(Ver 1.3) This is Part 2 in a series of very advanced spiritual Bible lessons on what I believe is a critical and important subject that has been popularly overlooked by so many Bible teachers and students. The more that I have studied this subject the more that I have become absolutely convinced that this is a required Bible theme to learn about. After learning this subject we then must learn how to balance it with other vital spiritual Bible subjects like Faith, Love and Grace to name just 3 other major Bible themes. If you have not read “Part 1” I would recommend that you go back and read this lesson before continuing here.
Too many times in the church a pastor receives a revelation from God on a particular subject and too often they take it way beyond the base revelation to an extreme position of error. This is what I often call “Taking A Truth and Making it THE Only Truth or THE Highest or Most Important Truth without a Regard to any Other Truths in the Bible”. Any Bible truth can be exalted into an extreme position either to the left or to the right of the balanced middle and this will usually cause the belief to become an unbalanced deception. It is happening in many churches today with the Grace truth. Too many modern Bible teachers have taken the awesome truth of God’s revealed Grace and simply ignored the other central themes of God’s Holiness and Judgment to name just two that must be balanced with His Grace correctly.
In today’s Bible lesson we will be introduced to the major theme of “Judgment” from the perspective of the Heavenly Court system. Grace and Judgment are both central themes found from Genesis to Revelation. We can see these subject threads woven together in practically every book. For example, in Genesis 6:8 God says Noah found His Grace. But, within the same context the world was found to be so wicked that God was sorry that He ever created man on the earth (Gen 6:6) and He judged the earth with a great flood. The subjects of Grace and Judgment are found intertwined so closely together that it should absolutely amaze us.
In this lesson we will be looking at this subject of Judgment from the viewpoint of New Testament writers like Paul and Peter. Both wrote about grace but they also included a balanced message of God’s judgment even in the same context. I would be a fool to ignore the subject of divine judgment just because I like the subject of Grace much more. You see our flesh loves the grace message but our spirit should understand that there is still judgment available for sin. Grace is not the freedom to sin with no consequences, but should rather be viewed as a position of humble thankfulness that I was saved from committing sin.
The battle between doing right and doing wrong occurs in our minds. Satan tempts us with thoughts to sin and God convicts us through our spirit. This battle can be called the human conscious. However, the human conscious should be viewed to be the Holy Spirit trying to help us think correctly, and then to say and do what is true, good and right. I, like other Christians am in a war between these two realities. It is my goal and priority to let my born-again spirit overrule my flesh desires but sometimes it is more of a challenge than at other times. I pray that you understand what I am talking about.
I believe the LORD showed me that this lesson series on God’s Divine Spiritual Laws and Court System in Heaven must be read, understood and balanced rightly with today’s extreme Grace teaching that tries to teach us many things that do not touch on what is being stated in the verses that will be clearly covered in this series.
God teaches us very plainly in Hosea 4:6 that His people are destroyed (by Satan) because of their ignorance and stubborn refusal to learn the truth. He is so clear in John 8:32 that it is only by the dedicated continuation in studying the Bible that we will ever learn the actual truth and only then can this truth that we know correctly set us free from the things that the enemy uses to keep us in captivity and bondage.
Therefore, we should learn that what we do not know is being used against us by our legal opponent and adversary Satan to gain an advantage over us while we live here on this planet (2 Cor 2:11). I pray that you will continue to read these lessons with an open and receptive mind avoiding any prejudicial preconceived ideas, thoughts or conclusions towards what is being taught. I believe with all my heart that it is the Holy Spirit’s direction for this information to go forth and be spread to all believers. Pray first before continuing and ask the Holy Spirit to bear witness with the truth and to reveal anything that may be only a man’s opinion on any verse, topic or subject.
We are commanded by God to study and to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). But, only the Holy Spirit can lead us into all truth (Ps 25:5, John 16:13). So put your full confidence in Him and not me or anyone else on the earth. Let’s begin Part 2 with a quick review of the first lesson in which I have added some additional supporting evidence that was not included in the first lesson.
Lesson 1 Review with New Additional Thoughts
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
In the first lesson in the series we should have learned at least two primary essential Bible truths. The first truth came from the Lord recorded by Peter to us in 1 Peter 5:8 and the second came to us from John written in Revelation 12:10. We also learned from two very important Greek words. The first Greek word G476 was translated as “adversary” and this word meant an “opponent in a lawsuit or a court of law”. The second Greek word was G2725 and was translated as an “accuser” and it is defined as a “person who brings a complaint of law to court against someone else that allegedly commits a crime”. Both were very accurate technical descriptions of Satan who God informed us in Revelation 12:10 brings up charges of accusations against us as brothers and sisters in Christ every single day and night. The term “day and night” in Revelation 12:10 must represent a continuous repeated daily action of Satan. These two words are used like this several times in the New Testament and this is the correct way to interpret them.
Always remember that Satan is God’s enemy and our enemy and please never believe that he has no right, power or ability to win a law case over you because he is very tricky and has been around much longer than you and knows so much more than you can imagine. We are in a legal fight for our lives and we must understand that doing nothing to fight or win permits Satan almost automatic victory.
In 1 Peter 5:8 Christians not the world are warned that we have an “adversary” who is named the “devil” and he is plainly defined to be our legal opponent in the court of heavenly law. It is worth noting again that this Greek word translated as “adversary” is only used 4 times in the N.T. and every time it is mentioned it refers to a court case between legal opponents. This was certainly no accident and God is informing us in a very pure direct easy to understand way that this is how He is using this word in 1 Peter 5:8 also. There can be no other logical conclusion that Satan is anything else but a spiritual individual that is bringing up charges before God to gain an advantage over us in order to devour us. If you don’t believe me please hang in there and read all the verses that we will cover today and then tell me if you still believe the same.
We should have learned from reading 1 Peter 5:8 that our adversary the devil (Satan) is described to be going about the whole earth to find someone (primarily a Christian since it was written to us) to devour. I would ask any reader this question to consider, what is Satan seeking (looking for) that permits him to devour some but not others? It would appear to me based upon Job chapter 1 that God places a hedge of protection in order to keep Satan out. Why would it be necessary for a hedge of protection to be present if Satan could do nothing to Job unless he had permission? I find that to be an amazing question. If Satan could only harm someone if granted permission as is taught by many Bible teachers there would be no need for any hedge round about Job. It is fascinating to me to see in Job 1 that Satan accuses God of doing this unjustly and accuses Job of fearing God for no cause. There were at least two accusations brought before God’s court and we need to see this.
However, it is very important to learn from 1 Peter 5:8 that Satan cannot devour everyone. Therefore, there must be something that a Christian does or does not do that permits Satan’s admittance into their lives. Also by antithesis reasoning there must be something that a Christian can do to keep Satan from killing, stealing and destroying their lives. I believe the determining factor is our sin and we will learn why as we continue in this study.
I have concluded from significant study of the book of Job that Job opened the door in the hedge and we will certainly be getting into this part of the subject as we continue the Bible study series. Please expect to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit on what we all need to do to keep Satan as far away from us as is possible in this world. Let’s continue to explore another new thought.
I believe that it is also critical to learn the definition of the title “devil” used by the LORD in 1 Peter 5:8. We should learn these details in order to more fully comprehend the impact of the warning being spoken of by the LORD. I believe the title being used in every verse reveals a great deal about Satan’s specific character, plans and methods of operation. The Greek word G1228 that is translated as “devil” literally means an “accuser”. This title speaks volumes of information to us. It teaches us that Satan and his followers are speaking malicious accusation against us as related in Revelation 12:10 both day and night. Who do you believe they are doing this to? Of course we learned in Job 1 before the law was given Revelation 12 long after Jesus was resurrected from the dead that these accusations have been taken up before God the supreme judge in Heaven. I pray that you will agree that spiritual trials will continue until the middle of the tribulation where all of sudden Satan is finally cast down never to return.
You may remember in Lesson 1 that God connected this verse statement of truth found in 1 Peter 5:8 directly to the activity found in the book of Job using very similar synonymous truths. I believe this was not an accident or chance occurrence and that it confirms that Satan came before the throne of God to hold a court trial of the man Job. I also firmly believe that this connection confirms that these same court trials were occurring even after the death, burial and resurrection of the LORD Jesus in the early church day when Peter wrote this epistle. I believe 1 Peter 5:8 was a part of God’s commentary of the O.T. story of Job that helps us interpret what happened in the book more accurately. Always remember a basic rule of interpretation that the God who wrote the Bible is smarter than both you and I and He will always assist us in the correct interpretation His own writings.
I would recommend that you go and reread Job 1 and 2 again and again from this new legal trial perspective. For example, we should have learned in Job 1:6 that Satan had come into heaven before the presence of God Almighty to present his legal case for obtaining access into Job’s blessed and protected life. We should be able to know that this was an accusatory trial case being presented to God since the spiritual being described is revealed to us by the name “Satan” in Job chapters 1 and 2 nearly 14 times. God’s usage of this name proves to us by the name’s definition that this being was present before God as an “opponent” and an “adversary” present to accuse Job. We should be able to easily see how the name “Satan” in Job and the description “adversary” in 1 Peter 5:8 are married together. One is a Hebrew transliteration (Job) and the other is just a translated Greek word (1 Peter 5). But, both mean the exact same thing.
Again names and titles in the Bible have great significance. None are there by unplanned chance. For example, one of the first direct titles mentioned of Satan found in the Bible is seen in Genesis 3:1. Here, Satan is called by a symbolic description of “serpent”. The title used by God in Genesis 3:1 is a totally different type of informative description. Serpent is in no manner like the other names used in other verses like Satan, devil, accuser or adversary. This teaches us that Satan was not present in the garden to accuse, but to do something else that he is also good at.
If you look up the definition of “serpent” in the Strong’s Concordance you will find it comes from a Hebrew root word H517 that can describe someone who came to Eve’s mind to whisper a magic spell. Wow, that is deeper than many may possibly comprehend. Serpent literally meant someone who was attempting to magically foretell the future to Eve. My main point here is that God reveals what Satan does or is doing to us by his symbols, names and titles. We need to learn this principle and use it to help us understand spiritually what is then happening in the context. Let’s get back to our lesson 1 review.
It is critical to see how God asks Satan where he had come from in Job 1:7. Because God is the omniscient author of the entire Bible He knows the right questions to ask to teach us what is happening. It is this wise question and true answer of Satan that provides the joining evidence that we need to learn from. Satan replies to God’s question very truthfully by saying he had just come from walking up and down on the face of the earth which is the amazing parallel admission of confirmation of the truth that we had learned about Satan in 1 Peter 5:8. This Hebrew word in Job 1:7 which was translated as “going to and fro” literally means that Satan had just come from traveling all around the earth and was there in heaven for an implied purpose. We learned Satan’s motivation for this movement from earth to heaven in God’s commentary description in 1 Peter 5:8. Satan was only searching the earth so that he could locate one of God’s people on the planet that he could devour. This is exactly what Satan does to Job, is it not? If we believe anything has changed from Job to Peter we would be mistaken. Satan was doing the exact same thing in Job’s day as he was doing in Peter’s day and even all the way to the current church now. We are in the exact same church as Peter was writing to therefore, please don’t write off these words as unimportant or as not applying to you.
This direct connected satanic activity description between Job 1:7, 1 Peter 5:8 to Revelation 12:10 is no inadvertent assembly of synonymous truth. God has designed the Bible with tremendous amounts of hidden connected verses and these help us to understand correctly the information that He planned to reveal to us in these last days. I pray that you are learning how God does this so that we do not have to lean onto our own weak human reasoning as so many have.
We then should have learned from Job 1 that it was only after the appearance of Satan before God’s throne of judgment that Satan was given access to come back to the earth to devour (kill, steal and to destroy) Job, his family and his possessions. It is so very clear to me that Satan won this access legally and justly to Job’s life in God’s heavenly court system.
I believe that God is the Supreme Judge of everyone but, I also believe His character is amazingly far above our human comprehension. We cannot ever compare God to any human judge on the earth. I have never seen any human judge that knows everything and never make any errors. No, I believe that God is perfect and does not make any mistakes in judgment and that He is a completely fair and just to humans in every spiritual court case. Therefore, if judgment is pronounced on any man there was a valid cause and reason and we will learn more of this as we continue the series.
I also believe that God is compassionate and merciful in His judgments. Let’s explore this part of the topic briefly. Job is not directly mentioned very many times in the Bible but this next verse is another divine commentary on the court trial and verdict that was rendered in this law case found in the book of Job.
Jas 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
According to God’s Holy Word commentary He showed Job great mercy in His judgment. I know it might not seem that was true by our reading the book, but He did. For example, we can clearly read in Job 1:12 how God restricted Satan from touching or taking the physical life of Job personally. That limitation was a display of His infinite and great mercy. The entire duration of the trial of Job did not last a significant amount of time especially in light of God’s view of time and eternity. God actually restored and blessed Job at the end of the book more than was taken by Satan away from him at the beginning of the book. So again we see God’s infinite forgiveness, grace and mercy at work. Let’s go back to James 5:11 and continue reading further.
The Greek word that was translated as “the end” in this verse in James is G5056. This is a very fascinating word to understand. One of the primary meanings of the Greek word is “the point aimed at as the limit”. It is absolutely critical to know that Satan’s attack usually have a termination point where it will end. I said usually because it does depend upon if we learn the lesson of Job and stop doing what we were doing to let Satan in our life to devour us. If we repent like Job did and close the open door of attack the blessings of God can and will return.
In one other definition of G5056 it can also represent “the price that was paid as a fine or tax”. Wow that is an important legal description of judgment from a trial if you do not know it. Job paid a very heavy price for his sin, but yet I believe that we can read and see that he was able to get his life back on track by repenting at the end of the book before God in Job 42:6. We should clearly learn from this book that if we do the same we can also recover from what we have done to allow Satan’s access into our lives. I believe that knowledge should encourage and inspire us and give us hope.
I know that many will try writing this teaching of Job off by explaining it away as an act of the Sovereign God giving Satan His permission to teach Job a lesson. Others will say this is the Old Testament and we are not now under that law or that covenant. But I cannot agree with those reasonings using any Biblical rational form of belief since God is a loving good God (1 John 4:8, Romans 2:4) and I believe does not work with Satan to correct His people.
Then you must also understand that Job was not at all under the Mosaic law or the Old Covenant since his life story occurred before either existed. What we are learning are three examples of spiritual judgment from heavenly court trials. Job was before the Old Covenant and law, Peter was in the Old Covenant and under the law and then in 1 Peter 5:8 we in the church are the New Covenant people. We will very soon learn more about these legal activities occurring in the New Covenant as we continue in today’s lesson.
I believe in every realm of the Bible that there must have been some human action, words, motivation, emotion or other negative sin committed by Job or others that unlocked the door within God’s hedge of protection in order for Satan to come into their lives to legally devour them. As we learned again from 1 Peter 5:8 that “Satan is going about seeking for someone whom he may devour” and from this we should be able to logically deduct by strong implication that there MUST be something that we do that allows permits or grants Satan this access.
In the first lesson, I listed at least two reasons that I believe the Lord showed me that opened the access door for evil to enter into Job’s life and I also believe there were other reasons stated that I did not mention. These two door opening sins were first Job’s fear and second his pride that caused him to try to judge God and his friends. Both of these are huge and they still occur in church members today. We could write a lot on these two subjects but I do not have the time today. Perhaps the Lord will lead me to write a more detailed lesson just on the trial of Job someday.
In our second key study verse from lesson 1 we read what the Spirit of God said to us in Revelation chapter 12. Here we learned about how in the future when this chapter is prophesied to occur how Satan the “accuser” of the brethren (the Church) will finally be thrown down to the earth to never again be allowed entrance into heaven to accuse us. This clearly taught us that Satan had been authorized to do this legal accusation in the past human history and he must still be accusing the people of God on the earth even now since Revelation chapters 4 through 12 have not been fulfilled. Therefore, these court battles in heaven will continue according to God’s Word right up until the middle of the 7 year tribulation period. Time is running out on Satan’s access and I believe personally that he is working especially hard at holding as many trials as he can to gain access to devour Christian people remaining on the earth.
I pray that you will at least study these things to see if they are true for yourself (Acts 17:11). Let’s move forward into some more New Covenant verses to learn from on this subject. These fresh perspectives on legal things found in the New Covenant will help build a firm foundation for our knowledge on this important spiritual subject. They will confirm that even though we are in the church age of Grace that we are still living in a time where legal trials are still occurring.
New Testament Spiritual Court Confirmations
In today’s lesson, I would like to expand the topic of spiritual court systems and trials to other New Testament Bible verses that will benefit our study to support this truth from the present day New Covenant saved Christian perspective and viewpoint. As I have just tried to say, I want us to learn beyond any shadow of doubt that these heavenly trials are taking place even as I write and type the lesson and as you may be reading this lesson. This would imply that it is even possible that you or I may be on trial presently in heaven and we probably would not know about it until Satan came to execute the sentence. Remember in the examples that I gave in lesson 1 that Job knew nothing of Satan’s attack and he even attributed everything negative that happened to him as being caused by God’s work. Do you remember in Job 1:21 where Job said that it is God that gave and God has taken away? However, Job was very ignorant of God, His truth, His Character His ways and His enemies and when we are ignorant of what is really happening in the spiritual realm we can very easily fall into the same trap to accuse God for what Satan is doing to us.
Even Peter was totally unaware of the fact that Satan had demanded to sift him like wheat until Jesus directly warned Peter and even prayed for him that his “faith” would not fail during this time of trial. That is a great point to learn from. The objective of every satanic attack is Satan’s attempt to get your faith to waiver enough for you to fall away from following after the LORD. Peter learned a tremendous revelation from this legal trial experience and if you read his letters written to us in the church you will find this was very true. We have already read in 1 Peter 5:8 about our legal adversary but we will back up in the letter to the previous chapter to learn more. Let’s observe two of the most important confirming verses that will reveal and ratify this truth of the existence of heavenly trials being carried out in the church now.
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Can you see the words written to us in the church by Peter given according to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? We will begin by observing the initial time reference of the recorded statement. It appears to me to be plainly a present tense “now at the time of writing” statement. According to proper grammatical framing whatever is written directly that follows this introductory time frame must be applied directly to the reader then and by forward association to us the modern reader now. This makes the next statements active until there is a verse that we encounter that reveals the end of the validity of the stated truth being discussed by God. Let’s read what was occurring to them at that time and by forward implication is occurring now to us also.
The immediate statement following the identification of the timing is about the legal court issue of “judgment”. God informs us that “judgment” will begin with us in the church and again the time being stated was clearly present tense “now” as Peter wrote the letter. This means that this stated “judgment” written about was to believers in Peter’s day of life on the earth while alive and could not be referring to a “future” judgment after they were dead even though there are other judgments in the Bible that people will face after death. I hope you understand that there are repeated judgments listed in the Bible. Just because we are judged once now does not mean we cannot be judged again later and vice versa.
Both of these verses were well written relevant warnings to believers. It is very plainly stated about judgment originating with forgiven saved believers in Christ. Notice how in verse 17 that God presents us with a sharp contrast between believers and non-believers and it cannot be any clearer. Then in verse 18 there is a restated direct warning to every Christian that they are just “barely” saved. We could talk about that truth for a long time and we probably should but it is really not the main thought line of this lesson.
I know for sure that we now live in the prophesied church age of God’s Grace (1 Peter 1:10). I know for sure that God’s Grace saved us through faith (Eph 2:8). But, I also know verses like 1 Peter 4:17 and 18 that speak additional truths and these must be aligned correctly with God’s saving grace and forgiveness message. I just can’t teach this enough. It is so very important to learn.
What do these verses in first Peter say to us? Do you think they do not apply to you now? I know with 100% certainty they apply to me and were written to me. I would strongly recommend that you find out if they were written to you also because if they were not then you may not be a real Christ follower.
God wrote to you and I (the righteous and saved) and He informs us very clearly that we may be just “scarcely” saved. This Greek word that was translated as “scarcely” is G3433 and it means “with difficulty”, “hardly” or “scarcely”. Some synonyms of scarcely are “barely”, “narrowly” or “by a small margin”. Some other idioms for this word would be to be saved by “the skin of your teeth” or to be saved “by a whisker”. This Greek word can also mean “with a lot of significant work” we are saved. Wow, have you heard that taught in any church lately? No, I don’t think so. I know I don’t hear it personally being taught but this is what God said. In fact I hear the opposite being taught in churches and on TV.
You see the antonym or antithesis truth of this Greek word G3433 translated as “barely” is to be saved “fully”, “entirely”, “completely” or “totally”. That is the very popular message being spoken of by many extreme Grace Teachers and even other churches who teach a salvation without any further challenges, struggles, or any other human choices to be made in order to remain a Christian. That is just not what the Bible actually says. Please do not misunderstand what I say here. We are not saved by our works. Salvation is ONLY through our faith in God’s finished work of Grace found only in Jesus Christ. But, that does not mean we will never be judged for doing wrong things here on the earth after salvation. Peter clearly is telling us that “judgment” for sin begins with us right now.
We could literally talk a very long time on these two verses in 1 Peter 4 but I pray that we receive what Peter says by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Remember that Peter is also speaking from his own personal direct experience along with God’s inspiration. Remember we have seen how that Peter was judged and demanded to be sifted like wheat. Then we will soon see another example where Peter was present where Christians were judged.
This Greek word G2917 that was translated as “judgment” is the key word that reinforces the truth of a trial system in heaven occurring. This Greek word is defined as “a decision” that has been rendered by an implied Judge with proper authority (God) to make a ruling. The decision can either be for us (in our favor) or against us (in the favor of Satan the accuser). The implied cause of this decision (judgment) is given for the crimes (sins) that have been committed by Christians. This same Greek word can also mean that we could be “condemned” or it is even translated as “damned” in other N.T. verses. We certainly don’t hear these words mentioned in many of our Grace churches do we? Since we all have been guilty of committing sins we can understand a little better why Peter said that we are just “barely” saved, can’t we?
Acts 5 – Another Example of N.T. Judgment #1
Did you ever read Acts chapter 5? Remember that it was Peter that was the man that wrote the words of 1 Peter 5:8 and 4:17-18 for us. Peter is also the man found to be preaching in the book of Acts chapter 5 to saved people of the church when another believer named Ananias comes into the service late to bring his offering to the Lord. However, this man held back some of the money in secret and only gave a part of the money using deception saying that this was all of the money obtained. That was a lie. Immediately the same Peter that we are studying about was inspired by the Holy Spirit of a judgment against Ananias by giving Peter a word of knowledge. Peter asks the man Ananias “Why has Satan filled your heart to LIE to the Holy Ghost?” And immediately Ananias drops dead in the middle of church and his body is carried out and the church service just continues like nothing happened. I seriously believe that a spiritual trial occurred in heaven and a verdict of guilty was determined and the sentence was carried out immediately. You of course can explain it away and believe whet ever you like about these truths. I have heard one popular unnamed TV extreme Grace Preacher say that Ananias wasn’t really a true Christian and this is why he was killed. But, that cannot be the truth based upon what we just read in 1 Peter 4:17. It is my goal to use the Bible to interpret the Bible and 1 Peter 4:17 stated that judgment begins in the church not in the unsaved world..
You will also notice in Acts 5 that this event is repeated again for his wife Sapphira. Please go and reread the story again from a court room trial perspective where a judgment and verdict is rendered and carried out. The saved Christian wife does the exact same sin as her husband and she also drops dead in the middle of church after being confronted by Peter and the Holy Spirit. Wow, after all of this occurs in the church a “great fear” fell on the people in church. It may be that these types of things will occur in the last days also before Jesus returns. We should really learn from them rather than repeat them.
Act 5:11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
“Fear” in this verse is the Greek word G5401 and it means a person who is in a state of “terror”. Why would there be any GREAT fear in the heart of saved Christians if two unsaved people just suddenly dropped dead in the church? Why not weeping? Why not sorrow? Why not compassion? Fear would only be justified for one reason. The only way fear could be appropriately found in Christian believers would be because they knew Ananias and Sapphira were also Christians and judgment just fell on them so it could happen to them in the exact same way. Do you understand this?
It is very foolish for Christians to try to believe these two individuals that were judged by God were anything but Christians. The belief that a loving God would condemn two unsaved people to immediate death and eternal punishment in hell is ludicrous. If God did this in the age of Grace He would have to do it to everyone that is not saved because they all sin. Jesus said very plainly in John 3:17 that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. Please let that verse found in John sink into your heart and grow very deep roots.
I hear too many preachers try to accuse God of judging lost sinners while forgetting that God loves them enough to wait for them to get saved (James 5:7). Why wouldn’t God’s love be the same for Ananias and Shapphira if they were unsaved Christians? I believe God so loved the unsaved world that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
We are going to read several more verses in today’s lesson about this subject. I would strongly recommend that you not stop reading because of what has been taught so far. God is only trying to change our perspective so we can see some potentially new truths in the Bible. All of this so far is to help us think in a fresh and a new way on things in the Bible that we have never seen in this light before. This is really good stuff that will help us fight the enemy’s temptations and accusations that will be coming to us all.
New Testament Judgment #2
We have already observed where Peter said Judgment will begin with the Church. We then just read through Acts 5 for example #1 of an actual judgment that occurred to two Christians. We are now going to turn in the Bible to a verse written by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11. In this verse we are going to be reviewing the implied topic of the heavenly court system to obtain further confirmation that judgment will begin now in the church. Please read this very carefully and accept the fact of truth that this was written directly to you and I personally as Christians:
1Co 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
This is an amazing truth that is too often ignored by everyone reading and teaching from the Bible. It is addressed to “we” and that is a plural pronoun that even includes the “Apostle Paul” the writer, as well as you and I the readers. It always amazes me when a Bible teacher misses the fact that Paul included himself in statements like these. If Paul needed to do this and he wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, how much more do you think we should do this? What was it that Paul needed to do along with us? Paul says very plainly that IF I JUDGE MYSELF, then and only then I will NOT be judged. Wow, that is as insightful as it could get for a lot of Christians. Paul is declaring very simply that a spiritual heavenly trial could have occurred for him if he did not judge his own intentions, emotions, motives, actions and words.
There are two different Greek words spoken of in this verse that we miss totally if we do not look up the original language definitions. The first Greek word translated as “judge” is speaking of our human responsibility and it is not the act of a judge in a court. This Greek word is G1252 and it literally means that we need to separate ourselves thoroughly and completely from sin. This is a human right of choice found and encountered every day of our saved existence. We can do what the world does, live like the world, speak like the world, dress like the world or we can come out from the world and choose to be separate and different than they are. This is our choice. We can choose to either obey God or if we don’t what does God say will happen? God says very clearly that we will be judged for doing what the world does.
Let’s observe the second word in the verse translated as “judged”. This Greek word is G2919 and it does mean that a judge will make a decision over us to possibly condemn or punish us. Don’t take my word for it, go look up the word for yourself and learn.
The Greek Word translated as “should not” is G3756 in verse 31 is much stronger in this stated original Greek language than you can imagine. It literally means the “absolute negative”. It should be translated in this statement as “we are never judged” IF we judge our own self. This is revelation #1 for us to keep from being judged. It is also the #1 reason why Christians are judged. How many Christians think before they speak? How many Christians really think hard about what they are going to do before they do it? How many Christians are going to bars and night clubs acting and looking like the world? I know there are some Christians who are doing better at being separated from the world’s way of doing things than others. But, this is just a small part of the subject of judging yourself first in order for Satan not to bring a case before God about you! If we read the next verse that follows verse 31 God will help clarify the reasoning why He must judge Christians even after all of our sins were forgiven in Christ:
1Co 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Notice the initial wording of the sentence. God begins the statement by speaking a fact of truth about “when we are judged” (G2916). He does not say “IF WE ARE JUDGED”. No it will occur, God leaves no doubt. Then God gives us the #1 reason for this discipline. The God of all knowledge says we must be chastened of the LORD so that we won’t fall into the exact same “condemnation” that the world will be judged with after we die. There are two judgments being spoken of. One in the future is called the “Great White Throne” judgment (Rev 20:11-12) where those that are not written in the book of life will be judged one at a time standing before God. The other judgment that occurs before this is the one that is occurring in the Church age of Grace. This judgment occurs when we sin willfully like the world and God needs to bring correction. This is exactly what happened in Acts 5 believe it or not.
We as Christians can choose to judge ourselves now and choose to be different than the world now so that we can skip this after life judgment. If Ananias and Shapphira would have judged themselves before going into the church service they would not have been struck down dead. I will try to talk more about this as we go on in the series. Lets read some of the preceding context verses of 1 Corinthians 11 in order to learn more on this subject of judgment for those who did not judge themselves:
1Co 11:29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
1Co 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
If we read this context carefully we will confidently confirm that this was written to Christians about Christians concerning spiritual court trial cases that were taking place even when Paul was writing this letter to the church. We should be able to see in verses 29 and 30 how that some in the Corinthian church were found guilty of both spiritual and natural sins. In verse 29 they had been found guilty of eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ unworthily and disrespectfully. It appears from the previous context that this church came and possibly got drunk from too much wine and ate too much bread as if they were gluttons. Paul informs us very clearly that for this reason the result came that many of them (Christians) in the church were either sick or dead because of these abuses. In other words, I believe that Satan had brought the judgment of the LORD against them and oppressed some of these Christians with physical illness that put them in a weakened physical state or Satan had actually been granted permission to take some Christian’s lives. Wow, that is some very amazing truth to apply to our subject of study.
It is so very obvious to me that because of specific sin in the church that some judgments were passed in heaven in order to allow or permit Satan to come down to devour them to make some of them ill and others of them dead. This is exactly what happened to Job. This is exactly what happened to Ananias and Sapphira. This clearly informs us that judgment was passed before they knew of this and that only after Paul wrote to them in order to warn them how to fix it was it learned what the real problem was to begin with. I personally believe that Paul was given a word of knowledge for this church and Paul tells them very plainly that if they would only begin to judge themselves to do things differently than the world that they would never be judged.
Wow, Wow and Wow!!! Who was it that judged them? Who was it that accused them before the judge? Who was it that gained an advantage over them to take them out of this world or make them sick? I hope you can already see the answers are plain. God had to pass judgment because they had not judged themselves. The judgment had to have been initiated by the accuser of the brethren and that is only Satan or at least it should be. I hope and pray that you as a Christian would not pick up a stone to throw at your brother. Please never do this. Don’t act like Satan, but rather choose to act like Christ who said to the woman caught in adultery “Woman where are your accusers? Neither do I condemn you, go your way and sin no more”. What an amazing example lesson to learn from.
I think I have gone long enough in this lesson. We can certainly learn so much more from these chapters in Acts 5 and 1 Corinthians 11 than I was able to go into in today’s lesson. The Lord has provided us all great and very significant meaty spiritual food for thought. We all should take these words of God to heart and meditate on them for a long time. Please study for yourself and verify exactly that what is being said in this series is what the loving God of the Bible actually says as a warning to Christians. God has provided at least two major witnesses to every truth being taught.
Thank you for reading and taking your time to study these advanced Bible lessons. I am truly humbled that God would use anyone as imperfect as me to teach anyone anything. The goodness of God is truly overwhelming me every day of my life. I love the LORD and trust Him to help mold me and you into the highest pattern of Christ Jesus. I pray that you are blessed with every spiritual blessing of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Amen.
(Ver 1.1) Today I believe that I am led to share a testimony from a friend. I personally believe the Bible very strongly. I believe the Bible is the inspired spoken word of an Almighty God that has been written down by human men for our spiritual benefit to learn and grow from it. God’s word says in Ecclesiastes 1:9 that there is nothing new under the sun. This verse informs me very clearly that history repeats itself. What has been will be again. And this lesson also teaches us that if we do not learn what has happened to others we can very easily fall into the same trap of Satan our self. I believe that any one of us should say “if not for the grace of God there go I” when reading about what others have done or not done. I ask you to read this testimony with an open mind but also with a heart of love, mercy and forgiveness. I know there will be some that will feel superior and self-righteous while reading this like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11 that prayed and said “I thank you God that I am not as other men” and named sins that others were guilty of like a true hypocrite would. However, this self-righteous Pharisee was condemned by Jesus for his attitude and his words and I believe that it would be very wise for us all to not to choose to do the same. Please allow me to give you the foundational Bible verse for this short lesson:
2Co 2:10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
2Co 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
In verse 11 is found the primary focused warning written to Christians concerning for us to not be ignorant of Satan’s traps, plans and pursuits. But, the context of this statement is clearly about our forgiveness and more specifically about us forgiving other men for what they have done. According to the inspired word of God in Mark 11:25, if we do not forgive what others have done, God will not forgive us either of our sins. I believe this teaches us that there is a divine spiritual law of reciprocal activity. I believe that how we treat others will be how God will treat us and this is His divine reciprocal choice. Therefore, if we forgive others we will be forgiven and if we do not forgive others we are in serious trouble. Please learn to forgive others, it is an absolute necessity.
Before we read the testimony I would like us to learn another very important truth from this verse 11. This verse plainly states that if we do not forgive others it will open the door for our enemy Satan to come in and attack us. This truth is very similar to what occurred in the life of Job but Job’s sin was different than what is being spoken of here in Verse 11. Here in verse 11 God informs us that Satan is able to take advantage over any Christian if we allow Him to do so by our wrong actions of implied un-forgiveness. Perhaps soon the Lord will lead me to write a more complete Study on the subject of how we open the door for the enemy but that is really not the main subject today.
Let’s read the testimony and learn what the enemy did to one of our dear brothers in Christ. Try to think about what is said from his perspective and not your own personal viewpoint like a Pharisee.
LOST & FOUND
This is my testimony:
“I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.
Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch, like me.
Through many dangers toils and snares, I have already come.
How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.”
(lyrics, from the song, Amazing Grace)
In the safe recesses of my memory is that time so many years ago cuddling on my mother’s lap while she read to me the classic children story, “The Little Engine that Could,” by Watty Piper. I would have her read it every night if my way prevailed, and sometimes mom would read it two times in one sitting: “Again, again,” my young voice pled. It was such a monumental struggle for that little engine to pull those cars full of toys up that mountain for delivery to the children on the other side. That captivating thought flooded my mind: “I think I can, I think I can.” Despite its size, the little engine triumphantly pulls the train up that mountain. Would it? Could it? The image was real and I sensed even then that life at times could be a challenge and a true struggle. As a mere child of four, I began to grasp this lesson that life may at times be a struggle reaching the other side to that place of joy and victory.
Two decades later, in my early twenties, I found myself singing in a Christian band. Often we sang this somewhat country classic, “Life is Like a Mountain Railway.” In this song the lyrics warn, “…we must make the run successful from the cradle to the grave. Watch the curves that fill the tunnel, never falter never fail; keep your hands upon the throttle and your eyes upon the rail. Blessed Savior there to guide us, Till we reach that blissful shore, And the angels there to join us, In God’s grace…, forevermore…” I see a thread and theme from early life. Many years from those moments that single message of struggle I have surely known. Yet, the Savior of my soul has never left or forsaken me, though at times I had strayed, wandered, and taken my eyes off the rails, He has always kept His eyes upon me.
I learned early the fallacy of believing that once you confess Jesus as your personal Lord, and personally accept His sacrificial crucifixion, that life will be an effortless and pain-free endeavor. No, it has not been that. I learned a phrase when acquiring my pilot license. This phrase was a seasoned pilot’s definition of flying: “Flying,” he said, “are hours of boredom, broken up by moments of sheer terror!” Christian life might be like that too.
Another analogy which helps explains how I experience life as a Christian is to recall the two years spent in a war zone. A variation to the old pilots’ thoughts was an enemy strategy of deliberately leading us into a state of lethargy. Days would go by, weeks, and maybe a month and his presence seemed to vanish. There would be little or no confrontations. The enemy would lay low, hide, retreat, allowing the thought to develop in us that he was either beaten or uninterested. Slipping into relative peacefulness you never saw hell dropping on top of you. In the middle of a fitful sleep, the sky would explode with light and fire, concussions of rockets knocking you from your bunk. Noises of confusion as people ran yelling orders, weapons rattling as everyone scrambled for orientation, the smell of sulfurs and fears all combined in that dark. For days following such attacks, we would again become hyper vigilant to movement, sounds, and imaginations. You had to realize that the enemy was unpredictable and ruthless. No matter the seeming peaceful state you enjoyed, in a war zone you had to always remain prepared.
Clearly, a harsh reality was to know that though many people loved you at home, there were well-armed people very close by who hated you for simply being you. This was a hard concept to embrace emotionally – that another living person actually would kill you without any regret or regard. Over the two years in that place I had to be reminded on many occasions this was a war zone and blood could be spilt at any moment. Today I am reminded that Christians may struggle with the idea someone hates them and labors to harm them. We mostly tend to see ourselves as lovable, kind, sensitive, and peaceable; why would anyone hate you or desire your ruin?
I became a Christian one year after I was discharge from the U.S. Army. Although I’d never known the true Gospel or the acceptance of Jesus’ personal gift to me, memories of childhood are full of a consciousness of God’s existence and even His presence. I believed in God, I simply didn’t know His Word or just how deep and profound was my need for His righteousness and acceptance. By His plan I was led to hear the Gospel of Jesus preached, and my heart opened to ‘hear’ the Truth. With a faith, only gained as a gift, I was willing and able to call out and ask for forgiveness and acceptance, embracing Jesus’ sacrifice and the provision of His eternal life indwelling me daily. At twenty-one, my feet and heart were set on a new course. The Word of God was coming alive in me, a passion and gratefulness washed over me. I was free from guilt, free from wandering in the darkness of life and given a purpose and qualification to pursue my Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus, with the help and power of the Holy Spirit. I began to run.
After becoming ‘saved’ my resume,’ so to speak, began to grow and included a number of wonderful activities and accomplishments. I’d become the president of the Christian Fellowship in college, and the co-founder of a contemporary Christian band and theatrical ministry travelling much of New England proclaiming the good news on college campuses, coffee houses, park concerts and churches. Out of that ministry came a radio ministry which I hosted for five years. Eventually I was trained and prepared to launch out on a new church ministry. The church began with approximately twelve dedicated people as we began ministering in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Over the following fifteen years our family at home increased, and the church too grew in new members and growing outreaches. In some ways it all seemed quite successful, with lots of effective outreaches, joys, and progress – perhaps as men judge progress. Though it was understood struggles could and did come, most things were manageable and the enemy seemed at bay and easily contained. In hindsight, and with further spiritual growth, I think too much of our methods for handling conflict were undertaken in fleshly and carnal ways, depending on our human capabilities and gifting. I had thought I was prepared and equipped for a prosperous Christian life and ministry, I don’t believe I ever would have imagined the viciousness and true spiritual battles yet to be faced in life. Though I’d studied ‘spiritual warfare’ through reading books, hearing sermons, and of course studying the Bible, the battles to come would compound beyond my imagination.
Certainly in those years simple and relatively ineffective skirmishes had to be faced. However, the first and most devastating battle and conflict came when my wife and I endured the still birth of our full term baby son, Jedidiah. The agony of losing him was unimaginable. The enemy made a move, he had a foothold. Between guilt, anger, uncertainty, hurt, loss, and unending questions living in my mind, this attack wounded deeply. In further hindsight, it was a harbinger of intense battles yet to be waged.
The toll of poor choices, such as putting other interests before our marital union, including but not limited to inattention, alienation of affections, over commitments to many so-called important activities, including ‘Christian work,’ led to the degeneration and finally dissolution of marriage. While the marriage was failing the church suffered greatly. Eventually, as people began to leave, the ministry came to a close. Not only had the battle raged externally, the inward condition was too troubled to continue reaching out to others. This seemed total devastation, and life began a further downward spiral. I sincerely began to doubt if “I could.” One might wonder if the battles were over.
No, it was far from over. Doubts flooded my soul; how could God let these things happen? How far away from God’s will had I been? Could I ever really hear God’s will and know how to follow? Had I been so unfaithful God simply did not desire my fellowship any longer? I was in a wilderness, it was hard to hear, hard to feel, sometimes hard to care. I questioned my prayer, honestly thinking perhaps I had committed an unpardonable sin (I realize today how this sounds, yet then it was overwhelming). Feeling and believing myself unworthy, with a strong sense of failure, satan was relentless. He knew I was one struggling to stay off the mat, like a fighter pummeled. Perhaps I was heading for the final knock-out. Surely it appeared faith to believe God loved me was being knocked out of me under a relentless flurry of strikes. Not only was I not able to love myself, surely God no longer cared either. Satanic influence was overwhelming. A sad consequence was running from God’s Word. What I began to see in Scripture was condemnation and judgment of so many failures. My mind was being blinded, my eyes shutting under the force of so many punches.
My behaviors reflected this loss. I became reclusive. I was afraid to speak the truth – even to myself. Little did I know, but an incident which occurred a year after the marriage ended, would soon be used as a complete knock-out punch. Not only had I been rejected by a wife, I surely must be rejected by God. Desperate for companionship and acceptance I was now susceptible to even more poor choices. What began as an innocent moment of consolation with a vulnerable woman, lapsed into inappropriate intimacy. This was but a momentary mutual action, and one which did not consummate in other than brief petting, however, it would be more than enough for Satan to throw the haymaker and accuse me of behavior which never took place. Seven years later the story had escalated and false accusations were brought against me. I was accused and convicted of an indecent assault.
The day I heard the judge pronounce a prison sentence, I certainly knew my life was finally and perhaps mercifully over. I was so alone and afraid. Clearly God must now despise me. I must have been cast out. I had some defect which I may have been unaware and which meant God could not love me. Did I bring this on myself? Nothing was clear. Would clarity ever come to me?
Within the first twenty-four hours of prison, perhaps that which I feared most seemed to face me. I was being confronted by a large African man in a prison cell block, accompanied by a Spanish speaking Porte Rican. The previous twenty-four hours found me plunging into a deep abyss of darkness, fear, anxiety, and despair believing that I would never know God’s love or care again. This seemed the ultimate abandonment, the bottom, a profound loss of hope and self abhorrence; it was a dreadful aloneness. What would become of me? What would my grandchildren think? What about my children, how could they manage this horror?
And there he was, towering over me, a huge man, speaking to me in such a thick African accent I could barely understand. His question, “Are you okay?” “Are you okay?” over and over he asked. He was blocking me and I couldn’t see anything but this giant and threatening looking man. Finally I said, “No, I am not okay!” And then as he looked at me, with what I now know were deeply compassionate eyes, the most amazing sounds came from him. He began to minister wonderful, loving words to me, expressing that God knows where I am, and that He is here with me, that He has never left me or forsaken me. He began to share that through all of this, God had a big plan for me, and He was going to use this to shape me anew….
And then his voice seemed to slip away and I no longer actually heard his continued speaking or the terrible sounds of the cell block. Rather, I seemed to leave that cell block and went someplace in my spirit that was quite, safe and peaceful. There I faced the Holy Spirit One on one. Though my questions were not directly addressed, I knew He was aware, and what He did was fill me with peace, with confidence, and with the assurance of His love and clearly His acceptance and compassionate comfort. Though I realized the answers I needed so desperately wouldn’t happen then, I knew an assurance of His control coming alive in me again. I actually knew the reality was that “all things work together for those who love Him…” Though burdened with guilt, doubts, and a sense of abandonment, and feeling profoundly lost during this season of battle, I now knew He was not going to let me go! I knew more and more would be revealed as I trusted in Him once again, fully and without apprehension or insecurity.
The suffering did not end completely that night, but the awareness I was really no longer in chains, no longer a prisoner to what I could only imagine to be failure, guilt, shame, and to letting my Lord down, began to flood my life, and has continued to this very day. And then, as if awakening from a dream, the awareness of my terrible surroundings came in to focus again and I spoke once more to this man, his name I learned was Adam. I simply said, “I am okay now!” Though still facing many unknowns, there was within a new courage, a sure hope and that certain assurance He was with me through it all.
Is it biblical as a Christian to be touched a second time, a third time, again and again? This is a question you may ask yourself. When we speak of salvation is it a one-time event, or is this an ongoing saving? Though I’ve walked through a deep and dark valley, I have found the battle is won and our Lord’s grace is sufficient for me. What I have found is that “Greater is He which is in me than he that is in the world.” What I have found is that “What (satan) intends for evil, God intends for good.” What I have found is that “When I am truly weak, He is truly strong.” What I have found is that when others forsake and bare false witness, with harsh judgment, He embraces and accepts and walks with you. What I have found is that He has a balm of healing and restoration in which He brings double, triple, and unknown levels of restoration, hope, confidence and love. All of these testify that when He saves you it is an everlasting salvation and one which Satan cannot snatch, though he may expend wicked energies and efforts to destroy us at any opportunity.
I have found we really do live in a world of spiritual battles, and unless we stand prepared to engage, with God’s Word, with unwavering faith and without doubt, anyone can stumble, anyone can fall. And there are many biblical warnings that we should never stand proud in ourselves believing we could never fall or let the Lord down. I have found the evil one is paying close attention and he is crouched at the door. But, I have found that though a child of God fall, our Father will not walk past and look elsewhere. He will stoop to our lowest place and with the heart of the Good Samaritan, He will bind our wounds, He will bring us to a safe place, and He will pay whatever the price to see we are rewarded our place with Him in His everlasting Kingdom of love and peace. And finally, for now, I have found that the Callings of God are without repentance (without a change of His heart), and that “what He began in us He is faithful to bring to pass.”
We all have failed and come short of the Glory of God. If you have never failed then you are free to cast the first stone at my friend. But for me I will not be picking up any stones. Love will always restore a brother and help a brother that is turned around and is making the effort to do what is right. There was only one sinless man on the earth and His name was Jesus Christ. He did not come into the world to condemn the world and this was the main lesson from John 8:11 and John 3:17.
Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
We could spend days on this verse alone. We all too often look at another man’s faults while ignoring our own. The problem with this verse is that it is extremely conditional. Only a few people that I have seen in my life qualify to ever be called truly “spiritual”. It would take me more time to explain this truth than I also have today. I will simply inform you that I do not yet feel that I qualify to be at this level of this category. I am human as well as my friend. I have made mistakes and have been in the flesh sometime too often. It is my heart’s desire to become more spiritual and I pray that it will be yours as well.
My main point from Galatians 6:1 is that we should be on a pathway that helps to restore people back into the fellowship with Christ. If anyone that calls themselves a Christian and is not trying to build up a brother that has fallen then I believe that they are either extremely carnal Christians or I doubt seriously that they are a Christian at all.
I would like to end this mini lesson with the warning that is given to us in Galatians 6:1. Here we find a similar bit of wise counsel that we read first in 2 Corinthians 2:11. Remember when Paul said Satan could get an advantage over us? That is the similar advice being transferred to us in this statement “lest we also be tempted”. The implied words not being directly related to us is that if we don’t forgive someone for what they have done and then pursue (make an effort) to restore them back to the LORD, we our self could be carried away by the same trap of deception. I find that very powerful and more than just a suggestion to follow after.
I pray that this testimony has been an encouragement to someone. Perhaps you have fallen in a similar way. It is not too late for you to turn your life around as my friend did.
If you have a comment about this lesson, you are free to share it. However, if you are going to be mean spirited and unforgiving, I will warn you that I will probably not publish your comment. Also, if you have a good testimony like my friend about how God has worked and changed you, I would love for you to share that.
My friend that wrote his testimony is doing well. God has helped him tremendously and blessed him. He reads his Bible, and studies it. He goes to church. He prays for me and others. He has been a great encouragement to me. I believe that the Spirit of God led my new friend to contact me and get to know me. I am very happy to call him my friend and I praise God for a new brother in Christ that I will hopefully meet here or in heaven soon.
Thank you for reading and studying the Bible with me on this website. I am always amazed at the love and grace of God that permits me to do this for Him. May God bless you and keep you.
(Ver 1.1) I was studying the Bible recently and was led across something that I believe was very good for us all to learn from. I believe the Holy Spirit pointed this out so that we could learn a potential new perspective on a familiar story that we have all probably heard taught more than once. This will be a Bible basics subject lesson on one of the most important subjects found in the Bible called love. Uh oh? I may have just lost a bunch of readers. How boring that is, you might think. You might say to me “I don’t have any problem with my love walk!” At least that is probably what you think right now. However, I believe the subject of love is the central theme of the entire Bible and a vastly misunderstood subject. I believe no other subject comes close to its importance in the Bible and I pray that you will agree.
INTRODUCTION TO LOVE
You may already know that there is more than one Greek word in the New Testament that is translated into the English word “love”. I believe that is a significant problem. If we don’t spend the time in digging deeper to know the original language words and definitions we will probably miss the most important message that God was trying to teach us. I believe words matter more than we can imagine, especially God’s words. I believe the chosen words of God are not by accident, chance or placed into the Bible by random human selection or influence. God is a highly intelligent being beyond our normal human capability to understand. Therefore, when God selects two different Greek words for “love” and uses them both in the same verse setting that must mean something very important even if we don’t yet understand what is. I pray that you will agree and even if you don’t yet agree I pray that you will at least be open minded enough to continue reading.
I recently read a Bible commenter’s opinion on this subject of the Greek word choices being made in the New Testament. This person believed that each human writer influenced the text and word selection for the love word choice. They implied that the every Greek love word was synonymously interchangeable and one word could easily be replaced with another without changing the meaning of the verse. But, I could not disagree any more. This type of logic removes God’s participation in the word selection process almost completely. You see I am a firm believer in this next verse that we must use as a foundation to base all of our Bible beliefs on. I recommend that we all memorize this verse and never let it slip away from our minds:
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
“All” is one of the key words to focus on first. This verse clearly informs us that it concerns and applies to the whole Bible and every word that it contains. In the Bible that would include every Hebrew and Greek Word of the original text that produced the translated 783,137 English KJV words. However, I must disqualify the translated words. I do not believe that any of the translated words were God inspired. There are just way too many subjective translator opinions and errors imbedded to be found to conclude it is perfect like I believe the original text is. I am not saying that we must all learn Greek and Hebrew in order to understand anything in the Bible. But, I am saying that we all need to become a Berean type of Bible student like is found in Acts 17:11. These Berean Christians were commended in the Bible for digging deep to confirm whatever is taught by men to be the truth is actually what God stated in the Holy scriptures. I pray again that you understand how important this is. Otherwise, we may just fall for any wind of doctrine that sounds the best and ignore what God actually said.
Today’s mini Bible lesson concerns two Greek words primarily that are both translated as “love” in the New Testament. These two Greek words in review are “Agapao” G25 and “Phileo” G5368. You should be able to notice that these words are obviously two significantly different words based upon appearance, spelling and pronunciation alone and we have not yet attempted to learn the definitions. We will dig into these love types much deeper as we continue the lesson.
JESUS TEACHES A HIGHER LOVE
Our Bible lesson is found in the book of John chapter 21. It occurs after the events of the death of Jesus on a Roman cross, the burial of His body in a tomb for 3 days and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. I believe that this event that we can study today was Jesus attempting to restore and help Peter to grow into a higher level of confident love following his denial 3 times of Jesus Christ just a few days earlier. We will begin reading about this event beginning in verse 15 of John 21 and then we will continue reading down until verse 17. Please read all of the verses carefully as the subject overview and then I will begin to break them down to help reveal a hidden message not easily found in the English translation:
Joh 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
Joh 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Joh 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
What did you get out of this reading? Did anything draw your attention from what I originally introduced you to before reading the verses? Maybe nothing jumped out at you. That is OK, but maybe the Holy Spirit pointed out something new for you to see and that is really great. I believe that is God’s way. He can use the same verse(s) to speak an infinite number of things to each and every person differently. Let’s go through the verses one at time now and learn what we can see by digging deeper into them rather than a surface only reading, as I like to call it. Let’s reread verse 15 first:
Joh 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
Jesus suddenly focuses on one disciple named Peter and asks him a very direct and personal question concerning their relationship. I believe Jesus did this on purpose and by design to help strengthen and encourage Peter’s faith. You might recall in Luke 22:31 the writer Luke gives us some related very important information. In Luke 22:31 Jesus informs Peter that Satan had desired to sift him like wheat. But, then Jesus informs Peter that He had prayed that his faith would not fail. Also later in this chapter of Luke Jesus informs Peter that he will deny him 3 times before the cock crows the night that He would be betrayed. I believe that Peter is being told these things so that he might be prepared for them and then afterwards that he would also understand that Jesus is fully the Christ as Peter declared in Matthew 16:16. Remember when Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter answered to Him saying “You are the Christ the Son of God”.
I firmly believe that Peter like the rest of the disciples struggled tremendously after seeing Jesus taken prisoner, beaten and then crucified on a cross to die. This had to be a major blow to their beliefs in Him. Once His body was laid in the tomb and the rock was rolled over it and sealed with guards posted in front of it, they had to at least think that they had made a great mistake in following this man. I just can’t imagine the full impact of the challenges to their faith that they were facing during this time of extreme circumstances. Give it some thought and see how you may have reacted. What would you have done after seeing all of this? I know we can read the Bible now and we may think that we may have been able to stand stronger than they did but I really don’t believe that is true.
No matter how great you believe your faith in Jesus Christ is now, Satan will come to you and try to shake your foundation of faith just like he did with Peter. This is what happened to Peter and I believe that Jesus did all He could do to prepare Peter’s heart for these events. For example, in John 21:15 Jesus begins a lesson of assurance by asking Peter a basic very personal question. Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me more than these?” I believe that Jesus is simply asking “Are you sure that you love me Peter?” It is interesting that Jesus also adds a comparison of Peter’s love level with the other disciples’ love level. The question contains the key word “more” and this is added by Jesus to teach Peter and us that a love amount can vary in measure, intensity, type and capacity. Jesus was teaching us that our love level for Him may not be as great as other’s love level yet and that we may need to grow more in our love. By this question, Jesus is implying we can all grow up in a higher level of love. Can you see this?
Here is another very important point to make when studying any text in the Bible. We must understand that there were no punctuation marks in the original Greek text that I know of. No periods, no commas, no exclamation marks, no question marks as we know in the English language. Therefore, we should be able to understand that the tone of voice being spoken in could potentially be different than we believe changing the entire meaning of the words being spoken.
For example, if Jesus yelled “LOVEST ME MORE THAN THESE!!!” Would a screaming angry and mad Jesus change how we viewed the question? It would definitely do that for me. However, that type of Jesus personality screaming at Peter would contradict with His revealed character and nature found in many scriptures verses that reveal Him to be a man of great and intense love, mercy and compassion. Therefore, this statement cannot be an angry Jesus questioning the loyalty of Peter simply because He knew Peter denied Him. No, I believe that the words were spoken very softly and graciously to Peter in a great loving and compassionate tone of voice that grabbed the heart of Peter’s attention immediately. I believe Peter could also see the great concern in the Master’s eyes and perceive the great kindness in the heart of Jesus.
Here is where I want to introduce you to the first Greek word G25 that was translated as “lovest” in the question directed at Peter. This Greek word represents the highest type of “Agape” divine love. This category of love is the highest form of any type of love listed in the Bible. It is always an underserved, unearned and unconditional love type that is being extended to another person regardless of what occurs or how they act towards the person showing it. I believe this is the most important and highest type of love in the Bible. This is why my blog is called “AgapeGeek”. I simply desire to teach the Bible in a way that displays God’s love to every reader. I hope you understand the basic concepts of the God kind of Agape love. If you don’t please ask any specific question and I will attempt to explain it with the Lord’s help.
Ok, Jesus asked Peter if he loved “Agapao” Him more than these. The answer to this simple question should have been either “yes” or “no”. However, Peter must have ignored the love word because he does not answer the question correctly at all. Of course you won’t see this by just reading the English translation. Only if we dig much deeper into the Greek words can we begin to understand the problem that Jesus was dealing with.
In the English Peter appears to answer correctly by saying “Yes, Lord you know that I love you”. But, Peter changed the Greek word “love” type from the G25 “agapao” category of love to the much lower and less committed G5368 “phileo” human category of love and that was not what Jesus asked, was it? You see the “phileo” category of love is merely a fond type of relationship that we can have with a good human friend. This is a love category on a much subordinate carnal level of conditional feelings. In other words if a friend said or did something wrong or mean to us, this might change our liking of fondness level or feelings for them. However, the “agape” G26 type of love that Jesus was asking about would continue on unmoved despite the friend’s wrong actions or words.
I believe I can begin to feel the Lord Jesus heart drop at hearing Peter’s answered response. I believe there becomes a greater level of sadness upon each of the following question attempts to get Peter to change his answer to raise his love walk with Jesus. You did notice that Jesus asked Peter the same question 3 times, didn’t you? Why is Jesus being so repetitious? As we continue to study this discussion further we should be able to see that Peter becomes a little more sad after each question. I believe the “phileo” love that Peter claimed that he possessed was certainly being tested and I believe that Jesus was teaching Peter to try to come up higher to the “agapao” type of love that He originally asked. Let’s read the second verse question:
Joh 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Here is another almost identical question and response session as was read in verse 15. However, Jesus asks Peter, do you “agapao” me but drops the “more than these” part of the question. Why did Jesus omit the “more than these”? I believe to show Peter to focus on his “agape” love and not anyone else. And Peter again answers “Lord you know that I “phileo” you. I believe another difference in this Q&A session from the previous one is the tone of Jesus’ and Peter’s voices being adjusted. I believe Jesus asked His question with much greater, love, compassion and even some added sadness and disappointment and I believe that Peter answered with even a greater level of grief and frustration not understanding yet why it was asked again. This is what I believe makes the most sense in the story, but I know this is my personal interpretation and you can believe otherwise if you choose.
I still ask myself and God why the omission of the “more than these” as part of the question. The only answer to that question that I have been able to determine is the fact that Jesus is giving Peter a much greater emphasis to the specific Greek word “agapao” type of love. I even believe that Jesus is making an implied statement that maybe no one “agapao” loved Him yet. But this might be wrong since John was one of the disciples there and he is often referred to as the “love” disciple since he wrote more about the subject than all of the others combined. Now let’s read the last time the question is asked and observe what changes now:
Joh 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Reading the English translation it appears that almost nothing changed. So God is either wasting a lot of words and Peter’s time asking him the same question or we are just missing the point and I believe it is us missing the point. You see Jesus changed the question dramatically the third time He asks and He used a totally different Greek word this time. Why would Jesus do this and what was the reason for the modification? If we dig deeper into the Greek language again we will learn that in the third question Jesus dramatically lowers the love level asked to Peter to a level of “phileo”, Peter’s previous two responses. I believe that Jesus changes His tone of voice to a much greater sound of sadness and hurt. I believe completely that Jesus was saying this paraphrase “oh Peter, what do you mean that you are only my friend?”
I believe we can begin to see Peter’s change of heart in this attempt of Jesus to get him to love Him on the highest unconditional level. The KJV Bible translates Peter’s feelings as an emotion of “grief”. The Greek word G3076 that is translated as “grieved” literally means that Peter was greatly saddened by Jesus asking Him 3 times. However, I believe this is not completely accurate simply because Jesus did not ask Peter the same question the same way, 3 different times. Either Peter is clueless to what Jesus was attempting to ask him or I am. Please ask yourself this question and see if you can think of a reason why Jesus comes down to a much inferior love type in the final question.
WHY DID JESUS WANT PETER TO AGAPE HIM?
Please allow me to give you a solid foundation for why I believe that Jesus is attempting to teach Peter about his “phileo” love to change it into an “agapeo” love. We will begin this section with a verse spoken by Jesus before His death on the cross and subsequent ressurtion. Let’s turn our Bibles to John chapter 14 and read:
Joh 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
You see Jesus taught this truth to us that if we “agape” (G26) Him, we will keep His commandments and this certainly implies that we will not let them slip away from our hearts and minds. If the words of Jesus are first in our minds this will help us so that can continue to do them even in the tough times of persecution and other life challenges. This is why I believe that Jesus asks Peter what appears to be 3 different times in the English KJV translation what appears to be the same question. I believe Jesus was teaching Peter the difference between just a human friend kind of love that can fail and the God kind of love that will never fail. The God kind of love will obey Him and the friend kind of love may not obey when the going gets too tough and hard. I believe Jesus was teaching us all that the road ahead is going to get very rocky and rough and we will need to raise our “love” level up much higher in order to endure it to keep doing what Jesus wants us to do for Him.
Joh 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
Joh 21:19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
We should be able to understand more clearly what Jesus was trying to emphasize to Peter by reading the rest of the story in verses 18 and 19. Reading these verses we learn quickly that Jesus changes from the right now do you love me to the future tense of years to come. This informs me that the “Agape” love is what is going to be needed to endure the life that Peter was going to experience. If you read early church history you should find that Peter is crucified upside down on a cross. Wow what a horrible death that was. Not to mention the times he spent in jails and chains for preaching the gospel. If Peter had not raised his love walk to the love level of Agape I do not believe Peter would have been able to succeed in following Christ’s example fully.
All we need to do is to read Acts chapter 2 to find out how quickly the “love” level was raised to God’s Agape type of love in Peter’s life. Remember that Peter goes from denying Jesus 3 time only 50 days earlier to now preaching about Him in public to thousands. Can you see how this is a fulfillment of the command of Jesus to “Feed my Sheep”? I can see it very clearly. This act of preaching was a demonstration of Peter’s divine love and it displays such an amazing transformation from his previous “phileo” level of love commitment to Jesus.
I believe that this is a lesson for each Christ follower. We do not fully know what will happen to us tomorrow but we can prepare for even the worst possible events by embracing the God kind of Agape Love. I pray this short Bible lesson was a great blessing to you and an encouraging word from the Lord to raise your love walk with Him. May God bless you always.
(Ver 1.0) This is Part 2 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible studies about a subject of significant proportions and value that is rarely being taught. Because of a lack of teaching on the subject of division, many false beliefs have tried to creep into the church. One such belief is known by some as the doctrine of “Universal Salvation”. Within this false belief people think incorrectly that just because God is not willing for any to perish according to 2 Peter 3:9 and because God is sovereign they believe that no one will ever go to hell or be forever separated from Him. However, that is not what the Bible actually teaches us when it is divided correctly. Please understand that Satan is fighting this divine message of division with his great and convincing powers of deception. He is doing his utmost best to not let Christians or the world know that there remains a default separation of eternal fiery torment that people must choose to avoid. It is only by this one way of escape named Jesus Christ that they can be saved. They must make Jesus Christ their own personal LORD and SAVIOR or they will be eternally separated from God to be with Satan. I’ll talk more about this later.
Division Series Foundational Verse
It has been awhile since I was able to continue this series so I will review the lesson series foundational scripture verse. I pray that you took the time to read Part 1 already. I am sorry, but I am unable to attempt to cover everything that was taught in the first lesson here again. I believe that God gave to me the foundational basis of these Biblical division lessons and this verse comes from the mouth of Jesus spoken to us in Luke 12:51. Here in this statement Jesus reveals a hidden prophetic reason for His personal appearance in the flesh here on the earth. Please read the statement carefully and even go back and reread the context if you like.
Luk 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
Jesus states very clearly that He has not come into the world to bring peace. Then Jesus also said very clearly that “division” was then and I believe still is now one of the primary reasons for His first coming. Please notice that this division is stated by the associated combined statement to be the antithesis of “peace”. I believe that this disunity with peace was one of His crucial reasons for appearing here in the flesh on the earth. Do you believe Jesus knew what He was saying when He spoke these words? Do you believe Jesus was speaking the truth? If He was not speaking literally the truth here then this raises doubtful questions about every other word that was written that He spoke also. I personally am going to believe Him. Others can make their own choice.
This statement of Jesus was truly a very mysterious declaration of truth. This goes against many Christian’s theological reasoning and thinking. On the surface this statement appears to contradict with several verses that I went over in lesson 1. Another potential contradictory verse came to my mind is found in John 3:16. Jesus said in John 3:16 that “God so loved the world (in its entirety) that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.
If we just read the first part of John 3:16 and ignore the last adjoining conditional statement we may think that Jesus’ plan to divide the world in Luke 12:51 is a strong contradiction to God so loved us to save the entire lost world. But, Jesus attaches a major condition in order to obtain this salvation for all humans and He informs us that we MUST believe in Him in order to not be eternally lost.
Does everyone in the world believe in Jesus? The answer is an obvious NO! Once you understand that being saved or lost is a human conditional belief in Jesus and who He is and what He did for us then possibly you can begin to understand why Jesus said He came to divide the nations of earth and not to unite them all in peace. Let’s continue in this lesson with some new statements from Jesus that are clearly related to the statement of Luke 12:51.
Jesus WILL Divide the Sheep from the Goats
Today we will carry on this vital Bible study series with a few additional direct teachings of Jesus that support the belief that His appearing on the earth was to bring division based upon our personal belief in Him. I personally believe the following words written in red ink in the KJV Bible are some of the most clear and direct words of a coming prophesied division that we can find in the Bible. Please read these words very slowly and carefully and pay attention to what is being communicated and notice the timing of these events.
Mat 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Mat 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
Mat 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Mat 25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Mat 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Mat 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Mat 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Mat 25:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Mat 25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Mat 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Starting with verse 31 we should be able to begin to understand the timing for the prophetic statements that are being made by Jesus in verses 32 through 46. Jesus was then and still is now informing us what will occur at His second coming to the earth. This will be a future event that is probably much sooner than we can imagine. I want you to first notice in verse 31 that Jesus said that He will be bringing with Him all of the Holy angels to assist Him in this event. Wow, that is amazing information that implies to us that there must be other “unholy” angels that are not included in the number. We can understand this plainly by the addition of the adjective “holy” since this is a limiting qualifier that reduces the scope of the total angel group class (the noun) that is being spoken of. It would be the exact same as if Jesus said he would bring with him “all the red angels” eliminating the blue angels, green angels, yellow angels, etc. The inclusion of the word “all” means “every” and none are excluded and this simply informs us that there are No holy angels that are omitted. This is the first statement of division being made in this subject discussion. There will be 2/3 of the angels called holy that will remain with the LORD and the other 1/3 angels that will not be with Him we can call the “unholy” angels and we learn this information by reading about them in Revelation 12:4.
The holy angels that are for the LORD Jesus in verse 32 will then gather all of the people of the nations of the earth together for the final judgment of each individual. This is plainly stated but it cannot be viewed as a confirmation to the false belief of “universal salvation” because not everyone in these nations will be saved as we will read. Only those that qualify by their correct beliefs in Jesus will be saved. All others will perish just as we read in John 3:16. However, perish does not mean that they will cease to exist. That belief would contradict too many other verses that I do not have time to teach on in this lesson.
One of the key words found in verse 32 was translated into English as “separate”. This is a direct reference to our Bible study subject of division. We are unmistakably informed by Jesus that He will be the one that will divide the people of every nation just as we read in Luke 12:51 that He said He came to do. This Greek word G873 translated as “separate” literally means to set apart by a boundary. Synonyms can be “divide” and “sever” and it comes from two Greek root words that mean to “partition off”. Jesus is teaching us that there is a coming portioned boundary or a wall of separation between two very different groups of people and we are about to find out who these are in the next verses.
Notice at the end of verse 32 in Matthew 25 that Jesus tells us of Him separating people like a shepherd removes his sheep from his goats. One of the key words for correct interpretation in this separation is the word “like”. This clearly informs us that Jesus is about to begin speaking about literal spiritual truths using figurative natural symbols. However in this interpretation process knowing what is figurative and what is literal is what becomes important. Know how to rightly divide the spiritual truth using the natural symbols is a major part of the subject of division but not my main topic today. Please just note that most of the next nouns being referred to will be symbolic but the verbs I believe are very literal.
Jesus said “like” a shepherd separates his sheep from his goats is the action that is about to take place. I found that statement so very interesting and it raised a lot of questions in my mind. For example, is it necessary to separate sheep from goats? Why would a shepherd do this? How would a shepherd do this? These are just a few of the questions that were raised by the statement.
Verse 33 informs us that Jesus will set the sheep at His right hand and the goats at His left hand. I found this to be a very interesting concept to try to grasp and I asked another questions can sheep and goats even live together in the natural? If yes, then why would it be necessary for sheep and goats to be separated by natural shepherds?
Do sheep and goats fight each other or is there some other created reason that sheep and goats should be separated? I did some research and discovered that the mineral “copper” is the primary reason for any natural need of separation and division. Feeding copper to sheep kills them but copper is a nutritional necessity for all goats. Without copper in a goat diet they will die. Therefore, goats must have copper to live and sheep absolutely must not because it will kill them. Could any of this information have spiritual meaning and significance to our Bible study subject? I believe it does.
There is a unique quality of copper given to us in the Bible that I will only touch on in this lesson briefly. The English word copper is translated from the Hebrew word H5178 in the Old Testament and this word is most often translated as “brass”. However, this is even more interesting because it is also translated as the English word “filthiness”. There is a very powerful hidden message being given to us by the LORD Jesus in the separation of the sheep from the goats lesson. The sheep represent pure beings without any filth being found present in them and the separated goats represent beings that must have filth in their lives in order to live. Sheep living in continued filth will die but remaining pure without partaking of the copper filth diet (sin) they will live. I found that to be truly amazing. I believe the Lord led me to this to teach us the basic need for separation and division between these two groups. Filth represents sin and cannot remain in those standing on His right hand representing symbolic sheep. But, those standing on His left hand representing symbolic “goats” seem to indicate that sin will never depart from them.
Matthew 25:34 tells us that those (symbolic sheep) on His right hand will be called “blessed” and they alone are invited to enter into the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. In sharp contrast in Matthew 25:41 those on His left hand (symbolic goats) will be called “cursed” and commanded to depart from His sight into everlasting fire prepared for Satan and his angels. This is further confirmation that there are two prepared destinations determined for two kinds of people and two kinds of angels. The angels with God were called holy earlier and these combined angels with the goats are both joined with Satan to go to hell. Hell is the destination location where sin and filth is associated. Wow, that is really some very powerful words of revelation from Jesus.
Jesus ends the lesson in verse 46 of Matthew 25 with two very diverse ending locations for these opposing groups. Those sheep that will be called righteous have received eternal life while those goats that depart and go into eternal punishment we know are unrighteous. I am not going to go into every verse of this teaching to show why sheep are rewarded and goats are punished. You can do that for yourself or ask specific questions if you like in a comment.
Please take away from this lesson that there is a major division of separation that will be taking place. Both the sheep and goats live together for a time and it is a personal choice which one you are. Those that are goats that will be separated in the future to be on His left hand should be warned now to choose the free gift of eternal life as soon as they can before it is too late. Let’s continue to a new parallel teaching from Jesus.
Dividing the Wheat from the Tares
There is more than one message of division found in the Bible being spoken from the direct lips of Jesus. In fact this message is a central theme given by God from Genesis to Revelation. We can read this message repeatedly in almost every book of the Bible in some form. I believe that division was the plan of God before He even created our present world. Adam’s sin did not take God by surprise. I believe that God always has an answer prepared before there is any known stated problem. I want to continue this lesson today with another very direct and plain message of division given to us by Jesus in the book of Matthew. We will begin reading in chapter 13 and verse 24:
Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Mat 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
Mat 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
Mat 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
Mat 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
Mat 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
This is another message of divine spiritual importance given to us by God using symbolic figurative natural language to describe supernatural realities. The basic rule of interpretation for this parable is similar to the sheep and goats message. The nouns should generally be viewed as symbolic while the verbs should generally be taken as literal acts done to or by those that are represented by the symbolic nouns. It must be understood that this parable is stated to also be a likeness of the truth and not the complete truth in detail. That does not mean it is not true. But it does mean the timing of the events and specifics of the events are not al plainly stated. This higher spiritual message represents a natural message given to us on a much lower human level. God does this so that we can possibly understand it more easily than if He described the spiritual events from His superior divine intelligence viewpoint.
Maybe, you are not fully grasping what I was trying to teach. But, I hope and pray that you are. Let’s talk about this idea and concept in a bit more detail. The Greek word translated as “likened” in verse 24 is G3666. This Greek word is used to make a comparison between two separate realities, truths, people, etc. It is used 15 times in 15 different verses. The majority of the time it is translated in a form of ‘like”. For example, someone could say “oranges” are like “tangerines” and if someone had an experience of tasting, smelling and feeling a tangerine and never had an orange. This comparison knowledge gives the tangerine person a step up on understanding unknown oranges. However, the tangerine person also learns that oranges are not tangerines while they more easily comprehend that they contain some amazing similarities of experience, quality and type. This is exactly like what Jesus was teaching us also. Jesus is simply saying that the Kingdom of Heaven is very similar to and closely resembles a natural wheat and tare harvest cycle from the beginning to the ending process in many distinct ways. However, always remember that it is not an exact match just as a tangerine is not an exact rendition or a replacement for an orange.
Since the spiritual realm cannot be comprehended or confirmed by the five natural human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight or sound, it is a very complex task for any human to understand it. This is why God informs us in Romans 1:20 that His secret hidden qualities of His power and supremacy were clearly given to us to understand by things that He had created in our world all around us. Jesus reveals this truth repeatedly by using natural parables of sheep and goats and wheat and tares which represent likeness of the real. I believe that this clearly demonstrates God extreme intelligence and it truly amazes me. Let’s go through a list some of the key symbolic nouns found in this wheat and tare parable to help us understand the major spiritual players being described.
|Man||God/Jesus (Son of Man)||Mat 13:37; Mat 13:41|
|Good Seed||Word of God and People that Believe it||Luke 8:11|
|Field||Hearts of people in the world||Luke 8:15; Mat 18:38|
|Tare Seeds||Evil words producing evil people (children of Satan)||Mat 13:39|
|Wheat||Saved people producing fruit (children of God)||Luke 8:15|
|Tares||Lost people children of Satan||Mat 13:38|
|Harvest||End of the Age||Mat 13:39|
|Reapers||Holy Angels||Mat 13:39|
This is a great parable containing very significant hidden spiritual information that was not revealed clearly to any human or even angels before Jesus came to the earth to teach it to us. God is the symbolic man that owns the field. The field represents the world of people and more specifically their hidden spiritual heart. John 3:16 said God so loved the “world” so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for them all so that they might be saved if they believe. Sorry but that was just my paraphrase of a very important verse that I can’t stop telling you about.
I believe that the “good seed” sown into the field that produces the fruitful wheat is always the “Word of God” according to the Mark 4 parable of the sower. I also believe the good seed wheat crop that is taken at “harvest” time to be placed in the field owner’s barn (heaven) is specifically saved Christians that believed in Jesus. Harvest is revealed to be the end of this age and the reapers that bring in the harvest represent the holy angels again.
There is a very clear distinction given to us by Jesus between righteous people (wheat) and unrighteous people (tares). God makes a division of separated difference between those that are “good” and those that are not good. Wheat represents the good people and the tares represent the evil people. However, we know from both observation and parable teaching that the wheat and tares reside in the same world growing up together. What we learn from this parable is that the children of God will be eternally separated from the children of the devil. The children of Satan will be burned by fire which represents their eternal destination within hell. Those called wheat that have been saved will be gathered into a place of separated safety and peace.
There are some basic keys of spiritual knowledge given to us in this stated parable. For example, to the untrained (unsaved) eye both the wheat and the tares growing together can appear very similar. However, the tare plant when closely examined represents just a fake looking real wheat plant. The tares have a dark black seed on the inside and this represents the kingdom of darkness that fills their human heart. Ripe tares stand up proudly and arrogantly while the ripe wheat plant bows humbly to their maker in the wind. You can do other research to learn more about these differences if you like.
I think I should point out a few potential major problems with taking everything literal in this parable. For example, there is a stated man that owns a field. This man is named to be Jesus. But only the natural man Jesus walking the earth ever slept. The spiritual God never sleeps nor slumbers according to verses like Psalm 121:4. Since God is omniscient and omnipresent it is impossible for any enemy to plant bad seeds in His field without Him knowing fully about it. However, Jesus chose to make this information apart of the parable to help us to know something. I believe this information shows us that God did not stop the evil sower by divine choice but rather permitted him to come into the world to sow his seed. There would just be too many scriptural contradictions to believe otherwise.
Here is another reality that I struggled with in the telling of this parable. Have you considered the order of mention for the described sequence of events? Jesus describes the owner of the field that sowed the good seed is Himself saying the owner was the “Son of Man”. Jesus also said that the field received the good seed first and then the evil seed sower named Satan came afterwards.
We know from reading the Bible that Jesus does not appear physically on the earth until approximately 4000 years after Adam was created on the planet. Satan is first mentioned in Genesis 3 as the serpent that deceived them. This was clearly way before the personal appearance of Jesus (Son of Man) to sow good seeds. I struggled for awhile to believe that the good seed was planted before the evil seed that produced the tares. To resolve this in my mind I believe the Lord showed me the solution and I will cover this very quickly:
Gen 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
Notice what this verse appears to say in Genesis 2. The LORD God planted a garden…”. That is exactly what the parable we are reading describes to us. This is clearly before Genesis 3 and the introduction of the bad seed sower. This sower can only be the pre-incarnate Jesus that is planting the good seed. I hope you understand that this Genesis 2 planting was only “GOOD” seed sown by the LORD God? The only interpretation that can be viewed to make this correct is that Jesus was with God and was God as it is clearly laid out to us in John 1:1 and then later He became a man in the flesh as declared in John 1:14. I’m apologize if I don’t spend more time explaining this truth, but I believe that would take a significant time to cover.
This parable can be viewed as complicated very easily. I wish I could spend time to dig deeper into it. If you have any specific questions that rise up in your spirit, please let me know about them and I will trust the Lord to help me to answer them. Let’s move on quickly to another parable message from Jesus on the subject of division.
Dividing the Catch Caught from the Sea
Jesus repeatedly teaches us about the subject of a coming great division from many different perspectives. All of these perspectives were given to us using basic natural patterns of symbolic terms that the everyday common man could easily understand. As you should recall we’ve already seen the subject of division taught to us from a rancher/shepherd perspective. In this lesson the shepherd was tending his combined flock of both goats and sheep. However, only the sheep being placed on His right hand are saved and the goats on the left hand are lost. We have also seen the exact same type of division principle occurring in a distinct farming example where there will be the separating of the good grains of wheat from the inedible crop of tares. Again the wheat is saved and the tares are lost. Now Jesus is going to teach us again on the subject of division from the common level of many of His chosen disciple followers. Four of the twelve or one third of the disciples were fishermen. Therefore, this next parable should have definitely made both common and logical sense to them. Let’s read 4 verses found again in Matthew 13 and pay close attention to the similar symbolic concepts being communicated on:
Mat 13:47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
Mat 13:48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.
Mat 13:49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
Mat 13:50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
I found this parable very interesting. Jesus chose Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow him and they were all very experienced fishermen that did this type of work being described day after day for years. They would all get into their boats and launch out into the sea every work day. Then they would then throw their nets into the sea and draw it back up into the boats for their catch. After hauling the nets back up into the boats they would have to separate all of their good catch selecting each out individually from their bad or unclean catch. Every fish that was judged to be good was put into vessels to be separated completely from those that were deemed not to be good for anything. This dividing effort took place after close examination of each fish one by one. All that were determined to not be worth keeping were thrown away. Wow, how can we all not see the truth?
The parallels of truth being given are truly amazing between all of these parables. Even though each parable used different noun types to teach the truth the verbs types are practically identical or very synonymous. Notice how in each setting the good and the evil live within the same setting and environment. Notice how in each setting workers and servants are laboring to bring in the good and the bad and then are used to separate them completely and permanently. Notice how the good is always saved and the bad is always burned.
One of the key subject words in this fishing catch description is found in Matthew 13:49 and it was translated as the English word “sever”. This Greek word translated as “sever” is G873 and is the exact same Greek word as was found in Matthew 25:13 in the discussion of the parable of the sheep being “separated” from goats. God directly connects these two passages by His divine word selection and this confirms that we are studying the exact same subject and event.
The Bible clearly teaches us that in the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word of truth be established. Jesus has just given us three very profound witnesses of truth using three different natural examples of division taking place all prophesying of a future spiritual division. In every example the end result is identical. In every example the good and evil co-existed together in the same worldly environment until the time of the “end of the age” came and then there is a judgment that is made and an eternal separation occurs. There is almost no room for mistaken understanding, misinterpretation or misalignment of the truth in any of these parables. I believe that Jesus not only gives us the parables to teach us the subject of division that He said He came to do in Luke 12:51, but I also believe that He consistently explains each to leave no doubt to their meanings. It is only by ignoring the truth that we should remain ignorant on this subject.
There are more lessons, parables and verses on the critical subject of division that came directly from the mouth of Jesus, but I did not get to teach on all of these today. Take for example the parable of the 10 virgins. All came together to meet the bridegroom, who represents Jesus symbolically. This is the exact same message of coexistence as in every other previous parable. Then separation occurs with only 5 virgins entering behind the door and the other 5 foolish virgins were shut out completely. This is just the exact same division subject and an identical wall of separation being communicated from a new and different natural perspective.
Each time a new example is given by Jesus there can be new truths complimentarily added to enhance our understanding of the basic foundation of divisional truth. However, none of these new truths will ever change the foundational truth of division. I pray that you are grasping these concepts and receiving their truth.
I’ll end this part of the Bible lesson series on division with this warning from the Lord Jesus. Jesus makes a statement in Matthew 7 that should put a great deal of righteous fear into our thinking process. This verse is about the subject of division even though the word does not appear in the statement. Please read the verse and learn what is said:
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Jesus clearly warns us “Not everyone that calls Him Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven”. It would appear that calling Jesus LORD, even though it is a major part of the way to get to heaven it still does not guarantee our entry. It would appear to me that entry is conditional upon us doing the will of the Father also. This is a plain statement of division. This statement is speaking of people who will be positioned on the left hand of the LORD called goats, tares, unclean fish or foolish virgins. They will be told to depart from Him because He never knew them.
There is coming a great division between the righteous and the unrighteous, the just and the unjust, the good and the evil, the saved and the unsaved, the wise and the foolish and the clean and the unclean. It was stated by Jesus that this was one of the primary reasons for His appearance here on the earth. The division began spiritually when Jesus from the Kingdom of God paid the great price of our redemption purchasing us from Satan and the kingdom of darkness with His blood. The death of Jesus on a wooden cross was the sealed fate of separation of good from evil. Jesus then rose from the dead to become the only doorway to salvation. By entering into this door you can be included in the narrow path that Jesus said only few would find to enter. Jesus warned very clearly in Matthew 7:13 that wide is the pathway that leads to destruction and many are there that will fall for this trick of Satan to be lead astray. You have an enemy named Satan that has come to kill, steal and destroy as many as will allow him access either willingly or by deception.
I hope and pray that you have enjoyed this lesson and have learned at least something that you can share with others. The Lord willing, I will attempt to do at least one more lesson in this series sometime in the future. The coming end of the age could be here before we all know it. We should learn as much as we can to warn others before it is too late for them. God bless you and thank you for your prayers of support. I do greatly appreciate them.
(Ver 1.1) This is Part 2 in a series of advanced Bible study lessons concerning the increasing growth of the persecution of the church today. I believe sincerely that this was a message that the Spirit of God spoke to me recently in the middle of the night. This message of warning I believe was very clearly given. Therefore, I feel led to pray for every reader to grow in spiritual discernment to be able to perceive this persecution that is already beginning to happen all around us and to stand strong in their faith in the face of it. If you have not read this series of lessons from the beginning I would highly recommend that you go back and start with “Part 1” first.
Please realize that this Bible study subject is intended and I believe that it was designed by the Lord for mature spiritual Christians primarily. It may potentially address many advanced new spiritual topics that may offend, or cause fear or confuse a new or immature Christian. It is my greatest heart’s desire above teaching what I believe that the LORD gives me to share, to never intentionally offend or cause fear to occur in any new Christian which cause them to fall away from seeking to learn more. I believe very sincerely that it is essential for any Bible message being taught to not introduce a spirit of fear into any Christian’s heart (2 Tim 1:7). I believe this even when the message concerns a coming increased level of hatred towards Christians that may occur. When reading this message, fear should not be the end result. If it is then I have failed. Therefore, please perform a self-evaluation, praying first asking the Lord to lead you if you should continue to read and study this subject before continuing. Thank you.
In the first lesson God introduced the subject matter using a message revealed within the life of a man named “Saul” of Tarsus. Saul of Tarsus was a very religious zealot that believed he was doing well by persecuting and killing Christians when in actuality he was being deceived and used by Satan to do evil. We can learn this from reading Saul’s own subsequent writings to us in the church where he describes to us that he was just the human flesh and blood game piece being played, influenced and manipulated by the evil unseen spiritual force called Satan.
As you should recall, Part 1 introduced the subject of persecution from the viewpoint of 4 different perspectives. One perspective was that of the human persecutor Saul. Another perspective was from God’s viewpoint and another was from the observation of the one in the church being persecuted. Finally, the last perspective was from Satan. Satan’s viewpoint represented his beliefs based upon his versions of truth and reality. However, I was only able to touch that part of the discussion very briefly.
Today I want to focus more in-depth on the actual spiritual enemy’s perspective and the reasoning given to us in the Bible behind why Satan is so highly motivated to persecute the church. I believe if we can understand why our enemy desires to hurt us we will better know how to resist, withstand and even overcome the attacks.
But let’s first be reminded of a good definition of what “persecution” is from the dictionary.
Persecution: hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs.
Persecution is the act of someone causing hurt, harm, injury or even death to another human simply because of a strong disagreement or differences between someone’s appearance, associations or beliefs. Persecution can be physical, mental or emotional and even all of the above at once. You must also know that the roots of all persecution originate from seeds of evil planted from the kingdom of darkness and we will soon learn why these occur. That was only a very brief overview of what was covered in Part 1. Therefore, let’s get started on a new lesson about the subject of “persecution”.
SECTION 1: OBTAINING A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHO THE SPIRIT OF SAUL REPRESENTS
It may have been difficult for a few readers to understand the stated concept of the warning that I believe was given to us by the LORD concerning “beware, the rise of the spirit of Saul”. Is it possible that this was a direct reference to the external spiritual being named Satan? This “spirit of Saul” statement could possibly be a reference to at least three different possible interpretations. Think with me logically for a moment. First, this reference could be the actual human spirit of Saul himself returning to the earth as we read about Samuel returning to the earth in 1 Samuel 28 to speak with the first Saul king of Israel. If you have studied the Bible you should already understand that man was created by God as a tri-part being; 1) man is a spirit that possesses 2) a soul (a mind, will and emotions) and this spirit lives in 3) a physical body (1 Th 5:23). That is one possible logical interpretation.
Second, a “spirit of Saul” statement could be referring to just the rise of a hostile attitude towards Christians without being related to any one person of direct responsibility. Please review this one dictionary definition of the word “spirit”:
spirit: those qualities regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character of a person, nation, or group or in the thought and attitudes of a particular period.
Using this definition we could take the character, thoughts or attitudes of anyone on the earth similar to the man named Saul and say that is what is returning to the earth today and I believe that would be correct to a great extent. However, we must ask is there something or someone that is driving these things to reoccur today? Is there anyone that can be identified to be directly responsible for the evil? I believe the answer is yes. I based this belief upon two important characteristics 1) the TRUTH OF THE BIBLE and 2) God’s created laws of physics.
I would be foolish to attempt to teach the laws of physics in a Bible lesson on persecution. But you may be wise to extend some effort to study this subject to learn more about the subject of causality. This basic principle of physics teaches us for every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. In other words even basic common sense teaches us that nothing good or evil happens without an originating cause. Simply speaking we should understand that cars do not assemble themselves. If you can see a car, you must logically assume a designer and creator of that car.
I believe this principle of causality is also the basis for the subject of persecution also. Persecution does not occur by accident or random chance. It must be directly caused by a being capable to desire it, design it, initiate it and control it for an intended purpose. This brings us to the third possible interpretation for the “spirit of Saul”.
The third possible interpretation for a “spirit of Saul” statement could be a direct reference to an independent external supernatural spiritual being influencing the natural man Saul. I believe very firmly that this was the way that it is being used by the Holy Spirit in the message. In fact I believe it was an indirect reference to Satan and can be no other possible spiritual being. If you also believe this is true then you just might wish to skip the remainder of this section of the lesson because it is going to be designed to provide other Biblical confirmations of that subject matter only. The section following this confirmation in the Bible lesson will continue to get into new material on the subject of “persecution”. You are free to move directly down to the next section if you feel led by the Spirit of God to do so now.
I will do my best to provide a couple of quick examples of this type of stated truth for the “spirit of Saul” utilizing additional associated subjects and related references in the Bible. Each new reference type given should help us establish the basic concept that the “spirit of Saul” can legally be referring us to a completely different independent responsible spirit other than the human spirit of the man being directly named.
The Bible contains multiple repeated patterns that can assist us to prove basic spiritual concepts. We can find these and use the occurrence of each Bible reality to support our understanding of possible types and examples which are similar. For example, please read this next equally patterned verse that I believe was revealed to me by the Lord very carefully and see what God is saying about a spirit and two natural men named Elijah and Elisha:
2Ki 2:15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.
Here in this reference of the “spirit of Elijah” is found the exact same form of the principle and pattern as what was given within the “spirit of Saul” statement. However, in this revealed pattern there is a major difference in the transferred type of spirit that was now resting upon this man Elisha originally resting on Elijah. The major difference is between good and evil. Elijah and Elisha were men of God that do things that are good and Saul was a man guilty of doing evil. This represents an antithesis truth comparison. Both are related patterns upon opposite ends of a truth spectrum.
I believe that this shifted spirit being transferred from Elijah to Elisha must be the good Holy Spirit. I believe very firmly that the Hebrew word H7307 which was translated as “spirit” in this verse should have been translated as the capitalized word “Spirit”. Translators capitalized this word as “Spirit” in over 30 other O.T. verses. Therefore, it is a very legitimate way to use the word when it is recognized to be referring to God’s divine Holy Spirit.
This lower case translation as “spirit” just causes significant confusion and it conflicts with other verses found in the Bible. For example, I have found no verses in the Bible that reveal that a man’s human spirit can be transferred to or ever exist inside the body of a completely different named human being. We can easily observe this truth from reading a literal true story that Jesus taught to us. For example go and read in Luke chapter 16 where Jesus tells us of the natural deaths of two actual men, one an unnamed rich man and the other a poor beggar named Lazarus. Upon the death of each man, both human spirits depart their dead bodies and leave the earth immediately being carried away by the angels to two different locations under the earth’s surface. Knowing this truth alone makes it impossible for the literal stated “spirit of Elijah” to represent Elijah’s actual human spirit. The “spirit of Elijah” cannot come back or even stay on the earth to rest upon another human body named Elisha. That would be a very false teaching likened to “reincarnation”.
Also remember a related story found in Luke chapter 9 when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain top and both Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus talking. It is worthy to note that the Bible does not say that this was Elisha’s appearance. Therefore the spirit of Elijah must be separate from Elisha in 2 Kings and afterwards in Luke 9. It would be very logical to think that this is the way it was then and still is now. We can further confirm this truth seeing the departure of Elijah’s body and his spirit when he was taken away from the sight of Elisha being separated by a fiery chariot in 2 King 2:11.
2Ki 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
The fact that both Elijah and Elisha appear together in repeated verses found in 1 Kings 19, 2 Kings 2 and 3 prove that both men are human and possess independent human spirits. The fact that Elijah is stated to depart the earth further proves that Elijah is no longer here to rest on Elisha. Therefore, this referenced “spirit of Elijah” in 2 Kings 2:15 cannot be a literal interpretation for Elijah himself to remain here on the earth.
There are just too many implied controversies and conflicts given to us for us to believe that the human spirit of Elijah could possibly be transferred up and away from the earth but still remain here on the earth to rest upon the human spirit of Elisha. I’ll say it again in a different way, there is just absolutely no way that this belief of a human spirit transfer can fit any type of knowledge or understanding of central truth found in the Bible. Therefore, God must be speaking of a different spirit that was transferred from Elijah to Elisha and this Spirit must be the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at another related contextual verse to help us understand this more clearly:
2Ki 2:9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
Here is a great new mini lesson to help verify that the “spirit of Elijah” in 2 Kings 2:15 must be translated as the “Spirit on Elijah” in order to not conflict with contextual Bible truth. First, notice that Elijah says “He is about to be taken away”. That statement would be a clear lie if his spirit remained on the earth to rest upon Elisha. Do you understand this? A man is his spirit and a man is not his physical body. The physical body is simply the house that the man’s spirit lives within. Remember what Paul wrote us in 2 Corinthians 5:8 “to be absent from the body is to present with the Lord”. Wow, I hope you can put this verse together to see the truth with the “spirit of Elijah”.
Also, notice that there is a potential major conflict found on the surface by Elisha’s request to Elijah. Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Again I believe this word should be capitalized as “Elijah’s Spirit” to be seen correctly as God’s Holy Spirit that was resting upon Elijah. You see God’s Spirit resting upon Elijah was just the unseen reality that Elijah possessed personally. Then notice what Elisha asks for more specifically. Elisha asks for a “double portion” of this spirit and again this can only be a double portion of God’s Spirit.
I have found no Bible references that infer that a man’s human spirit can increase in any measured capacity, quantity or status other than to grow in qualities like faith, strength and wisdom. I believe from years of Bible study that the human child that is formed in the womb of a woman has been given a fully formed and complete human spirit from God. I believe that this human spirit is in its full presence and measured capacity. I do believe that this spirit grows in knowledge, understanding and wisdom but I believe that this is not the increased size of the human spirit. Therefore, I believe that any stated increased “double portion” of Elijah’s human spirit presents another major Bible conflict. However, if we translate and interpret this Old Testament request in this verse using revealed knowledge of the N.T. we will quickly learn the truth. For example, read this:
Joh 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
As you read the context of this verse you can clearly see that this verse is speaking of Jesus. God declared in His written Holy Word that Jesus had been given the “Spirit of God” in complete fullness without any limitations or reduced amounts of capability to measure. The Greek word G3358 translated in this verse as “measure” literally means “a limited or reduced portion of the complete or total” and by God placing the negative G3756 translated as “not” before this word it changes the meaning to say to us that there can be no reduced limits to the Spirit that was given to Jesus. We could literally say God’s Spirit was given to Jesus in the fullest possible measured capacity. Therefore, Jesus had the total possible amount of God’s Holy Spirit resting upon Him. I hope and pray that you can see this truth because the unstated implications are also amazing.
This statement of truth about Jesus implies that every other human here on the earth can only possess the Holy Spirit in some much “lesser amount” or “reduced or limited portion” than what Jesus had. This truth teaches us so very much. For example if you believe that you have all of the Spirit of God that you can possibly have just because you were born-again then you are very deceived. There is always more of God that is available to come upon you, if you just ask for Him to come and receive Him by faith.
This means when Elisha asks Elijah for a double portion of his “Spirit”, Elisha could only be legally asking for a greater portioned amount of God’s Spirit than what was present on Elijah at that time. The increased amount of double of what Elijah had resting upon him was what was requested. I hope you understood this basic logical truth. I believe very clearly that God’s Spirit is the only single spirit that can be given and transferred to and from any human to another in greater amounts. However, this does get more complicated by the fact found in the Words of Jesus when He declares that a demon can exit out of man and then return with 7 other demons that are more evil than himself (Mat 12:45).
I’ll end this small part of the confirmation by proving the Holy Spirit can “rest” on humans. This will help us further support the claim that the spirit of Elijah must be the Holy Spirit and no other. And this fact will assistus to better understand how the “spirit of Saul” can also be transferred to rest upon other humans also. In Acts 2:3 when the Holy Spirit falls upon the 120 in the upper room God declares that His Spirit “Sat” upon each of them. That term “sat” is simply a synonymous way to say God’s Spirit “rested” on each human spirit present in a limited amount. This was the exact same spiritual concept being studied in 2 Kings.
Num 11:25 And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
We can use one of the basic interpretation principles called the “law of first mention” and find that the Spirit of God rested on other people in the O.T. For example this truth is found in Numbers 11:25-26 where God clearly states using the exact same Hebrew word translated as “rest” as we have been observing in reference to Elisha. In these verses in Numbers God rested upon Moses and this same Spirit was then also transferred and given to rest upon the 70 elders that were called to help Moses govern and manage the people of the LORD. That makes it very plain to me what God was speaking of in 2 Kings 2:15.
I’ve spent more than enough time on this rabbit trail study proving that the “spirit of Elijah” can only be correctly understood to be “God’s Spirit resting on Elijah” and it could only be His Spirit that can legally be transferred in an increased portion to rest on Elisha. These truths helps to support the claim that the “spirit of Saul” can also legally be understood to be Satan’s spirit upon Saul that is being transferred from one human (Saul) to another.
I will conclude this section of our persecution lesson with one further confirmation to how Satan can use multiple humans to bring persecution upon Christ and Christians. This will help us to see how one spiritual being can be transferred from human to human. We will read four verses found in the book Luke. I’m sure you have seen these before but they do teach us plainly about the root “spirit” that is truly behind persecution:
Luk 22:2 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.
Luk 22:3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
Luk 22:4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.
Luk 22:5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
Please note in verse 2 that God says the religious leaders in Israel sought to kill Jesus. Also note that in John 10:10 Jesus claimed that Satan was the one that came to the earth to kill, steal and destroy. I find that very interesting, don’t you? It would appear to me that Satan had already entered into the hearts of these religious men in order for them to want to kill Jesus. Please recall who Jesus claimed was behind these rulers by reading these words spoken in John 8:
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
You see Jesus informs these religious leaders that they desired to kill Him and that this was the desire give to them from their father. Who did Jesus say was their father? Was it God? No it was not! Jesus was saying they were “of” their father the devil (aka Satan). Wow, that is very strong language. The root of murder according to Jesus is of the devil because he is stated to be the murderer from the beginning of the world.
Jesus was warning these religious human men concerning who birthed and controlled their 1) desires, 2) intentions, 3) thoughts and 4) their actions. But, these religious zealots completely ignored His warnings. I believe that it is quite possible that one of our main subject’s Saul was standing in their presence when these words were spoken. Wow, can you imagine that?
Go back and reread Luke 22:3 again. It is very clearly stated that Satan entered into Judas before Judas ever betrayed Jesus to the Jews. Note the important concept being taught to us. The spirit of Satan was not on or in Judas but then he came from somewhere or someone else to now be found present in Judas. This statement reveals the very important concept that is being taught about spiritual transference. The Holy Spirit, demons, devils and even Satan can be transferred from one human to another human as we have clearly observed in scripture.
The religious rulers of Israel were thrilled with this man Judas coming to help them trap, take prisoner, persecute and kill Jesus. This is no different than what Satan did through the man Saul to persecute and kill those in the church later after the death of Judas and the ascension of Jesus. What I am saying is that the same spirit of Satan that came upon these religious leaders, Judas and Saul must be the same spirit that is now coming upon people in our world today to spread the same evil upon the church.
This is such valuable information to learn from. It teaches us the root cause behind the observed effect of church persecution is spiritual in origin and nature. Judas went out and killed himself because of his great error in judgement to give into Satan and yet this did not end the persecution of believers. Therefore, Judas cannot be the root cause of the persecution to Christ or Christians. Judas was only a simple pawn chess piece that could be used to attack Christ and then be sacrificed and thrown away in a human garbage pile. Satan could easily find another human to fulfill his further evil work on the earth. Please see what Paul wrote about this unseen work of Satan:
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Paul states very clearly “what is” the root cause source of evil in this world. Paul is a very wise and learned man from things he learned from the Lord Jesus and his personal life experiences. Paul says there is a prince of the air that has the power and ability to work in men and women on the earth that willfully disobey the Word of God.
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
We could spend a lot of time just on this verse but I want to point out just a few key points found in this great truth statement. Satan is walking the earth just as we are informed he does in the first chapter of the book of Job. The Greek word G666 which was translated as “devour” is a very interesting word to study. This word literally means to swallow up as in gulping down a large glass of a beverage. This is what Satan is trying to do to everyone in the world today. Satan is an equal opportunity destroyer and it does not matter if you are saved or not saved. He is looking for someone to drink in and use. However this is only possible for people that open the door for him to come in to consume them.
Spiritual transference and influence is still true today in our world. Human terrorists are not our real root problem. One terrorist blows himself up to kill people and then Satan has many other men, women and children to step into their role to be the next murderer. I hope and pray that you will embrace these truths and take them to heart to see how persecution and the transfer of spirits work. Let’s change the focus and learn more about why Satan wants to persecute you.
SECTION 2: ONE OF SATAN’S PRIMARY MOTIVATIONS FOR PERSECUTION
At the end of the first lesson in the series, I included a few verses from Revelation 12 that described how as the time of the end shortens, Satan’s fury and hatred increases. I believe this fury is growing exponentially as the end becomes nearer. I also believe that this rage will continue to rise until after he is thrown down to the earth the final time having lost his soon coming war in heaven with God’s holy angels. I believe these verses describe to us a spiritual being in tremendous panic mode. Let’s reread a little to refresh our memory:
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Prior to these two verses in Revelation chapter 12, Satan (the symbolic dragon) was stated to have swept down with his dragon’s tail one third of the angels (the symbolic stars). These evil angels have fallen to the earth with Satan from heaven and that is not good news for the people left remaining on the earth. But, here in verses 7 and 8 we learn some very important information concerning Satan. First, think with me and ask why would a created being of inferior powers and ability choose to come against his all-knowing and all-powerful creator? Doesn’t Satan have any fear of God? I believe sincerely that Satan has tremendous fear of God. But, I also believe that he considers that he has no choice except to fight against God in order to try to survive what is prophesied to come. Satan knows so very clearly by reading the end of the Bible that he is going to be cast into hell very soon where he will have to spend all of eternity in punishment, anguish and torment.
Remember that Satan has been in heaven, led worship around the throne of God and has lived the best life and seen such superior things which were far better than anything we could possibly imagine here on the earth. Satan was created a model of perfection, created in a realm of perfection with the perfect association to the creator God who was and is perfect. Why he chose to willfully and purposely rebel against a good and loving God is certainly an amazing mystery to most of us Christians. Let’s review Satan’s end:
Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
As you can plainly read in Revelation, Satan has a very dismal prophesied future. This is exactly why I believe Satan is highly motivated to try to find any way possible to not go there. Do not forget that when Satan was created, he was an example of perfection from God’s best and highest order of His creation. Satan continued as the model of “perfection” right up until the time that “sin’ was found in him through his pride (Eze 28:15). I believe that it was Satan’s pride that caused him to think more highly than he ought to think of himself and I believe that it is now his survival instinct that causes him to fight diligently against God and His great power here on earth and in heaven.
I hope that you understand these truths because Satan definitely does. Everything that a Christian is destined for in eternity with the Almighty God, Satan has already experienced and I believe he is not happy to say the least to lose it all. Let’s take a quick little exploration trip down a new rabbit trail on the subject concerning demons and devils to better understand Satan’s knowledge. Please, read with me in Matthew 8:
Mat 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
Mat 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
Jesus traveling through the countryside encounters men that were possessed by devils. Please notice what the devils shriek when they see the LORD JESUS coming at them. We can clearly see from their statements that these devils know exactly who Jesus is and even call Him the “Son of God”. Being the “Son of God” was certainly the truth and one of His primary given names. Did you know that devils know and can speak the truth at times? Please notice the beginning of the question asked to Jesus “What have we to do with you?” That was a question displaying their great fear of Jesus. This statements ends with still another fearful question that begins with “Have you come to torment us before the time?” Wow, what great fear these devils exhibit! Can you agree?
Reading the devil’s questions we see that these spirit beings in a human know the truth that there is coming a future “set time” that will begin their eternal never ending torment. They also speak this truth long before the book of Revelation was ever written. We also learn by their questions that the timing for this torment described in the future written Revelation 20 was not during the first appearing of Jesus the Son of God upon the earth. This extraordinary knowledge of truth was way beyond that of any human comprehension on the earth at that time except for Jesus’ knowledge. Jesus never denies these statements of truth nor does He contradict them. They are completely agreed with due to the silence of Jesus. Let’s review the facts of truth just given:
- Devils have a very great fear of being tormented.
- Demons, devils and evil spirits know that there is an appointed time of eternal torment.
- The timing of eternal punishment and torment is stated to be in the future.
All of these three observed truths declare that every devil possesses a very great fear of God and of the coming time of never ending retribution. Did you know that devils and demons possessed this very tremendous terror of God and His power even back at the appearance of Jesus the first time on the earth? If the lower levels of devils feared God’s future plans for them way back then how much more do you think their leader Satan and all of them fear these never changing plans right now? I believe that this fear is even greater today than it ever was back then.
Jas 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Notice what the half-brother of Jesus reveals to us in his awesome letter to the church. James commends us in the church for having a holy belief in the one true God. Then James implies by his adjoining statement that this belief should cause a righteous fear of God to similarly be present in us. We can conclude this, because, James says that we are doing well to possess this belief in one God since the devils “also” believe and they tremble in fear. What I am introducing in this section of the Understanding Persecution lesson is what I believe is Satan’s number one reason for persecuting the church and it is called “FEAR”. Satan fears the omnipotent God more than I can describe in this lesson and it is primarily this great terror that causes his excessive hatred and rage against us in the church today. Please take this summary statement to heart and never forget it:
- Fear is the driving motivational evil force for everything wicked that Satan does to the church using persecution.
SECTION 3: INTRODUCTION TO SATAN’S NUMBER ONE GOAL FOR PERSECUTING THE CHURCH
Wow, if it is true that Satan is primarily motivated by the fear of God to commit persecution, what is his primary goal and objective for persecuting, killing and destroying Christians on the earth for the last 2000 years? What benefits to Satan could this evil work of persecution potentially gain him? I believe that is a great question to answer and understand. And I believe the answer has not changed ever since Satan killed Abel in Genesis.
Always, remember that Satan has been in the death business since the world began (Heb 2:14). He wants us in the church dead and not only us but also the entire nation of Israel. Why is that? If Satan is already defeated as we learn in the New Testament, why is he still fighting so hard to kill everyone that God has selected? Why does the religion of Islam call Christians in America the great Satan and the nation of Israel the little Satan? It sounds to me like Satan is afraid of us both and even our existences here on the earth. Both of these nations must possess something that Satan fears as much as God. What could this be?
Again we know from reading the words of Jesus in John 10:10 that Satan came into the world illegally to literally 1) kill, 2) steal and 3) destroy us while Jesus explained that His purpose for coming into the world was the antithesis to give us life and that life more abundantly. These were and are still two opposing forces that are fighting against each other to prevail. Satan should be viewed as our enemy trying to bring us to death but Jesus the greater one came as our provider of life more abundant. Satan is certainly evil and Jesus is so exceedingly good.
We should now know from just reading this lesson that these three evil acts of Satan were and still are “fear of God” motivated. Therefore, I’ll ask again, what possible profit does Satan potentially gain from killing Christians, stealing from Christians and destroying Christian and their works? This will become the focus of this section and we will let God’s Word answer these very important questions.
There is a really simple answer to the introduction of this section’s questions if we think about it and begin to ask some additional direct questions. Of course asking the right direct questions would certainly help us. How about beginning by asking this question, “How did you become a Christian?” I believe that if we can correctly answer that question that we will begin to travel down the right pathway to finding the truth about what is Satan’s primary benefit for the persecution of God’s people. I’ll start this section with a familiar Bible verse found in 2 Corinthians:
2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
God contrasts two truths and one is given to be greater than the other. These are seen things verses unseen things and the unseen things must be viewed to take priority over the sense realm things. The unseen things are clearly spiritual in nature. If you are really a Christian that has been born again, you possess two very powerful unseen spiritual realities that Satan fears tremendously. Every real Christian believer has these two unseen internal truths that speak to declare Satan’s greatest fear. What are these two unseen internal and never ending unseen spiritual qualities that any real Christian possesses? These two unseen realities in us that Satan hates and fears the most are 1) the Spirit of God and 2) the Word of God.
1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
After becoming a Christian the Spirit of God dwells directly in us. That is why Satan fears you and wants to remove you from his worldly domain of darkness. If there were no Christians in the world today restraining and resisting Satan what would be the moral condition of the world today? I hate to imagine what would be happening based upon what is happening all around us already.
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
If you were born again, it happened because you received the Word of God into your spirit. It is the presence of this powerful incorruptible Word (seed) that is one of the major factors that Satan fears you. This is so important that I can’t say it enough. The Word of God and the Spirit of God are one and if you are a real Christian you have both in you in some measured portion which can be increased and even grow but I don’t have time to teach that today. Let’s review a verse very quickly to see why the Word of God in you is so scary to Satan.
Rom 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
Wow, I love this verse of Godly truth. This verse represents a foundation for the second unseen reality that Satan hates about you as a Christian. The Word of God should be in the mouth of every believer and we should be able to see that it is only this Word of Faith being in our mouth that represents our offensive weapon against Satan according to Ephesians 6:17. Every time Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus spoke the Word of Faith to him “It is written” and after three attempts to get Jesus to fail Satan left him in defeat. I believe very sincerely that this removal of the Word of God from your heart and from your mouth is the number one goal for all evil persecution. If Satan can eliminate the Word of God from your heart with external threats and pressures from this world you will become no threat to Satan.
For the exact same motivation of fear that Satan attacks the all-powerful God in heaven in Revelation 12, he is coming against any real saved born again Christian now in the church. I believe that Satan is highly driven trying to save himself from going to hell as I have previously demonstrated and that this foolish behavior will continue to increase as the time for the end of this age is growing shorter. I also believe that Satan’s chances for success are zero. Yet I believe strongly that he will definitely still try to fight to win in order to attempt to change his inevitable outcome in whatever way that he believes he can do to help him the most. If you do not believe Satan is still fighting to win over you and over God, then you may be very deceived. Verses like Ephesians 6:11-12, James 4:7, 1 Timothy 6:12, 2 Timothy 4:7, and 1 Peter 5:9 to name a few all prove that every Christian is still in a spiritual battle until Satan is completely removed from this world.
As we learned earlier, Satan is not omnipresent nor is he omniscient. Satan does not come close to knowing what God knows or even understanding why God has done many things the way that He has done them. God clearly uses seemingly foolish strategies in the eyes of Satan to defeat him (1 Cor 1:27). Satan never understood why Jesus came down from heaven to the earth to become a human man. The devils clearly thought it was to torment them before the time appointed. I believe that Satan and his devils were all in terror when Jesus began to cast them out of people here on the earth using His anointed power. Acts 10:38 says “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and Power who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil”. You see until Jesus came down to the earth, every devil practically had complete free reign to do as they pleased to humans if humans were tricked to open the door to let them in. Jesus turned the world of the devils upside down so that they didn’t know what to expect next or what to do with Jesus to stop this major change to their long existence on the earth. God reveals this to us in this truth:
1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
1Co 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
These two verses confirm the reality that Satan and all of his devils don’t know much about God’s ways. These two verses inform us that God had a very secret plan found within sending Jesus to the earth. This plan literally included the voluntary death of Jesus on the cross and God says if Satan would have known this no devil would have allowed this to occur because I believe it sealed their doomed fate and destiny.
What did I say earlier was one of the things that we possessed now that Satan is in great fear of? Remember one item was the “Word of God” as it is being mentioned in verse 7 of 2 Corinthians 2. I believe this is the planned motivating goal of Satan. He believes that if he can stop us from gaining any more knowledge of God’s Word that this will possibly extend, delay or even end the future plan of God to put them into hell. However, we still have the Word of God that we can read further and learn more from:
Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Col 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
We should be able to easily learn from reading these verses that this death that Jesus experienced on the cross caused the triumphant defeat and the downfall of Satan and all of his unseen spiritual rulers of this world. This should be very excellent news for those that are still being persecuted by Satan today and those in the days to come. It also should raise new questions in your mind. For example, if Satan is a defeated enemy why does he still exist here on the earth and how is it that he still has any power or ability to persecute anyone? I wish I had time to try to explain that completely, but I do not in this lesson. In order to understand Satan’s goal for committing persecution we need to dive much deeper into the subject of the incorruptible word of God’s seed that I just introduced into the lesson. We will do this by analyzing some familiar verses next.
SECTION 4: UNDERSTANDING PERSECUTION IN THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER
In a previous section I said Satan feared two truths, the 1). Spirit of God and the 2) Word of God in the heart of every born again believer. Then I taught that this fear was the primary motivation for all Christian persecution. Now, I’m going to continue to confirm and expand this fact in this part of the lesson to help us better understand it. We will be turning to the most important parable found in the Gospels in order to better comprehend the reason(s) why the church is being persecuted. This essential parable that I am referring to is often called the “Parable of the Sower” but we must begin to understand that it contains so much more information than just a simple message of a man coming to plant some seeds in what appears to be random types of ground.
We will soon discover by using a new look that this seed parable also contains our four perspectives concerning persecution. These were, 1) God’s perspective, 2) Satan’s perspective, and both the 3) persecuted church and the 4) persecutor’s viewpoint. I will not include every verse of this parable in order to attempt to shorten the lesson today, but I would recommend that you go and reread all of the verses for yourself to refresh your memory to confirm what is being taught.
I will inform you upfront in this section that it contains some potentially brand new ideas that I believe the Holy Spirit just gave me concerning this parable. While I was studying the subject I believe that the Lord showed me how this parable fits my life in more ways than I thought. I believe the Holy Spirit said to me in my spirit that this parable represents the ONLY true pathway to becoming a real saved mature born again believer. I believe this is described from the beginning of our salvation all the way to the best possible end result of our salvation of producing a 100 fold spiritual fruit return on God’s investment in our hearts. I will also inform you that this parable teaches us at least 6 things that Satan does to every hearer of the Gospel in order to keep that person from becoming a saved overcoming threat to his kingdom.
Let’s examine a very quick overview of the parable. In this parable a “sower” came to the earth spreading seed on 6 different types of ground (soil, hearts). Three types of ground (soil, hearts) produced no lasting fruit for a harvest and three types of ground (soil, hearts) produced increasing levels of lasting harvestable fruit. We should know from the explanation of the parable given by Jesus that the main seed being sown in heart to produce fruit represents the “Word of God”. That is very important to know since I believe this is what Satan fears. We should also know that the original man that sowed the good seed was sent down from heaven and His name was Jesus. We can further understand that the soil represents 6 different distinct states of the internal unseen spiritual human heart. Now, we should be able to logically deduce from just this amount of basic information alone that the end result of the seed (Word of God) sown is spiritual fruit and without this being found present it is impossible for us to be saved according to the Bible. I’ll repeat this very important verse for further emphasis:
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Jesus declared in John 3:7 “You must be born again” in order to enter the Kingdom of God. Did you notice what God says about His seed here in this verse of first Peter? God’s seed is confirmed by the inspired writings of Peter to be God’s Word and it is ONLY this successfully sown incorruptible good seed in a man’s heart that causes him to be born again. I believe this is a good time for us to get into the divinely created natural birth process in order to better understand this concept of being born again. God’s process of being “born again” spiritually is a direct parallel concept to the created natural process of being born in the natural human way.
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
God gives us great wisdom in the New Testament concerning how to understand hidden and unseen spiritual truths. God clearly says for us to look at naturally created patterns of things to see and understand hidden spiritual concepts we do not see or understand. This is why we are going to go briefly through the parallel process of human reproduction.
I will not be excessively graphic in this description because most of you should already know how human babies are made. However, for those few that don’t, the natural process takes two opposite humans to produce one new baby. These two human requirements are always one male seed provider and one female seed receiver. The human male always possesses the necessary seed for human conception and must sow it just as the sower of God’s word (a male named Jesus) possessed the spiritual seed that must be planted in a spiritual woman to cause a spiritual birth to potentially occur. Both seeds (the natural and the spiritual) are implanted internally just in two very different ways for two very different intended destinations and results. However, both successful seed processes produce the same end result called “fruit”.
Luk 1:42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
In the natural woman’s womb there is found an “egg” normally produced monthly that can be potentially implanted by the sown male’s seed. This natural sowing process to produce the human baby fruit as we just read in Luke 1:42 is a very real parallel to the parable of the sower that informs us not every seed that was sown takes root or produces fruit. Both the spiritual seeds and the natural seeds have enemies that can try to prevent the seed sown from bearing any fruit. Some human couples take great lengths of time to produce a child in the natural and so it is with the spiritual re-birth process. Some humans live all of their lives and get born again on their death beds if they are blessed to hear the gospel and receive it. Just as having sex does not guarantee human fruit, so it is with hearing the Word of God. There are so many that hear the truth of the Gospel and simply die and go to hell, not receiving it.
The womb of the woman is a direct parallel representation of the human heart (spirit). The female womb is an ever changing environment that goes in cycles of lesser degrees and greater degrees of fertilization and so it is with the human heart. A human’s heart may be very tender and fertile to receive the word of God today but tomorrow it may be completely hardened because of life’s ever changing circumstances.
In the natural the male is always the sower of seed and it is only this seed successfully sown at the perfect timing that will potentially produce any fruit of a child. However, even as the parable indicates, there can be problems that cause the termination of the pregnancy and no child/fruit is delivered. I’m sure some readers know this reality by great trial of experience.
That was only a very rapid overview of a naturally created and inspired process that was designed to be a view into the spiritual birth process. I pray that you will accept this as we continue to learn more and I encourage you to give this process some more thought and write me a good comment at the end of this lesson to share it with others.
As in the parallel of human reproduction, the “Parable of the Sower” reveals much more than just the planned attempt at producing good fruit. There is and always will be an enemy in this realm that will try to prevent the spiritual rebirth from taking place. Satan does this in at least 6 different ways in the parable of the Sower. If you allow Satan to steal the seed sown from your heart, there will be no new spiritual birth that will occur to produce any lasting or saving spiritual fruit. Therefore, it is simple to see if there is no lasting Seed of God in the human heart, there will be no end result of any eternal salvation fruit.
The Holy Spirit reminded me as I was writing this lesson that I have personally been almost every type of the 6 different soil conditions mentioned in this parable by my own freewill choices. I believe that if you are a real born again Christian, then you have chosen to be most of these soil types also and endured to make the necessary changes and adjustments to go further. I did not say you had to go through every soil type. I believe you may have been blessed to bypass one or more soil types that do not produce fruit. However, that does not mean you bypassed the attacks of Satan to try to steal the seed from your heart affecting those soil types. Please, just begin to understand that it is the human’s choice which soil type that he or she wants to be.
For example, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I was the one that chose to be hard hearted pathway soil that allowed Satan to easily steal the Word of God that was sown in my heart as a very young man. The Holy Spirit then reminded me that it was my choice later in life that allowed the Word of God to come in on my shallow stony heart when I did receive God’s seed with gladness. However, when Satan came as he does to every seed of God listener I became offended and turned away from God and produced no fruit. As a result I failed to move into salvation to produce fruit. God then reminded me of the phase of my life when I chose to receive the Word of God being more tenderhearted but I again allowed Satan’s evil seed to also enter in through the cares of this world to choke out the good seed and again there was still no Godly fruit produced for salvation.
I am now by my own determined choice, in a more lasting “fruitful” stage of my life having made the personal selections to not allow my poor past mistakes to keep me apart from producing any harvestable spiritual fruit. I am not saying that I am perfect now or that I have yet arrived at the one hundred fold return level of fruitful production but I believe that I am on the way to get there. I hope this short testimony gives you a brand new perspective on what the parable of the sower represents and further helps you to evaluate where you might choose to be in this parable being described today. I would be very excited to read your testimony of your path to salvation if you would care to share it in a comment. It would be my great pleasure to read how you overcame the struggles and attacks of the enemy in any soil type. Let’s start reading the “Parable of the Sower” in Mark chapter 4:
Mar 4:14 The sower soweth the word.
Mar 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
Ok, heart condition 1 was called the “way side soil” and this soil type represents a very hard compacted trampled on heart condition which does not allow the Word of God to even enter into it to take any root. Therefore, there is no salvation that can take place for this type of person. In this soil type the seed (the Word of God) is very easily stolen away by the enemy of God (Satan) because there can be no understanding of any of the Word that was heard. I’ll say this again using a few different words. The reasons given for the ease of seed theft is first, a hard-hearted condition by a personal choice which caused a second condition of no real hearing or understanding of the Word of God to be able to enter into it. I very firmly believe that this “way side” soil condition represents a person that has never been saved even if they went to church over and over and over. I believe that this soil type is like a man having sexual relations with his wife but the sperm sown never reached anywhere close to the egg inside her because it is blocked by some contraceptive device or substance or even by some physical condition that does not allow the seed to be implanted.
Like I said earlier, this way side soil type represented me in the early years of my life. I was raised in church but I was not really interested in hearing any of the Word of God that was being spoken. I let the words go in one ear and immediately exit out the other ear being closed minded and uninterested. I placed no value upon the Word and treated it with disdained unimportance. There was no priority of importance or value given to the message and therefore the seed being sown was very easily stolen from my hard hearted condition.
Mar 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
Mar 4:17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
The second soil condition is called “stony ground” and this was me when I was in my teens and early 20’s. My heart had started to have a very small amount of softness on the surface to receive only some basic concepts of the Word of God but, because I lacked any deep understanding and maturity I simply fell away when Satan persecuted or afflicted me with any pressure. The main difference between the second type of soil and that of the first is that this soil has just a very small amount of loose soil (tenderness) that allows the seed to enter into it slightly. But, because of no great ability of the seed to go deeper into the heart it simply dries up and dies unborn. I believe this soil type can represent a woman that has a pregnancy occur but soon experiences a miscarriage because of some unforeseen circumstances from a natural enemy. Perhaps you have experienced this and if so I am sorry for your loss.
Mar 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
Mar 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
The third condition of the soil is called “thorny ground”. I believe that this was me in my late 20’s and 30’s. I was easily distracted by the cares of this life and the pursuit of worldly things and these personal choices allowed these thorn seeds to also enter in my hear to grow and develop and their presence choked out God’s planted seed in my heart again to produce no fruit. I believe this can be many, many things. For example, reading fiction books instead of the Bible allows evil seed to come into the heart. Watching worldly movies also can bring into a heart evil seeds that choke out God’s Word. Desiring fame, riches, cars, houses, boats, etc. can all allow evil seeds into a heart that produce no fruit.
I will remind you again that this entire parable concerns the primary subject of human salvation also called being born again. It describes the process entirely from the beginning steps all the way to either a successful completion to produce some spiritual fruit or there is the other side likened to a crop failure where no lasting fruit is produced. It also reveals there are spiritual enemies and plans to abort the entire process and all of their techniques are intended to terminate God’s designed saving process. Real spiritual salvation always begins with the impartation of God’s good spiritual seed called the Gospel and ends with at least some real lasting spiritual fruit being produced. Those that produced no fruit were not saved and those that produce even a little bit of lasting fruit are saved. Remember that Jesus said “You will know them (saved or unsaved) by their fruits” (Mat 7:16).
According to the interpretation of this natural parable the sower’s goal is to plant spiritual seed that produces spiritual fruit and He does this by speaking the Word of God into all types of human hearts every chance that He has. The seed that is sown is clearly for an intended good return. Therefore, without hearing the Word of God there is no hope for our salvation and Satan knows this. Wow, we now are finally beginning to really understand the primary goal for human persecution. Satan is doing everything in his power to get God’s seed out of our hearts so that there is no fruit produced.
I would like for us to pay close attention to verse 15 of Mark 4 again. Here in this verse Jesus said when the sower’s word falls upon the “way side” type of soil that Satan comes immediately after the word was sown (heard) in order to take away the “Word of God that was planted in their hearts”. I’ll let you in on another secret. We must understand that this technique of Satan happens for every type of soil, not just the “way side” soil type. Jesus was only teaching us how easy it is to successfully steal away the seed that was sown in this soil type. But, please believe me when I say that Satan will use any and every one of his techniques to attempt to get God’s spiritual crop to fail at anytime.
Please allow me to stop and explain the parable further using some additional depth. We should be able to see that there are only two constants in the parable that never change. These two unchangeable realities are the “Seed” Word of God and the God that spoke the “Seed”. Everything else in the parable represents a variable substance or in other words a temporary or changeable reality. For example, Satan changed from a good being to an evil being. However, based upon the Bible, I do not believe that Satan can change back to be good being again.
Two other major variables given in this parable are the “soil types” and the 1) techniques used to steal away the 2) Word sown from the soil. The sower in this parable certainly has changed from Jesus to you and I, but we are all technically still the body of Christ. We can also assume that the human “persecutor” being used by Satan can change but a persecutor is just another hard hearted soil type that is clearly stated to potentially change by their own personal human choices. For example we have already seen the man Saul become converted to become a sower of God’s Seed named Paul.
I’ve already touched on this subject of the changing soil types, but let’s go deeper still into this part of the discussion. Who determines what type of soil that you are? Does God predetermine your soil type before you were conceived in the womb or maybe during the time you were growing in your mother’s womb? If you believe yes, that type of faith is very wrong. This type of false belief is based upon an erroneous extreme sovereign God predestination doctrine that preaches nothing happens expect it be the will, purpose and plan of God. In this type of extreme belief the human plays absolutely no role in being saved or being lost because that was all prearranged by God’s sovereign choice, power and divine will. However, that is not the truth but rather a deception of Satan’s design. I’ll tell you plainly again that it is you and only you that chooses to believe to be saved and you are also the only one that determines what soil type that you are represented to be from your childhood to the right now present time. Here is just one confirmation to what I just taught:
Luk 10:40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
Luk 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
Luk 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
I inserted these verses to help confirm the soil type is the human’s choice. Jesus clearly places all responsibility for listening and hearing the Word of God that He spoke upon the listener. Mary made the clear right choice and Martha was distracted and burdened by making the very clear wrong choice. Mary represented good ground by her wise selection and Martha in this story represents “thorny ground” because she was loaded down with the cares of this world that choked out everything that was being spoken in her house. Wow, that is very powerful.
You can be as hard hearted as you can possibly be and yet you can also choose to change immediately to become as tender hearted as God wants you to become if you will ask and allow God to help you to change. This was a perfect description of Saul. Saul encountered Jesus and from that moment forward he never looked back on who or what he had chosen to be in the past, except to regret his previous bad choices. I would highly recommend that we all choose to become the best “good ground” that produces much fruit by applying God’s Grace and Word through our faith in Him and His Word. Let’s reread some previous verses from the lips of Jesus again:
Mar 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
Mar 4:17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
Here again are the very essential verses concerning our primary lesson subject on persecution. As I previously stated this is often called the “Parable of the Sower” but technically remember that it is the story of the successful or unsuccessful salvation process. God is using an exact matched discussion for the 4 different viewpoints that we have been studying about in this series on persecution. In this parable there is the “sower” and this viewpoint represents God Almighty’s perspective. It is God’s Word that is being directly sown into the hearts of all people on the earth by it being spoken to them. What was God’s objective for sowing His Word? The Word of God was given to mankind by God in order for them to produce fruit and the existence of this fruit is the primary recognized pattern that proves someone is a true Christian (Mat 7:20).
From God’s perspective He desires to sow His Word into the hearts of all people in order that they might be saved. Notice that I said that they “might” be saved. Even though God is not willing that anyone perish (2 Peter 3:9), God does not force His Word of truth or salvation upon anyone. Even though God desires every man, woman and child to be saved it is up to every person to choose to be a Mary type or a Martha type of hearer, deciding what type of soil that they want to be.
Satan is your stated enemy because of God’s sown Word found in your human heart and Satan causes persecution to come because of the Word of God. Maybe you have never realized this before but Satan does not fear you without God’s Seed in your heart. But, when the Word of God (the Seed) and the Spirit of God is found within your heart Satan has a major problem. It is the Word of God in your heart that Satan fears because it and it alone has the power to put Satan to flight. But, only if you know it, understand it and are willing to use it against him by speaking it, does he fear you. This is still the given number one reason found in the entire N.T. for every demonic attack on Christ followers. If Satan can take God’s Word from your heart you are “ABSOLUTELY NO THREAT” to him.
There are definitely unstated and implied symbolic human “persecutors” in this parable of the sower as related indirectly in verse 17 of Mark 4. The unstated persecutors are like the man “Saul” we have been learning from. This type of man was one of the hard hearted types of soil that failed to allow the Seed of God into his heart to produce any fruits of salvation. Saul definitely qualified as a man that the Word of God fell on by the “way side” and Satan did come into his heart to take the seed immediately upon hearing it by using thoughts, ideas and suggestions of deception to distract him from seeing any truth. I hope you understand this principle because it will be what Satan does to you also if you are not yet saved reading this lesson.
Just because “persecution” was only mentioned in one type of soil called the “stony ground” please do not get the erroneous idea that you will never be persecuted if you are choosing to be some other type of soil such as the “way side” or “good ground”. That would be very foolish to think that way. Like I taught before, Jesus was only pointing out when “persecution” could be the most effective on this one type of rocky ground. But, I believe that if you have heard and choose to continue to hear the Word of God, you should expect “persecution” from Satan to come almost immediately after hearing any new Words of God. I firmly believe that persecution will be inevitable and will not cease in this age to those that live Godly (2 Tim 3:12).
We have only briefly touched on the subject of persecution using the 4 different revealed perspectives found within the “Parable of the Sower”. God’s perspective in this parable is certainly to save and empower all of humanity by planting within us His Holy Word. Satan’s perspective was found to be fear motivated and this causes him to try to get the Word of God out of the hearts of all humans to render God’s powerful seed ineffective. Satan accomplishes this using many given plans and devices including affliction and persecution. The third perspective given is called the soil and this represents the human where the seed tries to fall to enter in after being heard. This man has the choice to become saved and fruitful by enduring the enemy’s attack plans or to remain unsaved by allowing the enemy to steal the valuable seed from his heart. The final indirect perspective was from human people being used to take the word from your heart as a pawn of Satan. Wow, I hope you are receiving all of this great information because I believe that this section of the lesson was really good and essential information for every Christian.
SECTION 6: PERSECUTION TO THE CHURCH IS INEVITABLE
Just living a Godly and Holy lifestyle will bring you the reality of persecution, God guarantees it in His Word. Whenever you do not look like those in the world, talk like them, curse like them, drink like them, party like them, take drugs like them, have sex like them, etc. it make you stand out as being strangely different and even abnormal to them. It just takes one person of light going against the entire flow of the dark world to get the full focused attention of persecution.
Joh 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
In the entire life of Jesus, he did absolutely nothing deserving of ridicule, persecution and death, yet all of these happened to him. He was completely sinless in His life on the earth and yet it was this lifestyle that was hated by most of the religious leaders of the nation of Israel. According to the words of Jesus, we should be no different than Him. They persecuted Him beyond human comprehension and all of this persecution was unjust. I am definitely not greater than Jesus and therefore, Jesus guarantees me to be persecuted. He does you also if you are His.
Mat 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
According to Jesus, not everyone is qualified to be persecuted because many are not saved even though they say they are a Christian. If you are not being persecuted, I would ask yourself why not? What am I doing or not doing before a person of the world that makes me fit into their model of normal? Notice what verse 11 says. Jesus says you are blessed “WHEN” men persecute you. He did not say “IF”.
I believe that it could very difficult to feel that you are blessed when someone is beating you, torturing you and putting you into prison for no good reason. It would be completely different if we were guilty of a crime. The thief hanging on the cross spoke to the other one and declared that they were getting what they deserved but Jesus was not. However, Jesus is still giving us some real positive encouragement to endure in verse 10. He is declaring to us that we can stand through it all, if we look at the big eternal picture and can see that this life is a very short insignificant period of time.
Rev 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
I’ll end this section with this one verse found in Revelation. This is Jesus speaking again to the church. He tells them very plainly they will suffer persecution to the extent of jail and even death. Then Jesus says very clearly if you endure it there is a righteous reward in doing so and this is what we speak of briefly in section 7 of this lesson. However, in conclusion I want you to see what Jesus said in Revelation 2:10. Jesus is plainly informing us of the root cause of persecution. Jesus clearly says it is coming from the devil even though Jesus is speaking indirectly of natural men and natural prison buildings that are used by Satan. Wow, that is very important confirmation to the root cause of all “persecution”.
SECTION 7: THE CORRECT PERSECUTION CHRISTIAN REACTION
A Christian’s reaction to being persecuted could be many different possible personal choices. We could choose to be very angry and to even resist and fight back. That is what most people in the world would certainly do. However, that is definitely not what the higher Christian examples in the Bible teach us to do. I’m going to end today’s lesson with two very quick examples of the correct Christian response to being persecuted. I believe that if we are able to follow these two great examples, we will be significantly rewarded by the Lord in the life eternal to come as we just read in Revelation 2:10.
Luk 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Jesus was our model of perfection that all Christian standards should be following after. While He hung on the cross He said something that goes against all human logic and reasoning. Jesus said “Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing”. This statement proves two incredible things to us. First it proves that Jesus knew that it was NOT these people that did this to him and second he also knew that they were doing it all unconsciously being led to do it by the unseen spirit of Satan. This truth completely supports the beginning foundation of the lesson series on persecution. Remember when we learned that we (Christians) are not wrestling against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world (Eph 6:12).
Christians often believe so very wrong. Many Christians believe that Jesus lived an unobtainable life example that was far out of their reach to achieve. However, that is just not the truth. According to the writings of Paul in Romans 8:11 a Christian has the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead living on the inside of them. This was God’s plan of salvation to come on the inside of every Christian to help them to live Christ’s example. We are not doing it all alone. We have a helper according to Jesus in John 16:7. Wow, that is great news.
The second example in today’s lesson is that of a normal man like you and I that we talked about in the first lesson. His name was Stephen. Hopefully you will recall that it was Stephen that was stoned to death as Saul watched and consented gleefully to his death:
Act 7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Stephen was not Jesus. Stephen was not even one of the original 12 disciples of Jesus. In fact Stephen literally came from the ranks of just basic Christian disciples like most of us. Sure Acts 6 says Stephen was chosen by the 12 to administer some affairs of the church along with six other men, but that does mean he was better than you or I.
Stephen did absolutely nothing deserving death and here he was being stoned. What was the reaction of Stephen to his unjust violent and painful persecution of death? Hopefully you can see that it was practically identical to that of Jesus’ reaction? How was this possible? How could a Christian disciple possibly ask and pray “Lord, do not hold this sin against these people” while he was being stoned? This type of reaction defies all human natural thinking.
The first time Stephen is ever mentioned in the entire Bible is Acts 6:15. There is no record that he ever walked with Jesus or even saw Him in the flesh as Jesus ministered personally here on the earth for three and half years. So who was this unknown man that had the power to follow exactly after the pattern of Jesus’ forgiving example? Wow, I believe Stephen could just possibly be one of the men that got saved when Peter stood up and preached the Gospel in Acts 2. It was probably a year or less from Acts 2 when Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit until he as stoned to death. That was a very short time of being a Christian to endure such a death.
I firmly believe that God put the example of Stephen in the Bible to prove that if he could respond correctly to persecution then anyone could do it. This includes me, you and anyone else that will get saved from now till Jesus returns for us. Do you think you will be able to do this same response when you are persecuted? Can you follow the example of Jesus and Stephen? The answer is yes, but will you choose to do so? You will if you are committed to Christ.
What is the number one factor for choosing the correct reaction to persecution? I believe the answer to that question is love. Jesus certainly had this great love and I believe Stephen had it also. It takes a great amount of love to forgive someone while they are killing you. If you don’t have this love, you can get it by asking Jesus to come into your heart, right now. I believe that this is absolutely the only way to do respond correctly during persecution. If you are not saved and believe you can die like this, please ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior right now. It will be the best decision you have ever made and ever will make. Please leave me a comment if you have enjoyed this lesson. God bless you and thank you for reading this Bible lesson.
(Ver 1.1) What a strange title for a Bible study? What could this possibly mean to us here in this modern world? Who was Saul? What is this spirit of Saul reference? I was recently awakened in the middle of the night at exactly 3 AM and suddenly these words arose up in my spirit saying “Beware the rise of the spirit of Saul”. Then Bible verses came to my memory about this actual historical man named Saul and this Bible lesson is the result of my middle of the night awakening. I believe this message was from God speaking to us all a warning according to His stated works in John 16:13. I believe God was informing us of a coming resurgence of an old spiritual force that persecuted the early church and I believe it will become as “great as” or even greater than what the early church encountered and endured. I believe that it is obvious that this is the increasing trend and movement found within the present unsaved world, all those living in darkness (Eph 2:2).
Modern unsaved people living in the world today are identical to all others that came before them. They are all opening a door to allow the repeat of a pattern of ignorance that causes them to not comprehend the difference between that which is called “good” or that which is called “evil”. In them there is no understanding or acknowledgement of who or what represents the true God of good or who or what represents the false deceiving god of evil (Satan). That which God called evil in His Word is being tremendously magnified and exalted by the unsaved world to be called normal and good and everything that God called “good” is being called evil at the same time (Isa 5:20). Anyone that speaks against what is called evil by God is being persecuted and called a bigoted intolerant hate monger. What a sad condition the world has fallen into and I believe by observation that it is getting worse.
Today Christians that are simply speaking the truth in love warning those that are on the way to hell are being labeled as evil. This must break the heart of God greatly and we will see an example of this in the lesson. If you knew that the highway that you were traveling on had a major bridge on it and that it had just collapsed, would you not try to stop everyone that was about to fall to their death because of the deep drop off? The drivers of the cars on the road at night are about to die because of their ignorance and inability to see the truth. Wouldn’t you warn them? That is what every mature believing Christian is faced with today. We can shut up and be silent or we can cry out and try to save them. It is our choice but any warning given may be ridiculed and laughed at by those being warned because probably most will not believe it.
Jesus gave us many warnings about these end times before His return to the earth. One warning to us was very clear when He said “As it was in the days of Noah and of Lot so shall it also be again in the days right before the coming of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26-30). I am very sure that this statement describes the exact days that we live in right now. It is by no chance or accident that Jesus (God in the Flesh) chose these two biblical events to describe the times directly before His return (2 Peter 2:5-6). However, that is really not what this Bible lesson message is concerning directly. The message of Noah’s flood and Sodom’s destruction is however an indirect applicable truth to this lesson of warning about the subject of coming persecution. Noah was laughed at and the angels in Sodom were commanded to come out and have sex with the men. How appropriate are these two witnesses of truth?
Introduction to the Spirit of Saul
Let us now get to God’s basic message concerning the “spirit of Saul” warning spoken to me. The main subject of today’s lesson is concerning the theme of persecution. We will be looking at this subject from at least three or four different perspectives. The first perspective is that of the persecutor. The second perspective is that of the Almighty God. The third perspective of persecution will be driven from the one being persecuted and these are Christians. And the final perspective introduced today is that of the enemy Satan..
- The Persecutor’s Perspective
- Almighty God’s Perspective
- The Persecuted Church’s Perspective
- Satan’s Perspective
We will similarly be addressing basic definitions and questions concerning this very important and timely subject. We will also look for scriptural answers in the Bible for why persecution occurs and who is ultimately behind it all. As part of the study we will briefly introduce why God allows persecution to occur and see what His attitude and response was in the past and could be again today since we know God does not change (Malachi 3:6). As a final part of the Christian perspective discussion in today’s lesson we will introduce how a Christian’s expectations should already be preset before this persecution occurs to them. Please don’t be surprise when God warns us that persecution will occur if we are living for God and obeying His Word and boldly declaring His truth in love to the lost and dying world.
2Ti 3:12 Yea, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
God promises us that we will be persecuted if we are living for Him and following after Christ’s example. It would be wise based upon these words to check if you are being persecuted. If you are not I would then check to see if you are following Jesus. In Luke chapter 21 Jesus informs us of the coming end of the age describing wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines that are already occurring and then in verse 12 Jesus said before the end of all these things you will be persecuted. Jesus’ warning to us in the Gospels is just another witness to the message that I heard from God personally.
Bible basics teach us that humans are designed by our creator God as a triune being made in the image of the Almighty God. A human is a freewill spirit being that possesses a soul (a mind, a will and our emotions) that lives in mortal human body (1 Thes 5:23). However, this spirit of Saul warning was not a warning that the natural man Saul written about in the Bible will return to the earth because that would violate scriptures and make God a liar (Heb 9:27). Therefore, we need to learn more about what the message could mean by rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). We will however, briefly study the life of Saul to learn from it the persecutor’s perspective and I will begin by reading a verse concerning the stoning death of Stephen in the early church description found in Acts 7.
Act 7:58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
Please allow me to provide a very quick overview of the context of this verse so we can better understand this part of the message. The context actually begins back in chapter 6 and it is a story concerning a Christian man named Stephen. He was ministering to people and doing many signs, wonders and miracles the same as Jesus did before him here on the earth. It is important to know that Stephen was not one of the original 12 disciples of Jesus yet he did the same types of miraculous works as Jesus did. I find that fact very important and fascinating as many in the church today teach miracles passed away with the death of the 12 disciples. Oh well? Oh Lord, please help us all to see the truth.
These supernatural miraculous works done by God through Stephen were not well received because of the accompanying message being preached concerning salvation only through faith in Jesus Christ who was recently condemned to death by a similar type of court with made up evidence that Stephen stood before. Men from the synagogue accused Stephen of blasphemy and soon he was on trial before the leadership of the Jewish synagogue. It is during this trial that Stephen gives a great overview of the Old Testament and how it applies to the gospel message of Jesus Christ. However, this message was not well received either. The Jewish leaders refused to listen and stopped up their ears and then took up stones to kill Stephen. Stephen sees a vision of heaven while being stoned of Jesus standing at the right hand of God as they hurl their deadly stones. That brings us now to verse 58 which was just quoted.
This verse 58 is the first time that the name “Saul” is mentioned in the N.T. The Hebrew name Saul occurs approximately 26 times in the book of Acts alone. This N.T. Saul is the exact same Hebrew name as the first king of the O.T. nation of Israel. By the number of mentions in the book of Acts we can easily see that the man Saul was a very prominent figure to learn about and learn from. We learn from reading the N.T. that Saul was a young devout religious man and a very self-righteous zealot man during this time of the birth of the church in the first 8 chapters of Acts. We can learn more about the background of this man named Saul by reading in his writings because he wrote nearly 2/3 of the N.T.:
Php 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
Php 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Php 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Reading here Saul/Paul claims to be of a very noble stock of the natural nation of Israel. He was circumcised according to Mosaic Law on the 8th day after his birth. He was by no doubt raised in a very strict home that observed all of the Jewish Holy days, laws and Sabbaths. He also must have spent a very significant time in reading the Law of Moses growing up in the strict order to become a Pharisee. I can speculate that Saul must have thought very highly of himself, during this time and he must have been very proud of his learned position of authority. However, if we read in Proverbs 16:18 we see a verse that Saul appears to have possibly ignored. This verse says “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”.
We can learn while studying his life that Saul spent a great amount of his time persecuting, hunting down, imprisoning and even killing any of those that confessed faith in Jesus Christ. However, was this natural man named Saul the actual main source of the problem of the persecution to the church? Could there have been a greater force of influential power behind this evil man persuading and even controlling his thoughts and actions? I believe according to the future writings of this man named Saul there was certainly a much greater spiritual force that helped influence him to do all this evil to other people on the earth. Let’s read one verse to confirm this reality:
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
What we must glean in the beginning of this lesson is that physical natural people that are persecuting us are not our real problem even though it looks like it on the visible surface. Saul/Paul in this verse teaches us that Christians are not at odds with anyone of the divinely created flesh and blood design order. However, he does reveal very clearly earlier in this chapter that we are at war and he names the enemy here in verse 12 of Ephesians 6 to be hidden unseen spiritual forces and the evil invisible rulers of this present world that rule the kingdom of darkness. This truth will become considerably more important as we continue this lesson to learn how we should react to persecution. This information helps to better comprehend who and what the “spirit of Saul” is referring to in the warning. I am completely convinced that the “spirit of Saul” reference on the rise in our world is a reference to Satan our adversary and all of his demonic followers. Let’s review what we should have just learned in this section:
- People Persecute Other People
- We Will Be Persecuted if We Live Right
- We are at War
- It Appears That Humans are Our Enemies
- But, Our Actual Enemy is Not a Human
- We are at War With Unseen Spiritual Beings
- These Invisible Spiritual Beings Influence Humans To Do Evil
Persecuting the Church Today is still the same as Personally Persecuting Jesus
If the naturally born Hebrew man named Saul was not the real problem being spoken of by the LORD, why would God say “Beware the return of the spirit of Saul” to us? The answer to that question is because as we should have learned that unseen spirit beings are at the root of every seen evil event occurring in the world. I am convinced that the natural man Saul was not who the early church was wresting against based upon what he later wrote in Ephesians 6. However, why would a man do something so evil and suddenly then change and not do it anymore? That is a really good and important question. I believe the answer to that is that the natural man Saul was unmistakably a very deceived man who bought into and believed in so many lies given to him from the real enemy Satan. I believe the natural man Saul was doing what he thought was right in his own blinded mind (2 Cor 4:4) and was performing what he thought was pleasing towards God even though what he was doing against Christians on the earth was very wrong and taken very personally by Jesus. Let’s continue reading additional truth in the book of Acts about the death of Stephen:
Act 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
These are some of the last recorded words spoken by Stephen the first martyr of the early church to his murderers and they reveal how their wrong actions were being received by the LORD Jesus. Please notice when reading this verse that in Colossians 3:1, Paul teaches us that the LORD Jesus ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven but here in this recorded vision of heaven Jesus is intentionally standing up on his feet observing the wrong being done to his servant Stephen. Wow this verse speaks literal volumes to me. Jesus showed such great love and concern for what is happening to Stephen that He makes the personal choice to stand up from His seated position of rest and authority to welcome Stephen into His spiritual realm presence. I believe that this position of Jesus standing teaches us that Jesus wanted to do more to stop it from occurring but did not again by choice. You might remember that later Paul formerly Saul would teach us “to be absent from the body is to be present with the LORD” (2 Cor 5:8). Therefore, when Stephen was killed, his spirit immediately departed his physical body to be in the presence of Jesus where Jesus was personally standing up to observe and welcome him into heaven.
Since the murder of Stephen there have been countless numbers of other Christ followers that have been killed and have gone to be with the LORD simply because of their beliefs in Jesus. No actual crime was necessary for either Stephen or any other saint to be persecuted with evil acts. We should learn from “how was Stephen persecuted” in order to know what to expect again today. If you read the context of the chapter you will find that leaders gathered false witnesses to accuse Stephen (Acts 6:13-14). These false accusers used the semblance of law and order to justify their evil done to others. They were clearly disobeying their laws by speaking their lies and perjuring themselves before man and God but in their minds they were justified to do so. I recently learned this is taking place in people in Islam. They are taught that it is permitted for them to lie to others in the world in order to promote the greater cause of spreading Islam. This is clearly of demonic influence since the Bible teaches Christians that “all liars will have their part in the lake of fire” (Rev 21:8).
This is what is coming now to Christians here in this world whether you believe it or not. It is already occurring in many nations of the world right now. Terrorists kill many people just because they are Christian. Islamic governments and their extremist religious people of that nation are persecuting, imprisoning, torturing and killing Christians daily. Communist nations also throw into prisons people who are reading their Bibles and being a Christian that walks in love trying to save others from hell. Who could have seen all of this coming? I believe only Jesus and this is why the warning is being given to us today. Let’s please continue reading in the book of Acts:
Act 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Act 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
Act 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
Act 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
The Greek word G4909 that was translated as “consented” in Acts 8:1 is a word that means Saul was “very pleased” by the murder of Stephen. In fact this Greek word implies that Saul took great pleasure in watching Stephen die. The zealot Saul after the death of Stephen then takes out after other Christians to do the same with them. Saul is very intent upon forcing his will and reason upon everyone that is preaching Jesus to be the only way. This is a very common motivation for persecution. The demand is frequently made to Christians to deny the Lord Jesus Christ, convert or die.
Look at Acts 8:3 and notice what begins to happen to the Church of Jesus Christ. Both men and women were taken to prison just for being a professing Christian. Also notice in this chapter the complete removal of basic human rights of privacy by the people committing these evil acts. Acts 8:3 tells us clearly that there was a house to house search for Christians done by Saul. This is exactly what is about to happen and even has started to shine on the horizon here in America. For example, there have been Christian people who refused to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples because of their beliefs in God, Jesus, the TRUTH of the Bible and they have spent time in jail. I believe the house to house search for Christians will also come as the world continues to slip into greater realms of deceived darkness. It already has taken place in other nations.
Act 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
Act 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
Act 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
Act 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Saul continued speaking his great threats of violence directed at and towards all Christians. He began moving out of the city of Jerusalem to other nearby regions. Notice that the persecution taking place was with the authority of the law givers and administrators. Wow, is this not happening now? Law givers and judges in America are making so many decisions that violate the Truth of the Word of God that it is literally shocking to me. Evil now is prevailing by the misguided interpretation of the law and the wrong definition of what is good vs. evil. Watch for laws to continue to come to support this evil behavior. Watch for the removal of basic human rights that have been guaranteed up until this point in time.
Saul was on the road to a city named Damascus in these verses of chapter 9 of Acts to bring about more evil in the name of good. However, things this time didn’t go so well for Saul’s way when the LORD interrupted his journey with a very personal touch and a very strong message of truth. Instantly a great light shown down from heaven and a powerful voice came down clearly saying to Saul alone “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me”. As in the death of Stephen again we can recognize how Jesus was taking personal notice of what was being done to Christians by this natural man named Saul. We can learn a very important lesson from these awesome words of truth. The first thing that we should have just learned from reading these verses is that coming against any Christian for any negative reason is the exact same thing as coming against the risen divine LORD Jesus Christ. The second thing that we should have just learned from this is that Jesus takes these acts of evil personally. Why does Jesus take persecuting a Christian the same as persecuting Him? Saul/Paul clearly writes to us later in the New Testament and informs us in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that “Christians here in this world are the body of Christ”. Natural people who choose to persecute Christians must learn and realize before it is too late that it is not wise to come against Jesus’ body here on the earth. Jesus Christ is a far greater Spiritual Force than the spiritual force that is tricking them to do this evil (1 Jn 4:4). Wow, I do not believe that very many people understand this truth yet.
I will go further and also say that this revealed truth is true regardless of your salvation state, being either saved or unsaved. If you are not a Christian and you are persecuting a Christian mentally, physically, emotionally, legally or verbally you are coming against the greatest spiritual force of power which is much greater than you can possibly imagine. My point is that this same message of warning is true for a Christian that comes against other Christians as it is for an unbeliever to come against a believer. This is still true even though you may believe that you are totally right and they are totally teaching false doctrines that you do not believe in. Let’s review a summary of the major points in this section of the lesson:
- Persecutors believe they are doing “good” in their own minds.
- Persecutors are very pleased when they are victorious over and even cause the death of a Christian.
- Persecutors are deceived people that believe they are good and Christians are evil.
- Persecutors obviously do not believe, know or understand that they are deceived.
- Persecutors will use the law to back their agenda of persecution.
- Persecutors love to force their will and beliefs upon others.
- Persecutors feel justified to do evil because their rule of law is in agreement with them.
- Persecutors will use lies and break laws if there is a greater good for the expansion of their beliefs to occur.
- Persecutor’s goals are the complete removal of all Christian freedoms and privacy and eventually the end of all Christians.
- God takes note and watches all persecution that occurs to the Church.
- God takes all human persecution of the church personally.
- God says to persecutors coming against the church “Why are you persecuting me?”
- A Christian is the Body of Christ on the earth.
- Anyone persecuting a Christian is persecuting the LORD personally.
- A Christian when killed by persecution goes to be with the LORD instantly.
- Christians will be persecuted falsely without doing any evil.
THE CONVERSION OF SAUL THE PERSECUTOR
God showed the evil man Saul some very great mercy by appearing to him on the road to Damascus. Paul the former Saul will forever be grateful for the exceeding great compassion given to him. While I believe it is within God’s power and ability for the Lord Jesus to do this with everyone that persecutes His body, I do not believe that He will and I may try to talk about this later but if not you will have to wait for another opportunity for me to try to explain why the Lord may not come down to save you from every evil doer on the planet personally. We should have learned this truth when reading about the death of Stephen.
Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Act 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
I personally believe from understanding Romans 10:9-10 that Saul became a Christian falling on his knees on the road to Damascus. I hope you understand how you and I became a Christian. To be saved we must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that God raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead after being crucified and buried 3 days and we must then confess Him as our LORD and Saul certainly did both of these while on the road to Damascus. We can confirm this belief simply by reading Acts 9:17 when God sends a disciple named Ananias to Saul for him to receive his sight and to be filled with the Spirit of God. Upon entering the house where Saul was waiting, Ananias calls the man Saul his spiritual brother and this is only possible and true if Saul has already received the Spirit of God being born again on the road to Damascus. Therefore, Saul became exactly what he was fighting against and persecuting and that was very fortunate for him.
1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
God gives us another quick confirmation for what was just taught concerning Saul’s salvation on the road to Damascus written directly from the hand of Paul. Here in this chapter and verse Paul tells us about several others seeing Jesus personally after His resurrection. Then Saul says that he also saw him providing us an incredible revelation that he was then reborn “abnormally” during this encounter. Saul was speaking of his spiritual rebirth (John 3:3) but I do not have the time to explain all of this more fully in this lesson. Please just accept the facts that 1) Jesus appears to Saul, 2) Saul asks who he was, 3) Jesus identifies Himself, and 4) Saul then believes what he heard and acknowledges Him as his LORD and that was the definition of an abnormal spiritual rebirth.
We are extremely blessed to have Saul the former evil persecutor of Christians become a Christ follower. After his salvation, Saul was given such great revelation from Jesus Christ of the Truth. Saul would go on in his life of Christian ministry to write approximately 2/3 of the New Testament. I believe that without Saul’s conversion that we would not have all of the information that we needed for us to be victorious Christians. I know that this salvation of a persecutor seems to be off the mainline subject but I believe it is very important to know as a Christian. Let’s look at some writings of Saul/Paul and learn from him what he thought of this great transformation that he experienced:
1Ti 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
1Ti 1:13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
1Ti 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
1Ti 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
We can learn the most valuable information concerning a persecutor’s perspective by reading the N.T. since Paul was a former persecutor and he writes about it. As we can read in verse 12, Paul is so very thankful. Here is a man that has now realized that he was headed for an eternal existence of pain and suffering in hell but now suddenly has been given the free gift of eternal life, a purpose and a new destiny. I can identify with Saul’s heartfelt change. I know I am also eternally grateful for the free gift of God’s salvation and I know I don’t deserve it and neither did Saul. We are all sinners (Rom 3:23) and deserve hell but God paid the penalty price for our sins (2 Cor 5:21). Thank you Jesus!
Paul lists just a few of his guilty sins in verse 13 that he was personally participating in while persecuting Christians. Let’s go through these to better understand the dramatic change that took place in the heart of Saul. The first sin listed was Saul calling himself a “blasphemer” and this is a Greek word that reveals significant amounts of new information that we should learn from. According to the Strong’s definition of G989 translated as “blasphemer” it means to be scurrilous towards someone. This word scurrilous has the following dictionary definition:
Scurrilous : making or spreading scandalous claims about someone with the intention of damaging their reputation
This is exactly what Saul was doing to the early church. He used the words of his mouth to slander, accuse, condemn and judge the church falsely. But even though Saul thought he was fighting against evil human people that were deceived, Jesus informed Saul that He was blaspheming against God personally. This is pretty amazing information and I pray that it will hopefully cause someone to shut their mouth when speaking against Christians.
However, this Greek word G989 has some deeper more specific meanings for sinning against God with the words coming out of our mouths. Remember what Acts 8:1 and Acts 9:1 said that we looked at earlier? Acts 8:1 used the word that was translated as “consented”. This implies that Saul consented to words of others spoken against Stephen in addition to the actual murder of Stephen. Saul did both of these willingly, physically, emotionally, mentally as well as verbally as both a willing direct instigator and participant and as an indirect accessory that watched others cast the stones. These represent sins of both commission and omission.
Acts 9:1 is much clearer when it informed us that Saul spoke direct “threats” against Jesus and His body and this is a strong example of what blasphemy is defined to be in the Bible. I personally believe that a man or woman on the earth that speaks against a preacher or prophet of God or even just against one of God’s children is risking great consequences and danger if they do not repent like Saul did and change. Jesus will certainly take all of these words personally either now in this world or later at judgment day. Words have power and words have consequences.
The second sin that Paul lists is being a “persecutor” of the church, which is the body of Christ. This Greek word translated as “persecutor” means someone who is in pursuit of another. However, this type of pursuit can not be for the good of the individual(s) being pursued as revealed to us by God in the passages we read about Saul in Acts chapters 7, 8 and 9. Let’s quickly examine some synonyms for the word “persecute”. Persecute is the same as words like “oppress”, “abuse”, “accuse”, “condemn”, “ill-treatment”, “torment”, “torture”, “martyr” and others could be added and we get this idea of truth because these are exactly what Saul did to the Christian members in the early church. It is very important to note that Saul thought that what he was doing was what was right and good in the eyes of God and the government leadership of that day.
The third sin listed by Paul in verse 13 is “injurious” and this again is synonymous with the word persecute. Being injurious was a further explanation for what great evil sin he was guilty of. I believe this word literally means physical injuries were taking place upon men and women in the name of good. However, this word can also mean a verbal assault as well as a physical assault. I am convinced that doing any Christian hurt and harm physically, mentally or emotionally is equivalent to the abuse and persecution of Jesus Christ that the Jews did to Him personally when they crucified Him on the cross in the eyes of God.
If we continue to read past Saul’s list of sins in verse 13 we will observe Saul’s stated appreciation for the Lord’s mercy being provided to him. Saul informs us that he received mercy instead of what he should have been given. Wow, that is the amazing love of God being displayed to a very deceived and evil man.
Did you also notice in this written passage that Saul declared why he was given this great mercy from God? Why was this unthinkable mercy available to Saul even after all he had done? Why was the judgment of the Almighty God not immediately given to Saul? Why instead was mercy given? Paul tells us the answers in verse 13 that God’s mercy was available to him because of his own great “ignorance” of the truth.
This revelation of mercy based upon ignorance reveals so very much to us about God, people who persecute the church and about the Christian people who are being persecuted. According to God’s inspired Holy Word written through Paul, his ignorance and his unbelief were two of the main reasons that the church was then being persecuted and I believe these are the two main reasons the church is still going to be persecuted today.
Even though Saul was a very learned and educated man, he was extremely ignorant of the truth that really mattered. Yet Saul did not know how ignorant he was while he was sinning killing Stephen. Please understand that no one that is ever deceived believes that they are deceived. This is impossible simply because of the existence of their ignorance of the truth. That is everyone’s problem “we simply don’t know what we don’t know yet”. That is the mysterious advantage of the deceiver Satan. Satan uses the weapon of human ignorance to destroy us (Hosea 4:6). Satan can present enough lies with some basic mixed truth to allow a human to think that they are doing good for God when they are actually doing the evil plan that Satan desires them to do. Satan is a revealed master deceiver (Rev 12:9)
Persecutors justify their evil actions in their minds overruling the evidence for clear evil acts with the belief that they are doing a greater good for a higher power of authority. Recently here in North Carolina, USA we have been in the news around the world because our state passed a law that disallowed men from going into women’s restrooms and women from going into men’s restrooms. This law was designed to protect innocent children from predators. Yet, North Carolina has been accused of being biased, prejudiced, intolerant, discriminatory, bigoted and even hate filled towards a select few people who demand the right to go into any restroom that they sexually currently “identify” with. Wow, where has truth gone? Absolute truth, reason and morality have certainly passed highly over the minds of everyone that has been protesting against the law. All of these deceived people are extremely ignorant of God’s truth. We should ask ourselves a simple basic question, if truth is based simply upon how someone thinks and feels today; how and when will truth all change when they think and feel differently tomorrow? Where do we ever draw the line of absolute? It sounds like a constant moving target. If we change the line of truth drawn today that was established then tomorrow it will become even more distant away from the standard of truth tomorrow. I could teach an entire series on this but this is not the subject and I will not go there today.
Saul did such significant evil and justified it because he believed he was knowledgeable, correct and backed by the law. Saul was greatly deceived into believing in their popular religious human traditions. Satan filled the mind of Saul with replacement knowledge that sounded good to him. However, it was still Saul’s ignorance of the actual truth that caused him to carry out the will and plan of Satan. Once Saul came to the saving knowledge of the truth, suddenly the thoughts he had as a persecutor were gone. Wow, that is good news for persecutor’s today. There remains hope for everyone to be saved.
Just as Satan influenced and controlled the unsaved people like Saul nearly two thousand years ago to persecute the church, this is the same warning being given to us today. The spirit of Saul (Satan) is still at work in people today and these deceived people will rise up and begin to persecute the church with increasing enthusiasm before Jesus returns. It has already started and we can clearly learn this from the Spirit of God’s message of warning or we can remain an ostrich Christian and bury our heads in the sand and choose to ignore it pretending it is not happening. I would recommend that we do not ignore it or pretend that it is not happening already.
I personally expect some very negative comments for the truth that I published today. You will receive the same soon if you are speaking the truth to anyone in the world today concerning their life style personal choices. The spirit of Saul is alive and well on the planet.
Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Did you know that God allows people to be ignorant, wrong and to even do evil and sin? This truth has always been an extreme mystery in the minds of many Christians “Why doesn’t God stop all of this evil?” This would take another series of lesson’s to explain this to you today. Therefore, I will leave that to another day also. But we must at least first begin to understand that God does allow evil to occur in the world and is not the one that is causing it to occur and we can simply learn this truth by reading the story of the stoning of Stephen in Acts. Jesus was found standing at the right hand of God observing the evil being done and did nothing to cause it or to stop it. Wow, that boggles the mind of many religious people in the world. I believe that God’s passive observation made it appear to Saul that he was doing what God desires and that He is for them and it temporarily reinforces their wrong behavior. However, the wages of their sin will still overcome them and they will be judged for what they have done on the earth according to the truth found in the Bible. The main point in this paragraph is that God will allow this persecution to continue so we better learn it is coming.
I have talked briefly about the persecutor’s reasoning and justification for persecuting the church as well as the superior divine perspective on the persecution situation to allow it to occur. Now in conclusion I want to speak to the church’s reaction to this coming persecution. What was the reaction to this evil in the early church and what will probably happen in these end times? I believe that the early church’s reaction was both natural and supernatural.
Act 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.
Reread Acts 8:4. God reveals to us all the two fold reaction to the great havoc being perpetrated upon the church. First notice the fact that it did not stop the Gospel from being preached. It did however cause the people to scatter. What does scatter mean? This Greek word is a based upon a farming concept of “sowing” seed. This is a great revelation since it is concerning the “Word” of God being spread to the entire world. Remember when Jesus taught the parable of the Sower in Mark 4? The sower sowed the Word of God. The seed being sown was God’s Word and this is the only thing possible today in the world that can save people and turn them from hell.
The end result of persecution in the early church was a greater spread of the Word of God, an explosion of salvations in many new locations and this is exactly what will happen today in the end of the church age.
The Greek word translated as “preaching” in this verse is a word that means “to announce good news” to someone. What kind of person would still be trying their best to preach the good news of God’s salvation to anyone that was or still is trying to imprison and kill them? The normal human tendency or reaction against persecution is for us to fight back, or to defend oneself or even to run away and hide in a cave to not be found. I have seen people plan and do all of these in this modern world. Which would you do? Wow, that is a very great question to consider. If you are a Christian would you be able to do nothing but be forgiving and loving to the persecutor and turn your other cheek? Consider the warning and then make a good choice now before being faced with it.
- Persecutors believe they are doing what pleases God and their lawgivers.
- Persecutors don’t believe they are sinning.
- Persecutors believe their words spoken against Christians are good.
- Persecutor’s goals are to damage the reputation of God and Christians.
- Persecutors believe causing physical injury to Christians is good.
- Persecutors believe they know the truth and are not ignorant.
- Persecutors believe others are deceived and they are not.
- Persecutors believe there is no God to answer to or Satan influencing them.
- God sees all of the sins of everyone including persecutors.
- A persecutor can be saved and change their evil ways.
- God says speaking against a Christian is equivalent to “blasphemy”.
- God says killing a Christian is the same as nailing Jesus to the cross.
- God will show mercy to any sinner including murderous persecutors.
- God tells us that persecutors are extremely ignorant of the truth.
- A Christian has gained saving knowledge of the truth.
- A Christian was shown great mercy by God and is thankful for it.
- A Christian desires to share this saving knowledge of Jesus with others even though it costs them their own life.
- A real and maturing Christian begins seeing things happening in the world from God’s perspective.
In conclusion I want us to see a future prophecy concerning the coming persecution of the church. Revelation chapter 4 and verse 1 God calls for John to come up to heaven so that he can be shown things that will happen in the future and this includes this prophetic chapter of Revelation 12. Let’s read just verse 12 and 13 concerning our main subject study to learn Satan’s motivating factor for increasing persecution upon the church during the end time.
Rev 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
This chapter in Revelation 12 totally fascinates me. I could spend a long time trying to convince you who the woman in this chapter symbolically represents but I have already tried to do this in another lesson series. I will summarize briefly that lesson series by saying this woman being described can only fit the pattern of the church that is being persecuted by Satan. We learn this easily by the symbolism that she is clothed with at the beginning of the chapter and by the statements within the chapter. For example read verse 11:
Rev 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
This is the immediate preceding contextual verse and it can only apply to those that are in the church. I have heard this verse quoted in many church services and they are applying these words to themselves and their struggles in this life with the devil. It is the Word of God and the Blood of Jesus that were given to us by Jesus in the church to insure us we will overcome Satan. If you have not read the Revelation 12 series of lessons I would strongly recommend that you do so. I do not have the time to repeat every detailed verse.
Let’s go back quickly to verse 12 and review the message from God. This is clearly a warning from God given to the inhabitants of the earth through the apostle John. In this verse Satan has been cast down from heaven after a great spiritual warfare and according to this prophecy he is in a furious way committing murder on the earth. If you look up and study the Greek word that is translated as “wrath” it comes from a root word that can mean to slaughter, kill or sacrifice someone. This sounds a lot like what Saul was doing doesn’t it? This simply confirms what we learned earlier. It was the spirit of Satan influencing and controlling Saul through his ignorance that caused the persecution of the church to begin on the earth.
As it was in the beginning of the church age so shall it also be at the end of the church age. Persecution is the key word found in verse 13 of Revelation 12. Satan in this verse is still persecuting the same woman that he was persecuting using Saul that we read about in Acts. We in the church are not a different woman; we just have newly grown members within the same body of Christ. If you are confused about what I just said I would strongly recommend you read the Bible lesson that I wrote a long time ago about “How the Church Became the Body of Christ”.
During this end-time persecution it will also be Satan using new ignorant people with the exact same spirit behind it all. If you look up the Greek word in verse 13 translated as “persecute” it is G1377 which was also the word spoken to Saul while on the road to Damascus by Jesus “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” God connects the two verses with His word selection and the message is very plain to me that God is speaking of the same subject being done to the same church body.
Today’s lesson was just a basic introduction to the broad subject of “persecution” and the spirit of Saul that is behind it. I believe God awakened me in the night to bring this message of warning to those that would receive it and learn from it. There is a rising of evil on the earth taking place. The enemy’s rage is increasing as the end of the age draws closer. How you react to it may just determine where you spend eternity. A Christian that withdraws and conforms to the world view may be greatly disappointed with their choice. However, standing up for the truth of God’s Word and proclaiming it boldly will certainly cause us to be persecuted. I will conclude today’s Bible message with these words from my Lord Jesus:
Mat 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Mat 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
I wanted to talk more about Satan’s perspective for persecution today but I will try my best (the LORD willing) to cover this part of the topic in the next lesson Part 2.
Thank you for reading and studying the Bible with me. I hope this word of warning given by the Lord Jesus will be taken to heart and it will help you to prepare for what is certainly coming. God bless you all very much and thank you for your prayers for me as I will continue to pray for you also.
If you would like to continue to read the next lesson in this series please click here “PART 2“
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 1 of a brand new advanced Bible study series concerning the seldom mentioned or taught Bible subject entitled “Biblical Division”. I have personally never heard anyone teach on this subject in the church but this is what God is directing me to share today on the internet to all those that are willing to receive the message. However, I will warn everyone upfront like in many of my other Bible studies that this is a very advanced Bible Study series and it is intended primarily for only spiritually mature Christians to attempt to learn from. This lesson series represents a very unconventional spiritual meat topic presentation and it may not easily be chewed (be received) well by many of my milk drinking younger or spiritually new born Christian brothers and sisters in Christ. I do so hope and pray that you understand what I mean.
Biblical division is definitely a brand new topic to most Christians which has rarely been studied, known or understood. Therefore this subject could be potentially judged controversial or even easily offensive and rejected by a non-serious Christian disciple. People in general are usually closed minded to an unknown or a first heard Bible topic never encountered before. For example, men like Martin Luther brought forth radical new teachings that departed from the normal traditional dominate Church doctrines of the 1500’s. His thoughts and views were fundamentally fresh to most and very dissimilar to anything at that time period that was popularly taught and accepted. Martin Luther was a Bible professor in Germany and he condemned the Catholic Church for their corrupt practices of selling indulgences (forgiveness of sins). His writings were viewed as the catalyst for the Protestant church. However, these seemingly new views have been determined to be very sound theological scriptural teachings and they have now been widely adopted to conform more to what Jesus and the early church actually taught. Martin Luther was still branded a heretic by the religious church leadership and excommunicated from their church. We can clearly learn from this example that religious deception in the church can occur even as it did in the popular church of Martin Luther’s day.
Even today, we must know that not everything that is taught by a modern church is always completely accurate. The only way to prove any subject’s truthfulness is to let the Bible and the Holy Spirit on the inside of us; become our final authority. That is exactly what I want you to do today as you read these lessons. Please get your Bible out and then pray and ask God to open the eyes of your understanding to see what He wants you to see. Prove everything that is stated with your own Bible research and personal relationship with Almighty God. Never and I do mean never believe me or anything that I teach or anyone else teaches unless you can see it in the Bible with sufficient evidence and the Holy Spirit on the inside of you confirming that it is true. The Word of God and the Spirit of God will always agree. Please learn to verify everything and assume or accept nothing just because someone teaches it. Don’t be a David Koresh or Jim Jones type of blind faith follower. Let God be your guide and not any man. It could be a matter of life or death.
While this subject of Biblical Division is a new revelation to most of you today it is actually a very old concept that existed with God from the beginning. It is only becoming new to us today because God is revealing something that has seldom been studied much less noticed or mentioned in any modern church. Of course the reason why it has not been mentioned is probably one of two reasons. First, some Bible teachers have not made the subject of division a real priority to search for or search out to discover it in the Bible. Second, some Bible teachers may have seen the subject while reading in the Bible before but did not consider it important enough to spend time on and therefore made no effort to understand what it could mean. Either way the root cause for “Biblical Division” not being taught is human ignorance. No one can teach what they do not yet know and have learned. I hope that this Bible lesson on the internet will spur interest to learn what God has done.
Therefore I ask that each of you judge yourself before continuing to read in these advanced Bible study lessons. I certainly do not want to offend anyone with any spiritual meaty lesson that I publish. But, I do wish to help everyone grow and mature spiritually in the faith of Jesus Christ. Thank you in advance for using your own sound judgment to being led by His Spirit to know how to proceed. Let’s get started with the subject of Biblical Division.
INTRODUCTION TO DIVISION
What is division? Division is defined in one dictionary as the “action of separating something into two or more parts”. In other words division is a deliberate and intentional act of taking one item that represents a whole and complete named entity and changing it by the thoughtful application of power, force and effort into 2 or more separate and distinct disjointed pieces. This would be very much like a baker slicing their whole and complete freshly baked loaf of bread and cutting it into separate and smaller edible slices. Or division could be viewed like the cook taking their whole baked fresh apple pie and cutting and serving it in 8 individual slices for their guests to eat. Therefore we learn from these examples that division always represents the creation of new individual pieces consisting of a reduced size or nature where each is less than the original greater whole portion before it was split. It is also very important to note that each new divided part is of the same substance as before but just in a reduced portion. Do you see and understand this? This is exactly what division represents in the Bible. There is absolutely no difference. Here are four main points that you should have just learned from this basic definition:
- Division of One Substance
- Separation into New Individual Parts
- Reduction of Size from the Original Whole
- All New Parts are of Like Substance
Does this subject of division, separation and reduction have anything to do with anything found in the Bible, you might be asking? That is a very excellent question to consider. But God’s answer to that question will always include “division plays a very main role in the Bible even if we do not yet understand how it fits into God’s overall designed plan”. That answer is very incomplete and just begs us to ask more questions. We will soon discover that the subject of division has a very significant and strategic role while also being potentially hidden within the Bible. However we must learn that the subject of division is covered by God from the beginning book cover to the ending book cover and we just have not always seen it very clearly. I will tell you at the beginning of this lesson that God’s plan from the start of creation was not only to save man but also to divide man. Also know that God will divide other spiritual and natural entities in the Bible that we will discuss later.
Perhaps you may not believe me when I claim that the subject of division plays a very major role throughout the Bible. That is very wise of you to follow what I asked you before to do. Remember I said don’t follow blindly. So I’ll introduce you to this Bible subject using the Bible interpretation law of first mention. Where, is the subject of division first mentioned in the Bible? If you initiate your reading from the very beginning of the Bible you will only need to go forward three verses in order to find the subject. The very first verse containing a directly revealed, intentional and deliberate act of division by God occurs within the recorded creation event of the Day 1 creation of our world and you will find it in Genesis 1:4. This first named division in verse 4 represents a divine sovereign display of His power and His will and it further embodies an act of God’s supreme intelligence, wisdom and ability. Let’s take a quick look at this in case you have never seen this concept being mentioned so early before in the Bible:
Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
These three verses describe Day 1 of the 7 day creation event of our present world. Six days God worked and the seventh day He rested (Gen 2:1-2). How do we define work? Work represents an activity of mental or physical energy or power designed to achieve a specific purpose for a positive end result. This is entirely what God was doing during the Genesis Day 1 description. Did you notice what type of “work” God performed on this given Day 1? God speaks “Light Be” and then “Light was”. At this time of declaration darkness had already covered the earth in verse 2 so we know that God did not create any darkness on this day. We know from Genesis 1:2 that darkness pre-existed Day 1 of the creation work thus stating the need for light’s existence in the earth’s current situation. I need you to pay attention to what I am trying to say because this will become more important later in the series. Darkness existed prior to Day 1 and God uses His power to make the light to shine on the earth in Day 1 to counter the pre-existing presence of darkness.
God then declares in verse 5 the reason for the introduction of light to our planet. God had spoken the light to shine on the earth in order to “divide” the light from the existing darkness. Next in verse 5, God gives each of these division results a new and separate distinct name calling them “day” and “night”. Wow, this could really get very spiritually deep if I was going to attempt to teach all of the given implications found in these verses but I will save it for another lesson later. Remember what we just learned, that the act of “dividing” light from darkness by God and naming the day and night was all called His own work by His own definition. This divine work was the exact same concept as the baker cutting his loaf of bread or pie into new separate pieces. There is no conceptual difference in the type of work being described by God here in Genesis.
What did God accomplish on Day 1? Without the introduction of light on the earth there could have been no concept of time here. In fact until God named Day and Night the earth had no way to measure time. A day (the period of light) consists of 12 hours and a night (the period of darkness) consists of 12 hours which when combined represent one 24 hour period of time also called a day. One day as you should know is a 24 hour period of time corresponding to one rotation of the earth. This represents a single cycle of what God created to occur repeatedly. It is very interesting to note we would have no concept or understanding of God’s work if He had not named the Day and Night and then called it Day 1.
While all of this is what I believe a literal reality, I believe God did this to teach us a greater symbolic spiritual truth. But I do not have the time to go into this. All I need you to do is to grasp that God’s Day 1 work was something that represents a constructive progress step to accomplish God’s plan for a good outcome for us.
Have we not just learned that even God’s “dividing” work can achieve a positive purpose and end-result? Keep this in your mind that this divine work of dividing introduced to us by God here in Genesis 1 is good. Then think of it as being like a parallel when a baker slices their loaf of bread to eat. Isn’t the slice of bread much better than the entire loaf when you just want a sandwich? Can we begin to now learn a little bit about the impact, value and positive purpose of God’s designed work to divide light from darkness from just this one single Day 1 creation reference? Division appears to me to be very important just based upon this limited understanding so far. Ask yourself “Why was it so important for God to divide at the very beginning of His 6 days of creative work?” We will learn more about this as we progress to understand this subject better.
I just want us to begin to realize how much we potentially do not yet know or understand about the subject of division in the Bible. Before I proceed deeper let’s at least examine the Hebrew word that was translated as “divided” in verse 4 of Genesis 1. This word is H914 and it represents a base Hebrew root word that has the following Strong’s definition:
A primitive root; to divide (in various senses literally or figuratively, separate, distinguish, differ, select, etc.): – (make, put) difference, divide (asunder), (make) separate (self, -ation), sever (out), X utterly.
This Hebrew word’s definition is in tremendous harmonious alignment with the English dictionary definition of “division’ that we examined earlier. As you can read, this Hebrew word means “to divide asunder”, “make separate” and I also want you to see the phrase “sever out”. All of these phrases are valid parts of our Bible subject study today even if we don’t yet fully understand them all right now. However, even if we do not yet understand them completely, please do not let them slip from your minds. Let me give you the list of important points from this Hebrew word definition:
- Divide Asunder
- Make Separate
- Sever Out
To conclude this short subject introduction I will tell you that there are actually at the very minimum 5 major named “divisions” that take place within the very first two chapters of the book of Beginnings also called Genesis and we will look at these in greater detail later in the lesson series. What we just need to understand right now is that these divisions took place during God’s work within creation and therefore each of these divisions must have had a positive divine purpose for us to learn from. Let’s review some of the major things that you should have learned about division:
- Division concerns one Substance Being Cut Apart
- After Division Occurs there are New Individual Pieces
- That which was Divided is a Smaller Portion of the Original Whole
- All New Parts are of Like Original Substance
- Division is Work
- God’s Work on Day 1 was to Divide by Speaking
- New Divided Parts can be Named
Since we have covered the basic introductions to division and its definition let’s start building a foundation for the subject now.
BUILDING THE DIVISION FOUNDATION
A foundation represents the part of a building process that all of the other following parts are raised or built upon. A foundation is the underpinning of the structure and the groundwork of the entire rest of the building process. Nothing can be created structurally sound without a very firm foundation and so it is with Bible study subjects. In the first section of the lesson I already gave you basic foundation definitions and those were very important. But, let me stop right here and provide the main foundation Bible verse that these definitions apply to for the entire series of Bible lessons on this subject of Bible division. Let’s turn to the book of Luke and chapter 12 to begin our construction process to read the foundational verse for the subject of Bible division spoken directly from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ:
Luk 12:51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
This is my LORD Jesus speaking to me and He literally makes a very shocking and a very controversial statement here in this verse. We must first understand who is speaking. Jesus was literally God incarnate. He is called by the Hebrew name “Emanuel” which meant “God with us”. Whatever Jesus said were words that God spoke personally and directly to all of mankind. Therefore God was teaching us about one of the key reasons for His personal appearance upon the earth and it is a very outrageous declaration to say the least. He tells us in this verse “to bring peace on earth” was never His appearance objective but rather He had come into this world to divide it. This announcement from the Lord is a potential major conflict to several other Bible verses and this should raise new questions in our minds. For example let’s review some of the potential conflicts:
Luk 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
We should be able to begin to see from this angelic announcement the rising conflict. At the birth of the Lord Jesus in the city of David called Bethlehem the angels appear to shepherds tending their flocks and they bring them the great news of God’s appearance on the earth. As part of this announcement they declare that there should be peace on earth because of His appearance. However, that is definitely not what Jesus said He came to bring. Both verses contain the same Greek word G1515 that is translated as “peace”. So they both are related by God’s word selection. But there is still the problem of an apparent conflict. Let’s read another verse:
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
There are several Bible verses that appear to conflict with the Lord’s statement in Luke, but especially this one verse found in Isaiah 9:6 where Jesus is clearly called the coming “Prince of Peace”. Isaiah informs us of a prophesied future “Prince of Peace” that will come to the earth and this was certainly an important title describing Jesus. However, Jesus who was this Prince of Peace claimed that to bring peace on earth was not His objective at His initial appearance on earth in Luke 12:51. Whoops I just gave you an important clue in that last statement. I hope you did not miss it.
At least 5 times in the New Testament (Rom 15:33, Rom 16:20, Php 4:9, 1 Th 5:23, Heb 13:20) our God is called the “God of Peace”. Wow, how should we even begin to understand how to resolve these statements of God being peace and Him saying I did not come to the earth to bring any peace? How can the Prince of Peace and the God of Peace not appear here physically on the earth to bring us peace? How do we resolve this conflict?
I think I have already given you the clue if you were paying attention for the resolution of the conflict of peace. The answer that will become more prevalent is based upon timing. Everything that occurs in the plan of God has a set time of appearance. At the first coming of Jesus on the earth there can be no hope for any peace based upon the statement made by Him in Luke 12:51. However, that does not mean that He cannot bring peace later to the earth at a future time and I don’t have the space in this lesson to go into any great detail to when this coming peace will occur. But I want us to understand that when Jesus came to the earth the people of the city of Jerusalem were expecting a natural King but they only saw a spiritual King that did not come to rule them at that time on the earth. It was not God’s timing to rule on the earth during His first appearance. This truth of reality teaches us how to learn more about God’s timing for peace and I hope this will help us all to understand how to resolve what Jesus was saying in Luke 12:51 more clearly. Here are the main three points that you should have learned in this foundation:
- Jesus Came to the Earth to Divide
- And Not to Bring Peace
- But No Peace Now Does Not Mean There Can Be No Peace Ever
Luke 12:51 is my foundational Bible division verse concerning the complete subject of Bible division. Jesus very clearly teaches us that to divide was one of the main purposes for His arrival on the earth. We will now continue this lesson by attempting to understand what Jesus said He did not come to do. Jesus said He did not come to bring peace. So what is peace? I think we need to know more about what Jesus said He did not come to bring us. So let’s find out.
WHAT IS PEACE?
As we continue learning we need to understand as much as we can about what Jesus said that He did not come to do during His initial earthly appearance. Jesus informs us very clearly in Luke 12:51 that He did not come to bring peace during this specified time. Therefore, we need to ask the question “What is peace?” Peace in one English dictionary means “cessation from war”. A cessation of war means there is no longer any aggression, no fighting, no conflict, and no longer any hostilities one towards another. Peace can also mean “a place or state without any disturbance”. Some synonyms of peacefulness could be calmness, tranquility, serenity or quietness and Jesus told us that these were not the purpose for His arrival. We can learn what peace represents in order to better comprehend why Jesus came to the earth. It should become apparent that if Jesus did not come to bring us peace then the opposite of peace was His goal. Can we agree? Let’s review the quick list of what peace represented:
- PEACE = No Wars, No Conflicts, No Fighting, No Hostility
- PEACE = Calmness
- PEACE = Tranquility
- PEACE = Quietness
If Jesus did not come to bring peace then I believe very firmly that He must have come to do the opposite. What is the opposite of peace based upon just these 4 definitions? Jesus must have come to bring a war, a storm of agitation or even a raging wave and force of noise to the earth. I believe all of those that I just stated are true. However, we also need to understand that according to Jesus the opposite of peace appears to be the stated purpose of “division”. Division by the definition of the Lord Jesus is the opposite of peace. Once we consider what division represents it becomes very clear that it is truly the antithesis of any state of undisturbed peace. Please keep thinking on these concepts of what peace “is” and “is not” as we continue to learn why Jesus said He appeared on the earth. Based upon the definitions of peace we can begin to see Jesus came to bring us the opposite and these would be:
I’ll say this again; Jesus speaking in Luke clearly claims that one of His chief purposes for being here on the earth was not to bring anyone or anything peace, calm, quiet or tranquility during His first appearance. Then Jesus claims that one of His actual purposes for being here was to “divide” or bring “division” to something or even someone unnamed here on the earth. What exactly was this on the earth that Jesus came to disturb, to bring unrest to, to disquiet it and to interrupt it with a wave of force of noise and power to cause or effect a division to occur?
We have just briefly covered the subject of peace exploring some synonyms and some antonyms in this section of the lesson. But I believe that I introduced you to some new things to consider. We should have learned that God came to disrupt whatever was considered normal here on the earth. We should have learned that God came to divide the status quo and cause what God desired to occur. We know this because we learned division is a positive work of God and God’s work will always bring about positive results with a purpose. So we should have learned God’s appearance was to bring war on the earth and not any peace. Any war is an act of force between enemies against each other. War is a very clear separation by force and power and a strong division between factions and it will always result in a reduction of the former whole. We should be able to see that war fits very well into the definition of “division”.
- Who is Jesus at war with?
- What does Jesus intend to divide with His appearance on the earth?
- What will be the positive result for this division after it has occurred?
Learning how to answer these questions will be what this lesson series will now be focused upon. However we still need to increase our foundational understanding for the subject of division and we will do that by looking at the subject of “disunion”.
WHAT IS DISUNION?
Let’ review the Greek word translated as “division” that was used by God in Luke 12:51. This Greek word was translated as “division” in this verse. This is a very unique Geek word. In fact this Greek word is only found one time in the entire Bible here in Luke 12:51. This Greek word is G1267 and here is the Strong’s definition:
G1267 – From G1266; disunion (of opinion and conduct): – division.
The Greek word G1267 translated as “division” in this verse in Luke 12:51 literally means something has been divided. It also literally means “disunion” (of opinion and conduct). Wow, that is a new amazing and very essential declaration that Jesus is trying to teach us concerning His positive purpose to divide here on the earth. A state of “disunion” is clearly the opposite of a state of “union”. A union is a representation of two or more entities becoming one single entity with unified authority. Therefore disunion is like the one loaf of bread becoming many individual slices of bread that was mentioned earlier. Disunion conforms to what we have learned about division up until this point of the lesson.
Disunion is a word that literally means the breaking up of a federation or union. Disunion comes from a lack of unity and agreement. Whenever even one person in a group is not in full agreement there can result a state of disharmony, discord and conflict. Disagreement is the root cause for much disunion. I wish to introduce you to two new potential reasons for Jesus appearance on the earth to divide using Strong’s definition. First, Jesus was saying I came to divide the opinions or “beliefs” of men on the earth. Second He was further saying that He came to divide the conduct of men here on the earth. Either of these acts of God would bring about a war like state of disunity. That is so very important what I just said. We will definitely be talking about that a lot more in this lesson later. But we need to look more into the subject of “disunions” first.
Let’s talk about the concept of “disunions”. The word “disunion” means to break up something that was a whole or complete named entity into smaller distinct separate pieces. For example the disunion of an earthly sovereign federation will result in the division of that nation into smaller nations. Take for instance the disunion of the U.S.S.R. that took place back in 1991. Do you remember what U.S.S.R. stood for? The U.S.S.R. stood for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The U.S.S.R was one sovereign named union containing states that were broken apart to form the new D.S.S.R = “Disunion of Soviet Socialist Republic”. Of course that was just a joke but what resulted from the disunion were several new separate smaller sovereign states. The united nation of the U.S.S.R. clearly qualified to be a candidate for division and disunion. Down throughout human history there have been many nations, empires and kingdoms that have risen to only become divided, conquered and fall. Nation and kingdom partitioning is a very constant and prevalent example of divisions and disunions. Could this concept be related to something that Jesus was referring to that He came to do? We will soon find out that it is exactly what He came to do but let us look at another prevalent type of natural disunion first.
The natural case of divorce from the divinely created institution of marriage also represents a form of very prevalent natural disharmony, disruption and disunion occurring in our world too frequently. A divorce is the dividing into individual pieces and the separation from God’s defined condition of being in the state that God called a “One Flesh” union (Gen 2:24). Marriage represents the “union” of two individuals (1 male and 1 female) into one new family unit but divorce is the clear antithesis state called disunion. Divorce occurs when the one named married family entity becomes two separated, partitioned and disjointed individuals that can no longer be considered a sovereign family covenant union. If Bob and Sally Jones get a divorce the Jones Household and family has become disjointed in disunity and can no longer even exist. This will always result in two lesser named entities lacking completeness and wholeness.
I have only briefly introduced you to two types of “disunions” and “divisions” so far in this section. One is that of a natural sovereign nation being divided and the other is the concept of a natural sovereign family being divided up by acts of force or power. Both are differing levels of sovereign authority. Both can be divided by force and power. Viewing them to be a positive work is another dilemma since neither sound like positive end results and I would definitely agree with that for now looking only at things from a purely natural perspective. But there are other ways that we need to consider and I will talk about them soon enough.
Let’s continue our Greek word study and move down a level to the root word. The Greek word G1267 that means “disunion” comes from another Greek root word G1266 which means “to partition thoroughly”. This just keeps getting better and better, deeper and deeper and more and more complex doesn’t it? To partition means “to divide something”, “to split apart something” or “to break up something” using a stated or implied wall of separation. Partitioning is an understood act of constructive building through a display of intelligence combined with a force of power to create the divide. This concept of partitioning is further based upon a rule of authority hierarchy. Those which are building the partition are of much greater authority than that which is being affected by the division. What I just said was so important I want you to see it again:
PARTITIONING = an Understood Act of Constructive Building through a Display of Intelligence Combined with the Application of Force or Power to Create A Divide.
For example, a criminal after conviction is divided or partitioned from the mainstream population by a greater force of authority and placed behind a separating barrier which can be named or labeled as partitions or the prison walls of separation. Within our society the greater government authority created these partitioning walls of separation. The separating walls of the prison will keep the prisoners in but also will keep all others in the general population out. We can certainly see some potential positive aspects of division in this example. Therefore, we should learn that division is defined as an act of separating one whole and greater item (the general population) into smaller or lesser items (prisoners and free people). Using my quick example, our population is being separated by an act of law and authority into those that are free and those that are incarcerated. This is just a natural concept that helps us in understanding the spiritual Bible concept more clearly and God’s stated plan of division.
What was Jesus partitioning through His physical appearance here on the earth? What walls were being constructed by His appearance on the earth? I’ll begin to answer these questions in the next section. The information covered in this section should begin to give you some major clues to why Jesus came to earth. Jesus has built a dividing wall partition with His appearance on the earth. Let’s review the list of points we learned in this section:
- Disunion is a Force of Disagreement Dividing Two or More Groups
- Disunion is the Division of a Single Kingdom
- Disunion is like the Division of a Whole Family
- Division is the Separation of Two Entities using a Partition or Wall of Separation
There were other good points made in this section but these are the ones that need to be carried forward into the next section. We will now take a look at God’s plan of division and how it was prophesied to be implemented by the coming Lord of Glory.
GOD’S PLAN OF DISUNION/DIVISION
In the last section I talked about the disunion of a natural nation, empire or a kingdom as well as well as the disunion of a natural family. Both of these types of disunion that were going to be implemented by God’s design and plan in order to protect the righteous from the unrighteous. God came to the earth in the form of a man in order to divide His kingdom and to divide His family. God does this primarily to separate and partition that which was good from that which was judged as evil. I believe this is an excellent time to introduce you to a prophecy that applies directly to what God was doing in Jesus. Please turn to the book of Malachi and read what the LORD says:
Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Mal 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Mal 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
These are verses prophesying a coming division. Did you see it? These are the works of the LORD that were coming through Christ Jesus. God is going to separate the righteous from the wicked. He is going to make it known (able to discern between) those that serve Him and those that do not. The Hebrew word H996 that was translated “between” in verse 18 reveals to us this story. This word means to make a “distinction” between two or more things. It is a comparative stipulation that is used as a preposition to describe those that are named after the statement. This Hebrew word H996 comes from the root word H995 which means “to separate” mentally. To separate mentally is just another synonymous phrase of division that means God will divide them with a partition of thought so we can understand that there is a difference between them in our minds. The ability to distinguish between good and evil and right and wrong is a mental partitioning process. God actually warns us about this in the Bible:
Isa 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
We can clearly see these happening even in the world today if we observe the actions of people closely. It has become increasingly difficult for people to “discern” between good and evil. The lines have shifted to allow what we use to believe was evil to become good and vice-versa. God is warning all those on the earth that cannot discern between two opposites in this verse. God says you are in trouble if you call good evil or evil good. That is exactly what is transpiring in our world today. It is everywhere on TV, in movies and on the internet. Good is being called evil and evil is clearly being promoted to be good and normal. God is teaching us about one of the walls of separation that will and is dividing us all.
The blurring of distinct lines of good and evil today is the devil’s plan to undo what God has already accomplished in Christ Jesus. Satan wants us to not be able to recognize between good and evil and that is what is happening in this world. Satan would like to get Christians to regress and become passive to accept sin, evil and etc. I still believe that God’s plan will prevail in those that desire to follow Him as Malachi predicts. Real Christians will know what is right and good and what is wrong and evil even if the world does not.
I want to stop here and teach you why things are named by God. God gives things, people and places names to show that they are different. Giving objects and people names are a form of the process of division. When your child is born you name your son or daughter to give them distinction. This new name separates them from the other children and makes them unique. Do you remember what God did in Genesis 1:3-5 on day 1 of creation? God spoke to introduce the light into the world which was then separated from the darkness and after God did this He named the light “day” and the darkness He called “night”. Did you notice that in the verse in Isaiah 5:20 God also mentioned light and darkness? Is that a coincidence? No, it certainly is not. Light represents good and darkness represents evil symbolically throughout the Bible. This is God’s way of connecting the dots for us to learn His plan. God was going to separate good from evil from the very beginning of creation. Can you begin to see this?
This concept is exactly what God was doing here in these Malachi verses also. God says there will be one separate group called the “Righteous” and another group called the “Wicked”. Those are the names of distinction and separation given by divine appointment and purpose. These represent the dividing lines between two groups of beings. This certainly includes mankind but it also must include angelic heavenly beings also.
Wow, I just introduced so much potentially new information to you so fast that I pray that you understood it all. We could go through other prophecies of division but I am trying to keep this lesson as concise as possible to not overwhelm anyone with too much information. I hope to cover this subject in much more detail as the series continues. So please be patient and kind and believe with me that God will say everything that needs to be said in His right timing. Let’s recap what we should have learned from this section quickly.
God is going to build:
- A Mental Wall of Partition for Discernment in People
- A Wall Between the Righteous and the Unrighteous
- A Wall Between the Good and the Evil
- A Wall to Perceive Between Right and Wrong
- A Wall of Separation Between the Light and the Darkness
We could literally talk for many hours on these subjects but I just want you to begin learning the basics for and of division now. I think today I am going to only go into one more introductory topic to help point us to future lessons.
CONFIRMING JESUS’ PURPOSE FOR DIVISION
I have already introduced you to the concept that God came to earth to divide His kingdom and to divide His family but we need further scriptural confirmation to assist in these statements and beliefs. Both a nation and a family dissolution are very clear examples of types of extremely prevalent earthly natural disunions. However, both of these natural examples of disunion have direct application to what Jesus said that He came to do here on the earth believe it or not. Let’s look at a new verse that Jesus spoke about this direct subject of division to help us to confirm the reality of one of God’s primary purposes for sending Jesus into our world was to divide His kingdom and family.
Jesus actually talks about this subject of division much more than many realize. It is very clear to me from learning this subject now that Jesus understood His reason for coming into the world far better than anyone else at that time including Satan and all his angels and demons. We will now turn back to the book of Luke again and read a verse found in close context with our initial foundation division verse found in Luke 12:51. Please, turn back to chapter 11 and begin to read in verse 17:
Luk 11:17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.
Jesus begins the statement with the word “Every”. “Every” is the Greek word G3956 that literally means “every”. I am just being funny with that last statement but that is exactly what the Greek word means. The Greek word G3956 means “every”, “any”, “all” and “the whole”. Therefore, G3956 is an all-inclusive adjective describing the noun “kingdom” that leaves no kingdom out of the statement. Do you understand that? There cannot be any “kingdom” in existence either past, present or future that is omitted from this statement of truth given to us by the Lord Jesus. I cannot say that more plainly and this is such a very important concept to learn. Jesus is not a liar and He would have phrased the statement differently if there were any kingdoms that could be excluded from being mentioned. I do hope you understand what God is saying by His selective use of the word “EVERY”.
So we learn immediately from the mouth of Jesus that “any” or “every” kingdom named or unnamed directly or indirectly will fall if it is divided against itself. Therefore we learn from the Bible what we already know from human history that any kingdom can be divided into two or more smaller pieces and even cease to exist completely. For example the Roman Empire ceased to exist. The Persian Empire has ceased to exist. The Babylonian Empire has ceased to exist, and etc. Today division of nations is still a very prevalent topic with the nation of Israel. Peace talks are dominated with the division of Israel into two nations giving their land to a new nation called Palestine. Satan is using God’s law of division to try to eliminate Israel and you should know that.
Did you know that this statement from Jesus absolutely must include the “Kingdom of God” and the “Kingdom of Heaven”? You probably never thought of that, did you? Does that sound offensive to you for me to imply that the omnipotent God’s kingdom can be divided, fall and possibly cease to exist? Please understand that I did not say it. I just gained that knowledge from what Jesus said because He included these two kingdom references in the statement by selecting and speaking the word “EVERY” in union with the noun “KINGDOM”. Wow, I think there could be a lot of upset religious people not very happy with this lesson after reading that but this statement is still true.
Do you remember that I talked about a whole pie being cut into pieces? Let’s change the pie to a Kingdom and ask if it can be divided in the same way? Jesus is peaking about a whole kingdom pie that will be divided if it is fighting against itself and He tells us that it will become desolate (a dry empty place) if it is experiencing any condition of discord, disharmony or even disagreement. What happens to a pie after it has been cut and divided against itself? It is usually dished out and served and the pie dish has been left an empty dry mess of crumbs. That is what Jesus is describing that will happen to any kingdom that is divided also. There is an old proverb that says “United we stand but divided we fall” and that is an accurate phrasing of what Jesus just taught us about God’s Kingdom.
These truths are precisely the reason that I mentioned the U.S.S.R. previously. The U.S.S.R. was a very good example of a modern kingdom that has been divided against itself. This whole nation was split into several smaller nations even now which are still fighting among themselves. There was even recently reported heavy fighting in the Ukraine and Russia was blamed to be fueling the discord. Note the fact what Jesus said again. Jesus said “Do you think that I came to bring peace? I say No but rather division”. That was my paraphrase of the original key verse statement but it does represent an accurate message of the original. No nation or kingdom that experiences division can or will experience any peace after it has been divided. Now ask yourself what Kingdom is Jesus from? Where did Jesus come down from to enter into the earth? These are basic fundamental questions that you should be able to answer in your sleep. Jesus came down from the Kingdom of God and from the Kingdom of Heaven in order that He might divide them with war and I believe this very firmly.
Now consider the second part of the statement made by Jesus concerning division in Luke 11:17. Jesus declares that a house divided will also fall. This Greek word translated as “house” means a dwelling where a family resides. This is why I talked about the concept of divorce earlier also. A divorce represents the destruction of a sovereign family unit. The result of the family division is a whole entity that no longer exists or we could say a family unit that has been brought to the state of non-existence. This is exactly why Jesus was making this statement in Luke because it concerns His purpose for coming to the earth.
We should be able to find out by close Bible study that Jesus has come down from the Kingdom of Heaven directly from the spiritual family of God to bring about a division to both realities. We can begin to learn this truth simply by reading verses like John 6:50-51 where He describes His flesh as the bread that came down from heaven. In these words are found the concept of the loaf of freshly baked bread that I presented earlier. His body was broken and we must eat of it in order to live. All those that do not eat of this bread will die. That is a very clear division of separation being inferred. There are many other verses but I will help you with one about the family of God next for you to know that God has a family that can be divided.
If you study the Bible by searching for the word “house” you will find more than enough verses that will confirm what we need to know about the existence of God’s spiritual family. For example, in John 14:2 you will find Jesus talking about His Father’s house. He claims there are many mansions in this location. The Greek word in this verse is G3613 and it comes directly from the Greek word G3624 that Jesus spoke of in Luke 11:17 about a house divided. Both words were translated as house and both words mean a literal family dwelling place. I can give many other references but I do not want to take the time in this lesson introduction. Just begin to realize that God has a spiritual family and this family can and has been divided by the plan, will and the work of God through Jesus Christ.
If this is true what Jesus is teaching us then the implication of both of these divisions will dictate God’s need for a new spiritual family and a new spiritual kingdom since both will be brought to the level of non-existence as Jesus has prophesied. I hope you realize that Jesus was a prophet also and spoke what would come to pass in many of His recorded statements in the Gospels. I warned you that this Bible lesson would take us into some really deep waters which may go over the heads of some weaker carnal Christians. If this describes you please just stop reading and go to a different Bible lesson. So let’s review the main points from this section of the lesson. We learned these Bible facts:
- Every Divided Kingdom Will Be Made Desolate
- Every Divided Family Will Fall
- God Has a Kingdom Which Can Be Divided
- God Has a Family that Can Also Fall
All of these Bible facts of Truth point us in the direction for God’s personal appearance on the earth to divide. These help us tremendously to understand a very complex hidden Bible subject.
I hope and pray that you have learned at least a little more on this subject of Biblical Division than you ever knew before. I know there was a lot of new information given but I also know that there is a whole lot more to learn. I would recommend that you go back and at least reread the main points from each section of the lesson. This will help us put the pieces of the division puzzle together correctly. I will be continuing in this series with more confirming scriptures to help us believe in God’s Word. Thank you for taking your time to read and study the Bible with me. I do value your time greatly and I do not wish to waste any of it. If you would care to leave me a comment or question I would appreciate it. Also please share this website with your friends and relatives so everyone can learn more about the Lord and the soon coming King Jesus Christ. God Bless you.
Click now if you would like to continue reading “Part 2“.
(Ver 1.1) Today’s Bible lesson contains a response from the Spirit of God to answer a very important question asked by a loyal Agapegeek reader. My reader asked me why I could call the Bible a personal love letter written from God to you and me. I have mentioned this concept more than once in other Bible lessons. I have suggested to peoplet that they read the Bible like it was”a personal love letter from God written to them”. I firmly believe that if each of us would just change or adjust our perspective of the Bible slightly to see it differently from where we may have seen it before that it would be of great benefit for us to help us learn the truth. What if we read the Bible as if it was a private love correspondence written from a very dear boyfriend or girlfriend? How would this attitude change your expectations of the words on the page? Would you consider the word’s of the Bible more meaningful or to be significantly changed by God’s great love for you? I really do believe that you would.
I grew up in the age before email and text messaging. In that age to reach someone of any distance you had to write a letter to them. Yes, I know the telephone was there and that could be used to convey a lot of the same or even better information with feelings by hearing their voice directly. But long distance calling was expensive so the best way to normally talk to someone in any length was to write a letter to your love. While God could certainly boom out His message directly from heaven for everyone to hear, He too has chosen to reach out to us using a written form of messaging. This raises two questions immediately in my mind and these were 1). for what purpose was the Holy Bible written and 2). what were God’s thoughts for us when it was written? The intent of the Bible could have been anywhere from an attitude of anger, rage and hate on one side of the pendulum to being from a calm, peaceful and loving attitude towards us on the other side. Which one was it?
Many people read the Bible as if it was written only by a powerful angry God of judgment and punishment for all of their sins and the evils that they have done in this world. But I am not one of those and I believe the Bible came from a God with a personal caring attention and a specific communication style of love directed at at all of those that would take the time to read what He said! I believe that we should each receive the Bible like it was an important special delivery love letter written from the most distant place called heaven from the most special person in our lives and see it as Him speaking directly sweet, kind and loving words written to us. Look at the Bible as God making well intended promises about what He will do for us and to us when He comes for us because of His great love for us.
My reader said that God’s Spirit on the inside of him witnessed with his spirit that this type of Godly loving attitude of message content was a correct perspective to receiving the Bible. He also felt that it was a true saying that I wrote about in my Bible lessons when I said we should read it like a love letter from God. But, yet he still needed scriptural evidence and proof for the defense of this statement to confirm his belief. In other words how could he defend this stated belief if someone asked him why he believed His Bible was a supernatural personal love letter written to him from God? What an excellent question and what an admirable quality of Christian character to possess. For someone to be so open minded and in tune with the Spirit of God but at the same time wanting to verify whatever is taught with the backing of the Bible caused him to be like one of the noble Berean types of Christians found in Acts 17:11. I hope and pray that you are the same way. Therefore let’s obtain foundation evidence from the Bible for a belief that God wrote the Bible as a personal love letter.
WHY WE NEED TO KNOW THE ANSWER
Let’s open this Bible study with a directly related discussion to why we need to be able to answer when someone asks us a question about the Bible concerning why we believe the way we do about what is written in it. What I want you to learn in this initial section is why it is important to learn, know and remember the sound Bible truths in order to respond to the questions of people desiring to understand the foundation basis of our beliefs and faith in Jesus Christ. We will begin reading form the book of Colossians:
Col 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
Col 4:4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Col 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
Col 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
This is such an excellent set of verses. Paul writes to the church of Colossae. This information should immediately raise the question in your mind “why am I reading a letter written nearly 2000 years ago to someone else originally like it was applicable to me? This is what many intellectual deceived people will conclude. I have also heard religious people that graduate from unnamed seminaries use this argument to explain away verses that did not conform to their traditions. However that is a lie from Satan. This letter was written to the Church of Jesus Christ and that is me because I’m in the same body of Christ and they were. There is no new body of Christ today from back them. I hope that you understand that.
Paul writes both a request for prayer as well as to give them instructions on our important subject question do we need to defend our faith to non-believers? Paul asks for them to pray that God would open a door for him to be able to preach the mystery of Christ to the lost. Paul expounds clearly and plainly that God’s word contains divine mysteries that are not easily understood by carnal minded unsaved people. Therefore Paul then asks them to pray that God would show him what to speak so that he could walk in divine wisdom toward them that were unsaved. This is an excellent prayer for me if you would have the time to do that. I know if you are witnessing to people it would be a good prayer for you also. Let’s continue to go through some more of the information found in these verses written to us in the church.
Paul is talking about speaking the right words for the specific situations for those coming opportunities that God was going to present to him through the open doors being prayed for. Can you understand what Paul needed and why it is even necessary to ask God for this to help others get saved? Think with me for a moment. Every man is different. Each individual being different will respond to only certain personal words. One answer to one man will be rejected by another. This is why we need God to help us because only He knows the right words to speak for every person we encounter.
What if someone that is unsaved comes to you and asks you why do you believe in Jesus? Do you have an answer? Wow, I think many do not. Now let me ask you something related to what Paul prayed. Do you have the answer that they will receive? Someone coming to you and asking why you believe in Jesus is really no different than if someone comes to you and asks you why are you reading the Bible? I believe that one possible good answer to that question would be “I read the Bible because this is God’s love letter that He wrote to me personally”. However this answer may just bring up another direct question about why you said that? Will you be able to answer that question also? What kind of proof or evidence do you have to present to anyone in the court of human personal interaction to defend your statement? I hope and pray that is the reason that you are reading this Bible lesson to find out.
Col 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Look at verse 6 again because this is the main point that I wanted you to see in this introduction. God says through Paul for our speech (words spoken to the unsaved world) to always be done with God’s Grace (full of grace, spoken in grace, led by grace and even done with and for grace). Then God says to let your words be seasoned with salt. Wow now we are getting into more difficult symbolism. We could spend days talking about the subject of salt but that is not my main subject today. Therefore let’s move to the last statement in verse 6.
In the last statement in verse 6 God says if we let our words be as the seasoning and preserving salt filled with grace this will cause us to be able to answer any man’s question the way that we should. What God is saying is you better expect questions concerning your faith and beliefs to come from unsaved people and then you also better expect to give them answers to those questions right away. Are you ready to do that?
1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Today the question asked to me was “Why I believe the Bible is written to me personally as a divine love letter from the Almighty God”. Let’s get into the subject of why the Bible can be considered a divine love letter written to you and I from the most intelligent and all powerful being that you can imagine named God.
WHY SHOULD WE CALL THE BIBLE A LOVE LETTER?
I’ll begin this section of the subject study by using a very basic important fact presented to us in the Bible about how God identifies to us His character as being love. This basic foundational fact should be one of the truths that every Christian learns directly after being saved. Knowing God’s true character and nature will help us to know how to understand the entire rest of Bible. We should always balance God’s revealed character of love with His stated works and actions. I will say that this is a complex question to answer and sometimes Bible answers to basic questions are not as easy as reading only one verse but I will still try to answer the question as best as I can in this presentation of message delivery. Let’s start with seeing this very important basic Bible truth of God’s character found directly in the first epistle of John:
1Jn 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1Jn 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
Notice the declaration of divine character being presented to the church in these two verses that “God is LOVE”! The Greek word translated as “God” in these verses is G2316 and this Greek word can be transliterated as “THEOS”. THEOS is one of the dominate N.T. names of God and is found in 1172 verses. THEOS is LOVE is one of the most vital statements of God’s makeup, character, personality and nature found in the entire Bible. Love is stated to define who and what God is and this declaration must be the revealed source for His other great qualities such as His morals, His compassion, His mercy and His grace. God wraps all of His other Bible described attributes in the one word named Love. This word translated as “love” is the Greek word “AGAPE” (G26) and we all need to learn this word. According to John 3:16 AGAPE means to give grace, mercy and compassion to someone when it is not desired, deserved, earned or even appreciated. I am not going to explain that statement further so if you can’t read John 3:16 and see that this is a true statement you need to spend a great deal of time studying on this verse before you continue in this lesson.
God’s (THEOS) divine love (AGAPE) is nowhere close to a normal human type of expressed love. The God kind of love is unconditional. God loves us because this is His character and nature and not because of anything that we can do for Him or to Him to earn it. I would like to make a point that God does not have love because these verses say very clearly that God is love. There is a huge difference between being something and having something. For example if I had gold that is completely different than saying that I am gold. Humans fall in love and fall out of love and this is not an example of God’s love (AGAPE). God is never going to stop loving you because you did something wrong, made a mistake or even told Him that you did not love Him. Wow, that is difficult to even comprehend.
What we observe from these two statements in 1 John 4:8 and 4:16 is that there is a definite mathematical law that what one (GOD THEOS) is the other (LOVE AGAPE) is. Each are declared to be the equivalent representative of the other only using a different description, name, title or label. Wow, that was a very powerful statement of truth. What I am saying is when you see “AGAPE” you should see “THEOS” and when you see “THEOS” you should see “AGAPE”. There is no difference between the two by God’s definition. Remember that this is God’s definition and not mine. God teaches us that they both are stated to be mathematically equivalent. This truth is like saying “GOD/THEOS” = “LOVE/AGAPE” in mathematical notation terms. Let’s check out another verse that claims God is love:
2Co 13:11 Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Here we have further confirmation that God is love. I like to give more than one verse to prove the statements that I make because God declares in the mouth or two or three witnesses from the Bible let every word be established. Here is God writing through Paul to say “the God of LOVE”. It would be perfectly fine to say “the God (THEOS) who is love (AGAPE) and peace will be with you”. Wow, I just love the Bible. This is simply teaching us because we have God on the inside of us we have LOVE present. We cannot or at least should not deny that God (THEOS) is stated to be love (AGAPE).
Ok we have just learned and now should know that God and love are stated to be equivalent and so whatever God does should be concluded to be based upon HIS dominant descriptive quality of Him being LOVE. Do you understand this logic so far? Therefore, based upon 1 John 4:8, 1 John 4:16 and 2 Corinthians 13:8 we have a new mathematical rule to use that states wherever GOD (THEOS) is found LOVE (AGAPE) can be found also by the mathematical law of algebraic substitution. Using these mathematical commutative laws it is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged to say GOD (THEOS) = LOVE (AGAPE) and therefore LOVE (AGAPE) = GOD (THEOS) and we can use either titled name form to describe Him or point others to Him. Do you understand this very basic mathematical truth reality? If you do then please read this verse next carefully with this in new information in the forefront of your mind:
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Now change the single most important focused subject word “God” (THEOS) found in this verse to the equivalent of “Love” (AGAPE) using the mathematical laws of substitutionary equivalency and reread the sentence:
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of LOVE (AGAPE), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Now we should be able to begin to easily understand why I could say that God’s Holy Word was a personal Love Letter written to you and me. Based upon this knowledge, one of the primary reasons for the purpose of the Bible being given to us is because of GOD/LOVE. Then God explains in this verse because of His love His Word is beneficial to teach us (doctrine). This literally means God’s Word instructs us like children helping us to grow up. The next benefit for God’s word is “reproof” and this is a Greek word that means to give us “proof” or “evidence”. Uh oh that is exactly what we all need to answer any question. We are finding the proof that the Bible is God’s love letter simply by studying and learning what He says. This is us again coming to God’s Word like 2 year old children asking their loving parent why, why and why. Next the Bible is then stated to benefit us by “correcting” us. This simply means a confirming repetition of the previous statements that God is turning us away from the ways that are not good for us using His loving Word. This is exactly the role of a loving parent given to their child in a caring and loving relationship. The final statement is a Greek word translated as “instruction” which declares the same loving purpose for the Word of God meaning “tutorage”. God is simply saying My Word will train you in the way you should be going as a wise loving parent will do for any of their children with great love.
What we have just observed is a Loving Heavenly Father that gives us His word in Love and for AGAPE instruction, training and evidence. This should be changing your perspective of the Bible dramatically by now if you are His child and want to grow spiritually.
HOW CAN ALL OF THE WORD OF GOD BE PERSONAL TO ME?
We have just gone through a simple quick introduction to the subject of why the Bible is a written love letter from God. But we still need to connect why the entire Bible should be considered personally written to you and I? In other words if the Old Testament was originally written to the natural nation of Israel, how do any of these previous Old Testament words apply to us today in the New Testament church? I will answer that question by saying Old Testament verses do relate and apply to us if we know how to use them. But let’s begin by taking a specific O.T. example to consider. We will go back to a verse that is often used by modern church preachers. This verse is found in the book of Jeremiah. Yet it this old verse is often quoted to be for us now in the church.
Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
First consider the verse using the knowledge gained from the second section in the lesson on the subject of GOD = LOVE. Is this verse in Jeremiah 29:11 a love based statement? I believe it is very clear that it is AGAPE based. The LORD is speaking in this statement and He declares that He has good plans for the intended reader of this text. It further says that God has good thoughts of peace towards these people also. Sounds like a loving father to me, how about you? If you read the context you will see in verse 1 of this chapter that these words were written to the remnant of Israel that was taken captive into Babylon. This is clearly not me or you, is it? So how does this type of verse apply to us in the church? That is the great question. Do verses like Jeremiah 29:11 have anything to do with you and I today?
Do you remember that we just learned from 2 Timothy 3:16 that “ALL SCRIPTURE” was given by inspiration of God for our instruction and this statement was written directly to the church and I am certainly in the church. This verse in 2 Timothy immediately teaches us that even the Old Testament contains inspired words that are at the least important and beneficial for us to learn from. Do you understand this so far? Do you agree with this concept so far?
When the church was first established based upon the description given to us in the book of Acts, the disciples preached the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of that day using only the Old Testament writings. Therefore the O.T. verses were the only divinely inspired Words of God that could be used to verify doctrinal information that they possessed or were presented. The Old Testament was the only proof and evidence that was present to confirm everything that was being taught by the disciples. If you read Acts 17:11 as I previously mentioned it declared the more noble Berean Christians searched these O.T. scriptures daily to verify what was being taught by Peter, James, John, Paul and etc. This should help us to begin to understand the significance of why even the Old Testament is so important to learn and correctly understand for us in the modern church. It is vital to remember that the Old Testament verses were given by the same inspiration of AGAPE that the New Testament verses were given by. There is absolutely only one Bible written by only one author and He is the God called LOVE and this fact will sustain us to arrive at the truth if we continue to study and learn.
Christians today often still struggle to understand how a verse written to the Old Testament natural nation of Israel could be applicable to them. Therefore, let’s examine some verses in the New Testament that help us to understand why they do apply to us. We will begin by reading a verse found in 2 Corinthians:
2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
Here is where life could begin to get complicated for many Bible readers. This is a verse of Holy Scripture that teaches all of us in the church that “EVERY” promise made by God applies to us even if they were made by God during the Old Covenant. That statement is also a complicated concept that passes over the head of Christians. They tend to over analyze and see many O.T. promise verses as being only made to the people of natural Israel but that is not what this verse said. Every is an all-inclusive statement omitting none of them. That means if God made a promise it is ours by the definition of 2 Corinthians 1:20. However there is a qualification given in order to be included in this statement. Did you see it in the verse? We must pay attention to every detail or we will fall into error easily.
The qualification for God’s promises to be made manifest was given to only those that were “IN HIM”. I’ll say it again “All the promises of God are given to those that are in Him”. All the promises of God are Amen (so be it) to ONLY those that are “in Him”. What does that mean? This simply teaches us a principle that is not widely taught in the church but I will try to explain this without going into great detail in this lesson. I’ll begin by asking you “Are you in Him?” The “Him” is of course referring to Christ Jesus! You are either “In Him” if you are saved or you are “separated and apart from Him” if not saved. That is the basic simple truth.
So why is it important for us to be in Jesus Christ? Wow that is an amazing question to find the answer if you really think about it? Who was Jesus Christ? We should already know that Jesus was the Son of God the second person of the Godhead and trinity. But, we should also know that He was the Son of Man (Adam) and a descendant of Abraham. The genealogy of Jesus given by divine inspiration in Luke 3 proves to us the natural family lineage of Jesus as direct descendant of the natural nation of Israel. This makes Jesus our qualifying partner. Jesus was and is the reason we can possess the Old Testament promises of God written to natural Israel. There are over 100 verses in the New Testament that informs us that we are in Christ Jesus. Because we are said to be in Jesus Christ, we have what He has. What Jesus possesses we possess. It is very simple and yet so very profound. Let’s explore some additional New Testament verses to help confirm what is being taught:
Gal 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Here is another potentially confusing verse. They which “be” of faith is speaking of “you and I” if you are saved by God’s grace through your faith (Eph 2:8). Are you of faith? I know I am of the faith! Then it says if you are of faith then you are blessed along with and the same as faithful Abraham. Why would this be a true statement? Many of us in the church are probably not a natural descendant of Abraham. So how can we have the same blessings as Abraham? Let’s continue down to another verse in Galatians to learn more:
Gal 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Oh, this verse is beginning to speak more directly of me because I’m definitely a Gentile man. Notice that the blessings of Abraham will come upon the Gentiles through the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we have two keys to the puzzle. There was the mention of faith in verse 9 and mention of Gentiles being blessed through Christ Jesus in verse 14. What we are doing is gathering puzzle pieces to learn how the spiritual things of God were accomplished and how they apply to us by faith. But there is much more to learn and we are missing the main puzzle piece still. Let’s continue to read down into verse 16:
Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Notice what this verse says because this is a very essential New Testament truth ignored by many. God through the Apostle Paul writes to us that all of the promises made to Abraham were made to him and to his seed. But here is where the clarification comes from God that it was not all of the people that were born from Abraham but rather only one seed being Jesus Christ. Do you understand this? God promised the blessing to only Abraham and to only Jesus the seed of Abraham. That is an amazing statement of truth being given by revelation to Paul. Seed is a word that can be singular or plural without any modification. It is only by the choice of the speaker which one it is. Since God is the speaker we need to conform to which one He said it was and not what we thought or learned from a man. Do you understand that principle?
Why did I just go through all of these verses in Galatians to teach you these basic Bible facts? It is simply because since we are “IN CHRIST” we have everything that He has been given by God. Every blessing that was promised to Christ belongs to me and to you also if you are in Christ. I’ll say it one more time “What was given to Jesus has been given to us by our faith in Him”. I will only go over one other puzzle piece in this chapter for the conclusion of this part of the section:
Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
If you are Christ’s then God declares that you are Abraham’s seed and an heir according to the promise given to Abraham and his seed. Wow again an awesome statement. This is just further confirmation that whatever God promised to Abraham in the Old Testament was given to Christ and because we are “IN CHRIST” we have also become the seed of Abraham. Are you receiving this message from God? The primary reason I am going through these verses is to teach you why statements made to the natural seed can and will still apply to us in the church today. Most of the church today are not natural seeds of Abraham but because Jesus was a natural seed that the promise was made to then we have obtained the blessing also. This is one of the primary reasons why most of the blessing verses written to natural Israel can and will apply to us today in the church.
Do you remember how we got here? I began teaching this section declaring the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:20 that teach us that “all of the promises of God are in Him Yes and Amen in Christ Jesus”. What we have accomplished is the placing together of many pieces to present a greater and more complete pictured truth. Each individual picture piece represents a truth that when joined together correctly present a view into something that is truly much more significant for us to know. I’ll end this section of the lesson with only one other verse concerning the promises of God:
Heb 8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
This verse is again speaking of Jesus. The works of God through Christ Jesus are so much greater than most of us really know or understand. What God has done through Jesus and given to us because of His death, burial and resurrection is far beyond the human imagination. All of God’s promises of blessings given to natural Israel have been given to us plus a whole lot more. The promises of God in the New Covenant must be greater than all of those given in the Old Covenant or no one could call them better. This is just another reason why it is legal for us in the church to go back into the Old Testament and use any of those words of blessing from God in our lives. Whatever we can find spoken and written down by God through one of His prophets will be the minimum that we should possess. In other words we can claim by our faith in Jesus because we are IN HIM and we now have better promises that trump those of the Old Testament.
I hope and pray that you enjoyed this very basic but very essential Bible lesson answering the question “How can the entire Bible be considered a personal love letter from God written to me?” This lesson should provide us a firm foundation for why the verses of blessing that were written to the natural nation of Israel can be applied and taken as a promise from God to us today in the church. I began this lesson teaching the basic character trait that GOD/THEOS = LOVE/AGAPE. I then took this truth and applied it to the Bible being given and inspired by GOD/THEOS who is LOVE/AGAPE. We substituted AGAPE for THEOS in the verse of 2 Timothy and this taught us that the Bible was LOVE inspired written down by men of God for us to learn from. We went through the fact that there are over 100+ verses in the Bible that tell us those that are saved are “IN CHRIST”. These verses benefit us because we were given the promises of God made to Abraham by our faith the same as Jesus because we are “IN HIM”.
If you have any questions or comments about anything that was written down here I would be very glad to read them and to respond to them as time and the Lord permits. Please share this website with you friends and family to help the Word of God’s truth be spread to everyone for free on this planet. The more God can reach and help people the faster that Jesus can come back and take us out of this world. I’m personally looking forward to Jesus coming very soon. Redeem the time because the time is short. Stand firm in the faith of Jesus Christ and tell everyone you can about His saving grace. Thank you and may God continue to richly bless you to grow spiritually.
(Ver 1.1) Today I am teaching another lesson on the highly controversial subject of “predestination” or “election” as it is also referred to many times. This is Part 4 of what should be a basic Bible study series concerning a very difficult and easily misunderstood Bible subject that is taken to extremes to place deception into the minds and lives of Christians. Satan does this to remove human “freewill” as being a factor for salvation. It further removes human responsibility to getting saved or staying saved. The extreme predestination philosophy allows an anything goes belief for acceptable human behavior without consequences of guilt or punishment. It removes the need for repentance, believing, learning, growing up spiritually and many other factors for a successful Christian life. If you have not read this series form the beginning I would strongly recommend that you go back and start with “Part 1” and then proceed forward to today’s Bible lesson. In doing this you will get a more complete understanding of the entire subject.
In today’s lesson I will begin addressing more specifically two sets of Bible verses that are commonly used by extreme teachers to preach their erroneous doctrine of extreme “predestination”. I received a question from a friend and this will be an answer for everyone to read and benefit from. I was asked about Ephesians 1:3-11 and Romans 8:28-30 and I have to admit that reading these verses in isolation certainly gives us all the appearance of a valid “predestination” theology on the surface. But was this what God did? Did God predestine some to heaven and some to hell without any human participation or determination upon where they wanted to go?
It might surprise you that I agree with a part of the “predestination” theology. The word “predestinate” is certainly a part of the Bible and this means we need to learn about it. Bible “Predestination” simply means a divine plan was put into place by the sovereign mind and will of God and God putting His plan into action has predetermined the outcome result. That is “predestination” in a very limited definition form. Predestination simply means a predetermined outcome was planned by God by placing severe limits upon the possible outcomes. That is what the word means and that is what God is bound to do but taking that definition and teaching what people do today is totally absurd.
I completely agree that God had a plan in place for human salvation long before He did anything to create our world. This plan involved Jesus who was the Almighty God in the flesh coming to the earth as the sacrificial lamb (Rev 13:8). Therefore God predetermined before man even existed that He would come down to the earth in the form of sinful flesh (Rom 8:3) to die for the payment of our sins removing our penalty for them while we were all yet sinners (Romans 5:8). This is the part of the doctrine of “Predestination” that I believe in with my whole heart and I hope and pray that you do also.
I also totally agree that God has omniscient foreknowledge of every event within human history and uses these events to put His plan into effect. However, the problem that arises very quickly is when people take these basic truths and stretch them into realms of beliefs that are not stated in the Bible. For example many people teach that God has predestined some to go to heaven and some to go to hell by His sovereign will and choice. That part of the doctrine of predestination represents a line in the sand that I refuse to cross because it violates God’s written word and makes Him to be a liar and my God is not a liar. I have already taught in three lessons about many things concerning why extreme predestination does not balance or conform to God’s entire precious Holy Word and we will be going into even more verses today because this is absolutely so important and vital for every Christian to understand.
AN INTRODUCTION AGAIN TO SALVATION
I realize that these verses that were given to me from Ephesians and Romans appear to confirm predestination as a legitimate theological doctrine. I’m very sure that these are two of the primary references being used by pastors to teach on the subject of “predestination”. But the extreme teaching and interpretation of these verses is by far not even close to being a correct or accurate representation of who God is or what God says. These extreme teachings are certainly not balanced properly with the rest of the Bible. For example let’s begin talking briefly about how we were saved according to scriptures:
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Here we have some of the most important basics of Christianity and salvation. God declares that we have been saved by God’s Grace but only in conjunction through our faith and we have been also made the children of God by our Faith in Christ Jesus also given only by God’s Grace. Therefore it is only because of our faith and belief in Jesus that has accomplished salvation by God’s Grace. If we have NO faith in Christ and choose NOT to believe in Him then we are not saved nor are we called His children. Knowing this truth is the foundation for the rest of Christianity which causes spiritual growth to continue helping us to see our role, relationship and purpose for being saved in Christ. Therefore I’m going to say something that may blow your mind but according to God’s Word it is the freewill choice of man to believe that determines whether or not we are selected (saved) and not God selecting us that determined our salvation. I’ll probably get a lot of negative comments and may even lose some readers because of that statement but so what I’m not going to change God’s word to fit your theology. It is really so very simple yet this scriptural truth of human faith being the determining factor for our salvation is ignored completely by many extreme “predestination” only preachers. Let’s look at a new verse briefly to learn an additional confirmation of who should be considered the chosen and how they became this:
2Th 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
We should be able to clearly see at first glance that God has chosen us from the beginning. This is a basic predestination verse that teachers like to grab hold of to easily misunderstand the subject. However, this verse is another example of divine and human partnership working together to achieve our salvation. You see there are two direct things mentioned that God does in this verse and these are 1). God has chosen us to (for) salvation and God has done this 2). Through a process called sanctification. Then there are two direct things that we as Christians are said to do and these are 1). Give thanks to God for what He has done and 2). Believe the truth. The key word I want to focus upon is the Greek word G4102 translated as “belief” in this verse. This Greek word literally means to be persuaded of something. It can be translated as “believe” or “belief” or even “faith”. This is a word for humans not God. This Greek word represents what we do. It is a verb action of human response after hearing the Gospel (good news) of what God has done through Jesus Christ. We are required to have faith in order to please God according to Hebrew 11:6. Thus we are given one of the primary reasons for being chosen or selected by God is because of our faith. In other words if you don’t believe or have any faith you will not be selected. Do you understand this? People want to say it was only God’s sovereign choice and His right to choose some and reject others that caused us to be saved or lost but that is foolish thinking based upon poor human reasoning with no scriptural backing for that belief. No, the truth is that we determine whether we will be selected by our faith in Jesus Christ. It is so easy when you finally see it.
I was asked specifically about Romans 8:28-30 and Ephesians 1:3-11. I’ll talk about Romans 8 first in this lesson but everything that is written could apply to Ephesians 1 also. There are at least three mistakes that Bible teachers take upon themselves with their wrong interpretations of these scriptures that cause error to go forth to be taught. First they ignore the context of the verses and that is taking phrases out of their setting to say what they think they want them to say instead of what they actually say. Second there is a common problem of seeing verses from the wrong scriptural point of view to make the verses again say what they want instead of what God actually said being balanced with all other verses on the subject of human FREEWILL. You see context is also much more than just the verses in the surrounding chapter. Context must also include the whole Bible and every scripture that is related to the subject directly or indirectly. God is one author of one book and people taking one statement without the rest will lead us to error. Third there is the problem that occurs when an assumption is drawn based upon no direct facts being given. We must not make assumptions if God does not give us two or three witnesses to our belief.
Let’s go over a quick overview of good interpretation and understanding principles. We need to first learn to read and study the context of the verse within the chapter, the book, and the entire Bible in order to understand any single statement better and more clearly. Next then we need to read the Bible using the correct perspective. Many times we should consider what is written from God’s viewpoint since He is the admitted author of the text. God’s viewpoint is normally from a very spiritual perspective because He is a Spirit. God’s spiritual viewpoint is superior and normally conflicts with the human natural viewpoint (Romans 8:7). We learn this principle from several Bible selections including Romans 8 that we are currently studying but consider another reference found in 1 Samuel 16:7 when God spoke to the prophet and told him not to look on the outward appearance of the man (flesh) because God looks upon his heart (spirit). Wow, that is an awesome bit of knowledge to learn from and apply in our lives and study today.
Now consider the fact that there are other possible verses in the Bible that are directly related to the subject of “predestination”. These verses must also be considered contextual information that should be weighed together. Wouldn’t any or all of these other verses possibly have an impact in determining how we need to believe in the whole subject of predestination? I believe they do. Finally after reading and studying the whole subject we should be able to gather together all the known facts and use these to drive our belief process after we have felt confident that we understand the verses adequately enough to do so. Finally, as part of the drawing conclusions process we must never conclude anything unless we have 2 to 3 factual Bible witnesses of the conclusion from the Bible and I’m going to talk about this next.
For example NOWHERE in the Bible does it say that God predestined men to go to hell and that is a very wrong assumption and belief that many people have created in their minds and have bought into it like it was the truth because they think they were “selected” to go to heaven and therefore nothing they ever did effected them to get saved or nothing they will ever do can or will ever change their status of salvation. What a lie of the devil. If that was actually true then a lot of the N.T. is not necessary. In fact we can take that further and say the Bible as a whole is unnecessary for salvation. No one would need to preach the gospel, no one would need to believe the Gospel, and no one would need to go to church, no one needs to read the Bible and no one would even need to pray because God’s will would always be done regardless of what we do or say or pray. Also there would be no need for there to be any BIBLE commandments from God or instructions or warnings in the Bible for us to not be deceived or to depart from the Lord (Heb 3:12, 1 Tim 4:16, Gal 5:15, 1 Cor 10:12, 1 Cor 15:33, Gal 6:7, Luk 21:8, …. and others).
Let’s talk about the context first of Romans 8. The verses directly prior to these verses asked about speak of praying in tongues also called praying in the Spirit. I know it does not say it directly but that is how God wrote it in order to give man a choice to believe or not believe in speaking and praying in tongues. So let’s read the preceding two verses for direct contextual understanding:
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Rom 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Ok “intercession is mentioned twice and “prayer” is directly mentioned in verse 26. The key to knowing this is not just any kind of prayer is the fact that God is helping us to pray it. Therefore this is a supernatural prayer language because man can only pray a natural type of prayer language without God’s help. Do you understand this? God gives us the ability to pray supernaturally by helping us with the words to speak that cannot be normally uttered with natural human reasoning as He has stated in verse 26. In the Greek language this word means these words cannot be understood r spoken with the normal human articulate speech process. When we pray in the Spirit, God gives us the words and these are usually words not understood by people but rather they are heard by God and known by God for our benefit and this is why God says in verse 28 that He will cause all things to work together for our good. God does this primarily so that Satan does not know what is being prayed and can make an effort to stop it from coming to pass.
The reason I talked about praying in tongues is because the next verses following these statements are now conditional upon people praying in the Spirit in order to be qualified for what is said to happen next. Uh oh that changes everything or at least it should. We could talk a lot about other things written about in chapter 8. For example there is a whole discourse concerning the flesh verses the spirit. Those walking the flesh are not qualifying for the rest of the chapter either. But I know I was asked about the verses concerning “predestination” and that is where I will go next. Let’s jump down to verse 30 to see where the controversy really begins:
Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
This verse begins with “Whom He did predestinate”. Ok, this is pretty compelling if you only read it in isolation that God selected some and therefore must have rejected others by assumed indirection even though it does not say that directly. It is clear that God did select those that this verse was written to in the church but again nowhere does it say that God rejected those that were not in the church. I MEAN NO WHERE! Also there is a Greek word found here that needs our further attention. This Greek word is G2564 and it was translated as “called” twice in this verse. This Greek word means to “bid” or to “call” someone. What exactly does that mean?
Let’s say we go outside our house on the back porch and don’t see our dog. We could “call” the dog and see if he will come to us by yelling his name. The “call” would be an invitation to come and that is exactly what this verse is saying to us. God has invited us to come. What would make the dog not interested in coming to us when we called? It could be the fact that they are occupied with something they value more like a big bone that they are chewing on. Whatever the reason for not coming the dog has the choice of freewill to come or not to come and this is what we must realize is joined within the context of the subject of God “predestining” us. This is where we need to look afresh at this verse from the God spiritual perspective and weigh the context of the rest of the Bible also. I’ll do this with an introduction to a new way to think about predestination.
Why couldn’t God call and invite everyone through a plan of salvation called “to predestine” and offer to them all an invitation to come and be at His big wedding party in heaven? Then why couldn’t God send out all of the invitations to everyone to come to be a part of this party by an act of their choice to attend? But then what if only those people that actually showed up (chose by an act of their freewill) to come to the wedding party would be called those that were “selected”? In other words what if God has predestined everyone to show up for a huge big wedding party but yet not many valued or regarded the invitation as important and therefore did not come and what if this was the reason that caused them to not be selected? Could this possibly be the truth? Wow, I really think it is according to the Words of Jesus in the Bible. Let’s go read some words written in red ink within the distant context of Romans 8 that must be balanced with Romans 8. You should be able to read these verses and see my “what if” story in a parable form given by the Lord Jesus that helps us to learn what I was just trying to teach:
Mat 22:1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
Mat 22:2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
Mat 22:3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
I’ll stop here and make some quick important points. The King in this parable is a representation of God. The Son in this parable is a symbolic representation of the Jesus Christ. The marriage in this parable is a symbolic representation for the New Covenant. His servants in this parable were His prophets and they called to the wedding the children of natural Israel but they would not come to the wedding by an act of their own stupid choice. The Greek word translated as “call” in verse 3 of Matthew 22 is the exact same Greek word found in Romans 8:30 making a direct divine connection to the same subject being spoken of by God. Does this not have anything to do directly with selection or God’s predestination process? Didn’t God call them all to come? Didn’t God desire them to come? Wasn’t it the will of God for them to come? I mean come on and think. God selected them and invited them to come but THEY WOULD NOT. Get it? This is really not rocket science and it is right there in front of our faces. Are we going to believe God or are we going to believe the traditional errors of man?
Mat 22:4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.
Mat 22:5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
Mat 22:6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
Mat 22:7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
These verses were written about the natural nation of Israel. The natural nation of Israel was overrun and laid low over and over because of God’s displeasure for their ignorant choices and killing His servants. It is more than clear that this was not the plan of God for their lives. It was more than clear that God sent His servants to invite them to the wedding feast. It is more than clear that it was their own actions that caused them not to come in and be a part of the process. This is called man’s “freewill” and this must be taken into account when teaching anything about “predestination”. Now continue to read the rest of the parable because this is how we were selected:
Mat 22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
Mat 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
Mat 22:10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
So God goes forth into the rest of the Gentile world with more prophets and teachers inviting them all to come to the wedding and guess what I came by own freewill choice to believe and now because of my choices I have been selected. Also because I am now selected I now go into the world and preach the Gospel to others so they can also be selected by an act of their own freewill choice and faith in Jesus Christ. Wow this is how God designed it to work. We either believe and are saved or we don’t believe and we are damned by our own freewill choices (Mk 16:16).
Mat 22:11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
Mat 22:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Mat 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
In this parable there are only two types of people mentioned that are rejected from being at the wedding and these were the one man without a wedding garment and those that chose not to even attend. However, this one man without a wedding garment also represents the man’s own foolish choice to try to come to the wedding without being properly clothed. This verse was symbolically talking about people who call themselves Christians but have not “PUT ON CHRIST” (Gal 3:27). This parable is all symbolism but this story gives us natural realities that apply directly to predestination and election.
I hope that everyone can read this over carefully and see the truths beings presented. This is exactly what I have been attempting to teach about salvation, election and predestination. Everyone is invited but only those that choose to show up to the wedding properly attired get to stay in the party to be called the select or elect ones and all others are left outside trying to get in. Remember the parable of the 10 virgins? This is the exact same reality. All 10 were invited but only 5 were prepared and entered in and the others were left out because of their lack of preparedness. Wow, this teaches us plainly that human FREEWILLL choices have a great determination to who is “selected”. We can choose to not attend the wedding or we can even choose not to dress for the wedding and both of these will cause us to NOT be selected. I don’t know how to teach it more clearly.
Let’s look at another verse to help us with the Bible basics of selection or predestination. I will give you a verse found in the Book of Hebrews that has nothing to do on the surface with this subject of predestination yet it has everything to do with it by indirect subject content and contextual association. God is speaking to Christians in this verse so read the words like they were written to you personally:
Heb 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
Here is an additional confirmation that God had a divine plan from the foundation of the world. But, back up and see who it is that has been determined to enter in. Believing is stated to be the determining factor for entering into God’s rest. Those that have not believed do not enter in and those that believe do enter in. The entrance door is God’s Word and believing in God’s word gives us entrance.
I am trying to teach a difficult subject called election or predestination but not the way it is normally taught by many confused people. Becoming God’s elect is based upon a partnership between God’s divine grace and human faith. God is not a respecter of persons as we should know by now but God is most definitely a respecter of faith. The basis of what is taught by many predestination teachers would make God a respecter of persons by selecting some and rejecting others. This would make the Bible a lie and that is a conflicting problem with their philosophy. The only way to balance and resolve the conflict correctly is to understand that any good gift given to men by God is received by their faith. Any good thing ever given to men, done to men or done for men is only received or we could say entered into by individual freewill human faith. This is the way that God designed it to work.
Hebrews 4:3 is just further evidence that proves faith is a necessary part of the plan of God established from the foundation of the world. Read it again and again until you get it and accept it into your heart. Write a big sign and put it up on your wall and it should say “We who believe do enter in….”. What God is plainly saying is that everyone is invited to believe but only those that choose to do it are selected. God has predestined everyone to salvation but only those that have chosen to dress and come into the wedding will be selected and those that do not believe, or have not prepared themselves or have other more important things to do will be shut out when the door closes. That is the truth of God, believe it or not.
Thank you again for reading and studying the Bible with me. I appreciate your time and diligence to read and verify what is written in these lessons. Do not ever buy into a teacher’s words without your own personal verification. Allow the Spirit of God to minister and lead you into all truth. Be blessed and be a blessing to all that you meet every day. I’ll try to do another lesson on Ephesians 1 soon. I hope these word help you to better understand the Bible and your role in being selected.
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 1 of a very fundamental and rudimentary essential Bible Subject for every Christian to study, learn, understand and be able to share in an instant with all others in the world! Who is Jesus Christ? Is Jesus the most important person mentioned in the Bible or any other book available to read? If He is, then why is He so important? Many today in the world in other religions simply call Jesus just another human originator of a new religious system that died just like other religion founders like Mohammed or Buddha. Others in certain religions recognize Jesus to be nothing but another prophet of God like Moses, Mohammed or Joseph Smith. There are even many people in the world today that read from the Bible and believe Jesus to be far from divine. Are any of these the truth? Was Jesus just an ordinary man like me? If He was then I believe that I am one of the biggest fools in the world for following Him. Today we will explore just the Bible verses that teach us who Jesus really was described to be. We will be specifically focused on some of the revealed names of Jesus in the Bible and what they relate to us. Later in this series we will also look at the recorded words and claims of Jesus and see who He professed and claimed to be. I hope and pray that you have a very open mind to receive the truth as written and inspired by the Holy Spirit from the Bible. We will be exploring the basics of Bible truth that are the essential foundation for God’s grace and our salvation through our faith in Jesus Christ.
INTRODUCTION TO THE QUESTION “WHO IS JESUS?”
Jesus asks His disciples two very simple questions in the book of Matthew. And their answers to these questions will determine much more than you can imagine. At this point in time when these questions were asked to the disciples by Jesus they had been with Him for a long time following Him from place to place. They had witnessed many very significant things done by Jesus and heard many teachings from this man they called Rabbi (John 1:38). We will begin this section with reading in Matthew 16 and verse 13. Please observe the first question:
Mat 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
Why would Jesus even need to ask anyone who He was? There were a lot of people that obviously heard of Jesus but why would it be necessary to ask these people know who Jesus is? Anyone can know of someone but that is totally different than knowing them or knowing who they are, isn’t it? So who is Jesus? Jesus is asking those that were closer to Him than anyone else “who do men think that I am?” This is the question that is still very valid for today. Jesus could come to you and ask the exact same question. What would you say to Him? Perhaps you would need to go and take a survey in order to find out what men said about Jesus. Today, it is much simpler to just go and search the internet and see what people are writing about Him. Then notice how very wide and diverse the answers were.
Mat 16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
The disciples answer “Some say Jesus was John the Baptist”. Other men claim Jesus was Elijah. Still others claim Jesus to be the prophet Jeremiah. Even other men claimed Jesus to be just another one of the prophets but did not know which one. What a diverse set of possibilities for the identity of Jesus. However there is a common theme to them all. They were all calling Jesus a human man acting as a prophet but there was not any majority agreement to which prophet he was. This is still the most popular belief today in most false religions. The general consensus is that Jesus was simply a prophet or holy man like many others; Muhammad, Buddha, John Smith or even the Dalai Lama. This would place Jesus Christ on their exact same level of humanity but is this, the whole truth? Is this all that Jesus claimed to be? Let’s see the second question being asked by Jesus then and now:
Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Now Jesus changes the question and makes the question very personal. The question has substantially narrowed from “who do OTHER men say that I am” to “who do YOU say that I am”? Jesus was making a point by asking these two questions in succession. Jesus is teaching them that it does not matter what other men think but it does matter greatly what we think individually. Wow, I don’t know if you just got what God said there or not but it was very substantial. What Jesus is saying is that someone else’s opinion of Him is not going to help you or save you. Let’s look at their answer and see if anything changes.
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Peter answers the question of the Lord with an amazingly new and different perspective to the identity of Jesus. Two things are directly stated by Peter and you need to notice that neither of these stated beliefs of Peter is denied by Jesus. There was no rebuke from Jesus for any of Peter’s answer. In fact the opposite is true if you read down into the next verse. Jesus praises Peter and tells Him this answered revelation came from His Father and not from any man. That is a very significant amount of information to learn from. Jesus teaches us that there are at least two possible sources for knowledge and only one source is praise worthy. The knowledge originating from God is implied to be very good and noteworthy and the knowledge coming from ignorant men was judged as not important. Did you see that? Who is your source for who Jesus is? Is it God or is it a man? It would be extremely wise to figure this out now before it is too late.
Peter could have gone along with the majority wrong opinion. Peter could have chosen to conform to the religious crowd. Peter could have listened to popular peer pressure. Certainly the popular human concept is still what is taught today by many. But I believe that there still exists a God that can reveal the truth to anyone that asks Him and seeks Him with their whole heart.
What were the two God revealed things about Jesus that Peter gave as an answered reply? The first was that Jesus was the Christ. Wow, what exactly does that mean? Many of us have heard the combined named “Jesus Christ” but this title “Christ” was not the last name of Jesus. And you better also know that “Jesus Christ” is not something you say when you slam the door on your finger. Let’s look up the Greek word translated as “Christ” and learn:
From G5548; anointed, that is, the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus: – Christ.
I want to begin with the definition and say Christ is an “epithet” for Jesus. What is an “epithet”? An “epithet” is a word that is used to describe the person being referenced. It is an adjective description. If you understand what an adjective is then you should already understand that an adjective is used to distinguish one man from another. If there is only one Jesus for example no one would need to say “Jesus Christ”. But since there were and still are others then this is one way to make Him uniquely important to the conversation.
Here in this definition is a new connection to a Hebrew word being established along with a meaning of someone that is anointed. The literal definition of the Greek word G5547 translated as the adjective “Christ” means “the anointed one”. Jesus is called “the Christ” by Peter and Jesus does not deny it. This title Christ is only significant because of Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled when Jesus begins His ministry. The Hebrew word being connected in this Greek word definition is H4899. In order to connect the Hebrew word “Messiah” to the Greek word G5547 translated as “Christ” we need to do some homework and search for the title in the O.T. If you do this you will find one key “Messiah” prophecy in the book of Daniel. If you go and read Daniel 9:25-26 you will find the verses that I am referring to. It would take a very long study to try to explain just these two verses so that will not be covered today. But I do want you to notice the Hebrew word that was translated as “Messiah’. This Hebrew word is H4899 and it has the following Strong’s definition:
From H4886; anointed; usually a consecrated person (as a king, priest, or saint); specifically the Messiah: – anointed, Messiah.
As you can observe in the definition this word has the exact same meaning as the Greek word G5547. We can therefore conclude that these two words are equivalent in both languages. I also want to point out that this word can apply to more than Jesus Christ. Any king, priest or even a saint can be anointed by the Spirit of God and this tends to lead some to say that Jesus was just another anointed man like so many others. In that regard if that was the only criteria being analyzed that would be a true statement. However, Peter did not stop talking with calling Jesus “the Christ” and he mentioned another quality that must also be considered.
Do you remember the second statement that Peter made? Go back and reread it if you did not recall that Peter said that Jesus was the “Son of the living God”. Wow that description makes Jesus unique and unlike any other anointed human born on this planet. Jesus had a great opportunity to rebuke Peter for this statement if it was a false claim but Jesus very clearly did not do it. This means that Jesus was confirming His identity to be the “Son of God” with His praise for what Peter had just spoken and because He said that this had been revealed to him by God, His Father. We will talk more about Jesus claiming to be the “Son of God” as we continue in this lesson series. But, Jesus claiming to be “the Son of the living God” is one of the most important things for anyone desiring to be a Christian to learn and believe by faith. I will tell you very plainly right now that if you do not believe that Jesus was the Son of the Living God then you are not a Christian and you are lost and going to hell. This is a very plain and simple truth found in 1 John 2:22-23 so please go and read it.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SIGNIFICANCE OF NAMES
I’m going to shift the focus for a moment to teach briefly an introduction about another very relevant Bible subject concerning “names”. This rabbit trail subject should be a Bible study series all by itself but an introduction will help our study of who Jesus claimed to be and should provide a great benefit to us by us understanding His names. Almost everyone in the Bible was given a name not by chance but rather the name given to them reflected a situation, quality, circumstance or characteristic of something very specific about the person. For example, these given names could have been a reflection on the circumstances surrounding their entrance into the world. Perhaps you remember in Genesis 35:18 when Rachel gives birth to her last son. She called the boy child by the name “Benoni” and this name meant “son of my sorrows” and then she died. But his father named him “Benjamin” which meant “son of my right hand”. God gives such great significance to names in the Bible and these name meanings are often overlooked and ignored but they all have a divine purpose. I will also say that if Benjamin would have been called by the name given of his mother then this would have changed his entire life and who he was tremendously. But since Benjamin was given a name change and a very different positive name he was blessed and favored.
Let’s go over a couple of other significant name changes that made a major difference for those people in the Bible to prove the significance of this subject. The man Abram was selected by God and given a promise by God in Genesis 12. The Hebrew name “Abram” means “high father”. Yet God changes Abram’s name to “Abraham” that meant “a father of a multitude” and it was only after this name change transpired that the promise began to be fulfilled. There is a revealed law of God found in the Bible that as long as the earth endures seed time and harvest will never cease (Gen 8:22). This divine law teaches the concept of cause and effect. In other words for every observable effect (harvest) God teaches us that there must be a cause for it (a seed sown). Some seed sown transpired to cause the promise to be made manifest to see the harvest and I am convinced that God’s name change to Abraham was a major role for this event occurring. Perhaps you will understand that statement as you continue to learn the God given facts of the Bible.
I’ll give you at least one other significant Bible name example. You may recall reading in Genesis 32:29 about Jacob wrestling with an angel. Jacob we are told prevailed against the angel and again as a result, the angel changes Jacob’s name from Jacob to Israel because of this victory. The name Israel obviously came from God and from heaven and you need to know this. When God gives a man a name it usually causes something good to occur and this is just another example. The name Jacob meant “heal catcher” and this name described the circumstances of his birth. But the name “Israel” is a Hebrew name that means “he will rule as God”. I’ll say this again, when God gives you a name there is a great seed that was planted to bring about a divine harvest and this is so very important to understand.
Modern names of people are really no different from Biblical names of people and they often reflect who a person is and what kind of person they present themselves to be. For example I was eating at a restaurant and my server’s name was named “Tisha”. I looked up the name’s meaning on the internet and it meant “joyful” and “happy”. This name meaning fit the personality of the lady very accurately.
What I am attempting to teach you is that it maters what the name of a person is in the Bible and even in the world today still. I am also trying to teach that it matters who gives a person the name and why it was given. In other words why and where the name originates from is critical and the name can certainly influence the outcome on a person’s entire life greatly. Let’s examine the Hebrew word that is translated as the English word “name”. This word’s meaning may shed some additional light of confirmation upon the significance of “names” in the Bible:
A primitive word (perhaps rather from H7760 through the idea of definite and conspicuous position; compare H8064); an appellation, as a mark or memorial of individuality; by implication honor, authority, character: – + base, [in-] fame [-ous], name (-d), renown, report.
This Hebrew word means an “appellation”. This word means the act of giving something or someone a name. Then notice the next statement “a mark or memorial of individuality”. Wow that is a very important definition. God and people name things to mark them as being different from other things that may even be similar in appearance. For example any normal family with identical twins will always give each child a different name. This unique name separates one identical twin from the other. When a parent wants a specific twin they will call their name and this should bring the one called. Clearly names matter because it causes a separation from others to occur.
Then notice in this Hebrew word there is an associated implied meaning of any given name. According to the definition a name can carry the positive implication of “honor”, “authority” or it can even denote personal “character”. This positive truth can also be taken from a negative antithesis truth perspective. A negative name given to someone can cause them a negative outcome in life like dishonor or even bad character. I’m trying to teach you how things work in the spiritual realm. If you call your kids stupid then they will become more stupid. If you call your kids lazy then they will become lazier. Whatever names you have placed on your children are all seeds to mold their lives either building character or destroying their character.
I’ll end this introduction to the significance of names in the Bible with this truth. There are so many significant names given to us in the Bible that we often overlook the lesser names mentioned only a few times. For example in Genesis 5 there is a genealogy given to us by the inspiration of God concerning the first eleven men. This genealogy begins from Adam the first man to Noah and then to his son Shem in succession. The name Adam means “man” and the name Noah means “comfort”, the name Shem means “name” and this. Let’s just go through all of the names for review:
If you take the meanings of each of these 11 names given to us in the Bible and combine them into a sentence, you will find the Gospel of Jesus’ coming into the world and one of the primary reasons for His appearing. Here is the sentence using the Hebrew name meanings:
Man (has) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God will come down teaching (and) His death shall bring the despairing comfort (by or through His) Name.
I hope that you are beginning to see how Jesus is even mentioned indirectly here in the names of two prominent Bible men (Adam and Noah) and 9 other relatively obscure men in the Bible. This hidden reference to Jesus using only the names of men certainly is beyond chance or random occurrence. This information had to be placed there by God’s design and plan and this teaches us plainly that God even uses names in the Bible to inform us of things that are very important for us to learn and know. I will give credit for the majority of this information to Chuck Missler and you can find it on his website. I added the name of Shem to what he taught because this should have been given. Remember this prophecy using the 11 names because this will be readdressed in this Bible study later. Let’s move on to the specific name of Jesus next.
INTRODUCTION TO THE NAME OF JESUS
We will continue our Bible study concerning “who is Jesus” with a statement being made to Joseph from an angel sent from the Lord. In this statement is the name of the male child to be born to Joseph’s wife Mary. This name comes from God just like the name of Jacob came directly from God through an angel giving it great divine significance and purpose.
Mat 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
I want to reemphasize this point that the name of “Jesus” came directly from heaven and not from Joseph or Mary or any other human. This fact gives the name of Jesus a divine reason and purpose for being given. The next thing that you need to know is that the name “Jesus” is an English transliteration of the Greek name “Iēsous” being written in the book of Matthew. A transliteration is nothing but a man’s attempt to transfer and preserve a name from one language’s alphabet to another by using similar sounding vowels and constantans. The problem we begin to encounter very quickly is when we realize that the man Jesus was not English nor was He a Greek. Neither of these names would be correct based upon the nationality of Jesus. The genealogy of Jesus given to us in Matthew and Luke both prove that Jesus descended from the Hebrew nation a descendant of Abraham and David. Therefore the name of Jesus should be a Hebrew name and this is exactly what we discover when we look up the Greek word in the Strong’s dictionary:
Of Hebrew origin [H3091]; Jesus (that is, Jehoshua), the name of our Lord and two (three) other Israelites: – Jesus.
You should be able to quickly recognize that the Greek word name has a Hebrew origin. It is also apparent that the name of Jesus was not a completely unique name and that there were other Hebrew men that were also given this famous name. But we still need to ask the question why did the angel tell the man Joseph to name the child Jesus? In order to answer that question we need to revert further to the original Hebrew. Let’s look up the name H3091 and find its meaning:
From H3068 and H3467; Jehovah-saved; Jehoshua (that is, Joshua), the Jewish leader: – Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua. Compare H1954, H3442.
The English transliterated name for the Hebrew word H3091 is “Jehoshua” or “Joshua”. This name literally means “Jehovah saved” in the original Hebrew meaning. This Hebrew word is made from two Hebrew root words being combined together. The first word is H3068 meaning “Jehovah” and the second being H3467 meaning “saved”. “Jehovah” is simply one of the key names for God found within the Old Testament. The name Jehovah is used by God in over 5000 verses. The name Jehovah (H3068) simply means “Self Existent or Eternal One” and was most often translated as “LORD”.
The Hebrew word H3467 simply means “to save”, “to deliver”, “to free”, “to be made safe”, “salvation” and even “to get victory”. This part of the definition goes along with the statement made to Joseph in Matthew 1 if you will recall the angel said “you shall call His name Jesus because He will save His people”. We can learn from the meaning of the name that Jesus was the hidden fulfilled prophecy of the genealogy of Genesis 5 using the 11 names of Bible men. Remember this prophecy predicted that “the Blessed God would come down teaching and His death gives the despairing comfort through His name”. The despairing are simply humans that were held captive prisoners within the darkness of this world. The Name of Jesus was the God given name that men were required to believe upon and we will talk abut this more in the series as we go. This is exactly what transpired. The name of Jesus shows us by its definition that He was the Jehovah God that delivers and saves His people. This is now the second Biblical confirmation that Jesus was God in the flesh that came down to the earth. Let’s move to new name given to Jesus and study a further confirmation.
JESUS = GOD WITH US!
We are now going to explore another name given to Jesus in the Bible. This name will be the third conformation that Jesus was God in the flesh come to the earth from heaven. I will first give you the name found in the Greek New Testament. This name is found in a verse of Matthew 1. Please read it very carefully not overlooking any of the words in the stated scripture.
Mat 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
First consider the beginning of the verse where God declares a “virgin” will be with child. A virgin simply means an unmarried daughter and this clearly implies that she has never had sex with any man. Right there that gives us the first impression of a supernatural conception. Next the Greek words translated as “be with child” simply means that she is pregnant in her womb. Next the author (God) says she will bring forth (birth) a son. Here is where we get to the good stuff. God say “They shall call his name Emmanuel”. Wow, this is a very meaningful name that was being bestowed upon Jesus. Of course this name is meaningless if you don’t know what the definition of the Hebrew word being given to us is.
What we have just witnessed in this verse is a very vital principle (rule) that God teaches us to how to understand selected parts of the Bible. I have already been using this principle when I taught on the meaning of the name of Jesus earlier in this Bible lesson. This principle given to us by God is the simple fact that names have meaning and that these meanings have significance to indicate something important about the one being named. This principle also teaches us very directly that we need to go back to the original language meaning in order to insure the significance.
Perhaps you missed it again. The name “Emmanuel” in this verse is just another Greek to English transliteration. This Greek word (G1694) was also a transliteration from the Hebrew original name H6005 which was transliterated into English in the Old Testament as “Immanuel”. This is further confirmation that what I did for the name of Jesus going back to Joshua was very legitimate. Finally I want you to see in this verse the Greek word (G3177) that was translated into “interpreted”. This Greek word literally means to “translate” from one language into another. What God is doing is confirming the fact that names have meanings and these meanings have purpose as I have already stated. Let’s go back and research the original prophecy that this verse in Matthew is quoted from:
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
This verse quite literally says that this will be a “sign” given by the omnipotent God. This Hebrew word (H226) that was translated as “sign” can mean “evidence” or even a “monument”. In other words Jesus will be the visible proof for the name being given to Him. So what did this name ‘Immanuel” given from God mean? You read it in Matthew but it was not given here in Isaiah because you are assumed to already know Hebrew if you are reading the Old Testament because it was written to Hebrews. This is a reason that God wrote the meaning out in the New Testament because it was predominately read by Gentiles who needed to learn more about this old language.
If you knew the Hebrew language then you would find that “Immanuel” means “God with us”. If we break down the Hebrew root words found within this name we should start with the ending syllable “el” which is the short form for one of the prominent names of God in the Old Testament “Elohim”. The short form name “el” for God is used in almost 150 other names in the Old Testament and that is an interesting study all by itself. Then go back to the beginning syllable of the name “Im” and this means “with” or even “in”. Now look at what remains in the middle “man”. Put them together it could read something .like “God in the form of man” which could also means “God with men”.
Do you understand these God given principles? I’ll say it one more time, names have meanings in the Bible and these meanings are important especially based upon who gives the person this name. Any name given to anyone by God is of the ultimate importance since God is supreme. Based on Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23 God comes down from heaven in the form of a man to be with us, to walk among us and to live like us but as a higher example. So far we have found 4 witnesses in the Bible that claims Jesus to be God in the flesh but there are more. Let’s examine another name of Jesus.
GOD THE WORD BECAME FLESH
All Bible truth is found only by searching and studying the Bible with the Holy Spirit’s help to reveal it to us so we are able to see it clearly. This is why the Bible is not understood by even many Christians. They are not studying, not searching or not praying and asking God to open their eyes to the truth and lead them into it. We are going to need to search to find the names of Jesus in order to discover who He really is. I’ll give you three verses to read next and then talk about them:
Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Rev 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
Rev 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
Did you see the two names of Jesus given to Him by God? First there is the one called “Faithful and True” and this can only be a name for the divine God since every human can and will fail us. Then in verse 13 He is called by the name “The Word of God”. It is this name “The Word of God” that I want to focus upon next. But both of these names prove that Jesus was God in the flesh come to the earth as a man. How do they do that you ask? Well again you have to study and read the Bible to find the answers. The real answers don’t fall on you like a piece of ripe fruit from a tree that you are laying under doing nothing.
The book Revelation was written by the inspiration and revelation of God through a man named John. John wrote other books of the New Testament and we need to go back to the first book in order to find the answer to who “The Word of God” represents. Read these next two verses to begin with from the first chapter of John:
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.
God is the primary subject of both verses and the verse begins with the statment “In the beginning was The Word”. This statement is talking about Jesus indirectly since Jesus is called the Word of God in Revelation 19:13. Jesus is being indirectly called the Word again with a direct association of the Word for the theme of God being the primary direct subject. The Word was with God and the Word was God. If you know anything about the laws of mathematics you understand that if A=B and B=C then A=C. Therefore if the Word = God (John 1:1) and Jesus = the Word (Rev 19:13) then God = Jesus by undeniable mathematical proof. I’m not going to go through every verse in this chapter of John because that would take too long but I will give you 4 more verses for you to read:
Joh 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
Joh 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Joh 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
These verses begin with “He was in the world”. Who is He? This is talking about Jesus in conjunction to the primary subject still being God. Then notice what it says, “The world was made by Him”. Again this is a combined reference to the Spirit of God, the Word of God and God the Father because these three revealed personalities are all the same God (1 Jn 1:5:7). Only God created the world. You can go back to Genesis 1:1 and read this plainly. In the beginning “God” (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth. Now remember God says in Isaiah Immanuel (El = Elohim) is coming to be with us.
In verse 12 God tells us that if we believe on His name He will give us the power to become the sons of God. Why am I teaching you all about the names of Jesus in this lesson? I’m teaching you this so that you might believe in His names in order to be saved. I am teaching on the names of Jesus to reveal Him to be God in the flesh. Did you read verse 14? More importantly did you actually see what it says in verse 14? It says The Word (THE WORD = GOD verse 1) was made flesh and dwelt among us. God dwelling among us is just the name “Immanuel” again written out in definition form. Jesus is declared to be God with us in the form of a man (flesh).
God directly connects John 1:1 with Genesis 1:1 by the same three simple words “In the Beginning”. Whenever God does something like this it is not an accident or chance occurrence. God is telling us they are about the same themed subject. In Genesis 1:1 it said “In the Beginning God” and in John 1:1 it said “In the Beginning was the Word”. This is God’s hidden way of saying “I am the Word and I created the world”. You see there is another hidden reference to Jesus found in Genesis 1:1. I have written about this before in other lesson but it fits very well with what God is saying here that I will repeat it.
Gen 1:1 In the beginning (the A-Z) God created the heaven and the earth.
The fourth word of the Bible in Genesis 1:1 was omitted by the translators because they did not know what it meant. This fourth untranslated word was technically not a word at all but rather the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Uh oh, that should turn some light bulbs on in your brain if you have read the Bible very much. Genesis 1:1 should read in the English “In the Beginning the A-Z God created…”. The A-Z God is another hidden reference to Jesus because Jesus said in Revelation 1:11 “I am the Alpha and the Omega”. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet. In other words Jesus was saying in English “I am the A to Z”. This is exactly who Genesis 1:1 said created the world that we live in. Wow, this is great stuff if you open your eyes of your heart and let it in. I guarantee you that it will save you from hell if you begin to believe it.
This is really not that complicated but Satan does not want these truths to be known. Satan perverts the truth to change Jesus from being divine (God in the flesh) to being only a man (a descendant of Adam) or a prophet to defeat you. Satan does everything in His power to blind the minds of people so that they cannot see the obvious truth of God’s Word in order to be saved (2 Cor 4:4).
I have gone over multiple truths in this Bible lesson that declares Jesus to have come from God in heaven. Not only this but that Jesus was God in the flesh. The Bible says let every word be established in truth by the mouths of two or three witnesses (2 Cor 13:1). I have given you double that with at least 5 to 6 witnesses that Jesus was the God of creation come to the earth in the flesh. We started this lesson with Jesus asking us all “Who do you say that I am?” We then went into the significance of names in the Bible and I introduced you to a hidden prophecy of Jesus coming into the earth in the flesh in the genealogy found in Genesis 5.
We then went into three of the primary names given to Jesus in the Bible, 1) Jesus, 2) Emmanuel and 3) The Word of God. The name of Jesus was the Hebrew name, Joshua and we found that Joshua meant “Jehovah Saved”. Therefore Jesus was this God named Jehovah that came down from heaven to save His people just as was prophesied to occur. We then talked about the name “Immanuel” and that this meant “God with us”. We then talked about Jesus being the Word of God that came in the flesh and it was this A-Z God that created the world that we live in. If you are still wavering and doubting after all of this evidence then I don’t know what else to say that will help you. Go back and reread your Bible and all of the verses that I just gave you. Study the names of Jesus until you have them memorized.
This was only Part 1 in the series of lessons on “Who do you say that I am?” I will be going over more scriptural evidence for Jesus being God in the next lesson in this series. I want to thank you for being open minded enough to read this lesson and I pray that God will help you to see Him in all His glory. Help me spread the word of truth to your friends. Tell them about my website. Send them links to my lessons. Please, help me spread God’s Word so that we can reach the lost world. Jesus is coming back very, very soon. The timing cannot be that far off based upon current world events transpiring. We need to reach everyone that we can and help everyone that we can so that none will perish. Thank you for your prayers of support, because they are very needed and valuable to me. God bless you and keep you until the next time. Always remember the correct answer to the question “Who do you say that I am” is “You are Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God, my Savior, my Lord and my God”. God Bless you!
If you would like to continue reading in this series you may go to “Part 2” now.