Understanding the Eucharist! Fellowshipping with the Body and the Blood of Christ! Part 2

Communion4(Ver 1.1) This is Part 2 in a Bible study series on the subject of the Eucharist.  This subject is also commonly called receiving “communion” in many church services.  Other common terms used to describe the Eucharist are the “Lord’s Supper”, the “Lord’s Table” and it is even mistakenly called the “Last Supper” by some.  Other preachers call it the “meal that heals” but that will not be my focus today.  I did a Bible lesson a long time ago on this subject and received another question concerning it and this will be a follow-up to that initial lesson with new details that requires your understanding.   If you have not read the first lesson in this series, I would suggest that you go back and start with “Part 1” first and then continue with this lesson to get the full impact of the teaching message.   Lesson 1 presented a radical new spiritual perspective on the subject of communion and the Eucharist.  The primary emphasis of that lesson was for us not to focus on just the natural elements or eating or drinking something physical in an ignorant religious ritualistic way to satisfy or appease the works of the flesh or the views of others around us using peer pressure to get us to participate.  We should rather find out what the elements and the actions represent and then learn why we are doing them in order to derive any spiritual benefits from acting in faith to God’s Word.  I know there are many that struggle with that belief and these still do not understand how to combine the act of partaking with the reason for doing the act and that is why I am teaching in this manner.  People need to learn that doing right things without right motivations, understanding and reasoning will be vain religious attempts to please God with no value or rewards.   I’d like to give you a definition from the dictionary of the term Eucharist to begin this lesson:

  • Eucharist: The Christian ceremony commemorating the Last Supper, in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed.

As you can read from this definition the Eucharist is said to be a Christian ceremony.  Christians perform this ceremony but we will soon discover that this act is also imitated and perverted by the devil in many other false religious types of ceremonies.   A ceremony is defined as a formal occasion typically one celebrating a particular event or anniversary.   What we learn from this definition is that this is a planned occasion using planned items (bread and wine), planned actions (drinking and eating) and that this event involves willing planned participants that are present.   It is also interesting to note that this event is stated to be a ceremony that commemorates the “Last Supper” and that is true and simultaneously not true depending upon your point of view and application.   What I will say is that there is a connection between the two even though they are not the same events.   I guess I should stop and give you the definition for “commemorate”.  This word means “to recall and show respect for something or someone in a ceremony”.   That definition actually has great merit to what the rest of this lesson will be focused on.  But I do want to still stress that the Eucharist or the communion is not the Last Supper but rather just a recollection or memory celebrating its fulfillment.  The “Last Supper” and the “Eucharist” are actually two different suppers within two different covenants as we will discover as we continue to research these subjects in the Bible.

DISCOVERING COMMUNION VERSES

I would like to emphasize that the word “Eucharist” is not technically found in the Bible.   It is a theological term used to label an event described in the Bible much like the theological term “rapture” is used to define another stated event described in the Bible.   Please do not get caught up or distracted with finding or not finding a theological term and miss the lessons found in the Bible about the term.   I will tell you that the English term “Eucharist” has its roots in the Greek word G2169 EUCHARISTIA.   This word is used in 15 verses in the N.T. and was usually translated as a form of “thanksgiving” or “giving thanks”.   That seems to teach us that Eucharist participation should contain the attitude of “thankfulness” to God.  I firmly believe that and I hope that you will take hold of that and plant it within your heart going forward.

There are several ways to find scriptures on this subject and I will go over a few to help you get started.  One method of finding verses is to search the Bible for key words of the elements of the event.   For example we should be able to find “unleavened”, “bread”, “wine” or even a “cup” that holds the wine.   We could also search and try to find the direct word “communion”.   However, I want to teach you that the term “communion” is only found in the KJV Bible a limited number of times concerning this same event.   This English word “communion” comes from the Greek word G2842 that literally means “partnership”, “participation”, “communication” or “social intercourse”.    This Greek word is also translated as “fellowship”.  For example in this verse in Acts it was translated as fellowship with a direct connection next to the partaking of bread within the church:

  • Act 2:42  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

The English term “fellowship” is the Greek word that is also translated as “communion” in other N.T. verses.   As you can see this term appears to be separate from the breaking of the bread by the inclusion of the word “and”.  However this word is still immediately followed with the partial description of the Eucharist where bread is broken and passed among the church members.   God appears to me to be linking these two things together for a reason.   Please notice after the description of “breaking of bread” there is an additional connection with “prayers”.  I would like you to consider that prayer should be a linked fellowship (communion) with God according to this verse.  What I can see being developed in this verse is that taking the bread and wine should be done with the same reverential attitude of fellowship (communion) with God as in our time of prayer.   Does prayer have anything to do with being thankful?   If you believe like I do that it does then this links us back into the subject of “Eucharist” again.  I hope that you can see how God linked these three subjects intimately together.  We will arrive at a better description of this “communion” as we continue.  Let’s move to another verse found in the New Testament that further helps to confirm what I have just alluded to:

  • 1Co 10:16  The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

Here we find one of the primary reasons why this formal church ceremonial practice is often called “communion”.   Here in this verse God associates two different things that are present during the ceremony together with two other things that are not physically present during the ceremony.   I’d like you to take note of what this verse is teaching.   God is saying when you take the cup of wine (physically present) it is representative of you participating with the shed blood of Christ (not physically present).   I emphasize the fact again that I said “representative” because we do not literally drink His blood.  I know there are many people who believe that as we drink the juice or wine that it is transformed miraculously into the blood of Christ but that is not what the Bible teaches us as you should have learned this from the first lesson but this will be further confirmed with other witnesses as we continue.  Bread is the second element being emphasized by God to be broken and this bread (physically present) was representative of the body of Christ (not physically present).  What God is doing is taking naturally seen elements and using them to symbolically teach us about unseen spiritual elements and I seriously hope you comprehend the differences between physical and spiritual realities.

I could do a long lesson on what the specific elements represent today but that is not my primary emphasis.  I will introduce the fact that the bread is always stated to be unleavened.   Unleavened bread is simply a basic pure wheat cracker.  Unleavened bread is considered to be unadulterated bread and not bread that has been corrupted with other additive ingredients.  Leaven is a form of bread additive that according to Jesus causes the whole pure substance to become tainted.   Jesus taught us a lot on this subject in the Gospels.  Jesus warned the disciples to beware of the “leaven” of the Pharisees (Mat 16:6).   Jesus explained this leaven to be symbolically a substance of false teachings and hypocrisy.  If I had more time I would explain this in more depth and perhaps that will come in a future lesson.   The wine is always based on the fruit juice coming from the crushed grape and that is all symbolic of the blood of Jesus coming from the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grape juice is even called the blood of the fruit in Genesis 49:11 and Deuteronomy 32:14.   Both of these are natural elements that symbolize and point us to the greater spiritual truths found in Jesus and if you want to learn more about them you can search your Bible for their keywords and read what they say.   If you do not understand any of these verses you are free to ask questions about them.

I want to highlight that in this verse in 1 Corinthians God says that when we eat and drink these two natural physical items (bread and wine) that we are “communing” with two unseen spiritual realities.   As I have repeatedly said this communing should be done with an attitude of thankfulness to God for giving to us what we did not deserve to receive.  These unseen gifted items clearly represent the resurrected eternal body of Christ and the shed blood poured out from His mortal body (John 3:16).   How can we commune with the blood of Jesus by physically drinking literal wine from a cup?   How can we commune with the body of Christ by eating a piece of literal bread?  You see those are excellent questions to consider and we need to learn that the only way we can do this is by gratefully setting our mind upon His shed blood and His body as we drink and eat.   Correct reflection and recollection are the keys for spiritual participation to occur.  This is exactly why God instructs the church in Colossians 3:2 to set their minds on things above (blood and body of Jesus) and not on the things down here (bread and wine).   Jesus Christ is above in heaven and the bread and wine are literally here on the earth.  Which ones do you believe are more important now?  This is all critical information to understand.   Let’s proceed to another verse in the N.T. concerning communion:

  • 1Co 10:21  Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.

Here is a verse that compares the church’s participation with eating and drinking the communion to be the antithesis or opposite of eating from the “table of devils”.    What we discover is that the church communion is called us eating from the “Lord’s Table” and that is the first major point to understand.   This is another reason why some churches call the Eucharist the “Lord’s Table”.   Can we literally sit at the Lord’s Table?   Stop and ask yourself where the Lord is right now?   Isn’t Jesus the Lord seated in heaven right now?   How then can we sit at the Lord’s Table up in heaven to eat and commune with Him?   I think you can see what I am doing by asking basic questions that need to be answered.

Anytime we sit at the “Lord’s Table” we are expecting to partake of His meal and food.  If we are seated at the Lord’s Table then we are in His presence and that means we are supposed to be communing with Him.   If God is a Spirit, is this a natural meal or a spiritual meal?  These are obviously symbolic figurative expressions and they are not to be taken literally while we are still physically present on this earth during the church age.   In order to fully understand these statements we need to examine the context more closely.   Reading in the preceding verses you should find that God was speaking of the natural people of the earth who were sacrificing their eatable offerings to idols.   This is a common practice in many foreign religions still today.  For example Buddhism still offers food to their statue gods.  God is basically synonymizing this eating of sacrificed idol food with eating from the table of spiritual devils.   Devils are real beings but they are clearly revealed to be unseen spiritual entities.   It is plain to me based upon this information that partaking of communion is the positive antithesis of the negative of eating natural elements sacrificed to devils.   This is a fascinating chapter to consider and learn from.  God basically says within the context that natural things are not the things that are important.  It is the spiritual forces behind the natural things being worshiped that need to raise the level of attention and concern for the participant.   This was one of the main points from lesson one and I just tried to show you that there are other witnesses in the Bible to what I taught previously.

Also within the context of this verse is a description of the priests of Israel which ate from the sacrificed items within the temple of Israel.   What we are learning from these repeated patterns is that the natural food items are insignificant but the focused attention of the spirit or spirits that they are being offered to is very significant.   Have you ever considered partaking of the “communion” or the “Eucharist” to be eating a sacrificial offering to God?   I believe after reading this context you should reevaluate your reason for your participation.   If it is not for the praise and worship of God then it could be misdirected.

DIRECTIONS OF CORRECTION

We will now shift our focus to a few new subjects and go through scriptures starting with God’s directions of correction written to the church at Corinth.   In this letter written to the church we are informed and firmly warned about acts of participating in the breaking of bread and the drinking of the wine that are very direct and to the point.   What we will soon observe occurring in this church was the mishandling of an intended righteous action.  Any good act or truth can be perverted into error by the human application of unbalanced extremism.   What you will find that was occurring in this warning was an example of combined human extremism with their human ignorance bringing God’s condemnation, rebuke and judgment upon their own heads.    You should be able to quickly recognize this as you read the verves:

  • 1Co 11:23  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
  • 1Co 11:24  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
  • 1Co 11:25  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
  • 1Co 11:26  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
  • 1Co 11:27  Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
  • 1Co 11:28  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
  • 1Co 11:29  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
  • 1Co 11:30  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
  • 1Co 11:31  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

The context here is rich with valuable information.   I included several verses that are not usually included because they must not be ignored.   For example, the final verse that I gave you was where God writes through Paul “If we judge ourselves, we should not be judged”.   These are much ignored statements in the modern extreme Grace message.   I rarely hear any modern Grace preachers teach that we need to judge our own thoughts, motivations, spoken words and actions in order not to be judged by God.   But, that is clearly the Word from God for us right here and right now!   I know this because God speaks of us judging ourselves within the context of us partaking of the communion in church.   Clearly these are warnings written to saved church people.  Perhaps your church has eliminated communion along with the personal judging and that would be a clear sign to me that you are in the wrong church.  Perhaps your church still takes communion but has eliminated the context message of being a self-judge of your own actions.  You cannot separate one subject from the other simply because you do not want to view them together.  Believe in the whole of scripture or die with the selective part; it is your choice to make.

You can clearly read the context before these scriptures and see that Paul was rebuking the church in Corinth for getting drunk and having a party with the bread and wine in church.  They are rebuked and asked “Don’t you have a house to eat and drink in?”   In other words God’s communion was not there in church to fill your natural belly to eliminate your physical hunger or thirst.  This church was abusing the purpose for the whole ceremony being present.   God gives us a prime example of wrong human motivation for participating in communion.  This church has clearly misapplied wrong reasons and neglected the purpose for the communion.  This plainly proves to us that wrong motivations do not make right actions correct.   This again was what I have been attempting to teach in these lessons and God continues to place additional emphasis from His Word to confirm it.   Let’s go back and look at the first verse that I gave you and go through them verse by verse.

  • 1Co 11:23  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

Paul starts out by telling the Corinth church in verse 23 that what he gave to them was what was given to him from the Lord.  Paul was not speaking of any literal bread or literal wine.  Paul was referring to spiritual things and the revelation of God’s Word that Jesus had personally given to him.   If you do not understand that you will soon be lost in the rest of the discussion in the chapter.   Let me give you another statement of rebuke written to this church:

  • 1Co 14:36  What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

You can obviously see that Paul told them the Word of God came unto them and did not come through them.   This is normally God’s methods.  God gives to a teacher His word and tells him or her to go and tell my people what I have said.  This pattern is established repeatedly in the Old Testament and this pattern is continued in the New Testament.  Not everyone is gifted to teach, not everyone is gifted to preach, not everyone is gifted to prophesy and not everyone is gifted to evangelize.    Let’s continue with the rest of the first verse.

There are two basic realms of topic being discussed in this chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians.   The first and primary focus is upon spiritual things and the other secondary focus is upon natural things.   In order to distinguish which is which you must read, study and rightly divide each and every statement.   For example in verse 23 Paul starts out speaking of spiritual things from the Spirit of God and the Word of God and then at the end of the verse he finishes with a natural example of Jesus Christ partaking of the literal unleavened bread at the Passover meal which often called the Last Supper.   This is an excellent time to consider a new fact.   The Jewish Passover meal was often called the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” (Exo 12:17) and this was the forerunner for the communion/Eucharist in the modern church.  You see I do not believe that Christians are called to revert backwards to become Jewish in the natural flesh by observing the description or application of the letter of the O.T. law.   Therefore what the Jewish people did to observe the Passover is not for us in the church today.  However, I do believe that most of the Jewish feasts and festivals were designed by God to point us to Jesus Christ and therefore we should at least learn about them even if we do not participate in them.

The number one problem that I found with the O.T. Jews observing the Jewish Passover feast was the fact that almost everyone did it blindly without asking God or searching to find out why they were doing it and what it all meant.  Don’t get me wrong they did know that they were celebrating God’s deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt when they observed the Passover.  But there was so much more than that linked to the ceremony in typology and symbolism than only a natural deliverance from a natural oppressor.   Like I have said in many other lessons, God’s O.T. typology points us to Jesus our spiritual deliverer that has freed us from satanic spiritual oppression and captivity.  If I had the time to teach the Passover today we would see how Jesus is found in almost every action and every element in some hidden form.

  • 1Co 11:24  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

You can clearly begin to understand in this statement how the Passover symbol of bread in verse 24 represented Christ’s body that was broken for us.  Wow, Jesus makes it very self-evident to me that we need to take a closer look at all of the items found in the Passover supper and see how Jesus can be seen in each of them.    That would probably be a good future Bible lesson for me to do work on.  I want you to notice in verse 24 the reason Jesus states that we should eat the bread in the church today.   Jesus says explicitly that when we eat it we need to “remember” Him and what the bread represents.   The emphasis is placed upon the “remembrance” of Christ and not the natural bread eating alone.  In other words the greater priority is for our mind to be exercised to intentionally recall what was done for us by the broken body of Jesus.   This literally means to place the work of Jesus in the forefront of your mind and your thoughts while eating.   What God implies is what I have been repeatedly emphasizing.  When there is no mental recollection or reflection of Christ then the eating of the bread is worthless.   Do you understand the importance of what we are thinking when we do something in church?   What if you were thinking of your schedule tomorrow at work?   What if you were thinking of your boyfriend or girlfriend?  You could be thinking of a million different things that take away from any benefits of participating in the communion.   Jesus basically said it matters what your mind is focused on.

  • 1Co 11:25  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

Let’s look at verse 25.   Here God describes the cup but more importantly was the wine in the cup.   Jesus was again informing us that the wine and the cup represent greater spiritual truths.   Do you remember what we are talking about here?   God is describing the Last Supper again when Jesus takes the cup at the end of the table that was reserved only for the coming prophet and says this is the New Covenant in my shed blood.   Wow, that is an awesome bit of information often ignored.   You see in the traditional Passover meal there was always one very special cup that was filled with wine but was never touched by anyone participating in the ceremony.  The cup is filled with wine and the door of the house is opened to allow the prophet Elijah to come in to take the cup.  This cup was a designated symbolic reference for the one that was to come announcing the final deliverance.  It was very clear to me that the Jewish people knew that they expected someone to come by this act but yet when He actually arrived on the earth they killed Him not understanding their Passover meanings.    I could spend a lot of time on the subject of Passover but yet that is not my goal so I will continue to talk about how these two elements of bread and wine from Passover were passed on to Christians to do a better job at discovering and remembering what they meant.

  • 1Co 11:26  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

This is what I take away from what I have read so far.  Nowhere in the N.T. is the church instructed to participate in the Old Testament Passover meal going forward.   This old Passover supper was a meal that pointed the people of Israel to their coming Messiah.  Since Jesus has already come, died and was raised from the dead that meal has been fulfilled and the only two parts of that meal that were carried forward into the church was the partaking of the blood and the body of Christ for us to remember what He has already done for us in the past.   One meal in the Old Covenant was a forward prophetic symbolic supper and the other meal in the New Covenant is a reversal backward symbolic supper in remembrance of the death that has previously been accomplished by Jesus.  This was pretty clearly stated here at the end of verse 26.    Supper methods and elements have changed dramatically and a new perspective of looking at them was modified between the old supper to the new supper, but yet the bread and the wine elements remained true and constant and even unchanging symbols for both experiences and these represented the body and the blood of Christ the central figure of each.  You may recall that Jesus is described to be the unchanging one that is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8) and this is revealed to us by the same unchanging elements being passed forward from the O.T. to the N.T. even though they are two different meals.   Are you learning anything today?  I hope that you are.

Look at the first part of verse 26 and refresh your mind to what is being said.   The Holy Spirit through Paul writes that we should participate in eating the bread and drinking from the cup but yet God does not give us any indication to the frequency of how often this should occur.   I know some churches that do it once a month.  Others do it every time they meet together.    Therefore, there should be no condemnation for how often it is done as long as it is not ignored and never performed.    This is in sharp contrast to the law of God in the O.T.   The Passover meal was done on specific days of a specific month during the year only once.  This was perpetually performed every year by the Lord’s command.  Only after fulfillment was the Passover to cease for the people in the church.   Since the Passover was fulfilled by Christ this would indicate that this meal should have ceased for Christians but yet by law those in the Jewish religion are still bound to faithfully perform it annually even this year.  I think that is a sad state of lessons to learn from.   It teaches us we better learn as much as we can about why we are partaking of the bread and the wine today while we still can.  If we do it blindly like the Jewish people in ignorance we might be surprised to discover it was a futile religious act.

  • 1Co 11:27  Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
  • 1Co 11:28  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
  • 1Co 11:29  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
  • 1Co 11:30  For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Because of the length of this lesson, I’m going to quickly go though the other verses that I have given you from verse 27 to 30 because they all go together with what was just taught by God.   Verses 27 through 30 are simply ignored by modern extreme grace preachers.   In their ignorance they choose to look over a profound warning given only to Christians in church eating and drinking the elements of communion unworthily.   I know a sinner could come in to visit the church and partake of the symbolic elements in ignorance and yet I do not believe that is what God is referring to, based upon the context.

We can discover the target audience for this warning by observing the statements being made.   For example in verse 30 God says many are sick and weak “among you”.  The target audience of “you” must be the church and not the unsaved world since the entire letter was only written for the church’s benefit.   True the unsaved sinner might be among the church and even read the letter but God would have reworded the statement differently if it was only written about unsaved people.  Keep reading down in the next verse 31 and discover the fact that Paul includes himself in the subject statement with the personal plural pronoun “we”.   We represents a combined reference of union between those previously called “you” in verse 30 with the also “me” (the writer) in verse 31.   I’m going to say that again for some to grasp, Paul places himself in equivalence with those that were previously being spoken as “you” in verse 30.  That fact makes the warning clearly church centered and not unsaved world directed.  What Paul says is that if “We” (you and I) judge ourselves we will not be judged and that takes me back to what God said before.  Those in the church are given the responsibility for judging what they are doing, what they are thinking, what they are saying, eating, drinking and etc. or God plainly states that they will be judged one way or the other.

What is this judgment being spoken of in verse 31 and what are the consequences for being judged?   The answer is clearly stated coming from verses 27 to 30.  Many among you (the church) are sick, weak and sleep.  Sick and weak are physical deficits from being whole, well and strong.   Sleep on the other hand is a symbolic representation for physical natural death.   This is very commonly used in the N.T. to differentiate between the “eternal separation” from God described as the “second death” in Revelation 21:8.   I do not have the time to teach this fact fully about how when the Christian dies the body stays on the earth in a state of dormancy (aka sleep) in the ground but the living spirit of the saved person is found to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8).   Let’s go back up in the verses to learn how they are connected with verse 31.

In verses 28 we are instructed to “examine” ourselves.   In verse 31 we were instructed again to “judge” ourselves.   Both verbs (examine and judge) are synonymous commands from God.  The Greek term examine (G1381) means to test or to try.   To try is a form of the word “trial” where a judge is always present.  If you are the one that is “tried”, God is basically saying that it is wisdom if you become your own judge while you can so that He does not have to do it for you later.   Go back to verse 27 and see how this trial is laid out before you.  In beginning this verse there is the stated crime of participating in the communion ceremony by partaking of the bread and the wine unworthily.   This Greek word (G371) translated as “unworthily” literally means someone who does something lacking any respect or reverence for what they are doing.  These are the acts of a mocker or even a person that mimics or imitates without the correct attitude of worship.  Wow, that is pretty strong if you ask me.   God says these types of people were found guilty.  Uh oh?   Again we see the implied trial being stated.  There is a crime being committed and the verdict of guilt being handed down.  Who is the judge?  There has to be a judge!

What God is doing is sandwiching the consequences for not being our own judge in between the commands to do it or else.   This is not rocket science but yet churches and preachers explain it away as being inconsequential and unimportant.   However, I will repeat the warning for the slow to learn.    Do not eat or drink of the symbolic blood or the body of Christ Jesus without first examining and judging your own past actions, intentions and motivations and then if there is found anything that is not worthy to participate that would be a good time to ask God for forgiveness according to 1 John 1:9.   I am not going to debate ignorant Christians that try to teach 1 John 1:9 was not written to Christians and that Christians do not need to do this.   If you can read the verse and the context you will see plainly that this is not true.  John the writer includes himself in the personal pronoun “our” again being a “you and I’ designation.   If John was required to confess his sins before God then you and I are also required to do the same.  If you do not believe me that is not my problem.  I tried to teach you and you rejected it.

CONCLUSION

I believe that I have covered many new things that are rarely taught in modern churches.   I have tried to teach you about the constant “bread” and “wine” that did not change moving from the Old Testament to the New Testament.  I have alluded to the fact that this constant will not change nor ever cease even in the heavenly meal that is to come.  I have not addressed this meal yet but these two elements will be found present when we are gathered to partake of them at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.   So far I have mentioned three different meals all referred to as a supper in the Bible.  All of these are similar but all are completely different with increasing greater spiritual meanings.      One old Passover supper pointed us forward to the coming Messiah and the current Lord’s Supper within the New Covenant causes us to reflect backwards to what God did in Jesus Christ.   The future Supper to come is an entirely different subject and that will probably not be covered in this lesson series but may in a different new one.  I ended this lesson with God’s warning for doing something good and right with wrong reasons and I pray that you have learned this and take it to heart.    Thank you for taking the time to read and study the Bible and share what you have learned with your friends to help me spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.  God Bless!

Bible Answers: Was the Eye of the Needle in Mark 10:25 a Literal or Figurative description and what does it mean?

Ver 2.0)  I recently received a question about what Jesus meant concerning the “camel” going through the “eye of a needle” spoken to us in Mark 10:25.   This is a commonly misunderstood verse in the Bible that is often misused and misapplied to mean many things that was not truly stated.   If we read the surrounding verses we might discover that there were two primary subjects being spoken of.    One subject was salvation and the other was physical money or possessions.  Jesus actually taught more on the subject of money than practically any other subject found in the Gospels.   It is very obvious to me that this makes money a very important subject to learn and understand correctly.   It further teaches us if money was discussed in the same context as salvation that we are required to learn how they fit and work together to have any confidence that we are following the words and teachings of Jesus accurately.   This is a potentially controversial topic to teach.  There are so many strong opinions on this subject of money and they go from one extreme on the far left to the opposite extreme on the far right.  This subject will be difficult for some to receive but please do not get offended by anything that I say just because you disagreed.  To become offended at your brother for saying something is a childish carnal reaction.  If you want to grow spiritually and discuss it in a mature Christian way, I will be happy to hear what you have to say if you have Bible verses that back up what you believe.

There is a significant challenge being presented by God with studying a prolific subject like money.  The more abundantly any subject is presented in the Bible the more difficult it becomes to learn completely because every verse on the subject must be balanced with every other verse about the same subject in order to come to the correct interpretation of what is being taught as a whole.   If we go and do some study we should find that there are over 2000 verses in the Bible that directly or indirectly relate to the subject of money.   That is a lot of verses to study and to understand.  If you know and understand them all, please feel free to share that with me so that I may learn from you.   If not, then please do not condemn what I teach by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.   Since no one knows or understands every verse on any prolific subject except for God we need to trust God to speak what we need to learn about today and trust that He will guide us into more knowledge and a greater understanding tomorrow.  What I have learned from studying this subject is that if we take any single verse on a broad subject like money in Mark 10:25 and study it in isolation it will cause only confusion and misunderstanding because we lack sufficient knowledge to make any correct assessment.   We will begin with the primary verse in question and then continue to understand what is being said by Jesus using certain basic Bible interpretation rules:

  •  Mar 10:25  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

The question being answered today “Is Jesus talking about a literal sewing needle in this verse or one that is figurative representing something else?”   I guess that also implies, is Jesus talking about a literal camel in this verse or is the camel also a symbolic representation for something else?    If one is symbolic the other by direct association must also be symbolic and the antithesis to that truth is if one is literal then the other reference must also be literal.   Because the camel is stated to pass through the eye of the needle both objects must interact directly with the other.  It is usually wisdom to be consistent in the interpretation of objects of such close proximity in the scriptures especially if they interact with each other.   Determining whether or not these objects are literal or figurative will be a difficult question to answer so we need to use the defined rules of Bible interpretation to come to the proper conclusion.  We will start with the rule of God’s Selected Word Usage in the other parts of the Bible to determine if God sets any pattern of usage or if God has presented us with any redefinitions for any of the words being questioned.  This is actually one of the most significant Bible interpretation rules that is often ignored, not known or not applied.   I hope that you at least understand the principle behind why this rule is beneficial.  I’m not here today to teach rules for interpretation, but I will always use them whether I tell you about them or not.

GOD’S SELECTED WORD USAGE

The Greek word G4476 translated as “needle” is only used in three verses in the entire N.T. and these all quote this same statement (Mat 19:26, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25).  This Greek word literally means a sewing instrument also known as a sewing needle according to the Strong’s dictionary.   The Greek word G5168 translated as “eye” is also only found in these three same quoted statements in the same three verses in the N.T.   The meaning of the “eye” is literally an opening like an orifice in the human body.  Clearly this is a description of a literal natural sewing needle.  Therefore, we have no other word usage convention in the N.T. to help us compare God’s selection of the terms to be either literal or figurative.  That means we need to move to the next Greek word and learn what it teaches us.

The Greek word G2574 that was translated as “camel” is used in the same exact three quoted verses but this word is also found in three additional N.T. verses where two times (Mat 3:4, Mar 1:6) it is definitely used by God to describe an actual literal created camel.  In these two verses John the Baptist is described wearing a coat of “camel’s” hair and since John is literal the camel-hair coat must also be literal by the rule of direct interaction that I mentioned previously.  There is only one other verse (Mar 23:24) in the N.T. where this Greek word for camel is used and this time it is clearly selected by Jesus to be a figurative statement where it cannot be taken literally.   In this verse Jesus is talking to the scribes and the Pharisees and He tells them “You strain a gnat and swallow a camel”.   These were “figures of speech” with deeper meanings that could be understood by the hearer.  The gnat and the camel were not to be taken as literal statements where they were literally straining gnats and literally swallowing a whole camel.  I do not have time to explain figures of speech but they are found in the Bible in several places by God’s design.

What we have discovered so far is that it is not going to be easy to learn what these words really mean by observing only the usage of the Greek words in the rest of the Bible.  There are no definitions for the words given in the rest of the Bible that I have found.  There were no other occurrences of the words “eye” or “needle” in the New Testament.   The Greek word for “camel” could be taken literally or as a figure of speech and that only means the verse in Mark 10:25 is one of the two and we need to continue to study to determine which it is.   That was only one rule of Bible interpretation and there are others to follow so let’s go to the next and find how that applies.

Before I apply the next interpretation rule, let’s expand the reader’s question using the implied unstated meaning behind the question.  What I have discovered is that the reason for one asking a question is equally as important as the question itself.  I understood my reader’s question to imply “If this verse is a literal camel going through a literal needle’s eye, then Jesus was teaching that we shouldn’t become rich, own any possessions or live outside of the realm of absolute poverty”.   But was that what Jesus was actually teaching us?   I have seen where many believe this to be true and go and live in a commune owning nothing.   I have even heard preachers teach that this verse in Mark 10 is a proclamation that having wealth and riches in this world is a direct pathway to hell.   I do not know for sure if that was the reason for the question, but that will be the focus for my answer to the question nonetheless.   Is having money a negative in the eyes of God?  If we own nothing is that a positive thing in the eyes of God?   If having money, wealth and possessions in this world is a negative then I believe hell is full of a lot of Old Testament saints that were rich like, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, Job and I could name others that possessed great wealth in the Bible.   If the possession of wealth causes one to be evil, I would begin to ask God, why did you create it?   I would then ask an even better question next to God saying “why are the streets of heaven paved in gold”?   It would appear to me that the Bible contradicts the teaching that having wealth is an evil by giving us so many examples to the contrary.  This is where we need to learn the application of balance.   Let’s balance every verse about money in the Bible and not just focus on this one alone in Mark 10.   We still need to overcome the apparent contradiction to the presumed statement made by Jesus in Mark 10:25 about a rich man not being able to enter into the Kingdom of God.

STUDYING THE CONTEXT OF MARK 10:25

One of the key Bible interpretation rules is to interpret the verse in question using the surrounding context of the statement.  Ignoring the context or taking the verse out of context will usually result in a false meaning of the information given within the verse.  This is normally true except when a verse contains information of a universal truth nature.   A universal truth is a statement made by God that is true regardless of the context or application.  This verse in Mark 10:25 is NOT a divine universal statement of truth and therefore the context is valuable and even essential to understanding the meaning.  A context type of study would include what is being described directly around the statement in the chapter and if you want to expand the search to go beyond the chapter context you can also include what was spoken in the entire book about the subjects presented.   But context study also includes the search to find the answers for three additional questions which are:

  1. Who is speaking?
  2. Who is being spoken to?
  3. Who is being spoken about?

This verse is a prime example of the necessity for this rule’s application.  We cannot read this verse in Mark 10:25 alone and attempt to understand it because it is a small part of a much larger story that is being used to teach a far greater principle.   Therefore, we really must consider the surrounding context in order to better understand what is being stated by Jesus in verse 25.   It is very similar to what I said in a previous paragraph.  The reason for Jesus speaking this statement in Mark 10:25, is equally as important as what was said by Jesus in the statement alone.   Without understanding the purpose behind it, you will never understand the statement being made.  Please read all of these context verses together starting with verse 17 where the lesson begins:

  •  Mar 10:17  And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

  • Mar 10:18  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

  • Mar 10:19  Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

  • Mar 10:20  And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

  • Mar 10:21  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

  • Mar 10:22  And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

  • Mar 10:23  And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

  • Mar 10:24  And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

  • Mar 10:25  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

  • Mar 10:26  And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?

 

I gave you several verses before verse 25 and one after because they all go together in a single lesson.   Jesus is the primary speaker with the majority of the spoken words being in red ink.   However, there are secondary statements being made by a rich man at first and later the disciples of Jesus.   Actually it is important to note that the rich man initiates the conversation and that causes Jesus to begin to respond to his question.   Therefore the conversation was not initiated by Jesus.  It is always important to notice if Jesus initiates something or if it is simply Jesus responding to what another has initiated.  One reason for this distinction is to know if Jesus is teaching generally to everyone or if Jesus is teaching directly to just one person.   This fact will have direct bearing upon how we view the context.  What we have is Jesus as the main speaker answering a question from a solitary rich man not about money but about his salvation.  Therefore the lesson within the conversation begins with a personal response to one man and not a general discussion to everyone about how to be saved.  Do you understand this?   I’ll try to say it again differently; Jesus is speaking to only this one rich man at first with the disciples in observance of the conversation not being direct participants but rather simply observant students of the Master who was giving a lesson to an isolated rich man about his personal salvation.

As you can read in verse 17 the primary subject of this discussion is concerning only salvation.  One of the secondary subjects of the conversation that later comes out is about the subject of the rich man’s money in verse 21.   We know from reading verse 22, that Jesus was approached by a very wealthy man asking what he could do to inherit eternal life.  Jesus names several of the commandments of God in verse 19 and the rich man claims to have followed all of these since his age of accountability in verse 20.  Many today would think that obeying God’s law would be enough to be saved but that is not what the New Testament teaches us.   In Romans 4:13-14, God says that the promise to be an heir of salvation was not given to any man through the obedience of the law but rather it came by faith in Jesus Christ alone who was doing the speaking in this lesson.  In Galatians 2:16 God says “No flesh will be justified by the works of the law”.   This knowledge of the law makes the initial answer that Jesus gave to the rich man almost irrelevant.  So there must be another reason for Jesus making the statement.

Why then does Jesus tell him that he should have obeyed the law if this obedience was not required for New Covenant salvation?   Well first we need to remember that the New Covenant was not yet implemented and thus they were still under the jurisdiction and the concluding timeline of the Old Covenant.  The Law was the only Words of God available to follow, so that is clearly the emphasis being given at first.   However, Jesus was not done talking and continues with some personal spiritual realities on things this rich man would need to fix in order to be saved after the New Covenant was implemented.   I am not sure if you understood fully what I just said, but it will become clearer as we go forward.

What I observe here in this lesson to the rich man so far is that Jesus was dealing with his core spiritual heart issues and not just his perceived loyalty to obey God’s commands.  Jesus appears to be confirming the existence of the rich man’s pride by offering him a chance to admit to just one law that he has not followed completely in his entire mature life.   You see the law was created by God to show man that it was impossible to keep the entire law consistently and by coming to this revelation of the truth teach man the need for a savior.   Romans 3:20 teaches us that it is by law that the knowledge of sin was given to man.   In Romans 2 Paul talks a lot in this chapter about those under the law attempting to keep the law but then breaking it in some way.  Then in Roman 5:20 Paul wrote that the law entered so that the transgression of the law might abound.  I’m not sure if you understood that last statement either that God made through Paul.  You see here in the U.S., the 5 largest cities with the strictest and most prolific gun  control laws are where the majority of gun murders occur.   If you want more deaths by guns to occur God just said you should pass more laws against them and this will cause the violation of the law to increase.   Wow, that was good to learn!  I wish more of our government would learn that.

This rich man’s claim to have followed the law completely is a virtual impossibility since only Jesus fulfilled the law to the full extent.  One problem that Jesus consistently encountered in the Gospels was religious people who believed that they were superior to Him because of their self-righteous good works.   These Pharisee types looked at their ability to obey the law as the true way to God.  They created manmade traditional rules on top of God’s laws to insure that they never even came close to violating God’s law.   However, Jesus would look at them and say that they were like whitewashed tombs that looked pretty on the outside but were full of unclean dead men’s bones on the inside (Mat 23:27).  This rich man’s response was much like those of the Pharisee types.  Therefore the rich man was clearly in pride not admitting to the truth of his own faults and shortcomings in need of a savior.  This is when Jesus begins to dig deeper into the man’s inner heart condition to show him that there were more profound root issues that needed correction in order for him to receive this “eternal life” that he was seeking.

Jesus says to go and sell his possessions and give to the poor and that is when the rich man turns away from his only hope named Jesus in a state of grief.  That was the end of that personal conversation with the rich man about his salvation and that is very important to note.   Jesus then looking around about at his surroundings said out loud “how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”.  This new statement to a totally different audience appears to be the beginning of a major controversy for the disciples of Jesus and it was totally unexpected to them because they did not understand the reason for what had just happened to the rich man.

What we must observe is that a significant target audience transition has just occurred.   Jesus has just moved from answering a rich man’s personal question on what he needed to do to be saved to teaching a different valuable lesson to His disciples and us in the church.  This new lesson is about a greater previously unmentioned subject.   What that should potentially mean to us is that the primary subject has moved from a conversation about the salvation of a single natural rich man to a conversation about spiritual internal conditions that were never discussed.   Here is a good time for us to ask, why did Jesus ask the rich man to sell his possessions and give to the poor.   The reason behind the request is actually again more important than the request itself.

This is where the Bible reader who desires to know the truth needs to become a Sherlock Holmes type of serious Bible student to observe the details to what is really being taught to the church and not to an unsaved rich carnal man.   Why were the disciples so astonished at this saying of Jesus in verse 23?   Why were His disciples so surprised by this statement about the rich of this world being so hard to save?   Think about it.  If the disciples were all poor men that had nothing and owned nothing they should be rejoicing because they could now be easily saved on their way into the Kingdom of God, but that was not their reaction at all, was it?  Can you read?   Can you see what their reaction was?  This was clearly the reaction of men that were NOT poor.  Being shocked that a rich man is almost impossible to save makes no logical sense for anyone but men with money.   I believe if you study the Bible you might agree that these men selected by Jesus were not poor men who owned nothing.  In fact, the majority of the disciples described came from successful businesses that were making them money.   Many were fishermen like Simon Peter and Andrew who caught and sold fish for money (Mat 4:18).   James and John are described to also be fishermen with possessions (Mat 4:21).   Clearly fishermen owned large boats, fishing gear, nets, as well as owned houses and worked and made money in the markets.  One disciple named Matthew was definitely a tax collector (Mat 9:9) and years later when Luke wrote about this story he was described to be a doctor (Col 4:4).  None of these followers were poor men begging for money to exist.   That is why they are so very concerned with this statement that Jesus just made.  Do you understand this?

Jesus then continues the lesson saying “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be saved”.  Again all of the disciples that heard Jesus were flabbergasted and confused and that confirms that they all have money. This saying of Jesus was making them think about asking if they could even be saved.   What I have discovered being taught within the Bible is that the Bible is not opposed to people having money.   Jesus was not teaching poverty in this example.   Jesus was not even teaching that we need to sell or give away everything in order to be saved.   That would be very unintelligent religious thinking that is drawn from wrong conclusions and interpretation that would teach this is found in the Bible.

What Jesus was teaching, is that rich people MUST NOT trust in their money more than they trust in God.  This further says that rich people must not love their money and their possessions more than they love their God.  Jesus was making a point to the rich man that he needed to learn to trust in God and His Grace rather than to place all of his confidence in what he had done and what he had obtained.  Any rich person who is self-reliant, self-made, and self-sufficient in their own eyes will find it very hard to be saved because they are full of pride in their own accomplishments and abilities.   The Bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).   The rich man that came to Jesus was asking how to be saved but he was too heavily bound to and by his money and his possessions for him to let go of them to make Jesus his Lord.  The rich man therefore does not qualify to receive grace.  His money was in effect his god.   He was joined to his money and he was unable to part with any of these temporary things of this world simply because he valued them more than he valued the eternal rewards of God and that was the major problem that Jesus was addressing in this personal lesson to the rich man.

Jesus was dealing with a heart issue and not a money issue.   What we value will be what we place our trust and confidence in.   A man with great wealth has learned that money will buy him practically anything and he has placed a false trust in it.  Jesus actually spoke of this in Matthew 6:2 when he said “Where you treasure is there will also be your heart”.  Jesus clearly says what a man values in this world is what he will be focused on in his heart.  Jesus is not going to share first place in your heart with your money or your possessions.   Everyone is going to have to choose between Jesus and money or whatever it is that they value to determine which will be of more lasting worth and benefit and then make only one of these their priority in this life.

In the first part of the lesson to the rich man Jesus was trying to get him to see that he needed to change.  In the last part of the lesson to the church Jesus was teaching a lesson about how people can still possess money but that this money must not possess them or they will never see the kingdom of God.  This lesson being taught goes along with other statements that Jesus made on the subject of money that are parallel examples to what is being taught in Mark 10:25:

  •  Mat 6:24  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

You see when a person becomes a Christian they are required by the design of God in Romans 10:9-10 to make Jesus their personal Lord and Savior.   You cannot make Jesus your Savior without also making Him your simultaneous Lord.   If Jesus is your Lord then your money or your possessions or whatever cannot be your Lord.   Jesus states this very clearly using money in Matthew 6:24.   When someone tries to serve two masters they are distracted by the one to not fully serve either.  Jesus requires your undivided attention when you make Him your Lord.   He is not going to share His Lordship with your business or your money.   That was the major problem with the rich man that came to Jesus in Mark 10:25.   Jesus was attempting to get a commitment from the rich man to make Jesus His Lord, but the rich man turned away to continue to serve his wealth.   Does this make sense to you now?

Jesus was teaching the rich man about his problem without ever stating that he had a problem.   When the rich man heard this he should have become humble and asked a few more questions instead of going away without knowing the rest of the truth for the reason to why Jesus asked what He did.   What did I say earlier?  I said the reason for the statement is as important as the statement itself.   This man heard the request but did not desire to know the reason behind the statement.  That was one of his greatest failures.   It is not offensive to God if you ask Him questions.  People are generally like two year old children to God’s level of thinking.  God understands that people are in need of knowledge and understanding to grow.

Asking questions is an excellent way to learn more about your situation.   Don’t believe me?   When the angel of God comes to Mary and tells her that she will have a child, she doesn’t walk away in grief saying, “yea right”.  No she was wiser than this rich man and she asked “how shall this be seeing that I have never known a man?’  God was not angry at the question and gave her the straight answer and this was to her benefit because now she understood more about how this was possible to occur.   Do you ever ask God questions?   I ask God questions very often, it is the easiest way to learn the truth.

 

 WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT GIVING TO THE POOR?

Now for some more potentially controversial parts of the lesson.  I have already shown briefly what the N.T. says about Jesus’ instructions concerning obeying the law so we should move to the next statement made by Jesus and learn more about this subject.  Since the rich man was next instructed by Jesus to release his possessions and then to “give” to the poor it might be helpful if we understood how this relates in order to understand what would have happened to the rich man if he would have been obedient to the LORD’s request.  I will confirm that his disobedience to Jesus’ request to sell and give to the poor cost him his salvation but then I will also say that it would not have been his poverty that saved him either.   I’ll repeat this again, it was Jesus working on the man’s heart issues that caused the request to sell and give.  I know I repeat myself, but these are important facts that need to be understood.

One key to understanding a subject is to find related verses in the Bible that speak about the subject.   We did this with the key words “camel”, “eye” and “needle” and found very little to help us, but that is not all of the word subjects within the context of the verse in question.   We know before Jesus spoke these words about the camel going through the eye of the needle that Jesus asked the rich man to go and sell his possessions and to “give” to the poor”.   I tried to teach you that this rich man was not valuing the correct things and placing them in the correct order of priority.   He was clearly placing his trust in his money and possessions and that will never please God.   Still there is a need to understand what “giving” has to do with God’s proposed solution to change this man’s heart around to learn to trust Him!  Wow, that sounds like an awesome thing to learn for every Christian.  So let’s get started.

Jesus literally taught many other things in the Gospels about money.   Because the rich man did not know these other sayings he walked away from obtaining a blessing and he didn’t even know it.   God says in His Word “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).  I just taught you that we need to learn to ask God questions if we want to learn more from Him.   I really meant that!   So let’s ask God the question “what would have happened if the rich man gave away all of his possessions to the poor”?  What would be the end result of such obedience?  Would this rich man have remained in poverty from then on?  Could this rich man never work or earn anymore money ever again?   Or should this rich man go to work but then continue to give everything that he makes away?  In order to begin to learn how to answer these questions from God’s word I believe that we need to learn what God said about giving.  I’ll start with a verse that is certainly important and directly related about this subject of giving:

  •  Act 20:35  “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.‘”

Whaacts_20_35t is being repeated here in this verse?  I want you to first observe that this statement says the writer is working hard as an example to those that he was writing to.   Therefore we just answered a part of the question about should a Christian continue to work after becoming a Christian!  Did you know that the writer of the book of Acts was Luke?   Can you agree  that Luke heard and learned the same rich man’s lesson from eye witnesses?    Did Luke learn anything from their experience?   Apparently he did!   Luke is saying that we should help the weak.   This Greek word translated as weak means the sick, the diseased, and the feeble which implies those that are poor because they are unable to work.   Everyone in a weak condition is not able to work and therefore is in need of assistance.   Can we agree that this statement applies to the poor?

Then Luke by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost quotes something that Jesus taught us directly.   Luke said that Jesus said “It is more blessed to give (to the poor) than to receive (from the poor).   I put the poor in the statement because that was the associated meaning based upon context.   Do you understand that?  Please tell me that you do.  Why is God asking His people to help the poor, the sick and the weak by giving to them?   It is primarily because the poor need the help, but God also says whoever gives will be blessed more than those that received the gift.   Oh, that doesn’t make any sense does it?   How is a rich man the one that is blessed by him giving away all of his money?   That is a divine mystery that is being ignored in much of the church body today.  What I would like you do to is to start believing that there is a blessing associated with giving to the poor.  Now we just need to determine if this blessing is here in this life or is only found in the eternal rewards to come?

I’ll try to answer when this giving blessing occurs by observing more about what Jesus taught us on the subject of giving in the Gospels.   However I do need to review an observation of where Jesus placed the emphasis when He told the rich man in Mark 10:21 to go and sell and give.  I did not go over the last part of the verse previously.   If you go back and read this verse again you will notice that Jesus after telling the rich man to give to the poor Jesus then promised him that he would have treasure in heaven for doing this.  That is very self-evident that there is a stated eternal blessing from God that will be given to him if he would have been obedient and had given to the poor.  Jesus places the primary emphasis upon eternal rewards and that makes total logical sense to me.

An eternity of blessings and treasures is far more significant than a natural 100 years of existence on earth with riches.   But do not assume too much here.  Just because Jesus did not emphasize any earthly benefits to the rich man does not mean that they do not exist.   That would be foolish presumption to take one verse as the complete truth on the subject of giving to the poor.  Therefore we need to study and find additional Bible information in order to come to a balanced conclusion.  Can we at least agree that God will bless us also, if He comes to us and asks us to give to the poor?   If you understand that God shows no favoritism (Acts 10:34) and what He promised to one is the same that is available to any other in the same circumstances then you should be able to agree with that belief.

Let’s turn to the book of Luke and read a verse that many of you may already be familiar with.  Read this verse very carefully and observe that the same Greek word translated for “Give” in Mark 10:21 is used in this verse connecting the lessons together by God’s direct word selection and subject connection.   Then notice what Jesus teaches about giving in this verse.   This verse must also apply to the rich man’s giving or God becomes a liar:

  •  Luk 6:38  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

According to Jesus (God in the flesh), If the rich man would have only understood that what he gave to others, this verse states that God would have caused those gifts to be returned back to him multiplied.  This knowledge has the potential to cause the rich to see the giving away of his riches in a much different light.   Of course the rich man did not give Jesus the opportunity to teach this part of the lesson about money and giving nor did the rich man ask Jesus any questions about it.  Jesus also did not voluntarily offer this information up either since Jesus wanted the rich man to learn faith and trust in God first.  I’m not sure if you understood what I just said or not?

The rich man trusted in his money to be his supplier and God’s word says “My God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory” (Php 4:19).  There is a promised supply by God in the N.T. By the rich man having to learn to look to God instead of his own money and this rich man would have learned a more valuable lesson about trusting God and walking by faith.  However, it still does not mean that the rich man could never have any money again.  I believe that the rich man assumed too much just like many Bible readers today assume too much when they read this lesson.  Remember what God says in the Old Testament?   Let me remind you:

  •  Jer 29:11  For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. (AMP)

God says very clearly when He asks you to do something it is for your good and not to harm, hurt you, ruin you, or even to make life hard for you.   Failure to believe or understand this is one of the key reasons why people today will resist God’s instructions.  This rich man in Mark 10 was not asked by God to do something that was not going to benefit him in the long run if he would have just been willing and compliant God would have rewarded him greatly for his obedience.  If you believe that God is going to take something away from you without knowing the purpose behind the request then you are not trusting God’s wisdom, knowledge and plan for your life.   It is usually at this point where I emphasize that you need to learn if God is directing you to turn away from anything then there is a greater purpose behind that request and if you ask for Him for the reason why, God might just show you or you can just trust Him and learn it when it happens which is usually wiser.

But, it is also important to understand if Satan is trying to steal anything from you (John 10:10) you need to fight against that and resist him.   If you do not know how it works yet, God will ask you usually to give something up voluntarily, but if you refuse this can open the door for Satan just to come and take it from you without asking.  It is pretty simple to learn which is which.  Let’s go back and talk some more about Luke 6:38 and Mark 10:21.

There is a stated law of reciprocity that is placed in effect with God when a human in faith participates voluntarily and willingly with the requests of God.  God is not going to ask anyone to give away something without observing the obedience and blessing them in return.  We clearly saw this stated in Mark 10:21 when Jesus informed the rich man that there would be treasure in heaven awaiting him for his giving.   Then again in Luke 6:38 God says if you give to men, men will also give back to you.   Reciprocity is also found in the established decree of God called the Law of Sowing and Reaping (Gen 8:22).  Sowing is the stated release of a seed from your hand into the ground that is believed to be given back to you multiplied over time.

I believe that if the rich man would have viewed the release of his money into the poor as a seed sown that it would have been returned back to him multiplied based upon what Luke 6:38 taught us.  God states this clearly in Luke 6:38 when He says that others will return to you what you have given away as multiplied.  This is a very basic farming concept where any seed planter sows their valuable seeds that are returned back as a greater and more valuable return after time has passed.   This multiplication principle is implied in Luke 6:38 in the phrase “good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over”.    That certainly makes it sound like giving to others is a benefit and not a liability to me.    If you don’t understand the concept of seeds in the Bible I would recommend that you go read that lesson series (Understanding Seeds in the Bible).

We should still understand that in Mark 10 that Jesus was not emphasizing this sowing and reaping part of the lesson simply because He was dealing with the man’s love for his money and possessions.  Do you understand the motivation for Jesus telling the rich man to get rid of his possessions and give to the poor, now?

Whenever God asks you to give away something it will normally be because it controls you and gets in the way of His relationship with you.   After a time of learning that God is more important to pursue than the item that is given, many times God will see that you get back what you were asked to give up.   This of course is not true if it is drugs, alcohol or some other substance that controlled you and will do physical harm to you and this is even true for money and possessions if they return to being your gods.  I’ve been going longer than I expected in this lesson so let me see if the Holy Spirit will allow me to wrap it up by giving you one more O.T. verse on this subject about giving to the poor:

  •  Pro 19:17  He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

If the rich man would have just considered this old fact written by Solomon probably one of the richest men ever in the Bible, I believe that it could have made a tremendous difference in his attitude towards giving to the poor.  You see this verse literally says that when we give to the poor the Lord observes it and takes over the responsibility for the debt.   Therefore we do not expect the one that we gave something to, to give back to us anything in return even in the future.  This is simply because God says “I owe the debt” and I believe God is faithful to repay it.   If God takes the responsibility for the debt, then we must ask is this repayment now in this life or is this in the next life to come?   I believe that we could get correct answers for both beliefs, by saying all of the above.

I do not place any limitations upon what God wants to bless me with or when God wants the blessing to arrive.   Since I’m not God He can sovereignly do as He pleases.    I definitely believe that there are eternal rewards based upon what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:20 when He taught that we should be laying up treasures in heaven where moth and rust will never corrupt them.   But the balanced counter to that statement was given to us in Luke 6:38 that claims if we give to men (here and now) that men will give back to us (here and now).  Luke 6:38 is clearly talking about receiving a return for giving here in this life.   I’m not going to teach this part of giving anymore in today’s lesson.   I really do not know how many I have offended by even mentioning it.   Christians often ignore vast parts of scripture thinking they are not applicable for today.   However to those like me that believe in them they still work just fine.  I will end this section about giving by saying that there are definitely heavenly rewards laid up for us for everything that we give here on the earth so the eternal benefits will by far outweigh any temporary benefits that we can enjoy for a short time here on this earth.    You should always keep your focus on the eternal rather than the carnal temporary, as I try to do.

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion I will say that there are certain Bible teachers who teach that the “eye of the needle” was a figurative type for a city gate designed to be very narrow to limit passage into the city.   This was done in Bible days as a safety measure to keep large foreign armies and enemies from invading the city in mass numbers.  This narrow gate was like a funnel that kept the inflow and outflow of traffic to a very few with limited size of restrictions that were easily controlled.  This city opening was so narrow that many times a fully loaded camel would not be able to even enter it.   The merchant or traveler would usually have to unload the camel and squeeze it through the gate and then carry the loads by hand into the city.   So many teachers today believe that this was what Jesus was talking about in this verse in Mark 10:25.

However, that is still a private interpretation of the verse since it is not mentioned in the Bible anywhere and therefore I do not agree with it.  It also mixes one noun found in Luke 10:25 “the eye of the needle” as a figurative object and the other noun (camel) as a literal object and I do not agree with that type of interpretation.  I take scriptures literally when I can and then I apply what is stated spiritually based upon what is specified or being taught following the rules of interpretation of which I only mentioned two or three today in this lesson.   In conclusion I will give you two more verses to consider:

 

  •  1Co 5:9  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

  • 1Co 5:10  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

We have more directions being given to the church in these passages.   God is speaking to the church and telling them not to associate with those that are in the world.   Uh oh?  That sounds serious to me!   Then God lists a few types that fit that description.   Read these again and tell me if you see the rich man being described?    I’ll help you by pointing you to two key words.  The first word is “covetous”.  This Greek word means a human with a desire for more of something.   This type of person has a very difficult time at releasing anything.  I believe that description fits the unsaved lost rich man.  Since the rich man was unwilling to give away any of his possession that implied that he loved them greatly and possibly desired (coveted) to even have more of them.   It was like he was a collector of natural things.  Any collector that I have ever observed is never satisfied with their collection.  Most collectors are looking for more of the same whether it be coins, stamps or baseball cards.    This “covetous” word is a problem if you are wanting more natural possession and not more of God.   Again remember that Jesus said you cannot serve two masters.   The second Greek word in this sentence describing the rich man is “idolater”.    What is an idolater?   This is a person that worships a manmade object.   Uh oh again for our rich man!   It is very clear to me that this rich man placed too much emphasis upon his possessions.  They had become his focus and they are clearly manmade objects of temporary status.  Do you understand why Jesus asked him to sell them now?  I could give you many more Bible verses on this subject but I have gone long enough today.

What I believe about Mark 10:25, is that Jesus was speaking of a literal camel and the literal eye of a needle with a human trying to pass this large beast through it.  That would be a nearly impossible task and that was the message being communicated to the church, but not to the rich man since he was not present to hear it.  Therefore, we should take this verse literally and see that the salvation of a rich man is a nearly impossible task.  However, we also need to balance that message with the fact that it was not the money that caused the problem but rather the love of the money that was at issue.

Jesus was clearly motivated by the heart condition of the rich man and tried to show him that the money and possession were his lord.   Know that Jesus deals with individual heart conditions differently.   Only man looks at the outward and sees a rich man and believes that he should be poor to be saved.   God looks at the man’s heart motivation for being rich and if it is for his love of these objects it will become the area that God will attempt to correct in our lives.

Each person is unique to God and only God knows what is taking priority over your relationship to Him.   What God tells me to get rid of will almost always be different than what God will tell you to get rid of.   And if you believe that God will never instruct you to get rid of anything then you are either deceived or a perfect person in need of no savior.

Jesus was teaching that it was impossible for anyone here on the earth that was rich to be saved if they did not put aside their love for their money to make Him their Lord.   While this is impossible for most men to do, we know from reading the Bible that with God all things are possible if we believe (Mat 10:27).   So a rich man can be saved if they want to learn how to enter through Jesus who is called the narrow gate in Mat 7:14.   Remember what Jesus said there in Matthew 7?   Jesus declared there were only two paths to choose from.   One narrow way was describing the selection as Jesus to be your Lord.   The other choice was a wide gate and a broad path and many there are that will choose it to their destruction (Mat 7:13).   This was a description of worldly lusts and desires that take the place of Jesus.  Please don’t allow something so temporary like money or possession be the reason for selecting the wrong path as this rich man in this lesson did today.   Thank you for your time reading and studying the Bible and until next time may you continue to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Genesis 3:14 – Was There a Literal Talking Serpent in the Garden? Pt 2

Snake-speak-300x224(Ver 1.2) This is now Part 10 in the Bible study series dedicated to understanding God’s spiritual subjects hidden beneath the natural words found in Genesis chapter 3.   This is also a continuation of the first lesson in the series relating to the subject, “Genesis 3:1 – Was There a Talking Serpent in the Garden?”  I taught on this first subject a long time ago but I was led not to publicly respond to an important question that I received concerning the meaning and application of what God says in Genesis 3:14 and how it relates to what was communicated to us by God in Genesis 3:1.  Since I received the same question recently, I felt led to now publish the answer for everyone else to study.   If you have not read “Part 1”, the introduction to the identity of the symbolic serpent to discover what the Spirit of God said about Genesis 3:1, I would recommend that you go back and read that lesson first before you continue on with this lesson.  Reading the foundational basics will just help to affirm what the Spirit of God says to you today while providing additional context information found in the rest of the chapter.   Also by reading this entire Genesis 3 lesson series you should be becoming spiritually aware of how many new subjects are found in this chapter.  Not recognizing spiritual content within the natural word description Bible story is one of the greatest reasons why we have such diverse opinions to what the words mean today.  That is why I have been teaching this series of lessons on Genesis 3 to help people think in a new spiritual way concerning the very specific words that the Spirit of God has inspired Moses to write in this chapter.  This will probably be a long lesson with many new things to learn.  I need to go into a level of additional detail in this lesson to help people see that reading Genesis 3 in isolation is a very easy way just to be confused.

WHAT ABOUT GENESIS 3:14?

 I am now going to respond to the direct reader question “What about Genesis 3:14”?    You see in the past there are has been so many Bible teachers within the Christian body that have taught concerning the existence of a literal talking snake in the garden which tempted Adam and Eve to sin that it is now difficult for anyone to accept any new revelation on the subject.  This popular natural way of thinking and teaching promoted the creation of a commonly misunderstood physical interpretation which violates the information given to us by God in the Bible, the natural laws of creation and the mathematical laws of God.  People often believe that God created these laws but then they do not believe that God chooses to live by them and I do not agree with that religious philosophy.  That type of reasoning promotes a God that says “Do as I say but do not do as I do”.  Man being made in the image and the likeness of God clearly must learn to follow and conform to His examples of behavior or we just fail in our own efforts.  I believe firmly that man was created to be an imitator of God’s ways.   Jesus clearly provided humans an example of this divine lifestyle in the natural when God appeared personally upon this planet.   Our Christian belief of following God’s and Jesus’ examples has created the popular modern concept of “WWJD”.  When humans are faced with challenging situations and circumstances they should stop and ask “What would Jesus Do”?   I believe a Christian should act like Christ, look like Christ and speak like Christ and in doing these point others to Christ.  You are free to disagree and not attempt to be like Christ.

This prominent teaching of a literal talking snake is also directly linked into the propagation of the many paintings of a naked man and women in the garden being pictured with a serpent in the tree performing the temptation to eat the forbidden fruit.  This has been the prevalent traditional viewpoint of this chapter and people accept it today because it has been so frequently and widely taught.   Everyone in the world telling you the same story over and over and us all hearing it told over and over causes people to accept it and believe it more easily, even if it was never true.  I have learned this concept by observing what has been happening in the world in the last 50 year with the gay community message.  50 years ago gays were not accepted and even looked negatively upon for their poor choice in lifestyles.   But during this time more and more gays have been opening up and “coming out of the closet” to proclaim themselves as being normal.    TV and movies began introducing the subject in the 1970’s and now it is mainstream and widely preached.   In the last 50 years gays have increasingly proclaimed their normalcy and demanded their acceptance and finally now the majority of the people in the world are buying into these lies to believe them as the truth.  However, even if everyone is in full agreement with a belief, that does not change the belief to be a God inspired truth.   Truth is only found in the Words of God.   But only the Spirit of God can reveal to us His truth in His Word.

This teaching about the literal talking serpent is what I call a tradition of men taught by men based upon a man’s carnal human reasoning rather than the actual Biblical spiritual insight from God.   We should become smart enough to see that none of these Bible teachers that teach on the subject of a literal talking snake can provide us with sufficient scriptures to back up their belief.  The Bible very clearly says to let every word be established in the mouths of two or three witnesses (Mat 18:16, 2 Cor 13:1).  That means we need at least one other reference apart from Genesis 3 where an actual serpent speaks to tempt a human in order to embrace that concept fully.  Can you search your Bible and find one for me?    God has established specific rules for rightly dividing the Word of Truth and not knowing these rules or choosing to ignore them will result in a chaos random Bible interpretation where any interpretation is truth.  We need to become wiser Christians verifying what people teach, applying the correct rules and not accepting blindly anything just because they said it (Acts 17:11).  That is what I want you to do with everything that I am going to say today.  You analyze it closely with the information found only in the Bible and if you don’t see it like I said it, then that is fine with me, don’t believe it.

What God has shown me is that there was no literal talking snake in the garden.   There are two primary reasons why many Christians do not see what is written by God in the Bible and one is that they think totally natural ignoring the spiritual elements of application or two they do not know how to study the Bible from a God spiritual author perspective.  I am going to address both of these situations today in this lesson.   My goal today is to teach you to think spiritually concerning Genesis 3:14.  You may not yet understand that thinking carnally is different than thinking spiritually but if you continue to read with an open mind you should be able to make the transition.  Carnally dominated people think that if they cannot see it, touch it, feel it, hear it, smell it or taste it, then they believe that it is not a reality or a state of truth.  In thinking this way they believe that spiritual things do not exist or that natural things are superior to spiritual things.  Carnal thinkers are totally dominated by the 5 sense realm.   Spiritual thinkers are more influenced with the Spirit of God, the Word of God and the unseen spiritual realm.   Being spiritually dominated versus being naturally dominated should become your goal today even if you do not understand it yet.

Ask yourself if natural things take precedence and priority over the spiritual things in your life?  Maybe I’ll help you, is eating natural food a bigger priority than eating God’s spiritual food from the Bible?  God says very clearly that “the unseen spiritual things are literally more important and permanent than anything observable here in this natural universe”.  That was my paraphrase of a verse found in 2 Corinthians 4:18.  Since all natural things were created by a Spirit (John 4:24) it should be self-evident that the spiritual realm pre-existed everything that is natural and therefore the spiritual realm is greater by definition.  What does it mean to be greater?  Is the created automobile greater than the manufacturer or is the manufacturer of the automobile superior to the created automobile?  If the manufacturer was broken the automobile could not fix it, but if the automobile was broken clearly the manufacturer could certainly repair it.  I think you get my point that only the Spirit of God can fix a human to see His superior spiritual ways.  Let’s go and begin the study of Genesis 3:14.

ANALYZING GENESIS 3:14 – GOD SPEAKS TO THE SERPENT

I want to begin this part of the Bible lesson by giving you the key Bible verse in question.   This Bible verse is easily misunderstood and commonly misapplied.  To remedy this problem we will be analyzing the words carefully in three distinct phrases using the Bible to define what the statements mean.  Allowing the Bible to render the interpretation will remove our opinions to what we have read discovering what God was speaking about in the verse to begin with.  God does not leave us helplessly guessing to what He has written.  God places so many clues in plain sight that it is amazing how we do not see them.   To correctly determine the verse’s interpretation using God’s methods, I need to give you a list of the basic rules for interpreting and understanding any verse found in the Old Testament.  These rules of correct Bible interpretation will take us out of the realm of unstructured random Bible study placing sound organization within the realm of intelligent constraints and these learned laws will provide order and structure to our Bible study methods.  I follow these rules whether I tell you about them or not.  But by me teaching you how these rules work, you will gain great benefit for how you study the Bible in the future.   I will also tell you that these rules of interpretation were given to me by the Spirit of God and I did not learn them from human teachers, so they may not agree with your seminary version of interpretation rules.

As you read this verse please allow the words to be fresh and new ignoring what you have heard about them in the past.   I say this because many times people need to remember that everyone was once taught that the earth was flat until some brave people like Columbus and Magellan proved this was clearly not an accurate truth.   To allow a round earth truth to become a fresh new normally accepted reality those that believed in the flat earth theory so firmly had to release their corrupted viewpoint in order to see the new.  This is what will also need to occur today with what God will teach you in this lesson.  It would even be good for you to stop and say a prayer before you start reading God’s Word and ask Him to allow you to see how He sees the words.  Only by changing to look at the Bible from God’s point of view can we begin to see the truth from the author’s perspective and not a skewed human viewpoint or opinion.    Are you ready to begin?

  • Gen 3:14  The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.

This verse begins with the LORD God speaking directly to the stated serpent.  This “serpent” is the same being that was introduced to the reader in verse 1 because God repeats the same Hebrew word H5175 in both verses.   This Hebrew word occurs 5 times in this chapter and this mention in verse 14 is the last time God uses the word in this chapter.   The other word references are found in Genesis 3:1, 2, 4 and 13.   The Hebrew word H5175 by Strong’s definition means a “literal snake”.  But is that what this word is really referring to in this chapter?  How do we know when to take a word to be literal versus making it a figurative or symbolic representation for something else?   That is the answer that we will seek in God’s Word and I hope and pray that you are ready to learn how to do this.  I will mention briefly that the only other time this Hebrew word for snake is mentioned in the book of Genesis is when it is found in a prophecy spoken by Jacob about his sons.  It would be good for us to stop and take a look at how God used this word there to potentially apply that knowledge to what we are reading in Genesis 3:

  • Gen 49:17  Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

I must ask you, is this mention of a serpent a literal snake or a figurative representation?  Does the son of Jacob named Dan change or transform into a literal serpent?   It would be extremely ignorant to think that this is a literal prophetic statement.  Why then do people believe the serpent in Genesis 3 which is the exact same Hebrew word must be literal also?   It is interesting to note that if we consistently interpret every H5175 word occurrence in Genesis as being symbolic that this would further match the 5 serpent references that are found in the book of Revelation which I believe are equally all symbolic for the same creature.  I also find it very interesting that the tribe of Dan is never mentioned in the book of Revelation when the other 11 are clearly named in chapter 7.  Just thought I would throw that fact in for you to consider since Dan is prophesied to be a serpent in Genesis 49.   Let us look at the definition of this word given to us by Strong:

  • H5175
  • From H5172; a snake (from its hiss): – serpent.

In the definition of the Hebrew word H5175, Strong defines it to be a snake and never mentions that this word could be used figuratively and I believe that was an oversight on his part since we clearly saw in Genesis 49 that this word was used this way in relation with the prophecy to describe Dan.   Then further notice that this definition includes the sound that a literal snake makes as a “hiss”.  I found that part of the definition to be an extreme contradiction to what was just recorded in this chapter 3 of Genesis by God.  Nowhere in this chapter is this serpent ever hissing before or after the fall of man.  This hissing sound is based upon the Hebrew root word and we will get to that soon but it also corresponds to the modern or present day noise that a literal snake makes and that does not conform to what is witnessed occurring in Genesis 3.  This is where too many people try to come up with creative unstated explanations for what they believe must have occurred.   These people automatically assume that snakes could talk before the fall but after the fall serpents were reduced to hissing sounds only.  I call that a work of fiction based upon imaginative suppositions.  Perhaps it will be good to review the first verses of Genesis 3 and learn the sounds the serpent is stated to have made:

  • Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
  • Gen 3:2  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
  • Gen 3:3  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
  • Gen 3:4  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
  • Gen 3:5  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

This described serpent in Genesis 3 is clearly speaking with extreme intelligent terms using logical and informed reasoning with plainly understandable word statements in verses 1 through 5.  Not only can the serpent think clearly and talk perceptively, but this being can hear and understand the women’s responses and communicate back with her on a level that is clearly above her.  Believe me I am not saying that the woman was stupid; I believe she is very intelligent but this being must be far above her level of understanding if he is able to deceive her so easily.   I want you to go back and notice that the serpent knew what God had said to Adam in verse 1 where there was no mention of a serpent being present during this discussion in chapter 2.  How is that even possible?  We must conclude from this information that the serpent was either present but not mentioned in Genesis 2 or that the serpent heard about this event from another source that was present and that only included the stated participants God and Adam.  Based upon Bible information given about Satan either one of these could have occurred.  For example take the story of Job the oldest book of the Bible.  In this book Satan appears before God to discuss a human named Job and this story is very relevant to what we need to understand about what is given to us concerning Adam and Eve.

  • Job 1:7  And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

I want you to notice certain facts given to us about Satan in this verse.  The name Satan means “adversary” or “enemy” and this clearly denotes Satan’s position at this time to not be a friend of God.   Yet, Satan has just come from the earth in order to have a conversation with God.  We therefore know that God and Satan talk and even communicate about human events.  This could be the way that Satan found out about Adam’s conversation with God in Genesis 2.  However the last part of this verse also applies to Genesis since Satan is walking about the earth even though there is no mention of him being seen by the human man named Job.   Since Job knows nothing about Satan what would make you think Adam knew anything about him either?  Satan very clearly walks the earth after the fall of man in the book of Job, could this be the way that Satan found out about the conversation in Genesis 2?  I believe it could be.  Adam was clearly given the task to guard and protect the garden before the fall of man occurred and this had to be guarding it from an external being like Satan since he is the only being that appeared on the scene in chapter 3 to deceive his wife.  Since the first 5 verses occur before the fall of man, this proves that Satan had access on the earth before the fall as well as after the fall of man.

What we have just discovered is that Satan has great ability to communicate with beings even with an extreme intelligent being like God the creator and this means him speaking with a man or a woman on the earth is probably more like child’s play than speaking with God where he is clearly the child.    Regardless of how Satan knew of the conversation the fact remains that this stated Genesis 3 serpent being had great knowledge of past events with outstanding memory recall abilities and that is very important to understand who you are dealing with.    Satan has been here on the earth for at least the last 6000 years and you have been here probably far less than a100 years.  Who do you think knows more you are him?

These facts found in Genesis 3:1-5 would appear to me to be a direct contradiction to what God says in the Bible in chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis if this is a literal snake.  All the land animals were created on the first part of day 6 of creation before man was created last as the culmination of all of God’s creation.   So would that order of creation make the animals supreme to the man because they were first?  Or did God leave all of His creation in the hands of the supreme last created beings as I believe occurred?  God says that man was created to have dominion which means to rule and have authority over ALL of the animals in Genesis 1:26.  I do not see how a lower created being could have been fashioned to be smarter than God’s man made in the image and likeness of God himself.   I do not recall any other being that was made to be like God in Genesis 1 or 2.  I also recall no other recorded conversation between God and any other created being.  Both of those are major problems for those who believe in a literal talking snake that deceives Eve.   We are already discovering some very significant inconsistencies in what is being defined and stated versus what is being taught by many preachers and teachers in the church today.  This is a very good time to dig deeper into the Hebrew word definition translated as “serpent” to discover what else is contained within this word.  This Hebrew word H5175 comes from the Hebrew root word H5172 and that is a very important new word to learn and apply to what is being communicated to us by God here in Genesis 3.

  • H5172
  • A primitive root; properly to hiss, that is, whisper a (magic) spell; generally to prognosticate: –  X certainly, divine, enchanter, (use) X enchantment, learn by experience, X indeed, diligently observe.

This Hebrew root word contains the meaning of a “prognosticator”.  Do you know what that is?  That is someone who foretells the future.  This is what many would call a fortune teller who speaks words about forthcoming events in your life.   Do these still exist today?   Are they still talking snakes?    Let’s go back and review the conversation that the woman had in the first 5 verses again using this new information.  Do you recall what the serpent said to the woman?  The serpent begins the conversation with a question to engage her mind.   The serpent asked “Did God say?”   The serpent’s question in verse 1 includes a stated connection back to what God said in chapter two as previously stated in this lesson.  Then when the woman responded to that question in verses 2 and 3 the serpent responds back in verse 4 “No, you shall not surely die”.  Didn’t the serpent just attempt to foretell the woman’s future with this statement?   I find that fact very significant to know.  Then in verse 5 the serpent makes a claim that is beyond comprehension.  The serpent claims to know what God knows.  How could a created inferior being on the earth even come close to knowing what the creator God knows and how would the created superior man and woman not know the same thing or even other greater truths that God shared in personal conversations with them?   Of course many people will counter this information that I just stated with the fact that Jesus claimed the devil was the father of lies (John 8:44) and therefore the serpent was lying in all of these statements.  But using that logic just made this serpent the same as the devil and not a literal talking snake, so which one is it?  You can’t have it both ways even though some have tried to claim the devil possessed the physical body of a created serpent in order to communicate with the woman and I gave you New Testament evidence that this would be an illegal supernatural temptation for the devil to do it this way.  I’m not going to repeat that again.  So far we have at least three possible interpretations given for the identity of the serpent by Bible teachers and these are:

  1. A literal talking snake (A NATURAL ONLY INTERPRETATION)
  2. The devil possessing a literal snake with the devil doing the speaking (A COMBINED NATURAL WITH SPIRITUAL INTEPRETATION)
  3. The devil in the spirit realm talking to the mind of Eve (A SPIRITUAL ONLY INTERPRETATION)

So far I believe that the evidence being presented by God in the Bible dictates that the serpent can only be number 3, but number 2 can be easily beleived by many to be the truth also until you put all of the pieces of the puzzle together correctly and see that this is not possible.   Number 1 is definitely out of the question but we will explore more of why this is not possible also.   What are the facts presented to us so far?

  1. We know the serpent is smart and possesses great intelligence.
  2. We know that the serpent had recall of past events even when not stated to be present during the occurrence of them.  We know the serpent knew what God had said in previous conversations with Adam.
  3. We know that the serpent can remember, think and reason.
  4. We know that the serpent can speak clearly understandable words.
  5. We know that the serpent predicts the future speaking of events that have not transpired whether they are completely accurate or fictitious is really irrelevant to the facts given.
  6. We know from verse 1 in Genesis 3 that the serpent is very cunning. 

There is at least one recorded conversation between man and God in chapter 2.   God’s voice is also described to be walking with man in the garden in Genesis 3:8.   This description clearly makes it sound like it was not the first time that this voice of God walked there since Adam and Eve both recognized Him being present.   But up until this point in Genesis 3 I want you to see clearly that there have been no recorded conversations between a serpent and God, yet this creature is clearly more informed than the man and the woman to know how to deceive them.

I really hope you have read the entire Genesis 3 series of lessons because I’m not going to repeat them here.   I did one lesson on the subject “You shall be as God Knowing Good and Evil” and that was a prophecy of misfortune but yet it would still come to pass.  This statement literally contains the implied knowledge that the serpent understood the current status of God.   All of this information is a direct contradiction for a literal snake to know how to speak, to know the status of God and His thoughts or to even predict the future of the woman.  This is a major problem for a literal only interpretation yet it is explained away because of what people think that Genesis 3:14 says.

Please review the definition for the Hebrew root word H5172 again and see how it was defined.  It is stated to be a literal hiss but then it is directly tied into someone whispering a chant or a magic spell.  This changes the word’s usage from a literal hiss sound to become a potential figurative or symbolic word application.   Do you have any clue yet how Satan communicates to you every day?  Did you even know that the serpent is still speaking to people like you and I every day?   Doesn’t Satan still come to us using whispered subtle phrases?  Aren’t these whispered words of temptation picked up by your mind so that you can hear them as thoughts?  Satan will come to your mind and whisper a thought to entice you and many respond to this mental stimulus, even Christians.  The reader of this chapter can still ignore all of this information and try to take these initial verse statements of Genesis 3:1-5 and 3:13 and 14 literally.  Many people will still try to think that God was speaking to a literal created being that thinks and talks like a man no matter what I teach to the contrary.  But if those that want to see what the Bible really says they should begin to weigh the growing evidence for how this serpent was just a symbolic named reference for the hidden spiritual being named Satan who was not yet revealed to man.   But we need more Bible verses to confirm which viewpoint is the truth and that is the objective today for us to find.  Let’s continue analyzing the phrases in Genesis 3:14 and see the next stated expression.

  • “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field;

Again in this next statement of Genesis 3:14 we can see a common theme reappearing from Genesis 3:1 in that the serpent is similarly compared to the “cattle” a subset of the beasts of the field and then God compares the serpent to the superset of “all the beasts of the field”.   We should easily know that a literal serpent is not from the livestock mammal class of beings so that is pretty simple to understand that the serpent does not belong in that set or class of created beings.  But again in this verse we see the word ALL being placed in front of the noun set of the “beasts of the field” to qualify the applicable scope of the statement.   Since “ANY”, “EVERY” and “ALL” are synonymous terms and they mean none are omitted from the specified set of referenced nouns we know by this statement made by God alone that the specified serpent is not a member of the “beast of the field” superset or class of created beings either.    This is not rocket science but people ignore the words on the page to render what they want them to say.   God chose these words so it is very important for you not to ignore one word like “all” because it does not conform to what you think it needs to say.  Let’s move on to the last controversial statement that was made by God to the serpent and explore this for the remainder of the Bible lesson:

  • On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;

People still look at this last statement in verse 14 wondering what it means.  In fact that is exactly what initiated this entire Bible lesson and why I am attempting to respond to two different commenters.  God says in the last part of the verse that the serpent will travel on its belly and eat dust.  Here is where people again begin to jump to erroneous assumptions and wrong conclusions misunderstanding and misapplying what was actually stated.   Because everyone knows that has seen a literal modern snake at the zoo or in their yard that they slither on the ground on their bellies as the primary way to get around they therefore assume that this is what God was declaring to happen.  Thus they believe that God was talking to a literal snake and this is where they become more creative again to imagine or invent some new unstated explanation of what God just said in His Word.    I have heard more than one preacher try to claim that the serpent before the curse walked using legs but after the curse his legs were removed and now he had to slither in the dust on its belly.  That is the required logic that must have transpired for a literal interpretation.  But, that type of belief or reasoning is based upon a form of reverse evolution.  Reverse evolution occurs when a higher formed creature returns, regresses, reverts or mutates backwards to a lesser or inferior form of creation.   This belief is the stated antithesis of the theory of “evolution” also taught as the “evolving” of lesser beings classes that are raised to a higher state of development class by some unknown miracle.  I have a major problem with believing in either of those two theoretical scenarios since there is no written evidence or fossil evidence that either of these theories ever occurred.  If there were walking snakes before the fall then there should be some fossil evidence for them found somewhere on the earth.    Instead of thinking on these words from a completely natural perspective inventing creative untruths to confirm them, let’s divert our attention away and try to see the words from a new spiritual point of view.  We can only counter theories with facts.  We therefore need facts from the Bible that trump the reverse evolution belief.

Do you understand what symbolism is in the Bible?   I have already tried to explain that the “serpent” was a symbolic reference to a spiritual being named Satan as revealed by God in Revelation.   God uses vast amounts of symbolism in the book of Revelation but yet people like to think that God never used symbolism anywhere else in the Bible especially in Genesis.  Suddenly people want to think that God changes to do something new in Revelation and uses a novel technique never before used in the Bible.  But that is clearly not sound reasoning to think that way.  For example, Jesus taught consistently in the Gospels using parables.  What is a parable?  A parable is a lesson about spiritual things using natural symbolic references to convey the message.   Clearly Jesus used natural symbols and I could give you other uses of symbols in the Bible if you do not believe me ask me a question and I will supply you with an introduction to the subject found in the O.T. and even in Genesis.

There is another important concept that is related directly to symbolism found in the Bible called a “figure of speech”.    Do you understand what a figure of speech represents?   I’ll not go into this in depth but I will attempt to give you a couple of examples of a figure of speech to help affirm the conclusion.  If a person today says “You are a pain in my neck”, was he saying something literally or figuratively?  I believe you are smart enough to know that this is a figurative description of the person and not a literal one.  You can see God using this illustrated type of speaking example in the Bible several times when He says to the natural people of Israel “Wipe them out or they will become thorns in your side” (Num 33:55, Jos 23:13, Jdg 2:3).   You see God was not speaking to Israel literally so He must have been declaring a figurative statement that they should have been smart enough to recognize.   What is a thorn in your side?   That is just an example of someone who causes you physical, mental or emotional harm or causes you to stumble over something that results in physical, mental or emotional harm.  In these three Bible examples that I just gave you, God was saying these people will introduce you to their idols and by you worshiping them these people will cause you great negative consequences.   That is exactly what God was doing in Genesis 3:14 when speaking to the symbolic serpent.  God was not telling the serpent that he just lost his legs; He was saying something else which you do not even yet understand.

RULES FOR O.T. BIBLE INTERPRETATION

How can we find the meaning of these figurative and symbolic words in the Old Testament?  How do we understand any verse written in the Old Testament if the Jews could read them all for centuries but never saw any of the words that described Jesus’ coming?   These are finally great questions to answer.   Please allow me to introduce you to some very basic rules for O.T. Bible interpretation and understanding.  Read these rules over and then I’ll explain them and apply them more completely as we continue into the rest of the Bible study:

We can only understand the O.T by:

  1. First understanding that the Bible is ONE BOOK written by ONE AUTHOR with superior intelligence (2 Tim 3:16)!  Therefore, we must not study one part of the Bible trying to understand it while ignoring the other parts of the Bible that reveal it.
  2. Secondarily understanding that the Bible interprets itself and we need not add our opinion to the mix or we will violate God’s law of correct interpretation found in 2 Peter 1:20.
  3. Next understanding the revelations, explanation and descriptions of the words, concepts and subjects found in the verses in the New Testament.  The Bible is progressive revelation also called the unveiling, the uncovering or the revelation of the truth (Rom 16:25).
  4. Searching, finding and observing God’s definitions of the words and subjects in the New Testament and other parts of the Bible where they are given (Col 1:26).
  5. Observing the context of the verses around it.
  6. Observing God’s usage of the same Hebrew words in the other verses of the O.T.
  7. Looking up the definitions of the Hebrew words in dictionaries like Strong’s.

That is certainly not an exhaustive list of rules for correct O.T. Bible interpretation but that was enough to help get you started moving in the right direction for studying this part of the Bible.  I have just given you a short “to do” list for O.T. Bible study.  This is a list of items to consider when desiring to know what you are reading from the Old Testament.  These are very specific things that you should not ignore but rather learn, apply and deliberate on while you read the Bible.  These are very direct items that are essential for studying to find God’s revealed answers to your questions.   These are the basic rules that I follow and I will apply them directly to the rest of this lesson to teach you how you should apply them to what you do.  Not understanding them and applying them is the primary reason why many Christians do not know what the words on the pages mean.   They simply have not been taught how to resolve the lack of structure for how they study the Bible.  I hope that you at least try to use this initial list and see how it changes what you find in the Bible.  If you find them to not be useful, then that does not bother me but it might reveal why we believe differently about the same verse.  Let’s study the verse here in Genesis 3:14 using these rules and see what develops and changes about what we can see in the verse.

I will say that rule number 1 is a general statement of fact and truth.  It is repeated in more detail in rules 2, 3 and 4.  The combination of the first four rules is us finding God’s details and interpretations already recorded in the Bible.   We do this these through other rules that I may or may not get into fully in this lesson.  I just mention this because I know them and you probably do not unless you have read most of my other Bible lessons where I give you descriptions in certain places on how to use them.  I’m sorry I just can’t teach everything that I know in every Bible lesson or I would never get a lesson completed.

RULES 1 AND 2: ALLOWING GOD TO INTERPRET HIS WORD

I want to begin with rules 1 and 2 of every sound Bible interpretation.  We must allow God the author of the entire Bible to interpret His own words in order to leave our thoughts out of the meanings.   God’s mind is superior to my mind and yours.  When we introduce the thoughts of our mind into the discussion we introduce an inferior process and way of thinking.  I have discovered from many years of Bible study that God is smart enough to interpret His own writings if we can become smart enough to learn how to find them and apply them.   That is your number one challenge being issued within the Word of God.  Go find the verses that explain the verse that you want to learn about in the Old Testament.  That is what we need to do next so let’s go looking for some New Testament explanatory words for what we have read in Genesis 3:14.

RULES 3 & 4: WHAT DOES THE NEW TESTAMENT TEACH ABOUT SERPENTS?

Since someone was questioning if the serpent in Genesis 3 was literal or symbolic we need to ask what does the New Testament say about “serpents” and how should these references be applied to this question concerning Genesis 3?    Can you see that I have already answered a portion of this question in the previous lessons in the series?  I pointed you to two verses in Revelation (Rev 12:9 & Rev 20:2) where God directly identifies and names the “old serpent” and the “ancient serpent” to be the literal enemy Satan.  This was a God inspired definition that was further mentioned within the context of another symbolic name for the same individual called the “dragon” and that truth helps to teach us that the serpent and the dragon are both symbolic titles for Satan.   We need to treat both referenced titles of the serpent and the dragon to be equivalent for the literal spiritual being named Satan.  There are also other references to a serpent in Revelation and one is found in Revelation 9:19 where God uses this same word to be like something else.  This fact teaches us that God is in the practice of using a serpent as symbolism to teach us about spiritual things that we have never observed with our eyes.  The next reference that I gave was that of Revelation 12:9 but also in this same chapter God uses the serpent again as symbolism to be associated with a symbolic woman also mentioned in the same chapter.  I hope that you have already read my Bible study on Genesis 3:15 called “The Seed of the Woman and the Seed of the Serpent”.   If not you really do not understand that Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12 are parallel prophecies of a soon coming future event.

If you continue to read down in Revelation 12 to verse 14 you will see the woman and a serpent being mentioned in the same verse.  I’m not going to elaborate on these, just understand that they are both symbolic for someone else.    In the very next verse Revelation 12:15 you will find the fifth reference in Revelation to a serpent.  In this verse you should be smart enough to see that this serpent is again a symbolic reference and he is stated to spew symbolic water out of his mouth like a flood to cause the woman to be carried away by the flow.   I really do not have the time to teach this chapter in full.  Just understand that the woman and the serpent are both clear symbols for a greater defined spiritual reality and God is for the woman and against the serpent.   We also know that the woman is not named or identified directly but the serpent was and that is what we were searching for to understand Genesis 3:14. This is just very basic information that helps us to confirm that the serpent in Genesis 3:1 through 3:14 was not a literal reference but rather also a symbolic association.

The term “serpent” is only mentioned in 15 verses of the KJV New Testament.  Only once can it possibly be considered to be a literal created serpent moving on the ground.  Let me give you all of these verses so that you can review them for yourself to learn how God uses the term:

Verse

Symbolic/Literal

Description

Matthew 7:10 Symbolic Referenced by Jesus in a teaching about Father giving the Holy Spirit
Matthew 10:16 Symbolic Referenced by Jesus in a teaching to His disciples about them being wise as a serpent but harmless has doves both symbolic references
Matthew 23:33 Symbolic/Figurative Speaking Jesus speaking the leaders of Israel calling them a generation of vipers.
Mark 16:18 Symbolic Jesus instructing the disciples after His resurrection often called the Great Commission
Luke 10:19 Symbolic Jesus speaking in contextual reference to Satan giving authority to His church to tread on the serpent
Luke 11:11 Symbolic Jesus speaking to the church about the Father in Heaven giving the Holy Spirit
John 3:14 Symbolic Reference to O.T. symbol being placed on a pole by Moses
1 Cor 10:9 Symbolic/Literal Possibly a reference to either or both a symbolic and literal snakes killing Israeli people in the wilderness who disobeyed God
2 Cor 11:3 Symbolic An explanatory reference written about Eve being deceived in her mind by the serpent
James 3:7 Literal Here James is using a reference to taming created animals and creatures but this is a totally different Greek word than all the other references to a serpent.  This one is G2062 and is translated as “creeping thing” every other time in the N.T.
Rev 9:19 Symbolic Used by God to describe the 4 angels that kill 1/3 of the human race during the tribulation
Rev 12:9 Symbolic Verse where God identifies Satan to be the serpent of old
Rev 12:14 Symbolic Symbolic connection of the woman and the serpent found in Genesis 3:15
Rev 12:15 Symbolic Symbolic connection of the woman and the serpent in Genesis 3:15
Rev 20:2 Symbolic God again clarifies the identity of the ancient serpent to be Satan

I just gave you 14 verses containing the direct references to the Greek word G3789 translated as “serpent” and the evidence is very clear to me that the vast majority of the N.T. word usage must be considered as symbolic references to a spiritual being.  The only verse that I could possibly leave to be a natural snake was 1 Corinthians 10:19 when God was describing what occurred to the natural people of Israel in the wilderness after they disobeyed God.  Every other reference appears to be a symbol for Satan and the enemy of God.  I can still see how people could argue about some verses being literal but that is probably because they do not see what is stated.  For example the 2 times that Jesus speaks about a father giving his son a serpent when the son asks for a fish is definitely an example of a parable where all named nouns represent a spiritual reality not named.  The literal symbol of a snake in these verses is used by Jesus to teach a spiritual lesson.  Then consider John 3:14 where the serpent was placed on a pole to bring healing to the people of Israel in the wilderness.  This is clearly another symbolic representation for Christ being made sin for the salvation of His people in the New Testament.  I do not know how you can ignore all of this evidence?   If the New Testament references are 13 out of 14 for the “serpent” being symbolic in the N.T. then this teaches us that we must consider this information and apply it to what we are trying to understand in the Old Testament.  God would not have given us so many clear examples if we were supposed to not understand them.  So if you did not realize it already, I have just used the first four rules of O.T. Bible interpretation to discover the explanation, definition and identity of the “serpent” in Genesis 3.

I would also like to teach you a basic Bible fact that the O.T. was written in Hebrew and the N.T. was written in Greek.  How then do we know that a N.T. Greek word is equivalent to a given O.T. Hebrew word?   That is another Bible interpretation rule that needs to be learned and observed.  There are generally two ways to solve this language difference problem.  The first primary way is to find an O.T. verse that is quoted in the N.T. that contains the word that you are searching for.   Since the “serpent” word is not found in this manner we must use plan B.   Plan B is finding a verse that speaks about the subjects found in the O.T. even though it is not a direct quote.   Since 2 Corinthians 11:3 contains the subjects of Eve and the serpent together we can confirm conclusively that the Greek Word G3789 is equivalent to the Hebrew word H5175.   We are now assured by rule definition that these verses found in the N.T. are speaking to us about the same subject given by the author in Genesis 3.   That was a very important part of the study that I just gave you.   I did not use random chance to connect O.T. words with N.T. words.  I used rule based methods that were designed by God and that changes everything.

RULE 5: WHAT IS THE CONTEXT OF GENESIS 3:14?

Let’s move on to rule number five for correct Bible interpretation.  This rule involves us observing the context of the verse in question.  This would include the speakers, the participants and the intended reader audience.  Let’s begin this section of study by observing the next verse 15 following Genesis 3:14 because I believe this is very relevant information.   I have already published a Bible study on this subject that you should have previously read but if not we will go back over parts of it very quickly.  The statement in verse 15 is a continuation of the statement in verse 14, do you understand this?  Therefore whatever God was talking about in verse 14 is still being continued in verse 15.  I cannot disconnect the two verses and neither can you if you use wisdom.  God is still speaking to the same symbolic serpent but God is now introducing a new important connection for the serpent.   I’ll give you the verse so that you can read it again for a mental refresher:

  • Gen 3:15  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

God introduces us to a woman in verse 15 that He declares to be the serpent’s new forthcoming or prophetical enemy.  God says very clearly I will put enmity (hostility or hatred) between you (the serpent) and her (the woman).  Right there that new statement should become a mental “turn on the light bulb moment” clue for you that this stated serpent is not a literal physical talking snake.  Yes women are not the usual friends with natural snakes but that is clearly not what God is saying in this prophesy.  You do realize that this statement was a prophetical statement, don’t you?   Eve was the only literal physical woman present during this conversation, therefore you must show me where she ever stepped on the head of this physical snake to bruise her heal or bruise the literal serpent’s head.  Since you cannot find a verse that states this occurred, that is a major problem for a physical or literal snake’s existence as being cursed by God in verse 14.   A physical serpent’s life span in this day and age is less than 50 years by far.  Therefore this event if it was a literal snake must have occurred during a time span of reasonable age less than the life time of the woman in this chapter.  Since it was not recorded as a past event we must now reassess if a literal snake makes any logical sense at all anywhere in this chapter.

No God is again speaking purely prophetically and figuratively in verse 15 using natural symbols for a coming spiritual event.  The woman is symbolic, the seed is symbolic, the heel is symbolic and therefore the serpent must also be symbolic along with the head of the serpent.  If you can find me where any literal woman, heel or seed steps on the head of any literal snake to bruise it then we can all join together into the same belief that this is a literal historic account of literal beings.   I believe what we have just confirmed is that verse 15 is symbolic and matches what I previously showed you to be symbolic references in Revelation 12.   If the context of Genesis 3:15 is both prophetic and symbolic, then the previous verse 14 references must also be prophetic and symbolic and that changes most everyone’s way of viewing it.  This means in verse 14 the serpent is symbolic, the belly of the serpent is symbolic and even the dust is symbolic for some things that you have not yet discovered.  Who knows if I have convinced anyone yet, but we are not finished with the study so please continue to read the next important Bible interpretation rule application.

RULE 6: HOW DOES GOD USE THIS PHRASE IN OTHER O.T. VERSES?

Let’s review what else God says about this subject in the Hebrew Old Testament to consider the further usage of the words found in Genesis 3:14.  We are interested primarily in what God says about a serpent eating dust so I did a search for these key words and found a verse that you must read and apply to what was stated by God in Genesis 3:14.  Obviously God knew that He would have many people that would not understand His selection of the words in Genesis 3:14 so He uses them again to teach us what they mean later in another prophet’s words.  Read this verse slowly and carefully and observe it to be a prophecy on the same subject:

  • Mic 7:17  They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of thee.

I need you to examine this verse word by word and then if you don’t know the answers to my questions go and read the context of this verse to see who God is speaking to and about.   I guess I was going to first ask you who and what this verse is concerning but I better just answer it for you so you learn how to do this.  If you go back to Micah 1:1 you will find God informing the prophet Micah concerning the kings of Judah concerning the area of Samaria and the city of Jerusalem.  Therefore the rest of this book is written by that direction and must be interpreted in that light.   When God writes to them and tells them in chapter 7 verse 17 that they will lick the dust like a serpent, is that literal or is that figuratively speaking terminology?   I can see how people will try to make it literal but God is speaking to men using symbolic application.   I connected this verse in Micah to Genesis by looking for “serpent” and “dust” together in the same verse.  God uses a synonymous reference for eating with the term lick but they are basically equivalent phrasings.  I can very clearly eat an ice cream cone by licking it.   Let’s pursue another example of God’s usage of this term in another prophet’s writing:

  • Isa 65:25  The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

Here is another important verse to consider for us understanding Genesis 3:14.  Here is a verse written by the prophet Isaiah literally many hundreds of years after the prophet Moses wrote Genesis and this verse contains the exact same three Hebrew words that Moses used in the Genesis text.  These words are H6083 translated as “dust”, H398 translated as “eat” or “meat” and finally H5175 translated as “serpent”.   The translators made a slight modification so that the one word “eat” from Genesis 3:14 is not easily recognizable but that is why I searched using the Strong’s numbers and not the English words.  Did you read this verse and consider how it applies to Genesis 3:14?   Is the verse in Isaiah speaking literally or figuratively?   I also want to ask you is this statement a historical past tense description, a present tense right now (at the time of the writing) description or a prophetical future tense based event description?   I can potentially hear many different answers to my question but only one answer can be correct.   Since this is the prophet Isaiah writing many, many years after Moses wrote Genesis 3:14 and both are speaking of the same thing I cannot agree that this occurred in past history in Genesis 3.  No, I see both statements in Genesis 3 and Isaiah 65 to be written about a future coming prophetic event that has not yet occurred.   If you do not agree then explain to my when you ever saw a lamb lie down with a lamb and dwell in peace and safety?  For that matter when was the last time you saw a wolf eat straw regularly?  Then analyze the last part of this verse and tell me when this has occurred in the Bible?   God describes that His Holy Mountain will never again be destroyed nor will there be found any hurt or pain present there?   I just don’t have the time to explain this verse fully.  Please know that this has not yet occurred and will not occur until the end of Revelation the last chapters.   Then know that if this verse is a future speaking prophecy it helps us to understand how Genesis 3:14 is concerning the same prophecy.

I want you to understand very clearly that Isaiah 65:2 and Genesis 3:14 are the only two verses in the entire Old Testament (23,145 verses)  that contains these three exact Hebrew words together.  Do you believe that was a coincidence or a chance occurrence?   I really do not believe that.  God has placed a design in the Bible using extreme intelligence.  He has implement certain rules of interpretation that are being revealed now to help us through the use of computers to find the meanings of what was written thousands of years ago.

CONCLUSION

Since I have already used Rule 7 in previous discussions of the Hebrew word for “serpent” I will not redo that work in this part of the lesson.   I pray that you understand how I applied the definition of the word in Strong’s and the Hebrew root word to the lesson to show how it was used symbolically.   I have covered the application of seven Bible rules of interpretation.  We have explored New Testament references and definitions and applied them to what was spoken of by God in Genesis 3:14.  We have looked at the context of Genesis 3:14 to see that it was  both prophetic and symbolic.   We have looked for and found other verses in the O.T. to further confirm this was also a prophesy found in Genesis 3:14.  What I have attempted to do is to teach you that the words of a verse in Genesis can have a much different intended purpose by God than a literal only interpretation.  I have used sound rules to give you a new and different way of seeing the words.  I may have not fully explained what the words “upon your belly you shall go and eat dust all the days of your life” mean but I have tried to teach that God does offer a way to learn what they mean by searching the Bible.  If you still do not understand we can do more lessons later on this subject of the symbolic serpent if you ask direct questions about what I have presented to you.  From everything that I have found so far in the Bible there is only evidence given by God to support a symbolic reference for the serpent in Genesis 3 to be Satan and not a literal talking snake.   I thank you for taking the time to read this advanced Bible study lesson and please help others to see what God has said in His Word.

Understanding Isaiah 53 the Good News of God’s Substitutionary Saving Grace! Part 1

Isaiah-Bible-Series(ver 1.1)   This is Part 1 in a lesson series on understanding the prophesied saving work of Jesus predicted to come in Isaiah 53.  I recently received a valid important question concerning the prophecies found in Isaiah 53.   The basis for the question was who this chapter was about, who are the players and characters being described and is this God pouring out His judgment upon someone and why was it necessary?  As part of this question I surmised that this also included the implied question of, “Was all of this prophecy fulfilled and if yes, what was accomplished by the fulfillment of this prophecy?”    I will not be attempting to answer every part of all these questions in this single Bible lesson today.   In order to understand the deep subjects of any chapter in the Bible we must first regress to understand the very basic subjects that establish the foundation for the deep.   Therefore today’s lesson is a teaching of the basic concepts found in Isaiah 53 to lay the foundation for the coming more complex subjects being mentioned.   I pray that you understand why I teach in this manner.  Paul said “I fed you milk and not with meat because you were not able to bear it” (1 Cor 3:2).  God teaches us very clearly that we should not get the cart before the horse and expect the passage to be successful while striving for deeper knowledge and understanding.   Therefore I am going to leave the meat parts of this subject to a future lesson in the series and focus upon the more important subjects in today’s lesson.

This chapter of the Old Testament is actually vital to understand as a Christian.  God places certain facts here that apply to us today and these help us understand why some people are saved and some are not.   In the English King James Version of the Bible there are several Hebrew words that were poorly translated by the translators.   These mistranslated Hebrew words cause serious doubts and even confusion when read in isolation ignoring the New Testament explanations and descriptions.  Without studying and researching what these original Hebrew words really mean people are left wondering what was actually prophesied by God to occur and who these words were really written about.   Also when we find the Hebrew scripture being quoted in the New Testament many of the Greek language translations were done with greater degree of accuracy.  Why the translators were not smart enough to be consistent I cannot explain but I have learned that I must find the answers from the New Testament in order to understand the writings of the Old Testament.

There is an essential basic concept found on the pages of the Old Testament that is absolutely crucial to understanding any of it.  Every word found on the pages of the Old Testament is completely true from a natural perspective but the spiritual meanings of the words have been hidden from the natural human viewpoint being veiled from their carnal minds.   I know of very few Bible teachers that teach or try to explain this spiritual veiled writing technique.  I have learned this fact simply because the Holy Spirit taught it to me personally and I did not learn it from any human teacher.   That is exactly why I teach this over and over to allow more people to understand the importance of this truth.   Every unsaved person will never be able to read the O.T. in isolation and figure out what it is all about.  Even carnal baby Christians do not have a clear perspective to what the O.T. was written about.  In today’s lesson whatever I say about the chapter of Isaiah 53 will come directly from the New Testament and this is the proper way to understand any verse written in the O.T.  In doing this we allow the Holy Spirit to interpret and define the O.T. words that are presented.     I am going to focus only on the first verse in this lesson on Isaiah 53.   I believe that Isaiah 53:1 contains the key to unlock the rest of the chapter.  In other words if you do not understand Isaiah 53:1 completely you will not understand the verses that follow. We will discover this fact by continuing to read and learn what the Holy Spirit has to say about it.

IS ISAIAH 53 EASILY UNDERSTOOD?

What I am going to do to begin this lesson is to turn to a story in the New Testament and go through a good portion of it to help confirm what I have just introduced you to in the first few paragraphs concerning the hidden spiritual information found in the O.T.   I want you to ask God to open the spiritual eyes of your understanding and allow you to see what He has to say in His Holy Word!  God gives us a very clear example of the O.T. hidden spiritual truth fact in the book of Acts.   If you go to Acts chapter 8 you will find this story and I ask that you read it over carefully and consider what was just revealed to you by God and how it applies to your understanding of the same passage:

  • Act 8:26  And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
  • Act 8:27  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
  • Act 8:28  Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
  • Act 8:29  Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
  • Act 8:30  And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
  • Act 8:31  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
  • Act 8:32  The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
  • Act 8:33  In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
  • Act 8:34  And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
  • Act 8:35  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

This God inspired story is pretty awesome.  You can clearly see from reading verse 34 that the man did not understand what he was reading.  Here is a Gentile man from Ethiopia and he was sitting and reading the book of Isaiah and wondering what these words meant.  If you note from the context this man was a seeker of God coming to Jerusalem to worship and that is very important for what happens next and why.  Hebrews 11:6 tells us that God rewards those that diligently seek Him and this story is a prime example of that basic truth.   The Ethiopian man was struggling greatly with the understanding of the words that he could clearly read on the scroll before him but he still desired earnestly to know their meaning.  If you are observant you will find that this man was reading the words found in Isaiah 53.   God sent to him a preacher man to help explain the words and this man was named Philip an evangelist of God.    Well as you can clearly read in verse 35, Philip preached the hidden Christ in Isaiah 53 and as a result of this explanation this man was saved.    We have just learned something very important.

I have personally learned a lot from this story.  The primary take away is to understand that Isaiah 53 is predominately about Jesus the Messiah/Christ.  The second most important thing to understand from this chapter of Isaiah is the primary theme concerning Jesus pertains to human salvation since the Ethiopian was saved after hearing and understanding just these words.  The initial verse that Philip preached from was Isaiah 53:7.  This was where the Ethiopian was focused on so Phillip used it to teach the man about Jesus our silent sacrificed lamb.   It is important to note that when Acts 8 occurred there was no New Testament to read or share with others.  So the early church had to use only the Old Testament to preach and get people saved.    Do you understand this?   Why couldn’t this Ethiopian man just read the text, figure it out and get saved without anyone preaching and teaching him what the words meant?   Did the words on the page suddenly change when someone preached them?  I really do not think they did, but something happened to change the man’s perspective who was listening to a new way of seeing them.   A wrong thinking within the human mind is the greatest reason why the words are not known to the spirit of the man.   Once the mind is opened and cleared to see the words they are passed into the spirit of man to be believed.   I’ll definitely be talking more about his as we go forward.

God designed a system based upon divine grace and human faith where salvation is the common desired end result for both.  The fact that someone must preach the Gospel and the hearer must believe the Gospel is just a part of God’s design for salvation.  There is something about a man speaking with authority and preaching the Gospel with boldness that makes the words on the page come alive to many people that want to know them.  This Ethiopian man clearly desired to know them, was open to learning about them and God sent the preacher to open the words up from their concealed original state to be seen through preaching and teaching.

So far we have looked at only one reference of Isaiah 53 found in Acts 8 and have discovered the central theme to be salvation and the theme giver to be Jesus Christ.  That is the foundation for the rest of this lesson.   I might point out to you that the name “Isaiah” does not appear in the New Testament.  However that does not mean his written words are not found there.   The problem is that the New Testament was written in the Greek language and the name Isaiah was transliterated from Hebrew into Greek and then into English.   The Old Testament was transliterated directly from Hebrew omitting the Greek transition and thus we have two different spellings for the same name.   In the KJV New Testament the name “Isaiah” is written as “Esaias”.   This Greek word that was changed to “Esaias” is G2268 and it is derived from the Hebrew name H3470 written as “Isaiah” in the English.  Just understand that they are both the exact same name.  Then learn what the name means in the Hebrew.  “Isaiah” literally means “Jah saves”.   “Jah” is a short form of the Hebrew “Jehovah” (H3050) a primary name of God in the Old Testament.  The name of the prophet designates further hidden confirmation of the book’s main subject content.   Isaiah the prophet wrote about God’s plan of salvation for man so we need to learn how this applies and what it entails.

ISAIAH 53:1

I’m only going to go through the first verse in Isaiah 53 to keep the lesson shorter.  Then I will move to the New Testament to understand this verse.   What we will be looking for is the New Testament explanations and applications for what Isaiah recorded for God.   It is absolutely essential that you understand these words written to the natural nation of Israel are applicable to us and for us in the church.  If you do not know this you will discount them as being irrelevant and unimportant.  The reason I know they apply to the church is because these verses in Isaiah 53 are quoted in the New Testament repeatedly and explained there.  So we will begin reading with verse 1 of Isaiah 53 and then find the references to it in the New Testament:

  • Isa 53:1  Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

Isaiah 53 begins with one of the most incredible O.T. hidden secrets that was only revealed to us in the New Testament writings after Jesus was raised from the dead.  Isaiah 53:1 is about the subject of faith.  Nowhere in this verse is that subject described, named, or defined and that is the reason very few understand it.  Galatians 3:23 describes a principle that faith was revealed (uncovered, made clear, opened for view) by God in the New Testament.  In order for any subject to be uncovered for view it had to be previously covered from view.  That is further confirmation for what I have taught.    However, if you do not understand the subject of faith then you will not understand this verse is about faith.   I would strongly suggest that you go and read my lesson series on “Understanding Bible Faith” if you have not read them.  This will build a foundation for understanding what is written here in Isaiah 53:1.   I will attempt to give you a brief overview of the subject of faith but I cannot repeat the lessons in any detail.  What is the number one question being asked here in Isaiah 53:1?   God very clearly says “Do you believe the report”?   What is a report?   A report is a spoken account of a given event by a witness or an expert qualified to speak about it.   Remember what we just read about in Acts 8 concerning the Ethiopian man?   Didn’t God send the report of a witness to the man from Ethiopia so that he could hear and believe it?   Did the Ethiopian believe the report sent by the Lord?  Evidently the Ethiopian man was saved because he did believe what was reported to him by Phillip.  Wow, that is pretty amazing!

Let’s analyze the last part of the verse, before we move on to the New Testament references.   What does it mean if something must be revealed?   As I previously stated anything that is revealed must first be concealed.  No one on their birthday ever knows for sure what present they have been given until it is opened and revealed to them.  What does the arm of the Lord represent in this verse?  These are both key determining factors for what I am teaching.   God reveals what was previously hidden from plain view was something unexpected.   In this case the subject being revealed is connected directly to the “arm of the Lord”.  The Hebrew word H2220 that was translated as “arm” can have either a literal or figurative application.   God’s “arm” in this verse is a reference to the figurative and not the literal.   This figurative Hebrew word will apply to God’s strength and power being revealed.   But, since we are limiting the discussion to Jesus and the salvation of man by definition of context discovered from reading the Acts 8 application, we will need to search and find what God says concerning the power of God that has saved men today.   Do you recall any verses like this in the New Testament?   One comes to my mind very quickly and I ask you to read and learn the reason why I say this:

  • Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

I need you to see what God has just plainly stated.   The Gospel is defined to be the power of God for our salvation.  We also have a direct connection to Isaiah 53:1 with God’s usage of the word “believe”.   Since we have previously seen a clear example of Phillip preaching the Isaiah 53 verses to an Ethiopian Gentile man and him being saved from it because he believed the spoken report, we know concretely that Isaiah 53 is the Gospel that contains the power of God for salvation.   Therefore God declared Isaiah 53 to be His arm of power that saves if you will see what it says.  Let’s move on and look at the direct quotes of Isaiah 53:1.

Isaiah 53:1 is quoted specifically in the New Testament twice.  We will look at both of them.   I believe to fully understand this verse we must go and discover how God used it in the New Testament, how it was applied and why it was selected.  The first occurrence of Isaiah 53:1 is found in the book of John.   Jesus is the primary speaker within the context and His words are followed by God’s connection to Isaiah 53:1.  Therefore these words of Jesus must contain some very important information directly from the author of the entire book.   Read these verses very slowly and carefully:

  • Joh 12:35  Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
  • Joh 12:36  While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
  • Joh 12:37  But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
  • Joh 12:38  That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?

These are actually very relevant words to learn.   Jesus claims to be the light of the world.  But this is a spiritual light and not a physical one.   Then Jesus says to them “to believe in the light”.   What is God in the flesh saying?    He is saying I’m here to fulfill Isaiah 53 and you can see this very clearly reading the context in verses 37 and38 where John also quotes from Isaiah 53:1.   What God is doing is teaching us that people have a very significant role to play in the process of salvation.   Jesus was God in the flesh walking like every other man before them and they chose not to believe in Him of their own freewill.  These Jews were NOT saved because they failed to believe and not because Jesus failed to save them.   If you don’t understand this you need to regress to even more basic Bible subjects.

Isaiah asks who has believed the report and Jesus said “Believe in me” and then goes away and hides himself from the people so that they can see what it would be like without Him being found.   John tells us that they saw great miracles but still did not believe in Him.    That is not good news for them because there are no second chances after death occurs.   I do not have time to teach everything that is found in these verses.  Just understand the statement that Jesus was sent to fulfill Isaiah 53 and this further confirms the chapter was about Him and His saving work for man to believe in.  Let’s move on to read the second critical N.T. reference of Isaiah 53:1 which is found in the book of Romans:

  • Rom 10:16  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
  • Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Here in this chapter’s context is found invaluable information concerning God’s saving power extended to man.    God quotes Isaiah 53:1 in verse 16 after He tells how to be saved in verses 9 and 10 of this chapter.    How are you saved according to Romans 10:9-10?  You must start by believing in Him and this includes believing that God raised Him from the dead.  Then you must confess with your mouth Him to be your Lord.   This is the basic requirement for salvation and it starts with believing the report since you were not there to witness the resurrection for yourself.  That is how faith works, you believe and you say.  This is a very basic reality but one that is ignored by many Christians.

It is very interesting to note that Paul quotes 12 different O.T. verses from Deuteronomy, Psalms, Isaiah, Proverbs, Nahum and Joel in this chapter context including the last verse of chapter 9.   I find that fact off the charts fascinating and significant to learn.  This knowledge helps to prove what I call the law of related distributed truths.   I am a firm believer that God has placed many connected clues in the Old Testament being spread out like random seeds in a field as perceived by the casual reader.   To put these random verses all together correctly without the Lord’s assistance is like trying to solve a large complex double sided puzzle without any pictures on any of the pieces.  If you do not understand the significance of this distributed factual information being combined together as an integrated lesson then I would suggest that you go and read the context of every O.T. quoted verse found here in Romans 10 and then try to figure out for yourself how God did this and why.   How is it possible that 12 different verses from several different books of the Old Testament were combined into a single unified subject lesson taught to the church?  I wish people would begin to learn the complexity of the Bible instead of ignoring these types of important factual details.

I believe that this information which I have just given to you is confirmation that the entire O.T. contains hidden references about Jesus, the church and salvation and we should quickly begin to realize that Jesus is the central theme of the entire book.   God teaches us how that the writings of 5 or 6 different prophets can all be tied together to teach a single cohesive lesson about Jesus and human salvation.   I’ll give you a list of the verses so that you can do some more research on your on:

QUOTE

O.T. REFERENCE

Romans 9:33 Isaiah 8:14
Romans 10:6 Deuteronomy 30:12
Romans 10:7 Deuteronomy 30:13
Romans 10:8 Deuteronomy 30:14
Romans 10:11 Isaiah 28:16
Romans 10:13 Joel 2:32
Romans 10:15 Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15
Romans 10:16 Isaiah 53:1
Romans 10:18 Psalm 19:4
Romans 10:19 Deuteronomy 32:21
Romans 10:20 Isaiah 65:1
Romans 10:21 Proverbs 1:24; Isaiah 65:2

I want you to understand God’s usage of the Isaiah 53:1’s reference in the context of Roman’s 10 more clearly.  If you back up and read the end of chapter 9 you will clearly see that Paul was writing about the natural Jews that Jesus was speaking directly to in John 12 and this connection carries forward into chapter 10 with Paul’s statement “I pray that they all will be saved” in verse 1 of chapter 10.  Paul then goes into a comparative writing between two diverse types of people; those saved by faith and those that were attempting to save themselves by their individual works of righteousness.   Paul as you can observe says these people of natural Israel have rejected the gift of God’s righteousness through faith because they have failed to believe the report.   Now let me emphasize two other verses found in Romans 10:

  • Rom 10:14  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
  • Rom 10:15  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

These words contain some of the keys to understanding Isaiah 53.  We need to learn that God has directed some to preach the Good News Report.  This is a required design from God.   Jesus came to the earth to preach and teach as well as to save.  We have already seen the fact that Isaiah 53:1 was used by John to inform natural Israel that Jesus had brought them light and Jesus said for them to follow the light.  Follow the light is just another way to say “Believe”!    I have also previously shown you in Acts 8 where Phillip preached Isaiah 53 to get the Ethiopian to believe and get saved.  Now we can see Paul using Isaiah 53 and all of these references have to do with the existence of a preacher with a message sent to those that can hear and have faith to believe the report to be saved.    We have just achieved 3 witnesses in the New Testament that Isaiah 53 is the GOSPEL of JESUS CHRIST!   Gospel literally means good news.   What was the good news that Jesus provided to us from Isaiah 53?  I guess that is what everyone needs to know next.  But let’s focus in on one more verse in Romans 10:13:

  • Rom 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Whosoever means me!   This is a verse written to me since I am clearly a “whosoever” by qualified application.   Whoever calls upon the name of the LORD, will be saved.   I want you to review one key word in this verse found in the original Greek language.    The Greek word G4982 which is translated as “saved” is the word “SOZO” and I have made mention of this word before.  But I want you to learn a new association.  We can clearly see the primary subject is salvation and God connects salvation back to the verses found in Isaiah 53:1 by His choice and intelligent design.  Therefore we must understand what Isaiah 53 was written about by understanding how God uses it here in the N.T.    The Greek word SOZO literally means to be made whole and complete.  The antithesis of wholeness is incompleteness.  Incompleteness is a state of lack or a deficit in entirety.  This word has broad application.  This Greek word crosses over into three realms of reality simultaneously.   God’s plan of salvation included your spiritual salvation (wholeness), your mental salvation (wholeness) and your physical salvation (wholeness) in one act of His divine saving Grace.  This teaches us literally what Isaiah 53 must contain and it MUST include all of these subjects or God does not remain consistent with the N.T. message of salvation.   We now should better understand what to be looking for when reading Isaiah 53.   We must search and look for the salvation of our spirit, soul and body.

I think this is a good place to end this lesson today.   We have learned a lot of good basic information from searching the New Testament and finding God’s explanations for what was written in Isaiah 53.  We should now know that the 53rd chapter of Isaiah is God’s power (arm) to save, heal and deliver us.   We should also  know that Isaiah 53 is only made effective in a human’s life if they choose to hear it proclaimed and believe the report.  I thank you for your time reading the Bible and studying God’s Words.  Please come back and tell others about what you have learned.  God Bless!

If you would like to continue reading in this series of lesson you may continue to “Part 2” now.

BIBLE ANSWERS: What Does the Bible say About Church Governance and the Proper Structure of Authority?

Question-marks(Ver 1.1)  I recently received this question and felt led to respond to it publically.  The question was asked, what is the correct organized structure of authority for church government?  My answer from the Bible may or may not conform to what you believe is true or the way that your church does things.   But, my answer will definitely be spiritually Word of God based and that will automatically cause many to reject it.  You are welcome to give me any specific Bible verses that teach what you believe represents the truth for this answer.  What I will not accept is your denomination’s doctrinal statement created by ignorant men that does not conform to any Biblical truth.   If that is what you want to give me don’t waste your time or mine.  I only base my beliefs on the Bible and I leave out the opinions of all others.   You would probably be wise to do the same.

Too often Christians want to read the Bible and find all of the rules for life, the church and for being a real Christian in a neat set of itemized instructions.  People like to over simplify everything and live by a list of prioritized “do this” and “do not do this” in order to believe that they are on the correct path to pleasing God.   They often feel like their good works permits them to be worthy to be in God’s presence.  Possessing any feelings that you are pleasing to God because you have satisfied a very small part of what you think you know about the Bible is a very foolish attempt at exalting yourself to match God’s established standards and know everything that God knows.  If this approach did not work for Lucifer it will never work for us either.  What I am attempting to do is to point us to a new spiritual way to think about church government.    Quit thinking like mere men and consider the thoughts and ways of God and make these your priority in the church.  Today I’m going to list at least 3 key factors for establishing correct church government and structure.  Without all of these three spiritual factors being involved nothing that we do will work.

#1: BEING LED BY THE SPIRIT

What I have noticed about God in the Bible is that He rarely does the same thing twice exactly as He did before with anyone.  One time in the wilderness when the people desperately needed a drink of water God told Moses to hit the rock with his staff and the water would come.  The next time this exact same event occurred God said “speak to the rock” and the water will come.  If God addresses the same problem in two different ways why do people want to make every church organization look exactly the same?  That mindset does not make any sense to me!   A one solution fits all approach to Christian life and church government is not how I have ever viewed that anything really works successfully.  What works well in one church may not be what God wants to happen in another church at another time and another place.

There is a very profound statement made to ALL Christians in the New Testament that is sometimes rarely followed in many church organizational structure designs.   This essential concept is found in Roman 8:14 where God says “Those that are led by His Spirit, they are the sons of God”.   This verse is very clear to me and it says for us to seek God’s direction and He will guide our steps into the correct paths when organizing our church governments.  God knows how it should be setup and who should be in every position.  Ignore God’s leading and you will get what you will get and that is your best effort to satisfy God in your ignorance.   I believe Romans 8:14 applies directly to us right here and right now in establishing and organizing any church.   Therefore what God might lead for one church might not match exactly for another church.  There are just too many variables and  factors that are involved in creating and managing a church.  The location can be different, the culture can be different, the people can be different, the leadership can be different, the community outreach can be different and all of these play a role in God’s decision on how to direct.  Of course the Spirit of God is never going to contradict His written Holy Word.  Whatever God directs us to do with His Spirit will align perfectly with the Words in the Bible that apply to this subject.   But we need to be careful with following the traditions of men who thought they knew the answer while possibly ignoring the leading of the Spirit of God for what He desires will work best.    Consider the fact that God knows more than you do.  Then realize we need to ask for this wisdom or we will potentially fail.  Therefore the number one factor for establishing correct church government is to be led by the Spirit of God.  Can I get a witness?

GOD IS A GOD OF ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURED AUTHORITY

I saw in my Bible studies that angels are a highly organized group of spiritual beings separated into tiered levels of organization with varying levels of authority.   Angels appear to be organized like a large military body.   Jesus said that He could call down 12 legions of angels in Matthew 26:53.  That statement implies a high degree of organization with a precise arrangement containing a direct hierarchical structure of authority.   Therefore if God has structure and established levels of authority in heaven it makes perfect sense for the same to be present here on the earth in the church.  Do you agree with this?  What I also observe from reading and studying the Bible is that God is a very detail oriented being.  He pays attention to the least little details to even number the hairs on our head (Mat 10:30).   I use this information to confirm that every church needs to be organized and have the same great attention to every detail within the church.

In the ministry of Jesus on the earth you can clearly observe an organized structure of authority.  Jesus was the leader and the next group under His authority were the 12 disciples that I call His inner circle followers.   Jesus would spend extra time and effort with those of the inner circle to explain the plan of God and what He taught to others in parables only.  Within the group of 12 not everyone has the exact same role of responsibility.  Peter, James and John would go with Jesus when the other 9 did not always go.   Judas held the money bag and acted as the treasurer for the group.  Therefore the other 11 came to Judas for financial matters.  Clearly there were roles of designated responsibility to each follower.  Underneath the second tier of12 within the Jesus ministry organization came the 70 (Luke 10:1).  This is now the third tiered level of authority with new responsibilities and roles.   These 70 were assigned the task to go ahead of Jesus and the twelve and prepare other cities for their coming.

It is just very clear based upon just these two examples given to us by God that every church requires at least the same basic organization, structure, designed roles, responsibilities and varying levels of authority and accountability.  This should be very basic common sense and I pray that you see the need for such to exist.

#2: JESUS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH

I do not agree with the Catholic Church philosophy of church government.  The Catholic Church is the largest group of people that call themselves Christians on the earth and they are extremely organized with varying degrees of authority rising to their ultimate leader called the Pope.  Nowhere in the Bible is one man designated to be the head of the church other than JESUS CHRIST.   Ephesians 5:23 leaves no room for misinterpretation clearly stating that Christ is the Head of the whole Church.  This truth represents the church past, present and future and there can never be any other head than He.  The church is clearly called the body of Christ and Jesus is clearly called our head (Col 1:18).   How then can any individual body part of the church claim to the leader of the body?  I think we need to learn the truth and stick with only that.  When we are led by the Spirit of God we are being led by the Head of the Church.  The Spirit of God will not speak of Himself but what He hears that will He speak (John 16:13).    I just paraphrased a portion of that last verse in John to make a point that the Holy Spirit speaks to us and directs us into things to come.  Go read the verse for yourself and see how it applies to setting up church governments and being led by His Spirit.  Recognizing the Head of the church to be Jesus Christ is the number two factor for establishing correct church government.   Ignoring the Head of the church will just result in man’s attempts to please a God that they do not know.

CHURCH ORGANIZATION, STRUCTURE AND AUTHORITY

There are certain and specific church offices of differing roles and responsibilities mentioned in the Bible.   For example, in Ephesians 4:11 God lists what many call the “5 fold ministry”.   These five are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.   I personally believe that those are listed in the order of church authority.   It is essential to know and understand that not everyone is called to be in these offices.  In fact in the body of Christ there are mostly disciples and they can later be promoted to one of these 5 specialized callings by God’s choice.  When a person is called by God to stand in one of these offices they are anointed by God to fulfill that role.  Therefore God enables them with gifts to do the role.  Each role of office is important and necessary and we as Christians need to give proper respect to those in these offices.  I am not going to go through what every role entails in detail.  But I will give a quick overview.  An Apostle is one that is sent by God for a specific purpose.  The 12 Apostles were clearly given leadership roles that others under their authority should revere.  Apostles are clearly called by God.  Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:1 that he was a called apostle.

The Prophet is also another major role within the church body today.  God calls certain individuals to be His voice on the earth.  These people hear directly from God and speak His words to the people of God.  They are often given revelation knowledge and can even hear from God about coming events on the earth.   Paul stood in the office of both an Apostle and Prophet since Paul was given special revelation from God and Paul wrote about things to come as direct prophecy in his letters to the church.

The third ministry office is called the Evangelist.  The primary role of the Evangelist is to preach the Gospel to the lost world to turn them to receive Christ as their Savior.   While every Christian has this basic role, some are called by God to do this as their service for God.  Phillip was an evangelist in the early church and this office still exists today.  The Evangelist is not so much a teacher as he is an exhorter to call people to repentance.  John the Baptist held a role very much like this found in a modern day Evangelist.  John called people to the kingdom of God pointing them to one that was greater than he was.

In a local body congregation the leader of that body is always a Pastor.  A pastor is the designated shepherd of the flock.  Peter was a shepherd and an apostle.  Jesus asked Peter to feed His sheep (John 21:17).  Feeding the sheep is the primary role of the pastor.  They take the Word of God and feed it into the spirits of their congregation.   Every Pastor shepherd is usually always a teacher also.  They go hand in hand to some extent.   Peter was a teacher as well as an Apostle.  Paul was a teacher as well as an apostle and a prophet.  One person can be in multiple offices but rarely is it more than 2 or 3 offices at the most and then not every office is in continuous manifestation in everyone full-time.  One person might be a teacher on occasion and an Apostle full time.  Another person might be an Apostle full time and part time prophet.  One person can be a pastor full time and a part time evangelist.  All of these offices can teach on occasions but not all may be called to teach full time.  Again this is called Jesus is the Head of the church and you are not!  If the Spirit of God leads someone to do a specific task then they just do it because God desires it and not because they asked to do it.

Jesus was the only person that I know of that held every office role concurrently.  Jesus is called an Apostle and a Prophet in the Bible.  Jesus said He was the Great Shepherd meaning a pastor of all.  He also demonstrated that He was a teacher and an evangelist.  Therefore, Jesus clearly showed us that He could fulfill multiple roles being the head of the church.   It is essential for you to learn what your role is in the body of Christ.  Everyone has a purpose and a place.   God has a planned reason why you are here no matter what you think about it.  It does not have to be a role where you stand in front of thousands to teach the Bible.  No it could be simply a behind the scenes ministry position that supports the pastor’s role.

Churches as they grow need increased levels of support to oversee the work of God.  A pastor in a small church can do several roles but in a large church that becomes unmanageable.  One pastor in a large church should have an inner circle of associate shepherds to help lead the flock in manageable numbers.   There are needs for many other leadership positions and roles especially in large congregations.  One Pastor or Shepherd cannot adequately maintain a flock of 5000.  Even Jesus taught this when He designated the inner circle 12 to have the authority to go and feed the flock of 5000 the 5 loaves and the 2 fishes.   Jesus stood back and watched while the under shepherds did the feeding.  Don’t misunderstand what I am saying we all know that Jesus taught the whole group but when it came time He appointed others certain  roles to play.  You can clearly see that Jesus did not even try to do it all Himself.  Let’s talk briefly about the other Biblical roles in a local church’s government.

Correct church organization for leadership should include what the Bible calls “elders”.  Church Elders are not just mature looking people on the outside.  It is more important to be a mature spiritual Christian inside regardless of what your appearance is on the outside.  A spiritually new born baby that has an appearance of maturity externally is not fit to be called an elder of the church.  God very clearly tells us that He does not look at the outward appearance of humans but rather He judges them and calls them according to their hearts (1 Sam 16:7).  People tend to judge how the person looks externally in order to determine if they should become their leader.   But that is certainly not being led by the Spirit.  That practice is walking by your sight or by the appearance of others and that is clearly not a spiritual way to do anything in the church.

I personally believe that a spiritual elder is someone born again and spirit filled for at least 10-20 years.  These people should also display the fruits of the spirit in observable clear ways even under pressure.  An elder of the church should have wisdom that is needed to fulfill their role of responsibility.  God can give people anointed gifts in certain areas of church administration that are needed to wisely manage the church’s affairs.   It is very clear that elders played a role in the early church’s organization.  However, in the spiritual food chain of authority they are always under the authority of the other 5 church offices.   Elders do not hire or fire the pastor, God calls the pastor to be the pastor.  This makes God the head of the church and not the elders.

The other major church role mentioned in the Bible is often referred to as the “deacon”.  This is a very interesting term because it denotes someone called to serve another.  That clearly means they are not in the top command of authority or it could mean that they purposefully lowered themselves in order to serve someone that is in need regardless of their called position.   Jesus demonstrated this concept when He set the disciples down and washed their feet.   He lowered His position to become the least among them even though He was the greatest one present.  Any church office within the Body of Christ is called to be a servant of God.  In the church we all serve Christ first and others second.  If people would gather this knowledge and implement it the church would become a great place to be a part of.

RESOLVING CHURCH CONFLICTS CORRECTLY

Within any large church congregation there will always be potential conflicts.  Most of the time these are human carnal jealousy based factors.  People see what others get from God and think this should just automatically apply to them.  I am not going to address every church problem and the reason for them.  I am only going to give one quick example of God establishing a structure of church administration in the early church.  These verses are found in the book of Acts chapter 6:

  • Act 6:1  And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
  • Act 6:2  Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
  • Act 6:3  Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
  • Act 6:4  But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
  • Act 6:5  And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
  • Act 6:6  Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

I am not going to go into everything these verses say in great detail.   I underlined most of the key words that need to be understood on this matter.  In verse 1 we see the problem being stated between two carnal groups of disciples.  Disciples in the church organization are the lowest in the church authority so this is why I called them carnal thinkers in need of spiritual growth.   The twelve represents the apostle group that holds the ultimate responsibility and authority for church administration.  Did you notice what they said?  They acknowledge the need but said it was not their responsibility to leaven teaching the Word of God to feed the body of Christ with natural food.  In a small church they could do this, but in a large growing church it becomes impossible for even 12 to do everything.   Therefore they said that there should be a selection of 7 men with wisdom that were honest.  But foremost they must be filled with the Spirit of God and that goes back to them being led by the Spirit of God.

This is just an excellent story for how church government should work and be established.  We do not create positions just to create positions.  We only create new positions when new needs arise to solve problems.   As soon as any new need becomes a distraction to the pastor in a church so that he is unable to spend adequate time in prayer and study to preach the Word of God that is when new areas of church government needs to be expanded.   As the church grows and more needs arise, more roles of responsibility can be established.  It is also important to note how this was done.  After they have been selected, the hands of the leadership are placed upon them and this is done for what reason?   You see this represents a transfer of authority and anointing.  What the leader was anointed to do is passed down to the next level for them to perform as the representative of the pastor.  God teaches us so much in this example and I hope that you will take the time to study it and see how God wants things to work and grow in church governments today.

#3:  THE NEW TESTAMENT LAW OF LOVE

I’m going to end this Bible study lesson talking about the third spiritual factor for establishing correct church government.  What is your motivation for creating this church government?   There is only one commandment given directly by Law from the Head of the church to the church in the New Testament and this is the God established Law of Divine Love.   The Law of Love governs every action of every church member from the disciple to the apostle.   Jesus very clearly said a NEW COMMANDMENT I give thee (John 13:34).   If a church’s government is not founded, established and ruled by the law of love then they are not within the church’s prime directive and will fall short.   Therefore we must permit love to govern our motivations and our actions.   God is defined to be LOVE in 1 John 4:8.  Therefore when we are led by the Spirit of Love we are being led by God.    Do you see how all of these three factors for correct church government establishment are connected together?   Christ is the head of the church, Christ is Love personified and we all answer to follow His desired directions of love.

Love rules the church!  Love governs the church!   Love leads the church!  Love teaches the church!   Love preaches to the lost!  Whatever is not done in love is not by the leadership of God.   This is just the spiritual basics for what we do as Christians.   I have said this before but it will apply here again.  I like to teach WWLD.  If you have heard this before then take it as a courteous reminder.  Before doing anything in this life, ask What Would Love Do?   When reflecting on God’s love in order to make a decision this will help guide you into a closer relationship with the Head of the church.  Are you love dominated and love controlled?   If not then you are in serious trouble.

I have just given you three directives for establishing correct church government.   I will recap them one more time for those that need it.   When creating a church government do the following:

  1. Recognize that Jesus is the Head of the Church and no one else takes His place.
  2. Be led by the Spirit of God who is the Head of the Church when creating your government.
  3. Be led by the Spirit of Love in Love extended towards all others.

Only those that will submit to authority correctly can understand how to be in authority correctly.   All others not submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ will be establishing their own church to benefit themselves.  Run from these people quickly or be consumed with their selfish motivations.  My subject today was not authority and what it is defined to be by God, but it does apply and you need to learn this subject.   Being faithfully submitted to God’s authority will give God the privilege to promote you to higher authority levels.    Thank you for reading my Bible studies.  May God continue to lead and guide you into higher spiritual levels of understanding His Precious Holy Word!

Bible Answers: Does the Bible Say Anything About How Women Should Dress?

getting_dressed(Ver 1.1) Here is a very common question that I received from two different women recently.  So I thought I would answer them both in one short Bible lesson.  This is a potentially controversial subject.   Many men try to dominate women to tell them what to do while ignoring their own inadequacies.  I do not want to ever place myself into a position of superiority that comes across that I am better than anyone else.  That is why I try to give people balanced answers from the Bible and I do not try to spin the verses into saying something that they do not say.  We all need to simply read the Bible and learn to follow what God says regardless of what we think is right or what others are doing around us.   However, many Christians will continue to do as they please today simply ignoring the Bible to satisfy their own pleasures.  Pride is a negative part of the fallen human nature that motivates Christians to say “Life is all about me”.   Christians need to begin to understand that this new life of Christianity is no longer focused on the “me” but should be now directed to focus on Christ and others.  Baby Christians are only immature self-centered me types.  Mature Christians are able to place the needs of others ahead of their own needs.   I’ve just started the answer to this question with the subject of pride and I will end it with the same subject but in the middle I will address why this is such an important part of how and why we dress the way that we do.

covered_women2For the answer of women’s dress I could go with either of two extremes or I could take a more middle of the road approach and that is what I will suggest that we all do.  Let’s talk briefly about the extreme positions of dress first.  One extreme is a law based dress code where religions like Islam command women to cover everything except for their eyes.   That is a very stupid solution for a very stupid problem.  Because men were created to like women undressed men have created rules of law that they think help them to keep themselves more pure.  They feel if a woman cannot be seen then she is no longer a temptation for me.  That is partially good logic but mostly a wrong approach to solving it.  Law based dress is one extreme and I do not agree with it at all.  Therefore I will give no rules in this lesson for dressing.  The law was introduced by God but law was never given by God to fix the problem; it was only presented to prove to all men that there was a better solution that was needed.  No one in history except for Jesus was ever able to keep all of the law.   Therefore we need to learn law is not our solution and that it only points us to a new and better way that was coming.  Not very many people have learned this truth but I stand by it firmly.  Stop passing idiotic laws and find the better new way to live in Christ Jesus.

The other extreme position is anything goes or I should rather say everything goes.  The antithesis of covering everything up on a woman is to uncover everything.  That is just another extreme example that falls into the identical level of error as the first extreme.  Being a male, I cannot begin to understand why any woman would willingly participate in either extreme.  I could theorize that a woman who likes to show off her skin could feel like she gained distinction, notoriety, fame or special attention by participating.  It is a normal human desire to be wanted and accepted and some people will do very foolish things to achieve it.    Modern peer pressure is a major contributing factor for people falling into error.   If everyone is doing something wrong it suddenly appears like you are the one that is a fool for not doing it.  If you would like to leave a comment and help me understand why someone would follow either of these two extremes from a female perspective I would appreciate hearing your point of view.

To me based upon what I know of the Bible a woman’s choice for wearing less and showing off more skin is her way of telling everyone that “life is all about her” without having any consideration for anyone else on the planet or for God.  I think that it screams the more people who are attracted to her, the more popular she feels like she becomes.  But that is a very selfish and self-centered approach for the way of dressing.  There are probably other ways to look at it and you are still free to tell me why you think either extreme exists today.  No matter what we think in this world, there will always be one extreme or the other.  One group of women will approach dress based upon the rules of law that attempts to alleviate the temptation factor for human desire.   This will gain them acceptance in one group while being labeled religious fanatics by the other group.  The other opposite dress extreme will be “I’m very desirable and I’m just here to tempt you”.  These women will be labeled whores by the strict law based group and scorned for their ways while being accepted by the loose moral crowd.  There is a level of acceptance and rejection in both extremes.    But clearly both of these are very wrong motivations for dress.   Where is the correct balance between two erroneous extremes?

What we could have learned from these extremes is that what people do reflects their motivations either known or unknown to other people.  Most people in the world only look at the outside actions of the person and typically ignore the motivations that caused them to do it.  That approach of analysis is very shallow and is the opposite of what God teaches us that He looks at.   I think we need to examine motivations more closely for what people do rather than try to judge what they did and this might help us to solve their dress problems. You can read about this concept in the Old Testament:

1Sa 16:7  But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Clearly God informs us that the inward parts of the man or woman are more important than the outward perceived portions of that person.   That means God cares more about your spiritual conditions like your motives, your desires, your hurts, your feelings, your emotions and your thoughts than He does about your actions or dress.  Now, you could jump to the wrong conclusion from that and conclude God does not care how we dress or if we dress and that is just ignorant foolishness.  No, what God is saying is if you have right intents on the inside, you will do right actions on the outside.    If you have wrong things going on in the inside parts these will manifest on the outside.   These truths teach us so much.  It also helps us to know bad actions can be solved with right internal corrections.  Therefore I’m not going to tell you how to dress so much as I am going to try to change how you think about dressing.

Christians first need to realize that they are a spirit living in a body and not just a body living on the earth.  Refocus your attention on spiritual things and the outwards things will automatically take care of themselves.   What are your motives for how you dress today?   Evaluate your intents first and if it is just for your benefit, pleasure or to draw attention to you, you have the wrong focused incentives.  Become the other person sitting in church by you before you put something on to go to church.  If the wife of another man sees you in that little apparel will it draw attention to you in a positive way or a negative way?  Is what you are wearing to church something that is loving and kind that honors your sister’s feelings and will not bring temptation to her husband?   We need to all learn the WWLD approach for dressing.   What is that you ask?   That is just a variation of WWJD and it says “What Would Love Do?”   If I love my Christian family would anyone be offended by this sleeveless or low cut short dress?  If you think someone could be offended and you still wear it then you were not motivated to do what Love would do and that is a major problem.  Let’s take a look at some Bible verses to help us learn to think differently about dressing:

1Pe 3:3  Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

1Pe 3:4  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Here is God presenting you a refocused approach to dressing.  God through Peter writes directly about women dressing.  God very clearly says that your focus should be on the more important internal things and not on the inferior external things.  That goes against what most women do, doesn’t it?  If you are spending more time on fixing your hair and dressing than you spend in prayer and Bible reading then you are out of balance and lack correct focus.   God declares let your attention be upon the hidden man of the heart and that is simply your eternal spirit.  God directs us again to refocus our attention on spiritual things rather than emphasizing natural things.  If both males and females did this there would be no issues in the world concerning improper dress or behavior.   However since the majority of the world is not saved and are not focused internally the external will continue to dominate them and their behavior.   That is another interesting point to remember.  Before you put something on to wear, ask yourself is this what the people in the unsaved world wear?   Then ask yourself am I supposed to follow their example or are they supposed to follow my example?  Who is leading who?  Who determines your dress standards?  Is it Vogue fashion magazine, Sports Illustrated or is it the Bible?

There are two ways to learn how to dress in the Bible and I just gave you one way called the direct instruction.  The other way is to learn from indirect instruction.  These are verses that do not directly mention how you should dress but still apply to Christian behavior, character and moral values.  Take a close look at this next verse and see if you can tell how it applies to dress.

  • 1Jn 2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

What does God claim is not from Him?  We know God created our flesh, but according to Him, He did not create the lust that is derived from its existence.   Why is there such a great lust problem in the world today?  It is primarily because of the great frequency for the display of human flesh.  You cannot go anywhere today that someone is not nearly naked either in public or on a billboard selling some product.  In this verse who is God saying that you are like if you are showing your flesh or are the one looking at other’s flesh?  Is it from God or from the world?   I think you can clearly see that is not what God desires.  Let’s look at another verse that is also indirectly about dress:

  • 2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

You see God says that we have been saved from the world and therefore we should not conform to their ways.   If you are participating in the lust of someone’s flesh or you make yourself are the target for this lust then you have not yet escaped the world and still reside in its bondage.   Do you think it matters to God how you dress based upon this information?  Let me give you another verse that indirectly applies to how we dress that is rarely used to teach on the subject:

  • Php 2:15  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

How can you be a light to the world if you act and look exactly like they do?  Do you think your words take priority over your looks?  I believe that it is impossible for your words to be heard if your looks and your actions are the same as theirs?  People are just not that stupid.   Based upon how you dress, you will either be called a Christian or a hypocrite by the unsaved world.  If you say “I’m a Christian” but still do not present them any evidence for being different, then you are just a hypocrite.   One unsaved man that talked with me recently said “If I wanted to go to church on Sunday, I’d go to the bars on Saturday night and meet with them all there”.  He was claiming that all Christians were hypocrites that put on a false act on Sunday for God but lived like the devil the rest of the week.  You need to ask yourself “How does the world dress?”  Then make sure that you are NOT dressing like them.   Let me confirm this with one more verse from the Bible:

  • 2Co 6:14  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Here is another verse that is indirectly about how you dress.  This verse is very clear but you probably do not understand what it says because you have not researched the Greek word definitions.   This verse says for us as Christian believers to not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.  What does that mean?  A yoke is a common bond together.  What do we have in common with non-Christians?   Two oxen are yoked together to pull a plow in unison.   This means that they both are in a common bondage together so that what one does the other must also do.  God informs us not to be bound together with unsaved people in the world because we are not their equal.   If Christian music stars look like the world’s rock stars then they are being yoked together in common bondage.   The same applies to a Christian’s manner of dress to look like the world’s manner of dress.  If you are dressing like Lady Ga Ga or Madonna then you are yoked together with them and that is not good company to be associated with.

What do you think all of this verse means?  Let me give you another word that is a key to understanding this verse.  It says what “fellowship” has righteousness with unrighteousness?  Look this word up and you will see that it means to have “intercourse”.  Intercourse is defined as willing participation of a sexual nature.   That is a very strong sexual relationship you could be having with the world.  This is not speaking physically but rather spiritually when you think like the world does.  This Greek word literally means to participate with the world’s ways of thinking.  Go back and read the Old Testament prophets and you will see that this is what natural Israel was guilty of again and again.  They would become influenced by the world’s idols and then would do what God said not to do.   There thoughts were taken away from God’s word to what the people in the world were thinking and they easily fell into sin by doing this. This is verse contains far reaching information and it involves dressing like the world, acting like the world, thinking like the world and I could go on and on.  God is telling the church not to look like the people in the world.  Let me end this Bible study with one more direct verse on dressing:

  • 1Ti 2:9  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
  • 1Ti 2:10  But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

There is one term given here that denotes a correct Christian middle of the road approach for dress.   God says to women let what you wear consist of “modest” apparel.   Uh oh?  Even in churches today I see women not following this guideline.    What is the opposite of modesty?   I believe you understand that it is a state of immodesty.   What does being modest or immodest mean and what are the root causes for both?  One online dictionary defined “modest” dress to be a state where the person is covered.  That definition implies that immodest dress is a state of a person to be uncovered or nude.   I think that speaks volumes to how you should dress according to the Bible.   I have already touched on motivation as a factor for why people dress appropriately or inappropriately undress for others to view their bodies.   One contributing factor for modesty is humility and one contributing factor for immodesty is pride.   Women who generally want to show off their bodies to others are very proud of themselves for some unknown satanic reason.

Practically everything that I said today can apply to both men and women.  Both need to judge their motivations for how they dress.   I primarily addressed the question from a woman’s viewpoint since they were the only ones brave enough to ask the question.  I could have spent more time on the contributing lust of the flesh factor for men that drives some women to want this kind of attention but that was not the question.  Your humility and your refocused attention to the real you on the inside of your body should help to guide you to the appropriate ways to dress on the outside.   Follow the guideline of modest behavior for dress and it will cause you to appear different than the people in the world. Your devoted consideration for “What Would LOVE Do?” will also help you to not become a stumbling block for others of your same sex or a temptation for those of the opposite sex.  Setting Godly examples to follow for younger women and girls is what is desperately needed in the world today.  The peer pressure today to take your clothes off is everywhere.   We are all still here in the world but you can still make the decision to not be like the world.  Always be led by the Spirit of God and His written Holy Word.  Thank you for your questions and I hope this helped someone to have some new wisdom for a modified way to think about dressing.  God Bless!

Introduction to Divine Grace! Balancing the Grace Truth with the Fear of God Truth! Part 1

balancing the Word of God(Ver 1.1)  This is Part 1 in a series of basic Bible lessons on the infinitely important subject of God’s Divine Grace.  The subject of Divine Grace is by far one of the most significant found and emphasized by God in the New Testament but also one of the most misunderstood, overstated, exaggerated and unbalanced modern messages that I have found on TV, the internet and in many churches.  Any subject in the Bible can be taken to a position of errant inaccuracy causing the underlying true message to become lost.   Departing from a well-studied, thoroughly balanced, rightly divided, sound doctrinal view of God’s Word is a very dangerous but prevalent reality found in the church today.   The subject of Divine Grace is just one of these subjects found in the present church that has experienced this sad fact of extremism.  Many modern extreme Grace Bible teachers only teach a slanted selected fragment of the complete subject ignoring the rest of the Bible concerning sin, repentance, forgiveness, the fear of God, judgment, faith, holiness, sowing and reaping, deception, spirituality, carnality, being sprit led and the many other N.T. subjects which all must be taken into the full discussion equally.  Instead of doing this these Bible teachers are working very hard to explain these complementary subjects away or totally ignoring them all together.   I refuse to take that kind of narrow minded approach to such a broad important subject with so many other associated and linked matters being overlooked.   I will warn you up front that this will be one of the most significant Bible lessons never taught by many modern Bible teachers on the subject of Grace.   In fact, it will be so different that I may expect to receive several negative comments from my religious carnal readers who do not wish to see the spiritual truth of God’s Word.  I ask that you open your mind and spirit to receive from what the Bible has to say on this subject.

INTRODUCTION TO THE FEAR OF GOD

I’m going to begin this Grace Bible lesson series with an introduction to another very important Bible subject called “the fear of God”.  In this part of the Bible lesson I will be using a personal testimony from my life experiences that God used to help teach me to see things differently in the Bible about the subject of Grace than many other Christians.  Why am I starting a lesson on God’s Grace with the subject of the “fear of God”?  That is a great question and the reason that I do this is because this subject is so consistently ignored that it has become lost to the modern Christian.  In teaching with this approach I will have to battle an apparent Biblical surface text contradiction.  The subjects of the “fear of God” and “Grace” appear to be in direct opposition to each other.  Why should I fear God if God has given to me this free gift of divine grace and forgiven all of my sins?  Because people do not know how to correctly balance two opposing subjects is the primary reason they choose to ignore the one they do not like.  You are about to learn what these two directly opposing subjects mean when joined together correctly if you decide to continue to read the rest of this lesson.

The teaching of the “fear of God” is dramatically lacking and at times non-existent in the modern church.   It is a well-known fact that Christians today disregard this subject called the fear of God and have no driving desire to learn it.  The “Grace” message appeals to our flesh and that is more highly desirable for the normal Christian to seek after.  However, I’m one of those different types of Christians that likes to believe that we must balance all of the subjects found in the Bible together in order to correctly understand any of them?   This is why I have chosen to teach Grace by giving you an introduction and an overview to the subject of fear.  Let’s begin this part of the subject by determining how God defines “fear”?    Here is one N.T. Greek Word from Strong’s to begin with:

  • G5401
  • From a primary φέβομαιphebomai (to be put in fear); alarm or fright: – be afraid, + exceedingly, fear, terror.

This Greek word occurs in 44 verses of the New Testament.  There are 14 verses in the Gospels, 5 verses in Acts, 3 verses in the apocalyptic book of Revelation and the rest (22) in the letters written to the church.  G5401 is not a superbly popular word but it is well distributed throughout the N.T. and therefore should not be ignored.  I will begin my discussion of this Greek word by saying that I believe God’s definition of fear is based upon human awe and respect of His great power but that is not a complete and accurate definition based upon this Greek word’s usage.  I certainly do believe that a reverential fear of God is a very healthy part of a real Christian’s relationship with God.  I also believe that this reverential fear of God is a requirement and not just an optional condition placed in the mind of those that do not wish to see the truth.   Those that wish to explain away the subject of the fear of God do so by stating this fear is nothing but “reverence” and that is by far not an accurate representation of the word’s definition as you can see.

Reading from the Greek word definition given to us by Dr. Strong this Greek word means more than just giving God respect and goes to a deeper human response level of being afraid, to become fearful or even to be in terror of.  How does that fit your relationship with God?  I personally believe that if you have no real fear for God or of God then you really do not know Him very well.  God is described to be omnipotent and this simply means “all-powerful”.  Do you believe anyone else is more powerful than God?  I certainly do not believe that anyone else is even close.  Since you or I are not omnipotent it would be very foolish of us not to be in total awe of Him that is.

The Greek word G5401 or the Hebrew word H3374 translated as “fear” can be researched in the Strong’s dictionary/concordance to verify how they are defined and used.  Doing this research, will help us to better understand what these words mean.   For example, when Jesus came walking up to the boat with the disciples on the water in the darkness of night, they were described by God to be in “fear” (G5401) crying out “it is a ghost”.  Can you put yourself into their position and think how you might have reacted?  Does that story help you to see what this word “fear” means?  This word “fear” means to be un-expectantly terrified because this is not a normal/natural situation found in this life.   Matthew 14:26 describes this event and God uses this same Greek word G5401 to describe how the disciples reacted.  This Greek Word we will soon discover in the other parts of the N.T. is used by God to describe how we should react to God.  I will give you several examples to help you learn how God uses this word when speaking of Himself and our reaction to Him and His works.  It would be very wise of you to verify everything that I will say to you today for yourself using your own Bible and Strong’s dictionary.

Is “fear” always a negative or can it ever be viewed as a positive emotion or reaction?  What about physical pain?  Is physical pain a positive?  Can we agree that God created fear and pain as possible human benefits?  If God created the response of fear and the feeling of pain do they have a purpose for existence?  Is this purpose for our benefit or for our harm?  I believe that fear and pain should be viewed as positives and not a negative aspect of our life or our relationship with God.  You see if you did not have the sensation of pain you would not know to take your hand off of the hot stove.  Likewise if you do not fear big trucks and step out in front of one moving very fast, you could be found dead in just a very few moments.  Having fear of a greater power is healthy and normal and we should respect anything or anyone that is bigger than we are if we want to live a long well life.  But, this subject fear and terror is still a potential major conflict for the God revealed to be Love who displays and extends us Grace in the New Testament.   How do we balance “fear” with “love” and “grace”?

Perhaps you were raised by strict parents that loved you?  Did your parents ever discipline you when you did wrong?  Did they do this because they were bad parents or only because you were being bad?  Could it be that they were good parents for spanking you?   Love was always my motivation for disciplining my child to instruct him which way to go.   You see the Bible says “He that spares the rod, hates his child” (Prov 13:24).  It is only a parent that does not discipline their child that proves to God they do not love their children.   This is the main reason we have a generation of bad grown-ups doing evil in the world.  No one took the time to train them in the right ways to live.  Because I was bigger and stronger than my child, my child’s respectful fear for his loving father was a positive influence and this fear of getting a spanking was a positive influence and not a negative.  This is the way that we should become with our own God and spiritual heavenly Father.  Let me take you to a New Testament verse written to the church and see what God says on this subject:

  • Heb 12:9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

This description is exactly what I was attempting to teach.  We should learn to respect our God because He loves us enough to bring us correction.  This Greek word for reverence is not “fear” but it contains implied fear in order to give someone reverential status.  God is basically informing us that we need to become aware of His correction in our lives because this is just a normal part of the healthy relationship between the teacher/master to a lesser student/disciple in need of guidance.   Perhaps you do not believe that you need any divine guidance and that will become your downfall soon.  The Bible very clearly tells us that “those that are LED by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom 8:14).  How can anyone lead someone else without also bringing correction when they stray from the instructions?  I do not see how that is possible so pay attention to what God is teaching us.  We need to learn from the parent analogy that fear, correction and judgment coming from God is a necessary and healthy part of divine power, grace, love and guidance.  Without all of these subjects being found present there is no need for any of them.  I’m not sure if you understand what I just said, but it was very profound and important.

Numerous teachers today in the modern Grace message teach that every sin is completely covered by the shed blood of Jesus (TRUTH) and that there is nothing that they or any other Christian can do by omission or commission, good, bad or indifferent that will cause them to depart from God’s Grace or to fall under God’s divine judgment (LIE).  In other words they are teaching Christians that God never judges them because He has judged Jesus and therefore, God does not love them enough to bring them any correction for their ways.  They have foolishly taken the truth reality of the perfection of Jesus to mean that they are now perfect because of what Jesus has done for them and that is definitely not a sound Bible truth.  This very popular belief places all of the responsibility of us remaining a Christian on God and omits any human influence, participation, contribution, responsibility, freewill choice or satanic involvement for deception.   This extreme grace doctrine is simply a newer modified version of a very old doctrinal lie called “Once Saved Always Saved” (OSAS).  They have placed salvation and eternal security totally and completely in God’s hands while ignoring what God says in His Word for us to do after we are saved.   I always ask them, if God controls the outcome of the Christian race then there is no need for our effort to run in it (Heb 12:1).  Therefore, there are no consequences for quitting, no disqualifications for cheating, no need for correction and certainly no need to fear God.  That doctrinal belief sounds satanically inspired to me and I pray that you begin to see it in the same light.

Eternal security and divine personal safety are both valid parts of the N.T. Gospel message but they are not everything that the Spirit of God taught me from my life experiences or from what is written in the Holy Bible.   Try not to misunderstand what I just said.  We do not base our faith or our beliefs of God solely upon our personal experiences in this life, but we can use them as examples if they align with the words of God in the Bible to teach others a lesson.  That is what I will attempt to do today.   I’ll tell you about what happened to my family and then you can judge if I am speaking the truth or if I am just here trying to deceive you.    Will you do that?  Can I count on you to be an unbiased, just and fair judge of what I teach you today?

When I was a young man my father and mother went to a Bible school here in the United States.  They were in their second year of Bible training with a great man of God teaching the class when suddenly the Holy Spirit interrupted the class giving the Bible teacher a supernatural spiritual vision.  This Bible teacher saw a cloud of death hovering over the head of just one student in class and that man was my father.  This vision from the Holy Spirit was a warning sent to my father.  The Bible teacher being very concerned stopped the class and called my father to the front and prayed for him and asked him to come see him privately in his office later.  My father basically did not understand the importance of what God had just tried to do for him and he ignored the request to come see the man of God privately.  My father’s refusal to become obedient was the continuation and not the beginning of the downfall of my father.   You see when the man of God gives anyone a message from God and they disobey it, they are not disobedient to the messenger but rather to God and His message.   A few weeks later my father collapsed at home, was rushed by ambulance and went into a coma at the local hospital.  The doctors did the best they could to save him but my father died suddenly in the hospital as a young man in his forties and never finished that year at Bible school.  All of this happened despite the fact that my father was a Christian, the pastor of several churches, the graduate from one 4 year Bible College going to another Bible school to further his education of God and the Bible and all of us living in the church age called the dispensation of God’s Grace.

I do not believe that my father was not a Christian or that he did not go to heaven when he died.  I am convinced that he was born again and a Spirit-filled preacher man.  But the fact that God gave another Spirit filled preacher man a clear vision to help warn my father of what was going to happen weeks before it happened is a major problem for the modern “no fault”, “no fear of God”, “no responsibility”, “no sin”, “no repentance” and “no judgment” Grace message.  Every time I hear some preacher trying to tell me what people do today doesn’t matter for them being a real saved Christian living long in this world causes me righteous anger knowing what I know now about my father, God and the Bible.  I believe you can see why I feel this way but let’s continue to read the end of the story.

My family and I learned the rest of the story after the funeral.  The man of God that was given the vision’s warning told my mother privately that God had showed him that my father was in sin not walking in love towards certain people.  This man of God was shown what to tell my father to instruct him to change in order to not die this premature death.   My father being a young man was definitely not in the season or time for his death.  Since my father showed no fear and ignored the warning and did not humble himself to go and get the message from God, he died exactly as it was shown to the man of God.   Some will try to say this was not a warning but a prophecy for something that could not be changed.   Others will try to say the preacher lied about the vision or that my father was not really a Christian.  Some will try to tell you that my mother lied to me and that none of this really happened this way.  That is what one extreme grace preacher tried to tell me and then he unfriended me on Facebook like a real Christian brother would do walking in love.  He definitely did not want to hear the truth but that is his choice and it will become yours shortly.  I stand by everything that I just said, and I can show you the death certificate, let you listen to recorded testimonies and name every name that was involved giving dates and locations, but what difference would that make if you don’t want to see the truth.

Does this story of my father’s death sound like any other Bible story to you?  When I heard this being described by my mother and later learned more of the Bible it sounded exactly like a story given to us by God in the Old Testament with very similar circumstances.  I’ll use this story found in the Bible to help us see how God aligns the Bible with the story of my father:

  • 2Ki 20:1  In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.

Have you ever studied this Bible story?  Isn’t this basically what the Lord tried to do for my father?  God sent a prophet with a vision that said you are going to die in both cases.  What happened to this king after Isaiah the prophet visited him with this very comparable message of pending death sent from God?   You did know that my father was a king, didn’t you?  Perhaps I did not mention that in my testimony.   Maybe you have read in 1Timothy 6:15 that Jesus Christ is called the “King of kings”.  Who exactly are these kings that Jesus is King over?  If you don’t understand who these kings are go read Revelation 5:10 and find out it is God’s church who will reign with Christ Jesus during the millennium.  If you think that God does not still send His prophets to His kings when they do wrong you better wake up and learn you’re not God and He is still the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8).  Notice what King Hezekiah did that my father did not do and then see what God does in response:

  • 2Ki 20:2  Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying,
  • 2Ki 20:3  I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.

The king seeks his God with his whole heart.  Notice that the king’s response was “fear based” and precisely what my father should have done.  What exactly do you believe would have happened if Hezekiah would have not feared the message of God or would have ignored the prophet’s warning like my father did?  Not taking the warning of God seriously and giving God respect will always result in what was warned to happen, occurring.  God is omniscient and that simply means God knows the future before it occurs, but that does not mean that the future cannot be changed.  What did I just say?  Did you know that your future is not set in stone?  That is what I am trying to teach you today.   People like to think there is an appointed time for a man to die and nothing will change that, but that is just not what the Bible says.  My father’s future outcome was not set in stone either and if he would have made the right choices he would not have died.  We learn this fact from this profound story here in 2 Kings.   God states emphatically that the future for King Hezekiah was going to be his quick death.  God offered the king no deals nor made any other options available to him.   But Hezekiah seeks God’s face and notice what happens next:

  • 2Ki 20:4  And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying,
  • 2Ki 20:5  Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD.
  • 2Ki 20:6  And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

I hope that you can see that the previously prophesied demise of the king was changed and Hezekiah’s life on the earth was extended by a further allowance of God’s Divine Grace.  God said to His prophet to go back and tell the king that I have heard his prayer and saw his TEARS!  That was a clear sign of the king reaching out to God with an attitude of repentance asking for forgiveness.   Didn’t God initiate His divine grace to Hezekiah by first warning him about his death before it happened?   If God would have kept silent and given him no warning the king would have died and that would have been justice for his sins.  It is very clear to me that it was not the warning sent from God that was going to kill him.  It was the warning sent from God that was designed to help the king make the necessary corrections.  This is exactly the same truth for my father’s story.  God’s warning was intended to turn my father around like King Hezekiah.  Do you understand this point of the existence of God’s grace in these warnings?  You will find this truth becoming clearer as we continue to study this subject.  Grace will always be God’s initiated involvement in our life especially when we do not deserve it.

What happened after the warning was initiated by God?  Isn’t the continuation of further Grace placed into the hands of the men that were warned by God?   You see I view the subject of Grace to be like a heavenly/earthly tennis match.  I see God always serving the first Grace Ball at humans, but then it is the correct human response to this serve that determines another round of Grace.   Please do not accuse me of blasphemy for reducing God’s Grace to be like a tennis match.  I am simply attempting to teach you the fact that there is always God’s Grace that is extended first, followed by man’s reaction to that grace and then if it is appropriate in God’s eyes, God will extend them more grace.   Didn’t God show the king additional grace and mercy by changing his prophesied future?  I believe He did.  This lesson of Hezekiah is definitely a valid story of indirect or unstated divine grace and that is why I am including it today in this lesson on grace and the fear of God.

Can you agree with me that what God did for this O.T. king was an undeserved gift and an act of His divine grace designed to help avert disaster?  If yes, what was missing from my father’s life story that was different from this King’s story?  Both men were in a covenant with God and both were sent a prophet from God with a message for their coming death.  But one man in the Bible believed the message in fear and sought God diligently and the other obviously did not.  You have to throw the Bible away and simply call me a liar for telling you this story that happened to my father well over 30 years ago.  The man of God must have made up the vision to his Bible class, my father, and my mother which started this whole chain of alleged deception.   My mother then propagated the alleged lie to me and the alleged deception of Satan is continuing by me telling you the same story.  That is certainly one way of looking at it attempting to explain it away if you do not want to believe the truth.  I give you no proof or evidence for what I just told you other than this corresponding lesson from 2 Kings.

You are now going to be forced to judge if these stories that I just told you are true or not.  Start with the Bible story and determine if God lied?  Then review the links of the Bible to the story of my father.  Finally, consider the following questions.  What is my motivation for telling you this story of my father?  Can you think of any benefit that I gain from it personally?  If I do not gain anything from telling these stories then consider how or what you would either gain or lose from knowing them and believing them or rejecting them?  How, would these stories cause you to be deceived to not know the real truth?  What benefit would be gained by Satan over you if what I said is true and you don’t believe it?  Then reverse that question and say what benefit would Satan gain over you if the story is false and you do believe it?  You really need to use your brain and think when you read my Bible lessons.   I just can’t do your thinking for you!  What advantage does Satan gain if you believe the modern extreme Grace message that teaches us nothing we do matters in this world?  I can see that Satan’s major advantage is your ignorance of the truth.   You need to learn the truth or this lack of knowledge might be the open door that allows Satan to take you down.

I believe what we must discover from these stories is the fact that both Hezekiah and my father were warned by God’s initiation of Grace but because Hezekiah made the wiser choice to fear God the outcome of his death was stopped by God’s additional extension of divine grace.  The story of Hezekiah teaches us a lot about the modern subject of grace found in the New Testament.  What we are learning is that further grace from God is given out to men conditionally based upon the correct actions of these men and their attitude of respectful fear for God, His Word and His prophets.  This same Old Testament pattern is found in more than one place.  For example, Jonah another prophet of God was sent to warn Nineveh of their coming destruction.   The city of Nineveh repented and changed their ways and their destruction was also prevented by their wise actions.  What were the determining factors for the change of the prophet’s prediction not coming to pass in Nineveh?  I believe that we can draw from these examples several facts starting with all the warned people needed to possess the “fear of God” in order to obtain any further grace from God.  If no one would have feared God’s words, no one would have given the warning any second thought.  The next factor for receiving God’s grace was belief in God’s words of warning.  If no one believed what the prophet said then no one would have bothered to take the next step to seek God.  Finally, there was the factor of humility being present in the people warned that played a major role in them asking God for forgiveness with an attitude of repentance to change.   I am going to keep saying the same things in different ways to make sure you are grasping them.  These are the facts again that I learned from these Bible stories:

  1. The fear of God must be present to receive God’s initial grace.
  2. Faith in God’s Words must be present to receive God’ initial grace.
  3. Faith in God’s messenger/prophet is also a requirement to receive God’s initial grace.
  4. The humility to admit your error must be present to receive God’s initial grace.
  5. Asking God for forgiveness must be present to receive God’s additional grace.
  6. Repentance and change must be present to receive God’s additional grace.
  7. God’s grace is conditionally extended to man based upon their correct human response.
  8. Greater extensions of God’s grace are a progressive reality based upon correct human attitudes, responses and corrections.
  9. Grace can be rejected and lost by no fear of God being present, wrong human beliefs, wrong attitudes, and human pride.

The first eight truths in my list were factors apparently missing from the life of my father and you need to learn from them to make your own wise choices in this life.  Number 9 in the list was my father’s mistakes and again you need to learn to not repeat them.  I just gave you two O.T. examples where they made right choices and lived a longer life and my father’s N.T. example where he failed to receive correction from the Lord and died.   This is about the time I can hear people try to say “we are not under that covenant and the Old Testament does not apply to me”.   Don’t be ignorant and speak where you have no knowledge.  There are too many things that you don’t know to say the O.T. does not apply to you.   Everything that was revealed by God in the New Testament was first concealed in the Old Testament.  The O.T. is nothing but the N.T. covered and the N.T. is nothing but the O.T. exposed!  They are practically identical in many corresponding ways with one being totally a natural pattern in the Old and the other being a totally a repeated spiritual pattern in the New.   What I am attempting to teach is that if the fear of God existed in the O.T. it clearly must exist in the N.T. or God has changed.

THE FEAR OF GOD IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

If you still believe that we should not have any fear of God in the New Testament you seriously need to reread your Bible more closely.  God says too much for this subject to be ignored.   For example let’s continue this subject discussion transferring to the scriptures on the subject in only the New Testament.  Read these next four verses written to the people in the church and take note to what they say:

  • Act 13:16  Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.
  • 2Co 7:1  Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
  • Eph 5:21  Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
  • Heb 10:31  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The Bible teaches us to let every truth be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses.  Therefore, I wanted to show you that the “fear of God” is directly mentioned in the New Testament in more than one place.  Pay close attention to see that these verses were written to Christians living in the age of Divine Grace and that they were written for us to learn from and to follow.  Did you notice what the first verse in my list in Acts 13:6 said?   Wasn’t Paul one of the first “Grace” preachers?   Who was Paul preaching this message of Grace to?   Did you see it?  Paul was preaching grace to Christians in the church that first and foremost “feared God”?   I thought Paul was the ultimate grace preacher that everyone today likes to claim to preach like?  I have heard more than one of these modern day Grace preachers say that  Paul got blasted by people in the church for preaching grace claiming that he was giving them a license to sin.  However I noticed a major problem that is not lining up in the N.T. with this modern day grace message, did you see it also?  Why are these modern extreme grace preachers NOT following Paul’s example in Acts?  Why do these modern grace preachers speak to men that do not fear God and still claim to be like Paul?   I believe that is one of the most profound things that I have taught you today.  Is your preacher teaching people that fear God?  If not the preacher is wrong or the people are wrong and do not fit the pattern given.

Did you notice that the other three verses that I listed were also all written by Paul?  Make no mistake that the fear of God is still a major factor in the true complete N.T. gospel message.  Consider why God sent a warning to my N.T. preacher father the same as he did to those in the O.T. like Hezekiah and Nineveh?  Didn’t God extend them all the same Grace filled opportunity to change?   Was not the same warning sent to my father that could have permitted him to turn and live?  If you are not understanding yet that God does not change and what has already happened in the past is that which will occur again you either need to open the eyes of your heart to see the truth fast or go read someone else’s Bible lessons that will scratch your itching ears.   It is just abundantly clear to me that the subject of the “fear of God” is still important for us to know.  But, for those that are still not believing Paul here is one command from the mouth of Jesus, God in the flesh spoken right before the beginning of the church age:

  • Mat 10:28  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Jesus Christ is the revealed Head of the Church (Eph 5:23).  If you do not believe my words or Paul’s words that the fear of God is still a factor for your salvation, why don’t you begin to believe the words of your God?  In this verse Jesus clearly says “fear God” and do not “fear man”.  Do not fear those that can only kill the body but not your soul but fear Him that is able to do both.  This command will become significantly more important as I continue to teach.  Remember these words!  This verse is a statement not addressed directly to a people by name but rather by implication applies universally to every human saved or unsaved.   Those that do not wish to believe the “fear of God” command was spoken to them will attempt to explain it away as a statement spoken only to unsaved Jews.  However, if you read the context you should be able to see that this statement was made to the disciples of Jesus and that means the words apply to the future church more than they apply to the lost world or Jewish people but both are still relevant since none of the disciples were yet saved when this was said.   Consider the audience that received this message was mixed with those that feared God and those that did not.  Was not Judas present with the 12 when this was spoken?   Eleven of these disciples of Jesus became founders of the church but one betrayed Jesus because he lacked this quality called the “fear of God”.  Judas witnessed the same miracles of Jesus as the other 11.  Judas heard all the same preaching and teaching messages that the other 11 heard.  Judas saw Jesus walk on water, calm the storm and so much more.  But clearly Judas lacked the important feature of the fear of God and regrets that eternally in hell today.

People are free to ignore these words of Jesus or to explain them away but they will be judged for that error someday.   Ask yourself, do you fear God?  If not why is there no fear present within you?  Is it because of the modern grace teaching?  Did you know that anyone that is ignoring the fear of God command is being disobedient to God and not man?  The words spoken to “fear God” came from the one that was going to die for your sins and the giver of all grace, so do whatever you like.   But be further warned that Jesus the head of the church also said “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not the things that I say” (Luke 6:46).  So what did Jesus say and why are people not following this command to become obedient?   Let’s take a look at an important subject verse that is popularly ignored or explained away by the modern extreme grace message teachers:

  • Act 5:11  And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

What did this verse just say?   Not only was there “fear” in the early church there was a “great fear” and that just intensifies the terror of God level to a much higher plateau.  The Greek word used here in this verse is again G5401 that was used to describe the disciples in the boat observing Jesus walking on the water.  Clearly from the verse context this was a result of what just transpired within the church.  What caused the early church to be in such excessive terror of a loving gracious God?  Ok, maybe I should first ask you who were these fears in the church people directed at?  The verse does not state directly who or what this fear is of or for, therefore these words can be explained away to be a fear of something else besides God.   This is where one grace preacher unfriended me on FB.   I simply told him that he knew how to read the Bible but that he could not see what the Bible really said right in front of him.   In order to answer this question we need to study the context of the verse and find out what God teaches in the surrounding verses.  Taking verses out of their context will allow Bible teachers to make them say what they want them to say but using the context to explain them is a wiser approach to correct Bible study.

Go study the entire context of this verse.  We should back up to begin reading in chapter 4.  I’m not going to go through everything said verse by verse but I will give you a synopsis overview of what is occurring and what is important to notice.  Reading in Acts 4:1 it begins with a description of the disciples preaching to the people of Jerusalem.  They preached the resurrection of Jesus to the people and were put into prison in verse 3. In verse 4 you can clearly see that many people believed the Gospel and at least 5000 men were saved.  Therefore we are observing the church is growing by preaching the Gospel.  What was this Gospel message being preached?  We need to go back further in the context to chapter 3 to see if it contained any message for the fear of God.  Read chapter 3 and in verse 23 tell me what it says?  Peter tells the people that Moses told them to look for another prophet from one of their brothers and this one will have a greater message for them to hear.  Peter then says the words of this prophet called Jesus is for you to believe or to be destroyed.   Do you believe that this message was a warning to the people?  I can see where Peter says believe or perish and that was a clear warning statement of fear.  What happens when a warning is given by a messenger sent from God like Isaiah or Jonah?  Does fear play a role in the people receiving the message?  Please observe what the message was that Peter was preaching and then try to figure out if that is anything like what is being preached in churches today.  Peter very clearly says for these people to believe or to be destroyed in verse 23 and I never hear modern grace preachers saying anything like this.  I guess they just don’t want to offend them into heaven so they flatter them into hell.  Let’s go back to chapter 4 of Acts.

If you continue to read down in chapter 4 of Acts you will see the leaders of the temple commanding Peter and John to never preach or teach in the name of Jesus anymore.  Peter looks at them and says “Whether it is better to obey you or God, you judge” in verse 19.   Clearly Peter was telling them we fear God more than we fear you and we will not stop.  Isn’t this an example of Peter and John being a doer of the commandment of Jesus that I just gave to you?  Do the disciples fear the leaders that can throw them into prison or do they fear God?   The leaders of the synagogue finally relent and let them go and they return to the other church members and tell them what has transpired as a warning to them from men.  They immediately stop and all pray together in one accord saying in verse 29 “Behold their threatening”.   The disciples asked God for boldness to proclaim the truth in spite of these human threats to their life.  It is very clear to me that these people in the early church feared God more than they feared man because in verse 31 it says God answered their prayer by shaking the place they were in.  Let me explain to you what God was saying to them by shaking the ground.  God was saying can these men that threatened you do this?   That was God’s answer and I believe that is enough evidence to inform us who the early church feared and who they did not fear.  So I’ll go back and ask you this question again about Acts 5:11, who did the early church fear in this context story?   It was not any man, so it was either Satan or God.  We could go through and prove that it was not Satan, but I am spending too much time trying to counter these false teachings so let’s just focus on the words that are written.   Look at verse 33 in Acts 4 and find the subject of Grace.

  • Act 4:33  And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Here we have another exponential growth in the Grace of God given to His church.  Not only were they shown “grace” but God has increased the level of His grace to a greater degree.  What we learn from this verse is that Grace is delivered in stages.  If there can be “great” grace then there can also be “little” grace or even “no” grace.  What do you believe is the main factor for the presence of this greater level of God’s grace in the church?  I believe it was a combination of factors beginning with the presence of a “great fear” of God.   The church being in fear of God while not fearing what man could do to them, increased the level of God’s grace being offered to them.    Of course there are other factors that are also involved in this grace being given but we will learn those as we continue to study this subject.

  • Act 4:34  Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
  • Act 4:35  And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

Verse 34 of Acts 4 is the opening of the story of Acts 5.  Clearly the translators made a poor choice to divide the chapters at their current locations.  Start reading in verse 34 and you will see God speaking directly about the church.  He says those that were in the church lacked nothing because those that had were generous to give to those that did not have.  That is the foundational context of what we need to know in order to understand chapter 5.  We can clearly see who God is speaking of and speaking about in chapter 4 and this just continues in chapter 5.  Man divided the chapters not God.  So do not believe the chapter heading five starts a brand new story.

  • Act 5:1  But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
  • Act 5:2  And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
  • Act 5:3  But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
  • Act 5:4  Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
  • Act 5:5  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
  • Act 5:6  And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
  • Act 5:7  And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
  • Act 5:8  And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
  • Act 5:9  Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
  • Act 5:10  Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

One modern TV extreme grace preacher tried to explain away this story of the early church by teaching what happened was God’s protection of the early church from the deception of two unsaved people.  That was a very creative attempt to explain what was happening so that all of the words on the pages are totally ignored.  Since this TV preacher could not give us any scriptures to back that opinion I call that a private interpretation unworthy for consideration.   Go back and read Acts 5:1 through verse 10 carefully again and again until you see what is actually said.  Attempt to confirm that this is just one example of what was explained in Acts 4:34-35 given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.  We can see clearly from reading Acts 4:34-35 that Ananias and his wife Sapphira were both Christians doing what all the other Christians were doing with only one major exception being omitted.  It is very clear to me that neither Ananias nor his wife feared God.  Otherwise they would not have lied to the Holy Ghost as was revealed to us by Peter in Acts 5:4.  Peter also said they “tempted” the Holy Ghost in verse 9.  Peter was very clearly telling Ananias and his wife that they did not lie to men or tempt men, but God was the one that took offense at what they did and they both then fall dead in church.

You do understand that this was a church service going on that lasted for hours and that Peter was given a Word of Knowledge by the Holy Ghost when God interrupted the service to bring judgment?  Do you believe that both people just coincidently dropped dead in church at the exact appropriate time of rebuke of the preacher?   What do you believe killed them?  Was it a heart attack? I want you to notice something else here in this story.  Both of their names are given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost as examples for us not to follow.  Do you recall in Luke 16 where Jesus gave us the story of Lazarus and the rich man?  The name of the rich man in hell was never revealed.  Why was that?  Was it because the rich man’s name was not known by Jesus?  I do not believe that is the case.  I personally believe the rich man’s identity was protected so that his relatives would not know he went to hell.  Why then does God give the names of Ananias and Sapphira if they go to hell?  You see that is a problem to me.  I do not believe that they went to hell.  I believe they were saved by grace but that they were judged by God that shortened their time here on the earth.  That explanation would fit more precisely with what I learned from my father’s life.  Clearly God took the sin of Ananias and Sapphira personally and had to bring judgment so that those that remained living in the church would learn a lesson.   After all what was the result of this event?  Was it not the spread of a “great fear” in all of them that heard it in the CHURCH?   Look at the results and tell me who caused this fear.  Was it God, Satan or man?  I can only attribute it to God by careful observation.

Acts 5 is a major problem for the modern extreme Grace preachers that do not attempt to correctly balance grace with the fear of God and judgment.  How can a God of such infinite Grace cause a Christian to fall dead in church when this sin was clearly covered under the blood of Jesus?  Do you see the conflict this raises with the modern Grace message?  God was teaching us that if Ananias and his wife would have feared God they would not have lied or tempted God.  Do you understand that analysis?  The key factor missing today in the modern church is the message concerning the fear of God.  Before I conclude this grace study please allow me take you to another very important part of the Bible to consider concerning the modern “no fear of God” grace message being preached in many churches and on TV today:

  • Rev 14:6  And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
  • Rev 14:7  Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

What do these two verses say to you?  I read them and they literally spoke volumes to me.  After the church is taken up from the earth, the angels during the tribulation period will come to preach “the gospel” to the people still living on the earth that remained left behind.  Did you notice what this Gospel message started with that was preached by the angels?  Look closely again at verse 7 and see the angels commanding the people of the earth to change their attitudes and to finally begin to “fear God” before it is too late.  It is very clear to me that these people on earth have no fear of God if the angels warn them they are lacking this quality.   Then notice that there is coming a proclaimed judgment from God and both of these subjects are hardly ever preached or even mentioned by modern grace extremists.  Why are the modern grace preachers teaching a gospel that is different from what the angels of God will preach?  Who do you think is preaching right?  Why have the modern grace preachers departed from the words of the Lord Jesus who established the church by His shed blood commanding us to “fear God”?  Why have the modern grace preachers left the full teachings of Paul who preached to those that “fear God”?  If the church age begins with a message of “the fear God” from Jesus, Peter and Paul and God ends the church age with the angels proclaiming the same message to “fear God” where is this message in all of the church services this Sunday?   If your preacher never preaches about the “fear of God” you have the wrong preacher.  People seriously need to wake up and see the truth.   I do not understand or tolerate irresponsible people very well, but clearly many of today’s preachers are either very unwise, ignorant or extremely deceived.  Since I did not call anyone’s name do not accuse me of speaking about you!  However, if the shoe fits wear it.  I’ll probably not make many new friends with this grace lesson introduction, but I am writing it from my heart.  Look beyond your offense and learn what God says on the subject of the Fear of God and His judgments.

I think I have gone long enough in this Bible lesson and will end it here.  I hope that you understand why I introduced the subject of the fear of God in the study of the grace of God more clearly now.  In the next lesson on grace we will expand the subject and learn God’s definition of Grace by studying additional displays of His Grace.  I pray that you will help me spread this very important message to those that need to learn it.  If that is your preacher point him to my website and ask him to read it.  If that is your congregation then preach it boldly to them so that they hear the message clearly.   Learn to fear God and not man and watch God’s Grace increase in your life.  If you want to see “great grace”, learn to do what God says.  Until next time may the knowledge of the truth of God continue to increase in your life.  God Bless you!

Bible Answers: Why Did God Accept Abel’s Offering and Reject Cain’s Offering?

Cain_and_Abel(Ver 1.1)  This quick Bible lesson is the answer to a very common Bible student’s question.  We usually all have very similar questions when reading the Bible, so I will answer this question from one person and believe that it will help others that were not brave enough to ask the question.  I find it interesting that people will ask you questions as long as you give them the answer that they wanted to hear.  But if I say something new or controversial that God has taught me from the Bible, the responses can be very diverse and unexpected for a Christian.  I have had some people unfriend me or just stop talking to me because I didn’t agree with what they viewed as the only truth in the Bible.   If we are not open to learning something new and greater from God we will all remain in a stagnant state of ignorance apart from what He desired us to know.  Today, we are going to analyze the information given to us by God surrounding the story of two brothers.   Regardless of what you already think that you know about this story please leave your pre-conceived expectations behind and focus only upon what God says in His Word.   Be open to the Holy Spirit and be led by only Him.

The question asked by my reader was concerning the story described in Genesis 4.  It appears from reading these verses that one brother’s offerings were accepted by God and the other elder brother’s offerings were rejected by God.  Why was that?   This subject has been preached by many people and most of them have not seen the fullness of what the Bible actually says so they draw wrong conclusions using insufficient information and teach people about things that do not directly apply to the actual story.  For example, one preacher that I recall hearing taught that Abel’s offering was accepted by God because it was a sacrifice of shed blood and Cain’s offering was not.  He used this as a type of Jesus the coming Lamb of God that was going to shed His blood for all people.  Well that was an interesting and creative approach but that just doesn’t make total sense to me based upon other scriptures that I know on the subjects.  I certainly understand the association and how he took the leap to bring the two stories together but is that what God desired us to learn from this story?   I have found at least 4 popular human explanations for why God rejects Cain’s offerings.  Here are the four popular theories listed in random order:

  1. The Absence of a Blood Sacrifice from Cain.
  2. The Poor Quality of the Offered Sacrifice of Cain.
  3. The Heart Issue of Cain’s Attitude Giving the Sacrifice.
  4. The Sovereignty of God.

All of these are legitimate ways to look at the story from a student’s viewpoint of the text.  However, we should not attempt to say that any one of these is more important than the others because they are all contributing factors.  The story of Cain and Abel quickly becomes a war of human opinions and my opinion is as totally worthless as your opinion.   Therefore, we need to learn God’s opinion.  What does God say about it and how do we even begin to find it in the Bible.  That is the number one reason why people do not understand the Bible correctly.  They read an isolated passage in Genesis 4 and ignore the whole rest of the Bible.   That is a crazy way of studying the Bible.  I heard one preacher say we should only study one book of the Bible at a time and I thought that was a foolish way of studying a book that was designed the way the Bible was written by God.   The Bible is progressive revelation.  What is hidden at the beginning is uncovered at the end.  Therefore we cannot understand any of it without taking into account what is written in every part of the Bible about the subjects that we are studying.   If you don’t have a good Bible software program on your computer get one.  There are many that are free and I recommend one called eSword.  Then search the Bible for the subjects found in Genesis 4 like the names of Abel and Cain and read what God says about them.  For example, Abel is only referenced directly a few times but the statements describing him are infinitely important to why God accepted his offering and not Cain’s.   Get your Bible search software and let’s get started with the story of Cain and Abel.

CAIN AND ABEL TWO OFFERINGS, ONE GOOD RESULT

We will begin by going through the verses in Genesis 4 to gather the factual information to help us to understand what is expressed by God.   We will turn to the second verse in Chapter 4 and begin to read there:

  • Gen 4:2  And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Cain was the firstborn of Adam and Eve.  That fact is interesting but not significant for this Bible lesson.  Abel was revealed to be a keeper of sheep and we all know lambs come from sheep.  Thus we have the foundation beginning for the belief in the assumption theory number 1 concerning the blood sacrifice, but we won’t go there.  Cain as you can see is a ground laborer and that is just another name for a farmer.    Let me ask you, how would a farmer of crops give God a blood sacrifice of something that he does not possess?  I think that is a problem right from the beginning.  Are we expected to give from what God has given to us or does God expect us to give what we don’t have just to please Him?  A mindset of religious works would demand that we must do specific works of the flesh in order to be pleasing to God and I do not believe that is the revealed nature of God.  I think you should think about that for a while before you answer.

  • Gen 4:3  And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

Pay very close attention to the phrasing of the story.  Every word has significance.   God informs us that in the process of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the land.  You do understand that it takes time for crops to produce?  Crops are not an overnight miracle.  Since Cain was a farmer this description sounded pretty good until we actually read about what Abel did in the next verse:

  • Gen 4:4  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

As you can read both brother’s offerings took time.   Animals are not an instant miracle either.   A lamb can take 150 days to be born.  Therefore both offerings presented to God could only come after time.  There are certain keywords given to us by God that are important.  The term “firstling” and “fat” are two keywords that have significance to describe Abel’s offering to be remarkably different than his brother’s.  The term firstling means the first born and that is significant.  The term “fat” literally means the best.   Here is where we get the foundation for assumption theory number 2, the insufficient quality of the offering of Cain.  Abel brings God the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof.  The absence of any adjective qualifiers describing Cain’s offering implies them to not be special.   Then notice that it says God had “respect” for Abel’s offering.

  • Gen 4:5  But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

As you can see God had no “respect” for Cain’s offering.   Here we can also read that Cain’s attitude was not very positive.  He becomes angry and depressed and those seem to support the theoretical assumption number 3 that Cain failed God expectations with his wrong attitude.  You can quickly see how each theory has a basis for beliefs and why they are taught in churches.   The only theory that I have not touched on is assumption 4 concerning the principle of the sovereign choice of God.   There are endless numbers of Christians that place everything that happens in the world in the hands of God’s design, purpose, will, and plans and they leave nothing out for us to do or for any contribution of Satan or evil spirits to be involved.  I call this the response-less devil and human theory.  No matter what they do it makes no difference because God’s will is always done.  These types of Bible teachers go with theory 4 so that they do not have to teach any human responsibility or accountability.  These types of teachers also have to attribute every evil in the world to be a gift from God.  I was on Facebook the other day and I saw a very ignorant statement.  This person said God sent the storms so that He could prove that He was the only protection from the storms.  That sounds very religious but that is not my God and people really need to read the whole Bible.  I’m not going to go there fully but I will show you a few verses that counter this wrong belief concerning the sovereignty of God.

GETTING GOD’S COMMENTARY ON CAIN AND ABEL

Here is where I’m going to start the main lesson on the story in Genesis 4.  My approach will be to use God’s commentary on the subjects and not just the words found in Genesis chapter 4 alone.  We are going to depart from the popular 4 theories of assumed interpretations and begin to see what else God says on the subjects of “respect” and “Abel”.   I picked the subject of “respect” to begin because it is a major part of the reason that God is accused by men of making a sovereign choice.  The Bible very clearly says that God had “respect” for Abel’s offering but for Cain’s offering God had “no respect”.  What is “respect” and how or why does God respect one but not the other?  Read what Peter says about God in Acts and learn how this verse applies to our story of Cain and Abel:

  • Act 10:34  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

The Greek word that is translated as “respecter of persons” in this verse means to have partiality for one individual and not for the others.  It would be like a teacher in school picking one child as their favorite and the others are not treated equally.  Being partial clearly is a conscious decision to show bias, prejudice or preference for one human and not do the same for another.    This would be like two men walking into your church.  One is dressed in rich apparel and the other is dressed in rags.  The ushers could treat both men the same and be like God or they could take the wealthy looking man to the front and sit the raggedy man in the back of the church and that would be an example of being a respecter of persons.  Showing favoritism would be preferential treatment for one while exhibiting inferior treatment for the other based solely upon their appearance.   According to scriptures in the N.T. God is not a type of God that respects one individual over ANY other.  We can clearly read that here in Acts but it is also found in Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9, Colossians 3:25, and James 2:9.  That is 5 verse witnesses in the Bible that teaches us the truth about God and you should not ignore them.

It appears that we have a scriptural battle raging where one verse in the O.T. says that God had “respect” fighting with 5 other witnesses in the N.T. that says God does not do that.  Here is a great opportunity to learn that the Bible does not ever contradict itself.  It is only a human’s wrong interpretation or understanding that causes the conflict in their mind.   However, pay closer attention to what God respected.  Both men gave God offerings over extended times but God saw one offering as good and the other as potentially not so good for an unknown or an unstated reason.   Notice in Genesis that God had no lack of respect for either men but rather only for their offerings.  God is stated to be love in the New Testament.  Did God love Abel more than He loved Cain?  You see I do not believe that is true.  However do not confuse God’s hatred towards your sin to be the same His love for you.  God can hate what you do and still die to save you because of His love.   Let me give you one more verse about God’s lack of human respect variance that just might help us:

  • 1Pe 1:17  And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Here is an excellent verse that will apply to what we have just read in Genesis 4 about Cain and Abel.   God says that He does not respect any specific individual but that He does judge their works.  This is a commonly ignored verse in the Bible.  This was written to Christians but it does apply to all of the people of the earth, past, present and future and it definitely has an application to what God says about Cain and Abel.    If God does not respect a person or an individual but rather will show respect for their works what was it about Cain’s works that were rejected and Abel’s works that were accepted?  Doesn’t that change the perspective of the story significantly?   That is what we are talking about in the story, right?   The fact that both men gave an offering and one was pleasing to God and one was not, that tells me a lot.  There are three basic ways to judge a person’s work.   A person’s work can be judged for what they did, how they did it or why they did it or a combination of all of these three.

Did you know that you can do the right things at the wrong times or in the wrong ways or even with the wrong motives and still be found guilty before God?  It goes back to a question that I used to ask job applicants during the interview process where I worked.  I always tried to ask them, “What matters more the end result or the methods used to achieve the end-result”?    You see in every business if the end-result was the only thing that mattered then we could all lie, cheat, steal and rob to get the job done.  Recently in the news Lance Armstrong came out in public and said that he had used banned substances to achieve his 7 bicycle race victories.  He clearly viewed the end-results to be more important than the methods to achieve them and now he is paying the ultimate price.  This was probably not the wisest thing that Lance ever did.  What I am teaching you, is that matters how you do something and why you are doing it, more than it does getting it done to God.

Learn from the lesson of Lance Armstrong and let’s see if this modern story applies to the life of Cain and Abel.   We can clearly see both Cain and Abel gave an offering to God.   But, what caused God to judge one offering to be different from the other?   There are not very many verses in the Bible about Cain and Abel but there is at least one that you need to see.  If you did the search in your Bible for the name of “Abel” you have already found my next Bible verse to learn.  God lists the name of Mr. Abel in the Faith Hall of Fame and his name is forever preserved with the heroes of the Bible like Moses, Abraham, David, and Joshua to name a few.   Let me show you what God says about Abel:

  • Heb 11:4  By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Did you see it?  God says the sacrifice that Abel offered was “more excellent”.  So clearly sacrifices of lambs are better than fruits?  But is that what it really says?   What did God say directly before that statement?  Doesn’t God tell us of Abel’s motivation and methods?  How did Abel offer this more excellent sacrifice?    God says Abel offered it “By Faith”.   The implication given by God is that there was a factor missing from the offering of Cain and this factor was his faith.  You see if you read down in Hebrews 11 you will find a revelation that directly applies to the story we read in Genesis 4.

  • Heb 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Without faith it is impossible to even try to please God.  Is that not the reason why Cain’s offering was rejected?  The absence of faith means God will not be pleased with anything that we do and it really does not matter what you are bringing before the Lord.  Get out of your religious box and see the truth of God’s Word.  Many people today go to church and think that God is pleased because they showed up.   That is crazy thinking my friend.  If you are not going to church in faith you are failing.  I’m not going to teach you the entire subject of faith today; that would be a very long complex subject that has many parts to it.  If you don’t know about faith, go read my Bible lessons on that subject.  Faith is one of the top three Bible subjects that you need to learn before Jesus comes back.  Why?  Because Jesus said this:

  • Luk 18:8  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

The way I read His statement, He is looking for a people with faith that pleases Him when He returns.  So when you so dearly ignore the subject of faith in the Bible you just might find yourself to be more like Cain and less like Abel and that is not a good place to be.  What company do you wish to associate?  Which example do you wish to demonstrate to Christ?  Your name could be with the others in the Faith Hall of Fame.   It is really up to you more than you think.  If you wish to be pleasing to God then you need to learn the subject of faith.

Since God has been talking about the subject of sacrifices in Genesis 4, is God still looking for a sacrifice from His people today?  Maybe you need to go and read further in the book of Hebrews past chapter 11 where Abel was mentioned.   God speaks a lot about this subject but I’ll only focus in on 2 verses that apply to the church:

  • Heb 13:15  By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
  • Heb 13:16  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Did you notice what these verses said?  They are speaking of sacrifices but not the blood types like an animal or a lamb.  No, God is saying offer up the sacrifice of praise unto Him.  Wow, that is very strong isn’t it?  It appears that God still desires us to make a sacrifice but with the fruit of our lips.   Uh oh!  What did Cain offer God?  Was it not the fruit of the ground?   What are your lips made out of?  If you did not know it, your lips are made from the ground also and these produce fruit for God.  Why did God reject Cain’s offerings of fruit but still desires the fruit from our lips?  I pray that you are learning something new.  God just got through talking to you about the whole long subject of faith in chapter 11 and now in chapter 13 He connects that with your sacrifices which are still required.  Do you believe that whatever sacrifices you give to God that you better do them in faith to be accepted?   I seriously think that would be a great idea.  What did we read in Hebrews 11:6 that pleases God?  Without “faith” it is impossible to please Him and therefore faith pleases God.  Even though you are doing something that could please Him like praising Him with the fruit of your lips, if you are going to do it without faith it will not be found pleasing.

I just did a quick Bible lesson on the importance of your faith and giving God your sacrifices today.  There is more to the story of Cain and Abel than this, but that was the message from the Lord for you today.  Abel through his faith in God was called righteous and his name is mentioned in some elite company.   If you think it is too late for you to be added in this group I believe you are wrong.  Thank you for reading my Bible lesson.  May the love of God become known to you in new ways that are beyond your natural comprehension!  If you have any Bible questions that you like for me to see if I can answer please provide them in a comment and as I am led by the Spirit of God I will address them.  God Bless!

Bible Answers: What is the Human Soul? Is the Soul the Same as the Spirit?

theSoulMan_final_logo#8DB3F2(Ver 1.1)  This Bible lesson is a response to a good question that I received from a reader.   This is a very easily misunderstood topic in the Bible and I have addressed it at least in part in several other Bible lessons but this is a more direct topic discussion on the subject.   When I first started writing this response I thought it would be a quick and easy Bible lesson to do.  I very soon realized the broad scope of information on this subject in the Bible and it quickly grew way beyond what I could feasibly address in one lesson. This question is also potentially complex because of the very common misunderstanding that surrounds it.  I am going to have to overcome all of the false teachings that have already gone out on this topic and that is going to be challenging.  The subject of the human soul is mentioned directly or indirectly in literally thousands of different verses.  The Bible is covered with parts of this subject throughout and there are so many verses that I cannot even begin to list them all.   I will attempt to list the verses that I feel are important to help introduce the subject and focus on those.  I will learn based upon the follow-up questions and comments that I receive, if there are other lessons that need to be added.   Please feel free to leave your questions and comments and I will address them as I am led.  I’ll start by giving you a dictionary definition of the word soul.  I do not agree with this definition but it is at least a starting point:

soul  –  Noun

  1. The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.
  2. A person’s moral or emotional nature or sense of identity.

This definition of the soul is a result of the confusion behind the word’s popular usage.  It is literally a muddled attempt to define something that they know nothing about.   Let me start by saying that I agree with parts of the definition but certainly not the entire wording or the connection of the stated phrases.  The soul is definitely an immaterial part of a human; however it is not the spirit of a human as it is commonly assumed.  Both people and animals have souls but animals do not have spirits as we will observe from the Bible shortly.  The soul of the human is not the immortal spirit of the human and we will see scriptures that will confirm that also.  The soul of a man or a woman is related to their identity from a non-physical aspect or perspective.  We could call the human soul their personality and that becomes a much closer definition to what God reveals of the soul in His Word.  This dictionary definition also leaves out many other parts of the soul that are not mentioned, unknown or just ignored.   We will soon see some of these as I continue to go through the Bible lesson.

Even Bible translators struggled to know and understand how to accurately translate many of the original language words on this subject in the Bible.  For example the Hebrew word H5315 which is commonly translated into “soul” is found in 682 verses of the Old Testament.  If you study the original language translation closely you will find this same Hebrew word H5315 is translated into several different English words because of the pre-established confusion.  Here is a list of some of the popular ways that this Hebrew word was translated in the O.T. 1) soul, 2) souls, 3) creature, 4) life, 5) one 6) yourself, 7) body, 8) beast, 9) person, 10) mind, 11) heart, 12) breath, 13) will, 14) ghost, 15) appetite, 16) pleasure, and 17) desire to name some of the basic words used by translators.  That was not a complete list but we should be able to see from this diverse set of definitions this Hebrew word could be potentially all over the board.  We need to learn which words being used to describe the soul are correct and apply to the subject and which words do not?  Technically I will tell you that each English word in this list has a linked association to the subject and thus the reason for the wide misunderstanding.   I personally believe that many of the translated verses use very inadequate choices of English words to describe what is being communicated by God and perhaps I will attempt to go through a few of these examples to demonstrate what I mean.  This subject is a Bible basic truth that is essential to correctly know and understand.  You may already think that you know everything about this subject but I would challenge you to read the whole lesson to ensure that what you think you know agrees with what the Bible actually says.  In this Bible lesson I will attempt to answer the following reader questions on the subject of souls:

  1. WILL YOU DO A MESSAGE ON THE MEANING OF SOULS?
  2. WHAT THEY ARE?
  3. WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM AFTER DEATH?
  4. AND CAN A SOUL BE EATEN UP AND DESTROYED WHILE ALIVE?

In addition to these questions I will also address what the soul of man is not.  I will begin this lesson by stating the subject of the soul of man is popularly confused with the subject of the spirit of man and we saw this in man’s dictionary definition of the word.  People want to take a dictionary definition for a word that God defines to be something else and that is a foolish approach to trying to understand the God of the Bible.   Often in churches and on the internet the term soul of man is used in error interchangeably for the term spirit of man causing a general misunderstanding for the body of Christ.  What I have observed is that many people because of this confusion believe that they are the exact same things just called by two different names.  Every time the soul is used instead of the correct term spirit or vice versa, it just makes it that much harder to understand which is which.  For example, have you ever heard anyone speak of God saving 6 souls in church last Sunday?  I will guess that you have.  Do you know exactly what they were talking about?  Did you also know that Jesus did not come to die to save your soul?  Uh oh, I think I just put some people into shock.   But that is the problem because people do not know what a soul really is.  This will become much clearer after you know what a soul is defined by God to be.  Let me give you a New Testament verse to help prove my introductory point:

    • Jas 1:21  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

What does God say in this verse?  Does God say your soul is already saved?  If you can read you will find that is not what is stated.  God tells the church to receive the engrafted word which is ABLE to save your soul.  That is a future tense conditional promise.  If you receive the Word meekly the Word is able to make your soul whole again.   Once you begin to learn what a soul is verses like this will make so much more sense.  Knowing the basics of truths just opens the door for knowing the more complex truths of God’s Word.  I hope you can see my point from this verse.  God states your soul is not saved yet, but it can be if you continue in the Word.

GOD”S CREATION OF THE TRIUNE MAN

I never switch these two terms soul and spirit casually since I try to be a very detailed oriented person that likes to call things by their specific correct titles for clarification to what I am saying.  If I speak of the soul then I am speaking of only a soul and if I speak of a spirit then I am only talking about a spirit and they are definitely not the same thing.  Also I would like to say that my reader asking a specific question about “souls” may have intended the question to be about spirits but did not know the difference.   I run into this frequently and I will touch on both subjects in this lesson to help everyone learn the differences between spirit and soul.  In order to understand the human soul we need to understand the full created human composition and structure in the correct order of importance.  In order to understand this original human composition we need to back up to the account given by God concerning creation and see what He has to say on the subjects.   I do this to establish the foundation for the pattern transition that took place between the triune Creator God creating the triune man in His own image and likeness.  I pray that you already know what a triune being is.  If you do not understand that God is a triune being go to my Bible study on that subject and read it, I’m not going to prove the trinity of God fully in this lesson.  We will start with Genesis 1 and read concerning the revealed creation of man at the end of day 6:

  • Gen 1:26  Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Notice this verse begins with the title of God and this is the Hebrew word H430 that is used in over 2000 verses in the Old Testament as His divine name.  From the frequency of usage you can tell that it is a very common Hebrew name for God but what you need to know about this name is that it is also a plural name for God.  Hebrew words can either be singular or plural and this name is definitely a plural form of the Hebrew word H433.   Next, notice what the plural God says “Let US”.  God speaks of Himself in another plural pronoun form through the word “US”.  These are just two clues to the trinity of God.  But I said I wasn’t going to fully teach that part of the subject, but I just did an introduction to challenge you to think.   God then says “let us make man”.   So God is speaking of man as being a new part of creation that did not previously exist.  The next part of the verse is the main part that I wanted you to see.

The Hebrew term in this verse translated as the English word image means “a figure of”.   Michelangelos-Statue-of-DavidA figure of something else would be like a created statue or a sculpture that represents something else which is greater.  For example, the artist Michelangelo created a sculpture of David and while the sculpture was great it was not as great as the original David.  I personally believe that what God was saying is that the original man was a precise representation of the greater God.   I believe the angels in heaven could look at the created man and see a lesser view of the Supreme God.  This clearly states that Adam was not God but yet had the image of his Creator upon him.  Now take the Hebrew word translated as “likeness” and know that this word means Adam was a similar instance, example, illustration, pattern, design or a model of the Supreme God who created him.   In other words what God was, the man must also be in a lesser form.   You see man is definitely not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent as God clearly is, however what was present in Adam had to resemble the pattern of God or he was definitely not made in His image or His likeness.   I believe that God was a triune being and that this means man would also have to be a triune being.  I believe that whatever qualities that God possessed the  man must also have a lesser version of that feature.  Therefore we need to understand who and what this Creator God is, what qualities He has revealed to us, in order to know who and what the created man is and what he centrally consists of.

  • Joh 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

We know from reading scriptures that God is a Spirit first and foremost.  At least 31 times in the Bible God is referred to as the “Spirit of the Lord”.  At least 22 times in the Bible God is called “Spirit of God”.  At least 7 times in the KJV Bible God is called “Holy Spirit”.  At least 89 times in the KJV Bible God is called “Holy Ghost” and that is just a common mistranslated way to say “Holy Spirit”.  God is conclusively revealed to be a Spirit by the overwhelming evidence of scripture.  Therefore man must also be a spirit being or man was not made in the similar image or likeness of God.  This is where most people begin to struggle to understand the basic human composition.  You see I previously stated that Michelangelo created an image of David and we all know that the created image was stone and the other was flesh.  So clearly a created image does not have to be made from the exact same materials to be a good representation.  That is true, but we just need to learn some more facts instead of isolating one truth in the Bible thinking that is everything that we need to know.   It is also clear from simple observation that humans are outwardly flesh based carbon creatures because this is what we can see and touch.  However, God also called man a likeness of God and that additional word changed man to be a pattern of God.   Since we cannot verify the existence of the human spirit with our senses there is no evidence from a natural perspective in this world to support its existence.  But, we should also know from reading the Bible that God is not a man (Num 23:19).  Therefore, God is not a flesh based carbon unit.  How then can man be made in the likeness and the image of God if God is a Spirit and man is only a created human body?  Those are excellent question to consider and to find the answers in the Bible.

Here is another interesting point about God.  God is described to be invisible in Colossians 1:15, 1 Timothy 1:17, and Hebrews 11:27.  If God a Spirit is invisible are there any components of the human man which are also hidden and invisible?  I believe that there is and we will find out why very soon.  People in the world seek to know the external temporary body and neglect to seek to find the truth about the more real eternal internal invisible spirit.  The majority of the unsaved world believes a human is only a physical body, a soul and nothing else.  In thinking in these terms they believe man does not differ from all of the created animals of our planet in any way.  In fact they have been deceived to believe that man simply evolved from these lower forms of animal species and that is not supported scientifically, by DNA evidence, any missing fossil linkage, the Bible or any other evidence but people still believe a fool’s theory.  There is no evidence supporting this deception of evolution.   Creative fiction taught with authority causes the majority of the acceptance of lies.

  • Gen 1:20  And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

Here is where I think it might be good to introduce you to a concept that is important to know about humans and animals.  You see if you do a deep study of the original Hebrew word (H5315) that was translated into “soul” and the many other various words, you will find that this word has application to both man and animals equally.  Why is that?  For example here in the first chapter of Genesis is the first mention of the Hebrew word but it was translated as “life” instead of soul in this verse.   God is definitely teaching us that created animals have life or AKA souls.  I believe that this is an example where the translators would have been more accurate if they used the word soul instead of the word “life” but they both do apply.  Since created animals breathe air and have a similar form of life as men on the earth they both must possess the same type of “soul life”.  However, there is another truth in the Bible that is also very important to know about the difference between human souls and animal souls.   In several verses in the O.T. the term soul is joined together with another Hebrew word that means “dumb”.   In these verses a “dumb soul” or “dumb life” is referring to animals as being non-speaking living beings on the earth.   This fact distinguishes created man to be a completely separate class of being and a different type of soul than the created animals simply because of the existence of “speech”.   This significance or dissimilarity will become more evident as we continue to dig deeper into the truth.  Men speak words, words have power and authority and this feature reveals man to be like God where the created animals are not.  We may get into this more later, but if not just remember what I said.   Let me take you to a very important verse to study about this subject of the soul of man:

  • 1Th 5:23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This Bible verse clearly identifies all of the key parts of the basic created human composition.  The three main components are listed in their proper order of sequenced priority.  This order is from the greatest or most important human feature descending to the least important part of every human.   Not very many Christians put humans into this order but that is what God says, learn it.    This verse declares every human is to be first, a spirit that second has a soul and third lives in a physical body.  Spirit, soul and body represent three different realms of human existence that require our attention and God’s attention according to this statement.   Consider the declaration being made by God closely.  God says He desires that your whole being be made holy and then He lists three separate areas for this act to take place.  Did you see what God just said?  God just told you that you were designed to be a triune being and that you definitely have a spirit using the exact same Greek word that was proclaimed as God’s Holy Spirit in many other verses.  The fact that God chooses to use the same word for spirit to describe Himself and man makes man the likeness of God.   Do you understand that point?

Right here in this single verse we have just confirmed the existence of two unseen features for the created man being made in the image and likeness of God.   Using this foundational information we understand that the human spirit is not the human soul, the human soul is not the human body, the human spirit is not the physical body and all of these in the vice versa.   To emphasize this point again I’ll restate it using basic math terms.  The human spirit is not equal to the human soul, the human spirit is not equal to the human body, and the human soul is not equal to the human body.  These are very simple truths and this is very profound information for us all to learn.  Each component is a separate and distinct part of the whole man and that is why I never use the terms soul and spirit interchangeably.  This triune pattern revealed as a whole man is the repeated design from the trinity nature of God.  Like I said before I’m not going to teach the subject of the trinity of God in this lesson; I have other lessons on that subject.  Therefore, if you still do not understand that God declares Himself as One God in the form of three unique titled personalities then you are in need of knowing the truth.

Perhaps this will be a good time to introduce confirmation for the location of the human soul.  I just stated that the soul and spirit are the unseen parts of humans and we will need to find Bible verses to help establish this or we should change to believe what the Bible does say.   Even though we do not yet fully know what the soul is, we can still learn where it is located to help us understand the subject.   I’ll give you a verse that helps to point us to the location of the human soul.

  • 1Pe 3:4  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Here we have the Apostle Peter writing about a part of the human that is reported to be of greater importance than the outward human body mentioned in the preceding context verse.   God through Peter says that this internal part of the human composition is hidden from natural view.   This simply means it is not perceivable with the five physical human senses.   Clearly there is a part of humans that is invisible which is very similar to the Spirit of God.    What part of man do you believe this is speaking?  I believe it is speaking literally of the human soul and the human spirit.   In this verse it points us to the core of a man called his heart.  But we will need additional verses to confirm this belief.   Let’s go back to the Old Testament and review a verse that might help clarify this location for the soul.  Please read this next verse and if you would like, look up the Hebrew word definitions to expand your knowledge and understanding of what is being communicated:

  • Psa 103:1  A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Begin by understanding the Hebrew word (H5315) translated as “soul” is the same word that we previously defined to be at the least 16 different English words.   We should be able to then look at the next most important Hebrew word and find H7130 which is translated as “within” means the center of something.  In other words the center of an apple is the core.  The center of something means something else surrounds it.  In my apple example, the skin of the apple surrounds or covers the internal parts.  That is the concept being communicated by the Spirit of God in this verse in Psalms.   Therefore the soul of man is an internal component and not an external quantity.  This again points us to the center heart.  Do you understand that?  Perhaps you do and perhaps you don’t.   Using the list of 1 Thessalonians 5:23 human components we can see that the human soul was mentioned second.   I also said that this list was given to us in the order of importance.   Either way the soul being in the middle of the other two words means it is surrounded by something else.   However that is not exactly the best description of the three components of man.

spirit_soul_bodyDo you understand what a bull’s-eye target is?  This target is a series of concentric circles with a center circle usually given the highest point achievement to hit.  This type of target is popular in shooting sports, darts, archery and other types of recreational activities.   Don’t let the word concentric cause you difficulty.  Concentric only means every circle has the same center point.   I personally believe the human composition of man is like this target design.   For example, in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 God lists the center circle of man first called his spirit, I believe this represents the bull’s-eye.   The bulls-eye is the ultimate goal that God and Satan are after.  The spirit center circle is followed by the next circle called the soul and finally the outermost circle would be last, called the human body.   You will find this concept throughout the Bible and it is important for us to understand.  Let’s go back to Genesis again and see another reference commentary to the creation of man:

  • Gen 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

In this single verse is found all of the three stated created triune components of man revealed for us in 1 Thessalonians 5:23.  Every part of the specified composition of a man is mentioned here in this verse but they are easily confused or missed.  By contrast, in this verse God shifts the order of the mentioned priority to reveal more essential information concerning creation.  Understand that God’s order of mention always teaches something, reveals something, or states the sequence of importance, precedence, priority or authority.   You see in many secular schools there has always been the classic debate held about which came first the chicken or the egg?  The debate begins with a conclusion that a chicken always comes from an egg therefore the egg must have existed before the chicken.  However, the opposing side of the debates begins with this counter argument and states where did the egg come from?  Since the egg comes from a chicken the chicken must have existed first in order to produce the egg.  Thus we have a classic circular reasoning debate without end and without any clear winner.  However, God reveals by His phrasing exactly which came first here in His Word and ends the debate.  I guess people want to debate because they do not desire to believe in the Bible or the existence of a great creator God and thus they produce man made logic to explain away the truth.

This verse in Genesis starts with the revealed fact that God first created the complete mature body of the man from the dust of the earth.  What was the first created part of the man?  By definition it is the body.  Without a physical body there are no humans, man or woman.   When the body of a human baby is formed from the union of the female egg and the male sperm cells that action produces the body for the human spirit and before this occurs there is no human spirit and if you can read you will see that is what this verse in Genesis is teaching.   After the man’s formed body was produced by the work of God’s hand, what happened next?   The Bible says God “breathed” into his nostrils (body).  Let’s stop there and interpret this verse based upon what we have previously learned about God.  In John 4:24 we learned that God is an invisible Spirit and therefore God does not breathe air like a natural human being takes in the oxygen based atmosphere into the lungs and then exhales the carbon dioxide mixture back out.  In fact, have you ever read any verse that says air exists in heaven?  I personally believe air is a created substance and therefore the creator existed before air.   Therefore God did not need air to exist.   Surely you can see that spirits do not need air to be a spirit or to have life.  If God does not breathe air what then is God saying to us here to us in Genesis 2:7 that he breathed into Adam?

This is the introduction to the potentially complex part of the discussion on the human composition.   We learned from reading in the New Testament in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 that man is definitely a spirit first and foremost.  But here in Genesis 2:7 God creates the man’s body first and so far there is no mention of any direct spirit either God’s or man’s.  Where then did this spirit mentioned in 1Thessalonians 5:3 come from?  Are spirits created by God from nothing or do spirits originate from another spiritual being?   Did you ever ask yourself why God a Spirit is called by the direct title of “Father” repeatedly in the Bible?   In fact over 200 times in the Bible God is revealed by this title.  In order for any being natural or spiritual to be labeled a father they must procreate to produce a child.  What is the basis of procreation?  Naturally speaking it is sex, but how is that related to a spirit like God?  How does God procreate?   According to Genesis 2:7, God breathed and man became.  Analyze what natural human breath is.  Breathing is a process of inhaling or the intake of air followed by exhaling, outtake or exit of the air?  That process of breathing represents air flow or more specifically air movement.  So if God created natural things to give us pictures into spiritual things what does God breathing into the nostrils of the man represent symbolically and spiritually?  I believe that God breathing out from His Spirit and into the body of the man was God’s Spirit moving from God into the body of His creation to become Adam’s spirit.  What else can it be?   This would answer the question where the spirit of man came from.  Let’s look at a verse that Jesus spoke when teaching His disciples to pray:

  • Mat 6:9  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Here Jesus says to pray “Our Father”.  This does not say “My Father”.  The term “Our” is a statement of inclusion not leaving the disciples out.  If God was their Father as well as the Father of the Lord Jesus then this is important information to remember.   This verse in Genesis 2:7 that I have been using to teach specifically says that God blows something out from His Spirit that enters into the body through the nasal air passage of the man to cause life to be first observed.   The nasal air passage is just one human gate to the body of man.  Gates can be two ways or one way.   In the case of the nose and mouth these are two way gates that allow air in and out.   Please allow me tell you briefly about a testimony of a man that I knew.  This man died as a teenager and went to hell.  This man was about to enter into hell when a voice spoke from heaven and he ascended back to the earth.  When his spirit came back into the room where his body had died, he remembers his spirit entering back into his body through his mouth.   It seems that there is a direct connection between the air passages and the internal invisible spirit of the human that resides in the body.   I haven’t proved that yet, but maybe I will get to that part later.  If not and you want to know where this is in the Bible you can ask a question.

Here is a basic simple question, was the body of the man Adam living or alive before God breathed?  If you are smart you must agree that Adam’s body had no life before God breathed.   If it was not alive then it was technically dead.   Isn’t dead the antithesis to being alive?  I am simply using the term dead to mean there was no life present until God breathed.  Here is another very interesting point to observe from the creation account in Genesis; ask yourself, why didn’t God breathe into any of the nostrils of any of the other created animals to cause them to become alive?  Have you ever thought about that?  Actually I should ask did you notice that God did not breathe into the animals.   What this proves is a basic fact that man was not created as an animal and did not originate from the animal class of species.   It conclusively proves that man’s life came directly from God’s Spirit and that makes man a very unique and a very special created being.

What does the Bible say is the reason for the life of the flesh or the body of a man?   Realistically there is more than one answer to that question but I’m going to focus in on only one part of the answer for now.   We are going to interpret the Bible using the Bible so that we can understand what God is saying in Genesis 2.  Read this verse and tell me what it says and why it applies to what we just read about in Genesis 2:7:

  • Jas 2:26  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

This verse clearly says that when the human body dies, the spirit of that man departs, exits, or leaves the body.   To be more precise this verse says if there is no human spirit, then there is no human life!  This verse is the stated antithesis of what occurred in Genesis 2:7 and it teaches us what happened to the man in that verse to cause life to enter his body.   The man’s spirit had to have come from the Spirit of God in order for the man’s body to become a living being.   Are you getting the connection?   Where did the spirit of man come from?  The spirit of man could only come from the Spirit of God and this is not that complicated and it must be this way for every human.  Spirits come from the Father of Spirits and this is told to us by the verse in Hebrews 12:9.  Go read it and see what it says.  I’m spending a lot of time on the spirit of man component because this is the most important part of every human being.  The spirit of man is the eternal part that never dies, never ceases to exist and will be judged someday standing before the throne of God.   The human spirit is the part of the man that was made in the direct image and likeness of the Creator.

Earlier I told you that the human soul is not saved yet and that God has given us His Word to save our souls.  Therefore, the human spirit is the only  component of God’s salvation that was reconciled back into relationship with God’s plan of salvation.  You see at the point of salvation your physical body does not change one bit.  You have the exact same body before receiving salvation as you do after salvation.   Remember the order of priority given to us by God?   God thinks about you internally to externally in that precise order.   When God offered you salvation He did it through a preacher proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This Gospel message should have included the message of the identity of Jesus as being God in the flesh and His voluntary sacrifice to die for our sins.  But it did not end there, Jesus was then raised from the dead and that act was the key difference between every other human death and when we believe on all of this that Jesus accomplished that saved our spirit and God’s Spirit enters into our body to witness that we are now again His children.

  • 1Co 6:17  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

To be joined with the Lord is a marriage covenant phrase first given to us by God in Genesis 2:24.   After receiving the Lord Jesus as savior the Spirit of God becomes one spirit with your spirit and you are conclusively saved by His Grace through your faith (Eph 2:8).  Therefore, God’s Spirit joined with your spirit is the result of salvation.  The rest of you still needs to be saved and I’ll show you why next when I begin to describe the human soul.

INTRODUCTION TO THE SOUL OF MAN

I needed to spend considerable time upfront emphasizing the spirit of man because that is not the soul part of the human composition.   The spirit of man comes from the Spirit of God, but the soul of man does not.   Ok, I probably just confused most of you with that statement.  Let’s spend time analyzing what the soul of man represents.   I do not currently know of one verse that accurately describes all of the parts of the human soul.  If you know of one, share it.  I will go through and give you some verses that list specific parts of the human soul and then we will need to put the pieces together to define the whole

  • Pro 2:10  When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;

Here we have two references to two different parts of the human composition.  The heart of man can normally be viewed as the spirit of the man and the soul is the Hebrew word H5315 that I have been focusing upon in this lesson.   Wisdom goes into the spirit (heart) of man.  Let’s define wisdom as being, knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do.  I believe we could also define wisdom as being, saying the right thing when you think you don’t know what to say.  Wisdom directs good words and good actions to come forth from a man, but the lack of wisdom causes a man’s acts and words to appear foolish.  According to God wisdom is what we all should be trying to obtain.  But, God also says knowledge is a positive ingredient for our soul.  Therefore, ask yourself how do you get knowledge and where do you retain this knowledge?  Do you believe that knowledge is tied to your mind and your memory?  If you agree with me that getting knowledge is a part of your mind’s function, then the soul of man contains your mind.   Let’s consider another verse that brings in a new aspect of the soul:

  • Pro 14:10  The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.

This verse is easily missed because of the translation error.  The term “own” here is the Hebrew word H5315 that should have been made “soul”.   This is one of those poor examples of Bible translations that I referred to earlier.   Change the word to soul and reread it.  The heart (spirit) knows his soul’s bitterness”.   What is bitterness?   If you look at the entire verse you will hopefully see bitterness is being defined as the antithesis of joy.  What is joy?  Joy is a human emotional state.  It represents a very happy moment in life.  Therefore, bitterness could be the opposite the sad, discouraged, disappointed times of life.  What we are observing is the inclusion of the human emotions into the soul realm.  So far we have found the mind and the emotions to be two parts of the soul.

  • Pro 15:32  He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

Here is another interesting verse about your soul.  What is the main subject of this verse?  If you did not know God is focused on the human soul in this verse.   We can see from the last word in the verse that God is talking about us getting understanding?  How do you understand anything?   Isn’t that with your mind again?  People get knowledge and then they can grow to understand what they know with their minds and that is an intricate part of the human soul.  However, God introduces us to a new aspect of the human soul called choice.  The right of human choice that we all possess is called our human freewill.   If we refuse to take instructions we have made a negative choice and God says we despise our souls.   This is an act of a vile person, an ignorant person and it is not a positive description to be associated.  What we have learned from this verse is that the human soul is comprised of their will or right to choose.    We could go through many more confirming verses but that was a quick introduction to the three main human soul sub-components.

WHERE DOES MAN GET HIS SOUL?

The human soul is one sub-realm in the triune whole design of man (spirit, soul & body).  We previously looked at God as being the source for man’s spirit, but where did man get his soul?  The soul of man is comprised of three main specific entities called 1) the mind, 2) the will and 3) the emotions.  These soul items were created patterns, models and qualities that God possessed but they were not God’s personal mind, God’s personal will, or God’ personal emotions present in man.  In other words man was an independent spirit possessing an independent soul, an independent mind, an independent will and an independent set of emotions all being separated from God’s soul.  Did you know that God had a soul?  Ask yourself does God have a mind?  If yes, then ask does God have a will?  If yes, then ask yourself has God ever displayed any emotions?  If yes, then God has a soul and man’s soul was modeled after God’s.  However, the created man did not come preloaded with all of the knowledge of God, the understanding or the wisdom of God after creation.  The created man was not fully packed with all of the memories of God.   The created man was not told anything specifically about the will of God except “do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or you will surely die”.  This was one of the only details of knowledge revealing the will of God that the man possessed.  Therefore the man was not pre-conditioned or pre-programmed to do the will of God.  How would the man even know what death was?  There is no way that he had ever seen death or experienced death because God created everything very good.  Adam did not find out what death was until after he sinned and his son Cain killed his other son Abel and that was the first recorded natural death that occurred in the Bible.

Soul_Empty_containe2rWhat I am attempting to teach is that the created man did not auto-magically possess the full knowledge of God, the thoughts of God, the ways of God or the emotions of God.  He could learn these from walking with and listening to God but they were certainly not automatically transferred to his soul when he was given God’s spirit life.   I view the human soul to be an empty large container in need of filling.  A human learning something is their empty mind being filled with knowledge.   Consider a new born natural child.  Does this new born baby possess all of the knowledge of their parents directly from birth?   Can they speak intelligently about the facts of life or the experiences of their parents?  Obviously a child is an empty container in need of an education and individual and personal experiences of their own in order to grow up and mature.   Why would you think that Adam and Eve were different than any new born babies in need of the same?   Let me let you in on another Bible pattern.   The Bible teaches us that Adam was made in the image and likeness of God in Genesis 1:24 but these two same exact words were used to describe Adam’s new born son named “Seth” in Genesis 5:3.  What I am attempting to say is if one pattern is not identical to the other pattern then God just must be confused to use the same words.  No what God is teaching us is that the same image and likeness that Adam was created with was also transferred down the life chain to every human descendent that came from Adam.  Let’s move on and talk more about the soul.

Consider the human mind to continue our soul analysis.  The human mind is comprised of both mental reasoning facilities for thought processing and knowledge retention capabilities also called our memory.  Memory is used for human learning and for experience and information storage, which demands there is also recall capabilities later for these memories to be reused for other decision making or expression.  Perhaps I need to stop and verify the existence of God’s soul using scriptures.  Start by looking at Jeremiah 5:9 and Jeremiah 9:9 to see the Lord speaking directly of His personal soul.  This is the same Hebrew word used for man’s soul an animal’s soul, etc.  I think verses like these confirm that God is in possession of a soul.  Let’s consider what God says about the “mind of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 2:16 and we will certainly verify from this verse that the Lord God also has a mind.  Now consider the prayer that Jesus taught to his disciples to pray in Matthew 6:10.  Jesus said to pray “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven”.  Therefore, God definitely has a will.  We really haven’t fully defined what a will is, but this is the inward desire part of the spirit being.   I also said that the will was the part of a being that possessed “the right of choice”.  The inner desires usually help to determine the choices that a person makes.  Therefore, the will is another factor for decisions.  We are just going through a few of the key components of the soul to verify their existence in God.   Now consider the mind’s thought process for thinking and read Isaiah 55:8 and you will see a direct connection being made by God where He says “My thoughts are not your thoughts”.   God basically declares we both have minds that think but you are not thinking like I think.  If you continue to read in Isaiah God says “Your ways are not my ways”.  This again states the will of God to be separate from the will of man.   God was clearly saying the choices that you make are not the same as the choices that I would have made.   Are you learning anything about the related and connected parts of man’s soul to be like God’s soul?  Let’s move on to the emotional part of the soul of God.  Does God have emotions?  What are emotions?   Sadness, anger, joy, disgust, fear and surprise are all common emotional qualities found in normal humans and I did not attempt to give the complete list.  Does God ever display any of these qualities?   Read Exodus 4:14 to begin and you should quickly see that “the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses”.   It appears that God does possess emotions.  Nehemiah 8:10 states the “joy of the Lord is our strength”.   Clearly God displays joy and anger to name two emotions.   I could give you other verses but that is enough to confirm that God has a soul and that man’s soul was modeled after it.

We can read in Genesis 2 that the created man definitely had extreme thought and reasoning capabilities and he must have possessed incredible memory abilities in order to name all of God’s created animals.  Modern scientists still do not know exactly how many species exist on the planet but it is estimated to be between 9,000 and 10,000 different types.  Let’s see how long it takes you to come up with original names for each one of these groups and then remember them all.  Where did Adam get these names?   Notice in this chapter that God brings the animals to Adam and says “whatever the man calls it that is what it will be called” (Gen 2:19).  This statement implies that it was an independent man only naming operation that transpired.  God would direct the animals across Adam’s path and Adam would use his independent reasoning abilities to name them all.  This teaches me that Adam used his own personal mind, thoughts and reasoning abilities to name all of the animals and God did not contribute His abilities or thoughts into Adam’s mental thought process.  There is no stated time for how long this took Adam but the fact that it happened is good enough for me.  I want you to see that it is clear that Adam must have had a desire to name the animals or he would not have done it.  This displays the unique quality of drive, initiative, curiosity and desire; in other words Adam’s human will was a contributing factor in this Animal naming process.  Therefore the second part of the triune soul called the human will was a confirmed factor that Adam had to possess.  The fact that Adam did something without being told to do it demonstrates not only intelligence but also his freewill choice and the right to make a decision.

Consider all of the mentioned components of the soul of man; each component of the human soul has some significance in the story of Adam in Genesis 2.   God says in Genesis 2:6 that he formed the body of the man from the dust of the ground and then breathed a spirit into his body and Adam became a living soul.  This confirms that the soul of man exists only after the spirit is introduced.  This makes man the unique part of God’s creation.  You can see that every animal has a soul but without any spirit.  The fact that Adam shows interest in God’s creatures demonstrates a unique human quality that is unlike any creature that was displayed before Adam.   No other animal looked at Adam to attempt to name him.  What God was teaching Adam by parading His creation before Adam was the fact that there was no one else like him on the planet.  God showed him the whole of his work in this world and nothing that God created on the planet was Adam’s equal.  That is why God created the woman because God says it was not good for the man to be alone.  That statement by God proves Adam was an independent being separate from God.    Adam has demonstrated the three qualities of the human soul in this chapter.  This was just a quick introduction to the topic of where did Adam get his soul.  I tried to show you that Adam’s soul came as a designed pattern for God’s soul but it came void of God’s divine soul fullness.  I hope you understand these quick points, I just don’t have the time to explain them in greater detail right now.

SOUL VS. SPIRIT BEFORE AND AFTER DEATH

I am now going to provide further confirmation that the soul is not the spirit and the spirit is not the soul and give you evidence that they both still exist after death.   You may have heard me say this before but it is always a good practice to find at least 2 verses in the Bible that impart the same truth.  When we locate two verses in two different books of the Bible that demonstrate the same truth, we know this is a truth that God has firmly established by the mouth of 2 witnesses.   I think we have covered this fairly well but there is more to it that needs to be studied.  Previously I believe I stated the soul and the spirit to be hidden unseen qualities of a man.  I linked the soul and spirit to internal parts of the human not connected to the physical body and that is potentially a controversial statement since everyone knows the human brain is the container for the mind.  Or at least that is what people think in error and we will talk more about this soon.   Let’s go to the New Testament and see what God reveals on the subjects of soul and spirit:

  • Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

We are going to continue with the mind part of the soul.  In this verse God declares His word to be a sword of division capable of dividing the human soul from the human spirit.  Spirit, soul and body are all technically mentioned in some form in this verse.   Joints and marrow are body sub-components just as thoughts and intents are soul sub-components.   The spirit is directly mentioned in this verse to be separate from the soul.  But why then does God mention the heart at the end of the verse and not the spirit?  What is the difference between heart and spirit?   Here is where we get into more potentially complex discussions.  The Body as you recall is the outer layer component to the inner concentric circles of man.  The body layer is followed by the middle circle layer of the soul ending with the center circle layer of the spirit.  So the heart of a man is that which lies underneath the outer layer.  I believe the heart of a man normally refers to both his spirit and his soul together and I will try to explain this as I go.

Many people confuse the spirit and the soul to be like Siamese twins joined together at the “S”.  This verse appears to imply this relationship but it also clearly says that they can be separated, detached, parted, or divided revealing them to be unique separate human qualities.   Consider what is not directly stated here.  If the word of God says the soul can be separated from the spirit, this would tend to show that they are normally always linked together.  In other words where the spirit goes, the soul will surely follow.  I then want you to consider why it takes the Word of God to separate the soul from the spirit?  Is there anything more powerful than the Word of God?   I do not know of anything that exists that is more powerful than the Word of God.   God spoke the world into existence and that is enough proof for me but I’ll give you Hebrews 1:3 for you to research.  You may not understand that the soul and spirit are normally linked but this is actually a very true statement and I will show you verses that confirm this belief shortly.

Earlier I stated the soul is a triune structure consisting of the “mind”, the “will” and the “emotions”.  This verse in Hebrews lists two of these three parts leaving out the emotions.  The “thoughts” of man are linked to the human mind’s functionality.  You think and therefore you are.   The “intents’ of the soul mentioned in Hebrews 4:12 are the parts of you that produce purpose, drive and ability and these give you choice.   You mind is a very complex designed part of your being.  I could spend a lot of time on this subject but that would be a better separate lesson.   Know the soul is the location for your thoughts, your memories, your reasoning, your desires, your emotions, etc.   Also understand that God says that your thoughts and intents are for your spirit and not for your body.  This brings me to the next part of the lesson question.  What happens to the human soul after the death of the human body?   I’ve already shown you Bible evidence that states the spirit departs when the death of the human body occurs.  Therefore, that leaves us to decide does the human mind just cease to exist after death?  That is what some ignorant Bible teachers claim; they call this belief the doctrine of “Soul Sleep”.   They define the state of soul sleep to be an unconscious state of existence that is experienced by the spirit until the judgment day and suddenly they are all awakened by God and are back to normal.  This belief practically denies the existence of heaven and hell and ignores a lot of the truth in the Bible that counters this belief.   It is a very foolish belief that cannot be fully confirmed with all the scripture.  For example let me give you something that Jesus taught on the subject of the soul and spirit:

  • Luk 16:19  There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
  • Luk 16:20  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

Read this story told by Jesus very carefully and give it vigilant consideration.  This information is a real literal historical story known by Jesus and not a parable as many fools claim it to be.   If it was a parable Jesus is going to state two obvious lies and one of them is found here in this 20th verse.  Jesus called the beggar directly by the name of Lazarus.  If this was not a real man named Lazarus then the story has become a work of fiction, a make believe account, and a fabrication of unimportant information.   If Lazarus does not literally exist Jesus would not have given us his name to make himself a liar.  What I am doing is countering a false teaching that attempts to explain away this real life story to make it a parable.  These soul sleep teachers have to do this in order to support the rest of their false doctrines.   You see the popular approach to discrediting any conflicting verses in the Bible that disagree with your belief is to explain them away using human reasoning.  This is a very common technique for deception.  They will take the truth and change it into a lie to help support the other lies that they claim are also the truth.   Ok, let’s continue with the information from Jesus.

  • Luk 16:22  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

Notice that both men are stated to die a physical death and that their physical bodies are buried in the earth.   Then notice the wording that is used here to tell what happens to them.  What was carried away by the angels?  Did you happen to notice that the body in the ground was not them?  It was the real man that was being carried away and it was their bodies that were being buried.  Here we have the separation of the spirit from the body.    We have a very clear separation of the internal unseen man from his seen body.  Are you making any connections here?   Since the body of man was separated from the spirit of man at the time of death what happened to the soul?  Does the soul cease to exist?  That is the problem with what is being taught in many ignorant churches, they are ignoring what the Bible says on the subject to believe more untruths.   We are about to find out from words spoken out of the mouth of the creator God what happens to their souls so pay attention to what God says:

  • Luk 16:23  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
  • Luk 16:24  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
  • Luk 16:25  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

Use basic logic observing what is literally stated for us to learn from.    We can understand easily that everyone mentioned here is dead, right?    Abraham is dead from reading Genesis 25:8.  Lazarus we just read has died and is with Abraham.  Finally the rich man in hell was also a dead man from the same story that Jesus was using as an example warning.  These are three dead individuals that have all departed leaving their bodies on the earth.  Notice that Jesus mentions Abraham another real man and this is the second lie that Jesus told if this story is not a literal account that actually happened to Abraham.  We cannot hear a story of a real named man and conclude it to be anything but a lie if it did not actually happen.  No this is all an actual account given by Jesus stating the literal truth.  Then notice everyone that is mentioned can see, think, feel and talk.  We can easily understand from what is stated the rich man in hell literally feels the torment of the flames.  He sees Abraham and Lazarus a far distance away from the flames and asks for a drop of water to cool his tongue.  The key word that I want you to focus on is found in verse 25.  Abraham looks at the rich man and tells him to “remember”.    A memory is nothing but the recollection of real past events that were personally experienced.  I can’t remember what you did yesterday because I don’t know what you did.  We all have memories either good or bad and these are an intimate part of our mind and our soul.  Therefore, the soul of man is definitely present with the spirits of all of the men after death.    The rich man was still able to remember, to think, to reason, and to see and speak.  Without the soul and the mind none of this would have been possible.  There are many other things to learn from this story but that was the key points that I needed you to see in order to understand the existence and location of the soul after death.   Let’s look into another Bible story that is applicable to learn about the soul of man.

  • Mar 9:2  And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
  • Mar 9:3  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.
  • Mar 9:4  And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.

Here we have another literal story that happens while Jesus was physically present on the earth.   Jesus takes three disciple witnesses with Him for them to tell us what was about to occur.  These disciples observe Jesus being transfigured and suddenly two men appear with Him.  Notice, who these men are that join Jesus on the mountain.  Elijah did not die and was raptured up but Moses certainly died by reading Deuteronomy 34:7.  Did you know that the O.T. law of God prohibits talking to the dead?  Uh oh!  That is a problem until you realize Jesus was actually speaking to two living men and not dead ones.  The fact that Moses’ body had died does not make Moses a dead man.  The spirit of Moses is alive and present hundreds of years after his physical death.  Then notice the mind of Moses is still intact with his spirit since he is clearly able to hold an intelligent conversation with the Lord.   That is so important to learn what is being taught in the Word of God.  Spirits still have souls and these reside with their spirits after the body has died.  Let’s look at another verse that will assist us with this truth:

  • Rev 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Let’s shift our focus to a prophetical verse about the future.   Here in this verse God declares that He will wipe away every tear.   Who is this that God is wiping away their tears?  Probably a better question would be “Why do they have tears to wipe away”?  If you read the preceding context you will discover that God is wiping the tears from people.  Not just any people, because these are the people of God that God lives in eternity with.  That means two things that are very relevant to answer the soul questions.  First the presence of the soul is confirmed in the future tense because the tears that are flowing represent the presence of their emotions.   Tears normally flow as a result of hurt, pain, sorrow, sadness or other related emotional conditions.  There is also the term “tears of joy” and that might also apply to what is being stated here.  Remember that I told you the soul was comprised of the mind the will and the emotions.   Every one of these subjects is implied to exist in the eternal man.   Why do people cry at funerals?  They cry simply because they can, but not only that they cry because they love and remember their friend, spouse, child, parent or other relative that has departed.   Therefore, memories play an important role in why tears are present.   Emotions play a role in the existence of tears.   Finally the human will plays a role in shedding tears because I have seen many choke them back to keep them from flowing.   What this does is to help confirm that the soul of man will never cease to exist.

I have just given you three great examples of man after death on the earth that still possess their souls with their memories, thoughts, wills and emotions all being implied present with their spirits.   The soul of man is an eternal part of the human composition and it will never cease to exist.  That brings us to the last part of the question; what about the soul here in this life?   You see there is another popular lie from Satan that is taught even in modern medical universities that when a human brain flat lines with no activity that the body is clinically dead and the plug should be pulled.  Is that what Jesus said?  Is that what the Bible teaches?  How does that belief line up with the truth found in God’s Word?  Didn’t the spirit of man still possess the mind even after his spirit left his body?   What I am saying is that your mind and your memory have nothing to do with your physical brain cells.  None of the dead men in Luke 16 had any physical brain cells and every one of them could still see, speak, think and remember like they were in their bodies and probably better.   I didn’t give you the full story in this lesson but you can go back and read it to see that the rich man in hell remembered his brothers that were left behind on the earth and he desired (used his will) that they be warned not to come to the same place of torment with him.  If this man remembered his life here on the earth, then every man after death can still remember his life in the past.  Here is another ending point for the rich man, not only did he remember his brothers on the earth he knew who Abraham was and Abraham had died long before he did.  You are going to know a lot of people after you die that you have never seen before.  This is just very basic knowledge based upon the Bible.  I pray that you will see it.

WHY DOES MENTAL ILLNESS EXIST?

How then do we resolve life’s soul issues?   What are the source causes for mind problems?   The existence of emotional and mental issues in this life is certainly present.  Why are there lapses in memory such as amnesia or Alzheimer’s disease where the recollection is lost?   Why are their mental hospitals and physiatrists to try to help people with unstable normal thought patterns and emotions?  I’m not going to spend a lot of time addressing this subject because it could potentially be very long and very complex.  I will however point you to a few Bible stories that will help begin the understanding process for why these types of things occur in the natural realm even when the soul is not literally tied to the physical brain cells.   Let’s start this part of the lesson with this scripture verse:

  • 2Co 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Did you see who God claims to be the source for mind issues?  The god of this world is a title given by God to the devil and Satan.  He rules the night and the kingdom of darkness of this world.   Darkness is nothing but the absence of light.  Since God is light, the loss of God represents darkness.   Now consider what blindness represents?  Can you see in the dark?  Have you ever been in a cave and they turned the lights off?  The darkness is so thick there that you feel like it engulfs you.   Naturally speaking, blindness is the inability to see illuminated objects clearly or at all.  Since the mind is an internal human component, how does Satan blind a person’s mind?  Did you even know that the human mind had vision?  Perhaps you have heard of the mind’s eye?  This concept is the visualization of concepts, ideas, knowledge so that they are clearly understood.   What God is saying is when a person has been blinded in their minds by Satan, the information enters their ears, but does not pass deeply enough to remain planted.  It is very much like the parable of the sower where Jesus said the birds of the air come quickly to devour the Word of God that was planted in their hearts.   You really need to give this information serious thought.  I’m not going to talk about this in great depth because I am running very long in this lesson already.  Just understand that if Satan can blind your mind then that is an area of the soul that is open for attack by a foreign spiritual being.    Let’s see if we can verify some of these concepts using other verses in the Bible.  I will continue this part of the lesson with the confirmation that the process of thinking within our minds is linked to the spirit of man and not the natural body or brain:

  • Mat 9:4  And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

Jesus looking at some people knew their internal unseen thoughts and asked them a question that was very revealing to what we are studying.  Jesus clearly is speaking of the soul thought realm and he leads us to these thoughts being attached to their spirits and never mentions their physical brain activity.  Do you think the creator God knew what He was talking about here?  There is no reference to the body anywhere in the context.   Little clues like this are hidden in the Bible in some of the most unlikely settings.  Truth is concealed so well in the Bible that it is easily overlooked by the casual reader.  Everyone is focusing on what Jesus is doing while ignoring what He just said.

  • Pro 23:7  For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

Again God connects the location of the thought process to be within the center of the man called his soul and spirit and not within the physical body, the brain or the external natural realm.  The heart of man is not the physical blood pump organ, it is the center or core of the human like the heart of an apple is the center of the piece of fruit.  I’ve said this before but for those that need to hear it again that was for you.   This is the basics of God’s truth found in the scripture and that is what is needed for your understanding of the subject of the soul.  Now let’s observe what the Bible says about the cause of human mental issues:

  • Luk 8:26  And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.
  • Luk 8:27  And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.

Let us perceive what is happening in this Bible account of the Lord Jesus.  They are passing through a part of the country to a town called Gadara.    They encounter a man that is far from normal.  Physically speaking he has issues, but mentally speaking he is off the charts and can be labeled crazy or a mad man.   He wore no clothes and lived in tombs.  These are clear signs of a deep mental illness but they are attributed to the presence of devils.  What we are going to discover by study of the Bible is that demons, devils, or unclean spirits cause the majority of the mental issues found in the people that Jesus encountered.

  • Luk 8:28  When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.

You can see from this statement that the man is unaware of the presence of the devils.  He does not ask to be delivered from them and is directed by the demons to ask Jesus not to torment them.  The reference is to the man, but the thought for the spoken words surely originates from the demons.   Clearly this man is possessed of devils.   These devils can manifest vocally and take over the voice of a human speaking through his body.  This is normally not an ordinary human voice and can be easily identified to those that are spiritually aware.

  • Luk 8:29  (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
  • Luk 8:30  And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
  • Luk 8:31  And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.

You can see that Jesus understood that the devils were present and He had commanded them to come out of the man, but that was not the end of the conversation.  It is obvious that the demons did not depart on the first command and asked more questions.  Jesus then asked for their name.  The man replied “legion” because there were many devils in his body tormenting his mind.   It would be like having a thousand voices in your head and each one driving you into a state of madness and that is what was happening to this man.  I’m going to skip down to the end of the story since that is the important part to understand about the subject of mental illness.  After Jesus cast the tormenting spirits out of the madman this is what occurred:

  • Luk 8:38  Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,
  • Luk 8:39  Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

Here we can see with the absence of the devil influence being present the man had returned to a sound and stable mental state and wearing clothes.   The new normal man wanted to follow Jesus, but Jesus instructed him to go back to his former house and live like a normal man like he did before he went crazy.  We have just witnessed a full circle of mental illness that went through the stages of first being normal, then becoming crazy and finally a full recovery with spiritual deliverance to again being normal.   The fact that the devils were present during the crazy times proves that they were the cause for the mental illness. The man starts out as normal, but does something that allows the devils access to enter him to take over and control his mind, he then goes crazy until Jesus comes by and delivers him.  This deliverance only occurred because of the power and the authority that Jesus used to solve this man’s abnormal situation.   Let’s move to another story found in the Bible that is also related to mental and physical instability:

  • Mar 9:17  And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;

Again we see the presence of a spirit being related as the cause of an abnormal human conditions.  This stated dumb spirit is not the human child’s spirit even though that is also certainly present since the boy is physically alive.   Read the next verse to see what this spirit causes to happen in this boy’s body and mind:

  • Mar 9:18  And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

Is any of this description normal human behavior for a child?  I seriously do not think we can call any of this foaming at the mouth, seizures, gnashing of the teeth, and shriveling or shrinking away normal human behavior.   If you took this description to a physiatrist without explaining where you got the information from the Bible they would probably request an immediate meeting with this person very fast.  I believe it is a clear account of a mentally unstable individual.   I’m not going to go through the entire story because you can do that for yourself.  What you will find is that Jesus casts the devil out and the child returns again to normal human behavior.

What we learn from these two simple stories is that mental issues are largely originated from evil spirits being present in the bodies of the humans.    When the evil spirits depart or more specifically are cast out, normalcy returns and humans can resume their lives.  What we discover is that the human actions of an individual can be controlled by or at least certainly influenced by the existence of evil spirits.  That was a very quick overview of soul issues and deliverance.  Deliverance is possible still today because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

CONCLUSION

I believe this has been an incomplete discussion of the full subject of the soul given to us by God in the Bible.  However, in this lesson, I have demonstrated to you from the Bible that the soul is not the spirit and the spirit is not the soul of a human.  A human being is a spirit that has a soul and lives in a body here in the natural realm.  I have also shown you that man was created in the image of God and that God is a Spirit and that He has a soul and these were the patterns for man’s spirit and soul.  I have given you more than adequate evidence from the Bible that states the soul of man does not cease to exist after death and the separation of the human spirit from the body.  We have seen more than enough verses that teach us the soul and the spirit exist separate from the body.   Finally, at the end of this lesson I showed you how the soul realm was within the realm of influence of evil spirits.  I believe I gave sufficient evidences to prove that mental illness is caused by demonic possession.   There are probably another thousand verses in the Bible on this subject.  It would be good for you to go and see if you can find them if you truly desire to know more about this subject from the true authority.   If you run across verses that you do not understand you are welcome to ask me questions and if I know anything I will share it.   I hope and pray that you learned something that you did not know before on the human soul and triune composition of man.  I thank you for your time to study the Bible and may God bless you with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ Jesus (Eph 1:16).

Is the Rapture of the Church Really Found in the Bible? The Rapture Found in Old Testament Typology! Part 4

typology(ver 1.2)  This is Part 4 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the timely and important subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”.  I know this teaching series has been a little different than what most other Bible teachers’ attempt, but I do not copy or imitate other Bible teachers.   I would rather be led by the Spirit of God and teach the subjects with the content, direction and in the order for His purpose and plan.  If you have not read this entire series from the beginning I would highly recommend that you go and start your study with “Part 1” and then continue in succession until today’s lesson.  I have been building a firm doctrinal foundation for the Biblical subject of rapture.  In doing this I have been moving through the scriptures in what appears to be a random order.  However, if you are a spiritually mature Christian you should be able to see that I am taking them in the order that helps us understand how the subject has been distributed throughout the Bible by God.  Rarely do we ever find God doing things in His Word in a manner that we expect and I will warn you up front that this lesson will demonstrate that it is no different.

Today God wants me to go in a completely new direction in this lesson series and talk about the subject of rapture hidden within the context of Old Testament typology.  What is “Biblical Typology” you might ask immediately?  Biblical Typology is simply an actual historical event containing real people doing real things that are recorded in the Old Testament which point us to a coming future New Testament spiritual reality truth.  I believe that God through His wise word selection utilized very specific descriptions for many recorded O.T. Bible events and participants which all have direct relevance, application and meaning to what will occur again in a future context.   God cleverly designed the Bible in ways so that people would not be able to see the complete truth unless it was spiritually revealed to them.  It is important to understand this concept of hidden truth because God uses it throughout the written Word to require everyone to search diligently for Him and His truth.  This method of concealing the truth allows everyone the right to not see the truth.  This actually explains why many in the church today have not believed in the rapture because they have not searched for it and found it in the Bible.

I believe that this lesson will be one of the most important lessons that you have read on this subject.   I can see how it will potentially reveal some new unexpected ways for many people to learn.  I will probably teach several original aspects that you have never thought on before, but all that should mean to you is that you need to become a noble Acts 17:11 type of Christian to verify everything that I say using the Spirit of God inside of you and your own personal Bible so that you do not take my word for anything.  Are you ready to learn something potentially brand new on the subject of rapture?  This will be a very long Bible lesson with a lot of good information in it.  I also believe that I need to do a basic introduction to the subjects to help you see where we are going to go in this lesson before we get there.  I’ll start by teaching you about hidden spiritual messages found in the natural words of the Bible.  I call this the Spiritualization of the Word of God.  I will follow this part of the introduction with a brief discussion on “Extremism” and why we need a “Balanced” approach to Bible Study.  Then I will introduce you to the subject of Biblical Typology to help you better understand what that is and why it is important for us to learn.  In the introduction I will also introduce you to the concept of Rules Based Interpretation and how these are useful to Bible study.   Finally in the remainder of the Bible study I will discuss a hidden rapture description given to us by God in the O.T.   Let’s get into the Bible study.

THE SPIRITUALIZATION OF SCRIPTURE

True-Spirituality

Are the stories recorded in the Bible merely the natural thoughts and words of forty different human men?  In this part of the introduction I would like to address a major point that will surely be raised by some people who read this lesson without any spiritual eyes to see what it says.  Many Bible preachers today, claim that we should not try to spiritualize everything written in the Bible.  When they say this, I wonder if they even know who or what their God is and who wrote the Bible.   Is their God a mere human or an omnipotent Spirit?  When they say things like this they are simply stating that we need to take the Bible literally as a natural historical message and they imply God is like any natural man writing words for all other natural men on the earth.  This type of reasoning reduces God to the same type of writer as any ordinary book author.  In proclaiming a literal only interpretation of the Bible they are stating that all of the words written on every page of the Bible all have a simplistic plain meaning that is obvious to every reader.   These teachers have obviously not read the internet nor tried to understand why there are thousands of different Christian denominations in the world today.  The existence of so many meanings and interpretations to the words written in the Bible proves beyond any doubt that the Bible is not plainly understood by anyone.

These types of literal only Bible teachers refuse to explore the Bible message using any allegorical applications, symbolical meanings, typological interpretations or other spiritual importance in order to understand a message from a Spiritual God and His purpose for giving it.  Clearly these Bible teachers are narrowly focused on a different version of the truth than what I see revealed by God in the Bible.  I can clearly see where both Jesus and the New Testament teach us that the Old Testament is a book full of hidden secrets called “mysteries” (G3466).  This Greek word translated as “mystery” occurs in 27 different verses throughout the New Testament.   Jesus spoke directly three times in the Gospels about the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God  in Matthew 13:11, Mark 4:11, and Luke 8:10.   Close to 20 times in the New Testament God records a comment about certain O.T. mysteries and even tells us that many of these secrets have been hidden since the foundation of the world (Rom 16:25, 1 Cor 2:7, 1 Cor 4:1, Eph 3:3-9, Eph 6:19, Col 1:26).  Go read these scriptures and learn what they say and then learn to apply them to every part of the O.T. Bible.  The Greek word (G3466) translated as “mystery” in these verses means a literal “secret”.   What is a secret?  A secret is anything that was hidden or kept from your plain obvious view.  Since the Bible contains literal readable plain text words in every book, where are these divine secrets hidden in them and how are they hidden?  Do you see the important and relevant question that I am asking?  Either God lied about the secrets in the Old Testament or we should rather more wisely know that God recorded the secrets in ways that keep them from our self-evident understanding.

In the book of John, Jesus makes a statement about the Old Testament that is mostly ignored by many Bible preachers, teachers and students.  Read over this verse very closely and see what the Author of the Bible has to say directly about the words that were written to us in the Old Testament:

Joh 5:39  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Jesus told these keepers of the written Holy Words of God that they needed to “search” their scriptures to find Him.  How do you define “search”?   To search meant for them to investigate, seek to find, pursue, examine, study, inspect, explore, dig deep in order to discover this Jesus.   This statement makes finding Jesus conditional in the O.T.  Search for Jesus you will find Him and don’t search for Him you will miss the most important reason for the words.  Jesus was saying that at least some of these O.T. words were those that were recorded about Him.  Have you ever done this search?  Does God consider you a doer of the Word of God or just an ignorant hearer only?  I have spent many hours doing nothing but looking for my Jesus on all of the pages of the Old Testament.  Why because that is what Jesus told me to do.  Within every verse that I read in the Old Testament, I devote a significant amount of time probing to find my Lord Jesus in some hidden form.  Since Jesus is never mentioned anywhere by direct named reference in the Old Testament how do you seriously think that He can be found there in the words written mostly about somebody else doing something else?  If Jesus could be found so easily within the surface text context, He would not have needed to tell these Jews or us that we were required to “search” for Him.  Let’s let every word be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses:

Luk 24:44  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

Here again we have Jesus teaching us that Moses wrote prophetic words about Him.  He claims there are specific prophecies that must be fulfilled from these Old Testament verses.   I have to admit I have read the books of Moses in the Old Testament and if I did not know these verses were about Jesus I would have missed so much.  Do you understand that Moses only wrote the first five books of the Old Testament and a few of the Psalms?  Have you ever read these books, chapters and verses?  Please show me in these words written down by Moses where Jesus is so plainly and clearly found!  If you can find a literal Jesus mentioned anywhere there, then tell where it is found.  Some say the “seed of the woman” mentioned in Genesis 3:16 is Jesus, but that is your poor reasoning and an assumption taken to an extreme.  Nowhere is the name of Jesus mentioned to be the seed in this verse and you have to ASSUME by your faith or ignorance that it is talking about Him.  That is just one popular example of people trying to say that Jesus is found in Moses’ words where there is no direct evidence.  What I am asking you is if that type of interpretation is legal, why then is the use of spiritual Biblical Typology also equally legal?   Do not misunderstand what I am saying I believe that Jesus is found in these books of the Bible, but I also believe that  He is just not found in the literal obvious terms as many expect Him to be and we must utilize valid spiritual interpretation methods and rules in order to find Him.

It is important to notice that Jesus does not declare that everything written in the O.T. is only about Him, but He does conclusively say that He can be found there.  So is Jesus a central theme of the O.T. or a needle in the hay stack concept in these books?  Do you see what I am asking?  Is Jesus an isolated O.T. occurrence or a prevalent central subject?  I personally believe that Jesus is the central theme of the entire Bible from cover to cover and therefore He must be found in more than just a single verse in the book of Genesis and the other books of the O.T.  Allow me give you the next verse in Luke to help you better understand the previous verse statement:

Luk 24:45  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

Did you see it?  This verse explains why the disciples did not previously see Jesus in the writings of Moses before this event described in Luke.  The reading of the Torah in the temple was a common occurrence and the disciples had heard the words before but never knew what they meant.  This is why Jesus had to give them understanding of what was previously written by Moses in order for any of it to be comprehended that any of it was about Him.  That literally means Jesus cannot be easily and obviously found by anyone just reading the plain text words without the Spirit of God helping them to understand what it says.   Without the Spirit of God giving understanding it will never work out.  God is so amazing to how He designed the Words in the Bible!  I pray that you are beginning to see the wisdom of God in His Words.

Do you know what the name “Jesus” used in the English N.T. is equivalent to in the Hebrew O.T.?  You do understand that Jesus was a natural born Hebrew and that He was given a Hebrew name?  The name of Jesus is a transliteration of the Hebrew O.T. name Joshua or Yeshua.  The Hebrew word for Jesus in Strong’s is H3091 and it literally means “Jehovah saved”.  I believe that Jesus qualifies to possess this name, don’t you?  There is a book of Joshua found in the O.T. but this book of the Bible is normally considered to be the story of a real historical man leading the children of Israel into the Promise Land.  The name Joshua occurs in 197 verses of the O.T. and few if any of these verses can be considered a direct reference to the coming Jesus of the N.T.  Therefore, the name of the N.T. Jesus is not directly found in the O.T. in relation to the N.T. man that said these words were written about Him.  How then are we expected to find this N.T. Jesus mentioned there in the O.T. if there are no direct references to Him?  That is the million dollar question that these modern Bible teachers do not consider when they try to tell me not to spiritualize the messages found in the O.T.

I have to conclude from this initial information and asking those questions that this means the Jesus of the N.T. can only be found by us using spiritual methods to locate Jesus in O.T.   For example we can use spiritual names, titles or descriptions, Christophanies, allegories, typologies or symbolisms to list a few obvious spiritual interpretation methods that need to gain our focused attention when reading the O.T. Bible.  These Biblical patterns are clearly established to be legitimate methods of Bible interpretation several times in the New Testament by God’s own revelation.  Paul clearly used allegory, typology and even symbolism when describing the revelation that God had given to him about Jesus and of course Paul only had the Old Testament to base all of this new knowledge upon.   Clearly spiritual things were concealed in the Old Testament but they have now been revealed in the New Testament for the benefit of the spiritual people of God.  I strongly believe that God has concealed Jesus in the Old Testament so that God can reveal Jesus in the New Testament.

Always remember who the author of the Bible is when you are reading it.  I personally believe that the entire Bible is the recorded inspired spoken words of a Holy God who is described to be a Spirit (John 4:24).  God very clearly tells us that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isa 55:8-9).  But does that mean that He does not desire us to know or understand His ways or to think His thoughts?  I cannot understand anyone who thinks that God’s desire is to keep them ignorant and in the dark.  People who believe that would be projecting a direct slap in the face of the God who clearly said “whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life” (John 8:12).  Why would God write you a huge book of divine wisdom if you were not supposed to understand any of it in the direct here and now?  I am totally convinced that God’s desire is for us to learn what the Bible actually says and means.   I have concluded that we need to learn how to see these natural words written on natural paper pages as really being a spiritual message written to a spiritual people from an all-knowing spiritual God.  Come up higher and learn to see the Bible as God sees it.

AVOIDING EXTREMISM IN INTERPRETATION

extremism_logo

I will end this part of the introduction with the subject of Biblical Extremism.  Biblical extremism is the practice of taking any subject or isolated truth from the Bible to an overstated or exaggerated position of error.  I recently spoke to one commenter on my Bible study that clearly was in the realm of extreme error.  He disapproved of my teaching that the church is the revealed “Bride of Christ” because he isolated the established truths in the Bible that the Church is the “Body of Christ” taking them to an extreme.  In his mind it was impossible for the Church to be both concurrently.  I then tried to explain what God had shown to me in the Bible about how the church became the body of Christ by being His covenant bride and this message was rejected.  What he was doing was taking one truth to an extreme and ignoring all of the other truths of the Bible becoming unbalanced in his theological view.  That is called Biblical Truth Extremism and it is a clear example of error and closed mindedness.  I run into this error more than any other that I am confronted with on my website teachings.  Let me give you another recent example of the extremism error.

Another preacher man that I was discussing the subject of Divine Grace with recently was so spiritually blind that he did not realize that he had moved into the realm of extremism.  He had made an exaggerated statement that Paul constantly was confronted with the “sin question” when teaching on the subject of God’s Divine Grace.  In other words he applied his own experience to overemphasize Paul’s recorded Bible experience and thus he moved into the realm of doctrinal extremism and error.  What am I saying?  I am saying this nameless preacher on the internet instead of admitting that he was wrong claimed that he was right because Paul wrote “one time” in Romans 6 about the confrontation of the sin issue in opposition with the truth of Grace.  This man was clearly a modern Grace Bible teacher who has taken the clear Bible truth of Grace and pushed it beyond the level of scriptural balance into the arena of extremism theology and error.   I simply caught him in a direct lie and tried to nicely make a correction to his statement and he told me I was wrong.  My primary point was that this man had exaggerated the truth to a level so far above the truth that he had changed this great truth of Grace to transform it into a lie.  He took one chapter in Romans and said this was a “constantly” reality for Paul.  One chapter or one verse does not make a sound Bible truth of doctrine!  God clearly says in His Word for us to establish every truth in the mouths of two or three witnesses (Deu 19:15, Mat 18:16, 2 Cor 13:1).  This Grace preacher has reduced the subjects of sin and repentance to be non-factors for either salvation or for the human continuance of eternal security.  He totally missed what the Bible says in the New Testament on other subjects like repentance, forgiveness, judgment, holiness, and I could go on with others.  Actually he has explained away many of these subjects so cleverly that he has deceived others into believing his extreme teaching.

Exalting any single truth or any single reference of the message of truth to be the only truth necessary to understand will always cause a position of error based upon individual unbalanced isolation.    So what am I saying?  Are we to take the extreme position that all scripture should be plainly and naturally interpreted or are we to take the antithesis extreme position that says all scripture should only be spiritually interpreted in order to be understood?  I think neither extreme is valid and we need to become balanced in our theology beliefs somewhere in the middle realizing that God  is smart enough to teach us multiple levels of truth both spiritual and natural in any single verse, chapter or book of the Bible.  What I try to teach in my lessons is that we need to avoid falling into the ditches of extremism on either the right hand or the left hand when walking down the road of Bible study.  Having said all of that let me introduce you to the subject of Biblical Spiritual Typology.

BIBLICAL TYPOLOGY

I just want to give you a quick introductory overview of the subject of Biblical Typology since this is one of the central themes in the rest of this lesson on rapture.  First, understand that no Old Testament Typology is ever a completed design representation of anything revealed to be eternal or spiritual in the New Testament.  Second understand that every hidden spiritual type mentioned in the Old Testament (and there are many of them) is not the actual real spiritual entity that it symbolically represents.  Therefore I have just said that any O.T. type is neither the real spiritual entity nor the complete representation of anything spiritually real in the New Testament.   Think of Biblical Typology to be like Jesus teaching the people using parables in the Gospels.  I believe that these parable teaching concepts that Jesus utilized are completely identical in nature and application to the Biblical Typology concepts also found in the Old Testament.  Jesus would stand up and teach the people using natural examples of real physically identifiable objects, people and events saying the Kingdom of Heaven (a spiritual reality) is like this or that and then tell what it was similar to using symbolic figures of speech that could be understood by the people that were listening.  Nothing in the parable was the actual real spiritual subject being taught on, but everything in the parable had a symbolic meaning containing parallel characteristics and features that applied to the real spiritual subject and this information teaches us significantly about these spiritual things that are normally not seen by humans.

ShadowsThe concepts of Biblical Typology are often revealed in the terms of natural shadow models.  Typology is like a simplified general recognizable shadowed patterned outline for a more complete complex real spiritual detailed image subject.  Subjects found in typology are lacking many of the precise details of the actual eternal spiritual subject just like the natural shadow lacks the detail of the natural object producing it.  If you can understand natural shadows you can understand Biblical Typology.  For example, any physical object standing up on the face of the earth will cast a shadow upon the ground when the light of the sun is in its brightest angled unobstructed view.   Analyze the source of objects needed to produce a shadow.  First we need a bright light source like the sun.  Of course in Biblical symbolism the Sun represents God.  You then need a natural object to produce the shadow and this can represent Jesus who became flesh so that people could see God.  Then when Jesus walked the face of the earth he would project a shadow on the ground and this is another interesting analogy.   We can see that if the shadow represents the Type of Jesus found in the Old Testament that it would be a darkened outline of the more complex three-dimensional image of the Jesus that was standing between the Old Testament Jew and the Light of the fullness of God.  Do you understand the pattern being taught?  God is Light and without God we would not be able to see Jesus or who He is and this helps explain why the Jews did not recognize their Messiah when He was here.

ChrisOne of the most interesting aspects about viewing any shadow projected on the ground is that it is always easily recognizable and identifiable to all those that know the original real object intimately but it is not recognizable to those that do not know the original.  For example a teacher at the school where my young son attended, created a shadow cut out portrait of his silhouette.  This picture contained only the outlined profile of his head, but yet I could look at it and I knew immediately who it was without anyone telling me.  Because you didn’t know my son you would only know that it was a young boy, but you would have no clue to the identity or the name of the child by looking at the shadow picture only.  What this experience taught me was that anyone that knows the original object that cast the shadow can recognize what or who it was that created it by only looking at the vague incomplete shadowy outline.  That is exactly what occurs in the Old Testament Bible Typology arena when people read without knowing the real Jesus of the New Testament first they will just never understand how anyone can say that Jesus is found in these shadow words.  It is only because I have come to know this New Covenant Jesus intimately that I can recognize the types that were hidden in the shadows of the Old Covenant.   I pray that you are grasping these important concepts of types and shadows in the Old Testament because again God uses this method of concealment in so many selected O.T. examples.  Let me define what a “type” represents in the Biblical context to be more precise.

TYPE:  A real literal person, place, event or thing found in Old Testament Biblical history divinely designed by the omniscient God to be a prophetic shadow of the good things that Jesus would fulfill in the New Testament.

Can you understand this paraphrased definition for a Biblical “type”?  This definition was directed and designed specifically for the one subject of Jesus but there are other spiritual N.T. subjects that are hidden in types found in the O.T. also.   Perhaps you are struggling to understand where this is revealed, used or described in the New Testament?  I will attempt to give you a couple of examples that will help to confirm this definition if you have some spiritual vision and some spiritual maturity to embrace and receive them.  I will not attempt to do a complete teaching on the subject of Biblical Typology here in this introduction so pay close attention to what I do give you and then if you need to ask questions you can do that in a comment.   Read this N.T. verse written about Biblical O.T. Typology:

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.

The reason people do not understand this verse is about Biblical Typology is probably because they do not study the definitions of the Greek words selected and used by God.  What God reveals in this verse is that what He wrote about the literal historical Adam in the Old Testament was a patterned “type” or “figure” of the coming Jesus that was to be revealed to us in the New Testament.  Do you understand this and then do you remember what I have already taught you about typology?   Clearly Adam is not Jesus by far.  However, Adam still characterizes a basic shadowed incomplete form for the coming Jesus.  What God is teaching us is that we should be able to read about Adam and see a pictured incomplete outline of the Lord Jesus.  I really do not know how you can read this revelation given to Paul and not see it.  It is literally right in front of your eyes.  Perhaps we need to look up the definition of the main keyword in the Greek to see it more clearly.  I’ll emphasize this one more time that Jesus was not Adam, but rather Adam was a simpler symbolic representation for Jesus lacking many of the finer spiritual details.   Examine the Greek word that was translated as “figure” in the Strong’s dictionary and you will see the following definition that is critical to understand:

G5179

From G5180; a die (as struck), that is, (by implication) a stamp or scar; by analogy a shape, that is, a statue, (figuratively) style or resemblance; specifically a sampler (“type”), that is, a model (for imitation) or instance (for warning): – en- (ex-) ample, fashion, figure, form, manner, pattern, print.

Printing-PressLearn the key words presented in this definition and apply them to the comparison between Jesus and Adam.   God says that Adam was a pattern, type, example and even a figure of the coming future Jesus.  What does that say to you?  Do you know what a printer’s “type” is in the natural?  Maybe you are too modern to understand the old printing “type” press concept created by Guttenberg in 1440.  This man revolutionized the older hand written word recording and distribution methods.  Guttenberg reinvented what use to be an expensive time consuming laborious method of copying God’s Word into something more useful and cheap to produce.   Because of Guttenberg what was rare for man to own soon became common for man to own.  Guttenberg took what was out of the reach of every normal person and changed it into something within their reach.  Clearly that was a God inspired idea to help man spread His written Word.  If you did not know it already, Guttenberg invented the moveable “type” system of printing.  Did you notice the repetition of the keyword “type”?   Typology is the study of types.  Moveable “type” was when the letters could be arranged in a specific configuration, ink applied to them, and then a piece of paper could be pressed on the type pattern to leave a lasting recurring impression that was a duplication of the original type pattern.  Wow that process describes a God concept found in the Bible in Typology.  This printing process could easily create hundreds and thousands of identical copies all from the originally created pattern.

What we are observing is that Adam is a Biblical Type reference point directing us to the coming Jesus and what He will accomplish and do for us in the spiritual realm.  That means what Adam does is a prophecy for what Jesus will do in the spiritual realm.  Adam is described to us in the first 4 chapters of Genesis primarily.  God very clearly says in Romans 5:14 that you can find Jesus in these words if you are able to see Him.  Adam as a pattern for the coming Jesus is by far not the only Typology hidden in Genesis or the rest of the Old Testament.  I could take you through the O.T. and show you Jesus found in a type of Noah, in Abraham, in Isaac, in Jacob, in Joseph, in Moses, in Joshua and on and on I could go.  In fact I am convinced that you can almost find a type of Jesus in every major story recorded but that will be another advanced subject for a different Bible study series.   Let’s look at another N.T. reference to Biblical Typology found in the O.T.:

Col 2:16  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

Col 2:17  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Read these two verses and observe closely what they are speaking of.    These verses begin with a list of O.T. references and concepts concerning Holy days, Sabbaths and new moons.  These are all subjects found in the written Laws of Moses.  They describe instructions and actions given by the directions of God and performed by the people in obedience.  Then notice what Paul writes about them.  Paul says these were simply shadows (types) of the things to come in Christ.    What we can observe very clearly is new hidden references to Jesus in the O.T.  Nowhere in the O.T can you find that these represent anything about Christ yet that is what is revealed by God in these verses.   That simply means these stated things were not Christ but rather designed by God to point the people to the Christ.  Are you beginning to see the concepts of typology in the Word of God?  If you do not yet understand the significance of hidden N.T. references in O.T. Biblical Typology I really do not know how to make it clearer in such a simple introduction to the subject.  Let’s get into the subject of finding rapture in O.T. typology and see if this helps you to learn how to apply what you have learned so far and I will try to give you another example of O.T. Bible Typology described in the N.T. in the next section.

UNSTRUCTURED INTERPRETATION VERSUS RULES BASED INTERPRETATION

What I am going to do today is to utilize a little known law of Bible interpretation that I call the Law of First Mention to step back into a past reality to help us to see and learn about a coming future truth.  Perhaps you have never heard of the Law of First Mention.  I have found through repeated years of Bible study that using this Scriptural Law of Interpretation that God has placed certain specific hidden clues whenever an important subject is first mentioned in His Word.  Practically every time a Bible subject is mentioned for the first time I have discovered important hints to understanding the whole subject in the rest of the Bible.  Usually this first subject mention is found in the book of Genesis but today my subject that I am searching for occurs first in the book of Exodus.  I am going to apply this law of first mention by searching for just one of the specific keywords referenced by God in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and find out where it was initially mentioned by God in the Old Testament to help us see that this is a legitimate Bible study technique.  In doing this I believe that I will locate, read and discover what God has hidden about the subject of rapture within recorded Old Testament typology.  You might ask me “Seriously, you mean you can do that?”   I think people not knowing how to study the Bible is one of the main reasons we have such mass confusion in the church today on subjects like rapture.  I always try to teach you how I study the Bible when I give you my lessons.   In doing this you gain much more insight than if I only teach what I discovered and not how I arrived at the conclusion.

randomstones

Let’s stop and think about rules based interpretation of the Bible as opposed to having no structure or rules for the interpretation of the Bible.   A no rule based approach could also be called a random approach to Bible study.  In the context of Bible study are rules a positive or a negative influence?   Randomness is associated with a realm of lacking intelligent design.  For example in my picture at the beginning of this paragraph I have a bunch of random rocks which do not display any structure.  At the end of this paragraph I have another picture of rocks that clearly are not random but have a designed patterned created by intelligence.  Which picture is more like the Bible?  A 488899Let me ask you about general life situations and see if these can be taken back to Bible study.  Are rules of conduct and manners good or bad?  If they are good then consider why we might want to learn and follow Bible study rules also?   Are rules for driving positive or negative?  Would a random approach to driving a car result in more safety or more accidents?  I think you can quickly see that randomness is a state of confusion and promotes negative consequences.  That is why I believe random Bible study does the same.

Some might ask me “Can’t we just go and read the Bible and see what it says?”  I wish that was true but that is not how God wrote the Bible as we discovered when Jesus said you must “search” for Him in the Bible to find Him.   Bible study without strict rules would be like us playing a sport without knowing the goal or purpose of the sport or having any specific applicable rules, referees or penalties.  If you place no independent reviewable limitations or restrictions upon what is permissible in any sport then suddenly you can do whatever you like to, to whoever you like to, to achieve whatever result you want to see.  This type of mentality would result in a“Hunger Games” Bible study approach to winning the truth game and that is what we are observing in the church today.  That is why I use very strong rules of Bible interpretation with defined and clearly stated restrictive laws guiding us to what is permissible and what is illegal in determining the meaning.  These defined rules can be verified independently of the viewed interpretation to confirm that they are being followed.  Without any laws of interpretation there is nothing but disorder, chaos and randomness and where disorder rules any interpretation represents legal truth.

What are these Bible study laws of interpretation that I use?  I guess I have touched on most of them in my many other Bible lessons, but there are always new readers that have not read every lesson yet so I need to repeat things constantly to teach everyone new.  If you have read these rules already and understand them, please forgive me for being repetitive.  Let me give you just an overview of some of these basic laws of interpretation that are good to learn, remember and follow:

  1. The Law of First Mention.  The first time a subject is mentioned in the Bible God gives specific descriptions, clues and even hints to understanding the entire spiritual subject in the N.T.  It is noteworthy to mention that sometimes the subject first mentioned is not the same exact English word being sought from the N.T.  For example, the sun, moon and stars of Revelation 12:1 is usually thought to be first mentioned in Genesis 37:9, but they are all mentioned before that using other titles and descriptions in Genesis 1:16 and that knowledge changes the definition of their identity dramatically by the discovery and understanding of these concealed clues.  What I am saying is that not every first mention is always easy to find.
  2. The Law of Last Mention.  This law is very similar to the Law of First Mention in reverse.  The last time a subject is mentioned in the Bible God gives specific descriptions, clues and hints to the conclusion of the spiritual subject in the N.T.  For example, the mention of the bride of the Lamb in Revelation 21 and 22 gives us conclusive insight into the spiritual representation of this figure.  So while Eve was the first mentioned bride, the last mentioned bride concludes the subject.  Since we also already learned that Adam was a type of Jesus, then Eve must be a type of the bride of Jesus.  So much to learn but not my subject today.
  3. The Law of Two or Three Witnesses.  Taking any solitary isolated text you can make the Bible say whatever you like, but by God requiring the reader to find at least two different confirming subject texts from two different books of the Bible helps to eliminate the isolation truth error.  This single rule of interpretation is one of the most important and widely ignored laws that cause so much of the error in churches.
  4. The Law of No Private Interpretation.  God requires us to leave our feeble opinions out of every Bible interpretation.  This literally means that God will interpret His own Words in the Bible.  This also means you have to look, search and find these interpretations in order to understand the original verse being studied.  Get into the habit of finding God’s commentary on the subjects and leave your weak opinions out of the discussion.
  5. The Law of Divine Definition.  God’s divine definition of every word will always take precedence over man’s definitions.  Finding this definition is always the challenge, but it is usually accomplished with keyword searches of the text.  For example many times in the Bible God speaks of a coming day of the Lord.  This could be an isolated event of one time occurrence or it could also be a time of duration that points us to a 1000 years of duration as defined by 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4.  We will definitely see in this lesson that this law will apply to our rapture study as a 1000 year time period.
  6. The Law of Indirect Antithesis Truth.  For every stated direct truth in any verse an implied indirect antithesis truth not stated can be concluded.   For example, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 11:31 that if we judge ourselves, we would not be judged.  By the law of Indirect Antithesis truth we could say legally “If we do not judge ourselves we will be judged”.  Both statements are equally true.
  7. The Mathematical Law of Transitive Equality.  This law of Bible interpretation uses a basic law of Algebra to teach truth.  It states if A = B and B = C then A = C.   I recently used this law in stating if God = Word (John 1:1) and God = Spirit (John 4:24) then Spirit = Word and Word = Spirit and both = God.
  8. The Law of Right and Wrong Seeking.  God reveals a Bible interpretation law in Matthew 7:7 that whatever we seek will be what we will find.  Therefore, know that if we seek error (intentionally or unintentionally) we will always find error.  Conversely if we seek truth then we will always find truth.  It matters greatly what you are searching for in the Bible.  If you seek to prove abortion is legal in the Bible you will find information to justify this belief but that is not the truth.  It is the Law of God that by His design you will always find whatever you look for in His word.
  9. The Law of Truth Dependence.  Understand that many truths found in the Word of God are dependent upon the discovery of other greater truths first.   For example the symbolic identity of the woman in Revelation 12 is a truth that is dependently based upon first understanding the identities of all of the other dependent symbols that she is described with.  No true interpretation of the woman is possible without discovering God’s hierarchal truth structure of the sun, moon and stars first.  That is the law of truth dependence.
  10. The Law of Freewill Choice.  God has given to every human the right to be wrong.  Thus the Bible was written in a manner that permits every human the right to believe whatever they desire to believe.  Not knowing this truth will cause many people to choose poorly their beliefs from the Bible.  The Law of Freewill Choice goes hand in hand with the Law of Right and Wrong Seeking.
  11. The Law of Spiritual Guidance.  God says very clearly in His word that His Spirit will guide us into all truth (John 16:13).  Ignoring the guidance of the Spirit of God will always result in your own individual private interpretations.  Not listening to the Holy Spirit will always result in error.
  12. The Law of Revelation Knowledge.  The Bible presents us with a paradox.  God gives us plain text words but then requires us to receive His Spirit in order for Him to reveal them to us so that we can understand them correctly.  The natural mind will always be enmity with the Spirit of God and the Bible.  A spiritual mind will always be capable of receiving revelation truth from God.  Every verse in the Bible can always be taken in two opposing ways; one is a natural view point and the other is a spiritual viewpoint.  Which one do you believe is the ultimate truth?  You see I have noticed that some preachers can teach sickness from the same verses that someone else preaches healing.  How can two people see opposite truths from the same words?

That was just a simple sample introduction to finding and applying structured rules to your Bible study.  Lacking any defined structure will consistently result in what I teach to be called the Random Human Chaos Understanding of the Bible.  That simply means you can totally miss what God intended for you to know by doing it your own way and ignoring God’s ways.   Since I am former computer programmer I understand rules based systems better than most.   Every useful system is an entity with a design and every designed entity has rules.  If you do not understand that the Bible is a book with design, structure and rules you are very ignorant that man can build something that God did not.  That was a long introduction and I could spend a lot of time on the subject of structured versus random Bible study but that is not my primary subject today.  So let’s move to rapture now and see what God teaches us about the subject in the O.T.

RAPTURE IN O.T. TYPOLOGY

rapture-trumpetThe primary keyword that I am searching for today in the Old Testament is “trumpet”.   If you recall we found the Lord Jesus descending in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 in unison with the sound of a trumpet coming out of heaven.  Where, is the word “trumpet” first mentioned in the Bible and what does God reveal with this word’s usage in the context?  Do these verses have anything to do with the rapture subject as I suspected?   Since I have already done the Bible search, I will simply direct you to go to the book of Exodus and chapter 19.   You may recall that the book of Exodus is the recorded story of God’s deliverance of the slave children of Israel from the oppressive nation of Egypt.   We should also know from reading in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that this story was given to us by God to be a specific “type” (another typology) pattern for the church to learn from.  How do I know that?  It is simply because in this verse is found the exact same Greek word (G5179) that was translated as “figure” in the Adam to Jesus type pattern in Romans 5:14.  But, here in 1 Corinthians 10:11 this same Greek word has been translated as the English word “examples”.  “Examples” is just another synonymous term for “type”.   What I am teaching you is that Jesus is not the only spiritual entity concealed within types in the Old Testament.   1 Corinthians 10:11 clearly teaches that natural Israel was a type of the spiritual church that we need to learn from as examples.  What is an example?  An example can simply be any model of the real.  You see an architect might build a scale model of his designed building for the client to approve and this is his usage of an example type for the coming real.   That is what God is saying to us that He is doing.  However God is not looking for our approval, God is using this example type to teach us.

When taking a test in school some example questions may be given for you to see how to answer correctly.  These examples are not the real test but are rather only patterns for the coming real to teach what is expected of you.  Do you understand?  Any example can also be either positive or negative and we can learn from either type.  Some examples teach us what not to do and other examples teach us correct responses.  I clearly believe that natural Israel teaches mostly negative examples for us not to follow but that is another subject entirely.  Remember the introductory rules of Bible Typology?  Natural Israel is not the church but only represents certain patterned characteristics for the church to apply or learn from.  Maybe I need to just give you the complete verse and let you look at it for yourself:

1Co 10:11  Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (NASB)

Let’s verify that the natural O.T. nation of Israel displays certain positive patterns that correspond with the N.T. church.  What parallels exist within the written history of the nation of Israel that can be used as typologies for the coming New Testament church?  Are there any specific parallels or common patterns with these two separate distinct entities?  Let me give you a quick overview of some of the Biblical typologies that I believe are fairly obvious concerning the natural nation of Israel and the spiritual church of Jesus Christ:

  1. Israel was held in bondage for 430 years in Egypt until the deliverer was sent by God to set them free from their bondage.
  2. The people of the earth were held in bondage for 4030 years under the domination of the spiritual oppressor Satan until Jesus our spiritual deliverer was sent by God into the world to set us free.
  3. Moses the natural deliver was preserved from death by God as the evil ruler of Egypt killed every male child of Israel.
  4. Jesus the Deliverer of the world was preserved from the same type of death being sent by an angel to Egypt as the evil ruler ordered the deaths of every male child in Bethlehem.
  5. The Passover lamb is killed in Egypt and the blood spread upon the wooden doorpost to guard, protect and deliver the children of Israel from natural death.
  6. The Passover Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) is killed and His shed blood on the wooden cross delivers God’s children from our eternal spiritual death and destruction.
  7. The children of Israel after being freed from Egypt and Pharaoh were baptized by God when they went through the red sea and this same red sea eliminated the threat of the pursuing Egyptian army.
  8. The church of Jesus Christ has been baptized into Christ’s sea of red flowing blood and this flowing blood sea saved us while dooming our enemy Satan.
  9. The children of Israel were given water from a rock to drink in the wilderness to sustain them.
  10. The Church of Jesus Christ drinks the living water pouring from the mouth of the Chief Cornerstone Jesus Christ our eternal living spiritual rock.
  11. The children of Israel ate manna sent down from heaven in the wilderness.
  12. The Church of Jesus Christ eats the bread of life sent down from heaven which is the Word of God.
  13. The children of Israel take the Promised Land and possess it overcoming their enemies.
  14. The Church of Jesus Christ takes the promises of God by faith overcoming their spiritual enemy Satan.
  15. Moses the deliverer gives the children of Israel the law of commandments on Mt Sinai.
  16. Jesus Christ the deliverer of the church gives the church the law of the commandment of love.
  17. God establishes priests in Israel to offer sacrifices to their God.
  18. The church is comprised of spiritual priests unto God offering sacrifices of praise unto our God.

This is called God’s Biblical Typology using O.T. patterns found in the information given about a real natural people that teach us about a coming spiritual people.  We could go into many other parallel patterns found in the Bible about the natural nation of Israel, Moses and Pharaoh representing the church, Jesus and Satan in types.  I believe that this was a really good introduction to the subject of how God uses hidden Biblical typology in the Old Testament to teach us what will happen again in the New Testament.  I pray that you can see it and receive it because it is essential that you understand what God says in His Word.

Ecc 1:9  That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.

This is what I call the Bible Law of Repeated Design Patterns being revealed.  God clearly says what has been in the past is that which shall be again in the yet to come.  There is definitely nothing new under the sun!   God teaches us that O.T. types are the design patterns for what will occur again in the forthcoming events of the world.  This is such an important part of God and the Bible that I cannot emphasize it enough.  This law is why I am looking for rapture concepts to be hidden in the recorded types of the O.T.  If we cannot find any previous rapture patterns in the O.T. it will not be possible for it to occur again in the N.T.   If we can find rapture types hidden in the O.T. then we can be assured of the truth for what will soon reoccur for the church.  Let’s continue to study Rapture.

Using Bible search software, do the search of the Bible for the keyword “trumpet”.   Please do this to help verify everything that I teach is accurate.  If I make any mistake, if I miss something, if I say it wrong, or even if I type it misspelled, tell me nicely and I will make the necessary correction.  You should hopefully find the word “trumpet” in verse 13 of Exodus 19.  This was the first mention of the keyword “trumpet” that I found in the KJV Bible search and here is what I found that this verse says:

Exo 19:13  There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.

I think the Bible is so awesome.  Did you notice the way that God writes this verse in the Bible?  God orchestrates a real historical natural event that actually occurred but because of His designed purpose and precise word selection, these words can be taken both literally and spiritually as being both historical and prophetical typology simultaneously.  We can use the order of mention and the phrasing to see the implied spiritual future application pattern.  For example here in this verse, God says where I am now, no one living on the earth can come up or they will die.  That has a lot of hidden meaning in it to me.  We live DOWN here in a natural world on the earth apart from God’s throne UP in heaven.  How can a natural man ascend into heaven without first experiencing death?  It is just not possible for a natural man to visit God’s spiritual location by his own desire, effort, action or will.  In fact for a Christian to depart and be with the Lord before the trumpet rapture event they must normally die.  We of course have also already learned that there are the exceptions of Enoch and Elijah that did not die before they were taken by God.  But those two were just further confirmation rapture patterns that we the living in the church can be taken identically.   Let’s continue to move on to the last part of the verse for the beginning of the really good stuff about this hidden rapture pattern.

Right now I really only want to talk about three main subjects found in the last statement where God says the (1) “trumpet” will sound loud and then (2) “they” shall (3) “come up”.  Remember according to 1 Corinthians 10:11 who the people called “they” are a “type” of.  Then notice what happens first and then what the type of the church is instructed to do.  Did you notice that this verse does not say who blows the trumpet?  This is a very clever way of making a literal physical event a prophetic event description.  Since no one directly is named as the trumpet blower the action can be performed by anyone natural or spiritual.   You will also observe the obvious fact that “they” is another generic unnamed pronoun of non-specific assignment.  In other words someone will blow a trumpet and then some unnamed people will “come up”.   Now I can understand that God is speaking about natural people and natural acts of those people, but the words apply to two realms by explicit use of generalities.  Many times what people read in the O.T. as God only speaking to a natural people is really God speaking more broadly to a greater coming people.  I’m sure I will have some disagreement with that statement, but sorry I stand by it.  Perhaps we need to look up the Hebrew word translated as “trumpet” to see the meaning and the definition from Strong’s.  This information may help to confirm if we have found the correct named N.T. association found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 for trumpet in the Greek:

H3104

Apparently from H2986; the blast of a horn (from its continuous sound); specifically the signal of the silver trumpets; hence the instrument itself and the festival thus introduced: – jubile, ram’s horn, trumpet.

In this definition we will read a strong matching definition for the Greek word G4536 that was translated into English as “trump” in 1 Thessalonians 4:16.  Observing the Hebrew definition of the word from Strong’s it means “a blast of a horn as with a continuous sound”.  It is also very interesting to see that God uses this trumpet sound to announce certain festivals.   Let me help you with another Bible study fact detail.  If you search the Hebrew word definitions in Strong you will find the word “trumpet” occurs in 10 different Hebrew words.  What does that tell us?  God specifically chose this word in the O.T. to be the first mention and that the other words are potentially not connected to this event description.  However, I will also tell you that God uses another word in Exodus 19 that is also translated as the English word “trumpet”.  For example, in verse 16 of Exodus 19 you will find the Hebrew word H7782 that is also translated as “trumpet”.  Why does God use two different Hebrew words for basically the same type of noun object?  Why are both words translated as the same English word trumpet?  What is the difference between the trumpet in verse 13 and the trumpet in verse 16?  Those are all great questions and if you are not asking these types of questions when you study the Bible you are not studying.  I believe that God has a purpose for every specific word selected.  I believe no word utilized is there by accident or chance.   We still have a lot to learn.

It is extremely important to search the O.T. for every occurrence of this Hebrew word translated as trumpet in Exodus 19 to see how God used it for the subject context of the entire O.T.  If you do this you will find that this Hebrew word is only selected for use by God in 25 verses of the Old Testament.  Almost every other time this Hebrew word is selected by God, it is translated as the English word “Jubilee”.  Pay very close attention that a Trumpet blast always begins the festival Jubilee. Do you know what a Jubilee was to the natural nation of Israel?  God writes significant things about Jubilee in the Law book of Leviticus.  To the natural Jew the time of Jubilee was a highly anticipated event.  Uh oh!  That sounds like the rapture to me!   Jubilee occurred every 50 years by God’s design.  During this time of celebration all debts were forgiven and the lands went back to the previous owner in the family.  There are two key words found in the descriptions of Jubilee that applies to Biblical typology for the rapture of the church.  These two key words are “inheritance” and “redeem”.  Both words are predominate themes of the N.T.   You may still scratch your head and wonder what could Jubilee, inheritance and redemption have to do with Rapture?  That is where I will tell you that it has more to do with rapture than you can possibly imagine right now.   Perhaps I’ll get to that part of the discussion later today, but if not I will make an effort to talk about Jubilee in a future Bible lesson on rapture.  What I have concluded with this information is that this story given by God in Exodus 19 is the first example of Jubilee for the nation of Israel and you should remember that.

Looking back at Exodus 19:13 did you read it closely searching for the rapture parallels found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17?   Notice what God says to Moses who is a typed pattern of the N.T. deliverer, the Lord Jesus Christ; God says that a trumpet will blast long and then the people will come up.  Did you notice where Moses was when he was told this statement?  Was not Moses up on the mountain with God?  I thought God just said no one could touch the mountain or they will die.  You should be able to see more typology patterns that fit the rapture event here.  Moses being a type of Jesus goes up into heaven alive in Acts 1.   Let me stop at those words and explain the typology of the mount for you.   The mountain represents the place of God in heaven symbolically.  Moses goes up to talk to God and God gives instructions from the location of the symbolic heaven.  We could easily get off on another side trip discussion about the symbolism of the mount but I will move on to the “come up” part of the verse.

The Hebrew word translated as “come up” is H5927.   If you look up the word’s definition in Strong’s it literally means “to ascend”.  Here we have one of the closely described synonymous terms that God taught us to look for in Lesson 1 for the Greek term “harpazo” where it was translated as “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.   To ascend up is the stated direct opposite of descending down.   To “ascend up” can also be interchanged with the description of being “caught up”, “taken up”, etc.  This verse is certainly not a completed match for what we read in 1 Thessalonians but it is a very good initial shadow outline for it.  Remember what a type is?  It is not the completed picture but rather just the outline of the detailed image casting the shadow giving enough information  so that it is recognizable to those that know the original.  Here in this single verse are 6 direct and indirect nouns and one verb that corresponded to the rapture information with pretty amazing accuracy.  What were these nouns and verb, you might ask?  Glad you asked here is a list of these important parallel types:

  1. God (In charge of the entire event)
  2. The Mount, the high location of God (a type of heaven)
  3. The trumpet blast (announcing the beginning of the event)
  4. Moses (a type of the Lord Jesus the deliverer already up in the clouds in heaven)
  5. The people (they) alive on the earth (a type of the living church) waiting to go up to be with the Lord
  6. The wilderness valley (the symbolic location for the church in the world today)
  7. Ascend Up  (The living church rising up to meet God in the clouds)

Here are seven key parallel ingredients to the described rapture event in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and this is just the first mention of the trumpet instrument that brought us to this chapter in Exodus.  Do you see how these two separate scriptures were linked together by God?  Do you understand why they are linked together?  Probably not yet but hopefully very soon you will see it more clearly.  Let’s examine the context of this verse more closely to see what else is hidden concerning the coming rapture.  In doing this we will go up in the chapter to verse 1.  But I will not include all of those verses in this lesson to shorten it slightly.  Verse one describes Israel coming out of Egypt and traveling from there for a specific set time of 3 months.   They come to the Mountain of Sinai and God wants to meet with Moses on the top of the mountain.  I wonder why a mountain?  God always does things by plan and purpose and nothing that God does is an accident.  Moses goes up on the mountain to hear God speak and the next few verses are primarily God doing the speaking but notice that some or all of these words can be taken concurrently for the now present tense and a future prophetic tense to apply to someone else.  What I am saying is that these words spoken by God apply to the natural situation right then with the children of Israel but they also apply to the future repeated events that will not occur for thousands of years from then concerning the church.  Let’s begin to examine verse 5 to see what exactly God says:

Exo 19:5  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Here we have God speaking of the natural nation of Israel using terms that are very interesting.  God tells them you are in covenant with me!  God tells them to keep His commandments and obey His voice!   Both of these were stated conditions for the covenant.  Then God announces the benefits of the covenant arrangement and for fulfilling the conditions.  God says you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all other people.  Do you understand fully what was just spoken?  God states that you will be my people but all others will not be my people and that is a classic binary division of two opposing antithesis groups.  That is very much like the concept that we discovered in the first three lessons on the subject of rapture.  Those two groups that we have been learning about were those that are “IN-CHRIST” versus those that were “OUT-CHRIST”; those that were called the sheep versus those that were called the goats; those that were wheat versus those that were tares; those that were wise virgins versus those that were foolish virgins.  Can you see the pattern agreement with what was revealed in the N.T.?

Here in this verse we also have a Hebrew word that is very noteworthy to comprehend.  This word H5459 means “wealth” as in something shut up in a locker or a vault.  This Hebrew word signifies a place or a state of protection for something that is very valuable to keep them from an enemy or a thief.  Who do you recall that Jesus said is the thief in the Bible?  In John 10:10 Jesus said “the thief (Satan) came to kill, steal and to destroy but I have come that you might have life”.   I am not going to spend time explaining every word given by God in this verse.  Just note the existence of three important parallels, the covenant, the conditions and the benefits because these are all types that apply to the church today.  Let’s move to verse 6 and learn some new important details:

Exo 19:6  And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

God continues to speak and says to the people that you will not only be my guarded treasure but “You shall be 1) a kingdom of priests and 2) a holy nation.  God then tells Moses these are the words that you shall speak to the “children of Israel”.  Who are these two mentioned types?  We have Israel and we have his children.   Who are these children and who is this Israel in Biblical typology?  I do not have the time to elaborate on every spiritual application of the information given in the O.T.  I will go over a few key details to help to get you thinking in a new spiritual way about this typological information being given.  Naturally speaking, we know Jacob’s name was changed to Israel in Genesis 32:28.  Here in this verse is the first mention of the name Israel and by the law of first mention God gives us certain clues that we need to learn from to understand the rest of the subject in the Bible.  Go read this chapter again and see it for yourself.  Then answer these two questions.  Where did this name come from and whose name was it before it was given to Jacob?  I’ll tell you directly that the Bible says the name Israel came from the angel sent by God up in heaven to wrestle with Jacob.  Then I think we need to do some research study to see what this name means in the original Hebrew language.   Read the definition from the Strong’s and see how it is defined:

H3478

From H8280 and H410; he will rule as God; Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity: – Israel.

I want you to pay close attention to what Dr. Strong believed this name represented.   He declared that first this name was a symbolical name given to Jacob.  What does that tell you?  That simply means the name Israel was not Jacob’s real name but rather belonged to someone else.  It also connects us back into the Biblical Typology discussion directly as this name being a spiritual subject that was hidden in the natural O.T. typological references.  Did you notice how Strong was led to include the word “typically” in the definition?  I do not believe that was an accident.  Typically or types is exactly what we are studying.  Did you notice what the name means?  According to the definition the name Israel means “He will rule as God”.   Uh oh?  Who can that be?  Is that the natural man Jacob that will rule as God or someone else that was prophesied to come from Jacob?  Since Jacob obviously died a natural death and has not been raised from the dead from what I have read in the Bible, I do not believe that natural Jacob qualifies to rule as God.  Wow, this is going to get very deep here and I might just offend some immature Christians with the truth.

The Hebrew name “Israel” is comprised of two other Hebrew root words.  One Hebrew root word is H8280 which means “to prevail” as a ruler prince.  To prevail implies this subject has direct opposition and enemies to overcome.  To prevail further implies victories and conquests over these enemies.  The second Hebrew root word is H410 and this is the most important part of the name.  It is a very common O.T. shortened form for the divine name of God.  This Hebrew word “el” is used before other divine titles like “El Shaddai” (Almighty God), “El Elyon”  (Supreme God) and “El Olam” (Everlasting God) which are all O.T. descriptive divine names for our God.  Perhaps you have heard of some of these names?   Ok, let’s take a quick review of the information that we have just learned about the name “Israel”:

  1. The name Israel came down from God in Heaven.
  2. The name Israel was given to a natural man named Jacob after he prevailed with the angel.
  3. The name Israel was called a symbolical name by Strong for the man Jacob.
  4. The name Israel literally means “He will rule as God”.

What we are observing here are some more O.T. Typologies that are pointing us to Jesus using these patterns.  Let me help prove to you that the name “Israel” is God’s name that was given to a natural man named Jacob.  Did you know I could prove that using the Bible?  This is why so many Bible teachers today are so confused about what is written, they do not see what is plainly right in front of their eyes.  Let me give you a few verses to help you see what I am trying to teach you:

2Ch 7:14  If my people, which are called by my name,

Isa 43:7  Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

Jer 7:11  Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.

Jer 7:14  Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.

Jer 32:34  “But they put their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it.

I could give you a few other verses but that is enough witnesses to the truth to establish it firmly in my mind.  Can you read?  God says 5 times these people are called by My name?  What name do you think this is?  I know for sure that it is the name “Israel” (He will rule as God) and it can be no other.  Do you know how many times “Israel” is found in the O.T.?  The name “Israel” is included in 2,228 verses of the O.T. Bible.  There is no other name used that many times to describe any people.  Jerusalem is found in only 626 verses.  Judah is found in 754 verses.  Can you think of any names in the O.T. of a natural people that will qualify for who God is calling by His name?  Ok, let me help you out by connecting some more of the dots for you.  Did you notice that I included Jeremiah 7:11 in my list of confirming verses?  I did this on purpose because Jesus tells you directly who it is in Matthew 21:13.  Jesus drives out the money changers with a whip from the temple in Jerusalem and He quotes a part of Jeremiah 7:11 to describe the event.  Jesus said “My house shall be a house of prayer but you have made it a robber’s den”.  What Jesus has just described are the people that are called by His name and this can only be the children of “Israel”.   I do not want to spend any more time on this part of the lesson.  You either are going to see it or you are going to close your eyes and reject it.

The natural children of Jacob were 12 sons and these were the founding natural fathers of the 12 tribes of natural Israel.   Each generation had their own children and this continual cycle of generational propagation continued until Moses is speaking with God here in these verses in Exodus 19.  Now is the time where we need to factor into the equation “how does this natural pattern typology information fit with any spiritual application of the greater prophesied truth of God?”  Did any of these words just spoken by God in verse 6 even sound just a little bit familiar to you?   Please let me list the key factors that were just given again in verse 6:

  1. The children of Israel (A natural family pattern of many generations descending from 12 brothers)
  2. A Kingdom of Priests
  3. A Holy Nation of People

I mean if you have ever read the N.T. you have come across all of these type descriptions even if you did not realize where they were mentioned first in the Bible.  I’ll give you a hint, the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to write about all of these types to the church and this is what God reveals to us through His servant Peter:

1Pe 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

As you should be able to tell, Peter is not directly quoting the entire verse of Exodus 19:6.  However Peter writes enough for us to know they are directly connected.  If you look at the NASB version of the Bible you will discover this verse is mostly capitalized to indicate that it is a direct quote of Exodus 19:6.  However, this verse is really more of a direct commentary explanation by God for what He was talking about and who God was speaking to prophetically in the original statement of Exodus 19:6.  I will no doubt have some naysayers try to tell me this verse does not have anything to do with what God said to natural Israel but that is just spiritual blindness that causes people not to have the ability to make the proper connections.    Look at what Peter says to the church.  He said we are a “chosen generation”.  Chosen simply means the “elect”.   Uh oh, I thought natural Israel was the only ones ever called God’s elect?  Not according to what God just revealed to the church here in the N.T.  The Greek term G1085 translated as “generation” directed at the church in this verse simply means a group of related family members, relatives or kin.  Did you know that you were in a new family now if you are a Christian?   How does that term for the church compare with the typology we just found spoken to the children of natural Israel?  I personally see so many parallels and repeated patterns here that it is amazing.  The natural nation of Israel originates with one man having 12 natural sons.  Does that compare to the church at all?   What about Jacob being a type of Jesus Christ?   Did Jesus ever have twelve spiritual sons?  I’m not talking about natural sons, I am asking about the spiritual offspring.   Did you ever wonder why Jesus chose exactly 12 disciples?  I mean that has to have been for a very specific reason, do you not agree?  Does God do anything casually?  I believe Jesus choose twelve disciples to match with the 12 sons of Jacob in the natural.

Biblical typology is such a fascinating subject with so much hidden information that it is really astonishing.  Why did Jesus knowing Judas was going to betray Him choose him to be a disciple?    Did you know that Judas was also found in hidden O.T. typology?  One tribe of natural Israel has been omitted from all mention of the 12 tribes of Israel in Revelation 7.  In fact this omitted tribe of Israel has been replaced by just one son from another tribe.  I do not have the time to attempt to explain what is happening here in this typology fully.   Notice that in Acts 1 that Judas who killed himself was replaced by another.  Who was that man that stepped into the vacant Judas position to take his place in the church?  I believe that it was one of the spiritual sons of one of the other 11 faithful disciples.  I can see every disciple mentioned to be chosen to fulfill a beginning initial role in the new family of God.  These 12 men would go into the whole world to bring the Gospel of Jesus to increase and grow the spiritual family of God from every nation on the earth.  Why, are Christians called brothers and sisters in the Lord?   At least 30 times in his letters to the churches Paul refers to Gentile church members to be his brothers.  Since Paul was a naturally born Jew Paul had to be speaking of spiritual kinship and not of the natural.  This is simply because we are all spiritual family members in the same spiritual family of God.  This spiritual reality simply parallels the natural reality of the nation of Israel who were also all brothers and sisters of the same 12 fathers.   Let’s move on in this verse in 1 Peter so that I do not get into too much information.

After “Chosen Generation” Peter then mentions “we are a royal priesthood”.   Here is where we get to the direct correlation to Exodus 19:6.  Do you remember what God said for Moses to say?   God says tell them “You are a Kingdom of Priests”.  Royalty has to do with only kingdoms and thus we have more synonymous terms being linked directly together.  Did you know that you were a priest in God’s spiritual family in the New Covenant?  We do not offer animal sacrifices to God like the priests of natural Israel, but rather we do offer the sacrifice of praise of our lips to God (Heb 13:15).  These are just two parallel truth realities that are imperative to learn about as Christians.  Finally we get to the one for one relationship being called a “holy nation” the exact same phrase as was mentioned in Exodus 19:6.   I want you to do a keyword search for the exact phrase “holy nation” in your Bible search program.  This exact phrase only occurs in two verses and these verses are Exodus 19:6 and 1 Peter 2:9.  Do you think that is a coincidence, chance occurrence or an accidental happenstance?  If you do you are vastly deceived.  The Bible linking such a precise phrase together in only two verses is God connecting them together to leave no doubt about what is being communicated about.  God is saying very clearly that Exodus 19 is about my Church.

So far we have two very specific links to the church.  Do you remember what they were?  We have found the church by the law of first mention concerning the “trumpet” reference from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.  Then we have the keyword matched “Holy Nation” reference from Exodus 19:6 only found repeated in 1 Peter 2:9.   Let’s go back to Exodus and continue to study what God says to us.  I’m going to skip down to verse 9 in Exodus 19 to move past some less important verses for this lesson discussion:

Exo 19:9  And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD.

Do you remember how many references I said there were concerning “clouds” in the New Testament?  In several of those Jesus very specifically said that He would be coming in the clouds.  I am not going to list those again but you can review the previous lessons and find the references.  What I see in this verse is another connecting reference to a noun from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.  The clouds being repeated here in this discourse is not an accident.  We now have 7 repeated nouns and 1 repeated verb.  I have been working up to this next verse for the entire lesson and here is some very key information for the timing of the rapture event.

Exo 19:10  And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes,

God tells Moses the deliver (a type of Christ Jesus) to sanctify the people.  bath2 (2)What exactly is that and what does that statement even mean?  Let’s begin with the definition of the Hebrew word from the Strong’s dictionary.  According to Strong the Hebrew word H6942 means “to be, make, pronounce or observe as clean”.  Therefore, sanctification is like a cleaning process.  Perhaps you occasionally take a bath or a shower to make your body clean and if you do then you are sanctifying your body.  This is really not that complicated but easily missed if we do not learn the application to what this means in the spiritual realm.   Wow this is so interesting to me knowing what I know about the word of God and work of Christ Jesus in the New Testament.  Are you beginning to see the hidden Jesus Christ in these verses?  I could give you many New Testaments verses that apply to what is stated here but I am going to limit myself to only two verses to show how God has sanctified the church through Christ:

1Th 5:23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here we have another very key verse of information that ties directly to our rapture subject study.  This verse occurs in the chapter immediately following the previous chapter’s rapture event report to the church.  Here God brings into the context discussion the subject of sanctification.   Paul continuing to write to the church tells them that the God of peace will sanctify them wholly and wholly is defined to include their spirit, soul and body.  What did sanctify mean?  It meant to cleanse or make clean and this implies they were dirty in these three areas of their lives.   The Bible is so awesome when you finally put the pieces of the puzzle together.  God is saying I will make you clean but technically does not describe how this will occur.   Some try to transfer responsibility of this cleaning as a God only type of work but that leaves out the human freewill right of choice and that would violate so many things found in the Bible so very plainly.  Since sanctification is not the primary subject here I am not going to spend the time here to explain it.  I simply want you to see the clear links that are being placed plainly in front of you for you to join them together.  God is linking rapture to the sanctification part of the discussion and vice versa    Let me show you one other very key scripture concerning sanctification and the church:

Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Here we have a verse that does not name the church directly but if you read the context you will find out the church is one of the primary subjects being discussed in this chapter.  In verse 25 God says to husbands “Love your wives even as Christ loves the church and gave himself for her and then in verse 26 is the connecting link to the previous statement “that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the word”.  I wasn’t going to get into the method of sanctification but I think I just did.  What God is saying here is that Jesus has sanctified His bride the church by giving them His precious Holy Word to wash with.  Here we have a paradox being presented that many readers will be puzzled with.  I recently had one man tell me I was crazy for teaching people that the church was the wife of Christ because we are clearly described to be the body of Christ in many verses of the New Testament.  To that man I will ask this simple question.  If we the church, are the body of Christ why then is it necessary for Christ to give us a Word bath to cleanse His very own body?  Uh oh?  Is not the body of Christ already clean having been raised from the dead and exalted into heaven?  You see because people do not think when they read the Bible they miss so much of what is being stated.  The answer to why the church needs cleansing is found in Exodus 19 and several other verses.  If you would like to learn more about this secret you can read my Bible lesson “How the Church became the Body of Christ”.

Let’s continue to look at Exodus 19:10.  God says for the people to be cleansed and tells them to wash their clothes today and tomorrow.  That was a stated cleaning duration of two days, was it not?   Why did God pick exactly two days to tell them to prepare for the trumpet?  Wow, we are now getting into the timing of the rapture event without even understanding what God has said to us fully.  Approximately how long has it been since Jesus left the earth to go into heaven to wait for His time to return?  It has been nearly 2000 years.  No one knows for sure the exact time but it is very close to that number.  Why is this number 2000 significant and how is it related to the 2 days mentioned in Exodus 19?  It simply goes back to what I said earlier about God’s law of divine definition.  It is important to interpret spiritual things using spiritual definitions or you will bet lost and confused.  Do you remember how I said that God defined a “day” found in 2 Peter 3:8? God defines one day to Him to be equivalent to 1000 years and even 1000 years to be equal to exactly one day.  What is needed here is for you to see that God says for His people to get ready by making themselves clean because in two days (2000 years) He was going to sound the trumpet and they were going to “come up”.  These are hidden patterns in the Word of God that teach the general timing of the event.  It is very scripturally in balance because Jesus said in Matthew 25:13 “Be sober and vigilant because no man knows the day or hour of the coming of the son of man”.  But notice that Jesus did not say that we would not be able to discern the general season for the event.   In general terms I know that the timing for His return is very soon, but I do not technically know for certain if it is this year or next or the next.  Do you know the certainty of the calendar?  There is really no way that I know of for us to ascertain the exact duration of time since the beginning of the church age.  Therefore, it is foolish for anyone to attempt to set a specific date for this event.

Typology is not a perfect picture of anything spiritual.  The chapter has only given us patterned clues for the outline and not the entire complete detailed picture.  I’ve spent enough time on this chapter going over many of the specific outline qualities that point us primarily to the event described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.  I believe that we have established the start of the proof necessary for the establishment of the pre-tribulation rapture event.  We can conclude by typological references from Exodus that after two days of cleaning preparation represents two thousands years of the church age when the trumpet will be sounded and the people will come up.  I think we have just established that within O.T typology there is a solid pattern match for a future rapture event being connected to the church.   Thank you for taking the time to read this important Bible lesson on rapture.  I pray that you gained some new insight from it on the subject of rapture that you did not know before.  Until the next Bible lesson in this series, I thank you for sharing this information with everyone that you know!  God Bless!

If you like to read the next lesson in the Rapture series please go to “Part 5” now.

Bible Answers: Was the Angel Michael the Pre-Existence of Jesus?

(Ver 1.1)  I occasionally answer Bible questions.  If you have Bible questions you are free to leave them as a comment and I will get to them as I have the time.  In today’s subject I was specifically asked by a reader what my views were on the Arc-Angel Michael being the pre-existent Jesus.  This was a very strange question that I almost ignored.  However, I can see the reason behind the question and the harm that this issue raises, so I will address it in a quick Holy Spirit led Bible Response.   I will state plainly upfront that the main reason for addressing this subject is because it is a false teaching that promotes the lies of Satan.  Any subject that is a lie from Satan can always be countered with the Truth of God’s Word.   Clearly Satan is going to great extents to discredit the true identity of Jesus.   Rather than teach you directly about the lie, I would rather spend my time teaching you the truth found in the Bible.  In order to do this we need to address 9 basic questions:

  1. Do angels have pre-existence or are they created beings?
  2. How is Michael described in the Bible?
  3. Is Michael an angel or a divine component of the Godhead?
  4. Did Michael exist prior to Jesus’ birth?
  5. Does Michael still exist after the birth of Jesus on the earth?
  6. What “was”, “is” and “will be” Michael’s role in the Kingdom of God?
  7. Is Jesus ever directly connected in identity to the angel Michael in the Bible?
  8. Who did Jesus actually claim to be?
  9. Is Jesus a direct component of the divine nature of the Godhead?

I will at least briefly touch on the answers to every one of these essential questions in this lesson.  These questions will be my outline for the lesson so you will know where we are going before we get there.  Let me give you my opening verse for this entire Bible lesson.  This verse has nothing directly to do with the subject of Michael but then it also has everything directly to do with the subject of who Jesus Christ is.  Read and study it closely:

1Jn 2:22  Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

We should be able to see from this statement that the anti-Christ will be the one that comes denying that Jesus is the Christ.  He further goes to explain that the anti-Christ will also be the one that denies the existence of either the Father or the Son.  Either denial constitutes an anti-Christ spiritual teaching of perversion.  Why is it important for someone to affirm Jesus the Son’s existence?  Why is it important to affirm God the Father’s existence?  Both positions are placed on the same equal footing.  Both are given equal levels of importance.  Do you understand that if you deny one but not the other that you still remain an anti-Christ?  You cannot proclaim God is Father and deny Jesus is His Son because you have reduced the importance of Jesus while exalting the importance of God.  A partial lie is usually a harder deception to detect than a full complete lie.  In this verse God just clearly made Jesus the Son the equivalent to God the Father in importance and significance.   In this lesson we will discover why it is essential for every true Christian to know who the real Son is.

I believe that you will find that this teaching of Michael being a pre-existent Jesus originated from the Jehovah Witness group.  I believe that many in this organization are teaching that Jesus existed in heaven previously before coming to the earth in the form of the angel Michael.  This teaching would clearly lower Jesus to a distinct inferior level far below the level of the divine.  This teaching reduces Jesus status, character and ability to the inferior position of all angels and all other created beings.  Thus we have the first potential contradiction to my introductory subject verse that clearly places Jesus the Son on the same plain and level as the divine Father God.   This stated teaching position that reduces Christ from being deity, clearly places the Jehovah Witness group in the category that God calls the “anti-Christ” denying the Son’s equivalence.  That is potentially not a good group to be associated with by God’s definition.   Do you see the importance of not denying who Jesus was and is?  This is actually getting to be a very prevalent false teaching today because it keeps people from being saved.  If people deny that Jesus is the Christ, they cannot be saved.  If Jesus was just an angel or a normal man like you or I then we have no basis for our salvation.   Salvation is dependent upon believing correctly the truth and I really do not care what other religious people try to teach.  If anyone can get to heaven by believing anything that they want then Jesus was a liar.  Jesus very clearly said “I am the only way to the Father” (John 14:6).  Therefore, what you believe about Jesus matters very much.

The Jews today believe that God had no son. Therefore, they deny the Christ.  Islam today teaches and believes that God had no son.  So they categorically deny that Jesus was the Christ.  What we can clearly observe is a pattern of deception occurring.  This pattern of opposition represents a thread of lies that crosses boundaries between even opposing religions.  Both Judaism and Islam clearly teach and deny that God had no Son.  Now we can see this same erroneous religious philosophy corrupting modern church teachings and churches in a similar way.  The denial of the existence of the Son has now started to creep into churches.  How does one lie cross so easily between such diverse religions?  It would seem to me that there is an outside force that is prompting these separate lies of deception to be taught.   I believe that this outside force is the father of lies called Satan.  You need to ask yourself, why does Satan want people to not believe in the true identity of the Son of God?  Why is it important for people not to know the actual character, nature and origin of the man Jesus Christ?  This knowledge should peak your interest enough to find the answers because your eternal destiny rests upon you knowing the truth.   Don’t believe me?  Who then saved you?  Did an angel save you?  Did a man like Muhammad save you?  Who is your faith placed in to save you?  If it is not God then you have been deceived.

I believe that there should never be any direct connections of equivalence made between any created beings and any divine being.  We cannot lower the divine down or raise the created up to make them equal.  When anyone makes the statement that Jesus pre-existed in heaven in the form of Michael a potential angel they are lowering Jesus’ true divine position and claiming Him to be the equivalent to any other created being.  When they try to teach that Jesus is God today but before becoming a man he was Michael the potential angel, then they are raising Michael from the lower level of a created being to the level of the divine.  Either position is a corruption of the truth.  Any corruption of truth is a potential poison that may kill you.  I believe that where the confusion originated is when God the eternal divine chose by His will to be made mortal flesh and thus divine God joined Himself to His creation in a brand new manifested form.  This single act of God the divine was not expected by Satan and it seals the fate of Satan and this is why he fights it with all of his might to deny that it even occurred.   However, God by His own sovereign will did this for a very specific cause and purpose that I will not be able to fully address today in this lesson.

THE ORIGIN OF THE ANGELIC CLASS OF BEINGS

Let’s begin by researching and considering the origin of angels.  We should know from Bible study that there are only a few named angelic beings revealed to us in the Bible.  I did a more complete study of the subject of angels called “Understanding Angels” if you want to study this subject in more depth than I can spend today in this single lesson.  The three primary named angels are Lucifer, Michael and Gabriel.  These three angels each held special high roles in the organized structure of heaven.  I personally believe that each of these angels has at least some sub-ordinate angels under their authority and command.  However, I believe if you study the subject out you have to conclude that the angel Gabriel is not as strong of an angel power as either Michael or Lucifer.  We may look at this later.  However, ask the question, where did angels come from?  Are angels an eternal divine being like the divine God or do angels have a creation point where they first originated.

Eze 28:13  Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

Eze 28:14  Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

Eze 28:15  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

Reading these verses we can clearly see that God reveals the creation of the angel Lucifer.  The Hebrew word translated as “created” here is the exact same word used by God in Genesis 1:1 when God says He created the heavens and the earth in the beginning.  Therefore, we have a one for one word match that Lucifer the angel was also a created being with a stated beginning. I have to conclude just by this information that if one angel was created then every angel was also created.  This would certainly include Michael if he is an angel.  Therefore, ALL angels had an origination point with no status of pre-existence before being created.  Anything created must come from a creator outside of the realm of the creation.  This is just very basic self-evident logic observed all around us.  We understand when we see an automobile or building that someone apart from the automobile and building created them.  According to the Bible God is the only eternal being with no stated beginning and no end.  Therefore, God is the only qualified individual to begin or create anything with an origination point.   Do you understand this logic so far?

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REVEAL ABOUT MICHAEL?

Let’s counter the false conclusion that Michael and Jesus are the same individuals using the information revealed to us in the Word of God.  This belief would either reduce Jesus to a created being class with no pre-existence the same as Lucifer or it would raise Michael to be an eternal being in the divine class and we are beginning to see that this is not true but we need more Bible evidence to prove it.  Clearly if Jesus is reduced to a created being the argument position fails the initial verse test that places Jesus the Son on the equivalent level as God the Father.  Let’s do a further analysis of the limited information given to us about the being Michael in the Bible.  I’ll start by going to the last mention of Michael in the Bible and then working backwards through the Bible:

Rev 12:7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

Rev 12:8  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

Rev 12:9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Here what we have is a stated future war being described to us that takes place in the spiritual realm of heaven between Satan and his angels and Michael and his angels.  It is very important to note three things in this description; the timing of the event, the location of the event and then the participants of the event.  We should be able to clearly see that this event is a future tense subject by backing up and reading the scripture in Revelation chapter 4 and verse 1.   We then should be able to clearly observe that this described event takes place in heaven (a spiritual dimension) and not here on the earth (a physical dimension).  Finally, we can see two opposing forces that are in conflict against each other.  One force is directed by Satan a created being and the other force is directed by Michael.  Therefore I have concluded from this information that Michael still exists in this future event description and this was written well after Jesus was raised from the dead and had ascended back into heaven in Acts 1.  Uh oh?  I think I can see a problem conflict coming.  Do you see it?  Are there two different individuals now?  One is called Jesus and one is called Michael?  What I can observe is that if Michael was the preexistence of Jesus then Michael should have ceased to exist when Jesus was manifested yet we see Michael still mentioned after Jesus was raised back into heaven.  Is Jesus now become Michael again?  Or are there two separate individuals with one named Michael and one named Jesus?

We find by continuing to read in Revelation that Michael and his angels prevail against Satan and his angels and that Satan and his angels are then cast back down to the earth in verse 9.   Here we have the confirmation of strength difference between angelic beings.  If Satan was stronger than Michael, then Satan would prevail but that is not the stated pattern that is revealed to us in the Bible.  Michael is clearly the winner in every confrontation with Satan, but we should note that both leaders have angels that are subordinate to them.  This is a verse that could imply Michael to be Jesus or equivalent to Jesus but that is a weak erroneous assumption that falls apart by further Bible study and analysis.

The being Michael is only directly named in 5 verses of the Bible.  Three times in the book of Daniel, once in the book of Jude and this verse here in Revelation 12 that we have just looked into.  Therefore we can only read a limited set of information given about this being and draw from them whatever facts are given to us.  We also need to be smart enough to not jump to any erroneous conclusions from the provided information that is not being directly revealed.   I personally believe that God provides us sufficient information to find the truth of Michael and Jesus and we will only come to one conclusion as we continue to explore all of the information provided.

I selected this verse in Revelation to study first because this verse helps us to begin to prove that Michael is not Jesus and that Jesus is not Michael.  Nowhere in the Bible is Jesus connected to be Michael.  They are always separate distinct named individuals.  These verses in Revelation 12 are speaking of Michael as a future heavenly warrior after the physical birth, life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ being taken back to heaven in Acts 1.  Thus we can easily conclude that the being Michael still exists even after God became a man in his son Jesus Christ.

God very clearly describes and names Jesus as being in heaven in 12 different verses in Revelation.  In 27 other verses in Revelation we find Jesus being titled the “Lamb” and these references are also directed as Him being in heaven.  Nowhere in the Bible is Michael ever called the Lamb, associated to be the Lamb or even close to becoming the lamb.   I believe that it is technically and logically impossible for Michael and Jesus to be both mentioned in a future prophecy book using two different names at the same time if they are the same individual.  That would make Jesus a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; one man with two personalities and that is another contradiction with scripture that teaches us “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb 13:8).  God would not name the same individual with the name Jesus and the name Michael in the same book of the Bible.  Let’s read quickly the previous found Bible reference of Michael in Jude:

Jud 1:9  Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

Michael is clearly revealed to be an “archangel” in this verse.  An archangel is a specific class of angelic beings which are of a higher order of responsibility than other angels.  What we have just accomplished is that we have determined proof that God in the Bible calls Michael an angel and not a divine being.  This makes Michael in the same class as Lucifer and helps us confirm that Michael was also a created being.  Here in this verse we can clearly see that Michael was in another dispute with the angel Satan over the body of Moses.  This is just a continuation of a pattern. Then notice what Michael says to Satan!  The archangel Michael says “The Lord rebuke you”.   That statement proves that Michael is not the “Lord”.  Uh oh?  That must be a new problem for anyone that says the Lord Jesus was a pre-existent Michael!   If the Lord Jesus was Michael, he would have simply said “I rebuke you” and that would have been all of that conversation and Michael would have revealed to everyone that he was the Lord.  I believe that we have just proven that Michael cannot be the Lord Jesus with this single verse and the previous one given to us in Revelation.  However, let’s look at another important verse found in the book of Daniel about this individual named Michael:

Dan 10:13  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

Ok, here is another very interesting verse of truth containing more important facts about the identity and nature of the archangel Michael.  We find that the angel Gabriel is speaking to the prophet Daniel and he says the angel Michael came to help him to get through to defeat Satan in order to be present in this conversation.  This older spiritual war took place over a time period of 21 days in duration hundreds of years before Jesus was born on the earth.  Did you notice what this verse says about the named angel Michael?  Michael is very clearly described to be ONE of other unnamed “chief princes”.  We are not given the number of “chief princes” that were created but there is definitely more than one of them.  A chief prince denotes a type of ruler authority and means that there are sub-ordinate beings or princes under his command.  It also literally means that Michael is just ONE of these “chief princes” and I believe that this causes great difficulty of conflict if only one of these chief princes became the incarnate man Jesus.  What happened to all of the others and why were they not selected?  What God has just revealed about the angel Michael is that he is not a unique being.  What have we just learned from these three verses about Michael?  Here is a quick review of the basic facts:

  1. Michael existed prior to the birth of Jesus found in the book of Daniel.
  2. Michael was warring with Satan in the book of Daniel to help the angel Gabriel reach his destiny here on the earth.
  3. Michael still exists after Jesus was born, died and was resurrected back to heaven according to Revelation 12.
  4. Michael is still a warrior angel in Revelation 12 continuing to battle Satan.
  5. Michael is nothing but a created archangel according to Jude.
  6. Michael by his own confession says that he is not the “Lord” according to Jude.
  7. Michael is clearly stated to be just one of other “chief princes” making him non-unique and no more special than any other created angel according to Daniel.  I believe that this does not make Michael special enough to die to take away our sins.

How can you from these facts given to us conclude that Michael is the pre-existed Lord Jesus Christ?  I honestly do not have a clue how this teaching can be considered legitimate using these basic Bible facts.   Why, is the Lord Jesus Christ called the “KING of kings and the LORD of lords” (Rev 19:6)?   It is simply to inform you that Jesus is not one “chief prince” of many but is rather the ONE LORD and KING of all.   If Michael was the Lord, he would have said to Satan “I rebuke you” and not “The Lord rebuke you”.  This is just so elementary that I don’t know why people are missing it.

WHO DOES THE BIBLE SAY JESUS WAS?

Who was Jesus?  Who did Jesus claim to be?  Did Jesus ever claim to be an angel?  What does the Bible reveal about Jesus to us?  Did Jesus ever claim to originate from Michael?  If you do not know it yet, Jesus was the eternal God coming personally to the earth in the flesh to die for your sins.   This is why Satan wants to discredit His identity.   Here are some quick verses to help establish this essential truth:

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.

Here is a very basic divine truth that needs to be established firmly in your heart.  The angel announces to us that a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a child and His name shall be called “Emmanuel”.  Emmanuel is a Hebrew name for the coming prophesied child that literally means “God with us”.   What is being described to us in this name definition is that the eternal Spirit of God will come and manifest physically in human form to be observed firsthand by His own creation.  The creation of God will for the first time be able to naturally observe their creator.  Jesus will be the full manifestation of the combined Spiritual divine Godhead united with His created natural mortal man.  Jesus Christ will be 100% God and 100% a man.  There is no angel Michael in this work mentioned.  The definition given to us from the name “Emmanuel” is simply that God will appear in the form of a man.  Jesus would have been given a different name if it was “Michael with us”.   Did you know that what a name means in the Bible is always important to God?  God conceals important items of truth in the names of many people found in the Bible.  If you don’t believe me then you need to go study the genealogy found in Genesis 5.  The meanings of each of the names from Adam to Noah teach the complete plan of salvation of God.  Every name has a purpose and teaches us something.  For example the name Michael means “Who is like God”.  That name teaches us that Michael is not God but rather a reflection of someone asking about Him or observing Him.   Take the name “Israel” as a direct contrast to the name “Michael”.  Both names contain the same Hebrew root word “el” which is translated as a “God”.  However it is the other root words combined with this word that makes them so different.   Do you know what the name “Israel” means?   The name “Israel” means “He will rule as God” and that informs us who Israel really is.   Israel is not just the name of a natural nation of people on the earth but according to the Bible it was a name of their God.  It is clear to me that whoever possesses the name “Israel” will be the God divine ruler.   I don’t have time to teach that but know the facts and understand that Bible names have meanings and that these meanings teach important messages.

I am going through the verses that declare Jesus to be God.  We just looked at the verse in Matthew where Jesus was named “Emmanuel” and discovered what it meant.    Let me give you other verses that say the same thing using different word descriptions.  Read these important facts closely:

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.

In the beginning was the Word.  God initiates the book of John with words that parallel Genesis 1:1.   God basically connects Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 together by His specific word selection.  God is giving his commentary on the Genesis 1:1 creation using new descriptions.  Here God says that the Word existed eternally and equally with God.  This Word being described here in John 1:1 was clearly God.  What we are observing is another parallel verse to my introductory foundation verse from 1 John 2:2.   However, in these verses in John we are seeing that God equates “the Word” to be equal with God and in 1 John 2:2 we saw that the Son was equal with God.  Do you know what that means?  I’ll tell you in minute.

I think we need to establish a basic foundational Christian truth to who this God is being described to us in the Bible.  This God called the Word in John 1:1 is the same as the God described to be a Spirit in John 4:24.   Therefore I believe that this God who is Spirit is the same as this God who is the Word.   Wrap your minds around what is being taught here because it is clearly way beyond normal human imagination.  God is clearly telling us that His Spirit, and His Word and His Son are all equal to one in the same.   How might you ask can I legally arrive at this conclusion?  I am simply using God’s created laws of mathematics and Algebra to facilitate this fact.  What law of mathematics am I speaking of?   There is a very basic law of mathematics that states if A=B and B=C then we know that A=C.  Do you see how I arrived at those statements now and how that they are correct?   We can clearly see if God = Word (John 1:1), God = Son (1 John 2:2) and God = Spirit (John 4:24) that we can apply the laws of mathematics and say that Word = God and Word = Son and Word = Spirit.   I think I probably went over the heads of many readers.  Hang in there if you do not enjoy mathematics like I do.

What we can read in John 1:3 is that God confirms to us that everything created in the beginning was created by the Word of God.  This eternal Word God created all temporary physical space and matter.  Continuing to read down in the first chapter of John you get to the confirmation of the identity of Jesus:

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.

This verse is very clear with the identity of Jesus as the Word God who is also Spirit.  Jesus was the stated Word/Spirit and He was made flesh for our benefit.  This is simply another way to say “Emmanuel” or God with us.   John writes that because God became flesh that we were able to behold (see, observe) His glory.  This was the creator God making Himself known in ways that blows the mind of devils, demons and natural men that do not want to believe in the existence of a loving God in the form of a Son.  This was an expression of divine love beyond normal human comprehension.  Why would an all-powerful God that could choose to do anything, choose to humble Himself to become a part of His own creation and walk around as if He was just one of us?

Eph 3:9  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

God continues to reveal in this verse that all of creation was performed by Jesus Christ the Word.  This clearly claims that Jesus Christ was the Word of God since God created everything by His Word as we have just seen in John 1:3.  If Jesus was the creator of all things then Jesus pre-existed all creation.  The only way this is possible is if Jesus is divine, eternal and the Lord God.   Notice the word ALL things in John 1:3.  If Jesus was Michael then this would make Michael a non-created being and that belief falls apart quickly.   This would mean Michael created everything and was God and that belief comes short of sound Biblical doctrine immediately just from the verses that we read about Michael.  There are so many contradictions to this teaching that I just can’t give them all to you.  But we will continue with a few more important verses of confirmation to the identity of Jesus:

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.

I wanted to include these verses to help confirm who this Jesus is that is coming back to the earth in Revelation and help you see that He is not called Michael but rather in verse 13 He is named the Word of God again.  Who was the Word of God according to John 1:1?  We know the Word of God was God and thus this Word God comes back riding on the white horse to the earth.  There is no connection to Michael being stated here, formerly, presently or in any future tense.

WHO DID JESUS CLAIM TO BE?

Let’s examine who Jesus claimed to be while here on the earth to help prove that Jesus never said that He pre-existed as Michael.  Who did Jesus say was His Father?  Was it ever communicated that Michael was the father of Jesus?  Did Jesus ever claim to pre-exist?  In at least 70 verses in the N.T. Jesus is called the “Son of God”.  Clearly to be called a son means that the man Jesus originated from a source of parental beings.  From reading the Bible we know the physical natural mother of Jesus was named Mary and she is described to be a virgin having never known a man.  The angel appears to her and informs her that she has been favored and she will have a son.  She asks how this is possible and the angel tells her the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will conceive.  If you do not understand the concepts of the virgin birth you need to read my lesson series on that subject.  I just told you that there are 70 verses that claim Jesus was the Son of God.  We must conclude that the Spirit/Word God became the Father of the man Jesus.  Therefore, the man Jesus was a product of the union between a natural woman’s egg and the Word of God coming from the Spirit that created all of creation with His Word.   Take note that if God can create a natural world by speaking words, it is a very small thing to get a woman pregnant by speaking the same kind of words.  Do you agree?   Let’s take a look at some things that Jesus spoke:

Joh 3:18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Here in this verse Jesus speaking of Himself declares that His father was God.  Jesus claims to be the literal ONLY BEGOTTEN Son of God and that is a very important distinction to understand.  Earlier we saw that Michael was called one of several chief princes.  Clearly Michael was not a unique being.  Here Jesus clearly states that He is completely UNIQUE!  I’m not like Him, you’re not like Him, Satan is not like Him and Michael is not like Him.  Jesus is a one of a kind being God never having done this before.  So please tell me how a non-unique angel name Michael becomes a unique Son of God named Jesus?  Can you even try to make some new lies to explain that?  I pray that you are learning something.

Joh 14:9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

What did Jesus just say in this verse?  Can you see it?  This verse is only understood if you know who Jesus really is.  If Jesus is not God in the flesh then Jesus just lied.  Jesus looked in the faces of His disciples and told them when you have seen me, you have seen my Father.  How can this possibly be if His father is not God and He is not His Father?  Go back to the law of mathematics again.  Jesus just said “Seeing Me = Seeing Jesus”.   Then Jesus literally says “Seeing Jesus = Seeing My Father”.   Therefore Jesus was claiming to be the same creator God in the flesh.  This is not rocket science people, can you see it?  Let me show you some other important verses that Jesus spoke:

Joh 5:17  But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.

Joh 5:18  Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus just made a statement to the Jewish leaders and said that what He did was equal to what His Father was working.  Jesus had just healed a man on the Sabbath and this upset the religious minded people significantly.  However, that was not the final straw.  They heard these words that Jesus just spoke and realized that He had just said that He was equal to God and now they really wanted to kill Him.  Did you understand that?   Jesus said literally “My Father Works” and “I Work”.  That is a very clear reference to equality.  You cannot find any verse in the Bible that declares any angel to be equal to God.  That would include Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer and every other unnamed angel.  No angel is an equal to their creator.  Only the creator Himself can be called an equal.  Let’s look at one set of example verses to help confirm what I am teaching:  Look at these two verses very carefully:

Mat 4:6  And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Mat 4:7  Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.  

Here in context is Jesus being tempted after being forty days in the wilderness without eating.  The temptations are coming from the angel Lucifer also known as Satan.  The name Satan simply means “adversary”.  So Satan had become the enemy of Jesus.  In verse 6 Satan has just tempted Jesus by asking Him to cast Himself down off of a high place.  It would be like you standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona and Satan telling you to jump.  But, did you notice what else was said?   Satan a chief prince said it is written that if you jump “He will give His angels charge over you and in their hands they shall bear you up and save you from the fall”.   Wow that is a strong statement?  Who is the He that will give His angels charge”.  It is not Michael even though Michael has angels under his command.  If Jesus was Michael here His response would have been totally different to this statement.  Did you notice what Jesus said and who Jesus claimed to be here?  Jesus quotes an Old Testament verse that says “Don’t tempt the Lord your God”.  Jesus was looking at the face of Satan saying I am your Lord God, why are you tempting me?  I think that is pretty clear that Jesus is not an angel and never was an angel.   I could just continue with many other verses but I’ll end with this one:

Mat 12:8  For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Here we have Jesus personally making another statement about Himself.  Jesus calls Himself the “Son of Man” but then He also follows that name by calling Himself the title of “Lord” and that makes it very clear who He was claiming to be.  Michael is never called Lord by anyone, in fact if you read in Revelation 19:10 when John sees an angel and falls down at his feet the angel rebukes John and tells him not to worship him, because he is a fellow servant with John.  God’s Angels and Christian humans are called “fellow servants”.  What was Michael?   Was Michael not an angel of God’s also?   If Michael is an angel like the Bible says then Michael is a fellow servant with me and not my Lord.   If any angel was ever guilty of calling himself Lord it will be Satan and he will be cast in the lake of fire for his lies.   Only the God in heaven is ever called the Lord hundreds of time in the Bible.   God has no problem with calling Himself LORD as is His right.   This is what Jesus just did with His statement of being the Lord in Matthew 12:8.

Jesus never claimed to be anyone but God.  Jesus never claimed to be a former angel.   Michael never called himself Lord but Jesus clearly called Himself Lord.  Jesus clearly claimed to be unique not conceived like any other human but the Bible says Michael is not a unique being.  Only Jesus can claim to be the “Son of Man” and the “Son of God” and both be true.  I believe I have given sufficient evidence in the Bible to establish that Jesus was not Michael in the pre-incarnation spiritual dimension.  I believe that we can see Jesus and Michael both being mentioned in future prophecy of Revelation and each have their own distinct roles and responsibilities.  Michael is clearly just a warrior angel of God.  He had a spiritual warring role in the book of Daniel to get Gabriel through to the earth with a message and we can see another example of him warring in heaven and casting Satan down to the earth in Revelation 12.  The role of Michael has not changed from Daniel to Revelation.  Michael was created to be an archangel and he has not departed from that role and he will remain in that role.

Can we now agree that Michael is not Jesus?  Can we agree that Jesus is God?  I could have given you many more scriptures but that was long enough for time spent on this type of question.  I have spent two whole days writing this Bible lesson and it took away from what I was working on for a month.  I hope I helped someone to understand the truth of the Bible and may it will help to point others to the one True God Jesus Christ.  I pray that God will continue to bless you, until I get the next lesson completed.

Is it Possible to be Both a Democrat and a Christian in the U.S.?

Gal 4:16  Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

(Ver 1.1)  Here in the U.S. we have been living through a very nasty election process costing billions of dollars.  This Bible lesson is intended for my U.S. readers, but the application of the Bible principles taught will apply to any nation where you are permitted to vote.  This of course will be a potentially controversial subject to talk about.  Who knows I may lose some readers by offending them with the truth as Paul did in Galatians 4:16.   But like Paul, I still want to speak the truth on my website, because this is what is needed at this critical time in America.  Can a person be a Christian, be saved, be born-again, go to heaven and still ignore the truth, the Bible and the God of the Bible doing whatever they like?  Whoops I thought this subject was about being a Democrat?  Yes, you are right the main subject is about people claiming to be a Democrat and a Christian and that goes with my preceding statement precisely.  Isn’t choosing to be called a Democrat a human freewill choice of the man or woman?  Am I saying being a Democrat is someone that is ignorant of the Bible?  Well you are going to have to read the entire lesson and decide for yourself.   Let me give you my opening scripture verse for this subject:

Rom 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

God declares that His children are led by His Spirit!  Are you His child?  Not if you are not being led by the Spirit of God you are not!    If you claim to be a saved child of God you better learn how to be led by the Spirit of God very fast.   Nowhere in this verse or in any other verse will God contradict this truth!  This verse strongly implies that those that are not led by the Spirit of God are not the children of God. The Spirit of God is never going to lead you into sin.  The Spirit of God is never going to lead you to violate the Word of God.  The Spirit of God will never lead you into hell.  The Spirit of God will only say things to you that agree with the Written Holy Word of God.  If you do not understand this you are free to call yourself a Democrat and choose to make God a liar.  So the question remains, will the Spirit of God ever lead a person to be a Democrat?  Not if it violates the Word of God.  You better find out if being a Democrat is either in agreement or discourse with the Word of God and then decide personally which path you want to follow in.

First, I strongly believe that there are no perfect people in the world; Republican, Democrat, Independent or Christian.  However, does that fact mean that that every Christian should not strive for perfection?  I seriously do not believe that is the case.  Perfection should be the goal of every Christian in order to conform to the image of Christ Jesus’ example.  If you do not want to be like Christ you are definitely reading the wrong website.  Can you find a scripture in the Bible that says that we are free to ignore what God says in His Word and still be saved?  Are we saved independently from the Word of God? I have not found any verses that say we can be saved or remain saved apart from the Bible.  I have found some verses that appear to say the opposite is true.  Jesus was speaking in the Gospels and was quoted to say the following statement that should be strongly considered if you want to call yourself a follower of Christ:

Luk 6:46  And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Who was the Lord Jesus talking to?  Notice that this statement was not made to anyone that is not a Christian or at the least thought they were a Christian.  No one is going to call Jesus Lord if they do not believe that Jesus saved them.  Did you notice that?  People came to Jesus saying “Lord, Lord!” and they did this with the forethought He was their Lord.  You see according to the Bible, in order to be saved, an individual must believe that God has raised Jesus from the dead and then must also confess Jesus to be their “Lord” with their mouth (Rom 10:9-10).  Therefore, Jesus makes this statement but, only to people that have called Him their Lord.  No unsaved person has done this nor can they.  What significance does the Lord Jesus place upon His spoken word in this statement directed at Christians?  Is the Lord Jesus a casual, unconcerned or non-caring speaker of random unimportant words like people are?  Do you think that it matters to God if you actually do anything that He says or not?  Is God simply speaking words to hear the sound?  I believe that you can clearly see in this verse that Jesus strongly implies that it matters a great deal what you do in this life concerning what God has spoken.

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

What has God spoken?  This verse informs us that God spoke the words of the Bible and that every one of them is here for the purpose of righteousness.  The Greek word translated as “inspiration of God” literally means “God Breathed”.  If God’s breath produced them they came from the Spirit of God and these are the Words that you are directed to follow by Jesus own admission.  Why call me Lord, Lord and do not what I say in my written Holy Book of Words?

Whose responsibility is it to get you to do what God says?  Who is going to make you read and learn what is written in the Bible?  Is it not your choice what you do every day?   Seriously pay attention to what the Bible is saying to you, learn it and begin to follow God’s instructions.  It will matter more on judgment day than you can possibly think at this time.  Let’s get another witness of the truth spoken from God about what you need to do:

Jas 1:22  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

God speaking through the apostle James says directly to the church in a letter, that they need to do the Word of God and not just hear it only or they will deceive themself.   That is an amazing statement.  Self-deceived people are abundantly found in the church today.  These are people that go to church but still vote for a Democrat.  Of course I understand that many churches are not teaching the Bible and that is even a greater problem.    God says very clearly “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).  Not being taught the actual Word of God will cause people to be deceived equally.  I believe that it is abundantly clear that the God of the Bible was warning Christians that we better learn what He has said and then do what He has said or we will be destroyed.  Let’s then figure out what God says in the Bible and then see if any of this Godly information disagrees with Christians being a modern Democrat.

Today I’m going to give you at least 4 sound Bible reasons why you cannot be both a Democrat and a Christian.  You are free to disagree with me, but I would suggest that you do not disagree with God and His Word.  What I will say today are not my words but His.

#1 THE MAJORITY OF THE DEMOCRATS AT THE DNC CURSED GOD

Anyone can clearly observe the Democratic official platform.  The Democratic National Convention (DNC) was held here in Charlotte NC and I heard about this event for months before it happened and every day that it was here it dominated the news.  Anyone can easily verify what I am about to say by searching the internet to find the DNC position.  There are documents, videos, news reports and other evidence to the truth if you are unaware of what I am about to tell you.  First, consider at the DNC that Democrats removed the mention of “God” completely from their official position platform.  They further removed all mention of Israel and Jerusalem as their capital.   Both of these should have been clear warning signs to those that call themselves Christians and Democrats.  If you watched the DNC on TV you would have seen one man stand up and attempt to put God and Jerusalem back into the Democratic platform and he was required by rule to get a majority of the delegates to raise their voice and vote “Yes” in order to pass this position.  He called for the vote once, twice and even three times and each time the NO’s clearly won the voice level vote.  At the end of the third time he simply decided on his own that the “YES” votes won and that ended the voting session.  Many of the delegates in the audience quickly booed the decision and that is a major problem with being a Democrat.  How can you as a Christian associate with any people that are so far apart from the truth?  I do not know how you can, based upon what God says to do in His word:

Pro 14:27  The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Did the great majority of the delegates representing the U.S. Democratic Party from every state have any fear of God?  If you believe that you can boo God and be a Christian you are a fool!  If you think you can stand with people that boo God and still be a Christian you are still a fool.   To “fear” God is a Hebrew word that means a human position of humility giving God great honor and respect as He clearly deserves.  What kind of respect is it for Democrats to say to God we don’t want you God mentioned in our platform anymore?   Wow, I do not even know how to begin to justify someone saying I’m a Christian and still calling themselves a Democrat.  What did God say in this verse in Proverbs?  Did He not just say if you fear me you are on the path to life and if you do not fear me you are headed on the path towards death?  You better think a long time about what is being said here.  Let’s look at another verse that applies to this situation of the DNC vote.  Here we had a man that must have thought he was a Christian who wanted God put back into the platform and the majority of his fellow delegates blasted him down and said “NO”.  What does the God of the Bible say about this?

2Co 6:14  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Can you read?  To be yoked to something is to be joined with them.  To be joined means to be united in purpose, plans and action.  To be yoked to anything is a clear personal choice unless you are their slave?  Are you the slave to other Democrats or the DNC?  If you are not their slave then you had a choice to be there and to call yourself one of them.  Consider the legal ramification of being present at the DNC?  If someone in the car that you are riding in commits a crime the legal system considers you an accessory even if you knew nothing about what was going to happen.  The guilt by association is a very important topic in the court of heaven.  Because you were voluntarily present at the conference you have become guilty of cursing the God of the Bible even if you did not commit the act.  Just because you are a registered Democrat you are further guilty by association with the group.  Now, shift to what it means to be unequally yoked as this statement is declaring.  I take this to mean you are out-numbered.  It is like a balance scale with you on one side and the rest of the God cursing people on the other side.  If they have tipped the scale in their favor then God says you better not be linked with them.

This is a major problem again from the scriptural standpoint of being called a Democrat.  To be in an organization that does not even desire to have any relationship with God is more than an awkward situation for you.  This man that took the vote should have shook off the dust from his feet and walked away from the cursers instead of doing what he did and continuing to be one of them.  Look at what Jesus said to His disciples:

Mat 10:14  And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Does this not still apply to us today?  Are you not a disciple of Christ?  I know I am!  Of course this applies to you and I.  If we go and tell someone about Jesus and they reject it, Jesus said that we can walk away free in conscious that we did our job.  I feel like this would have made a much stronger statement than pretending that the “YES” vote won and add God back into the platform.  How long do you think that the DNC will keep God in?  Do you think that God will survive another vote?  I personally do not believe He will.  God and the Bible is being pushed out of the Democratic platform, it is just a matter of time before it happens.

The term “yoked” is a position of servitude whether you accept it or not.  If you desire to be a servant accessory of a people with a position that curses God then you are not a wise man or woman.  Take note with what these verses just said.  What fellowship does a righteous man have with an unrighteous man?  What communion does the light of God have with the darkness of Satan?  I know a lot of people do not understand the differences between what is being stated in 2 Corinthians 6:14 so they believe it is permissible to be labeled a Democrat.  That is exactly why I am writing and teaching this message today.

#2 OBAMA AND THE DNC EMBRACED HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE

Let’s consider point number two that was added to the official Democratic platform this year by Obama’s sudden change of position from the last election position.  In the last election Obama was clearly asked about gay marriage and he clearly stated that marriage should be between a man and a woman.  Now suddenly, the DNC and Obama openly embraced and joined themselves to the godless gay agenda by adding a gay marriage stance legitimizing the marriage between two men or two women as being normal and acceptable.  In doing this they have snubbed the Bible and the God of the Bible and they have departed to establish a new independent truth separate from both.  Here is the primary problem with the gay agenda; you cannot find it as a valid doctrine in the Bible anywhere.  In fact if you study the subject closely you will find a lot written about it in the Bible that says it is an abomination to God when people live this way (Lev 18:22).  I know that was an Old Testament verse reference and people are so quick to say that does not apply in the modern world.  Let me quickly show you a N.T. verse that is also equally very clear:

1Co 6:9  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, (NASB)

God tells the church plainly in this text that homosexuals will never enter into the kingdom of God.  If people cannot be gay and be saved, what makes you think that you can be a Democrat supporting gays and the gay agenda and be saved either?  Perhaps you need a new perspective to the importance of being in agreement with God.  What is agreement?  Agreement occurs when two people make a pact to walk in harmony.  Disagreement is the antithesis and this simply occurs when two people are in opposite sides of any discussion.   If you look up possible synonyms for the term “agreement” you will find one term “covenant” is present.  That truth of covenant raises a new perspective and asks “Are you in covenant agreement with God?” or “Are you in covenant agreement with homosexuality?”.   Technically speaking if you are not in covenant agreement with God then you are not saved.  If yes, then God says you better agree with Him and what He says:

Amo 3:3  Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

You are being forced to make a choice today by reading the truth of God.  If you read what God says and still choose to be a Democrat and support Democrats and the DNC platform then you are not walking in agreement with God but with your godless political party.  That is an extremely poor choice in life to make yet people do it every day.  What God has just clearly stated is that you better agree with what He has spoken or you will not be walking with God.

People who do not make an effort to know what the Bible says are those that have chosen to ignore God’s Word.  Any non-decision to seek the truth is a conscious decision for ignorance of the truth.  Ignorant people will find themselves apart from God based upon what Jesus said to you at the beginning of this lesson.  You are not going to be able to call Jesus your Lord and then ignore what He has said about the subjects like homosexuality.  The two positions are mutually exclusive and incompatible.  If you do not know what the Bible says on the subject of homosexuality you need to find out very quickly.  No, the word is not officially found in the KJV Bible, but that does not mean that God does not give you what He thinks on the subject very clearly using other words.  I have a Bible lesson series on the subject called “What does God think about Homosexuality”.   If after you read this lesson series and choose to still be a Democrat then your blood is not on my hands any longer.

#3 OBAMA AND THE DNC KILL INNOCENT HUMAN BABIES

The discussion of abortion is a modern controversial subject that Democrats like to dance around by speaking about it using irrelevant oxymoronic terms like “Women’s Rights” or “Planned Parenthood” and others that twist the reality of child homicide into something legitimate sounding.  They have even gone so far as to call the unborn baby a “fetus” and not a human child even though that is clearly a lie.  The child in the womb is a new complete being after the egg is fertilized.  All of the future DNA of the complete human being is present at conception.  Cells continue to grow in the womb and develop but this same process occurs after birth also.  No human is born a completed mature work.  Therefore, the process before birth continues after birth and finally the child becomes an adult.  The baby developing in the internal water realm is no different than the external baby continuing to develop in the air realm.  If after birth the same attitude of reckless disregard is given as to the unborn life of the water realm baby and care was removed from them the child would not live in the external air realm either.  Developing cells that grow is the definition for life.  If a scientist found cells like this on Mars they would take extreme measures to preserve them.  Why then have ignorant deceived humans chosen not to value this life before birth the same as after birth?  Nothing was added or taken away from the process other than the taking of the baby’s life.  Things have gotten so bad in this area that many abortion procedures done by doctors today are to babies that could easily live outside of the womb with any proper modern care.  These procedures are called partial birth abortions and the baby is partly birthed and then deliberately killed before they can take a breath.   That is a totally insane ungodly behavior for any person to agree with but Democrats like Obama vote for it constantly to continue.

Today the determining factor for whether any baby lives or dies has been given into the hands of the woman carrying the baby.  That right there is another ignorant presupposition of the truth.  Who died and made this woman a god who decides who lives and dies?  Did the woman get pregnant by herself?   Here is where creative deceived people introduce a new argument of justification for the existence of abortions.  They say “what about incest and rape”.  They then use these minority cases to justify the existence of every abortion regardless if the woman consented to the sex or not.   God states in Genesis 2 that the two shall become one and this is a law of God’s created design.  Just because Satan has perverted it by enticing men to rape does not mean the whole result is evil.  One evil act never justifies another evil act.  The formed baby in the womb was not a participant in the evil so why is another evil taken out on them?  That just does not make logical or Biblical sense.  I recall no Bible verses that say if a man commits evil we need to kill an innocent child for retribution.

Take for example the young lady that had been kidnapped as a child by an evil man and forced to live with him for years and years until she finally escaped.  She was repeatedly raped and even got pregnant and had a child.  This child was still important and loved by God regardless of how it was conceived.  After the woman escaped the captor went to jail but she and her baby went home.  Perhaps in this case you believe we should kill the baby immediately after saving it from captivity?  What then is the difference between now and before in the womb?  Were they not both created through evil?  Surely this justifies us killing born healthy babies if they are conceived by evil acts.  If we kill evilly conceived babies after birth what stops any baby from being killed if they cry too much, are the wrong sex or whatever.  When is it murder and when is it allowable or permitted?  I do not see any lines that should ever be crossed personally.

When a woman determines that she does not desire to carry the baby to term, she chooses to commit murder and she terminates the life that God had placed inside of her by going to a clinic or by taking a pill these days.  You may quickly respond and ask who did you say put the life in her?  According to the Bible God says He put the life of the child inside of the woman.  Here is a verse that is about abortion but does not directly name the term:

Jer 1:5  Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

You can clearly see that God reveals that what the Democrats and liberals call the “fetus” in the woman was already known by God.  God clearly says “I formed you there inside of your mother”.  God also clearly says that I called you to be a prophet before you were ever born into this world.  What if Jeremiah’s mother chose to have an abortion today?  Would the prophet have been born?  Would God have stopped her from being so foolish?  I seriously do not understand why people cannot see that God will not override a woman’s will to murder her own child.   The woman’s body is the woman’s body but the child in her was not placed there by the woman so she has no right to remove it.  The child’s body is never a part of the woman’s body.  The child’s body is an independent new being awaiting arrival into this world.

In making these uninformed decisions the woman has engaged accomplices that help her.  The doctor is the instrument of murder that she uses to kill the life in the baby and I find that fact incredibly ironic.  The doctor takes a Hippocratic oath to save life and instead for money has chosen to ignore that oath and kill their own kind because an activist  judge somewhere said it was a legal act to perform.  Everyone involved in this act is a willing guilty participant or accessory and they are all ignoring God, the truth and the Bible in making this decision or even allowing this decision to be made.  That is just stupid if you ask me, but stupid is as stupid does.

In the United States alone there have been millions of abortions performed since it was legalized by a minority.  That is an awful lot of blood that is on the hands of women, doctors, judges, voters and politicians.  WHAT did I just say?  I said the blood of the murdered babies will be held on the account of all those that voted to allow this practice to continue.  If you do not think so, I would not want to be you on judgment day.  I did not do a complete teaching on this subject and I have other lessons that will expand it in more detail.  If you go and read “What does God think about Abortion” it will address more Bible verses that teach us about this very important subject.

#4 OBAMA IS AN OPEN LIAR AND DECEIVER

What is the definition of a liar?  When a man says one thing and then does something else does that make him a liar?  In my Bible I believe that is a very good definition for a liar.  What is the definition of a deceiver?  A very good definition of a deceiver is anyone that causes someone else to believe what is not true.  One good synonym for a deceiver is a “con artist”.  A “con artist” is anyone that tells you what you want to hear in order to get what they want from you.  A “con man” uses words to entice human behavior for their own personal gain.  Technically speaking a liar is a deceiver and a deceiver is a liar by definition.   Let me show you a verse that Jesus spoke to us all and you then tell me what it says on these subjects:

Rev 21:8  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

So tell me what your God just said?  Is God a liar?  I strongly believe that God is not a liar and in this statement I believe it to be an accurate and literal announcement of truth.   If after reading this verse you still believe that it is permissible to be an abortionist murderer or a liar then I think that you are already deceived into believing a lie.  There is a missing message in many churches today called “Holiness”.   This old holiness message was previously taught strongly by many preachers but it is widely ignored in the modern Grace dominated church.  Because people believe that being holy is no longer a factor or a requirement for being a Christian they can justify being a Democrat and believe a man like Obama when he stood up in 2007 and said “I’m a Christian”.  Nothing done by Obama in the last four years has proven that statement true.   In fact his actions have proven the opposite.  Jesus very clearly taught us that we will know them by their fruits (Mat 7:16).   Jesus was speaking spiritually but said this spiritual fruit would be displayed externally in this natural realm in order for us to observe it and even possess the ability to judge it.  If you do not know what the fruits of the Spirit are perhaps you need to go study the subject closely because Obama has none of these that I can observe.  Let’s establish if Christians need holiness:

Eph 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

1Pe 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

1Pe 1:15  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

1Pe 1:16  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Both Peter and Paul were led by the Spirit of God to teach on the subject holiness.  Essentially God declared Himself to be Holy and commands that we are also to be the same Holy type.  This gets back to the goal of perfection.  If you are not striving to be perfect like God then you have already admitted defeat.  The Bible clearly says that God is a Holy God!.  The Bible also says that God does not lie (Heb 6:18).  Therefore anyone intentionally lying is not of God and will have their part in the lake of fire as Jesus clearly says.  I could spend a lot of time listing every lie publically spoken by Obama but that is a waste of my time and yours.    Other websites have done a good job at documenting many of these, just go and search the web and you will find more statements than you care to hear about.  If you have time to watch a video on YouTube I would suggest that you go watch these examples of lies spoken by Obama.  This video is by far not a complete list.  For example, Obama declared marriage to be between a man and a woman before being elected in 2008 but yet he has done everything in his power to reverse that even now making the clear position statement that marriage is beyond God’s definition.  Make sure you understand the definition again for a liar.  A liar is someone that says he will do one thing and then does something else.  I will expand the definition of a liar to be anyone that speaks anything that is not the Truth of God and that is a much broader definition.  Here is the video of lies, go check it out for a starter course:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg9m1F8B2_c&feature=player_detailpage

VOTING WARNING EXAMPLES FOUND IN THE BIBLE

Exo 32:1  And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

The concept of voting is found in the Bible if you actually look for it.  The word vote does not need to appear for the message to be revealed.  For example here in this story we have a nation of people in a desperate state of circumstances much like the United States today.  Their Godly leader Moses has left them, they think and now we see them making a cry for a change.  You do realize that voting is nothing but you asking for a desired outcome?   Do you remember what these people have been through?  They had just been delivered by God from a very oppressive harsh nation and a people that oppressed them greatly.  The power of God was displayed over and over until Pharaoh finally bowed to the overwhelming display of God.  The Israelites all had witnessed this deliverance but now in the wilderness when things were again tough they voted for change in gods and leaders.  Was this the right decision?  Was this the right choice?  If you continue to read down in the chapter you will find that it clearly was not!

Here is my point for this entire lesson.  Can you vote against God and expect a good outcome?   Whenever the Democrats voted to throw God out of their platform were they not repeating the historic act that was given to us by God to learn from?  Do you not understand what God says here about Israel?  God tells us in the New Testament that these things were written as examples but not examples to follow but for examples not to follow (1 Cor 10:11).  When a nation departs from God, the Bible and His ways they have also abandoned His hand of protection, His blessings and His favor.  When the people vote against God they open the door for judgment to follow.   Seriously do you feel the need to be judged?  Continue to vote against God and His Word and you will be.  Stop and read this next Bible example of a popular vote recorded in the Bible for us to learn from:

Mat 27:17  Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

Mat 27:18  For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

Mat 27:19  When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

Mat 27:20  But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

Mat 27:21  The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.

Mat 27:22  Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

Mat 27:23  And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

If you read this story with your spiritual eyes wide open, you will see another popular vote being manipulated by the elders of Israel and their priests.  Pilate clearly saw that it was because of envy that they were moved to do this thing to Jesus so he after being warned by his wife created a choice to vote on between two men.  One man Jesus was entirely good and one man named Barabbas was entirely evil.  Who do you think these men represent in our election?  Well, let me ask you who is in favor of murdering babies and allowing gays to marry?   Both of these are evil in the eyes of God.  Well Barabbas was elected to live and Jesus was condemned to die and this was the outcome of a popular vote of the people.  What does God say about this in the Bible?  You probably don’t know this either but this is God’s opinion of that kind of vote and voters:

Isa 5:20  Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Wow, I do not understand how anyone can be a Democrat today knowing what I know from the Bible.  God warns people if they call evil as good and good as evil that there are consequences for these types of votes.  If America elects this evil Obama president again, there will be consequences and heaven help us all.  If you read down in this chapter you will find what God says will happen:

Isa 5:24  Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

These curses are because the people have abandoned the God of Israel and His Holy Word.  Major parts of the U.S. have just gone through a long drought that left the farmer’s crops and ranch industries decimated.   Do you think this is a chance accidental happenstance?  When a nation kills millions of babies and promotes gay life styles as the new normal I believe this opens the door for these types of events to occur.  Let’s end this Bible lesson with the conclusion of the Jesus vs. Barabbas vote:

Mat 27:24  When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Mat 27:25  Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Pilate washes his hands of the matter and says this man’s blood is not on me.  The people of Israel declare let his murder and blood be upon us and our children.  In their minds they totally believed they were doing something good but their actions were not based upon any common sense or the truth of God.  Pilate could see it, do you see it?  I completely understand that God’s purpose was for Him to come to the earth and die.  I totally agree that God accomplished exactly His plan to the very detail.   However, if you believe that God manipulated the people and forced them to kill Him you are one of those confused people that believe God is a giant puppet master controller of our every move and that people lack any ability of choice.  God can use human nature without causing it to happen.  God knew what would happen before it happened so this is foreknowledge and not forced manipulation.  Unsaved people today have not really changed much have they?  They are still calling good evil and evil good.   Still killing good babies and letting murders walk free.  What was the outcome of this vote for Israel?  Did you realize that there was a consequence for their actions?

If you did not know it Israel was completely destroyed and leveled shortly after this event in history.  In the year 70 AD the entire city was decimated.  The natural nation of Israel ceased to exist for almost 1900 years after this.  The people of Israel were scattered broadly throughout the world and were continually oppressed and persecuted.  The curse that they placed upon themselves followed them from generation to generation.  It was not until the near extermination of the entire Jewish race under Hitler that prophecy began to come back into focus for this natural nation of people.  Do you think that rejecting the Word of God had anything to do with what happened to them in history?  Are there any parallels to what happened to the nation of Israel and what is happening here in the United States today?  I believe very strongly that there are many direct parallels and if we do not change quickly and embrace God and His Word as a nation again we will experience the same outcome.

So can you be a Christian and still vote for evil?  Can you be saved and ignore the Bible?  Can you vote against God and still be for God?  Seriously if you do not understand that this is not possible then your blood is not on my hands as I have already stated.  No not everything a Democrat does is evil and that is not my point here at all.  What you need to see is that it only takes a little bit of poison to kill an animal if it is mixed with a lot of good desirable food.   If Democrats were entirely evil people there would be no contest in this election, no one would vote for them.  But, since they lace their good deeds with poisonous intentions people are deceived in eating it all.  I have warned you, and I have sounded the alarm.   I am just one man on the wall willing to take the risk to blow an alarm sound of warning to the people of this nation.  You can do whatever you like going forward but the consequences will come for your vote for evil sooner than you realize.  This was the message that the Holy Spirit placed on my heart and I was just the messenger.  I pray that your eyes were opened and that I saved at least one person from deception.  If only one person was helped then it was worth all of my time and effort.  God bless and we will get back to the other Bible subjects as the Lord leads.

Is the Rapture of the Church Really Found in the Bible? Rapture Basics in Intelligent Design – Part 3

(Ver 1.2)  This is Part 3 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the important subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”.  If you have not read from the first lesson I would highly recommend that you go and start your study review with “Part 1” and then continue in succession until today’s lesson.  I have been going through the steps for building a firm doctrinal foundation for the Biblical subject of rapture.  In the last lesson we explored 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 to begin our discovery process to what God was teaching the early church on the subject of being “caught up”.  The Greek word “harpazo” was correctly and clearly translated as “caught up” in this verse and this Greek word is just a synonymous term for the modern English word “rapture”.  We further explored at least 6 historical rapture events recorded in the Bible to verify that being “caught up” was not a fictional or manmade concept but it was given to us by God as a standard pattern in the Bible starting in Genesis and going all the way to Revelation.

As we have discovered, not every historical rapture event reported in the Bible was both physical and spiritual but still every example fulfilled the pattern for the sovereign display of the power of God to take a man suddenly out of the world.  Each of these recorded rapture events that I mentioned from the Bible were the divine intervention of a sovereign God that interrupted the normal course of human events for the selected few that were affected.   We learned several important lessons from these examples.  For example, we can clearly observe that when these events transpired, that the man selected by God was removed from the earth while all others remained on the earth to be left behind.  We can further learn from the study of these men taken up that each was considered to be righteous and not evil in the sight of God.  Every person recorded in the Bible that has already been raptured was a righteous man in good relationship with the almighty God.  I could not find where God takes up an unrighteous man from off of the face of the earth as a historical pattern.  If you know of one that I missed you are free to tell me about it.  From what I have seen all those that were taken up by God had the normal course of their life suddenly and instantly translated by divine designed interruption.  These are all very important patterns to apply and remember.  God will not take everyone in the next scheduled rapture event either and God will only be focused upon the righteous people as is revealed in these great Bible patterns.

From the six recorded historical rapture events we have found in the Bible, three were very clear examples of living breathing men leaving the earth in complete unified body and spirit form.  These three men were Enoch, Elijah and the risen from the dead Lord Jesus Christ.   We of course know that Jesus going up was different from Enoch and Elijah since Jesus had tasted death first but was then resurrected back to life before He went up to heaven in Acts 1.  It is important to distinguish this difference since Enoch and Elijah never tasted physical natural death and they were both taken up by God as they were walking with God like we who believe in rapture soon will be also.  We further know that neither Enoch nor Elijah had any power or control over what transpired.  However the Lord Jesus Christ went up under His own control and power at His own timing, but He was also God.    Enoch and Elijah establish a pattern that teaches us that every living being does not necessarily have to experience natural death to be taken into the presence of God.  These three divine transportations from the face of the earth prove the concept of rapture is absolutely true and more than possible beyond any doubt in my mind.   We further saw two examples of spiritual transportation to heaven to view things never seen by human men and these two described experiences were Paul and Isaiah.  Finally, we also saw another human man named Phillip in Acts that was transported physically and spiritually from one natural location to another natural location on the earth.  All of these clear examples prove that another event just like those can occur by God’s selected design.  We have not talked about the book of Revelation or any future rapture events yet but we will get there as the Bible study continues.

A FRESH LOOK AT 1 THESSALONIANS 4:16-17

1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

1Th 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Today in this Bible lesson I am going to do a few things very different than in the majority of my other Bible lessons.  I am going to attempt to go into more technical depth with the basic Bible rapture information found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.  I plan to give you a brand new approach for Bible study.  This method will help you to see how I think about the subjects found within a Bible study.  I realize that not everyone is like me and I understand that completely.  We are all unique beings with differing life experiences, training, education and personalities.  So while I describe to you how I study the Bible I am not saying that you must be like me or you are wrong.  I hope that you keep this in mind as you read the rest of the lesson.  I will not attempt to promote my Bible Study method as being superior to anything that you do.  In fact after you read this lesson, please be brave to share how you study the Bible, I would love to hear about it in a comment.  My primary point here is that we all just need to study the Bible and if anyone can use anything from my methods and learn from them that is really great, but if you have another method that works for you then you be led by the Spirit of God and do it that way.

I believe that many people do not generally spend enough time when studying specific verses in the Bible.  I am going to focus today on 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 again to help some to learn that there is always more that we can get from reading the same verses over.  In fact, most of the greatest revelations that I have received from the Spirit of God has come only after I spent significant time reading the verses over and over and over again.  Sometimes after the 30th repetition of reading it slowly again, the Words on the page would suddenly come to life in my spirit and I would see something new that I had never seen before.   Even as I continue to meditate upon the verses and reread them I would again see something new that I had not seen before.  I have learned that God just works like this because humans are generally spiritual dull people requiring their minds to be renewed with the truth before being able to see what God is saying in the Bible.  It is also noteworthy to consider that because of the extreme intelligence of God, He is able to say significantly more in a few words than any human can say writing an entire book.  Usually this mind renewal process is not a onetime read it and we got it type of miracle.  Even if someone has a photographic memory and can immediately quote the verse that they just read does not mean that they understand what it said completely in their spirit.  You can even teach a parrot to quote the Bible but that bird will not understand what he is saying   I hope you understand these principles because they were very important points that I have learned from experience.

Let’s examine these Bible verses in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and extract the primary stated nouns, verbs and adjectives.  This is actually a very good first step in any Bible study.  If you have never done this I would suggest that you put this into your study habits.  It will help us to be more detailed oriented when reading and it helps us stop at each word and consider why God has placed this word within the text.  Also, in doing this it will help explain how these words selected by God fit into a new way to study the Bible that I use constantly and I’ll talk more about this later.  A noun is a person, place or thing and is usually tangible in nature, recognizable within the 5 sense realm, but not always.  There certainly exist many intangible nouns beyond the 5 sense realm of the natural senses.  A verb is a part of speech that expresses existence, action, or occurrence and it is usually connected in relationship to the stated noun part of the sentence.  Finally, an adjective is a word or phrase of descriptive quality that modifies any given noun in the sentence.  An adjective almost always limits the qualified scope of the noun definition by providing us with specific descriptions, attributes or qualities of the specified noun.  I am going to give you a list of what I found in these two verses and I would like it if you would see if you can agree with me on these.  I certainly realize that I am not a perfect man and that I do not know everything so I am open to correction if you have very strong sound evidence for your belief and understanding of the these subjects.

 VERSE 

  ADJECTIVE 

  NOUN 

  VERB 

16   Lord Descend
16   Heaven  
16   Shout  
16   Voice  
16   Archangel  
16   Trump  
16   God  
16 Dead In Christ Rise
17   We  
17 Alive   (In Christ) implied    Caught Up 
17   Them  
17   Clouds  
17   Lord Meet
17   Air  
17   We Be With
17   Lord  

This list is certainly not every word identified in the verses, but I believe that they represent the major subjects, actions and descriptions being communicated.  Being a detailed person I like to consider the words like “the”, “and”, “with”, “in” and etc., but including all of these in this study would make the lesson considerably longer.   Correct Bible study involves much deeper digging beyond a simplistic one time surface reading and this is what I am attempting to demonstrate to you today.  I personally believe that one of the next steps to correct Bible study is for us to look up each original language word definition in a good dictionary like “Strong”, “Thayer” or others.  I have found from experience that Strong appears to be a good word definition source however I do not consider it a perfect book without errors or at least certain human bias.  For example, Strong names the natural land of Israel “Palestine” in many of its definitions and I disagree with that.  There has never been a nation of “Palestine” that I know of.  Strong may have had a good reason for doing this, but I have not found it yet and it seems to promote the modern Palestinian view that the land of Israel does not belong to the nation of Israel.  I will point out that when Dr. Strong published this book back in 1890 the nation of Israel did not technically exist until 1948 when they were again given parts of this land area and reestablished as a nation.   Therefore when the concordance was published he could have viewed this land as the land of Palestine even though that nation did not exist either.

I have found 16 major nouns and some of them are used more than once like “Lord” and “we”.  I have found at least 5 distinct verbs of described accomplishment or action.  The adjectives are mainly two words that are describing two different types of Christians, the physically dead and the physically alive.  To study this completely we would need to look up the definitions of every word in the original Greek language to insure our understanding is complete on the word’s usage and translation into English.  I do this to protect the accuracy of the translation and in doing this I have discovered many mistakes that the translators have made.  If you have not ever looked up the definitions of these words in a dictionary like Strong’s, I would strongly suggest that you spend the time and do it before continuing to read. I simply will not go into that level of detail on every word to keep this lesson from growing into a longer book form.

I will point out a few key words that are important in verse 16.  The Greek word G2962 translated as “Lord” means the supreme one in authority and can only be a reference to Jesus Christ.  Therefore Jesus is at the beginning of this described future event.  The Greek word G2597 translated as “descend” means to come down and we are told the originating location for the descent by the Greek word G3772 translated as “heaven” the abode of God as one possible rendition.  So far in this event we have the risen spiritual Jesus from spiritual heaven descending down towards the physical natural earth.  That represents two realms of existence and a transition between them taking place.  I’ll skip the “trump“, the “archangel”, the “voice” and the “shout” for now.  Let’s go down to the Greek word G3498 translated as “dead” and you will find that this Greek word G3498 means a literal corpse.  The next primary verb is the Greek word G450 translated as “rise” literally means to stand upright again.  Thus we have Jesus coming down and the corpses arising up.  These are very descriptive words and I do not understand how or why people explain them away but they do.

Let’s quickly review some of the other key words found in verse 17.  The Greek word G2249 translated as “we” is just a plural form of the personal pronoun “I”.  Therefore God’s usage of this word “we” represents a group of more than one.  We of course are not given a number of people in this group and it could be an open ended quantity anywhere from 2 to more than we could count.  Did you ever think about the term “we”?  What is it that allows many separate individual people to be grouped into a single named pronoun entity?  The answer to that question is they all must have something in common together or they are not a “we”.  Also notice that the writer’s usage of the term “we” includes “me” the author of the letter.  Paul was clearly including himself in the category by using “we” or “us” and not “them” or “they” which would have excluded Paul.  Who are all of these “we” people and what is it that all these individuals in this “we” group have in common in this verse with Paul the writer?  The answers to those questions are found in the adjective that follows the pronoun.

The next key word G2198 is used as an adjective description for the preceding pronoun “we” and it was translated as “alive”.  G2198 literally means “to live”.  Clearly we are observing the stated contrast of verse 16 the dead corpses from the living bodies of those that are described to “live” here on the earth in verse 17.  Always attempt to place what you are reading in any verse within the context of the surrounding verses.  This is just a general rule of sound Bible interpretation.   Then notice that Paul was obviously alive when he wrote this letter, so he was including himself in this group of living and excluding himself from the group of corpses previously mentioned.  However, that is still not sufficient information for us to conclude who Paul was referring to as the “we” in this sentence because of the “and” word that connects the additional point to the description.  This next connected subject was the word “remain”.   Who remains, who left and what does that mean?  The Greek word G4035 translated as “remain” literally means those “left behind”.  However this “remain” can only be clearly understood correctly within the context statement of the preceding verse. Verse 16 clearly speaks of the antithesis of those alive in verse 17.  In verse 16 Paul writes about those that were not only “dead” rising but then speaks why they rise because they were also “Dead-In-Christ”.  The “Dead-In-Christ” must have already departed the earth to be present with Christ Jesus or the inclusion of the word “remain” would not make any sense to have been present in the sentence.  Can you begin to see how God says so much using so few words?  The wisdom of God is way beyond human ability to have written this text.  Notice that both verse 16 and 17 are clearly talking about two types of contrasting Christians.  One Christian group has physically died and spiritually departed earth and the other Christian group is alive and remains behind on the earth.

Finally the next key verb found in verse 17 after the stated adjective and noun is the Greek verb “harpazo” that we have already looked at before and it just means in context “to be taken up by force or external divine power”.  This is just not that complicated until you listen to deceived people that are trying to explain it all away using satanically inspired human reasoning.  Satan attempts to use people to help others see things that are not being communicated in the verses, but the Holy Spirit will always point us to Jesus and the truth.  We have just spent a very short time reviewing some of the key words found in the text, but certainly not everyone.  I hope and pray that you are getting the idea of how to do this for yourself.  I would much rather teach you how to fish than just give you a fish to eat in my lesson.  I know I have said that before, but not everyone has read every lesson that I have published.

What should the next step in the process of correct Bible study?  All of these steps are open to debate, but my next step is usually to explore the Bible for where else each word is used in the Bible? I would recommend that we need to exert effort to discover God’s usage of each of these selected words in the verses we are studying to insure that God does not redefine the word in any other verse of the Bible.  I have discovered that God’s definitions are always true and man’s definitions are always wrong.  Also by examining the word usage we can have a greater confidence and a more complete understanding of the entire subject being discussed.  Only by examining every word usage can we be assured that what we are teaching and believing is correct.  Simply by ignoring just one key verse on any subject from the Bible, that lack of information can leave us void of the complete truth omitting the key elements of the topic.  I pray that you realize that many times a partial or incomplete truth is more deceptive than a complete or total lie.  Not balancing every scripture on a subject will cause someone to think they believe the entire truth when they do not.

I certainly understand that the number of times any given word is used by God can make the research of the subject more complex if there are a great number of references found.  For example, the Greek word G2962 which is translated as “Lord” is found in well over 600 verses of the N.T. alone. That is a bunch of verses to read for any study.  However, if you have any doubts to who this “Lord” represents in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 then you need to do that study to resolve any conflicts in your mind that it can be no one else but the God/Man Jesus Christ.  If after reading all 600+ verses and still not being able to confirm that this word references Jesus, then I would suggest that you get saved and get to know Him personally for yourself before you come back and study the Bible.

Some words in the Bible are used very frequently and that truly makes them challenging for us to go and read every occurrence.  I suggest that if the word usage is less than 100 verses that you take the time and read them all.  If it is used many more than 100 times then that is probably more time than you have to spend.  I guess it depends upon your effort that you wish to devote.  I have found the harder I work the more I am rewarded with finding good things that I did not know before.  Take the Greek word G2597 translated as “descend” in verse 16.  It is found in 80 verses of the N.T.  Many times it is translated as “come down”, “came down”, “descended”, “and descending”, etc.  In reading all of these verses it seems very consistent what it means and it helps us to understand the word in relation to the Lord noun being described coming down from heaven.  Perhaps you do not know where heaven is stated to be in the Bible?  That would be an excellent question for you to answer in your word search.  You are probably not going to find the answer directly in the N.T. but it is stated clearly in the O.T. in Isaiah for example:

Isa 14:13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

We should be able to see that Satan is being revealed to make a statement about the placement of the throne of God in a realm called heaven.  Satan is obviously on the earth looking up and telling God what he will do to ascend up to raise himself above all the other angels (symbolic stars).  I also take it that the direction given is very relative to the direction of this throne and heaven.  North is the only stated reference to a physical direction, but even this is relative to the position of the earth during the earth’s tilt and cycle around the sun.  I personally believe that this is just a general direction of where heaven is revealed to be, since I have no proof for this location other than what the Bible says.  Therefore, I am not going to fight over it, if you choose to disagree with what I just said.  I will give you one other verse that appears to confirm what I just said about the location of heaven:

Psa 75:6  For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.

As you can read every direction given is where “promotion” does not originate from.  Which direction is therefore implied to be the source for a human’s promotion?  It is obviously from the north again.  If you read the context of this verse it is clearly speaking about God’s location being the one that raises up one man and lowers another man’s position on the earth.  Therefore God the judge is stated to be seated in the North.  We could go into other verses, but that is not a primary part of the rapture message even though it helps to establish which direction He will be coming from.

Take the Greek word G2398 translated as “dead” in verse 16.  Here is a fascinating word that can teach us a lot that is found in 123 verses of the N.T.   But, interestingly enough this Greek word is consistently translated as the same English word “dead” in every single one of them.  That is a tremendous rarity to find in so many translated verses.  Normally a Greek word can be translated into several different English synonymous words and some of them might be a stretched application for the given verse.  However, in this Greek word translation example, we can be more confident that “dead” literally means “dead”.  By reading all of those other verses, you will discover that this Greek word is almost consistently used to describe the physical death of the natural body.  However, that is not actually true in every word usage found in the entire New Testament.  This becomes a clear example of why it is so important to read every verse to expand what this word can apply to.  Take for example Matthew 8:22 where Jesus is speaking to a young man and tells him “let the dead bury their dead” when asked if it was permissible for him to go and bury his own dead father.  Here we have an important revelation of two kinds of dead being described in a single verse.  Since it is impossible for physically dead people to bury physically dead people Jesus had to be speaking of a new type of death and I call this the spiritually dead people in the city burying the physically dead people that have died naturally.  I know this presents some brand new challenging information for you to deal with in all of your Bible study verses.  However, that is what is necessary to learn when studying the Bible.  What we have just observed is a very basic Bible fact that the same Greek or Hebrew word can be used to describe both a spiritual truth and a physical truth and we need to be able to determine which it is or we will be confused.  That becomes a great challenge for us in rightly dividing the Word of Truth to determine which realm is being referenced in any one verse (2 Tim 2:15).  We can normally do this by examining the source statement closely within the context of the surrounding verses.  I hope you understand this point that I just taught you.  It is a major stumbling block to many carnal Christians when they read the Bible seeing all of the words as being natural references only.

It is a good basic rule of interpretation to take the Bible literally first and then seek to understand it as being non-literal only if there is a major conflict for a literal revealed truth.  Since Jesus was literally speaking about a real funeral service of a literal dead natural man, these are easy to accept as being literal interpretations and not symbolic references.  However, when Jesus tells the young man to let the dead bury his father, this departs from natural logic and can only be a symbolic spiritual reference to people that are clearly implied not to be like Jesus or the disciple.  This is one of those types of verses that one needs to see what is implied but not directly stated.  Jesus did not volunteer to go and help bury the dead father, Jesus is implying that he is not dead physically or spiritually.  Since Jesus did not tell the young disciple to go bury his father, Jesus was implying this man was not dead physically or spiritually.  These are just very basic ways to look at scriptures correctly dividing spiritual things from natural things to understand what was being stated.  I truly hope that you understand this concept because this will be repeated in so many other verses and subjects of the Bible.

I’m not going to go through every word in these two verses, but I will go through one more as an example of what we should be looking for.  The Greek word G3507 translated as clouds in verse 17 is only found in only 22 other N.T. scriptures.  That is a very manageable number of verses to go and read them all slowly and in-depth.  I have discovered that sometimes the fewer the verses a word is used in the more likely they are to all be linked together for a greater divine purpose.  This Greek word literally means cloudiness or a cloud and it is translated this way consistently in every example verse that contains it.  It can be either singular or plural but that is really not that important.  I personally believe that almost every one of these verses has something to do with the rapture but I do not have the time in this lesson to expand upon them.  We will get to as many of them as we can in future lessons as I am led.

If you have not done this research with all of these words, I would suggest that you stop reading now and using your Bible search program go look up and read every verse with every word being used in these verses.  It would take me a great deal of writing to do that, so I will allow you to do it on your own and if you have any questions or comments with what you find, you are more than welcome to add them at the end of this lesson as a comment or question and I will attempt to respond as quickly as possible.  Keep in mind my list of nouns, verbs and adjectives because I will be referring to these as I continue with a new perspective on Bible study.  Let me quickly review a list of my basic Bible study steps.

  1. List every significant word and designate it to be a Noun, Verb, or Adjective.
  2. Using a dictionary look up the words found in the original languages to insure your understanding.
  3. Search for every occurrence of every word in a verse and read and study them to see how they fit into the entire subject being studied.

BASIC BIBLE RAPTURE CONCEPTS FOUND IN INTELLIGENT DESIGN

I am going to attempt to reveal how a former computer programmer logically thinks in simple black and white terms while observing the intelligent design found within the complex system of information found within the written Word of God.  I believe that God is the author of the entire Bible and that it was written down in 66 different books in a period of time over 1500+ years by 4o different prophets of God.  I further believe that God is supreme in all wisdom, knowledge and understanding.  I also believe that God is an omnipotent eternal Spirit.  Therefore I believe that the Bible contains the superior thoughts, actions, words and descriptions spoken by the superior knowledge, wisdom and understanding of the supreme Spirit of God.  Perhaps you have never thought of the Bible as being a very large complex system of divinely designed information.  However the existence today of hundreds and even thousands of church denominations in the world prove that few in the church agree with God on what the truth actually is in the Bible.  Did you notice how I phrased that last statement?  I did not say many do not agree with me or you or any other human opinion.  I said many do not agree with God.  Only God is true and everyone else is just potentially ignorant or confused.

The Bible is a book containing easily read natural plain text word data but still not very many can agree with what these simple words actually mean.  Why is that?  I believe that this failure to agree is largely based upon man’s introduction of their own “Human Opinion” or as it is referred to in the Bible, man’s “Private Interpretations” (2 Peter 1:20).  Private interpretations are defined as “Self” defined meanings completely separate from God’s intended purpose.  Ever since the Bible was created this has been man’s greatest weakness of not knowing the truth.  What Christians do not realize is that within the plain text words of historical accounts, genealogies, laws, commandments and instructions are found hidden threads of complex spiritual truths about a spiritual world that we have never seen or experienced fully yet.  The Bible contains such great detailed hidden spiritual information about this reality, but the carnal mind will never be able to see it or understand it while reading the Bible.  Most of the spiritual meaning is cloaked or covered beneath layers of parables, symbolism, allegorical content, Biblical typologies and many other methods that God uses to hide the information from plain natural view. Becoming spiritually “born-again” is the beginning to the process of obtaining the spiritual eyes to grow in mature spiritual “understanding” of the truth of God.

I want to ask you, do you believe that the Bible is a divinely created “Complex System” of information?  I guess the answer to that question should rest upon the definition of what a complex system represents.  So I’ll change the question to, what exactly is a “Complex System” and how should it be defined?  I believe that if you live in this world you are surrounded by a countless number of manmade and God created “complex systems”.  Whether God created or man created the complex system each has the same patterned characteristics.  Perhaps you have never thought about these concepts before and how they relate to the Bible.   We are surrounded by complex systems still there are a wide number of varying opinions to what a complex system represents and how it should be defined.  Rather than give you all of those varying opinions, I’m going to just stick with my viewpoint and tell you what I think about the subject based upon my experience and observation as a former computer professional.  I normally do not give out my opinion on things but I am going to make an exception for this discussion today.  You see by me giving you my opinion I am violating one of the main rules of Bible interpretation that teaches us we should not “privately interpret” anything.  I do hope that you understand that every opinion is nothing but a personal theory which is just another phrase for a private interpretation based upon ignorance of the subject under discussion.  However, since I have had vast experience with large scale computer system design and construction since the 1970’s, I feel that I am a bit more qualified to give an expert opinion on the subject than many others.  Please extend me some patience as I attempt to expound through a complicated subject.

Let’s start by looking up the antonym for the word complex.  If you do this you will find that the opposite of “complex” is the term “simple”.  By far the Bible is not a simple book.  Yes, the Bible has some simple statements in it, but I would strongly suggest that you go and read the books of Revelation and Daniel and find out how many mysteries you encounter on every page that cause you to scratch your head.  I find nothing simple about either one of these books.  There are so many Bible teachers teaching a completely different message from them that it is truly ridiculous.  I have concluded that the Bible cannot be considered a simple book and if you have read all of my other Bible lessons you should easily agree me.  Let’s then examine the synonyms of the term “complex” and learn from those.  According to the thesaurus the term “complex” has some of the following synonyms:

  1. Multifaceted
  2. Compound
  3. Composite
  4. Multipart
  5. Intricate
  6. Multilayered
  7. Many-sided

Wow, I really believe these words describe the Bible very accurately.  Think about what they say and then attempt to apply them to what you know about the Bible.  Now permit me to define the term “system”:

sys·tem/ˈsistəm/

Noun:
  1. A set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole,     in particular.
  2. A set of things     working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network.

We can learn a lot by reviewing word definitions.  The term “system” implies complex by definition.  The term “system” means that is found to be in multi-parts.  Is that the Bible? The Bible is 66 separate books written by 40 different humans.  Therefore this information alone causes the Bible to be a system of information.  A system is a set of connected things and the Bible is definitely a set of connected books.  A system is a set of lesser components that comprise a more complex whole purpose and this also describes the Bible precisely.  I really pray that you are beginning to see this already, but I’m going to go into it in more detail to help you..

Based upon my personal experience as a computer system operator, programmer and designer, I believe that a complex system is first any observable set of components that were created by an external intelligent source of thought, design and construction.  I further see that every complex system is created for a very specific given purpose.  No complex system exists today in the world apart from external intelligent interaction and purpose.  Did you hear what I said?  I will probably get some disagreement from deceived individuals, but since they cannot provide any proof for spontaneous intelligent design construction by random chance, I will stick with what the Bible says about God creating everything that we can see.  You see “spontaneous design construction” or as some ignorant people call it “evolution” cannot possibly occur.  Evolution is the increased complexity from non-complex components.  This belief in evolution violates the second known law of Thermodynamics.  This law teaches us that everything around us is in a state of decay which is the reversed antithesis of the force necessary to form it, evolve it or make it complex.  The second law of thermodynamics is a study of entropy.  Entropy is the measure of the degree of randomness or disorder of a given system.  What that teaches is that a complex system is anything that is more ordered than it is random.  We could also say that a complex system is anything with a much greater degree of non-randomness by external intelligent design influence.

Ok, so the laws of thermodynamics just gave us a pretty good introduction to what a complex system represents.  From that I believe I will give you my definition for a system in the relationship to a book like the Bible.  The Bible would represent a complex system because it contains a collection of intelligent non-random words with organized designed purpose for every part to contribute to the greater complex whole.  In other words since the Bible is not random word patterns on a page and can be used easily by any person with a basic education, it is a system of related parts of information and by definition a system.  Let me give you these points one more time:

  1. The Bible exists only because of externally influenced higher intelligence
  2. The Bible is not a random collection of unrelated words
  3. The Bible was written in distinct parts
  4. Every Word of the Bible has a specific designed purpose
  5. Within the books of the Bible is contained many multiple layers, parts, subjects, etc.

The substance, laws and organizational non-random structure found in our own universe did not suddenly appear from nothing as many fools would like us to believe.  The organization of a system from chaos or randomness would violate the laws of thermodynamics.  Just the existence of a vast expanding universe proves beyond any reasonable doubt that someone of greater ability external to this known system caused it to exist here.  This simply states that a designed system with rules and laws cannot create itself nor could any force within the system have created the system.  Randomness never creates non-randomness.  Dis-order never creates order.  This is really not that complicated, but so many get it easily mixed up with people’s words that are trying to deceive you.  The existence of a complex system simply means someone external to the system was the source of origination.

The universe is very much like a modern computer system.  A computer system is a complex machine with many organized laws, components and structured building blocks that all work together to fulfill a greater purpose.  The existence of a working computer system proves the existence of an external computer designer, a computer builder and a computer programmer that cannot be found to be physically present within the computer system.  No one with any intelligence would look at a computer and believe that it just evolved into being present on the earth.  Therefore, since I believe that the universe was created by God and if the Bible was also originated from this same God as is declared (2 Tim 3:16), then I believe that the Bible qualifies to potentially be another complex system of recorded information created by the same external greater intelligence.  The existence of one complex universe system pattern helps to establish the existence of another complex Bible system pattern.

I believe that the size of a system plays a major role in the complexity of the system.  From what I have observed the larger the system is, usually the greater the complexity of the system.  Let’s go back to the universe system example created by God.  The universe is such a vast complex system that it can only be imagined to its total size, its full content, its type of individual components, its understood composition, its total mass and its actual past point of origination.  Scientists are still today constantly discovering new facts concerning the known parts of the universe surrounding us.  In my humble opinion based upon just the size of our universe alone we all need to open our eyes to embrace the existence of a much greater intelligent creator being.  Many agnostics and atheists will reason against me, but I still stand with that belief since I have personally come to know Him for myself.

I think I will expand the definition of size and help you to see that not all created systems need to be light years in expanse in order to be complex.  The system can still be considered complex depending upon the number of components and sub-systems discovered in the system.  You see I view the human body to be a very complex system within itself.  Within this one system of very measurable size and weight are smaller immeasurable components called cells.  There can be millions, billions and even trillions of cells within the many parts of the human body.  Many have estimated somewhere between 5 and 50 trillion cells in the human body.  Wow, that makes our bodies a very complex system all by our self.  Take the human body system and underneath this main system there are many sub-components containing subordinate systems and objects with each being made from individual cells.  For example we have the neurological sub-system object, the respiration sub-system object, the digestive sub-system object, the circulatory sub-system object and on and on I could go.  Each sub-system can have further divisions of several layers of individual object components, like the heart, lung, kidney, stomach, etc.  The level of complexity can get very great.  We could transverse the entire human body system all the way down to the individual cell level, molecular level and even add in the very complex DNA system object components that are a complex system by themselves.   The existence of the human body system objects with so many interacting sub-object components working together for the single greater purpose and good of the whole object represents external intelligent design.  Truly the human body system is an ordered arrangement of functioning designed components and systems.  Any complex system lacking non-randomness or chaos is a very strong indicator of intelligent design and this proves the existence of a greater intelligent designer.  Of course I am referring to God as the design engineer and creator for the human body object.

I have just introduced you to another factor for the definition of a complex system.  A complex system has other dependent subordinate complex systems within it.  Systems within systems, systems depending upon other systems and all working together for a greater purpose, how can we even get our minds around all of this?  Maybe you do not understand this statement yet.  Let’s examine the created universe system again.   If the universe is a complete complex system as I believe it is, how many other systems also exist within this system and would our universe still exist in the same form without every single one of these being present?  I told you I was going to get really deep in this Bible study to cause you to think today.  One basic rule of intelligent system design is that the designer never adds anything that is unnecessary for the completion of the whole given purpose.  In other words what I am teaching is that in any well designed system every given observable component has a specific purpose even if that purpose is not fully disclosed or known.  The universe system can be divided into a multitude of galaxy systems and the galaxy systems can be further divided into a multitude of solar systems.  The earth resides within the Milky Way Galaxy system.  The sun that the earth revolves around is just one star of around 20 billion others in our galaxy alone.  Therefore, scientists generally do not have a clue to how many galaxies exist in our universe since they do not even know how many total stars there are in our single galaxy.  Wow, is that cool or what?  God created such a great place for us to exist in.

Our planet’s solar system is just one complex sub-system found within the greater universe system.  Let me ask you this question and I want you to really think about it.  If our solar system did not exist would the universe still exist in the same form and for the same purpose?  I do not believe that it would.  Let’s shift back to the computer system example that I was talking about previously.  Any large scale modern computer system is comprised of many designed dependent sub-system components.  Every sub-system component is essential to the entire process or it would not have been included in the design.  Many of these sub-system components are so critical to the whole process that the designers have built in a factor called redundancy.  Redundancy just means if one critical part of the sub-system fails another part of the sub-system takes over until the whole sub-system can be repaired to full working redundant capacity.  The existence of redundancy within many critical computer systems proves that the omission of any single sub-system causes the design of the whole system to fail.  Thus the failure or elimination of even one sub-system without redundancy will be catastrophic for the working of the whole greater process of the system.  If you think a manmade computer system is different than a God designed complex system of the universe you are a very deceived individual.  Man was created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26) and what God does a man can only do on a smaller scale.  There is nothing new under the sun.

In any complex system in order to begin to understand it, one must be able to break down the whole information into lesser manageable components and sub-components.  Many times people get the complex Bible truths mixed up because they are missing the basic spiritual fundamental details that are spread out in specialized hidden designed formats in the Bible.  Any complex system with intelligent design should contain the ability to be analyzed and broken down into smaller manageable pieces that first need to be understood.  By understanding the smaller core pieces and parts we can more quickly learn about the more complex interactive purposes and parts of the entire system.  What I am trying to teach is that there are methods to learning the Bible and that these methods conform to known modern intelligent design procedures.  I am talking about a basic of life concept found all around us.

For example in order to correctly fix an automobile you better understand how it was built.  An automobile is a complex system with many dependent lesser complex systems working together to get the user to a desired location.  The automobile system has a cooling system, a power system, an electrical system, a transmission system, a braking system, an air conditioning system and many others.  In the car example the failure of the AC system will not stop the car from functioning.  This is a bit of a departure from what I said earlier.  However without an AC system the driver might die if they are going through a desert in the summer.  If any system of a car fails, someone needs to know what they are doing and how it works in order to fix it.  If you don’t believe me go and take apart your car’s transmission and see if it will ever work again.  God wrote the Bible using defined intelligent design principles and if we are to understand these words we must approach studying the Bible with the same level of intelligent analysis methods.

I am going to conclude this Bible lesson with a very deep application of mathematics and computer concepts and how they relate to the Bible.  If you are not into either one of these subjects this discussion might be less interesting to you because of the new level of complexity that I am introducing into an already complex subject.   I believe that God created these concepts such as math and computers for us to learn, use and to apply.  Every part of creation has a purpose just as every word of God has purpose.  Math and computers are certainly a part of God’s creation so they have a purpose whether you understand them right now or not.  Even if you have never studied these subjects you might just derive some added benefits if you attempt to learn some of the basics concepts for what they mean.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, I introduced you to a new concept based upon the laws of mathematical sets but I never revealed to you why I was giving it any significant emphasis.  I am going to continue to reveal my behind the scene logical thought process for what I was teaching in the first two lessons.  Let me give you a quick definition for a mathematical set.  A mathematical set is a grouping of related well-defined but distinct individual objects with common characteristics or features.  A set is a very similar concept to the definition of a system in many regards.  An object is either an abstract or tangible “noun” that can be practically anything that is perceivable or observable.  If you noticed, I just connected back into the discussion the subject of “nouns” that we listed at the beginning of this lesson.  A tangible object noun is like a man, a city, a tree, an animal, a fork, a car, or whatever.  An abstract object noun is like an idea, a thought, a spirit, or an emotion, etc.  An intangible object is anything that is not perceived by the five natural senses and this is why I included the noun spirit.  However, a spirit can also manifest and be seen or felt within the natural realm as is recorded in the Bible.  In those instances the intangible spirit becomes a tangible object.

From my list of nouns in 1 Thessalonians most can be considered tangible objects.  God and Lord of course are generally intangible since no one can prove His existence with their physical senses.  Of this list of nouns, how many are qualified to be sets or groups of related individuals or things?   That is probably a new complex question to think about?  Hopefully you can see that “we”, “them”, “the dead in Christ”, “the alive in Christ” and the “clouds” are all words that have both plurality and commonality.  Thus these nouns being more than one yet referenced with a single noun, qualifies the group to be a mathematical set by definition.  Not every Bible study that I do will contain this level of detail.  So do not get discouraged if you are having any trouble following it.  Do the best you can and learn what you can and more understanding will eventually come.

Both intangible and tangible objects can be grouped together into a single named defined set based upon any known and well-defined relationship or characteristic.   For example, a group or set of related objects would be like a set of universal cars or automobiles.  This universal set might include every automobile ever created if so defined.  Each automobile in the set can be a unique object (noun) but they can also be grouped together into the set because they share many common characteristics and features becoming a new named object (noun) called “Universal Automobiles”.  That brings up a new set consideration called sub-sets.   A sub-set is just a smaller more well defined set of the car objects in the larger set.  That brings us into the world of “adjectives”, doesn’t it?  An adjective is nothing but a further subset limitation of a larger defined noun set.  For example we can have a “Universal Automobile” subset of just “Toyota Automobiles” because all of the cars in this subgroup were manufactured by Toyota and share that common trait.   What if we created a subset called “Red Automobiles”?  Uh oh that brings a new wrinkle into the discussion that gets more complex.  Red Automobiles now cross over into every car manufacturer including “Toyota Automobiles”.  Therefore a Red Toyota Automobile is a common member of both sets.  This is where multiple subsets can potentially overlap each other and share common objects.  A single named object just might be found in common with multiple subsets and we need to at least be aware of this possibility when we read and study the Bible.    Do you understand sets yet?  It gets more complicated than that simplistic introduction.

Let me review a few of these set laws that I have been going over very rapidly.  Each unique member object in a defined set will either be a totally separate noun object or another new subordinate subset object.  Every member object in a set or a subset is joined by the selected well-defined noun description or adjective qualifier commonality.  As long as this is true each member object can be legally included and named as one object in the set or subset.  However it is very important to note that one defined object does not exist multiple times in any one single set.  Also one member object does not exist in two different opposing separate sets.  For example, being in the “In-Christ” set is one of the common bonds that join every Christian that is saved together by God’s set definition.  Perhaps I did not give you enough scriptural information on Christians being in God’s set called “In-Christ”.  There are repeated scriptures written to the church that clearly state this fact and I will give you a few of them to help establish the truth in your mind:

Rom 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Rom 12:5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

2Co 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Gal 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

I am not going to go through every verse and explain them.  Nor am I going to attempt to give you every verse that says we (the church) are all in this mathematical set called those “In-Christ”.  However, I just listed some key verses that I felt were applicable to the topic discussion.  For example, look at the first verse found in Romans 8:2.  This verse declares a new spiritual law of life that opposes the old law of sin and death.  In effect God is revealing two sets of opposition.  I believe that these are those in Christ verses those out of Christ.  Then notice how in Romans 12:5 and Galatians 3:28 that Paul is clearly stating that we as many separate individuals are now referenced to be one “In-Christ”.  Those were mathematical set laws being stated whether you presently understand them or not.  Many times in the Bible God will say some of the most profound things in passing without any given explanation to what was just said.  I hope that you can see the stated fact that all Christians today are in the God defined set called “IN-CHRIST”.

Let us consider that there are multiple defined sets in existence in the Bible.  I personally believe that any plural noun reference in the Bible is a defined set.  We certainly all know that the O.T. nation of Israel is a predominate set of people described intimately in the Bible.  This set of people excludes every other person not of this nation.  Therefore the people not in this natural nation of Israel were another set called “Gentile”.  One set was in covenant with God and the other set was not.   If the saved church is now defined by God to be in the “In-Christ” set, where were we found to be before we were added to this new group?  Uh oh, maybe you have never thought this way before?  Theoretically we could have been in no other set but I rather believe that we were in either the set called “Gentile” or “Israel” which included everyone.  I personally believe that everyone in the world is in a defined set found within the Bible.  Determining the set is another new complex study.   However, I just alluded to this fact in the last paragraph when I reviewed Romans 8:2.  I believe that those now found “In-Christ” came from an unstated set of those that were “Out-Christ”.  Don’t start picking up any stones to throw at me yet, I’m not done.

You must understand that if God can name and define one set that there is no limit to the number of defined sets that God can use for His purpose, don’t you?  Please allow me to introduce you to a new important concept.  There is a very popular law of Bible interpretation that I call the “Law of Antithesis”.  This law states for every directly named truth in the Bible there exists an opposite truth position by unstated implied antithesis.  It is very much like reading about the subject of light and knowing that the opposite of light is the absence of light and that this is called darkness even if it was never directly mentioned or referenced in the verse it still exists somewhere.  In other words what was stated as truth for light in the verse, the opposite is implied to be truth for the unstated antithesis darkness.  Do you understand opposites?   In our current world there will always be opposing forces; evil opposing good, death opposing life, darkness opposing light, drought opposing rain, storms opposing calm and we could go on and on.  This antithesis fact came as a result of the choice that Adam made in Genesis 3 when he allowed the evil to enter the world after God had created everything in a state of being called “very good” and warned Adam not to do it.

Antithesis truths are a very common binary computer concept.  Every computer in the world is a binary machine.  What is a binary machine?   A binary machine is one where the basic most simplistic unit of definition can only be one of two states of opposite.  The lowest and simplest form of every computer device is called a “bit” unit.  A bit is the rudimentary binary computer element that is assigned either one of two opposing force settings.  A bit is either defined as a 1 (one) or as a 0 (zero) thus a computer is called a binary machine.  However, modern computers are comprised of millions, billions and even trillions of these single bit binary units. These simple single bits can be combined and grouped together to form more complex number concepts and objects such as bytes, words, double words, etc.  However the basis of every computer is still a simple solitary unit of either one or zero.  Combining multiple bits only facilitates larger binary numbers to be formed.  For example, an 8 bit binary number can be anywhere from 0000000 to 11111111.  These represent the numbers from 0 to 255.  In order to make larger numbers you must add more bits for more 1’s and 0’s.  This binary concept corresponds to a simple toggle switch that can be turned on or shut off.  Therefore, a bit is nothing but a binary electronic switch.   The laws of antithesis and computer binary concepts are very prominently featured within God’s intelligent Bible design.  Keep this information in your mind as we continue to study the subject.

In this discussion a mathematical set consisting of many individual objects can also be considered a complete self-contained object within itself as I alluded to earlier when discussing the set “In-Christ”.  Therefore using mathematical set concepts we have an important idea of many individuals being viewed as a collective named one.  The many being named as a one is another very popular concept found throughout the Bible and I pray that you are beginning to understand it.  The nation of Israel was many people but only one named wife to God in the Old Covenant.  The church of the risen Jesus Christ is also many people but still one named bride in the New Covenant.

I am taking these well-known mathematical facts and transferring them into my Bible study.  For example I taught you about the existence of the mathematical set of saved believers that God called those “IN-CHRIST”.  Every individual believer when they believed and accepted Jesus into their hearts to make Him their personal Lord and Savior enters into this common single object group having left their previous unnamed antithesis object group.  This set transformation is a single individual exiting or departing from a former set of many entering into as a new individual a new many set called “In-Christ”.   What I just described is God’s definition of marriage if you did not put that together yet.   When a man marries a woman, they both leave their former family sets to be joined together to become a new family set that never existed before and God defined them to be a new one (Genesis 2:24).  It is critical that you understand this simple but profound information.  Do you recall that I gave you 2 Corinthians 5:7 in my list of “In-Christ” verses?  What did that verse say?  It said if any man be “In-Christ” he is a new creature and the old things have passed away.  That verse teaches us set transition is possible with God.  We can leave the old set and become a member of a new set that never existed before called “In-Christ”.

By the defined existence of the saved group called those “IN-CHRIST” God has indirectly implied the presence of another unstated antithesis group of unsaved people in the world that we could call those “NOT-IN-CHRIST” or the “OUT-CHRIST” object group or set.  I hope you understand the concept for Biblical antithesis truths by now.  God teaches us by using a named noun set that there is a limitation to the scope of the objects in the named set.  If it was as the Universal Salvationist’s try to teach us that all will be saved, God would not have needed to create a named set called those “In-Christ” that excludes those that do not qualify.  No, I’m going to say this one more time that the existence of those that are “IN-CHRIST” clearly reveal the existence of those that are “NOT-IN-CHRIST”.   Jesus taught us these unstated concepts of set truths repeatedly in the Gospels using the wide path and narrow path example, the sheep and goat example and the wheat and the tare example.  All of these were single named symbolic sets with two opposing sets of many individual member objects.  Every parable mentioned was a binary teaching concept where only two states of existence persist.   Therefore sets and binary concepts are a prevalent themed subject in the Bible even if you never thought of them in these terms before.

I taught you previously that underneath this common set called those “IN-CHRIST” are two separate divinely defined sub-sets that I will call the “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” and the “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST”.   As you recall any set of collected objects can be sub-divided into further defined object groupings based upon selected and further defined commonalities.  In this case being dead or alive physically determines which sub-set you are currently in and if you are reading this lesson I will tell you that you are in the “alive” sub-set.  This is a major component to what God is teaching in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.   Try to understand how I arrived at the existence of these sets and then consider the existence of the antithesis set “OUT-CHRIST”.  Logically speaking, if the “ALIVE” and “DEAD” subsets exist within the “IN-CHRIST” set then the same must also exist in the “OUT-CHRIST” set.  These are all new concepts for you to grasp today.  All of these concepts conform to the mathematical laws created by God and are easily recognizable when you apply the laws logically to the scriptures.  If you do not understand basic Algebra, Geometry and math concepts you probably do not understand much about how I arrived at these conclusions.  Let me give you a quick picture diagram of these concepts that I have just given to you.

I probably do not have many readers that really understand computers and especially object oriented programming (OOP) concepts but I do know that I have a few that read my lessons that do.  This diagram shows a hierarchy of related objects.  OOP is not something that is required to understand the Bible but I have found that it is a good subject to know if you can grasp the complex ideas.  You see in modern computer programming there is a similar concept like math sets and sub-sets called objects.  An object in computer programming is a thing that performs a related set of defined tasks for the greater purpose of the system.  We’re back to talking about systems again.  I am still linking together all of the concepts using related titles and named entities to teach how these concepts overlap.  You see we are again speaking about one complex system within another greater complex system.  The computer that a program is running on is just one greater complex system and the application sub-system designed to do the corporate accounting runs beneath the computer system.

If you were programming a banking system in OOP, an object might be a single customer of the bank, or even one account of the customer of the bank or any other related defined banking noun.  Generally speaking programming objects are always nouns that have verb activities associated with them called methods or actions.  For example any customer object can change their address, create a new account, make a deposit, make a withdrawal, make a payment or perform any other normal banking activity. These are all verb actions performed by a banking object noun.  An object can also possess defined attributes.  A defined attribute is just like a descriptive adjective.  It is interesting to note than almost any adjective can also be a noun.  For example, a banking customer object will probably contain their name and address information as well as their date of birth, sex, tax ID and other pertinent personal identifying information.  Attributes of an object clearly identify the object and make it unique from other types of the same object.   I just tied into the discussion OOP the round trip with the beginning noun, verbs and adjectives from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.  Can you see how all of these concepts are coming together yet?  We have gone from systems, to sets and now to objects and each possess the same characteristics and basic features.

So with every associated programming object we have a unique noun named entity that can perform specific things and be described with details that cause them to be unique from all other similar noun objects in the set.  I’m not sure how detailed I should get with this but I will teach you about another OOP concept called a class.  Every computer object is created from a class that is used to define the object its features and its designed actions.  While every object of the same type can be unique they are generally all created from the same class definition.  Therefore a “class” is nothing but a blue-print pattern used to create the unique noun object.  Wow, that is a God kind of realization if I’ve ever heard of one.  Patterns are a basic truth found in every part of the Bible.  Objects being created from class patterns are another basic reality found in every part of the Bible.  What I am doing is teaching you of the existence of God’s intelligent design concepts found in His Word using naturally created patterns found all around us.

One more complex concept found In OOP is that one object can inherit characteristics and features from another object’s class.  For example, a cell is a common human body object that is shared within almost every human component or object.  Therefore in the human body system we could have a basic cell object that every other system objects inherits from.  The complexity of object definition, object commonalities and object interaction can get very complex especially in a very large system like the human body.  Why am I teaching computer programming concepts and methods?  It is primarily because I see these complex concepts repeated by God in the Bible.  I am praying that you can see how your Bible is a very large complex system containing both antithesis and related word objects that I will call God’s Bible subjects.  These subjects have defined attributes, characteristics and limitations that I call “adjectives”.  These God given defined Bible subjects also can perform certain designed actions that I will call “verbs”.  All of these interact together with each other in a highly complex intelligent designed manner to achieve the greater message purpose revealed in the Holy Bible.  This is one of the central features of the Bible that makes it unlike any other created book ever conceived or written by a human.  It clearly demonstrates the characteristics of extreme intelligent design beyond the human capability to produce or even fully understand and when you see it, it proves the existence of a very intelligent author.

Let’s talk about the Bible object (subject) called man (Hebrew word H120 in the Strong’s).  I of course am using this term man to include both natural males and females in a generic object I could call “Mankind”.  Under this object type we could sub divide it into two specialized object types called the male and the female objects using the naturalistic perspective view.  Here is where I want to emphasize a change in your Bible perspective to include the spiritual viewpoint.   When you read the Bible looking at only the words from a natural perspective you will find only natural truths being communicated.  The spiritual truths are generally found within the same verses but deeper within the text than on the surface.   Perhaps you do not understand how one verse can project multiple or simultaneous messages.  If you do not understand this then you have probably not read and studied the Bible for very long.  I can read a verse that I have read for hundreds of times and suddenly in my spirit I see something that I had never observed before and the meaning is suddenly very clear now.  Explaining how you missed it before is a total mystery to most Christians.  What happened to cause this?  How can one person see something in a verse that the other person reading the same words cannot see? The answer to those questions is called God’s revelation or revealing of the words so that someone can finally see what was written there on the page from the beginning.   This fact is the main reason why God had to “reveal” the Old Testament to Paul and the other disciples even though they had read or heard the words all of their lives.   The New Testament has many, many quoted Old Testament verses with God’s explanations of what they finally mean.  One of my greatest frustrations is when people quote me Old Testament verses and they have not researched the New Testament information that explains them.  I run into this more often than I would like to admit.  When I try to tell them what the New Testament says, they close their spiritual eyes and refuse to be open to what God is saying.  The only thing that I can do after that is pray for them like Paul prayed for the church at Ephesus in chapter 1 of Ephesians.  Paul prayed for God to open their spiritual eyes of their understanding.  Go read this prayer and find out that Paul asked God to give them the revelation of Jesus Christ.  “Revelation” is God uncovering the words on the page so that they can be finally clearly understood.  If you have not prayed that for yourself, then do it!

Instead of a natural viewpoint let’s change the human object type “Mankind” into defined spiritual sub-divisions like I did in the previous diagram.  When confronted with Bible subjects I prefer to look at things from a spiritual God perspective first rather than from a natural human perspective.  We should understand that God is a Spirit and that God is the author.  When we try to look at the words from the perspective of how God looks at the words I believe that we come closer to seeing the truth.  There are probably not very many Bible teachers that would agree with me since so many are carnally minded.  One spiritual sub-division or object type of man would be the “IN-CHRIST” saved type of man.  We can clearly see from the Bible that not every human is in this defined object noun set.  This only leaves those that are not saved in the “NOT-IN-CHRIST” object type category.  Both the “IN-CHRIST” and the “NOT-IN-CHRIST” objects can inherit common characteristics and features from the greater “Mankind” object or class pattern.  However each new object type can also implement new individual characteristics or properties that are only common and in effect with the other named object types that are derived from this same object class pattern.  For example the “IN-CHRIST” object will be defined with a “SAVED” property and the “OUT-CHRIST” object will be defined to have a “LOST” property.  You just never know what you might learn when you read my Bible studies.  I try not to get this deep in most of my lessons but sometimes I believe that is just good for me to make you think outside of your box.

If we take this object lesson up the ladder from the “Mankind” object this human object that was created by God will inherit all of their spiritual characteristics from their creator class according to Genesis 1:26.  Mankind made in the image and likeness of God causes the man object class to inherit from the greater spiritual God object class but the spiritual God object class inherits from no one else being supreme.  That is until the Jesus Object class comes along and He inherited from both the God object class and the Adam/Man object class equally to become a new God Man.  I really believe I shock people sometimes because they do not think when they read the Bible.  Only Jesus was 100% God and 100% man.  Only Jesus called himself the Son of God and the Son of Man.  Only Jesus was a unique product of the naturally created and the divinely spiritual.  Only Jesus was qualified to save us by inheriting from two separate opposing natures.  If you disagree with what I have said you are free to be wrong and I will not argue with you.

Ok let’s move down below the “IN-CHRIST” object in the linked diagram.  We learned in 1 Thessalonians 14 that the IN-CHRIST object has been sub-divided by God into 2 binary antithesis subsets. These two were the “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” and the “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST” and both of these are unique qualifications that allow each to be treated differently by God at the rapture event.  Both of these object groups inherit common characteristics from the greater “IN-CHRIST” saved object type which inherits from the greater “Man” object class which inherits from the greatest “God” object class.   Understand the basic quality of the two groups of “DEAD” or “ALIVE” are speaking of the physical natural death or life respectively and not a spiritual feature.  The “In-Christ” object must contain the quality of spiritual eternal life already based upon what Jesus taught in John 3:15 that whosoever believes upon Him would not perish but have eternal life.  Right there Jesus is speaking about all those that are either physically alive or physically dead that believe in Him will have spiritual eternal life.  Therefore placing the verse in the proper context will align the words with those found in the saved “In-Christ” class.  It further goes on in John 3:15 and states that those that do not believe are those that “perish” and again this is a universal quality reserved for the “OUT-CHRIST” class of objects beings.   This is not good news for these people.

Let’s discuss in more detail the differences between the “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” and the “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST” objects.  The “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” objects must have a change of classification with the departure or the separation from their natural physical bodies.  The “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST” objects are still physically here on the earth and they remain present in their physical bodies.  The “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” objects have experienced natural death while the “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST” object types have not.  Once the naturally dead Christian departs they cannot die physically again.  Also both subsets are spiritually alive but one is in the body while the other is not in their body.  Using basic logic I have concluded that these two object types must also exist under the “OUT-CHRIST” object.  This is not rocket science we know saved and unsaved people both physically die by the story that Jesus taught in Luke 16.  However the departure from the body of the unsaved object will result in a much different location change to that of hell and not heaven like the “DEAD-IN-CHRIST”.  It is also interesting to note that the “ALIVE-OUT-CHRSIT” object types still can get saved and be changed to become an “IN-CHRIST” object and this results in a different future destiny completely.  The “DEAD-OUT-CHRIST” objects do not have any further opportunity to be saved once present in hell.  Maybe you can see why I like computer programming and why I can see things like this in the Bible.  If not don’t get upset at me, just keep learning whatever you can accept.  There are many other more complex things built into object oriented programming but I will not get into any of this in any more depth so that I do not totally bore anyone else that does not understand the importance.

Why have I spent so much time describing noun, verbs, adjectives, systems, sets and objects?  I use these complex realities whenever I study the Bible.  I read a verse and I analyze the words and then ask what are the objects given by God in this verse?  I then think why does this object exist?  Where did this object come from?  What does this object represent?  Does this object inherit any characteristics or features from any other Bible object?  Is this object a set or sub-set?  Does this object fit any known patterns in other verses of the Bible?  How does this Bible object differ from other Bible objects?  What features are presently in common and which features are unique?  Also remember that an object is just one member in a set.  How did the set get created?   How do members come to exist in that set and what are the benefits or pitfalls of being a member of that set?  We could finally determine, does this object have an antithesis related object?  So many questions to ask and I just really broke the surface of them all.

According to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, rapture is a select activity performed by God which is reserved for a well-defined subset of objects within the greater set of all human beings.  In order to qualify for rapture described in these verses the individual must be found in the given set that will meet the requirements.  This teaches us that those not raptured are excluded from the event being described.   From the 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 information we are given only one very specific set that qualifies for rapture in the description.  This set that qualified for the rapture was the “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST” believers and it excluded everyone else.  Everyone else not raptured were in the sets called the “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” and all members in the “OUT-CHRIST” set.  The “DEAD-IN-CHRIST” did rise bodily but since their spirits were already present in heaven they do not qualify for rapture (harpazo).  Please notice in these verses that there is no mention of those outside of the set of “ALIVE-IN-CHRIST” being taken up and off of the earth at this timed scheduled event.  That is a very important detail to consider.  Learn from what the Bible says and then apply correctly what it does not say also.  Selective and exclusionary rapture is a pre-established pattern found in the Bible found in the lives of Enoch, Elijah and Jesus.  These were all taken up and all of the others on the earth were left behind to remain.  This is a very key point to distinguish.  Not everyone is going up in this prophesied event being described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

I totally believe that I have blown the minds of many of my readers.  I will conclude this lesson here so that I can allow you to think about the many facets of the information that I have presented.  If you like this style of detail you are free to tell me, but more than likely I will not go into this level of detail in the future on this subject of rapture.  In the next lesson I will attempt to get back to more of the standard types of Bible lessons that I have been doing for several years.  I just wanted you learn how I think and by doing this it might just help you to see why I write things in the style that I do.  Thank you for your time in reading and I greatly appreciate it if you would help point someone else to my website.  God Bless you until the next time I can get a lesson out.

If you would like to continue the study in this series on Rapture please go to “Part 4“.

Is the Rapture of the Church Really Found in the Bible? Introduction to the Basics – Part 2

(ver 1.2) This is Part 2 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”.  If you have not read the first lesson I would highly recommend that you go and start the study with “Part 1” and then continue with today’s lesson.  During lesson 1, I took you through a brief explanation of what Rapture is using the dictionary.  From this word definition I derived a list of synonymous terms that can be interchanged with the word “rapture” to convey the same thought or message.  Some of the words were “caught up”, “taken away”, “removed”, and “to depart”, etc.   Seeking to learn the basics we looked at three to four messages taught by Jesus using different symbolic representations to teach very similar rapture concepts.  Of course none of these lessons contained the word “rapture” and that is why they are often ignored when studying the subject.  We examined the “Pathway Analogy”, the parallels given to us in the “Sheep and Goat Analogy” and the “Wheat and Tare Analogy” and finally we looked at the “Ten Virgin Parable”.  You should have easily observed that each lesson contained a central theme of the concept of division.  Division is nothing but the separation of two distinct groups.  One group can be separated from another group for many distinct reasons.  In the world today criminals are sent to prison to separate them from hurting others outside of prison.  Therefore, we can potentially call rapture the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous.  In today’s lesson I will continue to expand on the basic concepts using Bible patterns of rapture to confirm the basic concepts.  Here are some of the items that we will be covering today:

  1. Rapture is a separation of one person or one group of people from the others.
  2. Rapture is a change in location either physically or spiritually or both from one previous location to another new location.
  3. Rapture is usually the forced removal without scheduled notice and without any human consent.
  4. Rapture demonstrates the sovereign divine Power of God to transport a person or a people from one location to the new location.
  5. Rapture event timings are always determined by God and nothing you do or believe can change that.
  6. Rapture can be the exclusionary act of God upon the unrighteous that were not taken (not saved, left behind, those to be destroyed) separated from the righteous that were taken, saved and removed.

We have read several basic verses and have so far not officially determined the timing for any potential rapture event.    Many get distracted by the intimate details and miss the more important basic concepts.  I want to firmly establish the basics and then work towards the details in their proper order.  You might recall that in the first lesson I implied that there are at least 3 future raptures that must still take place and eventually we will readdress what those can be.  I also said that I can clearly see that there have already been around 6 previous raptures that have previously occurred in the Bible and we cannot ignore them.  These examples will conform to the basic factual rules that I just listed above.  I plan on exploring many of these historical rapture accounts in this lesson today to help further the establishment of the valid patterns for the future rapture concepts being taught in the Bible.

GOD REVEALING TRUTH

Too many people want to read the Bible and believe that God placed all of the truth in obvious plain view for anyone to easily find, see, read and understand.  However that is just not how God wrote the Bible and it is not how you should approach learning anything from the Bible.  We must all learn to see the true concealed nature of God in His Word and in the world around us.  Let me ask you, have you ever seen God personally?  Can you prove to anyone that God exists?  What evidence for God’s existence do you possess?  Obviously you have never seen God and cannot prove that there is a God to anyone here on the earth.  Yet God says in Romans 1:20 that the invisible things of God are clearly seen being made known in the things that God created.  Wow, there are some amazing parallels in that verse to what I am teaching you about the Bible.   How can the invisible God who has not been seen with our natural eyes, or made known or displayed to our physical senses, His presence being improvable in a court of law, lacking any clear evidence of existence still be found by searching and studying the things that were created?  It is simply because God in His wisdom hid clues throughout creation that clearly allow people to see the existence of a creator if they want to know Him.  If anyone does not desire to know God they will never see the truth that is plainly right in front of their eyes.  That is just how God designed everything.

Now ask yourself how many educated scientists today after studying the facts of creation have concluded and found that there is a God and a creator because of the overwhelming evidence found from what they are studying?  Not very many are there?  The majority of the scientists today are either agnostic or atheist in their beliefs of God.  Yet God still says I can be seen everywhere if you are looking for me.  What make you think that the truth in His written Holy Word will not also be recorded in the same type of secreted format?   You see I completely believe that the truth in the Bible can be easily seen, but only after you want to know it, are saved, then know what to look for and then extend the effort to look for it with great diligence allowing the Spirit of God to help you see it.   There is a principle discovered especially in the New Testament that is very important called “revelation”.  Revelation is God illuminating His Word to humans so that it can finally be understood.  Revelation is never man suddenly discovering what God has said using their individual human reasoning to figure it out.  Every human requires God’s revelation in order to understand the spiritual things that were written inside of the natural words and stories.

Rom 16:25  Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

You see Paul tells you that the previously hidden Christ has now been uncovered and revealed by God.  He states that this was a formerly hidden mystery of God.  Paul gives us a better explanation of this revealing process in Ephesians 3:1-5 if you would like to go and read how the mystery was not revealed to men prior to the Apostles but has now been given to us by the Spirit of God’s choice.  Wow, that concept seems to pass over the head of many Christians today and it teaches us so much about the nature of God.  The rapture of the church is just another one of those mysteries hidden by God in His Word.  Look up the definition for the Greek word translated as “revelation” here.  It means a “disclosure”, an “appearing”, an “enlightenment”, or “something that was previously hidden but has now suddenly been revealed”.  This Greek word G602 comes from another root word G601 that literally means to “uncover” or “take the cover off”.  It is like someone in the natural taking the lid off of a box to discover what was previously hidden inside of it.  That uncovering concept teaches us that we can look at the outside cover words all day long and still never understand what is underneath the surface until the cover has been removed.  Only God can remove the cover from His Word.  However, that is exactly what the Spirit of God is doing in the church today to those that want to know the truth.  There are literally hundreds of mysteries in the Bible and most of them you probably do not know or have any understanding of their existence because you are still looking at the covered text and not seeing the hidden spiritual meanings beneath.  Do not throw away the rapture teaching simply because it is not easy to find on the surface.  Wait until you at least ask God to reveal it to you and show you if it is true.  God is no respecter of persons.  If He revealed it to me, He will also reveal it to you so that you can see it also.

I read a couple of the internet lessons on the no-rapture theory just to see how they were explaining the verses that God showed me about rapture.  Nothing that they said swayed me in the least little bit since what they said conflicted with the voice of the Spirit of God and the real meaning of the verses in the Bible.  Their arguments were very cleverly written with many supposedly supporting Bible verses but they were totally blinded to what the scriptures said and how to apply them correctly.  These were nothing but examples of how natural men can “wrongly divide” the word of truth to produce a message that can be accepted easily by other carnal men.  What I say in my Bible lessons is generally not accepted by carnal minds because it is so spiritually based.  Natural people tend to be attracted by natural words and spiritual people tend to be attracted by spiritual words.  It is very much like the law of Genesis being restated everything producing after its kind.

You see I am certain to run into the same problem that Paul ran into with what I am teaching.  Paul was confronted with both natural thinkers and spiritual thinkers.  God gave Paul certain spiritual revelation and understanding that no other man knew in his day (Gal 1:12).  Paul then went about trying to teach this God given revelation to the others in the church with the only confirmation evidence that the hearers in the church possessed was from them listening to the Spirit of God that resided in them and the previously written Old Testament Words of God.  If they could hear and see spiritual things they were accepting, but if they were carnal thinkers, then they were rejecting the truth.  Here is what God says about the people in the early church that were faced with this great decision:

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.

God says that the people in Berea were nobler than the people in Thessalonica.  God informs us that the Bereans were first open to hearing something brand new from Paul implying the Thessalonians were not.  However, God then says that the Bereans did not just automatically accept the new teaching of Paul, but that they were rather wise enough to go and search their scriptures to find if what Paul was preaching was actually the truth that God had declared in His Word.  So regardless of which rapture category your beliefs fall into today at least be open to hear a new perspective on the subject and then to go to your own Bible to search for yourself to see if it is true or not.  Do not believe anything that I say because you do not even know me.  Who I am, is of no significance to you also what I say is only important if it is what God says.  If you do not see what I say in your own Bible then toss it away and believe what you do see.  You will not offend me if you reject what I teach.

BUILDING A STRONG RAPTURE FOUNDATION ON THE BASICS

We are going to continue in this Bible lesson with some of the basic foundational verses for the existence of the legitimate doctrine of the rapture.  We need to go to the letters written directly to the church and see what God records for us there and make sure that we clearly understand what God is saying to us correctly.  Every teacher that preaches a “no rapture” philosophy must explain away all of these verses that we will be looking at today or they must totally ignore them to teach what they teach.  They can be very creative in their attempts to explain them away and many people believe what they say without doing the necessary study to prove it in their own spirit which will result in deception.  Therefore you need to follow along with me in your Bible using your heart to see if God is giving you internal spiritual peace about what is written here and then verify it using the Bible.

We will go to the book of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and verse 16.  You may recall that this verse was mentioned in Wikipedia as a foundational scripture for rapture.  This is certainly not the only verse found in the Bible on the subject, but it is clearly one of the most prominent and important verses on the subject.  People want to discount one prominent scripture in the Bible and explain it away because they think one verse is not important without many other confirming verse witnesses.  That is very true that one verse cannot be taken as a complete doctrine of theological belief, but it is also true that it is still found in the Bible and that there are other confirming witnesses that can be found if you look and search for them.

I also want you to understand that the books of the N.T. Bible were not necessarily placed into the Bible in their chronological written order.  First Thessalonians was probably the very first letter written by Paul to any church.  Therefore, God saw fit to teach the church about rapture from the very establishment of the church.  Many today try to say that rapture is a modern creation of man not taught by the early church founding fathers.  But simple minded people clearly do not choose to see what the Bible says and must ignore what Paul taught and wrote to remain in their ignorance.  You do understand that what Paul wrote about in the Epistles to the churches were also the things that he taught to everyone in the church when he was physically present with them, don’t you?   Can you separate the two?  I cannot do that.  Let’s read what Paul taught about the rapture:

1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

1Th 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Verse 16 begins with the description of the Lord descending from heaven.  Who was this Lord and why is it necessary for Him to descend?  What is the stated purpose for the descent?   This Lord was the God of heaven come to the earth in the flesh that died for all of our sins on a wooden cross and He is named Jesus in the English tongue.   We should remember from reading in Acts 1:9 that after Jesus died and was raised from the dead, He ascended back up into heaven where He has been seated for the past nearly 2000 years (Heb 8:1).  This statement of descent being described is simply the reversal of the preceding ascent that visibly took place on the earth with the early church disciples being witnesses.   I will also say that what was seen by a few in the church of Jesus going up will be seen by those in the church that He is descending to come back for.  Let’s start by just listing the basic facts given in the order of mention to us in these verses and then talk about them in more depth:

  1. Jesus descends from heaven with a shout.
  2. The voice of the archangel is the next observed mention.
  3. Immediately followed by the trump of God.
  4. The next mention is the dead in Christ that will rise.
  5. Then followed by those that are alive in Christ on the earth being caught up.
  6. Those alive on the earth are stated to be elevated to the level of the clouds in order to meet with the Lord.
  7. At the culmination of this event both the dead and alive in Christ will forever be with the Lord.

Those were the very basics from what I just read in the Bible.  What did you read?  Can you agree with them or is that why you don’t believe in rapture because that is just not what God says here?   I believe that there are both direct and indirect implied statements being made in these verses.  I just listed the direct statements of facts only.  First it directly says that the Lord descends from heaven to initiate the event with a shout.  We must determine the definition of heaven based upon the context of the statement being made and using the other facts of the Bible to correctly interpret the term.  For example, the Hebrew word translated as heaven in the O.T. is H8064.  This same Hebrew word can refer to up to three different locations and that same statement is true about the N.T. Greek word G3772.  Heaven is defined in the Bible in three different ways.  There is the immediate atmosphere surrounding the earth and this is often spoken of as what I will call the first heaven (Deu 11:11).  There is the universe of stars and solar systems in space and this is often what I will call the second heaven (Gen 1:17).  But Paul we will soon learn spoke of a “third heaven” (2 Cor 12:2) and this is the literal location of the spiritual throne of God.  The first two heavens are natural and the third heaven is completely spiritual. This heaven being described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is clearly the reference to the unseen third spiritual heaven.  We will get more confirmation for that as we continue.  Therefore I see two dimensions of existence being stated in these two verses.  Jesus is descending from heaven and is coming out of the spiritual dimension to re-enter back into the natural dimension to accomplish the rest of what is stated.

Surely you can see Christ’s descent from the spiritual heaven in parallel with a shout, the voice of the archangel and the trump of God are the beginning of something else about to occur.  I view verse 16 as starting in the spiritual realm and ending in the natural realm.  I then see verse 17 as starting in the natural realm and ending in the spiritual realm to complete the cycle and we will see this more clearly as we go.  But notice in verse 16 there is no mention of anything natural or physical until the end of the verse and then it speaks of death which is clearly natural only.  Every noun mentioned is a spiritual being or place until the last mention of the dead rising.  Therefore the archangel’s location is also implied to be in heaven being mentioned following Jesus descending from heaven.  Immediately following the archangel is the trump of God and this is also implied to originate from the location of spiritual heaven.

I believe that both the shout and the trump are announcements from the spiritual heaven for the coming event to occur upon the physical earth.  The Greek word translated as “shout’ is only used in this verse in the entire N.T.  However this Greek word G2752 comes from another Greek root word G2753 that means “to command”.  The source Greek word is less of an event announcement than it is the shout of an ordered command expecting some subsequent action to take place.  The root Greek word means a direct command has been ordered from heaven for the next expected action to occur.  I take this command to be given by God Himself personally.  Angels generally do not have the authority to give commands apart from God’s will.   It is interesting how this verse is phrased and worded, because the shouted command could be taken as being from the Lord or it could be a command given by the archangel.   However, based upon supremacy of rule, I teach it as originating from God and going through the archangel like the chain of command in a military hierarchy.

Let’ reconsider what we learned about from the earlier messages of Jesus on the separation of the sheep from the goats or the wheat from the tares.  Both of these lessons contained commanded symbolic servant workers (aka angels) that were given orders and instructions to separate the one group from another group.  I believe that we can see some distinct parallels being taught by the usage of this Greek word when the Lord commands and the voice of the chief angel in heaven is heard to possibly repeat the shouted order.  I believe that you need to resolve in your mind who is doing the original shouting and who the shout is directed towards.  I do not believe that the command order from heaven is directed to those that are about to be taken from the earth, do you?   Clearly the order is directed to those that are doing the taking and those can only be the angels of God.  This is clearly a chain of command type of military order being described.  The commander in chief God has given a direct order to gather and the order is shouted to every ranking member of the staff to be carried out.  If you have never been in the military you may not understand chain of command but most things in life work this way.  Every large or small corporation has a chain of command from the ranking CEO going down the chain.  Any way that is how I view the shout mentioned in this discourse and you can disagree and believe what you like if you see something different.

Let’s move on to the trump of God mentioned next.  The Greek word G4536 translated many times as trumpet or trump occurs in only 11 verses in the N.T. and it is a word that means a “vibration”, a “quavering” or a “reverberation” all descriptive synonymous terms for a loud audible sound.  Because the Greek word is only found in 11 N.T. verses it is easy to determine if any of these other verses play a role in describing the same type of rapture either directly or indirectly.  Also take note from reviewing these verses that they do not necessarily have to mean that a physical horn type of instrument is blown.  Many have the idea that the ram’s horn called a shofar is used for this event announcement.  I do not have a problem with that interpretation or belief but that is not technically what is stated in this verse or several other verses in the New Testament (1 Cor 14:8, Rev 1:10, Rev 4:1).  In these verses it describes voices being like a trumpet but, in other verses like in Revelation 8:2, 8:6, 8:13 and 9:14 it appears to be an actual literal trumpet.  However if you notice anything when reading the book of Revelation, you should immediately recognize that the majority of the book is cloaked in symbolism.  Therefore the trumptes mentioned in Revelation can possibly be a symbolic representation for a greater spiritual truth.  At least that is what I believe at this point in time with my current level of knowledge on the subject.

Let me reemphasize the initiator of the event in 1 Thessalonians 4.  Understand that Jesus is described as the originator of this unique event.  Clearly Jesus coming down with a shout starts the entire process.  Therefore this affair is a divinely initiated occasion that I believe is describing the bridegroom coming down to fetch His bride that we learned about in lesson 1.  How does this description in 1 Thessalonians 4 correspond or compare to the information given to us in the parable of the 10 virgins?  If you recall in Matthew 25:6 the bridegroom is implied to start His return at midnight when all of the virgins were asleep and an outcry or shout announces His coming before they ever see Him and the virgins are told to “Go Out” to meet Him in the parable.  There was the stated coming of the bridegroom first and then there was the subsequent shouted cry that followed to trigger the virgins to go out and meet their bridegroom.  That sounds very amazingly accurate to what we are reading about here in these verses in 1 Thessalonians 4 to me.  I know it does not match word for word but the similarities are too close for it not to be God telling the same story using different types and symbols in one and more literal references and descriptions in the other.  These types of writing styles of God make the Bible very complex to the casual reader.   I take them to be the same event because of the match of all of the recorded characters and actions mentioned occurring in the exact same order.  I also know that Jesus is the bridegroom and that we are the bride (virgin) in the Bible.  Do you see it?  Don’t you think that there could be some direct similarities between the description of 1Thessalonians 4 and the Parable of the 10 virgins?  I can see a very distinct pattern of resemblance.

Do not confuse this event description in 1 Thessalonians 4 with the Second Advent event when Jesus literally sets foot back upon the earth to rule for 1000 years with the saints.  There is no mention of Jesus coming that close to the earth in 1 Thessalonians 4 anywhere in this description.   In fact the way that I read it I can never find Jesus descending below the normal cloud level anywhere in this discourse.  In verse 17 it is clearly stated that those that are still alive on the earth surface of the earth go up to the clouds in the air to meet Jesus.   How far up are the clouds from the surface of the earth?  We might also consider the height of the earth’s atmosphere as being a stated factor.  We obviously can learn easily that these are known facts discovered during modern space exploration.  The reentry of a space craft from the realm of space first encounters resistance of the earth’s atmosphere at around 120 km (75 mi).  At this altitude above the earth, the air is extremely thin and there are no clouds.  The air continues to thicken as the craft descends and clouds eventually are able to form.

In order to determine where clouds normally reside in the atmosphere we need a deeper study of meteorological facts.  Clouds come in three general categories of high cloud layers, mid-cloud layers and low-cloud layers.  If you search the internet you will find that low clouds can range in altitude from surface level to upwards of 2 km.  Mid-clouds can range from 2 to 4 km in height.  Finally, high clouds can range from 4 to 8 km in height.  Therefore Jesus can legally meet us in the atmosphere depending upon if it is a foggy day or a normal day anywhere from 0 to 8 km up in the atmosphere.  I can personally see that if you do further study on the internet that NASA has spent time averaging maximum cloud heights over the course of the last 10 years and they have in their data found that clouds normally occur at a maximum average height of between 3 and 4 km and that is a long way up.  People in the “no rapture” belief camp have tried to explain this verse away stating that the Greek word translated as “air” is a sea-level only point of view in the Bible.  They completely have to ignore the “cloud” reference and overlook the term “caught up” to be in the clouds.  They must be assuming a foggy day for the return of the Lord back to the earth’s surface.  They have purposely closed their eyes to what the Bible is saying not using any factual evidence to support their beliefs scripturally or scientifically.

Act 1:9  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

The Greek word translated as “clouds” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 only occurs in 22 verses of the N.T. so that is a very manageable number to go and read every occurrence.  What you will find in your search is God’s exact same usage of this Greek word here in Acts 1:9 where Jesus was described as ascending up and then the clouds are said to receive Him out of their view.  Have you ever watched an airplane take off?  How long can you view it until it disappears from your view?  I guess it depends on the clouds, doesn’t it?   But, that sounds like a very high altitude up in the sky to me.  What God is doing is describing two separate related events and He is connecting them together with the usage of the same Greek word G3507 translated as “clouds”.  Five times in the Gospels Jesus is found speaking of Himself and says that He will be coming in the clouds (Mat 24:30, Mat 26:64, Mark 13:26, Mark 14:62, Luke 21:27).  However every mention of this may not be all describing the same event or times.  For example, Matthew 24:30 could be speaking of the second advent after the tribulation or of another specific time.  In Matthew 24:3 the disciples asked Jesus 3 different questions and in this chapter Jesus answers them all but does not always tell you which answer is to which question.  Maybe we will talk about these in a future lesson.  In Matthew 26:64 the time frame is not directly given.  Mark 13:26 can also be considered a description of the same three questions that the disciples asked in Matthew 24.  Again in Mark 14:62 there is no time reference given other than it is after the ascent into heaven in Acts 1:9.  That leaves us with Luke 21:27 and this is a very interesting set of verses that appear to be a different timing than the Second Advent.  I believe from reading these verses that Jesus could very well be describing the rapture before the tribulation revealed by the wording of the statements.  We will get to those verses in more detail later in the series.

What is stated to happen on the earth first in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17?  We can see that there is a very clear reference to those that have already died (IN CHRIST) a physical death on the earth “rising” first.  Here is a good time to learn a basic truth.  Every Christian that has been born again by the Spirit of God is now in the universal group set called “IN CHRIST”.  However, God makes a new distinction in this discourse to differentiate between two sub-groups found within the global set of IN-CHRIST.   God says here in these two verses that one subset group called the DEAD IN-CHRIST is a little bit different than those that are still ALIVE IN-CHRIST.  One group is dead and one group is alive and this has been stated from the physical natural human perspective.  Why is that important?  Why does one group of DEAD “rise” and why are the others in the ALIVE GROUP “Caught UP”?  You really need to ask these types of detailed questions when you read and study the Bible.

This is the first mention of the natural realm and it represents a transition from the heavenly realm that initiated the event.  These dead bodies are identified to rise first because of their former experiences with natural death that has caused their old physical bodies to be left here in the dust of the earth.  If you examine the context of chapter 4 you will see that one of the primary subjects being discussed is about those that have died believing in Christ and how that they can still have hope of a certain resurrection like Christ’s.  When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, did He take His physical body or leave it here on the earth?  I think you know that Jesus took His body with Him.  There is no tomb with the body of Jesus on the earth.  Therefore, Jesus was fully resurrected from the dead physically and spiritually.  This is the hope that is given to all of those that have died in Christ.  These verses about resurrection were written to the church.  These dead people are the saved righteous believers in Christ Jesus.  They have died a physical natural death but when this occurred their spirits then departed the earth and went to heaven to be with the Lord Jesus (2 Cor 5:8).  Thus the reason for the unique wording of the dead “rising” versus the alive being “caught up”.  I’m really not sure if you are getting where I’m going here or if you understand yet what I am attempting to say.

The Greek word translated as “rise” in verse 16 literally means to “stand up” or “arise”.  This rising can be from any non-standing position seated, reclining or lying flat.  Since God is discussing the dead in Christ rising we can conclude logically that the original unstated position of those arising are normally found in a lying flat position like most dead bodies at a funeral.  This description is given to us from the human natural perspective and not the spiritual divine perspective.  Death in the Bible is many times described as what looks like natural sleep of the physical body and this is stated from the casual human viewer’s perspective.   People here in the natural world generally view things from the natural human standpoint.  That is what we see when we look at a dead body.  But the spirit of that person has departed their body and is either with Christ or is in hell right now according the Luke 16.

Jas 2:26  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Here in James is a statement of universal natural truth concerning natural death.  When the physical body dies, the spirit of the man or the woman that died has departed and is no longer present in the body.  Or we could say when the spirit departs the physical body, the body dies.  Both statements are accurate representations of the truth.  However also take note that if the spirit of the human departs the dead body, the spirit always remains alive.  Do you know the difference between natural things and spiritual things?  Natural things die, but spiritual things never die or cease to exist.  Humans are spiritual beings that live in a temporary natural body.

All of this information is just my attempt to explain why God’s distinction between the dead “rising” and the alive “departing” references that are given.  In verse 16 of 1 Thessalonians 4 it ends with the natural perspective of the human body that possessed the appearance of sleeping being resurrected or raised to stand up again in order to be joined back to the departed human spirit.  This resurrected body will be rejoined back with the human spirits of those that were already in heaven and this new eternal resurrected body will be their personal living place and the dwelling residence for God’s Spirit forever.   Then in verse 17 we see a contrasting difference being stated with those that remain here on the earth and are described to be alive being “caught up” to meet Christ in the air.  Can you seriously see the difference being stated here yet?  Why aren’t both groups “caught up”?  Why don’t both groups “rise”?  This is actually very important information.  When all of the puzzle pieces are put together correctly it makes such clear logical sense. God is in effect saying that when this event occurs the dead in Christ will descend with Christ from heaven to be joined with their risen resurrected bodies, but the living Christians on the earth will be personally “caught up” to be with Christ with a resurrected body in the clouds.  Now do you see it?  Do you now understand why the difference between the two stated experiences and why God describes it as two sub-events beneath the one greater event?  What God is doing is giving you a lot of unstated information by using distinct unique word selection.

Verse 16 was only the dead bodies rising and not the spirits of the dead people being “caught up” since the spirits were already present with Christ in heaven.  Verse 17 makes the radical transition from what happens to the dead bodies to those that are still living in a body.  Two separate verbs are selected by God to describe what happens to each group.  Verse 17 starts out by saying those that are “alive” and these are a clear reference to the people with a natural life existence on the earth given to us from the human perspective.  This Greek word G2198 literally means to possess life or those that live.  Again this viewpoint can only be from the natural perspective and not a spiritual or divine perspective since it is impossible to kill a spirit being.  Both the dead in Christ and the living in Christ on the earth are spiritually alive unto God.  If God was using His spiritual viewpoint in these verses He would have stated it differently.  What God is teaching is the difference of the locations of the living spirits affected during the event.  The dead in Christ were already in heaven and those living in Christ remained here on the earth during the start of this event.  At the end of the event they are all together with Christ in the clouds with their new resurrected bodies.

UNDERSTANDING BEING “CAUGHT UP”

These verses are simply comparing two types of believers. These two groups of believer types represent two new sub-sets of the whole set group called those “in Christ”.  We really need to understand basic math set theory when studying the Bible on many subjects.  God created math and mathematical laws which are used in the Bible repeatedly to teach us concepts that only could have come from Him.  Let’s stop here and define that Greek word translated as “caught up” and then dig much deeper to find out why God states it differently from the bodies that “rise”.

G726

From a derivative of G138; to seize (in various applications): – catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).

The Greek word “harpazo” (G726) literally means to seize or take someone or something by force.  It is only found in 13 verses of the New Testament and many of these are very significant connected verses to explore about the subject of rapture.  Begin by understanding that the definition of the word represents a divine orchestrated demonstration of power.   In other words this event in 1 Thessalonians 14:17 being described can only take place because there was a great external force of power behind it that causes it to occur.   This description of force corresponds to the direct controlled information given by Jesus of the angel reapers taking out from the earth the wheat and the tares as well as the separation of the sheep from the goats.  There are distinct parallels of external power being enforced in common in all of this imagery.  In these lessons the wheat, the tares, the sheep nor the goats have an influence or contribution on the separation that occurs.  In each instance the force of control is external to those that are affected.

No natural exertion of resistance, human effort, human force or any human power from the participants on the earth being raised or caught up was necessary or even mentioned during this event.  I probably did not state that last information exactly correct.  You see I believe that every human is required to have faith and believe in the rapture in order to participate in the event.  I cannot see where the Bible says that anyone that does not believe is still rewarded with the same prize of those that do believe.  Crowns of salvation are not handed out to everyone like Universal Salvationists like to teach.  I believe that rapture is exactly like salvation.  No one that has not already placed their faith and beliefs in Jesus Christ will be saved or can be saved.  Everything that God gives to His people through His divine sovereign Grace must be received by the people through their faith.  I don’t have the time to teach you faith, if you have not read my lessons on Understanding Bible Faith then do that to help clear up any conflict.  Let’s quickly review one dictionary definition for the word “rapture” to recall how it was defined:

RAPTURE: the carrying of a person to another place or sphere of existence.

To me this definition of the word rapture fits precisely with the Greek word definition of “harpazo”.  To carry someone away from one realm to another is clearly a display of power and force that must be present to move them.  The English term “rapture” is derived from the Latin term “raptus” also meaning to carry away or carry off.  I have concluded that “raptus” was a synonymous Latin term for the Greek word G726 “harpazo” that was translated as “caught up”.  This is one of the primary reasons for the legitimacy of the doctrine of the “rapture”.  The modern term was developed to help Bible teachers teach the subject using a simple one word title.  Do you understand “harpazo”?   It is a very well defined word that teaches a lot on the subject.  Harpazo is a show of external force and power.  It is a convention beyond the power of human resistance.  Even if you did not want to go the Bible teaches us that you are going.  No debate is offered.  No options are given.  Those being taken are simply gone being removed from existence upon the earth physically and spiritually.

All of this discussion so far today was just an introduction to the basic foundational concepts proving that the catching away of believers is a valid truth taught by God, Paul and the early church in the Bible.  The timing of the event has still not been fully developed or established and we will eventually get to that part of the subject as we progress.

HISTORICAL RAPTURE EVENTS IN THE BIBLE

Before we go into future rapture events and other verses about the subject, let’s prove to all of the skeptics that this harpazo or “catching away” by force has already occurred multiple times in the Bible.  In proving historical event occurrence, this will help us to define and confirm the possibility for potential repeated future event occurrences.  God simply says in the Bible “There is nothing new under the sun”.  He continues in this discourse to teach us “that which has been is that which shall be again” (Ecc 1:9).  Verses like this teach us that there are established patterns found in the Bible and that we need to learn them in order to see what might occur in the near future.  Discarding the past will cause you to not know the future.   You see for any doctrine to be legitimate it must be an established pattern throughout the Bible with more than one witness to the truth being stated.  God required for every word to be established in the mouths of two or three witnesses so that they all can be verified to be in agreement with the other witnesses.  This truth disallows the taking of any single verse out of context to prove one’s erroneous point.  Let’s go to the book of Acts and see one type of rapture example and a direct type and shadow of the coming rapture being described in 1 Thessalonians 14:

Act 8:39  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Was Phillip just raptured away so that immediately the eunuch after being baptized saw him no more?  Why did God take Phillip away?  Why didn’t God take the eunuch also?  You see this does not say that Phillip walked away or swam away under his own physical power.  The power of God literally takes Phillip away from the place that he was previously seen and places him physically and spiritually in a completely new location.  I mean if this description is not a type of rapture of a man from one physical point to another physical point you tell me what it is.  You see someone being raptured does not always have to mean that this someone was taken directly to heaven.  It can mean they were just physically transported from one part of the earth to another.   Rapture is nothing except a real divine encounter of a fictional Star Trek type of teleport or transport.  This rapture of Phillip is simply a change in his physical location and it is a valid pattern for what will happen to the church very soon.  Patterns can simply be natural events that will correspond to coming spiritual events.  Notice that Phillip had nothing to do with what just happened to him.  Phillip did not pray to be taken, Phillip did not ask God to take him and this is again a pattern of the coming church rapture.  Also note that one man was taken and one man was not and this again is a pattern for rapture.  Rapture includes the separation of one or more people from another group of people.

Notice that God brings this verse into the subject discussion by the inclusion of the Greek word G726 harpazo.  I understand that Phillip was not given a supernatural resurrected body during this event.  I also understand that Phillip did not leave the earth to go to heaven and then return in a new earthly location.  While that was certainly possible that is not what just happened to Phillip.  We need to learn not to put God in our box of human narrow minded limitations.  We need to see that almost anything is possible when God is involved.  I said almost anything is possible, because God is not going to do anything that violates His written word or causes Him to lie.  Keep that in mind as you study the Bible.  I am simply viewing the “catching away” of Phillip by the Spirit of God to be a natural pattern for the coming greater spiritual event.  If God can do this event to a man in the church then God can also take the whole church in a future event.  Let me show you another type of rapture event recorded in the Bible that is often ignored by rapture skeptics.

2Co 12:2  I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

I mentioned this verse earlier but I feel this is important enough to look at again.  This event is in a position of greater alignment with the normal concept of what most people believe is the primary type of rapture.  Here we have Paul describing an event about himself and saying that he was “caught up” to the third heaven.  “Caught up” is again the Greek word G726 harpazo.  So Paul was taken by force in this experience by the Spirit of God. He says he does not know if he was in his body or outside of his body and that is not the important point to take away.  However notice that Paul says that he was taken and this means his spirit went to heaven at the minimum.  What you must observe is that Paul’s spirit was literally transported from the physical earth to a spiritual heaven location and then you can read that he saw things that he could not even describe to us.    Clearly this is another example of rapture in the Bible.  The spirit of Paul was taken up by force to see things in heaven that he had never seen before.  This was another divine sovereign choice act of God.  Paul did not ask to be taken but it still occurred to teach Paul and the rest of us that it can occur.  Do you still not believe in rapture?  I seriously do not know how you can still be on the unbelief side of the fence after studying all of the events that have already occurred.  But, I’m not done yet and there are more.   Let’s go back and reflect on a story from the Old Testament of a rapture event and possibly the first rapture event recorded in the Bible:

Heb 11:5  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

Wow, so Star Trek really did not invent the “Transporter”, God did.   God clearly transports the living natural man Enoch wholly, completely and directly from this earth to an undisclosed, unnamed new location in this verse.  We are never informed of where Enoch went; we are just told that he vanished off of the face of the earth.  Did you notice that Enoch did not have to die naturally first?  There are only two men in the O.T. that did not taste of natural death that I know of and Enoch was one of them.  Enoch is a clear O.T. pattern for the church members that will be “caught away” alive in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.  Clearly Enoch was raptured from this world alive to the eternal spiritual realm being taken bodily so that there is no grave here on the earth containing his body.  How can anyone teach that rapture is not a valid Bible concept and truth?  Look up the Greek word translated as “translated” in this verse. It literally means to “transfer” or “transport” as in an exchange of physical locations.  This is so significant that I do not know how people miss it or why they choose to ignore it.  I’m beginning to see a Bible concept that I really like here, and I’ll call it the “Beam me up Jesus” method of spiritual travel.  I really believe that this is going to be an awesome experience when it occurs.  There is only one other man in the O.T. that was taken up by divine force without seeing death and this was the prophet Elijah.

2Ki 2:1  And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

The Hebrew word in the verse translated as “take up” literally means to ascend.  This is not rocket science so everyone should be able to recognize another obvious pattern for human translation or transportation out of this world while still naturally alive by divine sovereign power.  If you study the context of this event you will also see that God reveals what is going to happen to Elijah before it happens.  That is also significant since God repeats that pattern by revealing to the church that rapture will occur before it occurs.  Elijah is again a pattern for the living church members remaining on the earth today.  They do not know the exact timing of the “taking up” but he knew it would occur before it occurred and he even knew that it would even occur very soon.  Clearly Enoch and Elijah are valid “harpazo” patterns.  These are two direct witnesses for the future.

Let’s talk about Isaiah chapter 6 briefly.  This chapter describes an event that took place that clearly resembles what Paul experienced of being caught up to the third heaven.  I’m not going to quote any of the verses or review them in any detail.  You can do that research for yourself.  I will say that what Isaiah describes is clearly not of this world in any form or fashion.  In verse 1 there is mention of a throne but then following this is the mention of winged creatures that are a special type of angel.  This creature had 3 sets of wings.  One set covered his face and one set covered his feet and with the final set he flew around.  That is pretty amazing stuff.  This experience is no doubt a type of rapture where Isaiah is taken to the throne of God to view and record some things that we need to see.   It does not say that Isaiah was there bodily, but he had to be there spiritually in order to come back to write what he saw.  I find that very interesting and also very relevant to our discussion of rapture.  I will not address this experience any further in this lesson other than to give it to you as fifth potential pattern reference for a type of rapture.

Act 1:9  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

We could talk a lot about Jesus ascending into heaven in Acts 1.   I have already mentioned this example previously in this lesson in a direct reference connection to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.  Here we have Jesus ascending up into the clouds and disappearing and this is another pattern of what is described will happen to the living on the earth when Jesus comes back to the clouds to take us up.  I will point out one distinct difference in this verse.  This ascent is not “harpazo”.  In other words Jesus was not seized out of the earth by force or caught up by the Spirit of God or any angel.  No this Greek word is very different because this is the divine God himself going up under His own power.  This Greek word is always used in conjunction with self-control and personal extended effort of self-power.  This is clearly an example of rapture because God is controlling the ascension event.  However it is done indecently from external power and is the internal power of God within Jesus that causes Him to go up.  The first five examples of people being raptured were clearly events independent from human human power and they can only be displays of the power of God.   I really pray that you are receiving these parallel examples and seeing the possibilities that can occur from them?

Satan fights the teaching of the true rapture because he will be forced to present an explanation to what happened to the millions of righteous people in the world that simply vanish without a trace prior to the tribulation.  He will come up with an ingenious twist of the truth.  He will probably claim that the wicked people on the earth have now been taken out for judgment and now only the righteous remain to rule with him.  You see this explanation fits with the pattern of what is transpiring in the media today.  The media is blasting Christians as hate mongers of an intolerant message of God’s love.  The homosexual agenda is the most intolerant group of people that exists in the world and they are in direct opposition to God and what the Bible says on the subject.   However, they claim that Christians are intolerant ones for claiming the truth in the Bible and not embracing their sin as normal.  What we see developing is a dividing line between those that are on God’s side and those that are opposed to God.  I would think that it would be wise to remain on God’s side, but they have had their minds blinded to the truth so that they are unable to see it.

I think I will wrap up this lesson for now.  I have given you a lot of information to examine and to consider.  I thank you for your time in reading and studying the Bible.  There is so much more in the Bible on this subject and I will continue on it in a future lesson.  God Bless!

If you would like to continue reading in this series you may proceed to “Part 3” now.

Is the Rapture of the Church Really Found in the Bible? Introduction to the Basics – Part 1

(Ver 1.4)  This is Part 1 of a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”.  I honestly do not understand why this is such a majorly controversial subject but I can only think that Satan does not want anyone to know the truth.  There are generally speaking two categories of belief types on this subject.  These two groups can be divided as those that believe in a rapture event and those that do not believe in a rapture event.  Why anyone would not want to believe in rapture, I do not know.  I think it would be like someone not believing in salvation.  But, we have a very significant number of people in the world who call themselves Christians that do not believe in a rapture event.  Then we have other people that believe in a rapture event but with contradictory predicted timings for the event.  Therefore the believers of the rapture can be further divided into three sub-category group types.  That leaves us with Christian rapture beliefs generally falling into 4 differing realms of categories.  First, there are many Christians that believe in a pre-tribulation rapture event.  Second, there are definitely some that believe in a mid-tribulation rapture event.  Third, there are some that believe in a post-tribulation rapture event.  Finally, the fourth group is those that simply state that there is no rapture event ever revealed in the Bible.  Based upon these wide ranges of opposing beliefs we can easily conclude that many Christians are obviously deceived in the church today.  I mean using only basic logic and probability outcome reasoning we can easily understand that the existence of 4 such diverse positions cannot all be the truth.  Technically speaking all four position groups could potentially be in error and God’s truth could remain in still another category option 5 labeled as unknown, undiscovered or unrevealed.  We must always be open to the reality that God’s truth needs to be discovered or we will potentially miss it while we stagnate in our current belief.  Hopefully you can understand that the greatest enemy to knowing the truth is the belief that you have already discovered it.  Here again are the four major belief categories concerning current known rapture beliefs:

  1. Pre-Tribulation RaptureThe belief that the church will be taken up prior to the initiation of the 7 year period of time called the great tribulation.
  2. Mid-Tribulation RaptureThe belief that the church will be taken up in the middle of the 7 year period of time called the great tribulation.  The Tribulation period will last for 84 total months and somewhere around 42 months the church will be taken up from the earth.
  3. Post-Tribulation RaptureThe belief that the church will be taken up immediately following the end of the 7 year period of time called the great tribulation.
  4. No RaptureThe belief that the church will remain on the earth during the tribulation.  Under this belief there are also several contradictory beliefs to what will occur to the church during the 7 year period known as the great tribulation.  But I left them all in one group category for now.

As you should be able to see from the list of group types, they can be divided into two basic opposing antithesis beliefs of those that believe in a rapture event versus those that do not.  Then as stated earlier those that believe in a rapture event can be further sub-divided based upon the expected occurrence of the event all surrounding the timing of the great tribulation revealed in the book of Revelation.  We may also discuss in this series of lessons that the no rapture believers can be sub-divided into various details of what they believe will occur while they are here on the earth. There are probably at least 3 variations of beliefs in the no-rapture belief camp.  In this series of Bible lessons we will attempt to explore every known belief and give reasons why each can either be confirmed or rejected as the truth.   You see every sound Christian belief should not have any major contradictions in the scriptures when all verses on the subject are rightly divided and interpreted.  God is the central author of the entire Bible and we should be smart enough to understand that God does not ever contradict Himself.  If we believe that we have found a contradiction then we do not understand what is being stated.

Each side in this argumentative debate claims that the other sides are the ones deceived. Each side can also further claim that from their perspective if we could only clearly see the accuracy of what they are teaching from the Bible that we would be transformed to know the truth.  Everyone can use the same argument to defend their points and this is the way that God designed the Bible to allow men the right to be wrong.  Do you see the problem here?  What is truth?  Why can’t everyone see it?

WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DIFFERENT CHURCH BELIEFS ON RAPTURE?

Did you ever ask yourself why there are so many diverse interpretations of the Bible being taught by Christian churches on not just rapture but every subject found in the Bible?  Atheists have a field day with that one bit of controversial information alone claiming this proves that Christianity is a foolish approach in life to take.  Why are the Christians so divided lacking any harmony or unity in their beliefs?  We really need to seek the truth and resolve why it appears that God has instigated a system of confusion in the modern church age.   The early church did not start out in confusion but they also began in a much smaller number of 120 believers in the upper room being all in one accord (Acts 2:1).  Since the Bible tells us that God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33) there must be another explanation for why there are over 3000 different church denominations existing in the world today.  What caused the early church to drift from one body into a divided body?

The answer to those questions rests in us understanding the existence of Satan to deceive people and man’s carnally dominated mind that is easily deceived to believe in anything.  Wrong beliefs are proportionally tied to the carnal nature of the human mind.  The more carnally minded one is the greater number of wrong beliefs that are found to be present.  The more spiritually minded one is the greater number of right beliefs are found to be present.  Which type of Christian are you?  Are you a very carnal Christian or a very spiritual Christian? Usually people are somewhere in the middle of those two ranges in a state of transition, hopefully growing more spiritual.  Everyone that is a Christian begins as a carnal spiritual baby.  As they grow and increase in the Spirit of God and the knowledge of the Written Holy Word of God they progressively achieve a level of greater spiritual maturity.   I can usually look at your Facebook wall and tell very quickly where you fall in this range on the spiritual Christian growth chart.  The more you post or are focused on the natural things of this world the more carnal minded you are.  The more you focus on God the Father, the Holy Spirit, Jesus and the Bible the more spiritually minded you become.   Where is your focus?  It will determine what you can see and understand in the Bible whether you believe that or not.

In this lesson to begin we need to better understand the source for such diverse beliefs.  Why are there so many contradictions where one person can see something totally opposite in the Bible than the other person can say is so very clear for them to see?   I have observed this over and over in my experiences.  One believer sees the rapture event so clearly and another believer cannot see it from the same verses.  Why is that and how can we explain this phenomenon?   Can you explain that?  I’m not sure if I can explain it more clearly where you will easily understand it, but I will try.  Many people believe that there is a contributing factor of deception that is at the root of the problem.  I tend to agree with that belief.  But what is deception, why does it occur, who causes it and who can be deceived?    For example, the believers in the fourth category teach adamantly against the rapture beliefs found in the other categories calling them the false doctrine of “escapism” given to us from demons and Satan.  However, every other group proclaims that they are the only ones that are completely correct and all of the other groups are the ones that are deceived.  Every group has a basic set of scripture verses found in the Bible to help justify their positions.  However, it is very easy to take several verses out of context and explain others away as something that is irrelevant to their stated belief position.

Deception is a very complex subject.  No one that has ever been deceived knows or understands that they are deceived at any time.  If they knew that they were deceived by their enemy they would more than likely abandon that false teaching very quickly.  Many times hidden deception causes Christians to believe sincerely in their hearts that they are correct even while being sincerely wrong in their heads for what they believe.  Do you understand heart beliefs are based upon your current level of Bible knowledge?  Do you understand that you don’t know everything?  In order to be 100% accurate in your beliefs you have to have 100% correct knowledge of the Bible and no one that I know qualifies for that except my God.  Therefore, do you understand how wrong knowledge causes wrong beliefs?  We could also say that the lack of correct knowledge causes people many wrong beliefs.  The lack of correct knowledge is the main reason for what people ultimately say is the truth but actually is not.   Most people teaching untruths or partial truths are teaching them believing that they are not falsehoods.  This is why Christians need to confirm everything that anyone teaches by using what the Bible says with great precision and attention to every detail (Acts 17:11).  Never believe me or anyone else without you seeing it in the Bible to confirm what is said.  If you don’t see it then throw it away and keep moving forward with what you do see.

What I have just introduced you to in this section is the basic realities of the carnal nature versus spiritual nature of man.  Every human is born as a carnal person naturally into the world and Jesus taught us that it was a necessary requirement for every carnal human being to be “born again” (John 3:3) spiritually in order to enter into the kingdom of God.  The natural process of physical growth and maturity is given to us to teach us about the unseen spiritual process.  These repeated patterns of how the natural works can uncover how things in the spiritual realm work.  Spiritual growth is a very necessary requirement (1 Peter 2:2) according to God.  This spiritual growth process helps us to explain why there are so many different beliefs existing in the church.  Those that have grown in spiritual maturity can see things from a new mature perspective that a baby Christian cannot see or comprehend.  As it is in the natural it is also the same in the spiritual.  A 3 year old natural child cannot be found mature enough to make wise decisions on what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Well the spiritual food of God’s word is the exact same type of menu choices for baby Christians.  Many baby Christians will fail to desire to eat their spiritual broccoli and steak in the Word of God.  Baby Christians will stick with a diet of macaroni and cheese, cake and cookie scriptures and unless they learn to eat other verses that will help them to grow up spiritually strong.  This is just how everything in the Bible works.

HOW TO CORRECTLY STUDY THE BIBLE ON RAPTURE

So which group of rapture/no rapture believer types do I choose to place myself?  I think I have already given several clues to where I stand and I’ll say “I stand with God”.  But, we will get into what the Bible actually says very soon.  I also want to say that I never start studying the Bible by choosing a position first beforehand and then searching the Bible to prove that position is true.  That is a very foolish approach to any correct Bible study.  You can actually prove anything that you desire to find from the Bible because of God’s intentional design of the verses to provide man the right to be wrong in their beliefs.  The Bible teaches us that the “carnal mind is an enemy of God” (Rom 8:7).  Since every human starts out as a naturally dominated person we were all once called the enemies of God before we were saved (Col 1:21).  God reveals to us in these two verses that man can have either of two opposing types of mindsets.  One mind type is called the flesh, carnal or natural mind (Rom 1:28, Rom 8:5, Col 2:18) and the other opposing mind type we can call the spiritual or supernatural mind (Rom 8:27, 1 Cor 2:16, Eph 4:23).  I seriously believe that these two opposing mind types are the root causes for why there are so many differing opinions on what the Bible means.  We can also read about these two mind types in this verse in Romans:

Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Ok, here is a secret from God being revealed.  Why is it necessary for the human mind to be transformed and renewed?  Did you understand my question and do you know what the answer is?  I’ll tell you, mind transformation allows you to see the truth in His Word.   Take the Greek word translated as “transformed” (G3339) and look up the definition in the Strong’s.  It literally means “to change”, “to transfigure” or “to transform”.  Then think of the story in the Gospels of the transfiguration of Jesus on the mount with Moses and Elijah.  That story is an exact representation of what the Bible is teaching here.  You see the Greek word G3339 is only used in those two scriptures in the N.T.  We can find it being used for Jesus being changed into a supernatural being and you will find it here in Romans being referenced to Christian minds becoming the same type of spiritual being.  Go and read the story of the transfiguration, it is actually a great lesson to learn from especially on the subject of the rapture.  We will no doubt get there in this series at some time but probably not today.  Just understand the link between transformation and transfiguration and keep that in your mind that this is what is happening as you learn the Bible.

There is an implied requirement for the supernatural to be present and applied in order to cause this transformation event to occur, but I won’t go there today.  The Greek word G3339 definition also carries an association with a natural known process called “metamorphose”.  Do you know what that means?  Metamorphosis is a divinely created quality that is displayed in certain natural creatures like an ugly caterpillar being “transformed” into a glorious beautiful butterfly.  Wow, that metamorphosis is the process that God is describing to us that needs to occur in our minds.  God is saying “Take your old ugly carnal mind out of your natural gutter and renew it into the new beautiful spiritual way to think and learn to see what I have said to you in my Word”.   This renewal process is not an instantaneous one-time event.  You do not get zapped in your mind when you are saved and suddenly your mind can see everything in the Bible clearly.  The lack of the completed mind renewal process is the primary reason that a Christian does not see the truth in the Bible like another Christian sees.

God chose to write the Bible in a way to give His children the blessed truth, but He also chose to keep these important truths from all of His enemies.  How do you give one group the information that they need to know while keeping the information from another group using the same exact words on the page?  I mean that concept fascinated me for a long time before God showed me what He was doing and how that He accomplished this task.  I discovered that God uses a divine ingenious system of hiding information in the Bible.  How does any government today keep a message secret from all of their enemies while allowing their friends to read it?  They always write the message using a code.  But, that is not exactly what God is doing here.  You see the Bible is written in plain text words that are not encrypted to make them unreadable to God’s enemies.  Any enemy of God can read the Bible and try to figure out what it says.    I have alluded to this fact in many of my Bible lessons.  Even though the Bible is not physically encrypted the information in it is spiritually encrypted using natural plain text words with clever plain text methods of information concealment.  I call this God “Hiding the Truth in Plain Sight” and you can go and read some of these methods in that series.  But, what God has done is extremely intelligent and what He has spiritually hidden from our natural minds in His Word can only be revealed in our spirits after we are saved by His indwelling Spirit living inside of us.  This was a very clever method that God designed to keep the truth from His enemies and it is a very wise way to control access to important spiritual information.   God comes inside of us to help us to understand His own word.  Having the author of the Book on the inside is the clear advantage that we have over the unsaved world that will never know or understand what the Bible says unless they turn and repent.

Therefore, we must understand when we read and study the Bible that God intentionally designed it to prohibit the carnally minded human from observing what was intended to be revealed to only mature Christians.   I know that this statement is not going to go over well with everyone that reads it.   But, hopefully some will understand this explanation to why there are so many observable rapture theories in existence in the church?  I have such a wide range of readers from the carnal, the very novice new Christians all the way to the advanced mature spiritual Christian, so I try to explain things so that everyone can understand what God is doing.  At least I try to say things that can potentially help every group if they are open to receive it.  God gives everyone freewill to find whatever truth that they want to seek in His word, whether it is right or wrong.  For example, if you want to believe in abortion or homosexuality God permits you to find scriptures that justify in your mind the error of your beliefs, but He will eventually judge you for your foolishness.

If you do not understand spiritual maturity and spiritual growth then you will probably not understand why there are so many different variations of the rapture doctrine.   We are all born-again as infant baby Christians when we accept Jesus as the Lord of our life.  However, spiritual growth is not guaranteed.  A born-again baby Christian is usually one that is very sense realm, fleshy or carnally dominated in their thoughts, emotions and actions.  The opposite of a baby Christian is one that has grown to maturity and they are usually spirit and Word of God dominated and controlled ignoring their senses.  How do you grow up spiritually from one to the other?

1Pe 2:2  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

We must drink the milk of God’s Word.  The milk represents the basic subjects in the Bible as revealed in 1 Corinthians 3:2 where Paul told the church I fed you milk and not meat because you were unable to handle it.  Paul was telling the church they needed to grow up spiritually and become meat eaters.  Just as a natural new-born child cannot eat any solid food, a new born spiritual baby Christian is unable to comprehend the deep complex subjects of God.  Meat subjects represent the complex Bible lessons like I try to teach.  God is informing us of the existence of many different levels of knowledge in His Word.  The rapture of the church is one of those meat subjects in the Bible and those that are milk drinkers cannot eat it or they will choke.  Now are you seeing why there are so many different teachings on the subject of the rapture?

PRESUMPTIVE ASSUMPTIONS USUALLY RESULT IN ERROR!

Presumption is one of the greatest errors found in modern Bible study.  Entering into a Bible study with any pre-established beliefs and predefined expectations of the truth will almost always cause all of the other perspectives in the Bible to be blocked from your spiritual view.  I call this type of Bible Study, “Tunnel Vision Bible Study” or “Bible Study Wearing Blinders”.  Do you understand what blinders are?  Blinders are placed on a horse or an animal to keep them narrowly focused.  It restricts the vision while forcing the attention on what is desired.  Well this is what is occurring in many Christians today.  Think of it like this; when a crime detective enters a crime scene they usually try to come into the situation without any prejudices or pre-conceived assumptions of the truth.  They should always let the evidence found on the scene point them to the truth and not the other way around.  Wow, do you understand why this is an important concept to apply to our Bible study?  Take a bloody crime scene with a dead body lying on the floor found with a gun their hand.  If an investigator came into the scene already looking for a specific cause for example assuming a suicide this approach would automatically skew or narrow their viewpoint with suicide blinders to ignore all the other possible murder facts.  If they came into the same crime scene with murder blinders on, they would automatically miss or omit any suicide truths staring them in the face.  These same principles apply to Bible study, if you come into the Bible wearing a set of “no rapture” blinders you will just automatically miss all of the relevant truths that might be presented on a rapture event and vice versa.

These are all very important statements of truth that I have just taught you, so do not ignore them.  A truth seeking student of the Bible must lose all of their prejudice and every pre-conceived thought of human knowledge and reasoning in order to be open to be shown the actual spiritual truth by the Spirit of God.  God says in His word “Your thoughts are not my thoughts and your ways are not my ways” (Isa 55:8).   Therefore entering into correct Bible study is us choosing to leave our old thoughts and our old ways behind us so that we can remove our blinders to see God’s superior ways clearly.  Too many times learning the real spiritual truth involves us unlearning some old carnal things that we only thought was the truth.  The human mind is very analogous to an empty pitcher for water concept at birth.  When we are born physically into the world we enter with zero knowledge of any truth.  Thus the baby human is void of all knowledge needing to be filled with correct information.  As we grow in knowledge the human mind pitcher fills with information both good and bad.  Take this analogy back to the “renewing” or “transformation” mind process described to us by God that we looked at earlier.  A major part of this renewal process is us taking out the old bad information to replace it with the new good spiritual information of God.    This would be like a person emptying a pitcher of the old stale substance in order to refill it with something new and fresh that is tastier.   What you once thought was tasty truth, is potentially blocking the Spirit of God from speaking to you to open the new truth to get it into your mind pitcher. Quit trying to mix the new spiritual word of God with the old concepts of the natural.   Just empty your mind of what you thought of this subject before and then continue to read and study this subject going forward.   When I started the study, I chose to empty my mind to what I thought about the truth and I simply prayed and asked God to show me His truth, no matter what it was.  Having this attitude allows the Holy Spirit to guide us into what we need to know.  As you continue to read this lesson I would recommend that you do the same.  Ask God to help open your mind to see what it is that you need to change or eliminate in order to see His spiritual truth.

IS THERE A RAPTURE FOUND IN THE BIBLE?

So since I have already done this Bible study and now I am simply writing it down for you to read, I can tell you that I am a firm believer in the pre-tribulation rapture event based upon many clear scriptures that I will use to teach how God revealed this to me.  This lesson will be what the Spirit of God showed me that the Bible says on the subject of “Does the Bible say anything about a rapture event”.  If you are open to His Spirit with a cleared mind He should confirm what I will teach you about this subject of the soon coming of Jesus Christ for the removal of the church.

I will begin this Bible lesson by agreeing “strongly” with the fourth group of “no rapture” believers that the word “rapture” is technically not found anywhere in the Bible.  However, the absence of a modern theological term in the Bible does not eliminate the underlying foundations of the ideas, the concepts, the principles, the patterns and the message behind the modern term.  Do you understand what I just said?  Let me try to rephrase it in case you missed it.  The non-inclusion of the word “rapture” in the Bible does not prove that the ideas behind the rapture are not clearly taught to us using other synonymous words, symbolism, types or any of the other methods of God’s authorship to encrypt or hide His spiritual information from obvious view in the Bible.  In fact now that I have studied this subject, I believe that you can find the concepts of the rapture hiding in the book of Genesis and proceeding all the way through the book of Revelation.

Why do modern theological terms and titles exist today like the word “rapture” if it is not found in the Bible?  Modern theological titles are simply given to complex spiritual subjects to assist the Bible teacher in teaching them.  By assigning a single name or a label to a subject it makes the subject more quickly understandable, more concisely communicable and infinitely clearer to what you are speaking when you teach.  Therefore, assigning a simple label is not a foreign concept but a technique that is found today in every wise teacher’s toolbox.   You can go into almost any advanced math classes and see them speaking of many terms that have been invented in modern times to help the student understand the complex subject being taught.  Take for instance the term “Analytic Geometry”, this terms specifies a specific type of the whole knowledge and restricts the course to only this information necessary to understand this subject.  This is not rocket science people.  That is all that the word “rapture” is doing by helping the teacher to restrict the subject discussion to a very specific branch of knowledge found in the Bible.  Don’t get distracted by the absense of the word “rapture” in the Bible to miss the most important concepts behind the word.

Take the concept of math again and find it in the Bible.  The Bible certainly contains math and mathematical concepts throughout the text.  However the word “math” is never found anywhere in the Bible.  Uh oh?  What are we to do here?  Are we to conclude that math is a false teaching originating from demons?  That is basically what people are doing with the rapture.  The absence of a modern theological word from the Bible does not prove that the doctrine behind the label is not an absolute truth.  If that was the case then the existence of the “trinity” would be another false church doctrine.  The existence of “demons” would clearly need to be eliminated from modern church teaching.  Any church teaching against “abortion” or “homosexuality” would also have to be removed from our church doctrines.  Finally, other eschatological concepts like the “millennium” and the “2nd Advent” would also need to be eliminated from all church teaching.  None of these modern theological words that I have just mentioned occur in the Bible anywhere, however God says a lot about every one of them in the scriptures using many illustrative and creative descriptions.

I’ve heard “no rapture” preachers teach several different variations to what they believe will occur.  Some say that Christians will be protected from the coming destruction on the earth during the seven year time of great tribulation like Noah was protected when God destroyed the world using a flood.  Others teach that Christians will be treated the same as all of the other people on the earth and endure the great hardship equally with the unrighteous people on the earth.  Some others teach that it is the evil unrighteous people that will be taken off of the earth and they call this the true rapture.  I find that that teaching very bizarre that God would rapture non-believers and leave the believers to kill them.  That teaching sounds satanic to me and I’ll bet Satan uses that one to help describe where all the righteous people have gone.  These teachers attempt to equate Satan’s persecution of the church to be corresponding to God’s judgment during the tribulation.  They try to say if the early church was put in prison, beaten and killed in the book of Acts then why, would we think that we are better than them now to not have to endure the exact same thing during the end of the church age.  However, I cannot find any verse in the Bible where God judges a righteous man.  I only see God as the deliverer of the righteous, our savior and our redeemer.   Then inversely I only see God as being the judge of the unrighteous in the Bible.  You do understand the difference between the righteous and the unrighteous, don’t you?   The primary problem with this logic is that the persecution of the early church was not the work of God.  Persecution in the early church was the work of Satan trying to keep the work of God from spreading.  There is a major difference in who is attempting to  bring death upon a man.  If it is Satan you can fight that and win, but if it is God, you are done for.  During the great tribulation it will be God judging the unrighteous and not the righteous and we will learn this as we continue to go through the scriptures.

RAPTURE DEFINED FROM THE DICTIONARY

Let’s begin by just searching for a basic definition of the word rapture and use that information to enlighten us for the remainder of this lesson.  Since the word rapture can be found in the modern dictionary the concepts behind the word must have originated from someone somewhere.   We need to understand what the word means in order to know what the possible synonyms might be that we need to search for in our Bible.  I went to the internet and found these definitions of the word rapture:

Rapture: The transporting of a person from one place to another, especially to heaven.

Rapture: The English derivative of the Greek word RAPTURO, which means “to be removed quickly.”

Rapture: The act of carrying, or fact of being carried, onwards; force of movement

These were three definitions that caught my attention.  I have found these concepts and definitions very interesting and informative.  It sounds like the old Star Trek show principle of being “transported” from one location like the surface of a planet up to the ship Enterprise orbiting above.  In this old TV show this process was being referred to as a type of “Beam Up” procedure or process.  I believe that this is the message being revealed and the concepts being observed in the definition of the word “rapture”.  If you have never seen the Star Trek shows that is really not a problem; however, just learn how the devil took a God concept to use it to make the Bible concept seem less spectacular, divine and more natural.  Let’s review quickly the Star Trek concepts of being transported up.  Here was a fictitious human machine that would take a person’s existence, life and body and instantly change their current location to a new 3-dimensional location.  However if you ever watched the TV show you will understand that the people being transported were never involved in making it happen.  The power of the machine that would transport a person was external and outside of the realm of influence of the human being moved.  In other words no human power was involved in making it happen.  In the Star Trek show the person that controlled the power of the machine in the star ship was the only one that could transport anyone from the surface of the planet.  This also means that this person in control of the machine could take out anyone, even if they were not expecting to go yet.  Why am I comparing a fictional TV show to the Bible event called the rapture?  I believe that whatever God has created or will do that Satan will try to pervert it, disguise it, and duplicate it to make it seem absurd.  Let’s look at another online reference found in Wikipedia to the rapture:

The Rapture is a term in Christian eschatology which refers to the “being caught up” discussed in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, when the “dead in Christ” and “we who are alive and remain” will be “caught up in the clouds” to meet “the Lord”.

Here we have found a reference to at least one scripture verse and we have another synonymous term to consider and place in our vocabulary.  So far we have “transport” and “caught up” and both of those are similar to the Star Trek concept of being beamed up to the ship.  There is a definitive implication found in the information in the definitions of the word “rapture” that it means a “taking of people by force or power” to relocate them physically.   Let me give you a list of possible synonymous terms that could apply to this basic foundational concept found in the word rapture.

  1. Transport Up/Out/Away
  2. Caught Up/Out/Away
  3. Taken Up/Out/Away
  4. Catch Away
  5. Gathered Up/Out/Away
  6. Seize Up/Out/Away
  7. Pluck Up/Out/Away
  8. Pull Up/Out/Away
  9. Extract Up/Out
  10. Convey Away
  11. Remove Up/Out
  12. Snatch Up/Out/Away
  13. Depart Up/Out/Away
  14. Ascend Up/Away

I believe these are all valid phrasings for synonymous terms of the word “rapture”.  I could use any of these phrases in place of the word “rapture” and the message would be interchangeable.  Why is it important to understand that there are so many ways to say the exact same thing?  It is primarily because God does this frequently in the Bible.  Using several different synonymous words is a great way to hide information for you to find.  You see many of the “rapture” critics believe it is a false teaching simply because they have not read any obvious scriptures to support it.  They claim that it requires at least 2 or 3 confirming scriptures to establish a church doctrine of truth and I totally agree with that statement.  However, two different witnesses in a court case can say the same thing using many different words and descriptions and both can be describing the exact same event from their perspective of view.

Let me give you a quick example of what I am saying.   When I was a young man walking home from high school as I usually did, I noticed two very young boys up ahead of me on the same side of the road as I was walking.  They appeared anxious and wanted to cross the street to get to the other side, but there were cars coming in both directions.  Suddenly one boy thought the street was clear as the last car on his side of the road passed by and started running to cross to the other side.  This child could not see what I could see.  I could see the oncoming car that he could not observe because of the car that had just passed on his side was blocking his view.  Well the oncoming car hit the boy and traffic immediately stopped.  The boy lay in the road badly hurt.  The driver that hit him never saw him run in front because he also was blocked from the children’s view by the cars in the oncoming lane.  Well everyone had a different perspective of the same event and everyone could be a witness to it in court.  But we would all be describing it from much different view points than the other witnesses.  Do you understand what I am saying?  God’s witnesses many times use different perspectives to the same events.  Because they are worded slightly different does not prove that they are not all accurate and that they are not all true.

We are going to have to use a level of intelligence to see that each witness is describing the same event even though what was said was not exactly using the same words.  I probably did not do justice to all of the possible synonyms for the word rapture.  If you can think of others that are also valid please share them with me and I will add them to the list.

BIBLE RAPTURE BASIC CONCEPTS

Since we have two basic opposition positions for the existence of a rapture event we need to learn what the Bible actually says on the subject.  Learning the very basic concepts of any subject always logically precedes learning any of the advanced information on the same subject.  So that is where we are going next with the rapture Bible study to find the simple truth basics.  Jesus taught us many of these basic truths in the Gospels, but we need to find them first, understand those second and then we need to learn how to apply them correctly to the subject of the rapture last.  I taught you in other lessons that correct Bible study is like a complex puzzle solving process.  Therefore, in order to view the correct big picture on the rapture subject we need to make sure that we have gathered, organized and put together all of the smaller detail type of puzzle pieces together correctly.  We will transition into fact gathering mode and not jumping into any conclusions at this initial phase of the study.   We are going to back up to view one of the very basic Bible themes taught by Jesus consistently first and then use that evidence to help our Bible interpretation of the existence of any coming detailed rapture information.  We are going to let the Bible interpret itself, before we decide if the rapture is not found in the Bible or attempt to place the timing of the rapture correctly.  What we will be looking for are hidden patterns in the statements of the Lord Jesus Christ.  If you do not understand the concepts of patterns then that is probably one reason why you don’t believe in the rapture.  A pattern is simply a description using words other than the direct mention of a subject but still conveying the general message of the subject. Let’s review some Bible basics taught by Jesus:

Mat 7:13  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Mat 7:14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Here for example, Jesus makes a strong recommendation to everyone.  Jesus, speaking prophetically said that most of the world will choose to follow in a wide path to their own destruction and that only a few will find the narrow path that leads them to life.  Therefore we can clearly see the existence of two possible outcomes based upon the determining factor of the personal human freewill choice being selected.  These two eventual outcomes were either life or destruction and those that find life are not destroyed and those that are destroyed miss out on life.   But, let’s take that statement into context with what Jesus was talking about.  Jesus was making a clear separation between two antithesis groups of people/humanity.  Does this concept sound familiar?  Are you looking for rapture patterns? What exactly is rapture?  From what I have learned studying the subject, rapture is the taking of a select group of people from a larger group of other people that are left.  The raptured group’s results are much different than the group that are left.   What Jesus was describing to us here in Matthew 7:13-14 is the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous people in the world using a pathway symbolic analogy.  The righteous are therefore, following a path to obtain life and the other unrighteous are following a path to an end of destruction and death.  Uh oh?  What about that pattern?  Take that very basic scriptural information and apply it to the two main stated positions on the rapture.  The “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” group claims that the righteous will be taken out prior to all of the death and destruction about to occur in the 7 years of great tribulation.  The other group of “No-Rapture” believers primarily teaches that the righteous will be found to be present during the death and destruction being poured out on the world during the 7 years of great tribulation.   Which position or belief conforms more precisely to what Jesus was teaching us in the pathway illustration?   Are the righteous Christians, going to go through the great tribulation to experience death and destruction or are the righteous removed from the coming death and destruction to obtain their life everlasting?   Wow, I pray that you are awake!

Maybe we need to do a quick overview study on the book of Revelation first.  You see the horror, terror and death described to us in this book during this 7 year time period from chapter 4 until chapter 19 is so strong that it can clearly be associated with only mass destruction.  From how I read the book, I can see very few individuals during this time that will obtain this salvation or life.  Don’t misunderstand what I am saying; there is the mention of 144,000 witnesses and others that will be martyred in Revelation.  But I believe that these people that are mentioned are those that thought they were Christians but have been left behind and suddenly realized too late that that they were wrong.  Jesus actually teaches us another very important parable to consider, reflect upon and to relate into our study:

Mat 25:1  Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

Mat 25:2  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

Mat 25:3  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

Mat 25:4  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

Mat 25:5  While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

Mat 25:6  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

Mat 25:7  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

Mat 25:8  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

Mat 25:9  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

Mat 25:10  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

Mat 25:11  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

Mat 25:12  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

Mat 25:13  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

This is such a great passage to study.  It has so many deep things from God hidden in it that it will amaze you when you can see them.  Reading the Bible is never studying the Bible, but studying the Bible does involve some reading.  One of the keys to understanding any verse is to look up the original language definitions of the words given.  This is a tremendous mistake to assume that you understand what a word means and then walk away with the incorrect meaning believing you are correct.  That is one of the easiest ways that deception can occur.  I actually want to talk about the last verse first.  This verse gives us a very basic truth.  Jesus said I’m coming but you will not know when I come.   Using this information we know that Jesus will return at a time that we do not fully comprehend.  Ok, using that information how can anyone say that Jesus will return for us at the end of the tribulation or at the middle of the tribulation?  Both of these belief positions are at pre-determined set times.  We understand that the total length of the tribulation is a 7 year set period of time.  This was called the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy.  If the rapture occurs 3.5 years or 42 months after the beginning everyone would know when the rapture would occur and be ready for it.  That does not fit the parable does it?  The same is true for the post tribulation belief.  After 7 years or 84 months of tribulation everyone still alive would instantly know when the rapture would occur.  Both of these belief positions are very weak when compared with scriptures like the foolish/wise virgins.

My next point that I would like to make is God’s usage of one very specific Greek word that I found absolutely essential for us to see.  The Greek word G1831 is used twice in this parable in verse 1 and verse 5.  This word from the Strong’s definition has the following meaning:

From G1537 and G2064; to issue (literally or figuratively): – come-(forth, out), depart (out of), escape, get out, go (abroad, away, forth, out, thence), proceed (forth), spread abroad.

This is a very interesting Greek word originating from two other Greek words.  The first Greek root word means origin as in the point where motion or actions proceeds (from or out).   The second Greek root word means to “come” or “go”.   Combining these two words together gives us the possible meanings in the Strong’s definition as “escape”, “get out”, “go forth”, “go out”, etc.  Does any of this sound like the synonymous terms for rapture to you?  Isn’t that what the “no rapture” group is criticizing the other rapture believers for buying into the doctrine of “escapism”?  Any time you can escape from danger, peril, jeopardy, hazards, traps, evil, death or destruction you have been delivered from it.  I am not going to teach you the entire parable of the 10 virgins today, because I do not have that much time.  We are just going to look for keys and patterns to understanding the existence of the rapture in the Bible.

For the next point I would like to say that this teaching of the 10 Virgins by Jesus does not match with the previous teaching where Jesus said wide is the path and many there are that will go that way.  Therefore we are either viewing two different events or two different perspectives of the same event.   Here in this parable Jesus is again comparing two groups of contrasting people but here He divides them into two equal halves.  Therefore we do not have a direct match to what Jesus was talking about in the path analogy.   In the 10 Virgin Parable, both groups are called virgins and start out with the same identical oil and lamps, but 5 of them run out of oil and miss the coming of the Lord.  There is still a division that takes place between two groups, but these cannot be the righteous and the unrighteous.  I see this parable as speaking only about Christians and the saved church.  Christians are called the light of the world by Jesus (Mat 5:14).  If you read the book of Revelation chapter 2 when Jesus talks to the 7 churches He mentions candlesticks twice.  One mention in verse 1 is a symbolic reference to the 7 churches with each being a candlestick light to the world.  Then in Verse 5 Jesus warns one church at Ephesus to beware or their candlestick will be removed.  Did you get the symbolism?  The removal of a candlestick is symbolic of the removal of a light.  What did Jesus say in Matthew?  Jesus said you are the light of the world.  Do you also see the symbolism being repeated in the 10 Virgin Parable?  The running out of oil causes the lamp to go out.  The parallels are very significant here and I pray that you see them.

According to what we read from Jesus, he said the righteous will find life, we should be able to conlclude logically that in the 10 Virgin parable these were all saved Christians at one time but that half of them made foolish choices to run out of oil and missed the coming of the Bridegroom to enter into the wedding feast!  Consider the fact that all 10 virgins are waiting and looking for Christ to come.  What does that teach us?  Are we looking for Christ to come or for the anti-Christ to come?  If the church was going through the tribulation then they would be looking for the coming anti-Christ and not the coming of the actual  bridegroom Christ.  This pattern found in the 10 virgin parable only fits with a pre-tribulation expection rapture event and no other belief works.  Using this parable the pre-tribulation coming of the bridegroom is the only possible harmoneous belief that can be possible.  Every other belief of a post-trib, mid-trib or even a no rapture belief will not fit with the parable pattern information given.  Wow, these are such important patterns to decode.  Spend time in researching them.  Figure out what the oil represents symbolically.  Let’s keep moving and continue to learn some more kingdom of heaven simple basics taught by Jesus:

Mat 13:24  Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

Mat 13:25  But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

Mat 13:26  But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

Mat 13:27  So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

Mat 13:28  He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

Mat 13:29  But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

Mat 13:30  Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Jesus repeatedly taught the concept of separation and division between two opposing groups.  Here again in this parable is a lot of truth that contains many of the puzzle pieces but not the complete picture diagram of the whole subject.  Jesus just said that the wheat will be “gathered” into His barn but that the tares will be burned (destroyed) with fire (Mat 13:25-30).  I want you to notice the basic concept taught to us here in these verses.  I also want you to ignore figuring out the timing for this for now.  There is a definite subject of “gathering” that takes place by the reapers.  “Gathered Up” is a synonymous term from our list for a type of rapture.   The reapers gathering in their crops to harvest is the basic premise being communicated symbolically and it is mentioned twice here.  Can we at least agree that the concept given sounds like a type of rapture?  It does to me whether you choose to see it or not.

If you read the verses closely you will notice a very distinct problem emerging.  These verses say that the tares will be gathered “first” before the wheat is gathered into the barn.  Of course we will talk about this in more depth later because these verses are often used by the “no rapture” teachers to prove that the wicked tare people rapture (gathering) must occur first before the good righteous wheat people are gathered from the earth.   However, that is simply one common misunderstood position or one erroneous interpretation of misapplied information but that is not the entire truth on the subject.  We are required to balance all of the facts and not just try to take some limited information and make them more important than any other information on the subject.  Just try to learn the concept basics right now and then we will try to figure out the details later.

Mat 13:37  He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

Mat 13:38  The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

Mat 13:39  The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

Mat 13:40  As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

Mat 13:41  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

Mat 13:42  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Mat 13:43  Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

If you read closely the explanation of the parable in Matthew 13:37-43 you will surely see more of the basic symbolism being defined.  We can learn from the description that Jesus was the sower of the good wheat seed.  We further learn that the enemy Satan was the sower of the tare seed.  Jesus teaches us that the wheat represents one good group of people and that the tares represent a distinct separate evil group of people all growing together in the same field (the world).  The group of wheat represents the saved righteous people in the church and the other tares that are destroyed in the fire are the wicked unrighteous people of the earth.   Which group are you in?   I’m wheat myself.  Therefore, I’m not ever burned.  Ok, the harvesters we are informed are the angels of God.  Then in this discourse Jesus also says that this event being described occurs at the end of the world.  Uh oh?  When is that?  I believe that this is referring to the end of the millennium also called the prophesied 1000 year long day of rest when the righteous rule the earth. Therefore, this description given by Jesus cannot be talking about a pre-tribulation rapture event.  Did you know that is so very true and that I totally agree with that statement?  This is exactly why many of the “no rapture” teachers teach that there can be no rapture until the end of the world comes and the wicked are removed from the earth first.  However, that is where I depart from their erroneous theory.

You see they are neglecting to understand that there can be more than one rapture event in the Bible being described.  Anything that God can do once, God can do as many times as He desires.  If you study the Bible correctly you will find that there have been at least 4 or 5 rapture events that have already occurred and we will list them in detail later as we study.  Then we must understand that there will be coming 2, 3 or more rapture events that must still come to pass and that these are all separate and distinct events occurring at different set times.  Therefore, Jesus here in this lesson is speaking and describing one rapture event that cannot be mixed with any another rapture event but it does help us prove that they can occur for God’s purpose.  You see if one “rapture” is possible at any time then more than one is also highly possible.  Are you God?  Some Bible teachers think they are God.  They try to tell God what He can and cannot do and they sound like fools doing that.   So understand this concept, there has been several rapture events that have already occurred and there are more yet to come.  Do not get into a single threaded interpretation of all events being the same event. What we must do is to see all of the facts and not just take one truth attempting to make it the whole truth.  What Jesus just described cannot be a description of the pre-tribulation rapture event, but that still does not mean that there is not one of those that can still occur.  Did you hear what I just said?  Is your brain engaged in this study and have you learned anything so far?  We are still studying the basics of the subject and I just gave you some very important clues to learn from.  Let’s continue with another set of basic information from Jesus:

Mat 25:31  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

Mat 25:32  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

Mat 25:33  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Mat 25:34  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Here is a set of popular scripture verses describing another rapture type of event.  The term being described here is again called a “gathering” of the nations.  Remember that term and then understand that it is the exact same key word phrase (G4863) of “gathering” given to us in the parable of the wheat and tares.  Here God is using a different type of symbolism to describe some very similar concepts.  “Gathering” wheat or sheep is the same general act of power and force.  Neither the sheep nor the goats make a request to be gathered or to be separated from each other and these acts occur outside of the realm of their influence or control.  Do you understand how these very basic principles being described are similar to a rapture event?  These are clear divinely originated plans from God not originating from any man.   The act of separating the sheep from the goats is practically identical to the separation of the wheat from the tares.  The concept parallels between these two descriptions are outstandingly similar and are linked together by God’s choice of the same Greek word translated as “gathered”.  What we are observing is God’s usage of a synonymous word for rapture.  It is described to be a gathering together as well as a separating from.  Both of these acts occur simultaneously by God’s design.  We have just reviewed some of the very basic information on rapture revealed and taught by Jesus in the Bible.  I do not know why you would read these verses and not believe that rapture is possible even if you do not yet understand all of the timings of any of the rapture events.

Thank you for your time in reading this first lesson in the series about the rapture.  We have really only touched on some very introductory basics but in doing this I believe that I have also introduced you to several new things to consider.  I believe that we need to begin to understand that there is more than one possible rapture event that could occur.  You see many read the Bible and only see one event and think that is the only event.  Take for instance the flood of Noah.  This is widely taught as a universal flood that wipes out all life except for those in the ark.  However, reading in Genesis 1 we should be able to see that there was another universal flood that was also mentioned.  What we learn is that God uses repeated patterns in the Bible.  Patterns are a widely used concepts displayed throughout the Bible.  What God has done before is typically what God will cause to happen again.  We learn this concept from verses like Ecclesiastes 1:9.   We need to fully learn how God operated in the past in order to understand how God could possibly operate in the future.  Please come back and read the next lessons in this series.  We will cover a lot more imformation that is critical to understand.  God Bless you until then!

If  you would like to continue the study of this subject you may go to “Part 2” now.

Understanding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues. Part 2

(Ver 1.2)  Today’s lesson is Part 2 in an advanced Bible study series about one of the most potentially controversial subjects in the New Testament Bible of “Understanding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues”.  If you read the first lesson then you already understand that these lessons will be very different types of Bible teachings than what you might have expected when you started reading.  However, I believe that the first lesson was a really good introduction to the topics and that it was certainly firmly based upon what the Bible says on the subjects.  If you did not get to read Part 1, I would highly recommend that you go back and start there because it contains the basic foundational information for everything else that comes after it.   To ignore it, would be like someone attempting to take a very advanced math course in college without first sitting through the basic math course prerequisites.   I guess you can tell that it has been a long time since I posted any Bible lessons.  I would love to tell you that I was on vacation, but that would not be correct.  Satan has been attacking my family for the past several months in many new creative ways.  I guess Satan is just not happy with anyone sharing the Gospel truth for free to everyone on the internet.  Some people think that ministers of the Gospel never have any problems but that is not Biblical.  Paul was beaten five times with 40 – 1 lashes, three times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned, was in ship wrecks 3 times and on and on I could go.  A real minister’s life is not a life free from opposition. Satan is still alive and well in the world trying to kill us all. I would appreciate your prayers whenever the Lord places us upon your mind.  I greatly appreciate your efforts in Bible study and the loyal time that you spend reading my website.  Thank you for everything!

In the first lesson I introduced the subject by providing some very straightforward definitions for the Greek words “tongues” and “baptism” and introduced some brand new Bible study concepts and methods on how to approach the subject research.  I have attempted to outline that the steps for correct Bible study is like solving a very complex jigsaw puzzle with a sequence of logical phases and processes to follow and I really hope that everyone fully grasped those concepts.   I continued this Bible study by searching for every occurrence of the Greek word G1100 translated as the English word “tongues” and I believe that this is always an important first step to any Bible Study.  Then I analyzed the information given in each of these verses within their context of the surrounding verses to learn what they say and how they apply.  I know I did not include every one of those 47 verses in that first lesson, but that would have caused me to write an entire literal book in one Bible lesson and that lesson was already the longest lesson that I have ever done on this site.   Fortunately 47 verses are not very many verses to read and to study and we will get to several more of these verses as we continue later in this series.  Today’s lesson will be a more in-depth study of the subject verses found in the first two chapters of Acts along with several new verses on the subjects from other books of the Bible in the New Testament.

The key to understanding any subject in the Bible is always dependent upon us searching, finding, reading, assembling and studying every verse in the Bible that contains it, references it, describes it, defines it, or even implies it indirectly.  I call this becoming a Sherlock Holmes type of Bible study Christian.  This change in attitude to become a Bible detective causes us to look for every hidden clue in every verse that we can find.  It causes us to have to assemble all of the facts and then to put them together correctly like the puzzle.  It is a very complex and detailed oriented approach to try to see everything that God has revealed in His Word and this is why so many fail to understand the Bible.  If we do not make this type of diligent search effort to perform these detailed study discovery steps, we will end up with a very limited scope of selective theological knowledge based more upon our human ignorance of the subject rather than on the full revealed truth of God’s Word.  Limited knowledge of any subject in the Bible is a basic reality for every Bible student both novice or experienced.  I heard this analogy of the Bible the other day and it warrants repeating in this lesson.  The Bible is not a book of word trail mix that we can select from and eat only the words that we like and then ignore the words that we do not care for or do not want to believe in.  This is why it is essential to learn to eat the entire package of God’s word.  You still can only do this by taking one bite at a time.

We all begin to study the Bible because we desire to overcome our human ignorance.  The primary problem with having limited knowledge is that this will always result in a discriminatory doctrinal teaching that lacks the important completeness and uniform scriptural balance of the subjects.   If anyone of us knew everything in the Bible on a specific subject we would not need the Bible, Bible teachers or the Holy Spirit to help guide us into knowing His wonderful truth.  Only after learning the whole truth can we eliminate our ignorance enough to understand a subject but until then we all still need to study to find some more clues to munch on.  Do you desire to become a true Bible study detective?  I hope that you do!  Taste and see that the Lord is good.  Let me go through one more analogy of Bible study before we get into the subjects of “tongues” and “baptism”.

Learning the truth is comparable to climbing a very tall mountain like Mt Everest.  We all start out at the same bottom ground level of Truth Mountain in absolute ignorance not knowing anything about what waits ahead of us to learn or how difficult the climb might become.  As the Holy Spirit guides us up the mountain side and we study to learn the subject, we are attempting to rise to the higher informed spiritual level of the information presented.  This is what God calls “renewing your mind” (Eph 4:23) with a new spiritual perspective of how God understands the subjects.  Mind renewal is nothing but a transformation from your old carnal way of thinking to see the spiritual point of view of God’s hidden information.    We will all struggle during the climb and each will need to possess spiritual, mental and physical endurance in order to climb this complex truth mountain; taking it step by step learning every new fact that we can grasp.  If we do not tire or give up and quit along the way simply because we think that we have arrived at all of the truth that we need to know, then we will all eventually rise to reach the summit peak of truth and thus for the first time achieve the same uniform complete view of the entire subject.   Until we all reach this summit peak of complete knowledge and understanding, we each will have our own limited perspective view of the subject from the side of the mountain that we have chosen or were hopefully led to climb up on.  This is exactly why there are currently thousands of Christian denominations today in the world with every one of them disagreeing with the others on the opposing sides of the mountain.  Each denomination has climbed up only part of the way on their side of the mountain of truth leaving them in an incomplete viewing position and many have stopped moving forward and upward to see any other new perspectives on the subject.   Still others like myself continue to climb and learn and we will become the ones that will know the truth and this knowledge of the truth will be what sets us free (John 8:32).  I also believe that this is why we need to extend some love and mercy for those that do not see the same verses of truth exactly like we do.  It could be that they just need to rise higher to see our viewpoint or it could be we need to rise higher to see their view point, so it does not do any good to criticize them or call them liars because that only reflects upon our own ignorance and our own lack of arriving at the summit peak.  Many Christians are doing the best that they know how with their limited knowledge.  I just wish we would all keep climbing.

During this Bible study I have been attempting to teach you my Bible study techniques while I am teaching the subjects.  I call this my attempt at teaching you how to fish rather than just giving you a one-time fish dinner to eat.   This makes my teaching job considerably more challenging but I believe it will be a worthwhile endeavor for both us.  It is funny that this approach to teaching will eventually put me out of a job.  If I give you all of my secrets, methods and techniques you will be able to do exactly what I do using the same approaches.  However, God told me “freely you have received therefore freely give” (Mat 10:8) so that is what I am doing.  I am withholding no secrets, no hidden techniques or any hidden methods.  The only thing that I cannot teach you is what I have learned from over 20 years of experience. I can however teach you some of my mistakes and help you not to do likewise.  After you learn how I study the Bible you should become a very similar clone Bible teacher applying your personality to it and together we can all reach the world with God’s Word.

CONTINUING THE STUDY OF BAPTISM AND TONGUES

The two primary keywords that initiated the study were “baptism” (G908) and “tongues” (G1100).  From these two direct words, I showed you that there are other related words such as “baptize”, “baptized”, “baptizes”, “mouth”, “languages”, “lips”, “sounds”  and some other variations of synonyms of the base form of these words that also need to be included in the complete search.  I further said that baptism implies water, emersion and I linked in several other concepts like rivers that also should be included in the complete study.  I believe that as we find these related verses containing these subjects we will observe still other related keywords that are also important to include in the study in order to understand their association to the primary subjects.  For example, we talked about the subject of fire in the last lesson and we will definitely expand on that subject in more depth today in this lesson.

I want to re-emphasize that we cannot always depend upon the English translations of words to relate two verses together.  When I search the Bible I many times start with the English words just to find a verse but then I usually switch and continue the search for related verses using the original Hebrew or Greek words.  As I stated in the first lesson, some Greek and Hebrew words are translated into many different English words.  Some different Greek and Hebrew words are translated into the same English word.  God chose specific words for very specific reasons.  Every word found in scripture is not placed into the verse by accident, chance or by human selection.  We must view every scripture as the inspired Words from God given to man for a direct purpose.  Then we need to find what the purpose was for that word to be placed into the verse.  It sounds easy but it can get rather difficult.

This next part of the lesson might be a partial review of several points in the first lesson, but I believe they are essential to understand so I wanted to go through them with some new subject emphasis.  As part of this review process I want to explore the main subject verses found in Acts 1 and 2 again to point out what else we need to know from them since this was the beginning of the church age and the first manifestation of a brand new type of Spiritual Baptism sent down from heaven and the first major spiritual experience poured out upon the entire church.  The primary goal of this part of the study will be the accumulation of all of the important scriptural facts (clues) on the subjects of tongues and spiritual baptism.  Let’s start with Acts 1:4:

Act 1:4  And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

Act 1:5  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Here we have Jesus directly speaking to us in the church, so this is very important information.  Jesus begins by telling us that this is the “promise” of the Father that He has told us about.  Right there we understand that this was a previously prophesied future event written from a long time ago based upon Amos 3:7.   God says in Amos 3:7 that nothing will be done without Him first revealing it to His prophets.  That would actually be a great study to do.  Where, was this promised spiritual event prophesied and how did God state it so that it was not clearly presented or understood by the casual reader.  Did you notice that Jesus had to tell them about it and describe it to them in order for it to be understood?  Did you ever ask yourself how did John the Baptist know about this coming spiritual baptism and the disciple understudies of Jesus did not?  Clearly John must have known based upon something that the Spirit of God had shown him that was written in the Old Testament.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus ever told John about this fire from heaven that was to come.   You can however find verses that the Spirit of God filled the mother of John when he was still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15 & 41).  Remember what I just said, because this is where we will be going later in this lesson.

This is a very good time to stop and ask why?  Why, was it necessary for Jesus to tell us what was written?  Why could it not be read by anyone directly in the O.T. and automatically understood by everyone?  According to things like this found in the Bible, we can easily see that people really do not have much of an understanding about what the O.T. is about, do they?  Jesus told the Jews to search their scriptures for in them they believed they had eternal life but then He said these are those that testify of me (John 5:39)!  Why didn’t they already know this?  Can’t they read?  They had most of these O.T. books for 1500 years.  What Jesus was saying to them, is that I’m found there but I’m hidden and you will not locate me unless you search for me diligently. Uh oh, here comes the stated need for us all to become the Sherlock Holmes type of Christian again.  This concept pattern is repeated for every spiritual truth and subject in the O.T.  None of them are self-evidently presented so that they can be understood by the unsaved reader, the casual reader or the natural mind unless God opens it up to them for them to see it and God does do this if their hearts are honest in their intentions to know Him like John the Baptist.

In verse 5 Jesus contrasts two different types of baptism truths using this one statement.  I know I introduced you to this concept in lesson 1, but this is so critical that I’m going to say it again.  Discovering spiritual things correctly in the Bible is the greatest stumbling block to carnal minds.  Jesus just clearly stated that there are two revealed kinds or types of baptism found in the scriptures.  Which one God is speaking of where is one of the greatest challenges to rightly dividing the Word of Truth?  I’d like to say this as gently as possible.  This is one of the greatest reasons why people do not understand things in the Bible correctly.  God calls several different things by the same name and that makes them significantly difficult to separate.  For example, if you have read my other lessons you already know that there are three separate distinct cities named “Jerusalem”.   The name Jerusalem occurs in around 767 verses of the Bible.  How do you know which Jerusalem that God is speaking of by reading any one verse?  One Jerusalem is a natural earthly city in the Middle East.  One Jerusalem is a heavenly spiritual city where the throne of God is located.  Still another coming New Jerusalem is both of the other two cities combined into one new one.   Multiple cities named Jerusalem makes it very complex to determine the correct city being spoken of when reading any isolated verse.  I do not have the time to explain this, so if you want to learn about this concept more completely go and read the Bible lessons on “Hiding the Truth in Plain Sight” and the “Spiritual Family of God” to help get you started.

This information from Jesus in Acts is some of the most important that you can find on this subject of baptism because He is revealing the existence and the difference between two opposing realities of truth.   One baptism truth was described as John’s natural water and the other baptism of truth being the promise of the Holy Spirit’s baptism where there is no natural physical water substance present.  Clearly they are not the same and clearly what was coming is greater than what has already been in the past.  Both are named types of “baptism” and that is the challenge that most face with their incorrect interpretations thinking only naturally ignoring the greater spiritual side of the truth.  We cannot fail to understand the spiritual truth and continue to believe that the natural truth will save us.  I know a lot of people that are heavily focused in on the natural truths and almost completely blind to the spiritual truths of the Bible.  From these two verses we have the following basic facts given:

  1. This was a commandment directly from the mouth of God spoken to the church.
  2. This spiritual baptism was a hidden O.T. promise of God in Heaven for His N.T. people.
  3. The Spirit of God will be the one that baptizes us and not any human man.
  4. This Spiritual baptism is not a water baptism but it is still called by the same name.
  5. The Spiritual is clearly greater than the former water baptism experience and contains implied supersession.
  6. At the time of this spoken statement by Jesus no one being spoken to had yet experienced this type of baptism before since they were required to wait for it in Jerusalem.

Reading down in chapter 1 you will see some more important information about this coming event.   Jesus stops to answer an unrelated question from his naturally thinking disciples in verses 6 and 7 but then He continues in verse 8 to tell them about the coming spiritual baptism that He needed to speak of:

Act 1:8  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Here is another key verse with very specific instructions.   Jesus made four important points here and I’ll start with the third point first.  Jesus said to them “after the Holy Spirit comes upon you”.   This means that they had not already had this experience even though Jesus had already breathed on each of them and told them to receive the Holy Spirit in John 20:22.   Therefore this is further confirmation that this is something brand new that had not ever been given to them before.  Then notice the part of the phrase that says “come upon you”.  That is directly and inversely not an entering into them.  Do you understand the difference between drinking water and wearing water?  That is exactly what is being stated here.  I’ll talk about this a little more in a bit, but just take note of the stated detail fact here.

Let’s back up to the first significant point in this verse.  Jesus begins the statement by saying “you will receive”.  Receiving is the correct counter action response to someone giving you something good like a valuable gift.  If there is no willing giver or good gift then there is no need for any receiving action.  What if I handed you a rattle snake and said this is for you.   If you do not like snakes then that is nothing that you will want to receive.  Therefore Jesus has just implied that this gift from God is worth you receiving and thus a very good gift from God.   Wow I believe that was worth you reading the entire lesson for if you have never received this experience.

What if the giver does not give you a choice but to receive?  Can the gift given still be “you receiving it”?  I do not see how this is possible, any gift must be freely given and freely received or it becomes an act of forced acceptance.  Therefore God must be the one that is going to freely give us the gift and we must be the ones that freely receive this good gift.  This statement from Jesus presents both a personalization for the gift and accountability to receive the gift.  In other words this gift is for me personally if I choose to accept it.  There are always at least three possible responses to every free good gift that is presented to you.  1). You can receive it gratefully, enjoy and use it, 2). you can receive it reluctantly, not being impressed and not use it, or 3). you can simply ignore it, walk away and not accept it all.  The attitude of the precipitant will always matter in any gift exchange.  The gifts from the Holy Spirit are also this way in your life today.  Evaluate your attitude and check up on what you think about the gift that God is offering you before you walk away or receive it.

This statement “you will receive” is an example displaying God’s infinite loving character and divine nature.  God does not ever force a man or a woman to take what He has freely given to them as a gift from His divine sovereign grace.  Forced gifts are never actually true gifts.  I think you understand that don’t you?  Obamacare in the U.S. is nothing but the forced gift of health care whether you want it or not, can afford it or not and that is not a freewill choice of any American to receive it as a free good gift.  Salvation is a free gift from God presented to all of humanity that can be freely rejected by anyone in that group.  In order for a person to be saved, that gift of free salvation must be freely received to make it effective.  If you have not received salvation the Bible way, then you are not saved.  In other words, you have a major answerable part to play in order to possess the spiritual gifts of God.  The gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is this exact same way.  God’s Spiritual Baptism, if not received by the saved Christian will also be easily missed.

I would highly recommend that you go and read the Strong’s definition for the Greek word (G2983) translated as “receive”.  The definition for this powerful word literally means “to take” or “to get hold of”.   Both of these definitions denote personal actions that are required for possession to become effective.  It would be like me placing a package on the table and saying this gift is for you.  You are now required to come, take hold of it, open it and possess it.  If you choose to walk away from it instead then the gift is not known to you and you will do without.  Therefore the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is not an automatic event that God is responsible for making happen in a Christian’s life.  If you want this gift you have something to do to get it or take it.

Here is the time for the second point in Acts 1:8, which is also critical to understand.  Jesus said after the Holy Ghost comes upon you and you receive (take hold of) Him, He will give you a new never before possessed power from on high.  Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit there is no significant power of God in a believer’s life to help change them or to help others.  Without this power people are easily influenced, swayed, deceived, defeated and controlled by the devil.  This power from God is critical to have as a Christian.  Without the power of God, you are a natural human working in only your own ability and no match for Satan and his abilities.  Let’s study the Greek word dunamis (G1411) that is translated as “power” in this verse.  We get our English word “dynamite” from this Greek word.  This Greek word has the meaning of “force”, “mighty work” and “ability”.  It can also mean “miraculous power” which is always greater than natural power.   It gives us the implied meaning that this is how miracles from God can occur.  That makes perfect logical sense to me since this is a spiritual gift from God’s Holy Spirit who is all powerful and omnipotent.  Are you lacking the power of God to help people?  If you are you need this gift immediately.

Now we get to point 4 from Jesus, the reason for God giving us this power and I already implied it in a preceding statement.  Jesus said with this newly acquired power, you will become my witnesses in the whole earth.  The antithesis truth would be “without this power you will not be able to witness to anyone”.  Now do you see why I said you will not be able to fully help other people see the truth without first receiving this gift from God?  You see this gift of spiritual baptism is a partnership arrangement where God’s Spirit works in us and through us to help the people in the world to see the truth.  Every preacher of God needs this gift or they are going to fail.  Every Bible teacher of God needs this gift or they will have nothing of value to say.  Every evangelist of God needs this gift or they will not reach the world.  I’ll go one further and say every believer in Christ needs this gift or they can fail to overcome the enemy.  So let’s recap the major points from verse 8:

  1. The Holy Spirit’s Baptism must be received (taken) by the Christian or they will never possess it.
  2. The Holy Spirit Baptism is a separately received experience from the initial believer’s experience of being born again of the Spirit of God.
  3. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a very good gift worth receiving.
  4. The Holy Spirit’s Baptism is an external coming upon of His Spirit as opposed to the entrance within the spirit of man experience at the New Birth.
  5. After being baptized with the Holy Spirit a Christian will receive “power” (ability to do miracles) from God.
  6. This power is not natural or physical power but rather God’s spiritual power.
  7. The primary reason for God giving us this gift was so that after receiving this power from God people could become God’s “witnesses” to every nation.
  8. Therefore the number one reason for the baptism of the Holy Spirit is for you to bring the light of the Gospel and God’s power to get people saved and delivered from this world of darkness.

All of this that Jesus prophesied in Acts 1 is exactly what occurs in the church age beginning in Acts 2 and continuing until today.  After God poured out His Spirit on the church and they received power, this was the beginning of the global church outreach ministry.  The Gospel was first preached in Jerusalem and then spread to the rest of the world.  If you have not experienced this baptism in a similar Bible way that they did then you have failed to be obedient and follow in what Jesus commanded the church to do and receive.  No I’m not saying that you have to go to Jerusalem and tarry or wait for the power of God to be poured out again.  What God did for the church there at the first, is still available for everyone, everywhere in the church still to receive!  God’s timing and your physical location are no longer relative factors for receiving the gift.   Let’s quickly review a few important verses from Acts 2 to see the recorded facts in this gift that was given and their receiving again:

Act 2:2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

Act 2:3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

Acts 2:1 says that the church was all in place in one accord on the day of Pentecost.  They were being obedient to God’s Word and this is always the beginning of receiving God’s promise.  We should know by now that this was the prophesied Baptism that was sent down from heaven as Jesus had foretold to them in Acts 1 and before.  This baptism came at first like the sound of a rushing mighty wind.  That is actually very relevant information.  A “rushing wind” is a synonymous term for a moving spirit in the Bible.  In fact the Greek word G4151 (pneuma) translated as “Spirit” in the Bible has the definition in Strong’s as being a “current of air” or “a breeze”.  Clearly God is using figurative language in verse 2 to describe a spiritual outpouring experience sent down from heaven.  You might or might not hear the same sound today when you receive.  More than likely you will not since the Spirit of God is here already on the earth in this gift capacity and He does not need to be poured out in this same manner again.  However there are verses in the Bible that imply God will pour out a greater portion of His Spirit during the end of the Church age like He did during this beginning of the church age.  These are verses that speak of the Spirit falling like rain from heaven on the early church as the former raim and upon the end of the church as the later rain (James 5:7).  Therefore I believe that the Spirit of God was initially poured out to get the church started and that He will again be poured out in a greater measure to help the church go out victoriously.

I did not hear this rushing mighty wind when I received, so that is definitely not an important factor for you receiving today.  I believe that God was simply announcing the entrance of the Spirit from Heaven into the church that day.   Then notice again the key word in verse 3 of “tongues” G1100 being connected directly to the new keyword fire (G4442).  As you may recall I showed you where John told Jesus that he needed to be baptized of the Lord and John claimed that this experience was to be done with God’s spiritual fire (G4442).  I find it very fascinating that God’s spiritual baptism experience is described as spiritual fire which is a direct antithesis or contradiction to John’s natural baptism of water.   Natural fire is always quenched, suppressed or extinguished with water.  However, you must also realize that God has also called the outpouring of the Spirit rain.  So we have another challenge to resolve.  God is giving us a paradox of is it rain or is it fire or can it be both depending upon the perspective?  The baptism of the Spirit of God must be a spiritual rain of God’s spiritual fire.  Why is God sending spiritual fire?  That is a really excellent question.  When you study the Bible if you do not ask God andy questions, you will never learn the truth.

I think that this would be an excellent time to describe fire.  Natural fire is a very hot substance and a major source for natural heat.  Fire can be a consuming force that also eliminates all of the consumable substances.  I guess I should rephrase that because fire is a transforming substance that converts solid wood fuel into various gases and ashes.  This consumption is more of a transformation process from a solid substance into gases leaving only the loose reduced solid ash.  God is described to be a “consuming fire” (Heb 12:29) in the Bible.  The same Greek word G4442 is used in both Hebrews 12:29 and Acts 2:3, so they are directly connected together by God’s word selection.  If God’s Spirit is a consuming fire and He was poured out upon the church as the spiritual form of fire, for what purpose would this have been done and what was accomplished by this work?  What can be found in the natural human experience that needs to be burnt up, consumed, and eliminated with God’s baptismal fire experience?  Wow, we could preach on that for a long time.   The human life is weighed down with self-indulgent works of the flesh.  Before being saved and baptized with the Spirit of God, people are entirely focused upon “what is in it for me”.  I believe that you can begin to see that there are numerous old habits that need to be dropped from your life in order to fulfill what God wants you to be.  That is the beginning of what I am talking about with God consuming and transforming you by His Spirit.

Peter as you may recall went from denying Jesus three times nearly 50 days earlier to standing up before thousands in Jerusalem after experiencing this spiritual baptism and receiving the witnessing power sent from God in heaven.  What was consumed, burnt up, taken away from Peter that allowed this rapid transformation from coward to bold preacher?  I believe that it was the removal of his fear mostly.  Suddenly his spiritual eyes had been opened to see God, Jesus and the truth differently.  Suddenly the Spiritual things of God became more real and of greater importance than his fear of death, the Jews, the Romans, etc.  Peter would eventually be crucified upside down because he felt he was unworthy to die like Jesus did.  That is firm confirmation that he was no longer afraid of death to deny his Lord in public again.  That is pretty awesome stuff.  I am getting ahead of myself in this chapter but you can read ahead in the chapter to see that it happened this way.

What I am attempting to do is to show you a simultaneous multiple work from one spiritual experience from God.   This demonstrates that God is multi-talented and more than powerful enough to accomplish concurrent actions with one spiritual action.  I learned this concept when studying the Bible quickly.  If you only look at God as being single-threaded you will miss the majority of what is accomplished.  Take the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for example.  If you believe that Jesus died to only save us and that is all then you have just ignored the many other things that were accomplished in the same work.  Let’s review a verse that I quoted to you in the first lesson but also now show the following verse in context to see how it fits with the subject of this fire sent from God:

Mat 3:11  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Mat 3:12  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

John as we know said God will baptize us with fire, but then does not stop talking.  John continues the subject in the next verse and this is a very interesting new symbolic association to bring into the symbolic fire subject spiritual baptism discussion.  God is being described now as the Supreme Judge.  But, God is also the one that will purge or eliminate everything that is not desirable or righteous in His eyes from our lives.  This symbolic representation is much different than the separation of the sheep from the goats given to us by Jesus in other parables.  God is not speaking of the evil people being separated from the good people here in Matthew 3:12.  You see a single wheat plant is a large stalk of various useable seed components called the wheat and unusable waste by-products called the chaff.  The good parts of the plant need to be separated from the bad pieces of the plant and the bad parts were usually burnt up or consumed by a fire.  Since no human is yet perfect, God is saying we are the wheat plants that need to have the chaff burnt away from the good fruit that will be gathered into God’s barn and saved.  Do you understand the separation now and why the fire of God is being used symbolically?   Now we need to go and find what these chaff parts are defined as in the Word of God to see what will not remain with us throughout eternity.  If we search for the key term of fire (G4442) in the N.T. we should find the following descriptive text describing something being burnt up from a believers life:

1Co 3:10  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

1Co 3:11  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1Co 3:12  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

1Co 3:13  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

1Co 3:14  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

1Co 3:15  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

The central theme in this discourse is the subject of Christian works.  That understanding eliminates the works of evil people or non-Christians from the equation or discussion.  Thus God is discussing Christian works (good and bad from a single plant) like He was talking about two types of substances similar to chaff and wheat in Matthew.  Works is one of those complex subjects found in the Bible that confuse many Christians.  We are told that no Christian is saved by their works (Eph 2:8-9), however the Bible appears to say that we were saved by grace through faith so that we can do good works for God (Acts 9:36).   According to these verses, these good works that we should be doing build upon the foundation of Christ’s works.  Uh oh?  That makes us (the Christians) co-laborers and the common builders of the same spiritual house of God established by the Lord Jesus Christ.  God says our works will be placed into the fire (Spirit of God) and what remains will be what we are rewarded for.   What we see being developed here is that the Holy Spirit was given to us in the church in Acts 2 to help us produce these good works that will last.  This corresponds with our ability (power) to become witnesses for God from Acts 1:8.   If you have never been baptized with the Holy Spirit since you have become a Christian, how can you expect to do any lasting good works without His direct guidance and assistance?  That is one of the main problems with carnal Christians today. They are trying to do good works in their own human efforts apart from God and God says these will be consumed with fire leaving no eternal rewards.  That is a major problem for some.  Let’s see another verse statement from Jesus about works:

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.

According to this verse Jesus is expecting good works from the church.  God says for us to let our light shine so that our good works may be seen before the nations and these works should bring glory to God (and not us).   Here is still the problem, doing some good works is not necessarily doing God’s works.  How would you define good works?  It is a very relative term that can be viewed from many different perspectives.  What is good to you may or may not be what is good to God.  We must go to the Word of God in order to determine the definition for good works.   Bill Gates gives large sums of money to help fight disease in world countries.  Is that the good works of God?  Or will those works be burned up and not remain?  I do not know if Bill Gates is a Christian but I can observe who gets the praise and glory for his works and it is not the nations glorifying God that I can see.  I think I have spent enough time in this lesson on the subject of God’s fire and your works.  I tried to introduce you to something new to think about in this lesson and I believe that I opened the door for a lot more study on these subjects later.  Let’s get back to Acts 2 and continue with verse 3.

Act 2:3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

Notice in verse 3 of Acts 2 that this Spirit of God sat upon them and did not enter into them.  This is further confirmation that matches what Jesus said will happen to them in Acts 1.    This is technically a new very complex subject since the Spirit that “sat upon them” is from a relative unstated perspective that can be adjusted depending upon application or definition of who “them” is describing.  The Greek word translated as “sat” is very literal and it is used many times in the Bible when someone would sit on the ground or in a chair, seat or a throne.  This act of sitting is of course symbolic for another greater spiritual truth.  Jesus is described in the Bible as being seated on the throne in heaven.  This denotes a position of rest and power.  The Bible says God waits for His enemies to be made his footstool (Heb 10:13).  The preceding verse in Hebrew 10:12 again states that Jesus is seated and uses the same Greek word (G2523) that was used in Acts 2:3.  Therefore God is connecting the verses together to inform and teach you something new.  If God sits upon you what is the symbolic message given?  God is stating that we are now His kingdom where He reigns.  Jesus is now seated in heaven, but His Spirit is now seated upon us.  Do you understand that message?

Let’s do a quick review of the human triune make-up of a man/woman.  A man was created as a spirit being that has a soul that lives in a physical body.  We understand this concept from many verses in the Bible, but one is from Genesis 2:7 where God forms the body of the man Adam from the dust of the ground to be the physical container and then God breathes His Spirit into his nostrils to cause his body and soul to become alive.  That single verse mentions all three human component parts of a created man.  Now using that information if God sat upon a man, what part of the man did God sit down on?  According to the Bible we know that God is a Spirit (John 4:24).  Therefore, God is not flesh, even though God became flesh in the man Jesus Christ (John 1:1-14).  However, flesh Jesus is now seated on the throne in heaven and is not physically present on the earth at this time.  So Jesus is not physically sitting upon me today and has never sat upon anyone in the Gospels.  That only leaves the Holy Spirit as a possible candidate for who sat upon me when I was baptized and that actually matches the scriptures that we have been studying precisely.  This spiritual baptism is performed by the Holy Spirit in the unseen spiritual realm.  Therefore the Spirit of God is the entity that sits upon us and we must define where this occurs more completely.

If the Spirit of God sits upon the triune designed human being, where exactly does He sit? Was it externally upon the flesh container, internally on the intermediate mind/soul layer, or deeper inside upon the core of the human spirit of the man/woman?  I will tell you plainly that it was upon our spirit.  The carnal flesh is a temporary dwelling place holder for the eternal spirit and soul and the current body will not be saved.  It would make little sense to me for God to sit upon our flesh if your spirit does not gain any benefit being inside the flesh.  Understand and apply the symbolism given, if God is sitting upon your flesh then God is now in control of your flesh and you should know from you own physical actions that this is not true.  What you do in the flesh is still your personal responsibility.  Do you understand that?  I could give you a lot of Bible verses to confirm that statement but let’s move on for now.  This is also why Christians can be entered and attacked by demons in their flesh.

The human mind/soul is an internal intermediate component placed between our external body and our internal spirit that we are commanded by God to renew (Rom 12:2).  Therefore the mind is mostly a thought realm designed for human management.  I do not see any logical reason for the Holy Spirit to sit upon our thoughts it would make God the ruler of our mind and that will conflict with Romans 12:2.  God is not a mind, God is not a thought, God is still a Spirit and therefore the soul of man does not fit where God is ruling either.  That only leaves the inner eternal spirit of man as the only other possible location for the Spirit of God to be sitting upon and ruling.  I therefore have concluded that the Spirit of God now sits between the internal core spirit, soul and the external human flesh.  In order to understand these spiritual concepts we are going to have to stop thinking naturally.  Jesus stated something very important that should be included in this discussion of where God is located in a human.

Luk 17:21  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

Jesus reveals to us new spiritual information from a human perspective where the kingdom of God is now located.  Jesus said if you are looking externally for God’s kingdom you are searching for Him in the wrong place.  God is now inside of us living in our spirits seated upon our spirits if you have been baptized with the Spirit of God.   Your spirit is the location for the eternal kingdom of God.  I found another very important verse that is also very relevant to this discussion of where the Holy Spirit sits during the spiritual baptism and I want to introduce you to what it says right here:

Gal 3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Keep in mind what water baptism is.  Water baptism was the body putting on and wearing water externally.  Therefore, this spiritual baptism of the Holy Spirit would be of the same type but internally within us by us “putting on” Christ.  Wow, did you see what that verse says and how it fits precisely with our study at this point of the lesson?   If you are putting on Christ in baptism as this verse states what does that literally mean?   Let’s examine the definition of the Greek word translated as “put on”.  This Greek word is the Strong’s number G1476 and it means to “invest in clothing” or “to sink into a garment”.  Did you hear that?  What happened to you when you were water baptized?  When you were water baptized you sank into and under the water and put on the water externally as your clothing or covering.  That is what is being described to us in this verse precisely. Keep in mind what the people in the Bible wore predominantly.  They walked around in robes that went from the shoulders to the ground.  These garments were slipped into and then worn externally as a covering.  That is what is being described by this verse.

We have been baptized into the Spirit of Christ Jesus and now wear Him as our robe of righteousness.  That is a very great profound truth presented to us in the Bible.  To be baptized into Christ in this verse is clearly not a natural water experience.  But, the natural water experience describes the unseen spiritual experience that we can now understand more clearly. Therefore water baptism further defines the spiritual experience to help us understand what is taking place internally in the unseen spiritual man.  I really hope and pray that you are getting these concepts built into your spiritual understanding on what God is doing.  Are you wearing Christ today?  Have you been baptized into Christ today?  If you haven’t ever spoken in tongues before, I can tell that you are not and have not and thus your spirit is walking around naked.

I hesitate to tell you about my personal experiences, but I believe that this will be a benefit to some.  You should never base your faith on the experience of a man, but should only learn to believe what the Word of God says and expect that to be what you experience.  My personal experience of the Holy Ghost baptism was based upon what we have just read about in all of these preceding verses.  Therefore I have scriptures to back what I am about to tell you that happened to me.  I spent my early Christian life powerless and I tried to do things in life in my own power.  I quickly found out that life was getting out of my control and that I needed help from God.  I had grown up with people speaking in tongues all of my life in church.  God tried to get me to receive at a church camp one year and I was really close but resisted out of ignorance.  When I finally came to the end of myself, I asked God to fill me with the Holy Spirit.  I started listening to cassette tapes on the subject of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and how to receive the gift.  I prayed and sought God for several days.  One night going to bed with my wife I was laying in her arms with her hands on me and I felt the strangest new sensation.  Something (God) new inside of me became like a river that was overflowing and it came out from my belly in the form of words that I had never learned or spoken before.  You see I did not know that my wife had received this gift a short time before me.  She did not tell me about it or say anything to me about it.  The Spirit of God had been working to answer my prayer a long time before I even knew it.   God had led my wife to two Christian ladies and they prayed for her and she received the gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.

After I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, the Spirit of God manifested inside of my body in the form of tangible perceptible heat, fire like a spiritual flame.  In the center of my chest region I could sometimes feel this heat or flame of the Holy Ghost fire so strong that it was distracting to the extreme.  At this time I can only conclude that I needed this natural experience to teach me about what was occurring spiritually since I hardly understood any of these scriptures at all.   Before I was baptized in the Holy Ghost I understood barely anything of the entire Bible.  After the Holy Spirit came upon me and I felt this internal spiritual flame inside of me I started seeing new things in the Bible that I had never seen before.  This experience of God changed me more than anything else that I have ever experienced from God.  Do not misunderstand what I just said.  Being born again was the first most important factor for my eternal security, but without the second baptism experience of the Holy Spirit I would not have had the power or ability to teach you about either of them.

I cannot guarantee you that God will do for you exactly what and how He did it for and to me since I’m not God.  I can guarantee you based upon His word that He will come upon you if you ask Him and that you will speak in tongues when He does this. I do not know if everyone feels the flame of fire like I did or if I was a unique case.  If you would like to tell me about your experience, I would be glad to learn about it and how it was either similar or different than my experience that I just shared with you.  I have felt this fire in my chest now for well over 20 years and still do on many occasions like right now as I type.  I value the manifested presence of the Spirit of God inside of me and I know you will also if you ask Him to clothe your spirit with His Spirit.

We have been going through a lot of new spiritual information on these subjects using many of the verses that I have already touched on in the first lesson along with some new verses that were not found in the first lesson.  I hope that you are following why I am doing this to teach what the Bible says.  But, here now is one of the key verses that I was working up to for you to see today:

Act 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Bible says that “they” were “all” what?  God says they were “filled” with the Holy Ghost and that is the brand new keyword phrasing that we will need to grasp, fully, understand and add to our search list of topics to study.  Normally when we think of something being filled we think of the natural concept of an empty pitcher or a cup that we can pour water into until it overflows.  When the formerly empty pitcher or cup overflows we know that it has been filled to capacity.  It is the same principle when putting gas into your car.  You do not technically know that it is actually full until it spills out and you cannot put any more into the tank.  Here is where we begin to get into new complex aspect of the baptism subject using a brand new perspective and description of a fresh creative process of the Spirit of God.  Keep in mind that this is just a new perspective to the same subject of external baptism that we have previously looked at.  If water baptism is an outward immersion and not the internal filling how can we resolve that definition and balance it with what we are observing with this statement of being “filled” to overflowing.  Can you see the potential conflict and paradox that is being presented?   We need to ask God a really deep question right about now.  How can the Spirit of God both sit upon us and fill us at the same time?  Wow, I think this is going to be tough to explain and probably harder for some to understand.

I’m going to ask you to think again and try to visualize and answer this question, how can you fill something and sit on something simultaneously?  The only way that this is logically possible is when what you are filling and what you sitting upon are two different things.  Think of it this way.  What if you had a pitcher container within another pitcher container?  Could you fill one outer pitcher container while sitting upon the other inner pitcher container?  Let me ask you to think of your body as being one outer container with your mind being another in between container and finally your spirit being the inner-most container.  Earlier I described your body not being alive until the inner spirit container has been occupied by your spirit.  But, using this analogy we must also consider your mind as an empty container which would be void of knowledge until information is placed in it either good or bad.  I can also see where each container compartment can be filled separately and not effect the other.   Ok, I warned you that this was going to get deep.

Using my analogy of multiple levels of containers within containers I can see where Satan can attack a human at potentially three levels of human existence.  Physical attacks of Satan may occur with manifestations of sickness and disease and this will be the outer level of his oppressive attack realm.  The mind is a secondary level and he can cause you mental illness here in this realm or simply cause people not to be able to see the truth using vain imaginations and contrary or opposing thoughts against the Word of God.   Now spiritual possession would be the utmost control of an individual.  This level of control is not possible for Christians since our spirits are the dwelling place for the Spirit of God. You see in the Bible God says “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 Jn 4:4).  Did you notice that God says I’m in you here and that this is different than being upon you in Acts 2?  Did you also notice that God says I’m not in those that are in the world and someone else is?  This someone else is the devil.  Let me try to clarify some of these statements using more verses in the Bible.

1Co 6:17  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

Here we have a statement of unity that occurs between the born again man and God as they become one spirit.   If we are “one in spirit” with the Lord God then no devil can enter into our spirit to dwell also.  Spiritual demon possession is not possible for a real born again Christian.  This is also why I said that the in-dwelling of the Spirit of God is not the same thing as the “sitting upon” baptism of the Spirit of God that we are studying.  It also helps us to understand why the sitting upon is necessary.  We need the power of God to help us in both the soul and physical body arenas.  This does not mean that we cannot be attacked in our mind or our body, but again greater is He that is in us that he that is in the world.  We draw upon the God that is inside of us and rest in His ability to deliver us.  Since we are now on the subject of being “filled” with the Spirit of God I want to tell you that this act of filling is nothing new just occuring in the church age.  We have already observed where John the Baptist was filled from his mother’s womb with the Spirit of God.  So being filled is not the new part for the church, the speaking in tongues is the only new part that was never given before and we will talk about that more as we go.  Let’s go to the Old Testament and see more men filled with the Spirit of God and what occurred when this happened to them:

Exo 28:3  And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

These are types and shadows of what was coming to the church.  These were said to be wise hearted men filled with the Spirit of God.  What does that mean?  It means that God gave them an ability that they did not previously possess.  It means that God’s Spirit sitting within them was able to give their mind and their bodies’ supernatural power to accomplish the plan of God.  Remember that none of these men are born again with the Spirit of God living in their spirits (one spirit) like the church.  Wisdom is a form of knowledge application that produces great or positive results in the world.  I am describing a mental process that allowed these people in the O.T. an ability that they could not have achieved without God’s direct help.  We can see that the Spirit of God gave to them knowledge, understanding and wisdom to create things in this world with their hands in work and labor.  Wow, I think we are tying up many of the loose ends that I have left hanging today in this lesson.  We are beginning to see why the Spirit of God desires to baptize us.  Can you see it?  Let me give you another O.T. verse that helps to confirm my point:

Exo 31:3  And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

God again says this, but much more directly in this statement.  God says they have been given knowledge, understanding and wisdom by the Spirit of God for all manner of work.  Wow, again and double wow!  God is saying it is my Spirit that will help you to do good works on the earth.  Apply these Old Testament examples and extend the pattern into the New Testament church.  Take these natural abilities and make them spiritual abilities.  God is saying it is His provided knowledge that we require.  It is His provided understanding that we must possess.  Then God says it is His provided wisdom that will allow us to become the good workers, laborers and witnesses to every nation.

I have gone very long in this lesson and I believe I need to wrap it up here.  I pray that you are grasping the concepts.  I believe the Spirit of God gave me this message for you and that Satan is not very happy with me doing it.   I think I will end with a synopsis of the Acts 2 concepts that I just went through.

  1. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament was an event that had never taken place at anytime previously in Biblical or human history.
  2. As stated before this spiritual baptism was given to the church by God to be the fulfillment of the promise that He made to His new covenant people.
  3. The Baptism of the Spirit of God was sent down from heaven by Jesus after His ascension into heaven.
  4. The first recorded occurrence of divine Spiritual baptism in the church age was described in Acts chapter 2.  But also this was not the last.
  5. This experience was described by God as cloven tongues of fire that sat upon each of them.
  6. God’s spiritual baptism is the outpouring of His supernatural spiritual rain called the fire from heaven.
  7. God’s fire was given to the church to help us to eliminate and overcome the works of the flesh and teach us how to do the good spiritual works of God.
  8. The experience was given to the entire church for the corporate benefit of the whole body of Christ to achieve a greater purpose of God’s plan.
  9. Being filled with the Spirit of God is the same as being baptized with the Spirit of God they are just two different names, perspectives and views of the same event.

I know I said more than those few points, but you can go back and reread it again to get more out of it.  Thank you for reading and studying the Bible.  We will explore more of God’s word in the future.  Keep us in your prayers and be blessed in all the works of your hands as the Spirit of God fills you with the Spirit of Wisdom.

Understanding Bible Faith. A Healing from Cancer Testimony! Part 17

(Ver 1.3)  Today’s lesson is Part 17 in one of the most important Bible study series that I have ever given to you about the subject of “Understanding Bible Faith”.  If you have not read all of the lessons I would strongly recommend that you go and start reading with “Part 1” first and then continue through the series.  Today is going to be a really different kind of post in this series.   The Spirit of God led me in a way this week that I really did not expect to go.  This week I was spending some time on Facebook and I was led to talk to a friend and the conversation went in a direction that only God could have orchestrated.  Today I am going to share my friend’s testimony that I received this week about her mother’s miracle of healing.  Hopefully you will read this testimony with an open mind and will learn something from it while being also encouraged that no matter what the diagnosis is from the doctor, that nothing is impossible or too difficult for God to solve and help you through.  I will let you read the entire testimony that she wrote and then I will comment on it at the end and help you to understand what happened and why her mother has lived past the age of 80 after being given a near death sentence by the doctors at a young age.  This testimony is from over 25 years ago.  Here is what she sent to me and I want you to know that it was her anointed writing that produced this:

HEALING FROM CANCER TESTIMONY

My senior year in high school was Straight A’s, Dean’s List, Honor Roll, National Honor Society, Best Writer Award on the school newspaper and a small scholarship to help pay for college.  Just when things seemed to be turning out pretty good for me, things got pretty shaken up.

Found out my dad was sneaking around with a young gal from his college classes. My mom found out the lump in her breast was cancer & decided she didn’t want to put up with both my dad & the cancer, so after 28 (not so happy years) of marriage, they split up.

My mom went into the hospital at the Air Force Base, and had a Bi-lateral, Radical Mastectomy – both breasts removed, and most of the lymph nodes from under the arms too.

With my dad out of the house, this left me and my older brother Tony on our own. The task of calling family, friends & church people to give them the news about Mama’s diagnosis, fell to me, because Tony thought it sounded better if I the person giving the info was crying and emotional (rather than him, in his ever monotone, emotionless way).

Mama was in the hospital 18 days – she was afraid to come home because she feared the dog might jump on her & hurt her, but she did finally come home. That was hard. Moms aren’t supposed to get sick. At least not that sick. And with chemotherapy treatments, she got pretty darned sick. Kids aren’t supposed to have to deal with that kind of stuff – they’re just not equipped for it. Teen-agers are still quite self-centered, at least I was, and so looking back at this time is hard, because I just wasn’t there for Mama like I would be today. This was a battle that she fought on her own, just her & God.

Because she was now separated (not divorced, because then she would lose her medical coverage from the military), she was on her own financially… with two teenagers at home. Tony did move out around this time. And the house had to be sold as part of the divorce settlement. I was not emotionally equipped for college, so I dropped out after the 1st semester. I had never had a job, so I wasn’t equipped for that either. I was pretty lost and self-absorbed. Mama, endured 9 months of awful chemotherapy while still driving 20+ miles each way to work & back; often driving with a bucket on her lap, because she was so sick from the chemo.

Somehow God brought her through all of this by His grace and a series of miracles.

Back when she first found the lump, a friend asked her what she would do if the doctor told her it was cancer. Mama said, “I’ll just tell him to sew me up & let me go home to die.”

But when the doctor gave her the news, he took her to the room of another patient. In that room, she saw a lady lying in the bed, one side of her chest flat and with stitches, and her husband standing next to her. First Mama saw the surgical wound, but then their eyes met. She said it was like the lady was saying, “But I’m alive!”  Mama then felt “billows of peace” rolling over her with each breath she took. Instantly she did the first three steps of AA: 1) Admit there’s a problem too big to handle; 2) Admit there is a God that can restore her; 3) Turn her life, will & problem over to God.

She told the doctor to schedule the surgery, and then she went to bed. Sometimes, in the midst of a battle, the best thing you can do is rest and sleep, and let God take over.

The surgery was done. She was bandaged up and mostly alone in her hospital room. Mama, was always one to have her hair and make-up done up nice before going anywhere, so these endless days in the hospital were challenging in that respect as well. Wanting to try to regain some normalcy, she asked a nurse if someone could come wash her hair for her – apparently not! So Mama went in her bathroom, bent over the sink and washed her hair herself. Of course it hurt, but it had to be done. The next step was to pin her hair up. Pinning up her hair was a ritual Mama had done every night since she was 13 years old. It consisted of methodically taking very small sections of her hair, wrapping the hair around her finger, sliding that bit off her finger to lay flat on her scalp, and securing it in place with two bobby pins. This would cause the hair to dry in with a curl in it, rather than the pin-straight style that came naturally to it. This process of pinning up her hair required both hands working on top and above her head.

When the nurse walked in on her, she gasped, turned around and left. Nurse number two came in and did the same. Apparently, in the course of the surgery, the muscles needed to raise the arms are cut, so that movement is not possible… or is very painful. As they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way! Some days or perhaps weeks later a volunteer from “Reach to Recovery” came in to teach Mama how to walk her fingers up the wall, to exercise her arms and regain that movement. Well, Mama was way ahead because of her hair pinning chores.

Somehow life did go on. The house sold. Mama found an apartment for her and me. Although I don’t remember packing, I know we must have. Then somewhere along the way, sometime after the 9 months of chemo, Mama had another divine intervention.

Battling with pain in her liver as well as depression, one morning it was just too much to face. Mama lay in bed, and told God, “You gave me a job to do, if you want me there, you’re going to have to do something.” And then she pressed her head even deeper into the pillow. Before she knew what happened, she found herself sitting on the edge of the bed, with her feet on the floor, and no idea how she got there!

She made her way to the bathroom, where the orange glow of the countertop made her look even worse as she stared at herself in the mirror. Her response was only, “Unh–uh, God!” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw this small, brilliantly colored rainbow with block lettering. The message read “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. She closed her eyes, yet still she saw it. “Great, now I’m hallucinating!” She thought.

The rainbow went with her as she got in the shower, and with her eyes closed, she kept reading it. Every time she read it, it moved, like it was dancing and it was progressively moving closer to her. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. Until it went inside her mouth and exploded! She said it felt like the explosion shook and vibrated all through her. As she stepped out of the shower, she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had healed her.

As she walked through the doorway from the bathroom to the bedroom, she saw something above her, shine down on her, and she said it “Tattooed” on her brain: “It doesn’t matter what it looks like, I Have Healed You.”. She said it was so real that she answered aloud, “Okay”.

She had not gotten a doctor’s report or diagnosis back yet, so she didn’t know what she was healed of, but she knew she was healed.

On the way to work that morning, Mama told me this whole story. And she said that she had been so sick with chemo that she would not go back on it. She said we serve a God who heals. I agreed (I did not know about the prayer of agreement: Matthew 18:19 “Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven.”). When she got to work, she shared her story with her co-workers; Christian counselors, who prayed over her.

By the time she went to see the Oncologist to get the news of the liver scan that had been done, the doctor was quite upset by the many new spots he saw. He motioned for Mama to look at the slides hanging on the light boxes. As she turned to look, all she could see was a hand, with fingers grasping a round pull ring, and a white shade pulled down preventing her from seeing the slides. At the same time she heard again, “It doesn’t matter what it looks like, I HAVE HEALED YOU!”

She left that doctor’s office without a prescription or a treatment plan; after all, she was healed.

That was more than 25 years ago. Mama is now 80 years old and is still healthy & well. Every now and then a pain will trigger a fear, but as she shares her story of God’s power, faithfulness and love, she is reminded of God’s word to her, that she was healed…. and still is, no matter what it looks like!

LEARNING THE FAITH LESSONS REVEALED IN THIS TESTIMONY!

I can possibly understand different things from reading this testimony of deliverance than you can see right now.  I can see many hidden faith lessons presented to us that I feel are valuable for us to understand in this story.  But, I also believe that I understand the subject of faith now much better than when I first started to study this subject of faith extensively well over 20+ years ago.  Too often people do not understand that their current level of spiritual knowledge places limitations upon the things that they can receive from God’s Word.  God tells the Corinthian church in 1 Cor 3:1 they are still carnal and unable to receive the spiritual things of depth and substance.  Thus their spiritual maturity level placed severe limitations on what could be taught to them by Paul.    Everything that is being taught by me or any other real Bible teacher is relative to two realities.  What I teach you is totally relative to what I know on the subject and what you can understand about the subject is also totally relative to what you already know on the subject and the basics found in the Bible.   I could easily go over your head with deep information, but I try very hard not to do that.  That is why I teach using a series of lessons style of progressive information with limited content in each lesson.  I try to go with the basics of a subject first, introducing you to progressively more complex parts of the subject in succession like they do in school with math for example.  Therefore as you progress in this knowledge of God you should be able to grow into more complex sections of the information presented.  I recommend that you go back and reread all the lessons more than once.  This way you will catch new things that you did not see or understand before.

I am going to go through the testimony and give you some new perspectives to look at on the subject of faith.   For example, many times we get the wrong idea from reading the Bible that a miracle of God is only an instantaneous spectacular phenomenon of the power of God and does not fit with a slower extended over time process like this testimony speaks of.   Clearly this testimony was a new extension of the miracle working power of God over time.  God was certainly involved in her deliverance even though it took an extended duration of time to fully manifest.  Perhaps the reason why this detail took time will become clearer as I continue to go through the analysis of what was said and make some direct comparisons of this modern life experience with another Old Testament example that God gave to us as an example of faith to follow and to learn from.  I will be teaching you using the story of Joshua and how they took the Promised Land as you will see soon.

Satan is definitely an equal opportunity oppressor, destroyer and murderer.  He comes at anyone, anywhere and at any time that they will let him.  The Bible says that “Your adversary the devil goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  That is exactly what is occurring in this testimony.  I believe that is one of the first things to learn from this testimony.  The origination of the cancer was not from God.  God did not send the cancer and then deliver her from it for that would be idiotic.  The next lesson to learn is that sometimes bad things happen to good people and we can understand that this occurs because of what Adam chose in the garden.  After Adam sinned God said “The man has become as one of us, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:22).  Therefore Adam allowed all evil to cross the threshold into the world because of his sin.  When Adam let evil into the world he also let sickness come in the same door.  I have a Bible lesson series on the specific subject of “Understanding Healing, Sickness and Disease” if you would like a more complete definition for why sickness is an evil and why it exists in our world.   You need to settle in your mind and your heart today and determine who your God is.  Is your God good or is your God evil or perhaps you are really confused and think that your God is both simultaneously?  As long as this is not established in your heart it will cause you to doubt.  This is exactly what Satan wants, since doubt will defeat you from receiving healing.  Let me ask you again?  Where does cancer come from?  Is it from God or is it from Satan?  Jesus gave us the answer and He taught us something very important in the Gospels and gave us some direct clues to that question.  In the book of John Jesus informed us that it was not God who performs the evil in the world.  Jesus said “the thief has come only to steal, kill and destroy but I have come that you might have life” (John 10:10).  Jesus said very clearly that “I am not the thief”.  Jesus said I have come to give to you, life abundantly.  This was God in the flesh telling you He does not do anything evil to hurt you.  Is cancer a good thing or a blessing?  If you think it is good then you are cleverly deceived by Satan the thief.  Cancer steals your health, your time, your ability, your strength, your money and your life if you let it.  But Jesus said I am here to give you life and not to give you cancer.  This is really not rocket science but you need to settle it.

Jesus revealed in John 10:10, that there exists two opposing forces; one of evil versus one of good and He attributes death and doing evil to you as being from Satan and life and doing good to you as being from God.  Therefore, if any evil is working in your life it was Satan that was behind it and not God.  Acts 10:38 teaches us that Jesus went about DOING GOOD, healing all those that were “oppressed” of the devil.  That verse clearly teaches us that all sickness is the opposite of good and is an evil satanic oppression.  Therefore, cancer is also a part of this unified set of evil oppression brought to people by Satan.  Consider the synonyms of “oppression” because they are fascinating to learn.  Oppression means “domination”, “coercions”, “cruelty”, “tyranny”, “subjugation”, “persecution”, and “harassment”.  None of these describe God at any time or under any circumstances.  These words are the antithesis of God and His goodness (Rom 2:4).

Here is another interesting bit of factual information that I learned from studying this information in the Bible.  Satan can cause physical diseases, illnesses and symptoms to manifest in your external natural physical body.  I really do not have time to fully elaborate why this is possible or what gives Satan access, but know that there was something that you did that opened the door for him.  I know this because of the verse that I gave you earlier about “Satan goes about as a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour”.  We can clearly read that Satan is not able to devour just anyone that he wishes or he would not need to seek.  To seek means to look for something like a hidden door or search for something like a hidden passage that will allow him access to devour you.  What is it that you do that opens the door for him?  I really can’t explain it completely here, but if you want to know you can begin to read my series of Bible lessons on the power of your tongue and gain many clues to how this is possible.  You see the Bible says “Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those that love it will eat the fruit thereof” (Prov 18:21).  Did you notice that this verse in Proverbs repeats the same two elements described by Jesus in