and preserve a name from one language’s alphabet to another by using similar sounding vowels and constantans. The problem we begin to encounter very quickly is when we realize that the man Jesus was not English nor was He a Greek. Neither of these names would be correct based upon the nationality of Jesus. The genealogy of Jesus given to us in Matthew and Luke both prove that Jesus descended from the Hebrew nation a descendant of Abraham and David. Therefore the name of Jesus should be a Hebrew name and this is exactly what we discover when we look up the Greek word in the Strong’s dictionary:
Of Hebrew origin [H3091]; Jesus (that is, Jehoshua), the name of our Lord and two (three) other Israelites: – Jesus.
You should be able to quickly recognize that the Greek word name has a Hebrew origin. It is also apparent that the name of Jesus was not a completely unique name and that there were other Hebrew men that were also given this famous name. But we still need to ask the question why did the angel tell the man Joseph to name the child Jesus? In order to answer that question we need to revert further to the original Hebrew. Let’s look up the name H3091 and find its meaning:
From H3068 and H3467; Jehovah-saved; Jehoshua (that is, Joshua), the Jewish leader: – Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua. Compare H1954, H3442.
The English transliterated name for the Hebrew word H3091 is “Jehoshua” or “Joshua”. This name literally means “Jehovah saved” in the original Hebrew meaning. This Hebrew word is made from two Hebrew root words being combined together. The first word is H3068 meaning “Jehovah” and the second being H3467 meaning “saved”. “Jehovah” is simply one of the key names for God found within the Old Testament. The name Jehovah is used by God in over 5000 verses. The name Jehovah (H3068) simply means “Self Existent or Eternal One” and was most often translated as “LORD”.
The Hebrew word H3467 simply means “to save”, “to deliver”, “to free”, “to be made safe”, “salvation” and even “to get victory”. This part of the definition goes along with the statement made to Joseph in Matthew 1 if you will recall the angel said “you shall call His name Jesus because He will save His people”. We can learn from the meaning of the name that Jesus was the hidden fulfilled prophecy of the genealogy of Genesis 5 using the 11 names of Bible men. Remember this prophecy predicted that “the Blessed God would come down teaching and His death gives the despairing comfort through His name”. The despairing are simply humans that were held captive prisoners within the darkness of this world. The Name of Jesus was the God given name that men were required to believe upon and we will talk abut this more in the series as we go. This is exactly what transpired. The name of Jesus shows us by its definition that He was the Jehovah God that delivers and saves His people. This is now the second Biblical confirmation that Jesus was God in the flesh that came down to the earth. Let’s move to new name given to Jesus and study a further confirmation.
JESUS = GOD WITH US!
We are now going to explore another name given to Jesus in the Bible. This name will be the third conformation that Jesus was God in the flesh come to the earth from heaven. I will first give you the name found in the Greek New Testament. This name is found in a verse of Matthew 1. Please read it very carefully not overlooking any of the words in the stated scripture.
Mat 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
First consider the beginning of the verse where God declares a “virgin” will be with child. A virgin simply means an unmarried daughter and this clearly implies that she has never had sex with any man. Right there that gives us the first impression of a supernatural conception. Next the Greek words translated as “be with child” simply means that she is pregnant in her womb. Next the author (God) says she will bring forth (birth) a son. Here is where we get to the good stuff. God say “They shall call his name Emmanuel”. Wow, this is a very meaningful name that was being bestowed upon Jesus. Of course this name is meaningless if you don’t know what the definition of the Hebrew word being given to us is.
What we have just witnessed in this verse is a very vital principle (rule) that God teaches us to how to understand selected parts of the Bible. I have already been using this principle when I taught on the meaning of the name of Jesus earlier in this Bible lesson. This principle given to us by God is the simple fact that names have meaning and that these meanings have significance to indicate something important about the one being named. This principle also teaches us very directly that we need to go back to the original language meaning in order to insure the significance.
Perhaps you missed it again. The name “Emmanuel” in this verse is just another Greek to English transliteration. This Greek word (G1694) was also a transliteration from the Hebrew original name H6005 which was transliterated into English in the Old Testament as “Immanuel”. This is further confirmation that what I did for the name of Jesus going back to Joshua was very legitimate. Finally I want you to see in this verse the Greek word (G3177) that was translated into “interpreted”. This Greek word literally means to “translate” from one language into another. What God is doing is confirming the fact that names have meanings and these meanings have purpose as I have already stated. Let’s go back and research the original prophecy that this verse in Matthew is quoted from:
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
This verse quite literally says that this will be a “sign” given by the omnipotent God. This Hebrew word (H226) that was translated as “sign” can mean “evidence” or even a “monument”. In other words Jesus will be the visible proof for the name being given to Him. So what did this name ‘Immanuel” given from God mean? You read it in Matthew but it was not given here in Isaiah because you are assumed to already know Hebrew if you are reading the Old Testament because it was written to Hebrews. This is a reason that God wrote the meaning out in the New Testament because it was predominately read by Gentiles who needed to learn more about this old language.
If you knew the Hebrew language then you would find that “Immanuel” means “God with us”. If we break down the Hebrew root words found within this name we should start with the ending syllable “el” which is the short form for one of the prominent names of God in the Old Testament “Elohim”. The short form name “el” for God is used in almost 150 other names in the Old Testament and that is an interesting study all by itself. Then go back to the beginning syllable of the name “Im” and this means “with” or even “in”. Now look at what remains in the middle “man”. Put them together it could read something .like “God in the form of man” which could also means “God with men”.
Do you understand these God given principles? I’ll say it one more time, names have meanings in the Bible and these meanings are important especially based upon who gives the person this name. Any name given to anyone by God is of the ultimate importance since God is supreme. Based on Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23 God comes down from heaven in the form of a man to be with us, to walk among us and to live like us but as a higher example. So far we have found 4 witnesses in the Bible that claims Jesus to be God in the flesh but there are more. Let’s examine another name of Jesus.
GOD THE WORD BECAME FLESH
All Bible truth is found only by searching and studying the Bible with the Holy Spirit’s help to reveal it to us so we are able to see it clearly. This is why the Bible is not understood by even many Christians. They are not studying, not searching or not praying and asking God to open their eyes to the truth and lead them into it. We are going to need to search to find the names of Jesus in order to discover who He really is. I’ll give you three verses to read next and then talk about them:
Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Rev 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
Rev 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
Did you see the two names of Jesus given to Him by God? First there is the one called “Faithful and True” and this can only be a name for the divine God since every human can and will fail us. Then in verse 13 He is called by the name “The Word of God”. It is this name “The Word of God” that I want to focus upon next. But both of these names prove that Jesus was God in the flesh come to the earth as a man. How do they do that you ask? Well again you have to study and read the Bible to find the answers. The real answers don’t fall on you like a piece of ripe fruit from a tree that you are laying under doing nothing.
The book Revelation was written by the inspiration and revelation of God through a man named John. John wrote other books of the New Testament and we need to go back to the first book in order to find the answer to who “The Word of God” represents. Read these next two verses to begin with from the first chapter of John:
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
God is the primary subject of both verses and the verse begins with the statment “In the beginning was The Word”. This statement is talking about Jesus indirectly since Jesus is called the Word of God in Revelation 19:13. Jesus is being indirectly called the Word again with a direct association of the Word for the theme of God being the primary direct subject. The Word was with God and the Word was God. If you know anything about the laws of mathematics you understand that if A=B and B=C then A=C. Therefore if the Word = God (John 1:1) and Jesus = the Word (Rev 19:13) then God = Jesus by undeniable mathematical proof. I’m not going to go through every verse in this chapter of John because that would take too long but I will give you 4 more verses for you to read:
Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
Joh 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
These verses begin with “He was in the world”. Who is He? This is talking about Jesus in conjunction to the primary subject still being God. Then notice what it says, “The world was made by Him”. Again this is a combined reference to the Spirit of God, the Word of God and God the Father because these three revealed personalities are all the same God (1 Jn 1:5:7). Only God created the world. You can go back to Genesis 1:1 and read this plainly. In the beginning “God” (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth. Now remember God says in Isaiah Immanuel (El = Elohim) is coming to be with us.
In verse 12 God tells us that if we believe on His name He will give us the power to become the sons of God. Why am I teaching you all about the names of Jesus in this lesson? I’m teaching you this so that you might believe in His names in order to be saved. I am teaching on the names of Jesus to reveal Him to be God in the flesh. Did you read verse 14? More importantly did you actually see what it says in verse 14? It says The Word (THE WORD = GOD verse 1) was made flesh and dwelt among us. God dwelling among us is just the name “Immanuel” again written out in definition form. Jesus is declared to be God with us in the form of a man (flesh).
God directly connects John 1:1 with Genesis 1:1 by the same three simple words “In the Beginning”. Whenever God does something like this it is not an accident or chance occurrence. God is telling us they are about the same themed subject. In Genesis 1:1 it said “In the Beginning God” and in John 1:1 it said “In the Beginning was the Word”. This is God’s hidden way of saying “I am the Word and I created the world”. You see there is another hidden reference to Jesus found in Genesis 1:1. I have written about this before in other lesson but it fits very well with what God is saying here that I will repeat it.
Gen 1:1 In the beginning (the A-Z) God created the heaven and the earth.
The fourth word of the Bible in Genesis 1:1 was omitted by the translators because they did not know what it meant. This fourth untranslated word was technically not a word at all but rather the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Uh oh, that should turn some light bulbs on in your brain if you have read the Bible very much. Genesis 1:1 should read in the English “In the Beginning the A-Z God created…”. The A-Z God is another hidden reference to Jesus because Jesus said in Revelation 1:11 “I am the Alpha and the Omega”. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet. In other words Jesus was saying in English “I am the A to Z”. This is exactly who Genesis 1:1 said created the world that we live in. Wow, this is great stuff if you open your eyes of your heart and let it in. I guarantee you that it will save you from hell if you begin to believe it.
This is really not that complicated but Satan does not want these truths to be known. Satan perverts the truth to change Jesus from being divine (God in the flesh) to being only a man (a descendant of Adam) or a prophet to defeat you. Satan does everything in His power to blind the minds of people so that they cannot see the obvious truth of God’s Word in order to be saved (2 Cor 4:4).
I have gone over multiple truths in this Bible lesson that declares Jesus to have come from God in heaven. Not only this but that Jesus was God in the flesh. The Bible says let every word be established in truth by the mouths of two or three witnesses (2 Cor 13:1). I have given you double that with at least 5 to 6 witnesses that Jesus was the God of creation come to the earth in the flesh. We started this lesson with Jesus asking us all “Who do you say that I am?” We then went into the significance of names in the Bible and I introduced you to a hidden prophecy of Jesus coming into the earth in the flesh in the genealogy found in Genesis 5.
We then went into three of the primary names given to Jesus in the Bible, 1) Jesus, 2) Emmanuel and 3) The Word of God. The name of Jesus was the Hebrew name, Joshua and we found that Joshua meant “Jehovah Saved”. Therefore Jesus was this God named Jehovah that came down from heaven to save His people just as was prophesied to occur. We then talked about the name “Immanuel” and that this meant “God with us”. We then talked about Jesus being the Word of God that came in the flesh and it was this A-Z God that created the world that we live in. If you are still wavering and doubting after all of this evidence then I don’t know what else to say that will help you. Go back and reread your Bible and all of the verses that I just gave you. Study the names of Jesus until you have them memorized.
This was only Part 1 in the series of lessons on “Who do you say that I am?” I will be going over more scriptural evidence for Jesus being God in the next lesson in this series. I want to thank you for being open minded enough to read this lesson and I pray that God will help you to see Him in all His glory. Help me spread the word of truth to your friends. Tell them about my website. Send them links to my lessons. Please, help me spread God’s Word so that we can reach the lost world. Jesus is coming back very, very soon. The timing cannot be that far off based upon current world events transpiring. We need to reach everyone that we can and help everyone that we can so that none will perish. Thank you for your prayers of support, because they are very needed and valuable to me. God bless you and keep you until the next time. Always remember the correct answer to the question “Who do you say that I am” is “You are Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God, my Savior, my Lord and my God”. God Bless you!
If you would like to continue reading in this series you may go to “Part 2” now.
(Ver 1.1) This is a Basic Bible Study requesting an answer from every reader to a very serious question. If you have read all of my Bible lessons you should already know that I occasionally teach a Bible Basic Subject for those that are new to Christianity or just in need of learning the simpler milk truths of God’s Word. However, for those more mature Christians or those Christians going through a struggle that could use a refreshing reminder of the Word of God this lesson just might be a great blessing to you also. Today’s Bible lesson is intended and designed for those types of readers but everyone can still benefit from what God will share about the subject of rejection. Let’s begin by asking the important question “Would you rather be rejected by your friends, your family, your peers, your co-workers, your bosses and the people of the world or would you rather be rejected by God?” Wow, how do we begin to answer or respond to that question?
INTRODUCTION TO REJECTION
Rejection from anyone should usually never be viewed as a positive experience from a natural or spiritual perspective. No one that I know of that is vaguely or remotely “normal” will ever feel excited, happy or good about being rejected by anyone for whatever reason. I can personally identify with this subject directly in my own private life. I have been personally rejected by my family, my friends and people of great importance to me in this last year that has caused me great pain, suffering and hurt. How do we deal with this? Has God provided a divine coping mechanism for rejection? This is what we will be talking about today from a God and Bible perspective on the subject of being rejected and handling rejection.
We have all been at the cross roads of rejection and hurt, haven’t we? I know I have. As I have stated I have been ignored and rejected by close family, friends and acquaintances for one reason or the other. These acts of rejection can cause significant emotional distress, hurts and pains that can make us feel very insufficient, inadequate, second-rate and inferior. Rejection is nothing new to me. I am frequently rejected by some of my Bible Study readers. These people who reject me online usually provide critical reviews through unloving negative comments that can be very painful and upsetting if I allowed them inside me. If you did not realize it rejection is a spiritual force. Just like love, hate and fear are spiritual forces. Each of us can become overwhelmed by the undesirable force of rejection. If we do not learn how to deal with this force it can easily overwhelm us into a pit of despair. Please read this initial definition for “reject”:
REJECT: dismiss as inadequate, inappropriate, or not to one’s taste
Let’s stop and review this definition of “reject”. As you should be able to see when someone or something is rejected then that which was rejected is stated to not fit within the positive expectations of the observer for any unstated reason. What we find from this definition is that there are either implied or unstated rules of acceptance and not meeting these will result in rejection of the person or the item being observed. Rejection can obviously become very subjective if you know what that means. Rejection is based upon subjective human reasoning and this simply means that there is a direct level of personal opinion, bias or preference to most forms of rejection. One’s personal opinion will usually drive their acceptance or rejection of someone else. However there are also other types of rejection based upon a stricter standard of rules.
For example a shirt being manufactured for sale in a store will undergo an inspection by a trained observant inspector. Each inspector is given a set of established standards to determine if the shirt meets expectations. If a flaw is determined to be present in the garment then the garment is rejected and cannot be sold as a new quality garment matching the established standards. It does not matter if there are over 100 things right about the garment because if there is found one minor flaw the garment is rejected. This is exactly what happens with people rejecting people also if you did not realize it. However the established set of rules is usually very loose and not well defined. Many fault finding people look for flaws and overlook any good qualities found within a person and will simply reject them as being imperfect. This is basic human nature and you need to know this in order to understand rejection more completely and why it occurs.
Some of the synonyms for reject are “castoff”, “throwaway” or “discard”. All of these are negative observer reactions from failing the perceived observation acceptance standards directed at the person or object being rejected. As I have stated previously rejection of anything is clearly a subjective personal decision based upon the observer’s own personal preferences, experiences, rules, likes or dislikes. Let’s review another quick example of a type of rejection. A person can reject eating broccoli simply because they do not like the observable smell, shape, appearance, color or even the texture. Many people reject eating broccoli having never even tasting it. Therefore rejection by the casual observer will usually be done by someone based upon a very limited set of superficial information void of all of the facts. The observer would not consider the taste or the vitamin content or nutritional value of broccoli but would rather pass a quick judgment based upon superficial and insufficient observation. Always remember this and this may help you tremendously with dealing with rejection. Many decisions of rejection are performed based upon pure human ignorance. Let’s consider a set of verses very quickly to get this subject started:
Mat 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Mat 7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Mat 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
These verses do not mention rejection but this represents the same action of rejection that happens when someone is rejected by an observer. Did you see the principles that Jesus was teaching the man doing the observation and trying to pass judgment upon the other man? Jesus asks how can you perceive correctly the flaws in your brother’s life if you have not seen the flaws in your own life first? This is such a profound warning from God about how we act almost every day. Too often people are rejecting others simply because of a minor flaw when they are the ones that should be rejected from their own self-examination. However since they are not examining themselves Jesus calls them a hypocrite for seeing something so minor in another person.
Ok did you observe the process of rejection taking place in these verses? There is both an observer (rejecter) and someone that is being observed (one being rejected). The observer is looking specifically for faults and ignoring all the good qualities of the person. The observer passes a hasty independent judgment without attempting to find or see all of the facts. The observer’s actions are stated to be WRONG. The observer is judged by God to be a hypocrite for not looking at himself first before passing judgment upon anyone else. Uh oh! What do we do with all of this great information?
I am starting out the lesson on how to handle rejection by saying, don’t become like a hypocrite. If you are rejecting people because of some insufficient information then you will be making the same mistake that others will be doing by rejecting you. This is a very good time to interject the golden rule. We should all do to others as we would have them to do to us. In other words don’t reject people even if you are the one being constantly rejected. As you learn this subject of rejection all of this will become more real to you. Are you ready to learn more about rejection? I think we will begin the lesson with a further discussion of ignorance.
# 1 – REJECTION IS NORMALLY DONE FROM IGNORANCE
Rejection (passing judgments) can be caused by many reasons but one of the main factors is human ignorance. Every human is born into the world an empty vessel waiting to be filled with some knowledge. Therefore we are all in varying states of ignorance no matter how much we have learned. This is good knowledge for dealing with personal rejection. We need to understand that the person doing the rejecting usually does it from their own pure unawareness or lack of understanding of you or your situation, experiences or even your circumstances. Wow, this is much truer than you may understand right now. I once heard a preacher responding to the rejection by a man that heard the message that he preached. This preacher said to the man “If you knew me you would really like me”. Do you understand why he said that? The preacher understood that his rejection was based upon the man’s insufficient information. He knew that the man had rejected him based upon very limited evidence from only one sermon. This should help teach you a new way to handle someone’s rejection of you. Don’t call them ignorant to their face but rather walk in love towards them because this is the way you should react to rejection as we will soon find by a living example in the Bible.
Did you know that Jesus was rejected? Yes Jesus was definitely rejected by many of the people that He encountered here on the earth. I’m not going to go into every verse example of rejection concerning Jesus but I will give you some very quick verses to consider about the subject of rejection and how to treat those that are rejecting you.
Luk 20:17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
Here is Jesus speaking directly of Himself from a verse of prophecy found in Psalms 118:22. Jesus is speaking of Himself as the “Stone” that the builders rejected. This stone is a figurative symbolic representation of the foundation within a new spiritual temple that would be coming to fruition by the design and plan of God. I do not have the time to explain this statement in full in this lesson. It would take much too long to understand what these builders were supposed to be building and why Jesus is called the major Stone in that building project. Just understand that this is a spiritual house being foretold by the prophets of God and it is not a physical natural house or temple. I will also tell you that it was the natural nation of Israel that represented the initial builders of this house. Jesus by His own admission claims to be the rejected Stone. It was natural Israel that was rejecting the Stone. Ignorance of God’s purpose and plan is probably the key reason why the nation of Israel rejected Jesus, their Messiah. They were thinking temporarily and naturally and Jesus was thinking and speaking eternally and spiritually. Wow again, that was a very important concept for understanding how to handle rejection. Did you get it? I’ll try to emphasize this again later in the lesson to help you. However I will give you another verse witness to the fact that Jesus was the living Stone:
1Co 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Jesus is being called a spiritual Rock and this is just a synonymous term for “Living Stone”. Spirits are living beings that cannot die or cease to exist. This is one of the keys to understanding what God is doing within the New Covenant. The Old Testament types and shadows were just a foretelling of a coming greater spiritual reality. Ok we have just established that Jesus was rejected as a living stone by the nation of natural Israel. Let’s review a very specific verse example of this rejection and the reaction of Jesus to this as the Living Stone. Please read this verse carefully.
Luk 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
If you read the context you will find that this is Jesus stripped naked and then being nailed through His flesh to a wooden cross. Jesus is in great pain and dealing with extraordinary levels of human suffering that had all been imposed upon Him through the rejection of His own people. This rejection arose from the root cause of their ignorance. None of these people knew or understood what they were doing as you can clearly see from the statement being made by Jesus Himself “They know not what they do”. None of these people recognized or understood that this man hanging on this tree was God come to the earth in the flesh. None of these people knew or understood their actions for why they were rejecting Him. None of these people cared about the pain that they were inflicting upon Jesus by their rejection. All of these people were extremely ignorant of the facts and very far from any knowledge of the truth. Jesus could have been like the preacher man and said to them all “If you knew me you would really like me” but He did not say this. However the reaction of Jesus to this personal rejection is quite the opposite of what most people would have done or said. Let’s talk about His reaction next.
# 2 – LOVE & PROACTIVE FORGIVENESS WILL OVERCOME REJECTION
We just quickly reviewed the example of Jesus hanging on the cross. Jesus had asked His Father to forgive them even while being hurt extensively from the pain caused by their ignorant human rejection. Jesus offered them all forgiveness as He endured unimaginable agony from their dismissal. None of those that rejected Him asked for this forgiveness so this was a proactive outreach from His love and mercy. Why was Jesus asking God to forgive them? It is primarily because walking in love will always forgive others proactively. If we wait for someone to ask for forgiveness before we extend it, I believe this can cause ill feelings to be harbored in our inner being that can build up and harden our hearts.
What is forgiveness? Forgiveness is a personal act of the freewill to extend mercy to someone that does not deserve to receive mercy. Wow, is that a tough concept for new Christians and for even many mature ones to grasp? It has been rare for me to see people with any mercy much less any forgiveness on the internet. Yes, I am talking about people who call themselves Christians. We can either decide to act like Jesus and proactively forgive everyone before they ask for it or we can become the judging condemner and stay in bitter un-forgiveness. What do you think we should do when people reject us? There are only two real options to choose from and I think I will follow Christ’s example.
# 3 – HANDLING REJECTION CORRECTLY WILL BE EASIER IF YOU KNOW THE TRUTH
If the people doing the rejection are acting out of ignorance of the truth then it stands to reason that we can best deal with this rejection by knowing the truth. Therefore the third thing to know about handling rejection is we better learn the truth. I personally believe that we are on the right path by studying this subject. We want to replace our lack of knowledge by filling our hearts and minds with God’s truth. God’s Word is the only source for spiritual and eternal truth. We should claim by faith that we are always in the right place at the right time studying the right subjects so God’s Word will prevail over all rejection and its evil intent from the enemy. Let’s go back and reconsider Luke 23:34. Jesus is in a process of extreme rejection yet He prays to God for their forgiveness instead of calling down fire or angels from heaven to destroy them all. You see Jesus had the power and authority to destroy them but chose not to. Human reaction would have been to get revenge or to set forth a process for justice at minimum. But Jesus did none of these. Why is that? Jesus could look beyond the current rejection to a greater and more significant purpose for His existence. Jesus knew that He knew the truth and that His rejecters did not. This should teach us that there is a right way to handle rejection and if there is a right way there is also a wrong way. I believe that one of the right ways of dealing with rejection will always be based upon us acquiring right knowledge. Jesus did this from an early age always being in the temple to hear the Words of God being read. Jesus gained right knowledge and understanding and this was a key factor for His correct handling of rejection. So what am I saying? I am saying ignorant people will reject you but you can overcome this by learning the truth and using this to overcome the rejection.
Life is full of choices. Making any right choice will always be based upon correct and sufficient knowledge. Jesus made a right choice while being rejected through an act of His own freewill. This act was made possible because of the knowledge that He possessed from the Word of God. I believe that we can do the same if we come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ to grow and increase in the understanding of His precious Holy Word. This knowledge of God will be what helps us deal with any human rejection. Therefore the third key to dealing with rejection is to get God’s understanding built within our hearts and minds. Put God’s Word first in every situation and leave the thoughts and ways of the natural world behind. It was the Jews that were thinking naturally and missed their Messiah. Wrong thinking and wrong believing based upon ignorance will be one of the primary causes for people rejecting right things and the right people. But it is right knowledge that will cause the rejected one to not be affected by the rejection.
Pro 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
God directs us more than once in the Bible that we need to obtain understanding. Understanding the reasons for rejection will help us handle it when it comes to us and it will come to you. There are people in the world today that are being rejected and do not know how to handle it and this allows Satan to convince them that they should take their own lives or withdraw from normal human interaction. God says in Hosea 4:6 that “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge”. Therefore what you do not know about any subject can be used against you by Satan to destroy you. Learn to overcome rejection by obtaining the knowledge of God.
I hope you are learning something because I know I am. All my Bible lessons are for me from God and if you can benefit from them then that is just an added blessing from God. Also if you don’t like what I teach I would just tell you “You would really like me if you knew me”. Let’s move on to the next point in dealing with rejection.
# 4 – UNDERSTANDING REJECTION CAUSES PAIN
Let’ go back again to Luke 23 where Jesus was hanging on the cross and asking God to forgive them. In the case of the Lord Jesus, His rejection caused Him extreme physical and even emotional pain because of all the things that He endured for us. So the fourth key to understanding how to handle rejection is for us to understand that there will always be pain that follows the initial rejection. Just learn to expect it because it will occur. Perhaps you do not understand me yet. I do not mean to imply that the pain of rejection will always be the same as Jesus’ physical pain. However that is still a reality even in this world today. People are killed, tortured and physically hurt by rejection today. Just look on the news or the internet and you should be able to find this easily. Even in the days of the early church the leaders, teachers and the followers of Christ were rejected by many people. Many of those in the early church were martyred. Many of them suffered greatly because of their faith. Many of them died horrific deaths of all sorts and types of slow demise. Such great suffering occurred simply because of human rejection influenced and conceived by Satan.
Can we agree that pain is not a positive feeling? Only a perverted and twisted mind will delight in pain. However there is a positive factor that pain can alert us to something harmful occurring. For example if something is hot and you touch it accidently the natural reaction is to withdraw your touch very fast because of the pain caused by the heat. This is an example of how pain can alert us to trouble. God built us with the capability of feeling all types of sensations including pain and pleasure. I personally would rather experience a good feeling rather than the negative feeling of pain but yet both still exist for a reason. Since pain exists in the world and we will probably feel it, learning how to react correctly to pain might be something good for us to learn about. If not in this lesson then maybe in a follow up lesson on this subject.
There are certainly many types of pain that rejection can cause other than physical suffering. The factor of emotional pain is significantly as great as physical pain to most people. Emotional pain could cause us the same type of reaction as a physical pain. Many will withdraw from a person after they are hurt by them. If you have ever been rejected by the love of your life then you know exactly the kind of pain that I am talking about. I believe that physical pain can always feel the greatest when it is happening but emotional feelings can linger for a while. When a woman is in labor about to deliver her baby I am told that the pain is practically unbearable at those moments. But after the baby arrives the pain suddenly is considered to be worth it all. At least the rewards now appear to be worth the cost of endurance because of the joy felt by the presence of the baby. This is a concept that is taught to us by God in the New Testament. For example read this verse found in the book of Romans:
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
The Greek word translated as “sufferings” can mean “emotional or physical” types of pain. God warns us that we will experience this here in this world. But God then tells us how to endure it. Wow, again and again. Here we are told to get back to thinking spiritually and eternally. God tells us very clearly in 2 Corinthians 4:18 that the things in this world are very temporary. God then instructs us to focus upon the things that are not seen because these are those things that are eternal. God is simply saying that spiritual things are greater and more important than any sufferings or pains being endured right now. God tells us that there is coming a glory to be revealed in us. These coming glorious things will make the current pains seem very insignificant. This is exactly the attitude of the woman that brought a new child into the world. It will be worth the pains when God shows us what is waiting for us. I hope you accept this because I know the current pain is very difficult to ignore. I can speak from experience from the tears that I have shed before because of the pains and hurts and I’m sure that your pain is not any less significant to you that you are going through either.
Jesus endured His natural pain because of His great Love for us and His knowledge of a greater spiritual purpose and plan for our eternity. He knew this pain endured in the natural would benefit Him and us and it was this love, knowledge and spiritual insight that kept Him on the cross. Thank you Jesus! Let’s begin to learn to follow Jesus’ example of looking into the future. I know that seeing into the future is not natural for us. It is very difficult to focus on anything beyond the current level of pain being experienced. I keep emphasizing this because this is a reality we have all shared in common at some time in our life and our Christian walk. Here is another verse of future glory to be revealed:
1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
I like this verse. It is an excellent commentary on the future. Because we cannot fully comprehend the power of God or what God could do for us we do not yet understand what He could have planned for us. However, we can still begin to think of His goodness and expect some pretty marvelous things that await us. This should help each of us endure human rejection for a short time. Begin to think eternally. While doing this think spiritually and get out of the natural perspective of your rejection. Ask God to forgive those that are rejecting you. Ask Him to send laborers across their paths to help them see and know the truth.
We should now start to understand that this type of observer offense called “rejection” causes people pain and these pains can create great feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, loneliness and inferiority to the one being rejected. The pain is real but this is definitely a temporary feeling. Even if they killed you dead, you would pass into eternity to be with Christ and the pain would not be remembered.
# 5 – CHRIST’S INSTRUCTIONS – EXPECTING REJECTION
I have implied this subject briefly in previous topics but this will be a more direct emphasis to teach us all to expect rejection to occur. When we expect something to happen we will be better prepared to handle it. If we do not expect something to happen then we will usually be taken by surprise when it does happen and this will usually result in our failure. There is an old saying from my work history that says “Fail to plan then you should plan to fail”. Do you understand this? This is only teaching us that we need to come up with a plan before we are rejected just in case it happens and this will give us the greater advantage when it does. Let’s examine a principle found in the book of Proverbs to help us:
Pro 24:27[Put first things first.] Prepare your work outside and get it ready for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house and establish a home. (AMP)
This is a very interesting verse that says nothing about rejection but does teach us to make a plan and follow the process. God gives us instructions to do things in a specific order. This is generally called “common sense” but this quality is sometimes a feature lacking in the modern age of people doing things without thinking of the consequences. The Hebrew word translated as “Prepare” is H3559 and it means “to set upright or erect”. It is clearly implying a correct process to accomplish this. In other words a plan is expected and it must be followed. This is what I am attempting to give you in this lesson. This lesson is talking about making a plan for rejection. Preparing for something negative is not a lack of faith but is rather a common sense approach to balancing the scriptures. We need to learn to expect what God said would happen to happen. Let’s see what God said would happen:
Mat 10:24The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
Mat 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Jesus declares we are no better than He was. He says very clearly that how He has been treated by people in this world will be how we will be treated by the same. This is a foundational doctrine being established and applied by the Lord Jesus Christ to all Christians. If Jesus was unjustly labeled, accused and rejected by people we should not expect anything differently. We need to know this because this type of persecution will certainly increase as the time nears for Christ’s return. Do you understand the connection between persecution and rejection? These two are directly linked together like Siamese twins. I can see this persecution happening now even in the media very clearly. Anyone standing up for God will be tried and torn down by those who do not want to hear it in a court of public opinion. We will be labeled intolerant hate mongers by those that hate us. That is a very hypocritical attitude isn’t it? They can criticize us but we can say nothing about their sin. I did say their sin and not them. I try to never talk about anyone specifically by name ever.
We should know from reading the Gospels that Jesus was heavily and frequently rejected for one reason or the other. There was the time once when the people wanted to stone Him (John 8:59) or throw Him off a cliff (Luke 4:29). Many others simply walked away mocking His teachings about eating His flesh and drinking His blood for example (John 6:66). The religious leaders of that day rejected Jesus and planned to kill him and they eventually succeeded (John 5:18, John 7:1). Rejection was a very significant part of the life of Jesus. You need to know this and then apply what Jesus just said to you in Matthew 10:25.
Therefore the fifth factor in this lesson for dealing with human rejection is for us to begin to expect for it to occur. However this only applies if you are anything like Jesus and doing what He was doing, saying what He was saying and acting the same way to people in this world. Just don’t be surprised when someone rejects you, your message, your witness, your testimony or your life style choices and this will help you deal with it in a healthy manner without striking back from emotional anger or hurt. Striking back in anger or from the pain or other emotional hurts will usually only cause greater problems of strife as well as give other Christians a bad reputation. The same as Jesus walked in love to those that rejected Him, is how we should respond to the same types of denunciation.
I will also say this quickly about Christians not being rejected by worldly people. If you are currently accepted by the vast majority of the people in the world then you are not preaching, teaching or telling people what Jesus told them. It is impossible not to offend the world with the truth of the Word of God. Wow, that was a very strong statement but it is a well-known fact. Always expect the world to reject you and then learn to walk in proactive forgiveness towards them just like Jesus did hanging on the cross when He said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. This is the beginning of handling rejection and I hope you are learning something today that will help you in your walk with Jesus Christ. I will just give one more witness to this truth for this lesson today:
Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
We are warned that we will all suffer with Jesus by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost given to Paul. In other words the same rejection that He endured we should expect to happen to us. Do you see it in this verse? Perhaps it will help to study the Greek Word that was translated as “suffer with” in this verse and it could help us to see what God was trying to say.
G4841 – From G4862 and G3958 (including its alternate); to experience pain jointly or of the same kind (specifically persecution; to “sympathize”): – suffer with.
It should become significantly clearer by reading this definition from Strong’s Concordance that our rejection will be the same as Christ’s rejection. “To experience pain jointly or of the same kind” is the primary definition of this word. I do not know how to make it more clear than this. After reading this you should now be expecting the same level of rejection and persecution to come to you as what Jesus experienced in this world.
# 6 – UNDERSTAND CHRIST’S EXAMPLE – BECOMING ACCEPTED BY GOD
I believe that I have at the very least implied this point briefly in the previous sections but it should be emphasized again more directly for a greater clarification and retention. I firmly believe that Jesus lived a pattern of life on the earth that we should expect to reoccur in our lives and I further believe that His life was an intentionally designed example for us to follow after. That does not mean that we will die on the cross like He did but some Christians have experienced that. What I am trying to say is that we should walk, talk and live the way that He did towards other people in love.
Was Jesus rejected? I think we have more than confirmed that He was rejected repeatedly. Did Jesus ever feel the pain of rejection? I think we have seen this evidence also. I think I will give you another witness for the emotional pain that Jesus felt about being rejected. Please read this next verse and see beyond the words to feel the emotions behind them.
Mat 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Jesus starts out with a heartfelt cry “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem”. Depending upon the voice tone it could be any emotion between anger and extreme sadness. But I believe that these words were spoken in pain and disappointment. You can see this by the further statement “How often would I have gathered your children…”. This part of the statement is God longing to accept these people into His arms just like a mother hen covers her little young ones. This is a very powerful statement that the children were refusing this love and nurturing. They were rejecting the love of the only true God. This broke the heart of God and He cries for them. Feel the tears and experience the pain of being rejected. God is clearly weeping over His people.
How did Jesus deal with all of this rejection? I would think that we should follow after His example. We have already talked about many of the things that Jesus did to counter rejection. I mentioned learning and knowing the truth, walking in love, seeing things spiritually, emphasizing eternal realities and proactively forgiving the rejecters. Let’s now read my lesson’s foundational verse and consider what God is saying. This verse will be the central theme for my entire subject today.
1Pe 2:4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,
This verse is the applied basis for my question that I asked you in the title today. This verse is speaking directly of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ set us a living example for us to follow after. He was very clearly rejected by the vast majority of the people present in the region of the earth where He was born. He did nothing except teach them, heal them and work miracles in their sight and they rejected all the good that He represented and killed Him. These people took an innocent man guilty of no crimes and killed Him like a murderer. Did Jesus deserve this rejection? Did Jesus sow any discord, disharmony or anything else to cause this rejection? I don’t really believe that He did. No Jesus simply presented the truth and this truth was rejected out of their human ignorance.
This teaches us that human rejection may not be justified, earned or merited and that it could happen to anyone doing what Jesus did. However, did you notice the antithesis preference found within this verse found in 1 Peter 2:4? Doesn’t God say here in this verse that Jesus even after being rejected by men was still plainly accepted by God? In fact wasn’t Jesus already accepted by God even before he was ever rejected by anyone? Let’s look at a verse that confirms this:
Luk 3:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
God in a spiritual form of a dove descended from heaven upon Jesus. The voice of God in heaven spoke and declared the Son of God Jesus to be pleasing to the Father. To be pleasing in the eyes of the observer is clearly acceptance by the Father God. At this time in the life and ministry of Jesus, He had not done one miracle yet nor started to teach or preach any Word from God. Therefore human rejection had not taken place. Here is a secret for surviving human rejection. We must make sure that we are first accepted by God. Wow this really sounds like something that we need to learn about. How do we become accepted by God when people can reject us? I guess I should clarify this question. You see I believe that we are primarily rejected by men simply because we have previously been accepted by God. I am attempting to talk to Christians in this lesson but I do know we all can still be rejected before we become Christians. So this lesson can even help a non-Christian if they will join in a do what the Bible teaches about dealing with rejection.
# 7 – UNDERSTANDING HOW TO BECOME REJECTED BY GOD
Mat 10:33 “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
There are at least two antithesis truths that can be gleaned from this verse. The key word being found in this verse is “deny”. This Greek word is G720 and it means to “reject”, “renounce” or “abnegate”. The English word “abnegate” means to reject something valuable. God says to us if we “reject” (deny) Christ (that which should be valuable to us) verbally to other people that He will reject (deny) us (that which is valuable to Him) before these same people. Wow, wow, wow!! That is something that many people have not considered. Have you given this verse much thought? It would be good for all of us to meditate on this verse for a long time to get it built into our hearts.
What are the implied unstated or indirect truths found within this verse? This verse teaches us by the law of antithesis truth that if we “accept” and “proclaim” Christ before men that God will accept and proclaim us in the exact same way. This fact declares plainly that we control our acceptance or our rejection from God by our own freewill choices and actions. This truth contradicts the erroneous teaching of extreme predestination where people are appointed for salvation or for hell based upon God’s sovereign plan. It is very clear to me that we have a great role to play in being accepted or rejected by God. Let’s obtain another witness to this truth of being rejected by God:
2Ti 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
Again God declares that the rejection (denial) of Christ will be His rejection (denial) of us. These are established truths which places all of the responsibility of what happens to us upon our personal will, choices, decisions and actions. I keep saying that because this was how God designed salvation to work. Salvation is totally dependent upon what you believe and what you say. If you don’t believe me then let’s believe God’s Word and read this verse to confirm it:
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
I am going to say something very controversial about this verse that I have said before in other posts. I get more religious people’s negative comments trying to convince me that salvation is based upon works and not completely on our faith than any other subject that I teach on. What are the key words found in this verse? They are “believe” and “confess”. God says if we do these two we will be saved. Now place this verse in harmony with the previous two verses about denying Jesus? You should be able to see that “denying” Jesus is implied to be a public declaration. Would it not stand to reason that confessing Jesus is the same? I do not want to get religious or legal minded about salvation being only one certain way because I do believe a person can get saved all alone in any private setting by calling on Jesus. However, the public confession of Jesus factor is still implied even after the initial salvation. Who said we have to stop confessing Jesus after the one time public or private confession of Jesus?
Do you understand what I was saying? I believe if we confess Jesus in private but deny him in public we could be in serious trouble. God says salvation is dependent upon us confessing Jesus and believing in His resurrection from the dead. This would simply imply that our continued salvation hinges upon us continuing to believe and continuing to confess Him as our Lord and Savior in public or in private. This is what I believe whether you choose to believe it or not. Please do not write me comments about eternal security and once saved always saved philosophies that do not balance with the whole word of God and ignore so many scriptures that contradict it. I am probably causing offense to so many readers by attempting to teach the truth as I have been shown it by God but that is the risk of any teaching from the Bible. Someone will always be offended and I will be rejected by some.
What does all of this teach us? This means that we should not be ashamed of Jesus Christ to talk about Him and tell others about what He has done for us. We should not be bashful but rather bold enough to proclaim Him in a public setting. Uh oh I can feel the readers shutting me off as they just read something that is potentially controversial about doing something potentially offensive to others in the world. This verse is very strong to say that God will reject some people on the earth. It seems to me that it would be very wise for me to determine how to not become one of these being rejected. We are talking about being accepted or being rejected by God. We have just determined that it is possible to be in either category of mathematical sets. The set of God’s accepted versus the set of God’s rejected. Which are you in? Are you one of His sheep or one of the goats that will be turned away?
# 8 – UNDERSTANDING THE SPIRITUAL SOURCE FOR HUMAN REJECTION
Mat 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
I have been doing a very basic Bible lesson on the subject of rejection and how to deal with it. We have already learned some very valuable information on this subject. Let’s think some more about the implied truths found in Matthew 10:25. Did you notice what Jesus was further suggesting in this statement? Jesus was saying if we are accepted by God then we will probably be rejected by men. This is just basic logic derived from analyzing the stated truths and the unstated antithesis truths that must also be true. If we are God’s disciples then we must have been accepted by God. If we are God’s servants then again this implies God’s approval has taken place. Now learn how the world will treat those that are accepted and approved into the household of Christ Jesus. Jesus said that they will be called names and rejected. Therefore it is one or the other and not both. What this teaches us again is that if we are accepted by God we will be rejected by the vast unsaved world. And if we are rejected by God then we are more likely to be accepted by the same lost world. Therefore we should have learned to expect rejection after our acceptance from Jesus Christ.
As I have continued to teach we need to expect this rejection of men to occur in order to not be taken by surprise. Please understand that it is ultimately Satan that is using these people to come against Christians. Satan will be directing the assaults by providing thoughts that blind their minds to receive the truth. It is essential to know what Ephesians 6:12 says in this discussion of rejection.
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.
Why did I include this verse in a discussion concerning handling rejection? It is primarily because we need to know who is behind the rejection from the people in the world. God very clearly teaches in the Bible in more than one scripture that we are in a spiritual battle with the rulers of the darkness of this this world. Every unsaved person is a puppet in this dark world. Most of them do not have a clue what they are doing and why they are doing it. This is why Jesus could hang on the cross and ask God to forgiven them all because of their ignorant allegiance and obedience to the devil. Jesus knew the ultimate enemy and it was not people. People were who He came to the earth to save. Jesus was clearly thinking spiritually and not naturally. Wow, we really need to get a hold of this concept. When a person comes and rejects us and calls us names we must realize that it is Satan inspired. This is why we don’t ever retaliate with a person that is rejecting us. You can however learn to speak to the spirits that are working in those people. I would not normally do this to their face unless God instructed me to do so. We can also pray to God and ask God to open the eyes of understanding for the person doing the rejecting. These are two things that we can do when being rejected. Remember that and this will further help you to overcome the rejection. We can talk more about these in another lesson someday.
# 9 – OVERCOMING THE REJECTION OF MEN WITH THE ACCEPTANCE OF GOD
What God declares in Matthew 10:25 is that rejection by Satan and the world is inevitable if we are Christians. We will either be rejected by men or we will rejected by God. That makes it extraordinarily clear to me who I don’t want to be rejected by. I want to definitely be accepted by God. We have already talked about denying Christ or confessing Christ as primary factors for rejection or acceptance but there are other factors that are stated in the Bible. This will be the next tot he last section in this lesson discussion to further expand out knowledge on becoming fully accepted by God. We will need to learn as much as we can about this subject in a short overview format.
Rejection by men and women in the world will always hurt us emotionally and possibly physically. I would love to be accepted by everyone that I teach or meet but I know this will never happen. Also I do not wish to become a “man pleaser” just to have the friendship with the world. It would be foolish of me to water down the teaching of God to just not to try to offend anyone. These principles are clearly taught to us in the Bible. Let’s review some N.T. verses about rejection and acceptance by God:
2Co 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
We are told by God to come out from among them and be separate. This Greek word translated as “separate” means to set a boundary between two things. In other words God tells us to be very different from the world. Being different from the world alone will cause many people in the world to reject us as fools. We will be called names like intolerant hate mongers or even a boring unexciting person just because we don’t party, drink alcohol, smoke or take drugs like them. We will be accused of propagating a message of exclusion and preaching a message of hatred simply for speaking of Christ’s love being the only way for their salvation. What people in the world do not realize is that in their present condition they are far apart from God and on their way to hell. We are instructed by God to tell them about a remedy for this condition that God has given to them freely. If they will listen to this message then Christ said they will be saved from the rejection of God.
Go back and reread 2 Corinthians 6:17 again. The verse ends with the declaration that we will be received by God “IF” we come out from among the world. This Greek word translated as receive is G1523 and it means “to take into one’s favor” or in other words to “be accepted” and “approved”. Wow, this is great information to learn. God is telling you how to be accepted by Him. This is clearly us rejecting the world’s ways and walking in God’s ways. The reverse antithesis truth found in this verse is that if we accept the world’s ways we will be rejected by God and that will definitely be an unsatisfactory result for eternity. What God is teaching us in the Bible is that there exist conditional promises. Acceptance by God is conditional and never guaranteed unless we learn to follow the instructions that He has given to us in order to qualify.
We have just learned a basic principle for achieving God’s acceptance and avoiding His rejection. We must proclaim Jesus before men and we must come out from among the world. It sounds like a contradiction but this is the way of God. We can tell the world about Jesus without looking like them, acting like them or sounding like them. Being accepted by God is a partnership between God’s Grace and man’s faith. We cannot earn this favorable position with God by our works. Our works of labor will never make us accepted by God. This is truly a paradox being presented to us. If right works do not save us yet the wrong works could cause us to be rejected how do we deal with this? Let’s view a perspective from the Lord Jesus on this part of the discussion:
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
We are called the lights shining to the world in this verse. As a light we are told to do good works in order to give glory to God for saving us. You see our good works certainly do not save us but yet they can be viewed by the world clearly to be seen as a different and new way of life. There is a tremendous deception contained within the ways of the world. The life of sin is very attractive at first but the consequence of sin will always come upon them suddenly and then this is when people might wish they had made better choices. Let me give you a quick Bible verse that relates to this subject of enjoying pleasure for a short time and an eternity in hell for making that wrong choice:
Heb 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
This verse is speaking of Moses if you read the context you will see this clearly. Notice what God says about Moses. God says Moses made a wise choice. Moses chose to live in persecution and affliction rather than live the good life with the Egyptians for a season. It is self-evident that we should not choose a short life of pleasure just to hang around the popular people, the aristocrats and the wealthy. This is what God is trying to say to us all. Come out and be separate from the world and this will cause you to be accepted by God but rejected by them. However, this will result in far greater rewards than you can possibly imagine.
#10 – THE WITNESS OF GOD IS GREATER THAN THE WITNESS OF MAN
Now let me end this lesson with one more key verse when learning to deal with rejection found in the book of 1st John. I am going to emphasize one more time that the acceptance of God should be our focused desire. This goal will help us to deal with the certain rejection of people in this world:
1Jn 5:9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
I think this will be my last verse in this very important Bible lesson. Here is God comparing two possible realities that I started out asking you in the lesson title. Did you see them? One is a natural reality and the other is a spiritual reality? Which one is greater? Can you comprehend the connection to the subject of “rejection”? Let’s look up the Greek word G3144 which was translated as “witness”. Witness is defined to be someone that gives evidence for or against you in a court of law. Now do you begin to see the connection? What happens when someone rejects you? They usually will verbally speak something negative about you. What happens when someone accepts you? They usually will verbally speak something positive about you. So how does this information apply to being rejected by men?
If a man rejects you God informs us very clearly that His acceptance will be greater and far more important to us in the end. In other words the temporary acceptance of men will not be worth the eternal separation and rejection of God. God is just confirming that His divine spiritual acceptance outweighs any natural rejection every time. I think this will be very helpful to everyone that will learn to receive it.
After reading this Bible lesson on rejection let me ask the titled question again. Would you now rather be rejected by men or rejected by God? This is a test just like in school growing up. However, God’s tests are always open book tests with the answer found right after you search for them with your whole heart. What does God recommend for this question? God recommends that you make wise choices and become accepted by Him. Then don’t worry about the rejection that the world will bring you because the acceptance of God will triumph over this dismissal by the world giving you great eternal rewards.
There is so much more on this subject of rejection in the Bible but it will have to wait for a follow up lesson. I would recommend that you go back and reread this lesson more than once. Print it out and take notes. Share it with others so that they too will know how to deal with rejection. I thank you so much for taking the time to read these Bible lessons. I pray that the seeds planted in your heart from these lessons will sprout and bring forth much fruit in your life. Until next time may God richly bless you and keep you in the paths that He would lead you in. God Bless you!!!
(Ver 1.3) This is going to be Part 1 in a series on the basic Bible foundational subject of where do human beliefs come from? I am going to revert back to the fundamental basics of Christianity today in this lesson. Recently I started out writing about another Bible subject and this topic came up and suddenly expanded so large that it became a separate new Bible study that just kept growing and growing. This subject of “belief” is an integral part of Christianity found in the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Technically beliefs are an integral part of any religion, a basic characteristic found in every human and in human life in general. We all have beliefs, but they certainly vary in such wide degrees that it is easily understandable that every human belief is not the truth. Let’s first start by defining the word “belief”. A belief is a noun and one online dictionary defined it as “something one accepts to be true or real; a firmly held conviction or opinion”. Notice that word “opinion” in that definition because that is one of the key ingredients to my main subject today. A belief is a concept of recognition for something that you have no concrete evidence or proof that exists. If you can see the chair in front of you, you don’t have to believe in its existence, for example. Since you cannot see God you are now required to believe in God wihtout proof. There is a major difference in those two examples.
The entire perception of human belief is subjective, abstract, mental, intellectual and even theoretical. In other words people cannot see human beliefs since they are a spiritual internal reality. Beliefs are neither measurable nor quantifiable in human terms. The strength or numbers of your beliefs cannot even be counted. However, we can see the resulting actions or hear the words from that person that are based upon their unseen beliefs, but yet we still do not fully know why they believe what they say they believe from those alone. I also like my diagram that I found to include at the top of this discussion. There are two set realms in this diagram. One realm is God’s knowledge and the other ser realm is man’s beliefs in what they think is truth. This diagram teaches us three basic things. The first thing to note is that only what God says is the set of truth. The second thing to note is you don’t know or understand everything that God has said so your knowledge is severely limited compared to God’s. Finally we need to note that many of our current beliefs today are not founded within God’s set of truths. To me the ulitimate goal is for me to reduce my beliefs that are outside of the realm of God’s truth and this can only be accomplished by me increasing my knowledge of God’s set of truths. Is that you also? Let me introduce a Bible verse on the subject of belief to begin:
2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
Here is Paul giving God thanks for those that were saved. Paul attributes one of the major factors for their salvation to be their individual belief of the truth. Paul by the law of antithesis gives us an unstated truth that those who do not believe are those that are not saved and that actually agrees with what Jesus told us in Mark 16:16. This statement introduces to us many new questions on the subject of belief. How did these saved people hear the truth? What was this truth that helped to save them? Why did they accept the truth and others did not? Was it only the truth that saved them, only their human belief or the combination of the two working together? What I see from this discussion so far is that it matters greatly what we believe. I see it being stated that every belief is not a valid entrance into the Kingdom of God and His salvation. It appears that it is only our beliefs in the truth that will actually do us any good. But what is truth and what is it based upon. So many relevant questions need to be answered if we want to begin to explain this subject to anyone else.
I have seen a major problem on the internet occurring so frequently that it has bothered me tremendously. In many internet Christian forums and groups, I have tried to engage in several intelligent conversations on subjects found in the Bible with other people who also claim to be Christians. I believe this is a Godly principle based upon Isaiah 1:18 where God says to us to come and reason with Him. Consistently in every recent conversation I have observed a pattern that would repeat with great reliability. In my every statement I would always endeavor to include the specific Bible verses to go along with what I was saying to help establish the fact that what I said was not my independent opinion but was rather based upon actual scripture. Repeatedly I would get other people to respond but they would almost always ignore my Bible verses and my statement and tell me what they believed on the subject being independent from the scripture. To ignore scriptures and to give no scriptural basis for your reasons is a very dangerous approach for human beliefs.
For example, I had one conversation recently with some people about a supposedly prophesied temple scripture found in 2 Thessalonians 2:4. This verse informs us that there is a direct connection between the coming man of sin and a temple. However, this verse does not declare what the temple is, what it is made out of, where the temple is or how it is connected to being God’s temple. Theefore, to assume anything this verse does not declare would make our belief a human opinion outside the scope of God’s Word. Do you see any problem with that? This verse only says that the man of sin will sit in the temple of God informing us that he is God. The majority of my internet conversation on this temple subject was me trying to show people that nowhere after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the “temple of God” ever called or described to be a manmade building of stone like the one built by Solomon in the O.T. In the New Testament the exact phrase “temple of God” is consistently used in conjunction to describe the human body of those that have accepted and received Christ’s Spirit inside of them. So I listed at least 4 scriptures that taught us this fact and I even showed them verses in Acts 7:48 where God tells us that He does not live anymore in a temple made by the hands of men. Along with that fact I showed when Jesus died on the cross, the old man-made temple veil was torn from top to bottom by God (Mat 27:51) indicating to us all that God had moved out of the manmade temple and was gone forever. I felt that I had given overwhelming evidence to what God says to us in the New Testament, but I was shut down and ignored and they continued to just tell me about Israel’s planned rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem and how that will be the actual fulfillment of 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Wow, do you understand how frustrating it is when people ignore God’s word for their own beliefs? I’m not going to fully discuss this subject in this lesson I just wanted to point out how easily Christians can differ when discussing specific things in the Bible. Clearly I believed one thing and they believed something opposite. We were both supposed to be looking at all of the same scriptures but I saw something they did not see or the reverse had occurred and they saw something that I had not seen. Who was right? We both cannot be right? I hope that you can see that my beliefs were based upon what my New Testament stated to me.
So what were these other Christian’s beliefs based upon? I asked them for any specific scriptures that said what they believed and they gave me none at first. So I eventually went to one friend and asked them privately for any scriptures and finally got some to review. I honestly thought that I was missing something for a short time being outnumbered in the conversation. Everyone else in the conversation said it was so obvious and self-evident that you can’t miss it, yet no one tried to explain how this was possible using their few scriptures from Daniel, Matthew and Mark all (Old Testament). Like I said, I’m not going to discuss this subject in this lesson in any detail, so I won’t get into why I do believe that it will not matter if the natural nation of Israel rebuilds a natural stone temple. I have another series of lessons on the subject of “Understanding the Coming Anti-Christ” and I touch on this briefly in those lessons giving more detail if you are interested.
I certainly believe these other Christians were Christians. I also believe that they believed strongly in what they believed was correct because that is what they were taught to believe. Also because there was more than one person with this belief in agreement, that strengthened them to hold fast to their beliefs as being steadfast. When I presented scriptures that contradicted with that line of interpretation, my scriptures were ignored and that is clearly a major problem in the eyes of God. You see your beliefs never override the truth of God. You cannot ignore any part of the Bible that disagrees with what you believe just so that you can believe another part of the Bible that you think you understand. So rather than attempting to resolve the conflict scripturally, many Christians ignore the conflicting verses thinking they are not relevant. However I am a firm believer that if God says anything that I don’t believe in then I need to change to conform to His beliefs. It will never be the other way around. God never changes and He knows everything so that only leaves you and me as the responsible change agents to adapt to His understanding of the subject. Let’s talk briefly about why people believe what they believe.
WHERE DID MY BELIEFS COME FROM?
There are only a limited number of reasons for why people actually believe what they do on any given subject. Probably you have never given significant thought to that or even asked yourself why do I believe what I believe today? Was it because of where I was born, how I was raised, where I went to school, what I have learned or observed or some other factor that caused my beliefs to form as they have? I mean why do people in Southeast Asia lean towards the belief in Buddha? Why do many others in the Middle East lean towards the belief in Islam and Mohammed? There is a basic law of physics that states there is the existence of a cause for every resulting observable effect. That is exactly what I am asking you today, what caused your beliefs? Are they regionalized? I know you have beliefs just as I have beliefs. There is literally no one on the planet that is not living their life based upon what they believe to be true. If you can figure out where your beliefs came from then you will learn if you are on the right path to knowing the truth or not. I’ll give you a quick list of some of the potential reasons for beliefs and then talk about them briefly.
- All beliefs are based upon human ignorance (limited knowledge) of the subject under discussion.
- Many beliefs originate from the teachings from parents, schools, churches, religions, governments, friends, books or other influences.
- Many beliefs are based upon rumors or speculation overheard, yet un-provable.
- Many beliefs are from personal life experiences without knowing all of the facts.
- Other beliefs come from the observed life experiences of others in our culture and our world also without understanding all of the facts.
- Beliefs can be influenced by a thought of our mind, originating from either our own spirit or from an influential spirit either demonic or angelic.
- Finally our beliefs can come from hearing from the Spirit of God in our spirit.
I just gave you seven possible reasons for why you believe something today. I might go and give you a few Bible examples of each of these as I continue this series. Also notice that I gave you 5 natural reasons and 2 spiritual or supernatural reasons for human beliefs. Most unsaved people do not comprehend the existence of the spiritual dimension influences and only a select group of Christians have a firm grasp on this area. There is a major difference between natural and spiritual and they both occur in the Bible. Can you think of any other dominant reasons for why people believe either right or wrong what they say they believe? We know by the sheer numbers of the different kinds of beliefs in the world that it is literally impossible for them all to be the truth. The dramatic contradictions between the beliefs cause us to know many are wrong. Go back and review my list of the belief sources and see if you can assign which ones are possible sources for truth and which ones are potential causes for deception. I guess I should briefly describe the subject of deception. I actually have a Bible series on this subject called “Deception the Greatest Weapon of Satan”. Do you understand that no one that is deceived knows they have been deceived? If I knew I was deceived then I’m no longer deceived. Take the story of Tamar and Judah in the Genesis 38. Tamar uses a form of righteous deception to achieve a greater good. Judah has sex with Tamar thinking she was a prostitute. Therefore, Judah was clearly deceived and what he believed was true was not entirely the truth. You just Judah’s perspective was different than Tamar’s perspective because she knew what was going on more completely. Later Judah finds out that his daughter-in-law Tamar is pregnant and suddenly the deception unravels and Judah is suddenly no longer deceived. What changed in this story of Judah to convert him from his set of deception beliefs to kowing the truth? Only Judah’s knowledge changed and only this caused his beliefs to change. Judah’s original beliefs were first based upon observation and experience. Because Tamar looked like a prostitute Judah believed her to be one. Uh oh? How many people are still doing that type of reasoning today? I just described to you a classic Bible example of human beliefs formed by natural experience from my list of belief sournces numbers 4 and 5.
Deception is literally a great trick of Satan and is very dominant in the world today. Tell a little lie to someone and if they believe it they are now deceived. By the earlier definition of “belief” we learned that whenever a person believes something, they have an affirmation that the information given or presented is the truth. This of course does not make their belief the truth simply because it is present; rather presence only confirms the existence of a stated belief right or wrong. From my example of Judah and Tamar we should be able to see that potential truth or deception can come from any of the first 6 stated sources of our beliefs. Because Judah’s experience and knowledge changed, his beliefs changed and eventually conformed to God’s truth.
Let me stop here and say that I believe these 7 sources are the main reasons for individual beliefs today based upon my own personal observations. Did you see what I just did? I am basing what I believe to be true upon what I have seen or learned around me. That is actually a very normal method for forming our beliefs, but it can also be a very dangerous approach to take if we do not recognize the truthfulness of our sources correctly or understand all of the facts that occurred with what we observed. I think my example of Judah and Tamar exhibited this principle very well. If you go and reread the story closely you might also agree.
Let me try to teach you briefly why our beliefs can be founded in error so easily. Since I believe in God, I believe that He created us and is the source for all knowledge and truth. If you do not believe in God then you have no formation for the basis of any truth and thus your beliefs are relative to your ignorance and your inconsistent human reasoning. For me, since I believe in God, I believe also in the Bible being the inspired Word of God given to man to teach us (2 Tim 3:16). Both of these beliefs provide me with an unfailing foundation that is not based upon me, my opinion, my ability to reason or the opinions of others. However my belief is still subjective in the eyes of many other people who do not believe in a God as they have been deceived in choosing to believe in no God, or Allah as God, Jupiter as God or whoever. This is why you need to know your God. If you speak to your God and He does not answer you back, that God is probably the wrong God to follow and believe in. I learned a long time ago that my God speaks to me and I know His voice and I will only follow Him.
I believe that every Christian better have a strong relationship with the one that they believe in. So my God speaks to me and I listen but, unless we definitely know that what we believe was something that we heard from the God that knows everything we have no actual basis for knowing anything that we believe. You see we all learn and believe things from what men teach us and if they have not heard from God either then you are now basing your ignorant beliefs on the further ignorant beliefs of that man. Not everything that professors teach you in universities is the truth. Just because someone believes it is the truth that does not make it the actual truth. All human information and knowledge is relative and based upon the current limited known facts built further upon their very limited understanding of the entire subject. Take the human knowledge of the recently discovered DNA of man. This very intelligent design characteristic could have only been created by our God that knows everything. Man is still trying to unravel the mystery of the complex DNA properties and what they all mean. This DNA example demonstrates man’s lack of specific knowledge is exactly why universities teach a lot of unsubstantiated theories. Fifty years ago there was no subjects taught about genetic engineering or research and they have only now emerged because of our discovery of them. What changed? Of course it was our knowledge of the subject that change; the subject DNA always existed as truth as long as man existed. The fact that they do not know everything in colleges and universities proves they are ignorant. A manmade theory is any teaching that is based upon the ignorance of the subject under discussion. However this is not the way of God or His Word. God does not present to us any theories in His Word. However, what we understand of the Word is still widely theoretical, based upon our lack of complete understanding of it just like our knowledge of DNA.
Even hearing directly from God is much more complicated than us just listening to a few of His words and thinking we have it all figured out. His intelligence level is so far superior to ours, that He can say certain simple things to Him and they could infinitely surpass our current ability to comprehend them fully. We must base our every belief from God on the basic supposition that we even understood what we heard correctly and that we fully understand what God said, why He said it and that there are no other dependent subjects required to understand it more fully. My basic beliefs in God’s word have never changed dramatically in the last ten to fifteen years. In other words if I heard from God correctly what I believe from that information is usually only enhanced to a greater level of understanding as I learn and hear more from God. No one is ever going to learn something new tomorrow from God that will disqualify what they learned yesterday from God or what they learned yesterday was not the truth at all from God. Truth never changes and God’s word will never contradict itself and thus in the true interpretation and understanding any new information from God just helps us to grow with increased wisdom to know how to apply the information that we have already acquired. The only time that I have had to ever abandon a belief was when my belief did not come from God or His Word but rather it came from my own human reasoning or another of the stated sources of information other than God, His written word, His angel, His prophet or His representative.
Therefore the accuracy of what you believe today is relatively based upon the unintended ignorance of yourself along with the source of the selected limited information that you are listening to and believing in. Also notice no human source of information is perfect. Even men of God teach out of their ignorance of the subject being taught. When we are all born into this world we enter the natural realm with a zero level of intelligence, knowledge, and understanding. Therefore we are all void of any beliefs at initial birth. How then do we acquire any actual real knowledge of the truth as we grow up and mature? That is where we are all challenged by God to go and find the truth as children being trained up into the correct ways of learning. This is also why Satan wants every school in the world to be void of the Bible. Remove the basic source for all truth and people will more easily accept the lies to be deceived. God informed us of a basic law that he who seeks will find (Mat 7:7). Therefore finding truth begins with first seeking truth in the right places. The Bible is the only valid source of truth and what you believe needs to be firmly grounded upon only the facts within the Bible. So from my list of seven potential truth or belief sources where are you seeking to find your truth? If you are looking to God and to His Word, then I believe you are on the right narrow path, but if you are on another wider path then you are probably doomed for failure.
IS WHAT THE MAJORITY BELIEVES, ALWAYS RIGHT AND THE TRUTH?
I alluded to this question earlier. People many times feel like there is increased safety in numbers. In some situations this is true, but in others it just gives a false sense of security. People think that if I can get enough people to agree with me, then I know we are all right and we know the truth. This is a very popular method to achieve acceptance, self-assurance and confidence in the accuracy of our beliefs. If we can get the majority of the people to believe in a subject, many think that this fact alone will change our belief to a truth. However this is also a great way to be deceived, die and go to hell. Let me give you an example in the Bible of a majority that failed to receive what God had given to them. The children of Israel sent out 12 spies into their land that God had said I have given to you in Numbers 13. The spies came back with a majority negative report based upon what they saw with their own physival eyes. Again we see numbers 4 and 5 in my list as being the dominant factor setting for their beliefs. Only two of the spies ignored what they saw and based their beliefs upon a higher degree of faith in the words of their God. For the other 10, their personal observations of the land and its inhabitants kept them from living in this land that God had said was theirs already. The 10 spies influenced the rest of the nation with their negative report (numbers 2 and 3 in my list) and thus that generation died not possessing the truth. Whose truth and beliefs were actually right? Were the majority 10 spies of the children of Israel right or was the minority Joshua, Caleb and God right? Obviously God was right and Joshua and Caleb were right with Him because they did get to live in their land eventually. Therefore this story would appear to reaffirm that what we base our beliefs upon will matter tremendously. Learn right now that what God says is what you need to believe going forward regardless of what the circumstances of life or anyone else around you is actually telling you. Believing the words of the ten spies caused over a million people to die in the wilderness. Their listening to wrong sources and their agreement with the wrong beliefs of others was the only factor that kept them from God’s Promised Land. Also, learn the fact that the majority beliefs were clearly overruled by what God says if we choose to believe it. Never base your beliefs upon what the majority says alone, they may just be helping you die in your wilderness with them.
WHAT DO WE DO WHEN A CHRISTIAN TELLS US SOMETHING IS TRUE?
Let’s talk about another potential source for truth today in more detail. Number two in my list is a very common and prevalent human source of belief influence. We all encounter new people every day that can influence our beliefs. Do you automatically trust or believe what I say to you just because I said it? Do you automatically accept what your pastor says to you just because he is a really nice person? Do you accept what a TV preacher says just because millions of other people love him? I tell you if you do that you are in major trouble and probably already deceived. Never believe anything that I say or anyone else says no matter who they are, or what kind of degree they have, or any other criteria or factor of man’s satisfaction that helps you to accept what they say as truth. This is the greatest problem with our current President. People accept his words as truth and clearly I can see through them for what they are by his actions. Actions always speak louder than your words. If you say you are a Christian just to get Christians to vote for you and then do not live like Christ that is a major problem and a great deception. A person with no spiritual fruit cannot pretend to create it for those that know how to look for it. I hope someone is listening.
No man has ever seen God (Jo 1:18) yet God is the only source for us knowing any actual truth (Jo 14:6). Since man is flesh dominated from birth, hearing and listening spiritually to God is only possible by acquired spiritual knowledge and growth. Therefore since man has such great difficulty in hearing from Him directly God places pastors, teachers and others in the church to help people learn about spiritual things to cause them to grow up spiritually.
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Did you see what these verses said? Many people like to think that when they get saved that the Holy Spirit in them will now teach them everything that they need to know and they therefore, have no need to go to a church to learn. However, that is not exactly what God just said, is it? The perfecting of the saints is God’s ultimate goal, and He causes this to happen by giving the church teachers and all the other five fold ministry gifts. Did you notice that not everyone in the Body of Christ is an apostle? I think that is a factor that you need to fully embrace. Start by asking yourself, “am I an apostle”? If you are not an apostle, then you need the gifts of the apostle to grow and to be edified. No Christian is an island unto God that is independent from other Christians. Every Christian needs the others in the body to survive. We are called the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27) and like it says the hand cannot say I do not need the feet or another part of the body (1 Cor 12:21).
Why do people often believe wrong? I need to go through a list of reasons for wrong beliefs but I’ll touch on just one today. One reason for wrong beliefs is clearly because people refuse to believe that God has sent certain people to teach them through one of the fivefold ministry gifts. Rejecting God’s apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers will keep you in your bondage of wrong beliefs. Notice the fact in the N.T. that God gave only Paul certain revelation that He gave no other man. Notice that God gave John certain revelation that He gave to no other man. Peter is the same, Luke was the same, therefore none of these teachings from God could have been omitted or ignored byr the people in the early church or they will remain in their state of great ignorance. So when Peter came to town to preach to the people, they were expected to listen and hear him. When Paul came to town later to preach to the same people, they were again expected to listen and to learn from Paul. What was true in the early church is still true today. Jesus still appears to certain people in the church to give them revelation that is to be taught to the others in the body. God will not attempt to go to every church member and teach them what was already given to a teacher like Paul.
HOW DO WE KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REAL MINISTER AND A FAKE?
Now we are getting into the most critical part of today’s subject of how to determine if your beliefs are based upon any truth from God. Because God directly warns us of the existence of many false teachers, false prophets and other types of deceivers in the Bible we can understand that not everyone that is preaching in our churches are actually called by God and gifted by God to give us any truth. Therefore we must require God to either give to us strong spiritual discernment or another basis of verification for what is being spoken. Since my subject is not about spiritual discernment I will not attempt to address that part of the subject today. Just notice that because someone says they can discern the truth does not prove or mean that they actually can. Spiritual discernment is a spiritual gift from a spiritual God and not everyone has every gift as I have previously stated. Gifts are handed out by God alone and not because a person wants them. You do not call yourself into the ministry nor do you tell God what He needs to give you. Understand your order in the spiritual food chain and be a good listener and a good student first. God will continue to teach you everything that you need to know eventually as you continue to grow being led by His Spirit. How then do we as Christians need to discern the truth? What is the basis for all of our knowledge? Here is the key:
Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
This is actually one of my favorite verses in the Bible. It holds awesome information and instruction for everyone in the church. There is a given comparison of two types of Christians being presented. One group of Bereans were stated to more noble than the group at Thessalonica. What made the Bereans more noble? Two main factors were found present in the Bereans, first they were open to change and second they proved everything that they heard preached to them by searching the Bible daily. I am a Berean type of Christian; what kind of Christian are you? I search the scriptures daily to see whatever is taught to me is the truth. I never accept anything from a teacher without confimration from God. Therefore if you are not open to change you are not a noble wise type of a Berean. If you are an open minded type of Berean, then after you have heard what I said, then you need to go and prove it. This means you do not jump into automatic agreement. Go to your Bible and search it diligently. Searching the scriptures for the truth is NOT just reading the words on the page. Sure that is where it starts, but it does not end there. Searching involves much more extensive effort called study. This is where we look up all of the original language words of text and find out what they all mean and how they are used. We also go and find all the other verses that use those same words to see what else God says on the subjects and then we combine all of this information to confirm what was said was the truth. If you think this is easy then you are clearly confused or deceived. The only way this type of study is technically possible is with a modern computer and Bible search software. Because Christians do not know how to study the Bible they are very vulnerable to deception. Perhaps I will get into a deeper lesson series on correct Bible study someday. If you have read all of my Bible studies you should have learned many study techniques by my application. I have also tried to post specific guidelines and rules for correct Bible interpretation on my site but not too many people understand the importance and ignore them.
This was my first lesson on the sources of Christian and human beliefs and how they work. We covered a lot of interesting topics and I gave you several Bible examples of how human beliefs were formed using the examples of Tamar and Judah, the 12 spies of Israel and the Bereans and the Thessalonians. If you have constructive questions or comments on this subject I would be interested in hearing them. Thank you for your time and effort in studying the Bible and I pray that you will become a Berean type of Christian also today. God Bless!
(Ver 1.1) This is now Part 5 in the series of Bible lessons on the very popular misconception called Unconditional Eternal Security (U.E.S.) previously known as Once Saved Always Saved (O.S.A.S). We have covered a lot of information found in the Bible and if you have not read this series from the beginning I might suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first. In the last lesson I talked about the ongoing Christian Responsibility revealed in the salvation process that is clearly laid out for us by God in the Bible. God uses several metaphorical comparisons to describe our salvation to be like a process, like us having to fight a good fight (1 Tim 6:12, 2 Tim 4:7) or running a marathon type of race (1 Cor 9:24, Heb 12:1). Both of these symbolic types represent our participation in set contests with competing opponents that are attempting to take from us our victory. Clearly these examples give us the established truth that we can lose or fail or quit the contest. Both of these competitions were clearly defined processes of endurance and not simply a onetime salvation event where we start and automatically win like many of the U.E.S. teachers want us to believe. Both process examples have clearly defined beginnings, followed by many middle steps of conflict and struggle with a set well-defined ending. Both examples are processes governed by defined rules of engagement to help guide the outcome but yet not to determine the outcome. In other words, neither process has a pre-determined victor of the fight or the race. In either of these types of contests any of the individuals competing can always grow tired or weary and quit or give up and fall short of the desired initial expectation for victory. Do you start a race to lose it? Do you start a fight to be defeated? In any fight you might just believe that you are the winner from the start, right up until the point in time that your opponent hits you hard and knocks you down. If you believe today that you are running a fixed race or fighting a fixed fight that you have already won, then you are clearly not very familiar with realities of fighting or racing. I really hope and pray that you understand these really basic Bible concepts that God is using to teach us.
Today I am going in a totally new and different direction on the subject of Unconditional Eternal Security using a series of new subjects that I will introduce and connect together to teach the subject of the contribution of the “Deception Factor”. Today’s lesson will be primarily focused on the potential role and effects of deception in the ongoing process of our salvation and how we are warned by God to avoid it. However, it will take me familiarizing you with and reviewing other prerequisite subjects to get us to where we need to be to understand how deception is such a major factor to why we do not have eternal security. Let’s start by first knowing that we have an enemy.
THE REALITY OF YOUR SPIRITUAL ENEMY
The subject of deception is specifically tied to the requirement that a deceiver must exist and be present, willing and able to deceive or deception is a non-issue for every Christian. If no deceivers exist, then no deception is presented as being possible. Was that just way too obvious? Therefore I need to focus on the existence of a deceiver using the Bible. I am going to introduce you to the existence of the primary deceiver who is also known as Satan. From Satan comes every other deceiver, so if I can prove his existence in the Bible it should be easy to transition that others exist also. Using my Bible program I searched for the key word “deceive” and found multiple verses on the subject. Satan is described as the individual spirit responsible for deceiving the people of the whole world in Revelation 12:9, Revelation 13:14 and Revelation 20:10. The whole world would be an all-inclusive statement not omitting any nation of people. Remember what I just said! Therefore, Satan qualifies to be the deceiver by definition from God’s Word. Does Satan still exist in the world today? If you said YES, then you are on the right track. If you said no, then you do not understand that Revelation 12, 13 and 20 has not happened yet and only by studying God’s Word can we understand that God says Satan is still present to deceive people in EVERY nation. I just said that again didn’t I? Now, let me ask you do you still exist in the world today? I think if you are reading this Bible lesson you must say YES again. Therefore by God’s definition you have the potential to be deceived because the deceiver is still present here with you. Also notice something new that you have not connected yet to the subject. You see God teaches us in the New Testament that the church is a new “Holy Nation” of people (1 Peter 2:9). However that still makes everyone in the church a potential candidate for deception because we are clearly defined to be a nation. Now do you see why I emphasized Satan deceiving the nations? If Satan is the deceiver of the nations, then we in the church are still the potential victims of his deception by our association to God’s definition of a nation. The Bible is not that hard to see things if you can put them together correctly.
If you did not know it, the Bible declares that every Christian still has a spiritual enemy. The enemy of the church is named Satan. Technically Satan was God’s enemy before he was our enemy but I won’t go there today. Just understand that God’s enemies are now our enemies by covenant relationship. There is an old proverb that says the enemies of my enemies are my friends and conversely the friends of my enemies are also my enemies. Jesus taught us a similar variation of this proverb in Mark 9:40 saying “He that is not against us, is for us”. This Bible fact of the existence of a spiritual enemy is declared repeatedly in the Bible both directly and indirectly (James 4:4). We are first introduced to our enemy as a symbolic serpent in Genesis 3:1 and he continues through the Bible in many forms using many names, descriptions and titles all the way to the last mention in Revelation 20:10. Satan is described as a spiritual opponent that is arrayed against us trying desperately to defeat us. Many Christians have left me comments about Jesus’ outstanding victory over Satan (John 16:33, Col 2:15). They have concluded from these verses that Satan was completely defeated at Calvary thus Jesus rendered him to be a defeated insignificant or trivial factor going forward. However that is just not all of what the Bible says about Satan, the people on the earth including the church, Christians and their role with resisting Satan and many other statements of truth.
Jesus also taught us that Satan was the ruler of a kingdom (Mat 12:26). Jesus further taught us that Satan still had power (Luke 10:19). Understand that this stated kingdom of Satan was not the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven, but a new separate dominion taken from man. We learn this fact by observing what Satan told Jesus during the 40 day temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:5-6). If you go read Luke 4 closely you will see Satan offering Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world if only Jesus would worship him. Satan told Jesus that these were given to him and since we are not told in the Bible that God gave them to Satan, they must have been taken from Adam. You see according to Genesis 1:26 Adam was given dominion over all the earth by God yet we see Satan claiming to have control of it in Luke. One of the first indirect mentions of this kingdom of Satan is also found in first book of the Bible in Genesis 1:16. On the fourth day of creation God sets the moon (the lesser light) to rule the night and the sun (the greater light) to rule the day. This verse was a highly prophetical statement using hidden symbolic information for the coming of the Son of God into the world. This verse predicts the coming of Jesus into the world on a precise timeline and reveals to us one reason why Jesus has come. The moon in this verse is symbolic of Satan, the Sun in this verse is symbolic of Jesus, the night is symbolic for the kingdom of darkness and the day is symbolic for the Kingdom of Light. Furthermore, the “4th day” of creation is also symbolic for the time of the coming. Jesus just so happens to come into the world after four days from Adam using God’s definition of a day from 2 Peter 3:8. If you do not understand the significance of this information I have a more complete teaching on the subject called “Understanding Night and Day”.
Jesus came personally into Satan’s kingdom of darkness being born of a virgin to bring us light (John 8:12). However this was not external light, but rather internal spiritual knowledge. God’s plan was never to take over Satan’s kingdom of darkness or even to take it back into the light or to establish a rule over it here on the earth; no the plan of God was more precisely to create a new pathway out of Satan’s kingdom for all of those in the dark world that would believe on Christ. The light of God’s day and this new kingdom of God would be formed internally in every believer. This way the light of God would be present in every believer but still separate from the darkness of this world that still remained in Satan’s control. God was in effect creating a new separate Kingdom of God that never existed before apart from Satan, his angels, his kingdom and He was offering all those on the earth the blessed opportunity to come out of their darkness to live in the light of God forever for free through His shed blood. That was a very quick overview of some new things that you have probably never heard taught before and I do not have time to explain them all fully today. However, go through the N.T. and see how many times this kingdom realm of darkness or night is mentioned and then observe the scriptures that say Christians are now in the light of God’s day. Let me give you a couple of the key verses that may help you to understand:
Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Jesus is being described as the one that has delivered us from the “power of darkness”. There are three basic things that you need to grasp immediately from this incredibly important verse. First, the kingdom of darkness still exists and has not been eliminated. Second, notice that this kingdom of darkness still has power. Then third, notice we that are saved are not in this dark kingdom anymore having been translated into the Kingdom of Light by Jesus. This verse clearly implies that those that are not saved are still in the kingdom of darkness where some spiritual force of power still rules over them. Clearly there is a distinction between two separate spiritual kingdoms of existence being stated in this verse. These two kingdoms must still exist concurrently or this verse is a lie. Clearly the kingdom of darkness still has great power and influence or no one in their right mind would still be in there right now. Also understand by implied inference if anyone has come out from this kingdom of darkness by their freewill choice of salvation, then by the definition of antithesis, they can also potentially return back to that darkness by another freewill choice. I pray you understood everything that I just said to you. It was all extremely important. Let me give you another great verse that contains vast knowledge about this kingdom and this enemy:
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.
Read this new metaphorical case closely, because God gives us another example of a spiritual contest between opponents with an implied winner and loser outcome. To wrestle an opponent is a paradigm process that is very similar to boxing or racing. In this verse in Ephesians you can see that just because Christians are not in the darkness this does not mean we are not still in a spiritual war of opposition with the darkness or the rulers of that kingdom. Who rules the darkness? Clearly this verse is another reference to Satan and his angelic followers as I mentioned earlier. Clearly from this information we can see that these spiritual individuals still exist along with their kingdom if we are currently wresting against them. There is absolutely no way that you can teach that Satan is a non-factor for any Christian today if you correctly balance these verses with the other verses that the exclusive U.E.S. Grace teachers want to focus on.
If defeated Satan had no more power or influence to do any harm to a saved Christian, then why are there so many warnings given to the church in the Bible to the contrary? A truly defeated enemy would have no such supremacy, weapons, ability or present any further risk, but an enemy that still has power and ability to do Christians harm must still be a major danger if we do not know how to counteract his plans and attacks. This spiritual war subject is not my main topic today and I have other lessons that you can go and read about how to be a victorious child of God. Just realize that God has given you the potential for victory by Jesus’ victorious actions and accomplishments but now it is your God given responsibility to enforce the victory and to become the overcomer like I introduced you to in the last lesson. Let’s change to a brand new subject called “Patterns”.
DIVINE GOD PATTERNS
If you learn anything from me today, please learn how God uses divine design patterns throughout the Bible to teach us. I’ve already described to you three direct patterns of process in today’s lesson. One was a race, one was a fight and one was a wrestling match. These were all recognizable patterns of contests with opponents, rules, a beginning effort, a struggle, endurance, and an anticipated end. Let’s get into what a pattern is using additional specific examples. How would we define a pattern? A pattern is normally a set of design templates and instructions used to prepare or to create a new copy of an existing original. The actual copy can be totally different in appearance while being completely similar in design, concepts and principles. That was of course my definition, but did you understand it? Using my 3 metaphorical examples of contests, they appear to be radically different types of games on the surface but yet they all share a set of design pattern concepts that make them joined together with many common similarities. That is exactly what pattern usage produces; copies of an original working model.
Let me give you an example of a natural pattern application on the earth. Patterns are used in sewing extensively and they allow the seamstress to turn out multiple new original creations that can be perceived to be similar to the original by observing the design pattern characteristics but not by necessarily observing the materials selected or the individual options being tailored or customized. There is just a general rule of life that it is always easier to copy a working original piece than it is to create something completely new. I learned this concept in programming computers. Working code reuse is always faster and more productive than new code creation. The creation of any original functional piece of work will always take significant trial and error to produce a great product. It took Edison literally hundreds and hundreds of attempts to create a light bulb that worked. But, now they can be copied very quickly and cheaply by the use of his patterned design. Have you ever asked yourself why Adam was made in the image and the likeness of God in Genesis 1:26? Do you understand that Adam was made from the direct pattern of God, his creator? God took a working design and repeated the process to make a man. This was a very significant example of the wisdom of God being displayed. When God made man, God knew that He was coming to the earth as a man so why not make the man from a pattern of Himself an already working viable component?
Understand that the reuse of any design pattern is just a small part of the complete creation process. Natural pattern usage only comes into play somewhere between the initial steps of conception, the design and before the full implementation. Almost every defined process and pattern can be viewed as interchangeable concepts to some extent. For example, any repetitive process producing a positive result can be viewed as a repetitive design pattern implementation and vice versa. I really try not to get too technical in my Bible studies to allow everyone the opportunity to understand the concepts. I try to leave out technical words and phrasing but I have been teaching you the subject of patterns and have had to introduce you to some new ideas to think about. So hang in there and learn what you can about patterns.
Let’s talk briefly about another earthly natural pattern. Any positive process is like making a cake. A cake could be created using great trial and error like Edison making a light bulb. However if the baker wants to forego the learning curve they can go and find an existing working recipe with the exact steps and ingredients used to create a great cake and in a short time they have a copy of one through the use of a known pattern. Therefore the original cook must have recorded or documented the set of specific ingredients and recipe preparation instructions that must be followed exactly in order to recreate the original design, texture, taste and quality. If you do it right the outcome is great and if you miss one ingredient or step then it will probably be a great failure.
So why am I talking about processes and design patterns, templates, sewing, light bulb and cake recipes so much? Patterns are what God used in the creation of our world to teach us about Him and spiritual things we cannot see. For example, the Bible teaches us that all of the hidden qualities of God are clearly seen in the things that He has made (Rom 1:20). This means that what we can observe on the earth around us was from a designed pattern of what already existed in heaven previously and these things reveal God to us. It is also why we need to learn about the concepts of patterns to see what will be coming soon in the future. What we soon realize is something that God teaches us in Ecclesiastes is very relevant to everything we can observe around us. God says “the things that have been are the things that shall be again” (Ecc 1:9). Ecclesiastes and Romans both explain to us that God uses divine design patterns to teach and to recreate the things we can observe. God took working spiritual realities and used their patterns to create our natural world. God then teaches us that these natural things will again be used as patterns for the new spiritual things that will occur again. Let me show you another verse about patterns in the Bible to help you better understand:
Heb 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
Here we have God describing to us that the things given to Moses on the earth were simply patterns for pre-existing unseen things already found and bound within heaven. In this verse, the original spiritual things created by God in heaven were clearly greater or more significant than the temporary natural things created by the hands of men on the earth. However these temporary natural things given to us by God on the earth also provide us a view into the existence of the spiritual things that we have never seen or experienced. You can clearly see that God gave Moses patterns to use for everything. These patterns will again be used in the design for the coming new heaven and the new earth. Patterns are so very important in the Bible that I should probably do a more complete series on the subject. For now try to understand the existence of patterns is a prevalent reality throughout the Bible. Using our knowledge of divine patterns, we can easily learn about many of the unseen spiritual things found within our past, our present and our future.
There are actually many different ways to name or title a Biblical pattern process using synonymous terms. Some call them similarities, similitudes, resemblances, likenesses, patterns, types or shadows and I even have labeled them by all of those descriptions in my past lessons. I believe that a natural type or a shadow from the Old Testament was usually given to us by God to help point us to a New Testament spiritual reality. For example, Jesus told the Jews to search their scriptures because in them they thought they had eternal life and then Jesus said these were just the words that testified of Him (John 5:39). But, yet you cannot find the direct mention of the name of Jesus, or the direct person of God in the flesh unswervingly mentioned in the Old Testament scriptures anywhere in obvious plain sight. Since I have studied the Bible for many years I can now see Him in almost every chapter, but that is not how I started. God’s use of patterns, similarities, types and shadows were just one of the wise methods of concealing Jesus in the characters and stories of others that are plainly revealed in the surface text. I pray that you are beginning to understand the concept of patterns and how they apply to our Bible study because that is exactly where we are going next in this discussion of U.E.S. Let’s begin to ask are there any patterns found in the Old Testament for U.E.S.?
ARE THERE ANY UNCONDITIONAL ETERNAL SECURITY PATTERNS?
If you examine the design pattern of Adam and Eve as recorded in Genesis 2 and 3 you should be able to find Jesus and the church. I will use the pattern of Adam and Eve to help establish and confirm the false reality of the Unconditional Eternal Security teaching. When God created Adam did God make him to be unconditionally and eternally secure? It is very obvious to me based upon the Word of God that Adam was never created perfect or secure since he sinned, failed and fell willingly into the disobedience of God’s Word. Whatever security that Adam thought he possessed, was suddenly completely lost. If Adam was created with “freewill” to sin, to make mistakes and even to depart from the perfect way and will of God, then how can you or anyone else possibly believe that a Christian now does not have the same pattern of choice? What about Adam’s wife Eve? Was Eve created so that it was impossible for her to be deceived? Again it is extremely obvious that the Bible says Eve was deceived (1 Tim 2:14). I am talking about patterns found within creation to see if there are any ways that are still possible for the church to fall away from the Grace of God. Were Adam and Eve created in the extreme Grace of God? I believe they were. They were created without sin, lacking nothing and placed in a near perfect world to live in. Could it have gotten any better than that? However in this great state of Grace, could they still make the wrong choices, of course they did. I hope you are using your brain today to see what I’m saying to you. How are we any different from Adam today in the church? If Adam could depart from Grace then you can depart from Grace!
Let’s back up before the creations of man and ask what about Lucifer’s status in heaven! Did God create the perfect archangel Lucifer with unconditional eternal security? According to Ezekiel 28:15 Lucifer was created in a perfect state yet sin was still found to be in him. Did this sin matter to God? If we observe his destiny in Revelation 20:10 you will understand that even perfect Lucifer is revealed to have no unconditional eternal security when he is cast into the lake of fire. Clearly perfection with no sin is not a statement for possessing security. Where exactly in the Bible can we find anyone with the pattern of Unconditional Eternal Security? Can you find me just one? I’m talking about someone other than the church that you just think is unconditionally eternally secure! If the church is eternally and unconditionally secure then there must be an existing pattern for this somewhere else in the Bible or it is not true for the church either. How can I say that? And why is this even important? It is simply critical because God tells us to establish every word of truth using at the least two or three witnesses (Mat 18:16). If we cannot find two witnesses that confirm unconditional eternal security as a divine pattern then the modern Bible teachers trying to teach us U.E.S. fail God’s requirement. Now do you understand the importance of patterns?
WHAT ABOUT JESUS?
I have searched the Old Testament and I could not find any man starting with Adam that possessed eternal security here on the earth. Adam never lost his freewill to depart from God’s ways or plan and this pattern repeats to every man born from Adam. If you can find me even one man in the O.T. that God said could not ever fail, then show me the verse. Ok, I’m about to blow your religious mind with a new question to think about. Was Jesus Christ born in the Old Testament? If you are an intelligent and observant Bible student, you already know that Jesus was born a man under the law of the Old Covenant (Gal 4:4). Now let me ask you this radical question was Jesus Christ unconditionally and eternally secure as a physical man? You see I believe that even Jesus possessed the freewill capability for failure, and many religious people will laugh and call me a heretic fool for that belief. However, if Jesus had no potential for failure or sin then God becomes a liar. The Bible says Jesus was tempted in every way just like we are but yet He was without sin (Heb 4:15). The only reason that Jesus was without sin was because He chose to be without the sin as a direct act of His freewill. You see if it was impossible for Jesus to sin, then He was never tempted like you or I. Are you tempted? Have you ever been tempted? Do you fail or have you ever failed? If say yes then you are potentially just like Jesus and Jesus was potentially just like you. Otherwise He would not be able to identify with our weaknesses or our plight. We clearly saw already reading in Luke 4 that Jesus was tempted, but he did not give into the temptations of Satan. This is where Jesus succeeded where Adam failed.
Heb 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Jesus is revealed in the Bible to be the God that became a man exactly like you and I. This was a major paradox and stumbling block to why natural Israel did not accept Him. They knew the Bible says God is not a man (Num 23:19). However they made the major mistake of taking one isolated truth and then ignoring all the others that God is still powerful enough to become a man if He chooses by exercising His freewill. This is the danger of separating one verse and thinking that it is the entire truth. That is an extremely bad and dangerous approach to interpreting the Bible. Do you understand what I am trying to say? I am claiming that the God of creation who created everything has now become an intimate part of His creation and this changes everything. What God was not, God became by His design. Therefore, God as a man was no longer a perfect being incapable of failing or sinning. I did not say God failed or God sinned I just said He had the potential to do that or He was not exactly like us as the Bible has declared. You are going to have to make up your own minds on what you believe; I cannot do that for you. You read the Bible and do the research and the study and see if Jesus was incapable of failure and see if He possessed Unconditional Eternal Security and then notice that even Jesus died on the cross and I believe He went to hell for 3 days to pay for my sins so I would not have to go there. I don’t call that eternal security, do you? Let’s shift our focus and establish Adam as a defined pattern for Jesus and this may help us reaffirm that Jesus was not infallible while in the flesh.
THE HIDDEN PATTERN OF JESUS IN ADAM
1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Why exactly, is Jesus called the “Last Adam” in 1 Corinthians 15:45? I think that is a very great question. God by direct name association has just linked Jesus Christ to the first created man Adam. This is just a very tricky way of God saying my man Adam was a set design pattern for my Son Jesus to come. This is the beginning of the reality that if Adam could have sinned, then Jesus could have sinned but yet didn’t. However, notice that both Adam’s still died. So they obviously both did possess at least one direct equal characteristic and we will find there are many more if we look for them. I find this study of Adam and Jesus as repeated patterns fascinating. It has great potential for many overlapping truths. Let’s go for another witness to what I am teaching that Adam was a pattern for Jesus:
Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Romans 5:14 emphasizes this pattern usage point again to us even more clearly. The Bible says that Adam was a created pattern of the man Jesus to come. We already observed in Genesis 1 where Adam was defined to be a pattern for the creator spiritual God originally, so this is just a further perpetuation of the same God pattern to the physical God. Look up the Greek word definitions and study these verses to understand what concepts are being revealed to you. The Greek word translated as “figure” means a die as struck. Do you understand what a die is? A die produces an exact image of the same print repeatedly. It is a modern copy and paste concept found in the computer design paradigm. The original printing press created by Gutenberg was a die concept for printing one page of the Bible over and over. We soon realize that God did a copy paste of the spiritual type of Himself into the natural form of Adam, which is then transferred as another copy and paste into the combined God man named Jesus. This verse in Romans clearly teaches us that we should be able to look at the man Adam in Genesis and see Jesus and this is exactly what Jesus said we would find if we searched the scriptures looking for Him. Moses wrote down God’s words about Adam, but God’s words were more about Jesus than Adam. The two Adam’s were simply patterns for each other. I believe God created the first Adam already knowing the second Adam was coming to save the day. This is exactly why God did what He did in Genesis 2 and 3 with the first man and his wife.
Let’s stop here briefly again and consider that if the first Adam had a wife does that reveal that the last Adam (Jesus) has a wife also as a defined part of the pattern? Most definitely He does. I have a much more complete Bible study on the subject called the “The Bride of Christ Revealed”. Therefore, I am not going to repeat any of that information in this lesson. If you do not understand the church position as the bride then please stop and study to find that truth and establish it in your heart because it is essential to our pattern discussion today about U.E.S. I will simply say the church is definitely the Bride of Christ and we are the ones that are united in eternal marriage covenant in Revelation 19. Where I am going is that if Adam’s wife was capable of being deceived then the Lamb’s wife is also capable of being deceived by direct pattern association. Pretty simple yet very difficult to find if you do not understand patterns.
THE ROLE OF SATAN AND DECEPTION IN THE CHURCH
In the Grace message of eternal security there is a belief that Satan has no further influence or power over a believer to cause them to ever depart from their salvation. The belief popularly states that Christians have been sealed with eternal security and thus Satan is no longer a factor to deceive them anymore. Let me stop there and say that if you currently believe that you can never be deceived then you are clearly already deceived into believing a lie from Satan. What exactly is deception? How can we define it as it relates to the church? I believe deception is believing in something that you think is true that actually is not true. It is like my picture on this paragraph of the fish caught with a decieving lure. The fish believed what he was eating was good food, but it turned out to be something deadly to him. That is exactly the definition of deception for a Christian also. Clearly no Christian in their right mid is intentionally caught seeking to find lies. I believe that every easily deceived Christian is just presented the lie either intentionally or unintentionally by other well meaning ignorant Christians and they look attractive so they end up swallowing them and are caught like the fish. Let’s take into account a scripture that has far reaching implications attached to it for our current subject discussion. You will notice that in this next verse that Jesus is speaking, thus we have God in the flesh stating something very important that we must need to know. Therefore, pay close attention to the words of my Lord and Savior:
Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
We have to totally write this statement of Jesus off if we want to believe in unconditional eternal security after our salvation. In order to teach security we must conclude that we are smarter than Jesus and that Jesus did not know what He was talking about when He warned us about not being deceived. We either have to call Jesus a liar or we have to explain the verse as being non-applicable to people in the church today. If you read the context of the statement Jesus was asked by the disciples to teach them of the signs of His coming and the end of the age. Therefore the rest of the statements in this chapter are the answers of God in the flesh concerning the end of the age that we live in today. Who are the people that Jesus is speaking of to not become deceived if not us? Many people have tried to creatively explain it away as the Jews before salvation only, but they were not yet living in the last days so that makes no sense to me. Since we in the church who know the truth are the people now living in the last days before His soon return then I believe that Jesus was certainly speaking about us and to us as those that can be deceived. If we are these potential people that can be deceived, what are the consequences for being deceived? Are there any consequences for being deceived? There must be at least a possibility for us to lose our salvation from this warning from God or there would be no need for a warning from God to be given. Do you understand what I just said?
Why warn people not to be deceived if it is impossible for them to be deceived like the eternal security teachers try to teach us? It makes God look very stupid when you teach eternal security. Of course people can easily twist the scriptures to say this information in Matthew 24 does not apply to us because Jesus was only talking to His Jewish disciples. That is just so easy to do. Let’s just ignore the words of Jesus as being not for everyone, but only for a select few that heard them personally! We could do that type of reasoning with every verse in the Bible. Is that a smart way to interpret the Bible and the words of God? I really do not believe that is a valid approach to correct Bible interpretation. In interpreting every verse of the Bible we must always inspect the words that are spoken, observing the target audience they are directed to, while simultaneously finding the context of all of the subjects being discussed. First understand that these words in Matthew were spoken to more than just a few Jews. These select Jews that were hearing are defined directly to be our founding church fathers so they must apply to the rest of the church by direct association since we are now a part of the same body of Christ that they were included in. If you try to separate us from them, then we are a new body of Christ, a separate or different believer set from what they were and that really sounds like a scary belief to put your faith in. These words were spoken in the time context of future prophetical events and not current events, so they must also apply to us and the times that we live in right now. Finally, since these words spoken by Jesus do not state any target audience they must apply to everyone that reads them as a universal statement of truth. If you want to see the truth in the Bible you will see what I am saying is correct, if you do not want to see the truth, then nothing that I say will change your mind.
If Satan and his deception were no longer factors for our further continued salvation, there would be no need to mention Satan again in the New Testament after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Many modern Bible teachers like to teach the total defeat of Satan by Jesus at Calvary, however if that was actually true we would not see that Satan was so heavily involved in attacking heaven in Revelation 12 and trying to take over the earth in the other chapters of Revelation. The total defeat of Satan and the removal of his power is clearly not the reality of the text found in the Word of God. In fact Satan is mentioned more times in the New Testament than he ever was displayed plainly in the Old Testament. Why is Satan mentioned more frequently throughout the New Testament and especially in the book of Revelation than any other parts of the Bible? There hast to be a reason for this! I personally believe we find Satan in the New Testament to learn of his ways and his future plans so we are not found to be unaware. I believe that Satan is much more than a non-factor on the earth in the church age and that he is clearly revealed to be the direct enemy and opposing spiritual force to the church. His power and influence over the people on the earth are still quite evident and great. His power to deceive people including even Christians is still as great now as it always has been. This power of deception must be applicable for Christians or we would never find any verses in the Bible like these written to the church:
1Co 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
1Co 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
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.
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
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.
These are all commandments of instruction from our God written to the church and each of them contains direct delegated responsibility for believers not to be deceived. Do any of the verses tell you that God will not ever allow you to be deceived? I do not believe God would warn you if it was His responsibility to save you from it. These warnings were not written to unsaved people. Do you see what these verses say to you over and over? What is the central theme for every verse? Every verse contains a cautionary statement from God that says “Do not be deceived”. If the church could never be deceived to lose their salvation from this deception then these verses become pointless and irrelevant commandments and should be viewed as only misplaced suggestions. To believe in eternal security we must ignore these verses or conclude these verses to be non-applicable to us. Either approach is failure to adhere to the truth which always results in a Christian being deceived. These are not lies from God and we must see them to be clear notices to us Christians. I did not go through the entire New Testament and give you every verse that I could have. I only provided 6 or 7 verses to offer you more than enough witnesses to the truth that the church can still be deceived after initial salvation by many different methods. If you cannot see this fact then you are in denial. I will end this lesson with an example of deception that occurred in the N.T. church:
2Pe 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
2Pe 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
2Pe 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Peter is writing some very important words to the church about certain former saved church members. The wording in these verses is very significant if you do the research and study. God is speaking concerning certain people that “knew” righteousness. Jesus of course is our righteousness (1 Cor 1:30) and He is even called the “Sun of Righteousness” in Malachi 4:2. The term to “know” righteous is a sexual Hebrew description of the relationship that exists between a husband and his wife. The people in the church are in covenant relationship with Jesus the bridegroom making them His bride. God is saying these people were once an intimate part of my wife that I knew and they have departed from me. God clearly says it would be better for them to either stay or to have never been married to him than to leave their salvation to fall back into the darkness. Why is that? It is because they will remember for an eternity their mistake that they made and only they will fully understand what they missed while they are in hell. Lucifer is going to understand this better than anyone. He experienced the goodness of God more than anyone in the church and while he is in hell for and eternity he will constantly be tormented for his mistakes. These are patterns that teach us we do not have unconditional eternal security.
God calls the people who leave their salvation pigs and dogs. Just as dogs return to their own vomit and the pigs to the mire this is the same result that Christians experience when they return to their previous filth and love it. Clearly this is an example of deception being victorious over those that were saved. Clearly these Christians did not heed the repeated warnings from God not to be deceived and are now suffering the consequences. These are words that were written to you. Are you receiving them? I could give you several more examples of this in the Bible, but I really have gone too long in this lesson.
THE FALSE SECURITY OF THE UNCONDITIONAL ETERNAL SECURITY DOCTRINE
I have systematically covered several subjects in today’s lesson connecting them together to help establish the fact that a Christian can be deceived. We started with the concept that we have an enemy. This enemy is described to be Satan the deceiver. A deceiver is simply labeled that because he deceives people. This is really not that complicated. Sure the unsaved people in the world today are clearly deceived, but they don’t read the Bible and these words of warning not to be deceived were not written to them. Therefore, the use of this weapon of deception by Satan is still actively targeted at the people in the church to take them from the church and the truth. Based upon this information alone the doctrine of unconditional eternal security is revealed to be a major false teaching that should be recognized as another way that is designed to deceive you. Do you understand the danger of the U.E.S. teaching? U.E.S. promotes a false sense of security that we have to do nothing to stay saved or to keep from being deceived. It allows Christians to let in whatever they come across without the fear of any consequences. Fear is not always a negative emotion to avoid. God created real fear for you to learn how to avoid something that is not necessarily positive or beneficial for you. If you do not fear gravity and jump off a tall building you will soon be dead. I am really not talking about fearing the devil as in being terrified of his power. The Bible clearly teaches the fact that the Greater One is in us. However, that does not mean that you do not respect his ability like you should respect the power of gravity. These are just basic Christian life lessons to help you understand that you have an enemy and this enemy is not your friend, he has powers and abilities, and he is trying to take you out and down.
Finally, I talked a lot about Bible patterns. This is a very important Bible study concept repeated in practically every chapter of the Bible in some form. Fully grasp this concept and it will change your Bible study habits. Look for confirming patterns of truth in the Bible. For example, I showed you scriptures that teach us that Adam was a pattern of Jesus. This was technically so radical that I could not fully teach everything on that one subject because it could turn into a series of lessons by itself. However I gave you enough information that should help you to learn about Jesus from the pattern of Adam. See what Adam had or was given by God before the fall and this will be a pictured view into what Jesus will end up with minus the evil, the sin and the rebellion. Adam had one wife and Jesus will end with only one wife. Very simple yet profound truths.
The pure existence of human freewill dictates that we view every one of God’s covenants with conditional application. In other words if we choose to remain in the covenant we are good, but if we choose to leave it then we are screwed. What I am saying is if God comes and makes a covenant with you, God is not the problem, you are. You can become your own worst enemy when you believe a lie. Just as natural Israel departed continuously from God’s covenant as a pattern for the church, the church also has that same opportunity to fall away. If the recipient of God’s Grace satisfies the stated requirements and conditions they remain in the relationship with God’s Grace. If they choose to disobey willfully and depart from God’s extended gift of saving Grace then they are lost without a chance for absolution. Learn today that what you do going forward, matters tremendously. Learn to have respect for your enemy and stay deep in the Word of God so that you are not deceived by him. Your salvation is not completely up to God. Sure He will be there for you and help you and will never leave you or forsake you. But, your continued salvation is more up to you than anyone else so that you do not get deceived and decide to leave God or forsake Him. You have a major role in the ongoing process of your salvation to remain faithful, to endure and to overcome. Thank you for taking the time to read and study the Bible. If you have questions or comments feel free to leave them. God Bless as we continue to learn to grow in His Grace.
(Ver 1.2) This is now Part 4 in the series of basic Bible lessons about an old religious philosophy labeled as “Once Saved Always Saved” theology. If you have not read this series from the beginning I would suggest that you go start reading with “Part 1“. The “Once Saved Always Saved” teaching has been in existence for well over 60 years so it is not a new Bible teaching. However, this old religious philosophy has recently been transformed into a more modern Grace extreme theological message called Eternal Security or Unconditional Security or even Unconditional Eternal Security. This has become a very popular message found on the internet and it is taught in many churches today. Christians buy into the message simply because it proclaims a universally safe no fail no fault approach to being a Christian. It makes being a Christian so ultra-simple. However, the message of Unconditional Eternal Security (U.E.S.) completely ignores the fact that there are any spiritual enemies still left in the world that are now trying to deceive or defeat us. The message of U.E.S. has total disregard for the fact that God gave to everyman freewill to choose to depart from their salvation at any time. It ignores any further Christian responsibility to remain a Christian or to live a holy Godly lifestyle. This teaching lumps every type of sin into a common category of all-inclusive forgiveness and makes them all irrelevant, inconsequential and removed from the equation of either the initial salvation process or the continued salvation process. In fact it technically denies there are any processes defined to salvation at all. They claim that by the removal of their sins by the shed blood of Jesus that God now provides us each with eternal security without any further attached conditions. These types of Christian believers think they have no further accountability thus denying the existence of any future judgments from God. They further deny human responsibility to do anything to remain saved. In other words in their minds their salvation was a onetime decision point event on the timeline of their life on this earth and that this one event has now guaranteed them eternal security with God forever. Since they have already accepted Jesus they assume that there are no further decisions to make, no more scriptures to learn, no need to hear from God, no need to listen to God, no need to be taught by God, no need to be led by the Spirit of God, no need to grow up spiritually and I could go on and on. All of this human reasoning allows them to live independent from anything else that God has declared in His Word on any subject. To me that logic does not make any sense and to base my eternal security upon anything so obviously shaky would really scare me.
I still run into this popular belief more frequently than I would like. This modern teaching of Unconditional Eternal Security is just a new type of the older extreme Grace message called “Once Saved Always Saved”. These teachings have departed from a balanced truth approach to Bible interpretation moving into the false realm of extremism simply by leaving out the other subjects that they do not agree with. These Bible teachers take only specific scriptures of truth found in the Bible that they like to see to base their message explaining away all the other verses of a conflicting nature. But, the problem remains that there will always be more than one or even two truths found in the entire Bible and we are required by God to take into account all of the stated truths given to us in the Bible so that we can know that we are preaching what God actually thinks of the subject of eternal security. Rather than give you all of the verses that these Grace preachers so love to exclusively teach on, I am simply focusing on in this series, what else the Bible says about subject of eternal security so we can see that God says there is more to being a Christian than just us getting saved once in our lives. I’m going to start today’s lesson talking about a subject called Christian Responsibility.
GOD’S DELEGATED CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITY AFTER SALVATION
Unconditional eternal security is a belief that is based upon the irrelevance of man’s future actions. U.E.S. believes what a man does is independent from the process of their continued salvation. This type of belief removes the obvious freewill participation of the man from any further relevance. It also is a belief that proclaims that a man has no given responsibilities from God to do anything. Maybe we need to stop here and define the word “responsibility” to give us an equal foundation. How you view the definition of responsibility might be completely different to what I see it to be. Here is a definition that I found easily on the internet:
- The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something.
- The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something.
- the ability or authority to act or decide on one’s own, without supervision
Here are three dictionary definitions for the word responsibility. I agree with every one of them and I understand them. But, do you understand them? On Facebook recently one of my friends posted a sign on their wall about something that I really liked. So I took the sign and put it on my wall and here is what it said. It said “I’m only responsible for what I say; I’m not responsible for what you understand”. Did you notice the word “responsible in that sign message twice? That is exactly what I am discussing here today. That saying from Facebook shows us I have a responsibility for what I say and you have a responsibility for what you hear. According to the Bible, God will hold me personally responsible for what I say when I teach, so I’m very careful what I teach. However, you are now also responsible to learn, but not to just learn what I said but more importantly to understand what I was saying. Any parrot can be taught to say anything repetitively, but the bird will never understand the words that he speaks. Don’t be a parrot type of Christian; learn to understand what is being taught and this will cause the knowledge to never be taken away from you.
Using the definitions of the word “responsibility” can you think of anything in the New Testament that God has spoken to you that reveals you as having any responsibility? Look at the first definition. It says you have to deal with something as a duty or a job. Has God left anything here on the earth for you to deal with? You bet He has! The second definition states that you will have accountability for having done something or take the blame for having failed to do something. Is that applicable for any Christian going forward? If you do not understand the coming judgment of God then you do not yet understand your God given responsibility and your accountability for doing it. Number three is also important to see. It states there was given some task assignment along with the authority to accomplish that job. How does that apply to us as a Christian, let me show you:
Luk 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Here is delegated authority given to the church from Jesus personally. The key word in this verse is the first Greek word translated as “power’. This word is mistranslated and should have been translated as the English word “authority”. This Greek word G1849 means “delegated influence”. Real authority can only be transferred or given to anyone by a higher authority. Since God is the highest authority this means He has the right to give us some of His authority. Anytime anyone gives away part of their authority they have now delegated their responsibility to them from which they will be now held accountable. For example, every police officer of a city is held accountable to uphold the laws fairly for that city. Therefore the police officer has been given direct responsibilities from a higher authority. If they fail to uphold the laws of the city then they will face the consequences for their failure. This is the exact same concept being transferred to us by God in the verse in Luke 10:19. You have been given responsibilities by God the highest authority and you will be held accountable for not doing them. In other words Christians have been given specific gifts, talents, tasks and assignments and these are not optional, but rather our God given responsibility to fulfill or they will not get done. Let’s talk about some more of our Christian responsibilities:
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Let’s begin our thought process on responsibility by considering how we got saved. Did we have any responsibility in the entire process of our initial salvation? We should know that we began the process by hearing someone preach about Jesus. We continued the salvation process by believing what we heard about Jesus or we ended the process by not believing and then walking away from Jesus’ salvation offer. However if we choose to believe what was being preached the process continues. For example we believed that Jesus was God in the flesh, that He died for our sins and that He was raised from the dead and we conintue on the path to being saved. Next, we must confess Jesus as our Lord and according to Romans 10:9-10 and God says we are now saved! So how did we just get saved? It was a process! In this process of initial salvation there are three realms of delegated responsibility that must be present and working together. First the preacher was given the responsibility by God to preach the Gospel to us or we will not hear it. Second the unsaved person was given the responsibility to hear, believe and confess or they will not begin to be saved. Finally, the Holy Spirit has the responsibility to confirm the Word of God spoken by drawing the unsaved individual to God and then to come into the spirit of the unsaved person after they have heard, believed and confessed. Clearly “initial salvation” is a multi-step and a multi-responsibility process. Any one party could fail in the process and there would be no salvation. Of course God will never fail you, so that is not the weak point or the weak link in the process. However, the human factors that are participating can always fail. Humans will always be the weak link in the initial salvation process.
I firmly believe that we must determine how we were saved in order to determine how we will remain in the state of our salvation. In other words what got us into God’s grace will continue to be exactly what keeps you there. If initial salvation and continued salvation are both mutually exclusive from each other that would represent a new scriptural inconsistency. Ephesians 2:8 states that we are saved by Grace through faith. Therefore salvation was conditional upon us believing in the finished work of Jesus with our faith. Then in Romans 10:9-10 God says we must not only believe that God raised Jesus from the dead but we also must confess Jesus to be our Lord. If we are required to do something like believe and to confess in order to be saved then that makes our initial salvation clearly conditional upon our faithful obedience. If our initial salvation is conditional upon our obedience then by direct association our continued salvation must also be conditional upon our continued obedience or God would be very inconsistent. Do you understand my logic so far? Ephesians 2:8 told us that our faith was a factor for our salvation. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says we must continue to walk by our faith and not by sight after becoming a Christian. Therefore faith is still an ongoing factor for being a Christian. If continued salvation is only the responsibility of God like U.E.S. teaches, then initial salvation must also have been the full responsibility of God and that is clearly not the truth given to us in the Word of God.
The belief of unconditional eternal security after conditional salvation replaces the concept of any further human responsibility for continued salvation and places the full responsibility solely upon God. However God was clearly not the only factor for our initial salvation, so God just cannot be the only factor for our eternal security. If God was the only factor involved in our initial salvation then everyone would be saved today since 2 Peter 3:9 says God is not willing that any should perish. That however is another clear erroneous doctrine of many Bible teachers that want to believe in the invented concept called “Universal Salvation”. However when we study the Bible correctly we must balance more than one truth and see that just because God’s will is for everyone to be saved, that does not mean that everyone is saved. Clearly even Jesus taught us that people will be in hell with the story of the rich man in Luke 16. Clearly Jesus taught us that there will come a division between the sheep on the right hand from the goats on the left hand (Mat 25:32) and those not in His sheepfold will be lost and cast into the fire (Mat 13:40).
From my understanding and belief in a conditional salvation which is dependent upon my faithful obedience, participation and full acceptance causes me to believe in a conditional eternal security also based upon my further obedience, participation and acceptance. Otherwise we would all be saved by our willing participation but now kept safe independent from our participation by divine sovereign control. That type of belief would be completely illogical to me and very inconsistent with what I have observed in the scriptures. If man has no further responsibilities after his initial salvation then God has taken something away from him that he had before he was saved. If this is now missing from man, how can we claim we ever had it to begin with? Let’s examine the subject of continued Christian responsibility after salvation observing a basic truth taught to us in Romans:
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
We need to begin to understand that we have been given the responsibility as a Christian to remain a Christian. In order to do this we must begin to find our responsibilities given to us by God. Here in this verse God says my children are ONLY those that are led by my Spirit. Is that you? Did you know that this being led by the Spirit of God was a conditional requirement for your continued salvation? This verse was written to Christians and not to unsaved people. Did you hear what I just said? People sometimes simply don’t want to go to hell so they will get saved thinking that is all that is required to keep them from hell, but that is clearly not what God teaches us in His full balanced Word. This verse in Romans displays two separate divisions of people. The two divisions are those that are led by God and those that are not led by God. We can restate this truth by saying it includes those that are His children and those that are not His children. Therefore getting saved and not being led by the Spirit of God defines to us a new state of potential loss. Do you see how conditional your salvation can suddenly become? Today very few Christians understand this concept of even how to be led by the Spirit of God much less to be able to hear and obey Him. But, suddenly in the Grace unconditional eternal salvation message this being led by the Spirit of God to be His child becomes a non-issue. I don’t see it that way. God clearly places responsibility upon Christina to be led. If you do not know how to be led by the Spirit of God I have a Bible series of lesson on this subject “Understanding How to Be Led by the Spirit of God”. Let’s go examine some words spoken by Jesus on the subject of responsibility:
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Jesus said I will look at some and say to them “depart from me for I never knew you” and these were clearly people that thought they were saved and were even calling Jesus their Lord and thought they were doing many righteous good things that we see people in many churches do today. Do you understand that? I mean use your brain and think with me for a moment. Jesus is not talking to people who were in the bars, the night clubs and the strip joints of the world. God certainly does not know those types of people, no Jesus was talking to people who thought they were doing good things for God and they did not understand they needed to be led by the Spirit of God in what they did. In other words what they did for God they did independent from God and thus they failed to qualify for their continued salvation. In Matthew 7:22-23 Jesus was not talking about people or to people that never got saved! These are clearly people who got saved but went no further with their continuing salvation process to learn how to be led by God to become His child. Let’s look at the following verses in the context of those that Jesus was speaking to saying depart from me to find why they are being instructed to leave:
Mat 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
Mat 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Mat 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
Mat 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Read these verses very carefully for they are talking about two types of saved Christians again. These two types of Christians are being compared and separated from each other in these verses. You can try to explain them away as being saved people versus unsaved people but that is not what is being stated. Both types of people had houses built and both heard the same Word of God. These are two types of Christians. First there are those that heard the Word of God and do what they heard and then second there are those that heard the Word of God but ignored what they heard. Both of these people had to sit in the same church services to hear the same word of God being taught. The wise man in this description is stated to be the doer of the word of God and the foolish man is he that is destroyed because he chose to only hear. If you cannot see the stated Christian responsibility given to you in these verses, of Romans 8:14 and Matthew 7:24-27 to become a doer and a follower of what God has said to you by His Word and His Spirit then you are deceived greatly. God has placed conditions upon your continued Christianity and your continued salvation. I could give you many other scriptural salvation conditions but I’m only going to end this lesson with some verses written directly to the church in Revelation spoken to us by the Lord Jesus:
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 2:17 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 hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
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.
I just gave you seven verses from Revelation chapters 2 and 3 written to the church telling us that we must “overcome” something or someone in order to receive something else from God. What does that teach us? Any time that God promises you something and then tells you what you must do to qualify for it that changes the promise of God to a conditional requirement that is based upon your successful participation. Let’s get the definition for this word translated as the English word “overcome” in order to understand what it means. Here is the definition from the Strong’s:
From G3529; to subdue (literally or figuratively): – conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory.
Do you understand what subdue means? It means you have an enemy opposed to you. Do you understand what conquer means? It means you have a responsibility to win. Do you understand what “prevail” means? It means you can fail if you do not learn what you are doing. To be defeated as a Christian is as simple as you doing nothing. You are guaranteed failure for your lack of participation. The easiest way for any evil to prevail, is for good people to do nothing to prevent it. Do you know what “get the victory” means? It means God expects you to be a winner. To “overcome” clearly denotes responsibility to be victorious over your enemy and you will be held accountable if you do not do this.
What exactly is there left for us in the church to overcome if Christ has overcome it all already? I think that is a very excellent question that is being ignored by Christian Grace teachers of unconditional eternal security. Clearly we have just been given a major conflict with the belief for unconditional eternal security for all the church if we have anything left to overcome in order to qualify. God tells us repeatedly in these verses that we are to overcome in order to qualify for the participation of any further gifts. This is clearly God’s delegated responsibility that makes God’s gifts conditional. Several of these verses make it sound like even our salvation depends upon us being an overcomer. Read them closely for yourself. For example Revelation 2:7 says if you we overcome we get to eat from the tree of life. What would be the opposite of that truth? Would that be to eat form the tree of death if you don’t overcome? Uh oh? That is a potential problem isn’t it? Read Revelation 3:12 and see what God says to those that overcome He will give His name meaning to those that do not overcome He will not. Then understand that one name that is given to these overcomers is the name of the New Jerusalem and this is identified to be His bride in Revelation 21. Clearly if you do not overcome you are not His bride. If we don’t overcome, then Jesus implies we cannot eat from the tree that gives us life, we cannot be His bride, and we cannot have His name. This is really not that complicated, but it is an unexpected problem for those that believe in U.E.S.
Clearly to me our continued salvation and eternal security is not independent from our future decisions or actions. To me it is very self-evident that our continued salvation is totally dependent upon our continued faithful participation and obedience to God’s Word and His Spirit for the rest of the process of our salvation to make us overcomers. These truths that God gives us in the Bible make the reality of eternal security to be a completely conditional divine proposition. I only gave you a few great examples of continued Delegated Christian Responsibility after salvation. I could give you many others, but I believe I made my point and will move on to another topic that you need to understand in the next lesson in this series that I call the Deception Factor. Therefore, thanks for your time in studying the Bible today and I pray that you learned something that will be a blessing to you. Until next time if you feel like leaving me a comment, please do that. If you want to find me on Facebook and be my friend you are welcome to do that also. God Bless you until next time.
If you would like to continue reading and studying in this series, you may continue to “Part 5“.
Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! How the Holy Spirit Led the Early Church in Acts 11! Part 13
(ver 1.1) This is now Part 13 in a series of very important basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God. My foundational scripture verse for the entire series is “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom 8:14). We have covered a tremendous amount of new information that will not be repeated so if you have not read this series from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first. The last two lessons have been focused on what God reveals about the early church’s growth and expansion in Acts 10 to include the Gentile people of the earth. Chapter 10 of Acts was an awesome chapter of spiritual information, divine guidance and church growth and I believe that we have learned a lot from it. I view the early church to be in the group called “the children of God” and therefore according to Romans 8:14 they are being led by God in everything that they are observed to be doing. Today’s lesson will be more about the events in chapter 10 because chapter 11 is a further overview and explanation of what happened in chapter 10. This will be the third time that God describes the same events. Any time God repeats Himself twice it is critical that you fully understand the importance of what is being spoken. However, any time God says the same thing three times then it has just exponentially grown to a factor that is way beyond critical to know. So today I’m going to go through chapter 11 and see what God is doing and saying to us in the modern church.
One of the key realizations to what I have observed in studying Acts 10 and 11 is God’s focused purpose and plan to increase the church’s spirituality level. God of course began this process by raining down His Spirit upon the Jewish church in Acts 2 and then we saw this continue as God’s Spirit fell on the Gentiles in Acts 10. But that was only the beginning of a longer spiritual process. I equate this beginning act of God to be similar to a garden planting analogy where God has planted His seed in us His church garden. God then expects this seed in us to grow and to increase and eventually to produce real spiritual fruit. Therefore the God seed planting was only the beginning of the process for the expected final outcome. We are God’s plants today that are created to produce God’s fruits of righteousness in the world. Jesus taught us that we can only do this if we become the branches that remain in Him our Vine source of life (John 15:5).
As we continue to go through chapter 11 I pray that this spiritual plant and garden growth process will become clearer to your understanding also. I have become totally convinced from this study that in order to be led by the Spirit of God that it requires God’s people to grow to understand what spiritual things are and how they work. The more you know the more you grow. People today want to be led by God, yet many do not want to make the effort to grow or increase spiritually. The Bible says that God is clearly a Spirit (John 4:24). Furthermore, God reveals to us in His Word that His ways are not our ways nor are His thoughts our thoughts, but they are higher than ours as the heavens are above the earth (Isa 55:9). Since God’s intelligence is on a level that is so far above ours what is it going to take for Him to communicate intelligently with you? God can only come down to your human level of ignorance and lack of spiritual understanding so far. Let me show you a statement that Jesus said to a teacher of Israel:
Joh 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
Jesus is unscrambling and differentiating between two dimensional realms of reality within this statement. This God statement clearly causes new revelation to come to us, illuminating spiritual things to be higher and much more complex than the natural things of the earth. Jesus said I cannot tell you about heavenly things because you do not yet still understand these basic natural earthly things that I tell you. There is an implied necessary Christian growth process hidden in this statement. Jesus said you are basically incapable of hearing about any real complex spiritual things at this point in time. This would imply the need for something to occur in the man that was hearing in order for Jesus to be able to communicate the higher heavenly things to him. Is this too complicated for you? The thing that is required is called spiritual maturity or spiritual growth and this is combined with new increased spiritual knowledge and understanding of the God kind of things. All of these are contributing factors to being successfully led by the Spirit of God.
What Jesus was teaching us in John 3:12, is that we all need to develop spiritually in order to see something above our current natural capacity level to understand. You are going to have to rise up or grow closer to His spiritual level if you expect Him to give you something really useful. Think of it like this, what if a three or four year old human child wanted to talk to a great intellectual man like Albert Einstein and ask him for help to understand the theory of relativity. First the child would not even know what to ask of him and then there is the root of the child’s challenge called immaturity and ignorance that causes every complex statement revealed by Albert to be missed completely. What exactly do you think the child and Albert have to talk about? Sure Albert could come down to communicate on a certain elementary level about many things with the child. But, the deep things that Albert knew could never be transferred to the child no matter how much Albert would have loved to give them his vast knowledge because of the child’s inability to communicate on the Albert level. This is exactly the way it is with most Christians today and them asking God to help guide them. God will do the best at speaking to you on your level, but He would prefer that you came up higher to know Him better so that He can speak to you of the deeper complex things that He holds inside of Himself. Let me show you something else that Jesus said to us:
Mat 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
You can clearly see that God says there are hidden things that come only from Him. These hidden things were given to us the “babes” in this statement. The people in the church are these “babes”. The wise ones that the things were hidden from are those like Satan, the angels of Satan and the people of the earth that follow him in darkness. Look up the definition of the word “babe” in this verse in the Strong’s dictionary. The Greek word translated as “babes” literally means an infant as in a non-speaking baby. That definition of “babes” has spiritual meaning hidden in it that goes very deep. This kind of a natural child is unable to communicate intelligently other than simple crying or laughing. These types of infants can only drink milk to grow. This natural reality corresponds to a spiritual reality that is on a very elementary level of spiritual knowledge, understanding and ability. This non-speaking spiritual baby level is where all Christians begin their life in Christ. In the eyes of God we in the church are just spiritual non-speaking children and God desires us to grow into speaking mature children. Spiritual growth is one of the greatest desired expectations of the heart of God for His children. However, the only way this is possible is if we continue to abide in Him and to listen. It goes back to what I said earlier about being a branch that is connected to Jesus the Vine.
Being a baby is exactly where we all start out naturally in this world, but this is also how we all start out spiritually when we are born again (John 3:3). To be born again is a “spiritual birth” process that replicates the natural birth process but in the unseen spiritual realm. This spiritual birth process results in a new spiritual baby being born into the spiritual family of God. This stated new spiritual baby can exist in the body of a fully grown mature natural man or woman. The external age of the human body is always independent from the internal age of the spiritual child (2 Cor 4:16). The body that is visible never reflects the condition or the age of the hidden internal spirit. Being a spiritual baby is exactly like being a natural baby. Like natural babies, spiritual babies need help to survive and to grow or they will die. Read this statement that Paul makes to the church at Corinth about the spiritual growth process:
1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
Paul tells the church in Corinth I cannot speak to you yet about spiritual things because you are still spiritual babies in Christ. This word for “babes” is the exact same Greek word that Jesus spoke in Matthew 11:25. This was clearly written to church people that were fully grown enough that could read and write, but yet they knew nothing about the spiritual things of God. God says you need to grow spiritually to be able to see the real complex spiritual subjects found in the Bible and in God. The complex subjects are only available to be understood after personal spiritual growth has occurred. Paul was telling the church I cannot communicate to you closer to God’s level because you are still non-speaking children in Christ. Those are pretty strong words aren’t they? Let’s read the next verse in 1 Corinthians:
1Co 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
God teaches us how spiritual growth occurs by using the very simple human concepts found in the natural baby growth cycle. If you do not understand natural baby things then you will never understand spiritual baby things as we have already seen by what Jesus was teaching us in John 3:12. If you read Romans 1:20 you will begin to see God telling us that His invisible spiritual qualities are clearly understood by the things that were created by Him in this world. You should be able to read 1 Corinthians 3:1 and 2 and see that God expects His spiritual babies to grow to eat meat. Meat symbolically represents the complex higher spiritual subjects of God. But in order to eat meat you must first drink the milk of the Word of God basics to grow. These concepts are critical and I pray that you are grasping them or you will never be led by the Spirit of God fully. Let’s read another witness of the truth in the Word of God:
Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
God reveals to us in these two verses that there are both simplistic milk subjects found in the Bible for spiritual babies and then there are also advanced meat subjects found in the Bible for the mature spiritual Christians. Clearly babies cannot take the really deep complex subjects because they do not understand even the simple milk subjects. That is what God is saying to the reader. Every complex meat truth found in the Bible is built upon several dependent layers of simpler milk truths that are necessary first to be understood. Hebrews 5:12 informs us that this understanding only comes from being taught. It is very much like learning to add and subtract as a school child using simple math concepts before you ever try to learn the algebra and calculus more complex math concepts. If you do not yet understand the simple it is impossible to grasp the complex. My Bible studies are normally intended for meat eating mature spiritual Christians. I recently had one person unsubscribe to my Bible study and I can only guess that it was because they did not like or could not take the meat that I was trying to feed them. That is OK, with me I’m not sent to teach everyone, if you cannot handle what I write you probably just need to go drink some more milk for a while and then come back later and try to eat the more complex topics from God. Don’t choke as a baby Christian trying to swallow spiritual meat when you have not yet developed any spiritual teeth to chew it. So while I lost one subscriber recently God blessed me and replaced them with 5 new subscribers. Praise God!
What I have just tried to describe to you is the spiritual growth process in a concise nutshell. God uses these things to teach each of us in the same way. This is exactly what I see happening to the church in the first 10 chapters of Acts. God was teaching the early church babies new spiritual things that were so much deeper than anything that they had ever seen or understood before. God is guiding them and giving them limited steps containing new ways to view the old scriptures to help them see God’s Word more through the spiritual eyes of God. Now with this new spiritual knowledge growing in them God can increasingly guide them by His Spirit to do even greater things with this new knowledge. That was my introduction so let’s get into the reality of chapter 11:
Act 11:1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
This is an awesome verse. It helps to clarify many things we saw in Acts 10 by explaining to us that it was the Word of God that made everything else that happened possible. When the angel told Cornelius in the beginning of Acts 10 to go and get Peter it was for the sole purpose of Peter bringing the Word of God to Cornelius. This is the designed process from God and it is described to us in Romans 10:14. Peter came and Peter preached the Word of God and because Cornelius and his house received and believed the Word of God, the Spirit of God fell on them and they spoke with other tongues and praised God. Being saved, being filled with the Spirit of God or whatever you receive from God begins with you first receiving the Word of God that is spoken to you by a preacher sent from God. The Word of God is the foundational basis for everything else that you need, spiritual, mental, emotional or physical. After hearing the Word of God, you must believe it and then you must receive what was spoken to you. This is called receiving the Grace of God by your faith. I’m not going to teach you about faith and what it is and how it works, so if you do not understand this subject I have an in-depth lesson series called “Understanding Bible Faith” that you should go and check out.
Notice however what is happening here in verse 1, the brethren that are mentioned here are the saved Jews of the natural circumcision in Jerusalem. These are the men that were circumcised in their flesh by the hands of other men according the Law of Moses but they were also now circumcised by the hands of God in their spirits and they have not yet fully comprehended which one is the most important. They do not yet understand that the first natural was only given to teach them about the greater spiritual circumcision that occurred by the Hand of God. The fact is that the circumcision of the heart was just being revealed to the church and this means that they had not fully embraced the truth nor did they completely understand it. This was simply because they were all still babes in Christ growing up in the Lord.
Act 11:2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,
Here we have a potential firestorm division occurring in the church. This is a golden opportunity for the new baby believers of Jerusalem to depart the unity of the church body to create a new independent branch of believers called the Southern Jewish Church. Ok, that was a really bad joke on my part, but you understand what I meant. It is always man’s solution to create a new denomination when differences arise and it is always God’s proposed solution to resolve the conflict with new knowledge. The saved Jews in Jerusalem had heard about the Gentiles and they were not very happy Christians. In fact they were being very carnal, very jealous, very arrogant and very prideful types of Christians. It sounds a lot like some that I know of in the world today. It is very much like they felt themselves to be better or superior than those Gentiles because of something they had in their flesh that they could see. This is a dangerous approach to take before your fall and you will fall unless you change and release this attitude. Pride is always followed by the destruction of the individual (Prov 16:18). Any introduction of new Godly revelation to the people of God brings the opportunity to grow spiritually. It is also a potential opportunity to fail by rejecting it and remaining ignorant. Therefore, do not ever put yourself into a strict religious box of not being able to change, learn or grow from God’s new revelations. The Jews in Jerusalem in Acts 11 are about to reach a decision point as we continue to read through the chapter. They are going to be faced with some radical new spiritual information that is over their current spiritual level to understand it fully and they will have to make a choice to accept it or reject it. They will eventually learn that spiritual things will always take precedence over the natural external things but this is just a part of the normal growth process. We are about to explore the root of the problem being revealed to the early church:
Act 11:3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.
Why is it important for a Jew not to eat with a Gentile? Why does this natural external action of Peter so concern the Jewish men at Jerusalem? That is an incredible thoughtful valid question that people today do not even consider or try to understand how to answer. People in the modern world eat with anybody, anytime, in anyplace without giving it considerable thought to the consequences of their actions. What did I just say? Are there really consequences for eating with people? You see because of your ignorance you do not know where I am probably going next but we are going to explore briefly some Old Testament Law that these Jews in Jerusalem understood better than you did:
Exo 12:43 And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:
Exo 12:48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
Exo 29:33 And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy.
To an informed Old Covenant person, eating a meal with a Gentile was them making a covenant with a people that were not currently in covenant with their God. The Jews learned that the Passover meal was a covenant meal that was given to them while they were still in bondage in Egypt. Eating the Passover meal and placing the blood of the lamb on the doorpost allowed everyone in their house to live while the death angel took the firstborn of all that did not eat of the lamb and where the blood was not found on the doorway. God gives us these natural symbolic types to reveal the spiritual truths that have occurred in us in the church. In Exodus, God was telling the natural Jews that in order for a Gentile to participate with them in eating the meal, they must first be circumcised in their flesh. Did you not just read this? This was the Law of God that was being misapplied to the church in the minds of the Jewish believers in Jerusalem based upon their spiritual ignorance.
What I am saying is that eating with a Gentile was in effect the people of God joining themselves with their enemies. The sign of the circumcision was an external confirmation that they were in covenant with the same God you were in covenant with. However, that external sign of the covenant is now foolishness no matter who you are. The principle that was being taught to us is that you do not make covenant with anyone that is not in covenant with your God. That was the natural principle being taught to the Jewish people and that principle is still in effect in the spiritual realm today with the church (1 Cor 6:15). When you make covenant with a person not saved, the only advantage gained was given to the enemy that you covenanted with. Once you let your enemies into your house where you live you have just opened up your life to them for your complete destruction. What I just described to you has more spiritual relevance than what you probably understand right now, but I do not have the time to go there today. However, this was probably the driving reason behind the Jewish concern in Jerusalem extended to Peter. They were just in a state of shock that Peter had gone into a Gentile’s house and made covenant with them without them being circumcised in their flesh. They were in effect thinking very naturally and saying to Peter “What were you thinking?” “Why are you eating with these uncircumcised godless men?”
The natural Jewish believers were obviously not seeing things correctly through the eyes of God yet. They did not understand that Peter was being led by the Spirit of God in what he did and they for sure did not believe that the uncircumcised Gentiles were able to hear from God to do what they did. This is a grave mistake of people today that call themselves Christians. I saw a comment recently on Facebook from a Christian lady that is usually very sound in what she says. However she obviously got into the flesh with this statement and showed her spiritual immaturity. She was basically putting down people today that say they hear from God. I personally have more concern for people who do not hear from God than I do for those that say they heard from God. My Facebook friend even tried to justify her statement by using unfounded statements about Moses. She believed that even Moses never heard from God that much. I found her logic more than a little amusing. Moses after all wrote the first 5 books of the Bible and many of the Psalms so Moses obviously heard from God a lot. Do not get me wrong, there are people on the internet that say they hear from God and clearly they do not based upon what they say. If what is spoken contradicts the Written Word of God, then it is not from God. This is always an example of the real being counterfeited with the false. The presence of the false however proves that there is a real by implied antithesis. People in the world never counterfeit anything that does not already exist and is valuable or the counterfeit would have no value to anyone to deceive them. Satan will always introduce the fakes to discredit or distract form the genuine. God is speaking today in the world to His people and do not believe that He is not.
Act 11:5 I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:
Act 11:6 Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
Act 11:7 And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.
Act 11:8 But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.
Act 11:9 But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
Act 11:10 And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven.
Act 11:11 And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.
Act 11:12 And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:
Act 11:13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;
Act 11:14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.
Act 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
Act 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Starting in Verse 5 and continuing through verse 16 in Acts 11 is now Peter’s account of what just happened in Acts 10 as it is replayed for the saved Jewish believers in Jerusalem. You might recall we got Cornelius’ account of the events at the end of chapter 10 telling Peter and now we are seeing Peter tell his side of the story to the other natural circumcised believers. You did notice that I said the “other” natural circumcised believers, yes? What is happening here? Why didn’t God speak to these believers directly like He did with Peter? Recall that Peter was dealt with on a personal spiritual level by God directly in Chapter 10. These Jewish men in chapter 11 were not. Why that was and what we can learn from it will now become more apparent. Revelation is never given to everyone in the church. Visions from God are never given to everyone in the church. Angels are never sent to everyone in the church. On and on I could go. These are all examples of divine sovereign choices of God and they are designed to help the whole body by allowing the one given the message to go and tell the others. That is exactly what is happening here in Acts 11. Peter was sent by God with the message from God to the natural Jewish believers in Jerusalem so they could hear what God has done.
Peter’s vision from God was not just for Peter’s personal benefit; it was for everyone else’s benefit in the church also that will hear it. Do you understand what I am saying? If Peter did not spread the message, the message would have died with Peter. God never gives one man any kind of revelation that is not intended for him to share with everyone else. I already tried to cover the difference between natural circumcision and God’s spiritual circumcision and I hope that you understand the differences. You can clearly see that this new spiritual way of thinking was causing a great division to occur in the church and if God does not deal with it then we would have the beginning of a new church denomination like I said before. Uh oh? God is actually working very hard to reverse the cause for the division by doing spectacular things like sending angels and giving visions, but the people in the church are still going to have to cooperate, believe and accept.
Act 11:17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God.
I love this verse! It is so awesome! What did Peter just tell these Jewish believers? This is the best advice that people today can still get a hold of if they humbled themselves and tried. Peter just said “I’m not stupid, it is not my place to tell God what to do”. Do you ever try to tell God what to do? I see it on the internet every day. I’ve seen it in churches repeatedly. People speaking against what they do not agree with and they call the others not in their group false teachers and liars. They do not understand that God could have given someone else a new revelation and this was also for them but they have rejected it because it was new. I’m not going to go through everything that Peter said to the Jews verse by verse, but I do want to point out the key factors again for emphasis:
- Peter says “I was praying” in verse 5.
- Peter says “I was in a trance and I saw a vision” in verse 5.
- Peter described the vision and says he then heard a voice say “arise slay and eat” in verse 7.
- Peter says back to the Lord “No Lord nothing unclean has entered into my mouth” in verse 8.
- Peter then says that God answers back to him “Do not call unclean that which I have cleansed” in verse 9.
- Peter then says that all of this happened three times in verse 10.
- Peter then says the Spirit of God spoke to him again and said “These men that I have sent, go with them doubting nothing” in verse 12.
Let’s just stop right here and analyze the facts given to us. How many times did God speak and how many times did Peter speak to God in this conversation? Peter prayed so that is the first time where the spiritual conversation begins with God. The vision then begins, so God is now speaking back to Peter in a trance. We have one for Peter and one for God. Now the voice of God tells Peter “Kill and eat” and Peter says “no”. That gives me a count of two for God and two for Peter. God then answered back “Do not call unclean what I have cleaned”. My count is now three for God and two for Peter because Peter had no reply. What God was pointing out to Peter was “you don’t know what I have done or what I can do”. God was in effect teaching the man Peter during this whole vision. Peter then tell us that this happens three times. According to my calculation that would give us a subtotal of God speaking seven times and Peter speaking back to God four times. However, Peter then says God told Him to go with the men and that makes the count, God speaking 8 times and Peter speaking 4 times. Did this not say that God just spoke to Peter 8 times in one conversation? I mean can you count? How many people today is there that do not understand that God still does this for everyone since He is no respecter of persons? Does God still speak? You bet He does! Does God speak a lot? You bet He does, if you are listening. Let’s talk briefly about verses 15 and 16:
Act 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
Act 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Here is further confirmation for what I was teaching you in the last lesson. God is revealing how things work in the spiritual realm by revealing to us little clues found within the natural realm. While Peter was preaching at Cornelius’ house the Word of God, the Holy Spirit was poured out exactly like He was in Acts 2 on the Jewish believers. We learned in chapter 10 this taught Peter that God was no respecter of persons. But, Peter also tells us when this was happening that he suddenly remembered something that Jesus had said to him. Do you think this was a coincidence or do you think this was also God speaking to him? I personally know it was the Spirit of God speaking to Peter. This is simply one way that God communicates with people and people do not understand it is God unless you learn to see what is said. The Spirit of God inside of Peter was giving Peter the thoughts to preach the message to Cornelius all along. God just revealed one thought of the many others that were implied. What was this thought that Peter just had? The thought was a memory recall of some of the words that Jesus spoke to him in the past. I have called this concept God drawing water out from a well. The thought was the water, God was the drawing out Spirit, and the well where the water was found is Peter’s spirit. The only reason water existed in the well was because it was placed there by Jesus’ teachings. This is not really rocket science kind of technical stuff here, but yet it is very profound if you get a hold of it. Jesus taught us “From the abundance of your heart, the mouth speaks” (Mat 12:34). Therefore put God’s Words into your heart if you want to get any of God’s Words to come out from your heart.
Do you understand what Jesus was teaching Peter and the other disciples from this thought in Acts 11:16 and how it applies to what is happening now with Cornelius? In other words why is God causing Peter to remember these words at this exact moment? Why is it relevant? Notice what Jesus was contrasting in the thought. Jesus was speaking of natural things like John and his water baptism to teach them of new coming spiritual things. Also understand that Jesus’ statement was a future prophetical reference to an event that had not yet occurred when it was spoken. If you research your Bible you will find that this statement was made by Jesus in Acts 1:5 right as He was about to ascend back to heaven. The Spirit of God was now revealing to Peter that this is the time of fulfillment of that prophecy. Jesus told them that John had used water to baptize, but now God will use the Holy Spirit to do the exact same thing in the spiritual realm. It is again an example of how external things are being represented to reveal internal invisible things. If you learn nothing else from me today I pray that you begin to understand the differences between natural things and spiritual things. Learn today that spiritual things are always greater than the parallel natural things. Learn how natural things are nothing but physical pointers to the hidden spiritual things from God. So we have had Peter describe the intimate workings of the Holy Spirit during the process to the Jews in Jerusalem and we are now at the time for their decision. Do they accept it or do they reject it?
Act 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
Here is the model example of the appropriate Christian reactive response to any new revelation. These Jewish men in Jerusalem just showed you what you should be doing today. Peter has just preached to the natural Jewish believers in Jerusalem a message that came from God and they believed it and accepted it. There are literally too many other possible human reactions for me to list what could have happened. Instead of focusing on what did not happen, just notice that they kept their mouths shut except to praise their God. That is probably one of the greatest lessons to learn from what is happening in these two chapters. When and if you do not fully agree, fully understand, or fully embrace what is happening it is wisest to hold your peace and just praise God. Don’t fight against God, observe what He is doing and go with it. How could these men at Jerusalem do this? It is because they knew their God and they knew Peter. They had to have a certain level of trust for this man of God that he was not misleading them. They also knew that he was the one that got them saved in the first place by preaching in Acts 2. So we have many factors contributing to trust and their spiritual growth.
Act 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
You can clearly see the problem that God was addressing in the church in this verse. Those that were being scattered from Jerusalem’s persecution were only going to other cities preaching to the natural Jews. God was revealing to the early church that it’s much bigger than that, guys! You people are missing the largest harvest fields and only focusing on the select ones that you think are good. It goes back to a truth that God revealed in the O.T. that says “God does not see as men see, for man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). If people would only see things in the Bible like God sees them, there would be no divisions, debates or arguments in the church today and we could all reach a lot more people to get them saved.
This lesson is already long enough. Let’s just recap what else is revealed in this chapter to bring it to a close.
- Verse 20 says the Gentiles are now being actively preached to and converted.
- Verse 21 says the number of the Gentiles being added to the church is very significant.
- God also says in verse 21 that these Gentiles did two things to be saved. They believed the message and they turned to God for their salvation.
- Verse 21 also says the hand of the Lord was with them, proving God was leading them in what was happening.
- Verse 22 says the news of the church growth was spreading through the church and reached back to the church in Jerusalem.
- Verse 22 then says the brethren in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch to preach and teach them. This was God again sending a man with a message to help them grow spiritually. I told you a mature Christian was always necessary to keep a new born spiritual baby alive.
- Verse 23 says Barnabas saw the Grace of God and was glad and he began to exhort them. Exhortation is a comforting and an encouraging word sent from God telling them to continue in the Lord. Meaning they have the opportunity to turn back or walk away.
- Verse 24 describes God’s messenger Barnabas as being a good man that was full of the Holy Ghost. Two things I learn from this. To be a good teacher of God you need to be full of the Spirit of God. Finally a mature teacher needs to be sent by God.
- Verse 24 says many people were added to the church as a result of sending Barnabas.
- Verse 25 does not give us a time frame of how long Barnabas was present in Antioch but it says he left there for Tarsus to seek for Saul. I take this as God guiding him because of Romans 8:14. Galatians 2:9 teaches us that Barnabas becomes an apostle to the Gentiles with Paul.
- Verse 26 is one of my favorites. It gives us the reason for seeking Paul. Paul is brought back to Antioch to help and this verse says they stayed there for a year and taught many people. Verse 26 also reveals this is where people in the church were first called “Christians”.
- Verse 27 says Jerusalem sent prophets to Antioch. This proves God is still working to bring messages through men to other men.
- Verse 28 is a warning from the Spirit of God spoken by the prophet sent to Antioch. He tells them of a great famine that would come upon the world.
- Verse 29 the church at Antioch gathers supplies to give to help those in Judea.
- Verse 30 says Barnabas and Paul leave Antioch to take the relief to the church elders.
We could literally write a book about all of the things revealed in these few verses. If you meditate on the verses long enough you will see what I mean. There are many lessons that can be transferred to the days that we live in. There is God leading the church individually and corporately to grow and increase in significant numbers. There is God leading and teaching individuals to grow up spiritually. There is God bringing warnings of coming events and helping to prepare them through a prophet. There are times of famine now in many parts of our world. People have physical needs and these should be taken to the elders in the church to be distributed to those in need. I believe that the church’s number one goal is to add to the number of believers to help the body grow. But, then the number two goal is to help those that are new in the church to grow spiritually so they do not fall away and they can become teachers also. I finally see the last goal of the church as being to help the physical needs of the people. This was God’s stated order of mention in chapter 11. I see God’s emphasis in Acts 11 being spiritual first and then physical. However, the famine did occur after a year from when Paul was sent into Antioch so the emphasis might have changed if the circumstances were different. Nevertheless, I want to say that I can see God was working in Acts 11 to supply both their spiritual needs as well as their physical needs. Both are necessary components to continued growth. We saw great examples f God sending teachers to the new church members. We can easily confirm that God wants to save you first, but then He wants you to grow spiritually so that He can continue to lead you in the process to help others get into the same process and the spiritual life cycles continues and repeats. The spiritual cycles of spiritual church population growth duplicates the natural human cycles of population growth. The spiritual cycle of development and maturity parallels the natural human cycle of development and maturity. Just as math students in the natural can become math teachers to others as they grow, so it is with Bible students in the spiritual dimension. Non-speaking baby Christians after spiritual development and maturity should all become speaking Christians (AKA Bible teachers) for others.
While you may not fully understand how much you have learned today or how it applies to you being led by the Spirit of God, I will tell you that what you have learned has gone much further than you realize. Someday soon you will become a teacher and then these lessons will be in you to help others. God will draw them out when it is time and you will speak the oracles of God with wisdom. God Bless you until next time and I greatly appreciate your effort to study the Word of God with me.
Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! How the Holy Spirit Led the Early Church in Acts 10! Part 12
(ver 1.1) This is now Part 12 in a series of very important basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God. These lessons contain critical spiritual information, instructions, and corrections that are essential and necessary for the spiritual growth of every Christian and they directly apply to all of us in the modern church because we are all in the same body of Christ serving the same God in the same ways as those in the book of Acts. My foundational scripture verse for the entire series is “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom 8:14). That verse informs us that it is more than just a good idea, more than optimal, more than important, or more than just advantageous to be led by the Spirit of God over those that are not led. Romans 8:14 actually tells us that it is an essential requirement to be led by God or you cannot even be called His child. Jesus stipulated that “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). But commandments from God are more than just reading and obeying the written Laws of Moses. There will always be the written Word of God that we must learn, but there is also an implied direction to hear His current spoken words also. What was written to us thousands of years ago in the Bible still definitely applies and is very relevant, but I believe that what we may need to know is more specific for the right now. How do we grow and what do we still need to learn today, is there anything that we need to change, who do we need to speak with today or to witness to, who do we need to pray for today, where do I need to go today and on and on we could go. Personal direction from God can only come from hearing the Holy Spirit speak on an individual intimate level. That is why I’m teaching about how you can hear from God in the right now.
I believe that it is so very important for us to know this subject in great detail. Learn how God speaks, learn when God speaks and learn why God speaks and then expect Him to speak to you. If you are not expecting, then you are not listening. We have covered a tremendous amount of information that will not be repeated so if you have not read this series from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first. In recent lessons, I have been moving through the book of Acts and observing the patterns and revelations of how God led the early church to grow and increase in great numbers. I believe that these are great teachings for the end-time church to go up and out on so that we can learn how to reach as many people as we can in the shortest amount of time. The Bible speaks of the outpouring of the Spirit of God as being like rain (James 5:7, Zec 10:1, Joel 2:23). The Bible also speaks of the Word of God coming down from heaven like rain (Isa 55:10-11). God called for the former and the later rain to fall in their respective seasons upon His people to produce a healthy fruitful spiritual crop. Two things happened in the Book of Acts former rain that stands out above all other facts to me. The Spirit of God was poured out on the Church and as a result God gave them such profound new revelation of His precious Holy written Word that it was unprecedented and beyond comparison. As a result of the Spirit of God being poured out like never before on everyone in the church and the knowledge of God increasing so profoundly, the church grew tremendously. It was a classic cause and effect reality from God. We are now living very near the time of the harvest and therefore we are abiding in the time of the later rain. We are currently writing the final chapters to the book of Acts today by what we do for God. I believe that what happened in the early church rain is what is reoccurring now in the later rain. This is the heavenly rainy season that we live in right now. Learn to get into the rain of God and see if He will not pour out on you a blessing that you cannot even contain. The revelation of God is increasing today like never before. We are to use this information to help the church to grow, to overcome and to unite in His purpose. Get involved in what God is doing and make sure you are standing under the spiritual rain cloud that is being poured out on the church today.
In the last lesson I was teaching on Acts chapter 10 and we did not get through the entire chapter. Let’s briefly review what we saw that was happening. I personally believe that chapter 10 of Acts is the most important chapter we have observed on this subject of being led. The chapter begins with Cornelius a Gentile man praying and suddenly seeing an angel sent from God. In this vision, the angel gives him a message from God and tells him to go and find Peter in another city in order to hear another message from God. That right there is a very strange request from God. I guess the angel was not told the real message. What I believe is happening is that God is revealing to us that we are living in the church age. The church was given the delegated authority and responsibility to go and preach to those on the earth to get them saved (Mark 16:15). There is coming a time in Revelation 14:6 where the angels will preach to the people on the earth because the church will already be in heaven. Therefore, I believe the angel in Acts 10 is pointing Cornelius to a church member to hear the Gospel. The angel tells Cornelius where Peter can be found and he sends three men to the city of Joppa where Peter is staying.
While the men are on the trip to find Peter, Peter is also said to be praying at the exact precise time and he also has a vision from God that is very disturbingly strange. Peter falls into a trance and sees a vision of a sheet being lowered from heaven with every kind of animal clean and unclean on it. Peter is then commanded by God to kill and eat, but Peter knows this will be an offense to his current understanding of the written Law of Moses and he refuses. Because of Peter’s refusal to participate, Peter sees the same vision three times and that is another interesting concept that visions may reoccur, but do not think that they must reoccur. I believe it is wiser to participate and obey the first time that God says something to you. Peter is still contemplating the meaning of the vision when all of the sudden the Spirit of God speaks to him in his spirit and tells him the men sent by God are here to see him. At this point in time Peter does not know what the vision means nor does he understand who the men are and why they are here to see him. So Peter goes down and meets with the men to find out what is going on.
What we have just observed is a divinely choreographed and well-orchestrated plan of God that has been unfolding in progressive steps and stages. This is a great example of the wisdom of God in manifestation. Every participant is given only very limited quantities of information to accomplish a single step of the greater unknown divine goal. No one at this point in time knows what God is doing or why they are doing it with Him. This is clearly an example of the people of God being led blindly by faith where God is the only one that understands fully what is happening and why. Of course if God knows what He is doing then we should not really care what He is telling us to do or even ask why. What is going on will always become apparent to us soon enough if we continue to obey. This is just called being a willing servant of God that walks by faith. We can clearly see how the factor of human obedience plays a significant role when yielding to a higher degree of wisdom than we possess. It is also based upon a factor that is called “TRUST” like a child trusts their parents to catch them when they jump into their arms. There is a further implied unstated factor of humility where we must acknowledge internally that we need to be led by God. The success of the whole plan of God is completely dependent upon the faithful participation of each individual involved being led and all of these qualities that I just mentioned play key roles in the successful outcome. If any one man in this chapter drops the ball and does not do or complete what God has instructed them to do, God would have needed to find some new church members to replace them to get the job done and thus the church would have not grown as fast or as efficiently.
THE PURPOSE OF GOD’S LEADING
Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (NASB)
Here is a good time to confirm why God wants to lead us again. If you are being led by God it is not for your demise, harm, hurt or destruction. Jeremiah 29:11 teaches us that God is always working for your greater good and for a greater purpose than what might be apparent at the time. You should be able to recognize that in Acts 10 as we continue through the lesson to the fulfillment of the plan of God. In this chapter nothing but positive things happen to everyone participating. The Bible clearly informs us that God is FOR US and not against us (Romans 8:31). There are three different perspectives that we can use to see what is written in this verse in Jeremiah 29. First, it can be viewed corporately as a universal statement directed at everyone. Second it can be viewed from the perspective that it was written to others like natural Israel only. Finally it could be viewed as a verse that was written to ME personally. There are ways to reason away any one of the these three possibilities using human logic. However, because the verse does not say who it is written to using a noun qualification, I take it to be a verse that includes all of the above possibilities concurrently. The translators also thought this way because they used the personal pronoun as “you” being “me” the reader to state the truth. I take this verse as a direct quote from God spoken to me.
I can understand that this verse was originally written to the natural nation of Israel. But, I then can begin to expand my vision to view it to be a universal truth that crosses over from the natural realm into the spiritual realm to include everyone. Therefore, it is simple to me if I take the truth in this verse to be for me personally. You of course need to make up your own mind if it is for you and do with it whatever you like. If you can come to the realization that it is for you also, then you need to do something else. You need to believe that God has a good plan specifically for you like I believe God has a good plan specifically for me? Your plan is not my plan, and my plan is not your plan. They are both unique and separate while still being equally good for each. If you can believe that, then you have a strong basis of faith with the scriptures to stand upon when you pray and ask God what is your plan for me. Knowing this revelation will give you confidence that when God leads you it is for a positive outcome and for a greater good purpose.
Since I believe that this verse in Jeremiah 29:11 is universally true and for me as an individual I can conclude three new things from it that applies to why God was leading the early church in Acts 10. First, God is ultimately interested in the good plan for growing the church as the single whole body of Christ on the earth. This is what I will call a “ONE” church body approach to understanding the scriptures. Since I believed that Jeremiah 29:11 was for individuals and I view the body of Christ as an individual corporate body I believe God’s good plan must include us all as one group. I’m not going to teach you about the church being one body found in the scriptures today so if you do not understand that truth then you should do a separate study on the subject. Second, I believe that in order for God to grow the church that God must also be interested in helping all of the members in the church to grow up spiritually to learn how to be led by Him. What we have again is an approach that if one part of the body is ill, then the entire body is ill. You cannot cut off one part of your body and still be a whole person. Again I can see how God’s GOOD plans for the church are both individualized and simultaneously incorporated for the good of everyone for a unified positive purpose and outcome. I hope that you understand these concepts, because I do not have time to go into them in great detail. Last but not least I believe that God is interested in blessing you in the natural realm so that you can become a blessing to others on the earth in the natural realm to get them saved. Here is where church growth corresponds to human growth cycles. When a natural child is born into the world they are very small, weak and need assistance to survive. As their body develops they are increased in mass, strength and ability. These concepts can be transferred to the body of Christ. I believe that our church body is in a growth cycle right now and we are reaching out to those that are not a part of the body to help them to be added to the body of Christ. This is only possible while we are all still in the natural realm. If you die or they die then it is too late for each of you to participate in the increase to the body of believers. I can see all three of these things occurring in Acts 10 and I hope that you will also agree with me on them.
WHAT IS A GOOD PLAN FROM GOD?
Jeremiah 29:11 informs us that God has good plans for His people. What exactly is a plan? And what makes one plan good and another one not good? One definition of the word plan is a design or a scheme of arrangement. We might be able to view a plan as a set of project specifications. This is a concept that transfers to many things in the natural to be easily understood. A cook uses a recipe to create an edible delicacy which is tasty. A seamstress uses a pattern to create a dress that will knock your socks off when you see it worn. An architect creates a plan called a blueprint design with architectural diagrams to build a great building that we can live and work in. These are all designed stepped approaches to the creation of things in the world. These are all good planned approaches that benefit people in some way. No plan that I have just mentioned was intended for anyone’s harm or demise. However, you can clearly see how that any plan can be changed or modified to become evil. Good and evil are basic concepts found in the Bible. The Bible tells us that God is good and that Satan is evil. We should be able to conclude that God’s plans are for our good and Satan’s plans are for our hurt. This is really not that complicated, but Satan has used people’s human reasoning to try shift all plans to God’s control and that is a great error in judgment.
Does every plan on the earth automatically come to pass exactly as planned? If you have ever been a project manager you know that they do not. Rarely does a plan occur without a problem. Now, consider what if it is God’s plan for your personal life? Does that mean God’s plans for you will automatically come to pass just because God is omnipotent and controls everything that happens to you? Again, it certainly does not! If that was true it would be totally unnecessary to be led by the Spirit of God and we could just all sit back and let Him do everything. The requirement to be led by the Spirit of God dictates that every plan of God does not automatically transpire. All of this means that you need to first learn what the plan of God is or at the minimum learn what part of the plan that God wants you to do and then follow God’s instructions to fulfill it. What I am doing is attempting to go through some side trips that are informative enough to try to help you understand why things occur. Every plan is not good and every good plan does not always come to full fruition.
I have studied the Gospels and I have tried to observe what Jesus said and did in person for humanity in order to better understand what God in heaven wants to do for humanity today. I never did see Jesus kill someone, rob someone, hurt someone or do any evil to anyone. The Bible clearly says in Acts 10:38 that Jesus went about doing “GOOD” to all those oppressed of the devil. If Jesus wanted “good” for us on the earth when He was here physically then it is still the same today. This also teaches us that God is not the author of the evil and that Satan is the one doing evil to us. Read the Gospels and see that when people were hungry Jesus cared enough to feed them. When people were sick, blind or crippled many got healed and delivered. When people were in their ignorance Jesus spent vast amounts of time teaching them. Jesus even raised many from the dead. These were all examples of doing good things for people. How can you see anything but good coming from God since the Bible says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever? (Heb 13:8)
So why do bad things still happen to the good church members in Acts and to the people on the earth still today? We clearly saw Stephen being stoned and others being thrown into prison in Acts. There was definite persecution being leveled on the church by the Jews. I believe that there are possibly multiple reasons for bad things happening in the world to good church members. First the existence of evil in the world remains ever present and it will not be taken away until the time has been fulfilled. Understand that the world that we currently live in had a set beginning which requires a set ending by definition. Satan the initiator of all evil now understands the concept of the timed ending and he knows that his time left is growing rapidly shorter so he is intentionally stepping up the evil in the world and he is not trying to reduce it. Second, the whole concept of being led by the Spirit of God was a brand new idea that had just been initiated by God in all of the church in Acts 2. Previously in the Old Testament God would lead one man and they would hold the responsibility to lead everyone else. Today in the church we have a radical new concept where God says that He will lead everyone individually, corporately and simultaneously.
Being led by God is not an automatic spiritual skill that everyone understands when they become a Christian. In fact it is actually the opposite. Being led by the Spirit of God is an acquired spiritual ability or we could also say a learned spiritual skill as we can clearly see in the experiences of those in Acts 10. Normally humans are led by their senses, their experiences and their human reasoning. All of these are enemies to how God leads us by our spirit and we have to make the transition from these natural ways to be successfully led by the Spirit of God. No one in the book of Acts is yet an expert at being led by the Spirit of God. Everyone is still growing up spiritually as God teaches each of them. Keep in mind at this time there is still no New Testament Bibles that exist. Everything being taught by the church is from the Old Testament and these are concealed words about a hidden Jesus and the many other spiritual things that were just being revealed and taught for the first time by God. So the people in Acts are like the people today. We are all still learning to be led by God and we all still growing spiritually as we hear from Him. Like those in Acts we are all still imperfect men and women with faults, weaknesses, emotions, sense feelings, and the same oppositions, persecutions and distractions as they faced. Therefore, between the continued presences of evil in the world working with the fallible human condition of men in the world both continue to contribute to why bad things still happen to Christians.
What we have seen so far in Acts 10 is God’s usage of at least 4 or 5 different communication methods over the course of several days to accomplish the greater plan of God while simultaneously teaching the church how God operates to lead them. I have noticed that God is intelligent enough to multi-task and He is more than able to accomplish several stated goals with a single threaded process. This is one of the greatest examples in the Book of Acts that I have seen so far of how the Sovereign God works in conjunction with the imperfect people on the earth that have the freewill option and choice to listen, hear, understand, choose and to obey Him. We have clearly seen that God gives us all limited instructions in progressively sequenced steps to cause every participant to walk by faith and not by their own individual sight, knowledge or understanding. I call this God’s modus operandi or method of operation. It is how God operated with the early church and it is how God operates with us still today.
Think about the story in Acts 10. If God would have told Cornelius everything from the beginning using the angel there would have been no need for any messengers to go get Peter. There would have been no need for a Peter the preacher at all. If God would have told Peter everything that was happening, then he would have also not needed to go down and talk to the men from Caesarea or go and preach to Cornelius. Cornelius would have not needed a Peter and Peter would have not needed a Cornelius. These are clear examples of how the individual people in the church should be working together in unison to accomplish the greater goal of God. In other words no church member is an island that can stand alone in their own personal ministry isolation. God does not call any church member to live in solitary confinement. God called no Christian to be a Robinson Crusoe type of believer living in a monastery. If you think you can live a full Christian life like that then you are deceived. If you think no one else needs your participation then you are deceived. These are some of the greatest examples of God using ordinary people like you and me in the church.
WHY GOD LED THE CHRUCH IN ACTS 10
As you continue reading in the chapter we will finally begin to discover why God is doing what He has been doing. We will finally understand that everything that has occurred in Acts 10 is God causing the church to grow, expand and include the people of every nation and not just the people of natural Israel as it was found to be in the first 9 chapters of Acts. God is about to shake up the box of their religious beliefs and their understanding of God’s character and turn it all upside down. I guess technically I should say that God is turning things right side up, but you know what I mean. Read some verses found in the prophet Isaiah:
Isa 42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
Isa 42:7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
Isa 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Isa 42:9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.
Isa 49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
If you search the Bible you will see that there are several prophecies in the O.T. like these that reveal salvation belongs to all nations through Jesus Christ. Here in Isaiah God says Jesus will be a light to the Gentiles and that His salvation will be displayed to the ends of the earth. God says this will be something brand new. What is a Gentile? From a natural O.T. Bible perspective a Gentile was anyone that was not of the circumcision of the flesh first given to Abraham. Every male descendant from Abraham on was circumcised as an outward sign of their covenant with God. This event usually occurred 8 days after a male child was born (Php 3:5) and it resulted in a cutting of their flesh, the shedding of some of the child’s blood, and it also hurt and was physically painful. Therefore a Gentile to the Jewish men in Acts 10 were any men that did not possess this physical mark in their flesh. Now a new problem is being revealed to those in the church in Acts 10. God is going to give them a totally new spiritual definition to an old natural understanding of what exactly circumcision was. God is revealing something so radical to them that it is very difficult for many of them to even accept. Here is a part of the new revelation that God would later write to the church at Rome:
Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
You see these are verses that people today ignore because they do not understand what they say or mean. God is teaching the church that the outward mark of the flesh is not what makes a man a Jew anymore. God is revealing that the outward circumcision was only given to teach them all about a new inward circumcision of the heart that makes us all a brand new kind of Jew. Uh oh? What did I just say? Do you see why people still struggle with this revelation? We will discover that the early church had this same difficulty when we get to chapter 11. There was a huge movement in the early church by some Jewish believers to try to get all the new Gentile believers that came into the church to be circumcised like they were in their flesh. These Jewish Christians were thinking carnally and naturally that in order to be fully saved it required everyone to do something externally to keep the law of God. What God was doing is revealing that the natural things that He implemented under the law with Abraham only pointed them to the real spiritual things that ONLY God could do in the spiritual realm. The Bible says that no one will ever be justified by the works of the law (Gal 2:16). The circumcision of the heart (spirit) first started happening in the beginning of the church age as men received the Spirit of God. This same circumcision of the heart that only the natural Jews had received is now being expanded in Acts 10 to include all of the Gentiles that believe on Christ also. You cannot see or even understand the spiritual things of God and how they work without first understanding the natural things and how they worked. This is why God does the natural first to teach us about the spiritual works of God. This is really not that complicated yet many Christians still stumble over it constantly.
THE CONCLUSION TO ACTS 10
These were just cleverly designed ways of God to say behold I do a brand new thing and it is now open to everyone that wants to participate. The early church did not really fully understand these verses were even in their Bible. That is why God is revealing them to the church in Acts 10 and His written word can be used to confirm what He said to them. Always remember that what God tells you by His Spirit will never conflict or contradict with what God has said to you in His written Word. God is giving the church new revelation knowledge of the old prophecies in Isaiah. Revelation knowledge is never a modification to the words that were written on the page, it is always just an adjustment to our spiritual eyesight that increases our understanding of what the words meant in the first place. Let’s complete the study of the verses in Acts 10:
Act 10:28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Here is a very classic example of how people can believe they understood what the Bible said and totally miss the real meaning until God reveals it to them. There was a strict literal natural interpretation of the law that said that no Jew could associate with a non-Jew. We could read this in the Gospels when the woman at the well was shocked that Jesus was talking to her a Samaritan (John 4:9). The natural Jewish religious leaders took this law to an extreme and fell into great error with it. Jesus understood what it said and knew it did not mean what they thought it meant. Taking any truth to an extreme is one of the greatest dangers to believing a lie. Peter in the presence of Cornelius begins to understand the vision from God. The new revelation from God was being taught that these uncircumcised men in Cornelius’ house were chosen by God and they were not the kind of men that God was saying not to associate with in the law. This was really an incredible new way to look at an old written rule. What God is doing is differentiating between natural truths and spiritual truths, natural laws and spiritual laws, and natural people and spiritual people. The natural Jews looked at this law as meaning one thing and now the church is being taught to see it with a completely new way of thinking spiritually. This quite literally proves that what we sometimes thought to be the truth is not always the truth in reality.
Act 10:30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
Cornelius begins to recount to Peter what God had done and what was told to him by the angel. God is now connecting the dots to allow everyone to see the bigger picture plan of God. Notice again that there was a span of 4 days that these events have transpired on. As you read down you will see Cornelius explaining what the angel said to him and how he was instructed to go to Joppa to get Peter to hear the message. This is now the second time we are told what God is doing in this chapter. Whenever God tells you something more than once it means it is very important and you better learn what is going on. It is a lot like when Jesus said “Verily, Verily”. Anytime there is repetition there is intended importance and emphasis.
Act 10:33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
I like the term “immediately”. Immediately denotes the factor of timing to be potentially critical to the entire process. If timing did not matter, God would not have told you about it. I believe that many times if there is a delay in doing what God has said we might just miss what is happening in God’s plan. Of course God could change the course of timings and if Cornelius delayed sending men to Joppa there could have been a delay of Peter praying and getting the vision. However you may remember that Peter just so happened to be hungry when he was praying so the timing of events appears to be critical for the whole process. Both Cornelius and Peter prayed at the exact set precise time for each to accomplish the plan. The angel appears to Cornelius at the specific set time needed. The men are sent to Joppa and they travel a set specific time that corresponds with Peter’s prayer time. God gave Peter a vision about food and eating a meal at the precise time he was hungry. The men from Cornelius just so happen to show up where Peter is at after a day’s journey and their arrival corresponds exactly after the vision was just completed. God just so happens to tell Peter they are there and on and on I could go. I feel that timing was an essential factor to getting the plan of God to happen in the exact order and sequence of events. If any participant delayed and did not do what they were supposed to do, would the plan of God still have fallen into place so precisely? That is a very interesting concept to consider. It sounds like to me we need to become aware of God’s timing and try to follow Him very closely. For example, if God tells you to wait five minutes before doing something, it is probably best to do it. You do not know what will happen if you do not do it and that is the risk of being disobedient. If God leads you only for your good, not being led by God could result in something evil happening to you. If God tells you now to do something and you do not, you also just might be missing out on the blessing that God was awaiting to give you. Keep reading in this chapter and see the blessings of God that are being poured out as a result of everyone being led by the Spirit of God. In Acts 10:34 through verse 44 is Peter’s sermon to the house of Cornelius. I will not go over the sermon, because it is basically the Gospel of Jesus foretold through the prophets.
Here is a good time to re-emphasize a point that I tried to make earlier in this series. At no time does it say that Peter thought about or prepared what to say or to preach to Cornelius’ house before getting to them. At no time does it say that Peter stopped to review his notes, read anything or to even make notes. I’ll shock you a little more here and say that Peter does not stop and pray to ask God what to do either. What comes out of Peter’s mouth is the spontaneous response from what God has already previously deposited in his heart through the teachings of Jesus and the experiences that he has had up until this point in time. Do you understand this? You probably do not yet understand fully what I am saying. A preacher should always prepare to preach by diligent study and prayer, but a preacher should never have a set written statement to read from for anyone. Doing this puts God in a human box of constraints and limitations and denies that God has the ability to speak to you directly to give the people a fresh new Word from heaven. What I am trying to say is that God brought to Peter’s remembrance what was necessary to preach to Cornelius at a flashed instance of spontaneity. It is a classic well and water analogous concept. The preacher is the well that has the deposits of God’s water (word) within his spirit. The spirit of man is like the well of water. This is exactly what Jesus was teaching the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus said the water that I give will cause a man to never thirst again and she said to Him give me this drink. God places good deposits in our spirit by us hearing His word over and over and us meditating on it. The Spirit of God will draw out this water from the well to give to others when it is needed at that precise moment. Jesus taught Peter this concept when he was here on the earth. Read this verse and see if you can apply it to what is happening in Cornelius’ house:
Luk 12:11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
Luk 12:12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
Jesus taught them not to think beforehand or plan what they will say, because He clearly said that the Holy Spirit that will be in them will tell them what to say. This again is a major faith proposition for the preacher to trust God to give him what is needed when it is needed. Wow, that is a tough concept for many to understand. But this allows God to flow and to change to be spontaneous to fit the ever fluid changing situation of humanity. I have been in church services and seen where the pastor has started out with his written prepared sermon outline notes and all of sudden he went off on a topic that the Spirit of God brings to him and this was a right now fresh word for someone in the audience that needed to be there to hear it and to be ministered to. There is no way that the preacher would have known this and been able to prepare for it. Yes God could have told him, but that would allow the preacher to walk by sight and not by faith. Let’s try to finish Acts 10 today. What I want to show you next is what happened as Peter was preaching:
Act 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
This was the same outpouring of the former rain sent down from God in heaven. The Holy Spirit was given to the Gentiles almost in the exact same way as He was given to the natural Jews in Acts 2. If you read Peter’s sermon he makes this revealed statement “I perceive that God is no respecter of persons”. What Peter was referring to was that it was not the external circumcision of the flesh that determined what the internal man could receive from God. To perceive is an inward increase in spiritual understanding. It was the revelation that God was revealing to Peter through the leading, the vision, the angel, the men in house of Cornelius and the other works that we have witnessed. All of this was the greater plan of God for the church from the beginning, but it has taken God almost 10 chapters of Acts to get it implemented.
Act 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Act 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
Here we have the beginning of a new church controversy. The Jews that came with Peter, all being of the circumcision were blown away by what God has just done to those men that were never circumcised in their flesh. They all learned a great lesson with the house of Cornelius and all were blessed by what has just occurred. Notice that what is happening is almost a complete repeat of what happened to the natural Jews in Acts 2. The Spirit of God falls from heaven and they received and were all heard speaking in tongues and praising God. This is awesome information for us today. It means what they experienced is what we can still experience. In other words this was not a onetime event in Acts 2, it was a church age event that can occur over and over. Let’s review the sequence of events one more time:
- Cornelius Prays to God in Caesarea.
- Cornelius has an open vision of the angel.
- Angel was sent from God with instructions to go get Peter in Joppa for a message from God.
- Cornelius sends three men to Joppa to get Peter and takes over a day to get there.
- Peter was praying in Joppa at the precise time when the men neared the house.
- Peter was hungry while he prayed.
- God gives Peter a closed vision three times that needed interpretation to be understood about eating unclean animals.
- The Spirit of God speaks to Peter after the vision and tells him men sent by God are here to see him.
- Peter goes to Cornelius house and preaches the Gospel.
- While Peter is preaching the Spirit of God is poured out on the Gentiles and Jewish believers witness it and are amazed and perplexed.
- As a result God adds to the church the Gentile people.
Notice what is happening. God is never revealed to do the exact same thing twice in this entire process (with the exception that Peter was given the same vision three times because of his refusal to participate) proving God’s ways are not always our ways of doing things. People like to do things out of repetition or habit, but that is obviously not God’s way of doing things. God uses at least 5 different displayed methods to lead His people in one process plan. Everyone involved is required to walk by faith. Everyone involved benefits, learns, grows spiritually and the entire church of God also grows and increases in numbers. These are fundamental facts that are essential to grasp. These are some of the key ways that God will lead you and me to work together today. I go many times to listen to a man of God and will hear something new from them that helps me learn something else new from God. God will use one preacher to say one thing to someone and another preacher to say something else to the same person and all of this causes us all to grow together. If at anytime the people in Acts 10 wanted to isolate themselves and not participate with the plan of God it would have not been accomplished. Sometimes God’s plan will require you stretching out beyond your four walls to go to someone else to hear the complete message from God or give them a message from God. Begin today by praying and see what the Spirit of God says for you to do. If we are not praying we are probably not hearing from God as we should and getting directions that we need for today. Thanks for studying the Bible with me on this important subject and hopefully we can move to another chapter in the next lesson since we have spent so much time in this great chapter. Stay hungry and thirsty for more of God and God will bless you with more of Him.
If you wold like to cotinue reading in this series you may go to “Part 13“.
Understanding How to Be Led By the Spirit of God! How the Holy Spirit Led the Early Church in Acts 10! Part 11
(ver 1.2) This is now Part 11 in a series of very important basic Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Being Led by the Spirit of God. These lessons contain critical spiritual information necessary for the spiritual growth of every Christian and they directly apply to us in the modern world because we are the same church body serving the same God as those in the book of Acts. My foundational scripture verse for the series is “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom 8:14). That verse makes it sound essential to be led by God or you cannot be called His child. Therefore, I believe that it is essential to know this subject. We have covered a tremendous amount of information that will not be repeated so if you have not read this from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first. In recent lessons, I have been moving through the book of Acts and observing the recorded (direct and indirect stated) methods used by God to lead the early church. We are beginning to see a set of repeated pattern of the same methods being used by God to build up and grow the Body of Christ. We are also beginning to understand an emphasis of certain methods of God over others that I have mentioned of how God leads His people. In the last lesson I introduced you to some new concepts when I described the contributing factors of peace and joy to be necessary for hearing from the Spirit of God. If you are depressed then you are not hearing from God. If you are not in peace you are not hearing from God. We have also seen repeatedly that those in the church that are being led by God are always those that are in unity with the other believers surrounding them. This means they were not arguing, fighting or debating over what anyone wanted to do individually, but that they were more concerned with what God was doing corporately for the greater plan and purpose of the church. Those being led today in the Church should be no different. God is not going to lead one part of a group of believers differently apart from another group of believers so that they fight over who is right and who is wrong. This is another important key to being led by the Spirit of God. Hearing from God should always cause love to flow which generates a spirit of oneness, agreement, harmony and unity.
Today I am only going to teach in chapter 10 of Acts. It has just been making my lessons too long by me trying to teach on multiple chapters in one lesson. Acts chapter 10 is only 48 verses long but it is so rich with new information on my subject of being led by the Spirit of God, that this again will probably be a long lesson and I will probably only get approximately half way through the chapter today. I apologize in advance for the length of the lesson, but I believe this information is really important on the subject of being led by the Spirit of God. Acts 10 is probably one of my favorite chapters in the book of Acts and hopefully as we go through it today, you will see why I say that and maybe it will become one of your new favorite chapters also. Let’s start at the beginning with verse 1 and read down to verse 3.
ACTS CHAPTER 10
Act 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
Act 10:2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
Act 10:3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
It is very interesting for me to see the connecting and developing factors being tied together in these verses. It is also clear to me that God gives us many new clues and details like the hour of the day that these events occurred in this chapter. These details certainly have direct meaning and are not there by chance. There is nothing found in the Bible that occurs there by accident. Every word has a designed purpose of God. In the first verse, God is speaking about an Italian man, a Gentile by the flesh. Up until this point in time, the church was widely a Jewish set of believers that have accepted Jesus. But, Cornelius is clearly described as a Christian man; he is being labeled as someone who feared God. To fear God is not an indication of being afraid or terrified of God, but it is more the concept of being in an attitude of awe for God with a great reverential respect for His position, His power, His knowledge and His ability. This same Greek word is used in Ephesians 5 when God talks about a wife’s attitude towards her husband. This is clearly not the type of fear that she is to be afraid that her husband will hurt her. You see the risen Savior Jesus is the husband in this relationship with the church and the church is supposed to treat God with awe and respect. However, God’s attitude of love was first demonstrated towards us and He treats us with great tender kindness like the very valuable wife that He has given His all to find.
You can learn this concept of God giving His all by listening to what Jesus said about the kingdom of God when He teaches the parable of a merchant man seeking valuable pearls. This merchant man goes and sells all that he has in order to buy the pearl of great value that he has searched for and found (Mat 13:45-46). The merchant man in this parable is a type of Jesus and the pearl of great value is a type of us, the church. The great purchase price paid for us was the payment of His blood and His life. This was God giving everything that He possessed to buy us out of our major predicament of sin. What we learn as the symbolic pearl from this information is that how we view God will determine if God will be able to guide us with His Spirit. If we view Him as a God that will hurt us if we do not obey or make a mistake, then that is going to affect what we can hear and how we can hear Him. If someone obeys God out of terror then that someone becomes a slave to that fear. If someone obeys willingly out of their love for their God then that person actions are founded upon His love knowing if they do make a mistake that He is there to help them. You see you do not understand how much God values you if you believe that God will hurt you if you do wrong. One of the most important verses in the entire Bible is the one that states “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8)! Not God has love for us, but He is that Love for us. God has not given to us the spirit of fear. Fear is being afraid or terrified which is really an opposing force to love. This is why I wanted to briefly try to explain the type of fear being mentioned in Acts that Cornelius possessed that allowed him to hear from God.
In the first three verses in Acts 10, Cornelius is also described to be a giver and this is a characteristic of most real Christians. Most Christians love to give to others. The United States gets accused of many things, but the majority of the charity poured out on the world comes from this Christian nation. Giving may or may not be a factor for what you think about God, the Bible and being a Christian, but giving is a huge factor for if you desire to receive anything from God. I’m not preaching works based giving; I’m teaching Spirit led giving. Obeying the law will not justify you, but obeying God will cause great benefits and blessings to occur. You see giving is tied to receiving everywhere in the Bible. You can see this as a stated spiritual law of God. It is called the law of sowing and reaping and it occurs everywhere in the Bible as a predominant theme from Genesis to Revelation. Sowing and reaping is not usually a popular subject and frequently ignored because people teach it only in regards to money, but this subject is found ever present in many areas other than money. There are over 10 things in the Bible referred to as seeds and if you don’t know them, then your ignorance causes you to potentially miss them. I have a series of Bible lessons on this subject so I will not repeat them in this lesson. If you want to read them you can go and see “Understanding Seeds in the Bible”.
As you can see in verse 2 of Acts 10, Cornelius is praying. What happens when we pray? I think I tried to teach you that God hears and will respond. Here is another very clear example of that in Acts 10. Cornelius has a vision, but this time it is of a spiritual angel. So we have the spiritual realm becoming visible to a man in the natural realm through God’s use of a vision. This is an example of a combined method approach of spiritual communication. God used both a spiritual vision and a spiritual being or an angel simultaneously. This is certainly different, but it does happen. Other times in the Bible, God sends an angel into the natural realm and people see them physically and God can do either. This is also another example of an open type of vision. The man Cornelius is wide awake and his eyes are wide open. These are amazing confirmations that God will still use visions and angels directly in the modern church to give to us a specific message.
I want you to see the stated order of occurrence in this manifestation of God. It is stated that Cornelius did three things first before God sent the angel and gave the vision. Cornelius feared God, gave to others and prayed before God gave him a vision and sent the angel with the message. Is that not God responding or giving back based upon what Cornelius gave and did first? Most of the time, I believe that this is the way that things have happened in Acts. Saul was the only example that I have observed in Acts to be different so far. Jesus appeared to Saul an unsaved man the first time without Saul asking or doing anything, but notice after that, it was only when Saul prayed to God that God said that He had given to him another vision. The Spirit of God can do things progressively different as you continue to learn to grow up spiritually. For, example when I was first filled with the Spirit of God, God spoke to me in an audible voice one time. He has never done that again since then. However, that does not mean that I do not hear from the voice of God daily. It only means that I have grown enough spiritually to discern how else He speaks. God treats unsaved and baby Christians a little bit differently than the mature Christians because He expects the mature Christians to know more. This is true for babies in the natural realm and this is true for babies in the spiritual realm. Let’s now see what God’s response was to what we have seen so far from Cornelius:
Act 10:4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
God declares that He has heard the prayers of Cornelius and has seen his giving and it sounds like God sees both of these as being positive things. Why else are they mentioned? One key word in this verse is the term “memorial”. A memorial in the natural is a way to remember someone or something”. This is what this word means, but it is easily taken the wrong way since God does know everything. What you do or say cannot cause God to suddenly remember you. God does not step back and say “Oh yea, I forgot about Jim, I guess I better do something. However, it is clear to me from these verses that God says the angel was sent and the message delivered because of his actions. What I want you to discover is that Cornelius’ actions and his words were observed by God and thus your words and actions are also viewed by God since God is no respecter of persons. I also want you to understand that if anything is pleasing in the eyes of God we need to remember clearly what it is that pleases God. It is not your giving and it is not your praying, but it is only your faith when doing both of these. You see the Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). So if you are giving without faith, you are still not pleasing to God and you do it in vain. If you are praying without faith then you are again not going to be pleasing to God and your words will fall empty. God places certain priorities on certain things and His Word is first and foremost above everything else and then your faith in His Word allows the connection to take place to access His Power. If you do things without learning about God’s priorities then you are more than likely doing them out of order. I do not have time to teach you about faith, but I have a series of lessons that will help you understand this critical subject called “Understanding Bible Faith”. I bring up faith because it is clearly Cornelius’ faith that played a role in hearing from God even though it was never directly mentioned. This is just another example of using the Bible to explain the Bible. If God is pleased with anyone, then God says that they have faith while doing what they have done. Let’s continue with the angel’s instructions from God:
Act 10:5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
Act 10:6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
The angel tells Cornelius to send men to Joppa for a man named Peter. Notice that Cornelius does not know Peter. Why didn’t the angel just show up where Peter was and tell Peter to go and see Cornelius? I find it very interesting how God does things in this chapter and that is why I’m spending so much time in talking about it. Here we have an angel sent by God with a message to tell Cornelius where to go and get another message from God. Wow, that is just mind blowing, to many Christians. God tells Cornelius to go find a man named Peter because Peter has a message for him but as we read down in the chapter we are going to find out that Peter doesn’t know this yet. Why is that? Do you see what is happening here? The man Cornelius has a vision and sees an angel but does not get the message from the angel but is told where to go to get the message from a very certain man named Peter. In other words if Cornelius tried to get the message from the apostle John, he would have missed it Was it only because the angel did not know the message or was it that God was teaching these people involved some new spiritual lessons on guidance, helping them all to grow? Both men of God are required to walk by faith and not by their sight. Cornelius had specific steps of instructions to get Peter and Peter will be given specific words of instruction for Cornelius. Using this information you should begin to understand how God is going to potentially lead you? He is not going to tell you everything personally all at once. Sometimes He will just tell others what to tell you. Sometimes I am used by God to speak to people and sometimes God uses other people to speak to me. Sometimes I hear directly from God and other times He does things differently with me reading His word or hearing a preacher or a teacher. There are so many ways that God can speak that you just need to be observant and attentive enough to hear Him when He does. That is just the way He does it. I just try to learn the best that I can to flow with Him and that is all that I can do by faith.
Act 10:9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
Act 10:10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
Ok, we are about to learn several new things in these verses. First, Cornelius sends men to get Peter and while they are traveling Peter is described to go up on top of the roof to pray. So again we see prayer as a major contributing factor for hearing from God. But, we should soon notice that it is not just the fact that Peter prays, but it becomes more significant that Peter prayed at just the right time that makes all of this really work together. This is why God is revealing the time factor in this chapter and teaching you that timing is everything with God. You can be told by God to do something and then do it too early or too late and miss what God wanted you to learn. During this prayer, Peter falls into a trance. That is the beginning of a very different manifestation of the Spirit of God. This is what I call a closed vision. A closed vision is one where the individual is not necessarily asleep, but not necessarily awake either. A vision during sleep is called a dream and this is not a dream. In other words, if you were observing Peter praying you might seem to think that he looked like a statue because he appeared motionless and fixed in one place. The condition of his eyes could be either shut or open, but they will definitely not be blinking. It might look like that he was sleeping if was not for the fact that he might be standing up or even kneeling down. Nowhere in the chapter does it say that Peter was directly lying down. It does say later in verse 20 that Peter is told to arise and this implies that he was not standing. But there are a lot of positions other than standing that it could be. What you need to observe is if God does not tell us the position then the position is not important. Too many Christians get focused on external things and totally miss the really important spiritual things. There is an unnamed church denomination that is highly ritualistic. They think that they will be heard by God by their faithful acts and works. However, that is just not the truth. During prayer what is important is the inward position of your heart and not your outward external posture or stance. Saul saw a vision while he was traveling. Stephen saw a vision while standing and being stoned. Here in Acts 10 we now have seen the third and fourth mentioned direct occurrence of someone having a vision and both of these times it was while they were praying.
Act 10:13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
I’m not going to go through every verse, but this one is very good because it tells you directly that Peter heard a voice and we will find out in the next verse that Peter recognized that it was the voice of God speaking to him immediately. Remember what Jesus said to the Apostles? Jesus taught them about Him being the Shepherd and them being the sheep in John 10. Jesus also said that He knew His sheep and that His sheep knew Him (John 10:14). All of this information in that chapter teaches us that God’s children will recognize His voice. So God does not have to say “Thus saith the Great I Am”, He just speaks and Peters knows who is speaking. This is the same way with you and I. I hear His voice and I recognized Him to be my God and the voice of a stranger I do not follow because the stranger I do not recognize. That is called spiritual discernment. The more you understand about the Bible the more recognizable His voice becomes to you. God will never speak in opposition to His Word, but Satan will. You see in the Bible voices are always spirits and spirits are always voices. You will either know it or you will be deceived to follow another voice and that is usually fatal.
Act 10:14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
As you can tell Peter understands who is speaking to Him because He calls Him his Lord. You may recall earlier that Cornelius had this same response calling the voice Lord. This was the Spirit of Jesus, the Great Shepherd the familiar known voice that was speaking to Peter. Here is where Peter’s problem begins, because he knows who is speaking and he thinks that his God is telling him to do something that was unlawful. Peter is greatly struggling with these instructions from God. What we learn from this is that God knows what He is doing and you don’t so you should not question, but should be obedient. As long you know the voice is from Him, you just need to do what He says. If you read down in the chapter God repeats these instructions 3 times, so Peter is on the verge of rebellion because of his lack of understanding of the purpose of the law. God says my people are destroyed for a lack of knowing (Hosea 4:6). So Peter must learn quickly or get left out. Why didn’t Peter just ask God to explain what was happening? Did you know that you cannot ask God any questions that are too hard to be answered? You can ask God a dumb question, but as long as it is not a question of doubt or unbelief then it is a valid question.
Let’s discuss briefly the vision of Peter. Did you notice that the vision was about food and in verse 10 it said that Peter was already hungry? Do you think that God can give you any physical feelings? I know the Bible says that God is a Spirit, but I’ll ask you again, do you think that the Spirit of God can give you a physical feeling like that of natural hunger? I know for a fact that God can manifest in these ways if He so desires. After all God invented natural feelings so it is not difficult to manifest them. Again I will tell you that this is God’s choice and not our choice. But, God can come into the natural realm to make Himself known for any purpose and in any way that helps to teach us.
When I was first filled with the Holy Spirit, I felt a strong heat like a fire from the Spirit of God inside of my chest and sometimes it was so strong that it was very distracting. I feel this heat of the Spirit of God in my chest right now as I type this lesson. This is clearly a physical feeling in my flesh caused by the Spirit of God residing in my spirit. If you do not believe me I’m sorry, I can’t prove it to you; this is for my benefit and not for yours. However, I do know that what I feel physically is scripturally based. Have you read the recorded words of John the Baptist? He said of Jesus that “I baptize you with water, but there will come one after me that is greater than I and He will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire” (Mat 3:11, Luke 3:16). I can tell you about this fire from God, but I can’t make it happen for you and neither can you. However, there is a difference, you can pray in faith and ask God for this experience since it is a recorded promise found in His Word for you. If you want the fire of God ask for it now.
Let’s go back to Peter’s vision. What I found significant about Peter’s vision was the fact that he was feeling very hungry and suddenly God gives him a closed vision about food that needed an interpretation in order to be understood. Visions and dreams that required interpretations were given by God many times in the Old Testament. But, this is the first time we can see that God is doing this again in Acts. Realize that God is still the same God today as He was back then, and He can do whatever He likes. Just learn to flow and then learn that God still uses dreams and visions that need interpretation. Verses 11-16 in Acts 10 describe the vision of Peter and since this is not my direct subject I’m going to skip it. They basically give several symbols, a sheet carrying many wild animals of the earth that are lowered down from heaven. God tells Peter to kill and eat and Peter tells God I have never eaten what is common or unclean. God then tells Peter “Don’t call common what I have made clean”. Uh, oh? God is definitely teaching Peter something new. This was God teaching Peter to get out of his box because He was doing a new thing on the earth.
Act 10:17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate,
Here is what I have been trying to say about Peter’s view of what was happening; that he did not understand what the vision meant yet even though God had just given it to him. This is what happens to Christians in the church still. Just because God gives you something does not mean you will understand it immediately. Peter had a conflict in his mind because he was attempting to interpret and judge the vision by his old knowledge of the law of God. God declares many things in the law to be unclean for human consumption but, now God has said to Peter to kill one of these and to eat it. This was a common problem for many converted Jews when they first become Christians. They tried to hold on to their old traditional understanding of the laws of God too tightly when God was clearly saying “those were only shadows of new coming spiritual things”. Paul taught this problem in Romans and Galatians and other places. There was a constant struggle for man to try to keep the law and God is teaching them to be led by the Spirit instead. However, what God was doing was using Peter’s knowledge of the scriptures in the Old Covenant to bring him a new revelation of what God was doing in the New Covenant. Go back and reread this chapter again very closely. It is actually a great lesson to learn many things. First see what timing plays in everything that occurs. Then realize that God must be guiding multiple people simultaneously to get all of these things to happen at just the right times. God gives multiple limited step directions using two types of visions, an angel and a voice directly from the Spirit of God and everything occurs at just exactly the right time. It is pretty amazing to me.
Act 10:19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
I want you to realize that the Spirit of God is directly attributed with speaking to Peter and that this is the second recorded direct example of God doing this in the book of Acts so far. I’m not sure if I pointed out the first occurrence, but there was one recorded in Acts 8:29 that said the Lord spoke to Phillip directly. I really do not believe that these are all of the times that God speaks directly, but I do believe that these are mentioned to teach us that God still does this. I want you to understand also that it does not say what kind of voice these men heard. It could have been an external audible voice or more than likely it was the internal still small voice of God within them. Again, how God speaks is not as important as what God says. I hope you understand that. You should not really focus or care about the method, but you should care greatly what God said. Also notice that God speaks while Peter is using his God given mental reasoning faculty to try to determine what the vision means. In other words Peter was focused in on the very important content of the vision and not the fact that he had just had a great vision from Almighty God. Wow, what a lesson to learn today. Don’t stand in awe if God gives you a vision and miss the message!
Act 10:20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
While all of this is happening to Peter, the men from Cornelius’ house just so happen to show up and the Spirit of God says they are here and to go down to see them because I have sent them. Notice God claims responsibility for what is transpiring. So is God doing it or are the men doing it, or is everyone doing it together? Take a look at what God is doing. God is teaching them all spiritual lessons by giving them many different limited steps to follow. These are examples of God teaching them using tiny baby steps of divine guidance. Things are beginning to fit together as each part of God’s designed plan is revealed and fulfilled. The men of God are definitely participating and this demonstrates clearly that they are all being led by the Spirit of God. What we are observing is men working with the Holy Spirit’s guidance to achieve a greater purpose. Without the participation of each man and the direction of the Spirit of God, we may not have any Gentiles in the church today.
Pay attention to the fact in verse 20 that God is directing Peter to not doubt and also to be obedient. Why is God doing this? What is doubt? Doubt is the opposite of having faith. If you have doubts then you are not fully in faith. I keep going back to faith, because this is the key factor for following God, being led by God and for being pleasing to God. Jesus taught Peter about doubt when Peter left the boat to walk on the water with Jesus. Because of Peter’s doubts God says Peter began to sink (Mat 14:31). So how does this knowledge that Peter possessed apply to his current situation? To me it is obvious that doubt causes people to go down or fail. That would mean the opposite truth would be that not to doubt would cause people to have a successful outcome. You have to understand that God has not told Peter who was at the door to see him. God only said, “Men are here and I sent them”. Here is the opportunity for Peter to doubt. These men sent by God were all Gentiles and that causes a problem of potential doubt in the mind of a man who feels special for being a natural born Jew. Peter could have looked at the circumstances and thought that these men can’t be from God. There was a great revelation coming that everyone is welcome in the New Covenant and not just the natural Jews and that was the plan of God to bless all nations in order to grow the church beyond the borders of natural Israel. But, Peter didn’t know this yet. Peter was about to learn a revelation that was hidden in God’s covenant with Abraham and this was how God chose to reveal it to him. I hope you understand the concept of revelation, I will do a separate Bible study on this subject soon.
Act 10:21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?
Peter still does not know why they are here even though God had just given him a vision to why they are there. God even told Peter that He had sent them but, Peter has just not put all of the pieces of the puzzle together yet. Have you ever realized that God gives us many things using a puzzle format in the Bible? If you do not understand this then you do not understand the joys found when solving a divine puzzle. There is great satisfaction gained from solving the complex puzzles given to us by God. Maybe only computer programmers, like me understand this. It causes a sense of accomplishment and God uses it to promote your morale, confidence and self-esteem. God is interested in teaching you how to do things. It is an error to think that God wants to do everything for you. God wants you to grow in spiritual things so that you can come up to a higher level. Did you know that? I think that is a little bit controversial to many and it sounds like I’m contradicting what I said in an earlier lesson that without God we labor in vain if we do things independent from God. There is a huge difference from doing your own things in independence and doing specific God kind of things by faith expecting Him to work with you and guide you. A guide will never come to you and carry you; that would be them doing everything and you watching. A guide should give directions and show you the way to go and you should make the effort to obey and to follow them. Wow, that is unity and harmony of God working with you and you following God.
You see when I write Bible studies for you to read, I do it, but I am expecting God to show me what to do using my faith in Him. This is what is happening in this chapter of Acts also. If that was not true then God would not be doing what He is doing, the way He is doing it in this chapter. If God simply wanted to get new information into the hands of the church the fastest way possible, He could have done things in a much more simplistic direct manner with both Cornelius and Peter. They could have all immediately known everything instead of having to walk by their faith. However, walking by sight is just not what is happening here in this chapter. Everyone is working through the process and learning and this is God’s hidden plan. I pray that I am describing these things in a way that teaches you how God will deal with you.
Act 10:22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
I want to reemphasize that Peter still has no clue what is going on or what he is supposed to say to Cornelius. God has never told Peter that he was to go directly to see Cornelius either. God has only told Peter I sent these men to you. So what these men tell Peter is totally new to him and they bring words sent from God through a Gentile man. Peter is required to believe a message came from God from a Gentilie man. Cornelius is also required to beleive a message came from God from Peter. Do you really understand what is happening? God had just gotten through speaking to Peter directly but never gives any details to what is happening or why. Peter still does not have a clue what words he is supposed to share when he goes to Cornelius’ house to speak. Are you learning now what is happening? Do you see how everyone is required to walk by faith and not by their sight? I know I keep repeating myself, but that is so very important that I want you to really understand it. God purposely provides limited instructions in phases and stages of development that all will fit together eventually.
Act 10:22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
So this is all news to Peter. Peter hears about an angel appearing to Cornelius the Italian. Peter has just had a vision from God that explains the whole situation, but the vision needs interpretation to be understood. I think I‘ll end this lesson with this discussion. Let’s review the key points given today:
- Cornelius’ giving was mentioned as a key factor for getting God’s attention.
- Prayer mentioned as a connecting reason twice for having a vision from God.
- Faith is always a key to being Led by the Spirit of God.
- An open vision was given to Cornelius and he sees an angel with a limited message from God to go get Peter to hear the real message from God.
- Peter experiences physical hunger and is given a closed vision about food and eating that needs an interpretation in order to be understood.
- A clear vision was given to Cornelius that needed no interpretation.
- God gives Peter a symbolic cloaked vision that needs interpretation.
- The interpretation of the vision required Peter’s knowledge of the Word of God.
- God spoke directly to the spirit of Peter with a very clear voice but with limited details being given and Peter was required to believe the words of the men sent to him.
- Timing in every event mentioned is a key to the success of the whole purpose of God.
- Every man involved heard from God, obeyed and cooperated with the Spirit of God to accomplish God’s plan.
- The purposed outcome of the plan will be a new revelation from God and the continued growth of the church.
This is what is happening today in the church whether you realize it or not. God is revealing the Bible, the knowledge of His people is greatly increasing and the church will grow until Jesus returns very soon. Get into the plan or you will be left behind. Be in unity, hear His voice and be led and we will exit as the victorious church body of Christ. Thanks for taking the time to study the Bible today. I will continue this series soon, but please leave me a comment about how you have heard from God. I guarantee that He is speaking, just be attentive, pray and listen. God Bless you and thank you for your time.
To continue reading in the series you may go to “Part 12” now.