(Ver 1.1) This is now Part 18 in the advanced study series of Bible lessons on the very valuable subject of “Understanding Bible Faith”. This is one of my favorite Bible subjects to learn, to study and to teach from the entire Bible. If you know anything about this subject then you should already understand why this is such an important focus to learn intimately. I want to stop and reemphasize the opening statement that this is an advanced Bible study series about one of the most important subjects concerning believing God’s spoken and written Holy Word and how to receive whatever He has promised or given to us by His sovereign grace either spiritually, mentally or physically. I have already covered a lot of information on this subject in this series that will not be repeated. Therefore, if you have not read this entire series from the beginning I would strongly suggest that you begin at “Part 1” and then read through the series in the order presented for the greatest level of understanding and retention of this complex Bible subject. It would also be recommended that you reread the entire series more than once. The more you study a Bible subject the more you will grow in spiritual maturity in that area of God’s given knowledge. Let’s get started with learning a few new things about the subject Bible Faith.
INTRODUCTION TO SPEAKING THE WORD OF FAITH
Today my subject concerns “Righteous Faith Speaks” and “Speaking the Word of Faith”. What is Righteous Faith and why does it speak? What is the “Word of Faith” and why do we need to hear it, know it, understand it or even to speak it? We will be attempting to learn some fresh verses on faith as well as reviewing some standard faith verses that we have previously seen in this Bible study series. However, I will hopefully be providing you some new perspectives to any of these repeated verses. Some statements that I make today may be a review of what I have referred to before but I will place a new angle upon them because God wants to remind us of what He has already said. Often times we read a Bible verse and think that we have it completely understood knowing everything about it but yet God can bring out something brand new that we have never seen before because all of His words are layered so deeply with both natural and supernatural knowledge much like an onion is designed to be peeled layer by layer and used in each succeeding deepening cover. If you have studied the Bible very long you know exactly what I am saying. Let’s read three verses to begin in Romans the 10th chapter to get us familiarized with the foundation scriptures for today’s entire lesson:
Rom 10:6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
Rom 10:7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
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;
The end of verse 8 introduces us to one of today’s focused concepts called the “word of faith”. There are many churches in the world today that have taken this name and there are equally as many people in the world that consider all these word of faith churches to present a less than an accurate representation of the Bible. However this modern church title did not originate from a contemporary false idea. The Word of Faith title was only adopted today because of verses like this one. Paul claimed to be one of the first preachers of the “Word of Faith” and I strongly believe that we should all be following Paul’s example at doing exactly what Paul did, can you agree?
If you do not yet understand what the “Word of Faith” is, I will tell you plainly up front that this Word of Faith mentioned in Romans 10:8 is the written and spoken Word of God. To help confirm this statement we will begin this study by looking up the definitions of the Greek words translated as “the Word of Faith”. We will first focus on the Greek word translated as “faith”. This Greek word is G4102 and it is used by God 244 times in 228 N.T. verses. In my view this Greek word is one of the most important subjects found in the N.T. Bible. Let’s review the Strong’s definition to help build and refresh our understanding of this word again.
From G3982; persuasion, that is, credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: – assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.
The Greek word translated as faith is defined by Strong’s to be a “persuasion”. The English word “persuasion” represents “the act of convincing someone to believe”. Your beliefs are the basis for your faith, good, bad, right or wrong. This Greekword also means “credence” which is defined as “the belief in or acceptance that something is true”. These are exactly what God is teaching us through Paul in Romans 10:8. Real Bible faith is accepting, being fully persuaded and convinced of what God has said, promised or spoken to us in His Word is the truth. This process of accepting, believing and being persuaded is done without proof or evidence of it being true other than knowing the revealed character of God that it is impossible for Him to lie (Heb 6:18).
Before I move to the next Greek word translated as “word” let’s talk briefly about the English word “of”. Sometimes it is very beneficial to go over the basics to enforce what God was speaking to us. The word “of” is a very basic concept in the English language and it is often ignored. The word “of” directly connects the word “faith” with the Greek word translated as “word” in Romans 10:8. “Of” is a preposition. In the application usage within this phrase “of” is used by God to indicate that the source of our words come from our faith (beliefs) as well as it meaning the source of our faith can come from our words. Both of these are true statements. Remember what Jesus said to us in Matthew. Let’s review these words quickly:
Mat 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Jesus very clearly tells us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak. Jesus in this case is speaking of evil words coming from the heart that is filled with evil. But the antithesis truth is also true that good words will come from the same source of good being in the heart. Now consider and ask yourself where the source of “good” comes from? If you do not understand that it is from God then I would suggest that you go read some more basic concepts of good versus evil in the Bible. God is always the source of good words because His heart is filled with Love. Satan is the source of evil words because his heart is filled with evil intents, thoughts and ways. Now if God is the source of good as He certainly is, then His spoken and written words should also be for our good and be good for us. We will see more of this truth as we continue.
The second Greek word that I wanted to focus upon was translated as “Word” in this Romans 10:8. This Greek word translated as the English word “word” is G4487. This Greek word literally means an “utterance”. An utterance carries the definition of a spoken word, phrase or literally an audible vocal sound. This Greek word is the word “rhema” and this is a very specific type of “word” that means someone has spoken, said or declared. This Greek word “rhema” comes from the Greek word G4483 which is defined as “pour forth” also meaning to utter, to speak or to say. Consider this root Greek word G4483 definition to be like a natural pitcher of water that is poured out into a glass for someone to drink. This pouring out of this water pitcher is the symbolic representation of God or us speaking words of faith. This is a very important Bible concept that needs to be grasped by Christians. Do you remember again what Jesus said to us? Look at this verse and consider the implications:
Joh 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
What an outstanding and easily misunderstood statement being made by the Creator of the universe. Do you believe on Jesus? If you do then Jesus said you should be pouring out from your internal belly, rivers of life producing water. Is this literal or figurative speaking? Of course it has to be figurative symbolic information. Jesus is teaching us spiritual concepts by using naturally created concepts. Jesus says that we are living pitchers that pour forth waters of life if we believe on Him, do you understand this? But, what are these rivers of living waters being spoken of? This river of life that pours out of us must originates from the “Rhema” spoken Word of God. God is the source of all good, and life is good. I will give you a couple of quick verses to confirm this:
2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
Here we have two verifications to what I just taught. We are very clearly called “vessels” with treasure in it in verse 7. This earthen vessel is our created human body. The body is the container of our spirit as well as for God’s Word as inferred in verse 6. God has shined his “knowledge” inside of us and this is clearly His Word. It is these words of light inside that will be poured out of us (the earthen vessels) to help others to see and receive the same internal light and eternal life being mentioned in John 7:38. Let’s see another quick statement that helps to confirm for us that the internal waters of life that must come from our mouths cannot be anything but the spoken Words of God:
Joh 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Again Jesus is talking about symbolic waters that quench our spiritual thirst and bring us life and this water can only come from what God gives to us by His spoken Word. The location of this life source of water we are expressly told must be “in us” and this also corresponds to what Jesus was talking of in John 7:38. “In us” and “our belly” are synonymous positions for the location of our spirit. Jesus directly says that out of this internal spirit location will come a well of water (river) that will spring up (flow out, stream out, be poured out). Jesus is teaching us a concept of pouring water out from one vessel to another Jesus was clearly a vessel used to speak words of life producing waters to others that would receive them. These waters could then be inside of them and are able to flow from their vessel to still another. Why don’t Christians take this seriously? I really think it is because they have not been taught it. However, Jesus was not teaching any new ideas to us but rather He was teaching concepts found in the O.T. He is then applying them to us in the N.T. Let’s review some of these O.T. verses quickly that Jesus is referring to:
Pro 18:4 The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
Pro 10:11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
The words of a man’s mouth are defined by God to be symbolic deep waters in the first mentioned verse found in Proverbs 18. In this verse the human mouth is also called a “wellspring”. A wellspring is a place that is dug into the ground as a source of fresh pure drinking water. Drinking water is a basic necessity for natural life. This is the symbolic nature of the human mouth by God’s design. You should be clever enough to understand the human body was made from the dust of the ground. And it is in this ground that God put a spiritual well of life. It is a very simple concept but hut yet not widely taught. Then in Proverbs 10 the mouth of the righteous man is again called a “well of life”. Here we again have an implied source of life coming from our mouths. Both of these verses directly correspond to the teachings of Jesus found in John. The wells of life will spring from the mouth of the righteous and this is the critical nature leads us to ask what is this water that must come from our mouth to give us life?
INTRODUCTION TO THE RHEMA WORD OF GOD
The first section was a simple and quick introduction to speaking the rhema words of life and faith. But I believe that we still need to learn more about what God is trying to say to us by telling us to speak the word (rhema) of faith in Romans chapter 10 and verse 8? The answer to our questions was certainly implied in that verse in Romans but it was indirectly mentioned so this makes it easily mistaken for something else. Paul says that he preached (proclaimed, spoke and said) the Word (rhema) of Faith. Through this implied statement Paul was stating indirectly that he preached the spoken and written Words of God. Paul was also indirectly claiming that he preached words that produced faith. What are these faith producing words being preached? Perhaps you can remember this answer to where our faith originates from a previous faith lesson on how Bible faith comes and this was where we should have learned that Bible faith comes ONLY by us hearing the Bible preached. Let’s review the key verse from that Bible lesson:
Rom 10:17 So then faith (G4102) cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word (G4487) of God.
God says in Romans 10:17 that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. There is a very specific connection found with our lesson’s focused verse of Roman 10:8 by direct contextual association and by God’s direct word selection by using the exact same Greek words G4102 and G4487 which were translated as “faith” and “word” respectfully in both verses. I hope and pray that you know that valid interpretation of God’s word is always based upon rules. Two of these rules are 1) direct verse to verse context and 2) by finding other verse word usages of the word(s) being studied. In Romans 10:17 the Spirit of God through Paul is explaining and defining what the “Word (Rhema) of Faith” represents. We can logically correlate by the laws of mathematics that the “Word of Faith” is equivalent to “the Word of God” and I will give further verse confirmation for this as I continue.
There are generally two different noun types used in the N.T. to describe God’s spoken word. “Logos” G3056 generally refers to the spoken words of God written in book form and is what I will call reference type 1 and then “Rhema” G4487 is also a type of the spoken word of God referring to God directly speaking His word to anyone by audible sound. But this type of word (rhema) can also refer to God’s spoken word being spoken by an angel or even by us as believers speaking His written word (logos). The “Rhema” word is what I will call reference type 2. Both Logos and Rhema are used by God in reference to God’s spoken word. I am only going to focus on type 2 Rhema since this is the key word selected and used by God in Romans 10:8 and 10:17 to describe the substance that produces faith that was being preached by Paul.
You should be familiar with this verse in Romans 10:17 already. God gives us a direct formula for how Bible faith comes through hearing God’s spoken Word. God very clearly says that it is this Rhema word of God that must be heard in order to produce faith. Therefore we must have those that speak God’s Word and those that hear God’s word for any faith to be produced. It is also interesting to note that these words pour forth from one spirit (heart) to enter into another heart and that is the process of the pitcher and water vessel giving drink to the thirsty empty man vessel we looked at earlier. I’ll give you another couple of verses quickly to help us confirm “Rhema” is the Word of God being spoken:
1Pe 1:25 But the word (rhema) of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word (Rhema) which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Rhema (word) is associated to be both the spoken words of Jesus as well as the Gospel that was preached verbally to the people. After the people heard this spoken word it was the same as if they had heard it directly from the lips of Jesus. There is really no difference between me preaching the Word of God and the Words of Jesus as if Jesus was here personally preaching to you in the flesh. We are both proclaiming the same “Rhema” words of God. It is this same Rhema Word of God that will produce the faith in the dry hearts of the people to believe and to receive salvation. What did I just say? Some will probably call me a heretic for comparing my spoken words preached with the spoken Words of Jesus but if I say what God says then you need to see how this changes things dramatically. I’m simply a pitcher of water container and representative of God on this planet. I am called by God to teach His Word. I am anointed by God to teach His Word. Therefore it is technically not me teaching but rather the anointing of God in me that speaks using His Words not mine. Do you understand what I’m saying? It is not me that has the power to produce faith or save you, it is the Word in me that has this power. I do nothing but pour it out and if you drink from it the water of the Word of God will be what causes anything good to happen. This same principle applies to many other water pitcher vessels and not just to me. It applies to anyone else that is called by God and anointed by God and is filled with His Word to preach. It can apply to you if you fill your pitcher with His water. God uses so many people in this way and I do not want you to think that I am saying I am anybody special because I am not. I’m going to end this section with another verse that Peter wrote by the inspiration of God:
2Pe 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words (Rhema) which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
Here is another confirmation that people can legally speak the Words of God and that these words carry the same effect if God said them to each of the people that heard them personally. Here Peter is speaking of men in the Old Testament saying they gave them Rhema from God. In other words God gave Rhema to the Prophet and the prophet in turn passed this Rhema to the people and now the people were held responsible for the message give to them by God as if they heard it from God directly with their own ears. What we are seeing is that when we speak the Word (Rhema) of God we are representing God with the same power and authority. But I know that will not be easily received by many of my readers because of their feelings of their own weaknesses, insecurity and inadequacies. I guess we still have a lot to learn to overcome these incorrect feelings.
RIGHTEOUS FAITH SPEAKS
Before we go further into this subject of speaking the Word (Rhema) of Faith let’s back up and study the first two foundational verses of Romans 10:6-7 in some depth. I know that we read them but then we had no discussion on them since I jumped into verse 8 and taught for a long time on the subject “the Word of Faith” being preached. Because it has been a little while since we read these verses please reread them again to refresh your memory:
Rom 10:6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
Rom 10:7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
There are at least 5 central themes found in the 10th chapter of Romans. These central themes are 1) the Lord Jesus, 2) faith, 3) righteousness, 4) salvation and 5) speaking. For right now I only want you to focus in on three of the lesser primary themes found in these two verses to see how they relate to the most important primary themed subject as being the Lord Jesus. These three lesser themes needing our attention concern our “righteousness, our “spoken words” and our “faith” in Christ. These three subjects were directly joined together in these verses and in this chapter by divine providence. “Divine Providence” simply means that they were given to us by the caring plan of a guiding and loving intelligent God for our benefit and for His purpose. God begins the discourse in verse 6 by saying there is a “righteousness” which comes only through faith and this is a very important description found in the New Testament for learning how we become “right” in the eyes of God. Being right in the eyes of God only means that you are now converted from being a stranger to God (Eph 2:19) to being in the household of faith (Gal 6:10) also called the family of God (Eph 3:15). We will see other verses in this lesson that will help confirm this but begin to agree that it is only by your faith in Jesus Christ that makes you righteous (right) to God and not your good works.
Now that we know the intended target audience was stated to be those that have been “made righteous by and through faith in Jesus” we are then informed what they (the righteous) should be doing. Did you see it? First let me ask you “Are you one of these righteous ones that these verses were written to?” I know they were written to me personally but only you and God can determine if you qualify. Satan would like you to think that you are unworthy to qualify but it was because of what Jesus did and not our works that have made us righteous by believing in Him (Rom 3:22). If you are not taking the Bible personally like it was a love letter written directly from God to you then you really do not understand God or the Bible very much. If you can say you are one of the righteous ones being described because of your faith then please continue reading otherwise you may be wasting your time continuing to read this lesson. Let’s see what “we” (the righteous) were told to do next.
Continuing in verse 6 of Romans 10 God says that the righteous (anyone that has believed in Christ Jesus and confessed Him as Lord according Romans 10:9-10) are told to “speak”. In fact I believe that we were directly commanded to speak. This means it is not a recommended suggestion but rather an instruction and expectation from the Lord. Then following this command to speak we are told very clearly exactly what NOT to say first. Uh oh? This is the introduction to the hotly debated subject of right and wrong speaking. Many Christians do not understand that there is such a thing as wrong speaking. Too many Christians think that it is OK for anything to come out of their mouths but this is clearly not what the Bible teaches us. Sure most Christians believe that profanity and cursing is a wrong type of speaking. But that is not all that God declares to be wrong words spoken.
God describes right and wrong speaking to us plainly in Romans 10:6-8 by teaching us examples of what not to say first. The command of right speaking is a part of faith that many Christians ignore or simply do not understand exists because of a lack of teaching in this area. This will be a potentially controversial subject and I may lose some readers simply because they are not mature enough spiritually to receive it. I hope and pray that you will do your best to accept what God is saying today and we will soon see and learn what is right to say/speak and what is wrong to say/speak as we continue through the study with the rest of the faith study verses. But before we move on let me establish a new rule for having effective faith. God clearly says that the “righteousness which is of faith speaks”. I will reemphasize this more than once in this lesson and it would benefit you if you just went ahead and write it down as a note for future reference.
In order to understand this command found in Romans 10:6 to speak more clearly we need to examine the Greek word G3004 translated as “speaketh”. This Greek word is very interesting. It means to “break silence and say something verbally and audibly” that can be heard by someone/anyone directly listening. Wow, that is some really good information for those of us with righteous faith to learn. Not only is it wrong to speak wrong words as we will soon see, but it is also very wrong to stay silent and say nothing when you are in faith. I hope you will take hold of this and believe what God just said and please don’t throw any stones at me because it was not me that said it or wrote in the Bible. I’m just a messenger delivery service sent from God to teach. You can accept it or reject it but it is only God’s Word that you are rejecting. Just please read and study all of the verses that I’m giving to you for yourself. I want to give you some additional confirming verses for what God wants you to know about faith speaking and we will continue with Galatians the 4th chapter:
Gal 4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
Gal 4:2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Gal 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
After reading these verses you may just ask me “What do these verses have to do with us speaking?” You may not see it yet because you have not studied the original Greek words spoken by God but they do apply directly to our subject study. It is so easy to miss the deep things of God by reading the verses only. I want you to understand that the deep things of God are never found by just reading the Bible. According to 1 Timothy 2:15, God tells us to “study” in order to be approved. The Greek word translated as study means to labor and to extend great effort. This is an essential part of growing spiritually. Learn to move beyond surface reading to enter the realm of deep study.
To speak to Galatians 4, I will start with the question “Are you an heir?” Those that think that they are not righteous will also generally think and believe that they are not an heir of God either but this verse is speaking of you and I, if we are born again by our faith in Jesus Christ. Let’ verify this reality of being an heir of God by God’s Word using a new verse:
Rom 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
Here is a quick verse to help us learn more about the “righteousness of faith”. God directly connects Romans 4:13 with Romans 10:6 by using the exact same Greek words G1343 and G4102 which were translated as “righteousness” and “faith”. These two words were also joined together in proper sequence. Here in Romans 4 we are told that those that were made righteous by their faith were also made an heir. An heir means we have an inheritance after someone has died. The person that died to give us this inheritance was “Jesus Christ” on the cross (Romans 5:8) but He was also the first one to be raised from the dead in order to become the chief heir of God (Col 1:18). You see in the Bible the first born was supposed to obtain the greater blessing from their father. You can find that Jesus was called the “first-born” from the dead in Hebrews 12:23 and Revelation 1:5. Please understand that Jesus was the only one that could die to give us an eternal inheritance and be capable of being raised from the dead to enforce the inheritance.
I don’t have time to explain all of these verses that I just passed on to you in those last paragraph statements fully but you can find more information on these subjects in other lessons that I have published. Just please understand what God says in Romans 8:17 that we are called and made the “joint-heirs” with Jesus Christ meaning we have obtained the same level of benefits from God through the death of Jesus as Jesus obtained for Himself. Right now, you should be saying that you are “righteous” and an “heir” of God because of your faith in Jesus. I’ve given you more than sufficient scriptural evidence to establish this belief foundation.
Let’s get back to Galatians 4:1 to discover the hidden reference to us speaking. The Greek word G3516 which was translated as “child” in Galatians 4 verse 1 and “children” in verse 3 contains the secret hidden message that I am referring to. This Greek word means not only a general child but more specifically an “infant” baby. To be even more specific this Greek word literally means a “non-speaking human baby”. Every natural child born into this world must acquire the skill of speech over the course of time through physical and mental growth and experiences. No one is born with this magnificent gift of speaking automatically. A new born child produces only audible cries. A one year old is beginning to understand very simple words and may begin to form very simple words like “mama” or “dada”. But this ability to grasp words and speaking them increases more and more as the months and years progress. By the time a child reaches the age of 3 to 4 years the words, phrases and sentences usually become better formed, structured and more complete. Even though the comprehension of what all the words mean can still be incomplete at this early childhood age.
The process of learning to speak is quite miraculous. But, new born infants obtain this gift through a maturing process of hearing and listening to their parents speaking to them and from mimicking the sounds observed from others around them. This process of learning to speak is exactly what God is teaching us in the beginning of this chapter 4 found in Galatians. God is saying to us that this natural process reoccurs in the spiritual realm after we are spiritually new born (born again) into the Kingdom of God. God is teaching us that even an infant heir to the throne of rule is not able to take control of it and exercise their given authority until they first learn to speak intelligently and confidently learning wisdom from their teachers.
Do you now understand that when a Christian is born again in the spiritual realm that this same natural infant growth and maturing process of learning to speak correctly is repeated in this spiritual realm by God’s design? If you analyze the first 3 verses in Galatians 4 you should find an analogy comparison being given between two realms of existence with the first being the natural and the greater being the spiritual application of the natural. The Greek word being used to speak to us of an immature non-speaking child implies someone that is very simple minded or unlearned in the spiritual realm. God is teaching us that we all start out by not knowing or understanding how spiritual things work like the significance of speaking right words but that He expects us to learn these. If you are still reading this Bible lesson then you are potentially growing and maturing spiritually by learning these concepts. More pastors and teachers should teach their people this subject of right and wrong speaking because it is a very important and true reality based upon the proper understanding of scripture. God expects His spiritually new born infant children to grow up and learn how to speak appropriately in order to rule over their spiritual enemies.
I do not really have the time to teach the importance of the spoken word subject fully today but I do have a much longer series of Bible lessons on the significance of your spoken words on my website and you can go and read those to help you learn more on this critical subject. If you are interested in learning you can start with “Part 1 – Speak to your Rock”. This Bible lesson has been the most prevalent viewed lesson of all the Bible lessons on this website.
We could spend a lot more time on studying Galatians 4 about growing out of an immature spiritual state of spiritual babbling but we really need to get back to Romans 10. Do you remember where we were in verse 6? We had just been introduced to the commandment that “righteous faith speaks”. I’m going to say this at least one more time for even greater emphasis because this is the foundation for this faith lesson given to us by God and it was directly stated by God that “Righteous Faith Speaks”. We should begin to understand that Christians should be at the very least learning to speak correctly and that they should also not stay silent after they mature spiritually. Let’s move to what is found next in verse 6 concerning God’s specific instructions. After the initial statement in Romans 10:6 God then informs us exactly what not to say/speak in verses 6 and 7 followed by what to say in verse 8. This is some very essential and valuable information and instructions for learning how God’s divinely designed force of faith should be operating and working in us and through us.
I am going to stop here and make a strong suggestion to you before we look at the sub-category study of wrong words. Please create a big sign on a piece of plain white paper and in big bold letters write what you have just learned. Print in large letters “Righteous Faith Speaks” and place this sign on your refrigerator or your bathroom mirror or on any other place where you can see it more than once a day. This sign will help us all to learn and remind us to put God’s Word into practice. God has designed and established a law of faith (Rom 3:27) to live in our everyday Christian lives. But God is not going to make you do it. You must be the one that applies what you learn. Hopefully you remember that faith is a law based upon the Word of God given from the previous faith lessons. Reading this printed note daily will cause this lesson to remain fresh in your mind and help you to become a doer of the Word of God and not a hearer only (James 1:22). Doing this for at least 30 days will help to build a brand new spiritual habit for living life in a new way as a mature spiritual Christian and I will be talking about this even more as we continue through the rest of the lesson.
LEARNING WHAT NOT TO SAY FIRST
….Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
Let’s talk briefly about what real mature Christians are not supposed to pray or say. God only gives us two short examples in Romans 10:6-7 of wrong words but this should provide enough of a pattern that we can extend those two to other areas of words that should not be spoken if we can understand why they are not wise to speak. The first statement of what not to speak tells us not to say “who will go up to heaven to bring Christ down”. Why would anyone want to say this? What kind of wrong thinking would cause someone to speak this way? Someone could be thinking that if Jesus was only here on the earth that they would not be going through what they are going through right here in this natural realm. In other words they could be thinking very naturally and not spiritually. Someone could be thinking that if they could just bring the Lord Jesus who is sitting on the throne in the spiritual realm back to this natural realm that all of their natural problems would be solved. But that type of thinking is very simple minded and is certainly not of faith. We must realize that God’s power extends beyond His present location in Jesus Christ. We must consider that the Spirit of God is already here right now living and abiding in us having been poured out from heaven to be our comforter (John 14:16), our helper (Heb 13:6) and our guide (John 16:13).
Therefore we do not need for Jesus to come back to the earth to fix anything. The Holy Spirit is here and He is God omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent to solve whatever we are facing. What God is trying to say is that simple naturally thinking people generally gravitate towards natural solutions without considering the spiritual presence and ability of God that is ever present and all-knowing and all powerful.
….Or say, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
Now consider the second statement of what not to say and this will help us understand the first statement much clearer. In verse 7 God says for us not say “Who will descend into the lower parts of the earth to raise Christ again from the dead. Why would God recommend that we not say this? Perhaps you will recall reading the Gospels that after Jesus was resurrected from the dead He walked the face of the earth for 40 days. During this time He met with many men and women followers. Since they had all seen Jesus personally there was no need for any of them to have faith in His resurrection. However, do you think that any of these eyewitness followers would dare say what God said not to say in Romans 10:7? I personally do not believe they would. Remember they were told by angels in Acts 1 that this same Jesus that went up into the clouds out of their sight would come back in the exact same way. So this promise from God required their faith if they believed the message and I think they believed.
There is something so very profound found in this statement that was not directly stated. God is saying that “we do not need to think or say that Jesus should die again or be raised again from the dead”; but rather we only need to understand that He did do these and then find out what was accomplished by these finished and completed acts of God. I am a firm believer that not knowing what was given to us by His shed blood in His death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus is why we pray and say some very ignorant things like this. If we would only come to understand that Christ gave to us His authority (Luke 10:19) on the earth we would not need to ask Jesus to come back to the earth or to be raised again to solve anything.
What God is teaching us is not to say things that are contradictory to His written report in the Bible. In other words have faith and believe and then have confidence in what He has spoken to you. Both of these stated examples of what not to say were spoken words not based upon scripture or faith in God’s Word. They are literally the opposite of what someone who had faith in God’s Word would say. Do you understand this? I know that some people will not comprehend what God just said. God says the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:14). But these concepts should help many that will receive it and apply it to other things that they like to say. I believe that we should think before we speak. Think about what God’s Word says and then see if what you are going to say aligns with His Words. This will become clearer as we continue learning. Let’s move to what we should say next to see the contrasted difference from what we should not be saying.
CONFIRMING AND LEARNING WHAT TO SAY
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;
I began the lesson talking about the last part of this verse. But now we will back up to the first part of God’s statement to confirm what God is trying to teach us. I have started and ended with the most important verse to learn today. Paul starts writing “But what does it say” (NKJV). Paul is of course talking about God’s word. The “it” in this statement represents the spoken recorded words of the living God. If you have not realized it yet these three verses of Romans 6, 7 and 8 contain partial quotations of verses found in the Old Testament. In Romans 10:6-8, God is quoting in a paraphrased form, portions of some very obscure verses found in Deuteronomy 30:11-14. We could learn a tremendous amount of information if I had the time to go talk about these original verses. But I do not have the time today to talk about them.
However, I still want to emphasize that “it” was the recorded words (Rhema) of God and Paul takes these words that did not directly mention Christ and teaches us that they directly apply to Christ. Wow, that is a powerful degree of knowledge if you want to do the study for yourself. You go and read Deuteronomy and you see if you can find Christ plainly? He is there but only if you see the commentary of the New Testament to help you explain them. That is just how the Bible was written by God. I call it “Hiding the Truth in Plain Sight” and if you have not read that series of Bible lessons I would strongly recommend that you do that soon.
Now we should realize from the opening statement that the next coming statement was given from God through His prophet Moses and it was written down in the Old Testament for all of us in the here and now in the New Covenant. God’s next statement says “The Word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart”. The Word is referring to the Word of God. This Greek word is again “Rhema” and that is important. Where is the “Word” (Rhema) of God supposed to be? There are two place mentioned directly by God, one is a natural external location that God referred to earlier as the wellspring of life and the other is the origination point from where these words spring up from in the internal spiritual location figuratively called the heart of man. God is teaching us how spiritual things are supposed to operate. Hear and get the Word in your heart and then learn to speak it out of your mouth. This is the reason why we do not need Christ to be raised from the dead or come back to earth from heaven. The word of God is the power of God (Heb 1:3). This power should be resident in your heart. You should place the Word of God in your heart daily to reinforce its firm foundation. Otherwise Satan can come and steal this Word (seed) from your life if you let him.
The Word of God represents the “what” that is “right” or “correct” to speak as a mature Christian. A new born Christian is incapable of speaking the Word of God because they haven’t heard it, don’t know it, don’t believe it or don’t understand it. All of these conditions will cause the Word of God to be unfruitful in their lives.
Is the Word of God coming out of your mouth? If it is then you are probably in faith and if it is not then you are probably not in faith. I could give you many Bible examples of this but in conclusion I will tell you of one when God had instructed Joshua how to have good success in this life. Are you interested in being a winner? Are you interested in being victorious? Are you interested in being an overcomer? God told Joshua how to do it and Joshua did it and possessed the land that God gave to them. Here is the key verse:
Jos 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Wow, what an awesome set of instructions for our success in this life. God told Joshua to put the Word of God in his mouth and then to meditate on it day and night. This would build the Words of God into his heart. God was telling Joshua what He said through Moses, “My Word is very near you, even in your heart and in your mouth”. Joshua became the leader of the people of God after the passing of Moses and He was responsible for the law passed down from Moses to the nation. Joshua had this Word and filled his mouth with it. Filling his mouth with God’s Word gave Joshua faith in God. We learned this from Romans 10:17. Remember? It is almost impossible for anyone to say the Word of God if they understand it and not have faith and success in this life.
Well we could talk for hours and hours on this subject of faith speaks but that is the end of this Bible lesson. We were told by Jesus that out of our bellies would flow rivers of life producing water and this symbolic water can only be the Word of God. We are told to speak the Rhema Word of God and this was just the words that were spoken from the mouth of God and recorded in His Precious Holy Word. It is only the Word of God that will produce life. Speaking the word of God are the right words to be speaking in every adversarial situation and circumstance. I’ll just give you a couple more verse to help you see more right things to say:
Psa 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
Joe 3:10 Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’ “
These were just two verses that teach us God wants us to say positive things from His Word. How can anyone say things that are not overwhelming real and apparent in the 5 physical sense realm? This type of logic will contradict normal human reasoning, doesn’t it? When faced with great weakness in your life how can we say “I’m strong”? When faced with negative circumstances from and in the world, how can we say “I’m redeemed?” These types of positive words are only possible if you believe God’s Word instead of your circumstances that you are facing. So infant baby Christians stay silent or cry for their milk but mature Christians will speak to their mountain and cause it to flee before them (Mk 11:23).
This was an advanced Bible lesson on righteous faith speaks. I hope you enjoyed this Bible lesson and learned a great deal. But I desire more that you start applying what you learned to your life. Make a sign like I said to do earlier and read the sign on the wall daily multiple times out loud saying “Righteous Faith Speaks” and don’t let this truth slip from the forefront of your mind. Share the Gospel with your friends and recommend that they go read and study the Bible with me. I appreciate your time extended to read and study the Bible and for any comments or testimonies of how God is working in your life that you would care to share with me. Until next time may God continue to bless you with everything that you require to grow in spiritual maturity.
(ver 1.1) This is now Part 4 in the series of advanced spiritual Bible study lessons on Understanding the Old Testament Book of Job. I have not taught on this subject in a very long time but I received a question that needed to be answered. I believed that there are many that can benefit from this response and I hope that you will receive this message with an open heart and mind. If you have not read the entire series of lessons from the beginning then I would highly recommend that you go back and start with Part 1 since I cannot repeat everything about a subject in every lesson. I have covered a lot of new information in this series that is often ignored or overlooked when studying the Book of Job. Too often Christians study a book, chapter or even a verse of the Old Testament without any consideration for the commentary, definitions and explanations of God given to us in the New Testament and that is a tremendous mistake. God in the New Testament revealed so many hidden concepts and these new revelations will shed a significant amount of light upon the story of Job but only if we understand how they fit into these Old Testament descriptions. For example in one of my last Bible lesson I taught on the subject of Biblical Typology. Typology is such a deep subject that it sometimes goes way beyond the comprehension of many Christians. But, today I believe that I will introduce you to Job as being an Old Testament type for us in the church to learn from. Let’s allow the Spirit of God to teach us through His Word about what the Bible means. This principle of using the Bible to interpret and understand the Bible is what I have been trying to teach people to do in almost every Old Testament Bible study that I have ever published. I hope that many are at least beginning to familiarize themself with how this is achieved and then they will be able to incorporate these ideas into how to study the Bible.
The question that I received about Job was concerning if Job ever possessed any faith in God. Faith is a central theme subject dominating the entire New Testament. But was faith ever a factor for these people of the Old Testament like Job? We know from reading in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is absolutely impossible to even try to please God. We also know from reading in Malachi 3:6 that the Lord God does not vary or change in any way at any time. Therefore we know that if the Lord required faith in the New Testament then the same requirement is necessary in the Old Testament in order to be pleasing to Him or Malachi 3:6 would become a lie. We should be able to recognize from reading in the first chapter of Job that it appears that God is very pleased with His man named Job. In fact if you read verse 8 God declares to Satan that there is no other man like His servant Job on the earth. Therefore, we must conclude that God was very well pleased with Job in chapter 1 and that this means that Job had to have had a measure of faith in God that was pleasing to Him. This is just basic logic established upon reading the New Testament and asking the right questions and then finding the right answers. We have just established a basis for Job’s faith and now in the rest of the lesson we will confirm this reality using other Bible verses found in the Old and New Testaments.
If Job possessed faith this raises the valid new question of how Job could have fallen into fear, speaking wrong words and having no inner peace simultaneously with having this unstated faith that pleased God in chapter 1? If you understand much about the concepts of faith there appears to be a major contradiction between all of these concepts being present within anyone at the same time. That was actually a very wise and excellent question to ask about Job by the commenter. The person that asked this question if Job had any faith certainly understood a lot about the subject of faith and the partners of faith that must be found present in order to be pleasing to God. We will now attempt to explore this new subject of Job’s faith by using more of the New Testament to help us understand what God says about Job and this subject of faith. We will also verify the fact that this faith existed using the Old Testament descriptions found in the book of Job and in other verses where Job is mentioned. Are you ready to learn some more new things about the mysterious story of Job? I will warn you at the beginning that this will be a long lesson on Job and the subject of faith.
DID JOB HAVE FAITH?
We still need to confirm the fact that Job had unstated faith in the Old Testament. But, it might also help us if we begin to realize that the book of Job represents only a short film clip of his entire life movie. Did you understand what I just said? Have you ever considered or studied the implied timing and duration of this short Job story event written down for us by God? Job is reported to be a very mature man that has already had 10 mature children by the time the story begins in chapter 1. How long of time does it normally take to have 10 children and allow them to mature? How old would Job be after this has occurred? We are not technically told but Job could have been at least 25 to 30 years old before he got married and ever started having any children with his wife. It then could have taken up to 20 years to have given birth to these 10 children. If all of Job’s children were now grown the duration of time for the youngest to grow up might have been at least another 20+ years from the time of their birth. All of this would mean that Job could be at least 70 to 80 years old minimum in the beginning of chapter 1. This could make his oldest son close to 40 years old and his youngest son around 20 years old. The first seventy to eighty years of Job’s life is a lot of time that is not being reported on in the Bible by God. What we learn from this quick analysis of Job is that not every detail of the early life was given to us by God. We do know that in Chapter one that Job is successful, prosperous and is very blessed by God. But we do not know how or why Job obtained this blessing from God at first glance from the material being given. This will be why we need to study the Bible in more depth to learn more about the fine details to what pleases God.
We are not technically provided how long of a period of time that the story of Job takes place from chapter 1 to chapter 42. I have heard some say as long as 7 years (84 months) and others only a few weeks or months. Either way the story time period was relatively short compared to the human range of life spans found during the book of Genesis. I personally place the story of Job somewhere after Noah but before Abraham. For Job to occur before the flood would raise the question of how the book survived the flood to be given to us on the earth today to read. Next we find by reading Job that there is no direct mention of God’s covenant with Abraham or the Law of Moses in the book of Job. So this would lead us to believe that Job lived in the time period before Abraham. Using this logic, this would place the story of Job somewhere after chapter 10 of Genesis and before the middle of chapter 11 of Genesis. Many people during this time period of chapter 11 in Genesis lived from 200 to 300 years and even that is a long time compared to just 84 months or 7 years at the most of the story of Job. In fact if you read the end of Job in chapter 42 and verse 16 you will find that after God restored to Job more than he had at the beginning of the story that Job still produced another 10 children and lived another 140 years. Using this information we can say that Job was probably at least 70 to 100 years old when chapter 1 begins. What I am teaching in this part of the introduction is that this book of Job like most of the rest of the Bible is incomplete but God gives us this specific part of the complete story for a purpose to teach us.
We will endeavor to determine the purpose of Job by using the revelations given to us by God in the New Testament. Like I said before, I will always use the New Testament to explain the Old Testament because this was a part of God’s design and I have learned to follow it. Without the New Testament the Old Testament is a very confusing book of historical information as proven by all of the crazy opinions found on the internet to what it all means. To begin this study we need to search the New Testament to find if Job is ever mentioned directly by God. Doing this search, you should find that the man Job is only directly mentioned one time in one verse in the whole New Testament. However this single reference point will begin to open the door for us to see how to understand if Job ever had any faith. I have talked about this verse in the very first lesson briefly but I did not go into it in any detail. What we will soon discover in the New Testament is that Job’s virtue of patience was revealed by God to be the main emphasis (purpose) of the entire book of Job. Let me give you the verse again so that you can review what is stated within God’s critical commentary on the story 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.
I am not going to attempt to teach everything that this verse says but I will again emphasize that it was only Job’s patience and endurance that was being highlighted by God as the main subjects found in the O.T. book. Have you ever considered why so many pastors today teach only negative things from the book of Job and God only speaks of positive qualities? I mean think about how many funerals quote Job as saying “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord”. Why isn’t this statement ever quoted by the apostles in the New Testament anywhere but yet it is overemphasized by Bible teachers in the church constantly? I think those are all excellent questions to think about. Let’s talk about what patience is briefly to help us better understand this new subject. We will do this by asking some very basic questions. Why is patience a virtue? When does a human ever have need of any patience? What exactly is patience? What is the opposite of having patience? If you can begin to answer these questions then you are far ahead of many other Christians. Let’s look up the definition of the Greek translated as “patience” in the Strong’s:
G5281: From G5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: – enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).
The Strong’s dictionary defines the Greek word G5281 which is translated as “patience” to be “cheerful” or “hopeful” endurance. Wow, that is an amazingly important definition for a word that is so neglected and misunderstood by Christians. By the inclusion of the words “cheerful” and “hopeful” within the definition this denotes the characteristic of someone choosing to have a positive attitude in spite of the implied presence of adverse circumstances that are being faced by the person being described. Do you understand this? Being hopeful is not required when you are at a pleasurable event of good circumstances. In other words if you have millions of dollars in the bank you do not need to have any cheerful hope that your bills will be met because they have already been met. Let me give you a quick definition for the word hope. Hope is the confident expectation or desire for a certain good thing or event to occur. Does that help? We do not need to hope for what we already possess. This is actually a very good quality and relates to having faith tremendously. Let’s briefly move on to the quality of being cheerful next.
Making a willful and purposeful decision to be cheerful is not necessary during a time of great pleasure, prosperity or positive experiences either. Almost everyone can be happy and cheerful during a party celebration. I do not believe that is what is being defined here in this definition of patience. The definition for the word “cheerful” is someone who is noticeably happy and optimistic. Being cheerful, happy and optimistic is easy when everything is going great. However, the presence of choosing to be cheerful within the definition of being patient can only be correctly understood as occurring during a set of very negative circumstances. We can see this by Strong placing the adjective “cheerful” joined with the noun “endurance” which changes the word’s application to a completely different set of negative circumstances and we will discover this as we continue through the lesson.
I hope that you understand what all of this means so far. We will next look at the word endurance but before we go there let’s look at another part of the patience definition that teaches us an additional important concept concerning why patience is necessary. You should have observed that the definition of patience includes a direct companionship with the term “waiting”. To “wait” can be defined as “to stay in a certain place until a very specific anticipated event occurs”. Any time that a person “waits” for something to transpire or to be given to them this means they do not yet have it or can even see it coming. This would mean that there must be a time delay or an extended interval of duration that occurs before what is desired can be proven to exist. I hope that you understood that time is an essential part of the word’s meaning because it was very relevant. Now let’s talk about “endurance”. Notice in the definition of G5281 that was translated as patience is found the term “endurance” and “enduring”. How is endurance a factor with waiting? What is “endurance” and when or why is this quality ever required? Let’s find the definition of endurance in a dictionary:
Endurance: the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way
Endurance is defined to be going through an extended unpleasant situation which again denotes the passage of time through a set of negative circumstances. This is a very good description of the short story of Job, isn’t it? Endurance is only required when someone is in an event of significant length when not quitting or giving up is required to remain in it. For example a runner in any long distance marathon event needs to possess the quality of endurance. No runner in any 100 meter sprint requires endurance because the end of the race is always in the view of the runner. Did you see the difference? In other words hopeful endurance is only necessary if the person participating does not or cannot see the end of the race for a very long elapsed period of time but yet they know the end is coming so they optimistically expect to get through the whole race to finish at the end. Wow, again! Did you know that every Christian after being saved is in an extended endurance race not able to perceive the end of their course? Let me prove this to you using your Bible:
Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
There is an amazingly complex figurative explanation of the newborn Christian life found in this verse. Too many Christians want to take everything in the Bible literally and this verse if taken this way will only confuse the reader. There can be no logical application that God is describing a literal physical race in this verse. Therefore this described race must be taken as a symbolic, figurative or metaphorical account of an unseen spiritual event. Do you understand this? This symbolic description is often missed or ignored by many modern extreme Grace Bible teachers. Let’s determine who the runners are for this race to begin. The key to understanding any verse begins with seeing what is actually stated. There are two plural pronouns given that will point us to who the runners represent. These pronouns are “we” and “us”. Both of these words are statements written by Paul that included himself as one of the runners. The remainder of this runner group has to be the church which he is writing the letter to. Therefore only the church body as a whole can be the target runners. Now let’s determine what makes a person a runner in the race. Since the reason for the race is not directly given to us in this verse I will tell you that being a runner in the race occurs when we are born again. This was inferred by the statement of us laying aside every weight and sin that does beset us. I am a firm believer that repentance is a forerunner to accepting salvation. Repentance occurs when one realizes that they are a sinner and have need of salvation. Normally when this occurs, the person realizes their need to turn away from their sins and this would again match with what was stated here in Hebrews. I really do not have the time to explain this in detail in this lesson. I hope that you can agree with the Spirit of God and we can continue.
Since this verse was written to the church and we are the runners being described we must now determine what kind of race this applies to. Let’s analyze the Greek word translated as “race” to learn what God meant by selecting this word. The Greek word translated as “race” is G73 (AGON). This word from the Strong’s dictionary has the meaning of a contest where people are gathered together to compete. This Greek word is found in only 6 verses that were all written to the church in Paul’s letters. It is only translated as “race” in Hebrews 12:1. In other verses it was translated as “conflict”, “contention” or “fight”. In every case this word designates a human struggle to overcome or win in the contest. In any designated opportunity to win there is always an antithesis opportunity to fail, quit or to be defeated. This is such an important concept that I can’t stop teaching it. If you do not believe that you can ever be deceived then you are already deceived. If you do not believe that you can ever quit your salvation and walk away then you are in serious trouble. Knowing that you are in a conflict is the beginning to overcoming it to win. I think I am getting off topic here so please allow me to move on.
Let’s continue to define the race. In Philippians 1:30 Paul tells the church that they are in the same conflict (race) as he is. Within the context of this statement Paul refers to the persecution that they are enduring for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1 Thessalonians 2:2 Paul again speaks of preaching the Gospel in the middle of great violence that was being done against it. What we are observing is a pattern for defining what the contest represents. The contest being described appears to be a Christian life of preaching to others to get them saved while enduring persecution, ridicule and even up to death as many in the early church endured. In preaching the Gospel the Christian will encounter persecution and many evils that are sent to silence them. This gives us a pretty clear definition for what the race represents. This race must be the Christian life of following Jesus’ example to reach the world. I hope that you can agree with this conclusion.
God describes the Christian way of life to be as a long race of endurance that requires the noble quality of patience to get through it. This literally means that we all have the same opportunity to quit or give up before the end of the race is achieved. Consider the fact that every natural race has a starting gun that begins the event and an ending finish line that terminates the event. The race being described here in Hebrews 12:1 begins when the sinner repents, believes and accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior. That is the individual’s starting point to begin to run and the end of that race is certainly not seen or known. The duration of the race is our life span on the earth where we must endure things that try to make us quit preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What God calls every Christian to do is to witness and preach to help get others into the race. This is the ministry that we all share together. So far do you understand God’s description of the Christian life race?
Notice that this race is being witnessed by an audience which observes as the runners run. Then think and consider that these witnesses are not in the race. There is only two possible interpretations for these race witnesses. They can be those that we are trying to get into the race. Or they could also be those that have already finished the race. Now remember that it is the spiritual church which is racing here within this natural world which is bringing the opposition to them. This seems to indicate that those that are bringing the opposition to those of us who are running to win the race are already a part of the field where the competition is occurring and therefore cannot be in the grandstands as witnesses to the event. We can confirm this by observing the stated figurative position of the cheering audience members. The audience is described to be compassed about the event and that is clearly a figurative stadium setting but it is also a circular reference like the shape of our globe. This helps to confirm that the earth is the symbolic stadium and the observers are not here on the earth. These witnesses that encircle the earth’s view cannot be earthly participants or natural observers but rather these must be heavenly witnesses and that will certainly include God, the angels and those that have already finished running their race and gone to be with the Lord. Again the race being described here represents the human events, struggles, challenges within our human life on the earth. The main point that I wanted to get to in this verse is the fact God says we must run life’s race with patience. That simply means that we are running the race with hopeful endurance until the end of the race comes. There are only three exits from this race that can be possible. The first exit is the rapture of the church, the second exit can be the natural death of the runner and the third exit from the race can only be the resignation of the runner from the race. Even when we do not see the end we know the end is coming and that will be when we will receive the prize being spoken of in the N.T. (1 Cor 9:2). I’m not going to go into any more of the details of this race concept in this lesson because I believe that you can get the main points from what has just been described.
I reached this verse in Hebrews 12:1 by searching for the keyword “patience” being used to describe Job in James. Do you remember how we got here so far? The next thing that I want you to understand is that this verse in Hebrews 12:1 is directly preceded by Hebrews chapter 11 which is entirely dominated by the subject of faith listing many of the Old Testament faith heroes. This again is a critical part of the lesson for us to begin to learn the direct association between the subjects of having faith in Chapter 11 which is immediately followed by the subject of patience in chapter 12. The book of Hebrews was not written with chapter and verse separations. Therefore these two subjects flow together in harmony and must be taken to be related topics. We will confirm this truth by using other scriptures, but this is a very important beginning view of these two subjects. Why do I say that? It is because my subject today is about Job and Job is certainly an Old Testament man. Hebrews 11 confirms to us today that faith was a factor for even the men and women named in the Old Testament. God names over 10 individuals and Paul then writes that there are too many others to name them all. What we must conclude from this information is that Job could have had faith. I would suggest that you go and read chapter 11 of Hebrews every chance you get. There is so much information given to us here that it astounds me. I have concluded that while Job’s name is not directly mentioned in Hebrews 11, it can be indirectly associated within the group of unnamed O.T. saints by God’ selection of the word G5281 translated as “patience” that follows having faith in Hebrews 12:1. I would also like to make this point that there is an implied association with those names listed in chapter 11 as Old Testament faith heroes as being the chapter 12 witnesses that have gone on before us. I hope you understand this logic. Let’s examine another verse found in James that goes along with the one that I previously used about Job.
Jas 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Here is a very important verse to apply to Job. It appears that patience is mentioned more than once in the book of James. In this verse is found the exact same Greek word that we previously looked at as being used by God to describe Job. But this time this Greek word is connected directly to the factor of having human faith. This is the first verse that we have looked at that has made this direct connection. It will certainly not be the last verse. What we will discover in this study is that patience is a direct partner to faith and they both must be present or neither is necessary. I would like to introduce you to the keyword that is translated as “trying” in this verse. This Greek word is G1383 and it means “to test”. This would be a very accurate description of what is occurring in the book of Job. Job is being tested and we learn from this verse in James why these tests occur. Also do not erroneously conclude that God is doing the testing because that belief contradicts other New Testament verses that I have already covered. Therefore the tester is Satan as we can clearly see being named in the first chapter of Job. From this verse in James we begin to see why Job endured and survived these tests and this is because of his faith and patience. This is the second verse that helps to establish the faith of Job as being a present factor in the story.
WHO IS JOB ASSOCIATED WITH?
I think this is a good time to learn the associations of Job in the Bible. By seeing who God groups Job with in the Bible it will help us determine if he is qualified to be called a faith man. I think it is fairly obvious that Job is not directly grouped with anyone in the book of Job. There are no other mentioned men of God in this book. In fact if it were not for Job praying for his friends, his friends would be in serious trouble with God. I hope you understand the importance of association. This will become increasingly more important as you study the Bible in depth on many other subjects. In the last section I talked about the Hebrews 11 Faith Hall of Fame list that God gives to us. These were all faith men and women that achieved notoriety by God to an elite level of association. We learn from this list that God does associate like people together. We can use this now to learn who God associated Job with. In order to do this I’m going to give you the preceding verse to the one in James that mentioned Job:
Jas 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
Ok, this verse is really very informative. By God placing this information within the direct context of the next statement, Job is being placed within some very elite company. I personally believe that Job was a prophet of God. I derive that from the fact that I believe Job wrote the book of Job. But I also derive that from this verse that speaks of prophets and their examples of suffering affliction and their patience. That is a very excellent description of the book of Job. Here in this verse is the introduction of Job being an example for the church to follow. God’s usage of the Greek word G5262 teaches us this fact. This Greek word literally means these men were given to us by God as a pattern for us to learn from. That is the classic definition of what a Biblical type is. If Job was a type of man with patience being associated with so many other great prophets that we can read about then we need to learn this in order to understand the book of Job more clearly.
One of the greatest prophets of God was Moses. Moses wrote down the Law of God. He was used by God to deliver the children of God out of Egypt. This is the kind of company that Job is being placed within by this verse statement in James 5:10. Moses was also directly mentioned in the Faith Hall of Fame and that helps to determine where Job potentially belongs by direct association. What we will do is see if we can find further confirmation for this in the Bible. We will do this again by searching for the name of Job to determine if God places him with anyone else by association. We already know that Job is not found anywhere else in the New Testament but we did not previously look for him in the Old Testament and that is our next place to search.
If you did the search you should have found one more reference to Job outside of the book of Job. The name of Job is only mentioned in the Old Testament in the book of Job and in the writings of one major O.T. prophet. You will find the name of Job mentioned in Ezekiel 14 twice. These verses are Ezekiel 14:14 and 14:20. Here in both of these verses Job’s name is directly mentioned in unison with Noah and Daniel. Both of these men were also prophets of God. This information helps us to confirm where Job fits within God’s associations. If you read the context of these two verses you should see that God is speaking to the house of Israel and He tells them to turn from their idols or be destroyed. God clearly calls men like Noah, Daniel and Job to be righteous examples and these are the types of men that will be saved while the others in Israel that do not repent will be destroyed. This is actually essential information to learn from about the story of Job. It gives us such a profound reference point to who God viewed Job to be like that it helps us settle why this book even exists in the Bible. You see Noah was directly mentioned in Hebrews 11:7 as having faith. Daniel was indirectly mentioned in the same chapter as having stopped the mouths of lions in Hebrews 11:33. Therefore we have Job being included with some pretty amazing company that would seem to indicate that Job’s righteousness was also obtained by the same level of faith in God that these other two men possessed. I would recommend that you take the time to go and read Ezekiel 14 to insure that this is what God is saying. I believe that you will be able to see it now that I have pointed you to this information. This information will help confirm the presence of faith in the life of Job but we will continue to find other witnesses to the truth as we study further.
FAITH AND PATIENCE
As we have observed in Hebrews 11 and 12 there appears to be a partnership between faith and patience which is tied together by God’s design. What relationship does faith have with patience? Are there any other direct connections between these two factors given to us in the New Testament? This is where we will begin to get into the subject of why faith is joined to its partner called patience. I can’t teach the entire subject here but I will give you a quick overview of how they are linked together. But first we will continue by reading another verse found within the context of Hebrews 11 and 12 that directly applies to our lesson:
Heb 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
Did you just see what God did? God just made us a faith sandwich placing the meat of faith (Heb. 11) between two slices of patience (Heb 10:36, Heb 12:1). Uh oh, I hope that I didn’t offend anyone with my faith sandwich analogy. Let’s consider the book of Job when reading this N.T. verse. Did Job end up better than when he started? Through all of the hardships that Job experienced in 41 chapters was the end of his life blessed more than the beginning of his life by God? I hope that you will read and see that Job’s end was greater than Job’s younger years and certainly was better than his life during the book of Job. Would it not stand to reason that Job “received the promise” of God in the end? Maybe you do not understand that receiving anything from God requires human faith. I do not have the time to teach or prove this in this lesson so you will need to go and study the subject of faith in my Understanding Bible Faith series. I will definitely tell you that everything that comes from God’s Grace is received by a man’s faith and obedience. This includes salvation, healing, deliverance, God’s blessings and on and on I could go. I’ll say it one more time for those that do not yet understand that nothing positive is received from God without their faith being present. Let me give you another verse that certainly applies to the subject of Job:
Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
God makes a statement here that could be talking about Job directly. Did you see it? There is a direct mention of endurance and this applies to having patience. Now do you see it? The Greek word that was translated as “temptation” is a poor choice of English words by the translators. This Greek word G3986 literally means “an experience of evil”. While this definition could mean a temptation it goes way beyond that to include many other things. This Greek word could apply to any adversity brought against someone by an enemy. Let me ask you this, was Satan Job’s enemy or was Satan Job’s friend? It would very stupid not to call Satan the adversary of Job since he was clearly trying to kill him. Do you know what the Hebrew name “Job” means? This name means “hated”. Who hated Job? If God was pleased with Job then it stands to reason that God’s enemy Satan would hate Job. Therefore Job was hated by Satan. This helps us put into perspective who is responsible for which actions in the book of Job.
Now go back to James 1:12 and go further with what is spoken by God. God says that after a time of endurance through an attack that this person being attacked will receive that which God had promised them. Why does God allow Satan to test His people? It is certainly not for God’s benefit so it must be for our benefit or to provide evidence to Satan that those being tested will be true and faithful. Both factors derive benefits for us in the future. Adversity builds human character. It teaches a person that they can overcome it and be victorious. Isn’t all of this what happened to Job? Job endured such a major attack of Satan that it almost wiped him out and yet God’s blessings still prevailed because why? Do you know what receiving is? I need to do an entire faith lesson on this important faith word. Jesus would frequently tell the sick and diseased to “receive” their miracle. What was Jesus saying to them? Jesus was saying you better take it if you want it because the ball is now in your court. I just used a tennis analogy to help you see how grace and faith works together. God’s grace will serve the promise but it is man’s faith that is required to receive it. If Job was mentioned with Noah and Daniel then he certainly obtained a crown of life that was mentioned in James 1:12. I believe someday soon we will be able to walk and talk with Job and find out what else we did not learn from this book.
All of this initial information that I have just given to you is on the subjects of faith and patience and they teach us that Job had to have had unstated faith at least to some degree that allowed his end of life to be better than his beginning. God very clearly told us that Job had patience in James. Why then would Job need this patience if he had no hope for anything better to come? I want you to chew on that for a while. I’ll give you another N.T. verse that helps us to connect faith and patience together:
2Th 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:
We are back to the subject of endurance working with our faith and patience. Here is Paul writing to the church and this verse could very easily be talking about Job’s tribulations equally. Both the early church and Job endured great adversity and troubles within a stated time of duration here in this life. Both of these troubles were certainly brought upon them each by their enemy Satan. Job appears to me to be a O.T. type of the church using Biblical typology. You have probably never heard anyone teach this but it makes very good Biblical sense based upon the comparison of common features. Both of these examples of the early church and the O.T. life of Job persevered and endured through great tribulations, trials and tests. Both certainly needed patience to possess the blessings of God’s promises. But also notice what God says that they both also needed faith. I personally do not believe that God would have included the story of Job in the Bible as a positive role model for the church if this man did not possess any faith. God would have omitted his life story or the end result of Job’s life would have been entirely different than being fully restored apparently victorious over Satan’s attempts to kill, steal and destroy him (John 10:10). All of this evidence that I have presented you so far raises a new question that must be answered, if Job had faith why didn’t God talk about it in the book of Job? The answer to this question can only be found by asking why didn’t God talk about Job’s patience in the book if that was the clear emphasis that was being taught to us in the New Testament? Do you understand that there were hidden Bible subjects in the Old Testament? Let me help to prove this to you:
Gal 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Actually you will find out very soon that God did talk about Job’s faith in great detail in the book of Job but we normally do not understand it or it is easily mistaken for something else since it was never directly referenced by name. This was the same for Job’s patience. God tells us a story of part of Job’s life that demonstrates the qualities of patience being found present but yet never mentions these directly by name either. We will discover that Job’s connections to faith were hidden within other descriptive words found in the book of Job. Did you see what God said in this verse in Galatians? I used this verse in the first lesson of my faith series because it is critical to understand when and where faith originates. Faith is definitely not a brand new N.T. invention. Faith is a divine central theme of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. However God says here in Galatians that the hidden subject of faith was only revealed to us in the church after Jesus had come tot he earth. To be revealed means that the subject of faith was previously hidden from view for natural Israel. Once you learn what faith is then you will begin to see faith or the lack of faith in almost every story found in the Old Testament. I really hope and pray that you are learning this subject because it will be essential in your life.
FINDING JOB’S FAITH IN THE BOOK OF JOB
Reading in the book of Job initially, God appear to give the impression that He is well pleased with His man Job at least in the first chapter. How can God ever be pleased with a man that has no faith? Is that even possible? It is not possible according to the New Testament as I have already alluded to previously. I think I need to give you this verse to confirm that faith is a requirement in order to be pleasing to God:
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Did you see what this verse says? If our faith is required and is not optional in order to be pleasing to God then we need to conclude that Job had to have had the same faith at least initially in the book. However, there is another part of this verse that also applies to the story of Job that must be applied equally. Read the last part of the verse again and see that God says “to those that believe in God’s existence” that He will reward them if they seek after Him diligently. This is another portion of the requirement for having faith that must be met. Did Job believe in God? I believe you can clearly see in the story of Job that he believed in God very strongly. Had Job ever seen God? God says in John 1:18, “no man has ever seen God”. Therefore Job had to believe in God without any evidence of His existence like you and I today. Now ask yourself did Job diligently seek for God? That becomes a little more difficult to see but you can find that in the first chapter that Job was offering sacrifices to God. That sounds like a person that was diligently seeking the face of God to me. Did Job receive any rewards for believing in God and seeking after God? Let’s think about the rewards that Job obtained at the end of the book again. At the end of the book of Job, he is blessed more than at the beginning and let’s review these verses:
Job 42:12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
Job 42:13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.
If God rewarded Job at the end of the book with more than he had at the beginning of the book and this teaches me that faith was found to be present of God’s blessings would not have been received. I do not see how anyone can receive God’s blessings without possessing any faith. If you know of anyone in the Bible that was ever blessed by God without having faith please tell me about them because if you can find me one man or one woman without faith that is blessed by God then you have just made God a liar. Since it is impossible for God to lie, I will stand by my statement with confidence that you cannot find one person present in the Bible without faith that is rewarded by God.
I’m going to go through the first verse of Job to begin to show you God’s hidden descriptions of Job’s faith being present. I hope that after you have studied this section of the lesson with me that you will understand that faith was always present in the life of Job. Please read verse 1 very slowly and carefully not missing any of the words selected by God to describe His righteous man Job:
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
In this first verse Job is described by God using four very flattering positive key descriptive words that were selected by God’s inspired choice. These words will help us to understand God’s perspective and viewpoint of this man and why Job was so pleasing to God. We must understand when reading the Bible that God could have selected any description that was true to use to teach us. But when God selects only four specific words then those words must have a meaning that is needed to be understood. Start by asking the question why were these 4 words selected and why were they used together in a list? Please allow me to identify these key words for you in a list:
- Perfect (H8535)
- Upright (H3477)
- Feared God (H3373)
- Eschewed Evil (H5493)
Those are four qualities that demonstrate God’s pleasure because they prove the implied presence of faith in God. All of these qualities could be used to describe a Christian today that pleased God. These qualities help to establish the fact that Job is a model for the church to follow. Let’s research these words one at time beginning with the first called someone who is “perfect”. That is a very strange word for God to use to describe a human, isn’t it?
To be “perfect” does not mean that someone never makes a mistake or sins. Only God can be perfect and no human has ever achieved this. Therefore to be perfect is not what you think it is using modern definitions. A perfect diamond is one that is defined to be flawless and this cannot be a human since God says “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Since being perfect is unachievable we need to discover what God meant by this word. By looking in Strong’s dictionary for the meaning of the word we should find that to be perfect is a term that means someone is “complete” or “lacking no good quality” in the eyes of God. Was faith a good quality to possess according to Hebrews 11:6? If you answered yes, then faith is part of the complete package that God is looking for in any human. This Hebrew word translated as “perfect” is H8535 and it is not used in very many verses of the O.T. However, I will point you to one key verse that is important to note on what perfect represents to God:
Gen 25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
Here is a verse that is easily overlooked and ignored because most of us do not read in Hebrew. This verse has the same Hebrew word that was translated as “perfect” in Job 1:1 but this time it is used to describe Jacob as being a “plain” man. I do not believe that people always understand the confusion that translators present them by changing a word’s definition but this is a major problem with correctly understanding the Bible. The main point here is that both Jacob and Job were both described to be “perfect” men and they were connected together by God’s choice of word descriptions. Therefore if you understand how typology works then what one man has the other should also have to some degree of comparison. Why is this important? Well it is important because Jacob was also mentioned by name in Hebrews 11 as having faith. Therefore we can logically conclude that if Jacob had faith and he was called perfect by God then Job had faith because he was also called perfect by God. This is very basic applied logic which surrounds the members in the common set of human called “perfect” defined by God. Let’s continue to the next word description of Job in verse 1.
“Upright” simply means someone that is standing straight up not leaning to the left or to the right. This is a figurative expression that teaches us the condition of Job’s human thoughts within his mind as being level headed or in other words as thinking decently, right, honest, pure and not wavering back and forth from the left or to the right. Being upright expresses Job’s moral compass on the inside that was directing his ways and his actions. Do you recall what God said to the prophet Samuel? When God sent Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel the sons of Jesse came before him one by one. God told Samuel not to look on the outward appearance in 1 Samuel 16:7 because He looks on the heart of the man. What this teaches us is that God declares what is on the inside to be more significant than what we see on the outside of a person. What this teaches us is that Job had to be pleasing to God on the inside in order for him to walk the walk that was pleasing to God on the outside. Again to be a good person outwardly is pleasing to God but yet a good person without any faith on the inside can still never please Him. Also too many Christians today are doing good things without having good and right intentions in their heart. That is a major problem to God. Let me take you to a New Testament verse that mentions the word upright to help define what this word means:
Gal 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
This is going to be a lesson using stated antithesis or opposites. Sometimes to learn what something is you must learn what it is not! Here in Galatians Paul is writing about people that were being the opposite of what Job was in verse 1. These were Christians that were being inconsistent. Paul was speaking of the Jews living like Gentiles but simultaneously wanting the Gentiles to live like Jews. That represents a conflicting mindset of inconsistencies. What Paul was telling us, is that the Gentiles did not need to get circumcised in their flesh in order to be saved like many of the Jews were trying to teach them. Knowing the truth and being consistent applying the truth is what God was trying to say that Job was doing. That according to God’s definition is what being upright is. We should be able to learn how to apply this to what God says about Job. It clearly meant that Job did not try to live like others while requiring them to live like him. That would actually be a good Bible study to do but I will not spend the time today to do that. Perhaps it will help if I give you the Greek word definition for upright here:
From a compound of G3717 and G4228; to be straight footed, that is, (figuratively) to go directly forward: – walk uprightly.
This word literally means to walk a straight line. But, as you can see this word can be applied figuratively to mean moving directly forward as in not wavering from your purpose. To move directly forward means not to move to the left or to the right as I have tried to teach you about the Hebrew word found in Job 1:1. What is the opposite description of walking upright? The opposite would be to walk staggering or swaying from side to side. Do you understand this? Have ever heard the modern expression he walked the line? To walk the line figuratively meant that a person did not change their mind frequently to vary what they do. There is an old Johnny Cash song that is called “Walk the line”. In this song Johnny sings “Because you’re mine, I walk the line”. That only meant that when he sang this song to his wife that he was not cheating on her with other women. It is very much like the figurative phrase “walking the straight and narrow”. Being upright is simply a person that is well balanced not changing their mind frequently between two opposing extremes like between being good today and evil tomorrow. So what does being upright, have to do with if Job had any faith? Well the application of truth will teach us the answer if we go and read the book of James in the New Testament:
Jas 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Jas 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
Did you see what God just said here about faith and wavering? If man does not walk upright or in a straight line then he is wavering from one position to another. God in this chapter calls this a double minded man with more than one thought process taking place simultaneously. I hope and pray that you understood this very quick overview of the subject of walking uprightly. I simply cannot teach every subject encountered in a Bible study in the depth that I would like or it would take me 100 times as many words to teach any subject. What I wanted to show you here in James was the connection of not wavering (called walking upright) to having faith that receives from God. It is still clear to me that since Job did receive a greater blessing from God in the end that he was at the very least back to not wavering like he was at the beginning of the story. Let’s move on to the description of quality 3 called the fear of God next.
THE FEAR OF GOD
The next term that God used to describe Job in verse 1 was that he “feared God” and this is another critical positive human characteristic that is critical for anyone before they can ever possess any faith. No one is going to believe God or even in God if they do not believe in His omnipotent power or if they have any great fear (respect) for His great abilities. What I am going to do is give you another Hebrews 11 example of an Old Testament man that was directly compared to be like Job:
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
We of course understand that Noah had faith, but before Noah could believe God to have this faith it is said that he also had to fear God first. It would have been very stupid for Noah not to fear God but yet this was still his right of free choice. This becomes very self-evident that the fear of God is required before anyone will believe God’s spoken word. This is in fact the number one reason why atheists do not believe in the Bible or in God. Atheists do not possess any fear of the living God that created them and can kill them just as easily. These people are called fools by God and I will concur. Where there is no fear of God their can be no faith in God. The fear of God is a necessary precursor for having faith. Since God describes Job to possess this fear this description qualifies him to possess faith. We could talk about this subject for a long time but that was a quick introduction and we will move on the quality four called “eschewed evil” used to describe Job.
TURN FROM EVIL
The last quality of Job was “eschewed evil”. This Hebrew word translated as “eschewed” literally means to turn away from following after or doing any evil. To turn away from evil is an indicator of a repentant heart that desires to do right and good. Again this word indicates that faith is found present in the life of Job because the N.T. says anything that is not of faith is sin (Rom 14:23). Did you know that the lack of faith was evil? Did you know that having no faith was sin? Many Christians do not have a clue about either of these concepts. Let’s quickly establish that sin is evil in the eyes of the Lord:
1Ki 15:26 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.
Here is a man being given as a negative example for the people of God not to follow and this man sinned before God and God called his actions evil. This Hebrew word translated as “evil” is H7451 and this is the exact same word used in Job 1:1 to describe what Job was not in the eyes of the Lord. Therefore Job lived a life of choosing to steer away from what was sin in the eyes of God. This is really very amazing since the period of Job occurs before there was any written Law of Moses to describe what sin was. Somehow Job was so in tune with the Spirit of God and His ways that he knew what sin was and avoided it. Perhaps we need to connect the dots more clearly between turning from sin and having faith, patience and walking upright before God:
Mat 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
Here is John preaching to the Jews and he tells them directly to produce fruit for repentance. Repentance is simply the human turning from their sins and the fruit is a reference to coming fruits of the spirit that are described by God in Galatians:
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The KJV Bible is not as well stated as some of the other translations. I want you to focus on just two of the nine fruits mentioned. The first is translated as “long-suffering” and this is certainly applicable to what Job went through. This Greek word literally means to be “patient”. It is the opposite of being demanding and wanting everything right now like fast food. Any quality restaurant will serve food far beyond fast food but it requires patience in order to receive it. The second Greek word in this is translated as “faith” and that again is the word that we are exploring in the life of Job. Since we got here by the subject of “eschewing evil” let’s see where this is used in the New Testament:
Act 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
Here is an excellent verse that demonstrates the message that Paul preached to the Gentiles. Paul told them to repent and then to turn to God. This is clearly what Job had already done as a Gentile. There are many other example verses that teach similar concepts for salvation in accordance with repentance occurring first. This simply means that the human heart must be turned away from evil in order to allow the goodness of God to take its place.
These four positive qualities presented to us in verse one of Job were used by God to help us to understand the characteristics that allowed Job to have faith in God to receive the blessing in his early years. Every quality named can be associated with faith directly or indirectly using the New Testament. These same qualities also helped sustain Job during the tough times of Satan’s attacks to propel him to overcome the adversity. Job’s faithfulness and patient endurance during the negative times causes him to be blessed even greater by God at the end of his life. Keep in mind the four qualities being described by God they were 1) being complete, 2) walking upright, 3) fearing God and 4) turning from evil. No one is going to have faith without first having any reverential fear of God! No one is going to fear a God who they do not believe in. No one is going to have faith without turning and departing from doing evil! Sin will always be a moral distraction from receiving the blessings of God. As far as being called upright by God I again believe this to mean that Job was not double minded trying to decide between good and evil. I also believe that Job’s confidence in God was not shaken or swayed just because negative things were occurring. Finally to be called perfect (complete) by God implies that faith had to have been found present or Job would have been lacking the one essential God pleasing quality. It is just so obvious to me by the way that God describes Job in verse 1 that Job was pleasing to God. This absolutely requires faith to be present.
We have explored briefly the association of faith and patience using several verses of the New Testament. I believe that I presented sufficient evidence to confirm when one quality of faith is present the other quality of patience should also be found and vice versa. One without the other makes the other irrelevant. But, working together I believe that faith and patience will cause the blessing of God to be made manifest here in the natural realm. Always remember what patience is and why it is necessary. Patience is only required when you expect better things to come than what you are experiencing right now. This is clearly what Job came to realize. If you can’t see yourself as a type of Job then you have not been a Christian for very long. If you remain in the faith, Satan will come to you eventually to test your faith in God and that is exactly what occurred in the book of Job. When Satan approached the throne of God to accuse Job God said “Have you considered my servant Job?”. This did not mean that God turned Job over to Satan. This only meant that God knew why Satan was present and brought up the subject before Satan could mention it. God is not stupid people; God had placed a hedge of protection around Job to keep Satan from attacking. It was Job’s ignorance that caused the hedge to come down and this was the reason for the initiation of the satanic attack. I really do not have the time to explain all of this in this lesson. I have talked about a lot of this already in previous subject lessons. Let’s change back to the New Testament and end with this verse:
Heb 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Faith and patience will receive the promises of God. The promises of God are found in the Word of God. Every Old Testament positive example given to us by God went through this. There are no examples of people in the Old Testament that did not have major times of tests and trials. This included the greatest prophets of God. Moses was tested in the wilderness. Elijah was tested and asked God to kill him. Noah went through tremendous persecution for preaching about the coming end. David was hunted and had to hide not to be killed. We could name them all but you get the point. All of these examples were like Job who endured but they also had faith in God with corresponding acts of patience to see the deliverance of God’s hand.
Can you see now how faith was indirectly taught by God while never being mentioned by name? This is an extremely clever method used by God of hiding the truth in plain sight in the Old Testament. God teaches us what faith is and how it receives His blessings while never mentioning the concept directly. The wisdom of God is way beyond normal or natural human comprehension. I hope that you learned something new about the positive life examples of Job and how they might help you even today as a type for your walk with God to follow during your test and trial of Satan. We have been given very significant evidence that we should believe in God and believe in His ability to bless us in spite of the negative circumstances being presented to us by Satan. Believe me I know this for sure since I have been going through a time of tests and trials like never before in my life.
I will say in conclusion that Job made certain mistakes at the beginning of the book and certainly in the middle of the book that were corrected by the end of the book in order for God to restore his life back to more than he had at the first. This teaches us that even Christians can open the door for Satan to attack them. These tests and trials will cause you to have to demonstrate faith and patience in order to receive the promise of God that will also cause you to be blessed. I went through some pretty new radical concepts for many people today. I hope and pray that you understood them. If not please go back and reread this lesson so that they are built into your spirit and how you live before God. The book of Job is a great lesson to learn from. However it matters that what you learn is in alignment with the New Testament revelation of the Lord God. Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this please leave me a comment. God Bless!
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 5 in a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the timely and very important subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”. If you have not read this entire series from the beginning I would highly recommend that you go and start your study with “Part 1” and then continue in succession until today’s lesson. However if you do not have the time to read every lesson I will inform you that this lesson today will be of great benefit and will be easily understood as a standalone lesson. Many Christians today are asking “Is the Rapture Really Found in the Bible?” I believe the clear signs of the times that we live within today are causing more and more people to ask this question. In this lesson series I have been going through verses that teach us about the rapture subject found both in the New Testament and in Old Testament typology. Many of these verses represent places in the Bible that Christians have not considered being about the subject of rapture. Today’s lesson will certainly be no different. God will present to you some potentially new information today in this lesson that may just open your eyes to a brand new way of searching for His Truth! I hope that you are ready to learn.
Before I get started today I wish to thank you for your time in studying the Bible. To all of my faithful subscribers I greatly appreciate your ability to perceive that what I teach is not from me. The teachings of a man are inconsequential without the anointing and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I take no credit for anything that is on this website. If it was not for the gracious and precious Holy Spirit teaching me I would have had nothing worthwhile to say. Therefore, I give God all the praise and all the glory for anything that has helped anyone. So no matter what, I trust God to confirm everything that is taught here by you using your own Bible and the Holy Spirit that is within you giving witness. Trust no human at any time, no matter how eloquent the words that come from them or their good looking appearance. There is a great deception occurring in the world today. Evil is being called good and good being called evil. I know that no one including myself is perfect and we all make mistakes. Therefore I trust that you will receive my sincere gratitude as I humbly submit to God’s direction.
SEARCHING FOR TRUTH IN THE BIBLE!
The vast majority of Christians today believe in a rapture concept where Jesus literally returns in the clouds to take up His people to be with Him in heaven. This belief is based upon verses like John 14:1-3 where Jesus speaks of His father’s house in heaven and says that He will go and prepare a place for us and then come again to take us there. There are not very many Christians that do not understand this truth and believe it yet the great debate that remains among many churches is concerning the timing of this event. The rapture timing is exactly the subject being addressed in these Bible lessons. In the last lesson I went through a lot of new information that I will not repeat today. I tried to teach the importance of seeing spiritual things even in the O.T. natural stories but I got a few ignorant comments that refused to open their eyes to understand the legitimacy of these methods. These types of people are so focused on the literal obvious messages that they do not want to understand how God has concealed many spiritual truths for us to find in these same words. I tried to emphasize in the last lesson that even Jesus said that He was hidden in the O.T. (John 5:39) and that we were required to go and search to look for Him in those verses. This information must have gone over the heads of a few people who want to see everything easily in the Bible. I do not recall any verse in the Bible that says Bible study is easy, do you know of any? If you do please share it with me so I can learn.
I just mentioned John 5:39 and this is so important to memorize that I am going to emphasize it again. In Matthew 13:11 Jesus declared to His disciples that it was given for them to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God but then He clearly states that this was not given to everyone else. This is just further confirmation that not everything in the Bible is clearly stated to be understood by everyone. Romans 16:25 says that Paul preached the mystery of the Gospel of Jesus that was hidden from the foundation of the world. That literally means it was not plainly stated in the O.T. and had to be revealed by the Spirit of God. Proverbs 25:2 declares that it is “the glory of God to conceal a thing and the honor of kings to search out a matter”. These are just a few verses of the many that I could include in this message that not everything in the Bible is plainly presented for your automatic understanding. This is so easy for a supremely intelligent God to do. He can speak to us on His level of understanding and we would be clueless to understand it until we learned how. I emphasize this fact in many, many of my Bible lessons because it is so vital for you to come up to a higher spiritual way of thinking. Learning to see the scriptures as God sees them will help you more than anything else that I could teach you today.
BE IT UNTO YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR FAITH
Why any Christian would desire to go through the coming tribulation is a mystery to me but that is what many are choosing to believe and I believe that is what may just happen to them based upon what the N.T. teaches us about faith. Jesus very clearly taught us a valuable lesson in the Gospels when He said “According to your faith, be it unto you” (Mat 9:29). Jesus was telling these blind men in Mathew 9 something directly and He treated them differently than the many other blind men that may have been in the same city. Jesus only healed the blind men that believed and had faith and the others that were in the city were not healed. You could reason that these others that were not healed were simply not present but that is a different part of another lesson and I do not want to get off track in this lesson. Simply understand that the blind men had to believe in order to seek after Jesus and if the others did not do the same they were left out from this benefit. Now go and read Matthew 8:13 where Jesus says to the centurion “go thou way and as thou has believed, be it done unto you”. Jesus spoke very highly of this man’s faith. He then told him clearly that it would be done to him even as he had believed. I think you need to consider these facts carefully.
I think both of those examples that I just presented you are valuable lessons to learn from about the subject of faith. We then need to learn to apply that knowledge to the subject of rapture. If you want to believe and stay in the post tribulation camp, I won’t stop you. I will still try to show you what I see that the Bible says on the subject and that is why we are going to go through a different part of the Bible today to see a different lesson taught by God. What I am trying to say here is that what you believe matters and if it does not matter what you believe then God is in sovereign control and I don’t have to believe in Jesus or Satan. That is a common false teaching to think that man has no determination of his destiny. I believe from the words of Jesus that what you believe could very well be the determining factor if you are taken out on the first call of the rapture or left here. If you don’t believe me, that is fine with me. Please don’t write me any negative comments trying to say something I didn’t say.
Evaluate where your faith is today. What do you believe and why? If you have several scriptures to back your beliefs then you are on a firmer foundation than not having any. That is exactly why I am giving you my scriptures for why I believe the way that I do in a pre-tribulation rapture. I did not determine my beliefs in pre-tribulation rapture first and then seek to find the scriptures to confirm them. That is a false erroneous approach to Bible study. You can find any belief in the Bible that you want to find in some form. This is exactly why there are mid-tribulation believers and post-tribulation believers and most of them have found some scriptures that they believe support their thinking. God purposefully designed the Bible this way to allow us to be wrong and remain in our false beliefs. What God desires is for us to first clear our mind of our prejudices and then to ask the Holy Spirit to show us the truth and only then can we go and seek to find it in His Word allowing Him to direct our paths of search. We cannot do this with any presumptive expectations for what the truth is or this will slant our viewpoint to that preconceived belief. That type of search is a closed minded approach and does not allow God to speak to us in our hearts since our hearts are already set in concrete. We can only determine the actual truth based only upon what God reveals to us in His Word when He speaks to our heart. Notice that I did not say your mind, the voices in your mind can be from the devil. The Spirit of God is in your heart and that is where divine direction will be given. If you do not know how to be led by the Spirit of God I would recommend that you go read that series of lessons to begin to learn.
This section of the lesson I title “Be it unto you according to your Faith”. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God taught according to Romans 10:17. That simply means that you can get faith to change your beliefs by what God presents in this Bible lesson series. If you are open to learning this will allow the Spirit of God to confirm this lesson. I hope and pray that you will at least give God a chance to see what He might say to you today.
THE RAPTURE IN REVELATION 3:10
I was asked to explain the Bible verse found in Revelation 3:10 and I immediately understood that they were asking this question from a rapture subject perspective since that is clearly the hidden message of the verse. I say clearly but what is clear to me may not yet be clear to you! You may still be amazed after you read this lesson how a verse that never mentions the word rapture directly can be such a key and important lesson on the subject.
The first fact that would I like to mention is that you are right the theological term “rapture” does not exist in the English Bible but that does not mean that the concepts surrounding the subject are not taught repeatedly by God in many unique ways. As I have said before the English term “rapture” comes from a Latin word “raptus” which means “a carrying off”. People are normally too narrowly focused on finding the specific word rapture, that they are missing entirely the more important messages about the subject recorded from God. One detail that needs to be understood is that there are at least two completely different ways of teaching any subject. A teacher can state the subject directly by describing it plainly or they can teach it indirectly by what is stated so that the subject must be true in order for the statement being made to also be true. Most modern school textbooks are written in a direct teaching style with ordered increasing levels of associated complexity. However, God’s word is not written in a textbook style and appears to be more random information that needs to be connected by study. God teaches most spiritual subjects indirectly especially in the Old Testament where they are never explained fully until the descriptions are given about them in the New Testament. Direct natural truths as opposed to indirect spiritual truths are found equally in abundance throughout the Bible. For every direct natural lesson on a subject there are usually equal numbers of indirect spiritual lessons that can be found if you know how to search for them. I hope you will learn both of these concepts given in this introduction from this lesson today. Revelation 3:10 is an indirect and unstated spiritual lesson on the pre-tribulation rapture of the church that must be a truth for this statement that was made by Jesus to also be a truth and you will soon learn why I say this. Let’s start by reviewing the verse in question and seeing what was stated by Jesus:
- Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
The KJV Bible translation does a fair job at translating each Greek word into English but yet these English words are often ignored or misapplied to not mean what they are really saying. It is very easy to take an English word and restrict it to a specific narrow thought or application and that may be what is happening in this verse when you read it. Some English words are easily assumed to be fully understood as they actually go much deeper in their definition and meaning when studied. Assuming that you know and understand the truth is probably one of the greatest reasons why God is unable to teach you anything new. So please take no preconceived assumptions into this Bible lesson as you continue to read. There are certain key words given to us in this verse which need to be understood in order for us to comprehend the message being given to us by God. Today we are going to go through at least 5 specific Greek words found in Revelation 3:10 and find their meanings and God’s usage for the words in other parts of the Bible. These words that I will focus on are “all”, “world”, “temptation”, “keep” and “kept”.
I’m going to start with the Greek word translated as “all”. This Greek word G3650 translated as “ALL” literally means the “entirety of the whole”. This Greek word is applied as an adverb in this sentence and is directly used by God as a modifier description for the noun “world”. In this type of presentation it would represent the entire “world”. Let’s go back to an old Bible lesson that I did on the serpent in the garden first mentioned in Genesis 3:1. In that Bible lesson I taught on how that God created laws of mathematical sets and used them in the words that He has written in the Bible. A set is always a related grouping of like objects. If I have a set of automobiles they may differ in manufacturer, color, make, year and model but they are all still unified members of my automobile set. If I wanted to limit the scope of my set of automobiles I could qualify a new description to create a subset of just certain common features or characteristics. For example I could define one sub-set of my “automobiles” to be only “red” automobiles and that makes ALL cars of the red color to be members in that set. Now when I say ALL RED CARS you know I am including every one that qualifies to be a member together in that definition. This is basic mathematical logic based upon established God created principles and yet many Christians may not grasp these important basic concepts and how they apply to the Word of God. What we need to see is that God has just defined a mathematical set in Revelation 3:10 and said “every” noun object in that set called the “world” was included. That literally means there are no “world” members excluded from the statement. However the next problem is how does God define the members in the “world” set and what do these members possess that defines them to be in the common description? I hope I am not going over your heads with these important thoughts but they must be applied correctly to understand who God is speaking about in this verse.
Let’s speak briefly about God’s usage of the Greek word G3650 that was translated as “ALL” in this verse. This Greek word occurs in 99 verses of the Bible. Around 60 times it was translated as “ALL”. In nearly 40 verses, the Greek word was translated as “whole”. “Whole” and “all” are clearly synonyms with the same definition. They both will always include every member that fits the definition. If you would like to do the study and search for this word for yourself in your Bible software to confirm how God consistently uses it to mean every that would be good to do, but I will not do that in this lesson today to keep this lesson a little bit shorter.
The next step to understanding Revelation 3:10, is to learn the Biblical definition of what the “all the world” set represents to God. Jesus very clearly states that an “hour of temptation” will come upon the “entire world” at some unstated future time which was not directly given to us. If the entire world will come into these common temptations we need to learn what the world means and what temptation means so that we can understand how or even if these apply to us in the church. Let’s continue by examining the Greek word G3625 and determine how it was defined in the Greek language. This Greek word which was translated as the English word “world” literally means “the earth”, “the soil” or “the physical land parts of the globe” according to the Strong’s definition. However that does not mean that these physical land parts of the globe will be what is tempted in the prophesied hour. What we are to apply is that God is speaking indirectly about the “inhabitants” of these “land areas” and not specifically about the dry dirt. Therefore it is not the physical land directly being referenced but rather the people living on the land who will be tempted. The implied application for this Greek word (world) is anyone that is alive on the earth or living upon dry land or occupying the livable land mass continents of the planet. Let’s confirm this by observing this phrase in other parts of the N.T.:
- Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Here is an interesting reoccurrence of the phrase “All the world”. Jesus is speaking and He declares the time of the end will come only after the Gospel is preached to “all the world”. Obviously Jesus was not telling us to go preach to the literal soil of the planet. No Jesus was telling us to go into every part of the globe and preach to the people that inhabit that part of the whole. In other words the entire population of the globe will hear the Gospel before the end will come. If we go and read Luke 2:1 you will see another example that it is the people that are the intended definition for the term “all the world”. In this verse the ruler Caesar Augustus declared that “all the world” should be taxed. That sounds very familiar to what is happening with governments today but that is a different subject. We have seen enough examples to understand the description being used is about the people living on the earth and definitely not the literal earth. Let’s stop there and ask ourselves does that term “all the earth” include Christians? Of course we must realize that presently it does. Christians on this planet are no different than non-Christians in that we both live in the same global “world” set of earth dwellers. Remember what I just said because that fact will become very relevant as we continue in this lesson. Let’s now examine the next Greek word G3986 translated as “temptation” in Revelation 3:10 because this is also an essential word to learn and understand:
- From G3985; a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication adversity: – temptation, X try.
This Greek word literally means to prove something or someone. This is usually done by someone performing a trial or test like a scientist proving their theory of supposition performing repeated tests. That is a popular concept within the scientific community but one that is misapplied to God and the truth found in God’s word. Many Christians today believe that God tests people with trials to prove their faithfulness and that belief is contrary to what the Bible actually teaches. Once you learn the truth you will figure out quickly that it is unnecessary for God to test anyone. First consider the well-known fact that the divine God is called omniscient. This is a common characteristic used to describe God and clearly demonstrates His superior nature. Omniscient simply means “ALL KNOWING”. If God literally knows everything as most Theologians and Christians believe it would be totally unnecessary for God to test or prove anyone since He must already know the outcome before the test is presented. Therefore it is extremely ignorant to believe God needs to test us in order to prove our faith in Him. Do you believe this? If you do then you need to apply that information to what Jesus is stating in this verse to determine who is doing the testing to prove these people in the world.
The Bible teaches us who the tester represents but these facts are often ignored by many Christians because Satan would rather you believe in a good God that brings the tests rather than an evil being like himself that you might resist or fight against. Do you already see the initial motivation behind why Satan wants Christians to believe that God is their tester? I think it is obvious because Christians will not be foolish enough to fight against God. The Greek word G3986 translated as “temptation” in Revelation 3:10 comes from the root word G3985 that means “to test”. We need to learn how this word is used by God to teach us that it is not God that is testing people. Let’s read this verse found in the book of James:
- Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
The word translated as “tempted” here is the Greek word G3985. Notice what God declares. God clearly states that He is not the tempter or the tester of humans. The statement is directed at man by God saying “let no man say”. This term for “no man” is found in several statements made by Jesus and is even found in Revelation 3:11 the next verse that we are studying when Jesus says “Let no man take your crown”. It is very clear to me that this term is referring to human earth inhabitants again. We have already stated why this testing is unnecessary based upon God already knowing the outcome. If God does not test or tempt any human then who is sending the temptations, tests and trials in Revelation 3:10 to the whole world? That is a very interesting question and the answer still points us to Satan to be the tempter. Let’s examine some other verses found in the N.T. to confirm that God is not the tempter or tester of man:
- Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Here is a verse found in the Lord’s Prayer used by Jesus to teach His disciples how to pray. Jesus taught them to pray for God to lead them out from temptation and clearly not into them. Is the implied will of God for Christians to be tested or not to be tested? It would seem to say that it is not God’s will for us to be tested based upon the prayer. The implication given to us is that if we need to pray to ask God not to lead us into “temptations” that God is not the one that is initiating the temptation. That is just sound basic logical reasoning. God would not remove something that He was causing. Let’s shift to another verse to help understand the true source of temptations:
- Luk 4:13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
This verse has the same Greek word found in Revelation 3:10. God clearly says that Satan was the source for these temptations here in this verse. Based upon the context given to us these temptations occurred when Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness being on a forty day fast. Clearly Jesus would be considered to be “in the world” occupying the soil in this example and that is key for us understanding Revelation 3:10. I could go over many verses found in the N.T. but I will only give you one more witness to learn from for now:
- 1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Here we have a message written to the church. We are plainly informed that “temptations” may come but then we are indirectly informed that God was not the one that sent them. This is an example of learning from what is stated how to see what is not stated. In this verse God says “I will not allow the temptation to be above what you are able to endure”. That appears to me to say I am a God that places limitations upon the one that is testing you. God would not send the test and then limit the test and finally make a way out of the test as this verse declares. That would be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type of God. This would be dueling personalities with one side of God sending you the test to potentially harm you while the nice side of God limiting the test and placing a way out from it so that you can escape it. That type of reasoning makes no sense to me but many Christians believe in that type of situation everyday. One man that I knew believed that God sent cancer to his wife to test them but they were going to the doctors to try to get out from the test and live. Wow, I seriously tried to help him see that it was not God doing it to his wife but he rejected it. I’m really not sure what happened to his wife.
So far we have looked at the Greek words for “temptation”, “world”, and “all” in in Revelation 3:10 to gain understanding how they apply to the verse. We have learned so far that a “temptation” is a stated trial or test that every human can potentially come into at some time in their life even Christians. We have learned that Satan is the initiator of these tests and trials and that God is the one that leaves us a door out of the test if we want to find it. We have learned the term “world” means earth dweller or inhabitant. So far that definition would include everyone still living here on the planet. Since God used the qualifier “all” before the world noun He clearly states that the entire population will be tested by Satan. Let’s reread the verse again and apply what we have learned so far:
- Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Jesus is the speaker in this verse so that is very important to note. Then we know by reading in context that He is speaking to the church since this statement is found within one of the letters of Revelation written to the churches. Therefore we know the majority of the noun subject participants found in this verse including the speaker and the intended target audience, Satan the tempter of the earth inhabitants and we now desire to understand the verb actions being given to connect them all together. We have already seen where Satan is the tempter and Jesus says that his temptations, tests and trials will come upon the entire population of the earth. Right there is an excellent time to consider that to be a prophecy of future reference. Meaning what Jesus was speaking of had not occurred up until the time of writing. That should raise a meaningful question in your mind, “Why is this stated time of temptation different than previous mentions of temptations given throughout the Bible? I personally believe that the hour of temptation being spoken of is the soon to be described “Great Tribulation” later in the book of Revelation. One of the main reasons that I believe this is because Satan is one of the key subjects in the rest of the book. He is described as the “Great Dragon” and his prophet and anti-Christ servants will be revealed during this time to deceive the whole world’s population.
We then know from the statement of Jesus that He will “Keep” the church from that hour of global tests. How will He do this? In order to understand this we need to learn the definition of the word “keep” next. Let’s look up the definition for the Greek word translated as “Keep”:
- From τηρός teros (a watch; perhaps akin to G2334); to guard (from loss or injury, properly by keeping the eye upon; and thus differing from G5442, which is properly to prevent escaping; and from G2892, which implies a fortress or full military lines of apparatus), that is, to note (a prophecy; figuratively to fulfil a command); by implication to detain (in custody; figuratively to maintain); by extension to withhold (for personal ends; figuratively to keep unmarried): – hold fast, keep (-er), (ob-, pre-, re) serve, watch.
This is obviously a complex word and is compared with several other Greek words that are similar but different. The meaning of the word means to watch or to observe. As you can read this word means to keep your eye upon something or someone. Perhaps it will help us if we analyze how this word was translated in the N.T. This Greek word is found in 68 N.T. verses. In 33 verses it is translated as “keep”. In 12 verses it is translated as “kept”. In 10 verses it was translated as “keepeth”. The other verses in the N.T. it is translated as “observe”, “reserve”, “reserved”, “watched”, “watching”, “preserve” and “hold fast”.
What do all of these translated English words have in common and how do they apply to how they were used by God in the New Testament? We really need to learn this in order to understand what Jesus is going to do to the church before the coming hour of trials. I think it is relevant and important to know that this Greek word is used twice in Revelation 3:10. Once it was translated as “keep” and the other time it was translated as “kept” Let’s examine how it was used for the church and then apply that definition to how it will be used by Jesus. Read the beginning of the verse again and see how God uses it for the church. God says “Because you have kept my words…, I will keep you…”. How do you keep God’s words? That is a very loaded question. To keep God’s word implies they are important to you. That you value them and that you desire to know them and possess them. If further implies that you want to protect them and even make them safe. Let’s examine the steps or process for keeping God’s Words:
- We must desire to know God’s Words
- We must value the Words of God
- We must give the Words of God priority over all other words
- We must make the effort to find God’s Words
- We must take the time to learn God’s Words
- We must extend the effort to understand God’s Words
- We must then place the Words of God into our memories and recall them at all times
- We must then put the Word of God into daily and hourly practice becoming a doer of the Words of God
That was my quick overview of keeping the Word of God. It denotes a process of taking the Word of God from a book and placing into our hearts and minds to exalt it, protect it, guard it, preserve it, etc. Clearly to keep the Word of God represents a transfer from one location to another. What did I just say? Taking God’s word from the pages of a written book and internalizing them is the transfer of divine information from one place to another. Can we agree that this is what this word represents? Now apply that to what Jesus said He would do before the hour of temptation. Jesus basically said “I will keep you (move you out of harm, protecting you, keeping you safe, etc.) before that hour occurs because I value you as my treasure. People will disagree with me that do not wish to see the truth, but there is really not much I can do to help those that do not want any help.
I believe very firmly that this verse is very specific. It is a prophecy of two events occurring in sequence. The first event is the “Keeping” safe of the church body that has kept safe the word of God. The second event that will occur next is the hour of temptation, testing and trial that will occur to everyone on the planet earth. This very clearly says that the church cannot be present upon the earth or this verse would not be accurate anymore. The church’s presence on the earth’s surface during the trial would either cause the first part of the verse to become a lie or the last part of the verse to be a lie and that does not make any sense to me how people could explain it to be something else.
If you go through the New Testament carefully, it might help you to see where the Greek word “keep” is used and how it primarily means to take hold of something to never let it go. I’ll give you an example of this:
- Joh 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and “keepeth” them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
You see even in this verse it says that a man that hears the Bible is not the one that will benefit from it. He must “Keep” it which means grab hold firmly and not let go or let it slip away for God’s Words to be effective. To take hold and not let go sounds very much like a rapture in this Revelation 3:10 description. To rapture or to catch up or catch away is clearly God taking hold of His people and not letting them go. This is what will happen to the church members that have kept God’s Word firmly within their hearts and not let them go. It is a conditional rapture event. Not everyone that called Him Lord will be taken. It is only those that made Him Lord and put His Word on the inside firmly that will be taken up. Can you now see how Revelation 3:10 is describing a rapture event before the time of trial? It is literally impossible for the church to on the planet and not be in the group “all the world” that will be tested. This literally means that since God has “kept” us from this hour that we must be in heaven. Those are the only two choices for our location. Based upon the meaning of the word “kept” as being a transition of state or position, there is really no way for a Christian that loves the Word of God to not be carried away from the pending world disasters. I could literally go on and on about this but that was enough for one Bible lesson. I hope and pray that you have gathered some wisdom on the timing of the rapture event from what was taught to us from God’s Word today. The primary goal of this lesson was to help build your faith in a pre-tribulation rapture event. I at least hope that you were encouraged how to go and search to see more verses like this one today in the Bible. I’m not sure when my next Bible lesson will occur on this subject or any other right now. I would appreciate your prayers if you know how to pray in the spirit as Ephesians 6:18 teaches. I thank you all and I will also remember you in my prayers today. Be Blessed Always.
If you would like to continue reading in this series, please click “Part 6“.
(Ver 1.1) This quick Bible lesson is the answer to a very common Bible student’s question. We usually all have very similar questions when reading the Bible, so I will answer this question from one person and believe that it will help others that were not brave enough to ask the question. I find it interesting that people will ask you questions as long as you give them the answer that they wanted to hear. But if I say something new or controversial that God has taught me from the Bible, the responses can be very diverse and unexpected for a Christian. I have had some people unfriend me or just stop talking to me because I didn’t agree with what they viewed as the only truth in the Bible. If we are not open to learning something new and greater from God we will all remain in a stagnant state of ignorance apart from what He desired us to know. Today, we are going to analyze the information given to us by God surrounding the story of two brothers. Regardless of what you already think that you know about this story please leave your pre-conceived expectations behind and focus only upon what God says in His Word. Be open to the Holy Spirit and be led by only Him.
The question asked by my reader was concerning the story described in Genesis 4. It appears from reading these verses that one brother’s offerings were accepted by God and the other elder brother’s offerings were rejected by God. Why was that? This subject has been preached by many people and most of them have not seen the fullness of what the Bible actually says so they draw wrong conclusions using insufficient information and teach people about things that do not directly apply to the actual story. For example, one preacher that I recall hearing taught that Abel’s offering was accepted by God because it was a sacrifice of shed blood and Cain’s offering was not. He used this as a type of Jesus the coming Lamb of God that was going to shed His blood for all people. Well that was an interesting and creative approach but that just doesn’t make total sense to me based upon other scriptures that I know on the subjects. I certainly understand the association and how he took the leap to bring the two stories together but is that what God desired us to learn from this story? I have found at least 4 popular human explanations for why God rejects Cain’s offerings. Here are the four popular theories listed in random order:
- The Absence of a Blood Sacrifice from Cain.
- The Poor Quality of the Offered Sacrifice of Cain.
- The Heart Issue of Cain’s Attitude Giving the Sacrifice.
- The Sovereignty of God.
All of these are legitimate ways to look at the story from a student’s viewpoint of the text. However, we should not attempt to say that any one of these is more important than the others because they are all contributing factors. The story of Cain and Abel quickly becomes a war of human opinions and my opinion is as totally worthless as your opinion. Therefore, we need to learn God’s opinion. What does God say about it and how do we even begin to find it in the Bible. That is the number one reason why people do not understand the Bible correctly. They read an isolated passage in Genesis 4 and ignore the whole rest of the Bible. That is a crazy way of studying the Bible. I heard one preacher say we should only study one book of the Bible at a time and I thought that was a foolish way of studying a book that was designed the way the Bible was written by God. The Bible is progressive revelation. What is hidden at the beginning is uncovered at the end. Therefore we cannot understand any of it without taking into account what is written in every part of the Bible about the subjects that we are studying. If you don’t have a good Bible software program on your computer get one. There are many that are free and I recommend one called eSword. Then search the Bible for the subjects found in Genesis 4 like the names of Abel and Cain and read what God says about them. For example, Abel is only referenced directly a few times but the statements describing him are infinitely important to why God accepted his offering and not Cain’s. Get your Bible search software and let’s get started with the story of Cain and Abel.
CAIN AND ABEL TWO OFFERINGS, ONE GOOD RESULT
We will begin by going through the verses in Genesis 4 to gather the factual information to help us to understand what is expressed by God. We will turn to the second verse in Chapter 4 and begin to read there:
- Gen 4:2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
Cain was the firstborn of Adam and Eve. That fact is interesting but not significant for this Bible lesson. Abel was revealed to be a keeper of sheep and we all know lambs come from sheep. Thus we have the foundation beginning for the belief in the assumption theory number 1 concerning the blood sacrifice, but we won’t go there. Cain as you can see is a ground laborer and that is just another name for a farmer. Let me ask you, how would a farmer of crops give God a blood sacrifice of something that he does not possess? I think that is a problem right from the beginning. Are we expected to give from what God has given to us or does God expect us to give what we don’t have just to please Him? A mindset of religious works would demand that we must do specific works of the flesh in order to be pleasing to God and I do not believe that is the revealed nature of God. I think you should think about that for a while before you answer.
- Gen 4:3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
Pay very close attention to the phrasing of the story. Every word has significance. God informs us that in the process of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the land. You do understand that it takes time for crops to produce? Crops are not an overnight miracle. Since Cain was a farmer this description sounded pretty good until we actually read about what Abel did in the next verse:
- Gen 4:4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
As you can read both brother’s offerings took time. Animals are not an instant miracle either. A lamb can take 150 days to be born. Therefore both offerings presented to God could only come after time. There are certain keywords given to us by God that are important. The term “firstling” and “fat” are two keywords that have significance to describe Abel’s offering to be remarkably different than his brother’s. The term firstling means the first born and that is significant. The term “fat” literally means the best. Here is where we get the foundation for assumption theory number 2, the insufficient quality of the offering of Cain. Abel brings God the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof. The absence of any adjective qualifiers describing Cain’s offering implies them to not be special. Then notice that it says God had “respect” for Abel’s offering.
- Gen 4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
As you can see God had no “respect” for Cain’s offering. Here we can also read that Cain’s attitude was not very positive. He becomes angry and depressed and those seem to support the theoretical assumption number 3 that Cain failed God expectations with his wrong attitude. You can quickly see how each theory has a basis for beliefs and why they are taught in churches. The only theory that I have not touched on is assumption 4 concerning the principle of the sovereign choice of God. There are endless numbers of Christians that place everything that happens in the world in the hands of God’s design, purpose, will, and plans and they leave nothing out for us to do or for any contribution of Satan or evil spirits to be involved. I call this the response-less devil and human theory. No matter what they do it makes no difference because God’s will is always done. These types of Bible teachers go with theory 4 so that they do not have to teach any human responsibility or accountability. These types of teachers also have to attribute every evil in the world to be a gift from God. I was on Facebook the other day and I saw a very ignorant statement. This person said God sent the storms so that He could prove that He was the only protection from the storms. That sounds very religious but that is not my God and people really need to read the whole Bible. I’m not going to go there fully but I will show you a few verses that counter this wrong belief concerning the sovereignty of God.
GETTING GOD’S COMMENTARY ON CAIN AND ABEL
Here is where I’m going to start the main lesson on the story in Genesis 4. My approach will be to use God’s commentary on the subjects and not just the words found in Genesis chapter 4 alone. We are going to depart from the popular 4 theories of assumed interpretations and begin to see what else God says on the subjects of “respect” and “Abel”. I picked the subject of “respect” to begin because it is a major part of the reason that God is accused by men of making a sovereign choice. The Bible very clearly says that God had “respect” for Abel’s offering but for Cain’s offering God had “no respect”. What is “respect” and how or why does God respect one but not the other? Read what Peter says about God in Acts and learn how this verse applies to our story of Cain and Abel:
- Act 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
The Greek word that is translated as “respecter of persons” in this verse means to have partiality for one individual and not for the others. It would be like a teacher in school picking one child as their favorite and the others are not treated equally. Being partial clearly is a conscious decision to show bias, prejudice or preference for one human and not do the same for another. This would be like two men walking into your church. One is dressed in rich apparel and the other is dressed in rags. The ushers could treat both men the same and be like God or they could take the wealthy looking man to the front and sit the raggedy man in the back of the church and that would be an example of being a respecter of persons. Showing favoritism would be preferential treatment for one while exhibiting inferior treatment for the other based solely upon their appearance. According to scriptures in the N.T. God is not a type of God that respects one individual over ANY other. We can clearly read that here in Acts but it is also found in Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9, Colossians 3:25, and James 2:9. That is 5 verse witnesses in the Bible that teaches us the truth about God and you should not ignore them.
It appears that we have a scriptural battle raging where one verse in the O.T. says that God had “respect” fighting with 5 other witnesses in the N.T. that says God does not do that. Here is a great opportunity to learn that the Bible does not ever contradict itself. It is only a human’s wrong interpretation or understanding that causes the conflict in their mind. However, pay closer attention to what God respected. Both men gave God offerings over extended times but God saw one offering as good and the other as potentially not so good for an unknown or an unstated reason. Notice in Genesis that God had no lack of respect for either men but rather only for their offerings. God is stated to be love in the New Testament. Did God love Abel more than He loved Cain? You see I do not believe that is true. However do not confuse God’s hatred towards your sin to be the same His love for you. God can hate what you do and still die to save you because of His love. Let me give you one more verse about God’s lack of human respect variance that just might help us:
- 1Pe 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
Here is an excellent verse that will apply to what we have just read in Genesis 4 about Cain and Abel. God says that He does not respect any specific individual but that He does judge their works. This is a commonly ignored verse in the Bible. This was written to Christians but it does apply to all of the people of the earth, past, present and future and it definitely has an application to what God says about Cain and Abel. If God does not respect a person or an individual but rather will show respect for their works what was it about Cain’s works that were rejected and Abel’s works that were accepted? Doesn’t that change the perspective of the story significantly? That is what we are talking about in the story, right? The fact that both men gave an offering and one was pleasing to God and one was not, that tells me a lot. There are three basic ways to judge a person’s work. A person’s work can be judged for what they did, how they did it or why they did it or a combination of all of these three.
Did you know that you can do the right things at the wrong times or in the wrong ways or even with the wrong motives and still be found guilty before God? It goes back to a question that I used to ask job applicants during the interview process where I worked. I always tried to ask them, “What matters more the end result or the methods used to achieve the end-result”? You see in every business if the end-result was the only thing that mattered then we could all lie, cheat, steal and rob to get the job done. Recently in the news Lance Armstrong came out in public and said that he had used banned substances to achieve his 7 bicycle race victories. He clearly viewed the end-results to be more important than the methods to achieve them and now he is paying the ultimate price. This was probably not the wisest thing that Lance ever did. What I am teaching you, is that matters how you do something and why you are doing it, more than it does getting it done to God.
Learn from the lesson of Lance Armstrong and let’s see if this modern story applies to the life of Cain and Abel. We can clearly see both Cain and Abel gave an offering to God. But, what caused God to judge one offering to be different from the other? There are not very many verses in the Bible about Cain and Abel but there is at least one that you need to see. If you did the search in your Bible for the name of “Abel” you have already found my next Bible verse to learn. God lists the name of Mr. Abel in the Faith Hall of Fame and his name is forever preserved with the heroes of the Bible like Moses, Abraham, David, and Joshua to name a few. Let me show you what God says about Abel:
- Heb 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
Did you see it? God says the sacrifice that Abel offered was “more excellent”. So clearly sacrifices of lambs are better than fruits? But is that what it really says? What did God say directly before that statement? Doesn’t God tell us of Abel’s motivation and methods? How did Abel offer this more excellent sacrifice? God says Abel offered it “By Faith”. The implication given by God is that there was a factor missing from the offering of Cain and this factor was his faith. You see if you read down in Hebrews 11 you will find a revelation that directly applies to the story we read in Genesis 4.
- Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Without faith it is impossible to even try to please God. Is that not the reason why Cain’s offering was rejected? The absence of faith means God will not be pleased with anything that we do and it really does not matter what you are bringing before the Lord. Get out of your religious box and see the truth of God’s Word. Many people today go to church and think that God is pleased because they showed up. That is crazy thinking my friend. If you are not going to church in faith you are failing. I’m not going to teach you the entire subject of faith today; that would be a very long complex subject that has many parts to it. If you don’t know about faith, go read my Bible lessons on that subject. Faith is one of the top three Bible subjects that you need to learn before Jesus comes back. Why? Because Jesus said this:
- Luk 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
The way I read His statement, He is looking for a people with faith that pleases Him when He returns. So when you so dearly ignore the subject of faith in the Bible you just might find yourself to be more like Cain and less like Abel and that is not a good place to be. What company do you wish to associate? Which example do you wish to demonstrate to Christ? Your name could be with the others in the Faith Hall of Fame. It is really up to you more than you think. If you wish to be pleasing to God then you need to learn the subject of faith.
Since God has been talking about the subject of sacrifices in Genesis 4, is God still looking for a sacrifice from His people today? Maybe you need to go and read further in the book of Hebrews past chapter 11 where Abel was mentioned. God speaks a lot about this subject but I’ll only focus in on 2 verses that apply to the church:
- Heb 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
- Heb 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Did you notice what these verses said? They are speaking of sacrifices but not the blood types like an animal or a lamb. No, God is saying offer up the sacrifice of praise unto Him. Wow, that is very strong isn’t it? It appears that God still desires us to make a sacrifice but with the fruit of our lips. Uh oh! What did Cain offer God? Was it not the fruit of the ground? What are your lips made out of? If you did not know it, your lips are made from the ground also and these produce fruit for God. Why did God reject Cain’s offerings of fruit but still desires the fruit from our lips? I pray that you are learning something new. God just got through talking to you about the whole long subject of faith in chapter 11 and now in chapter 13 He connects that with your sacrifices which are still required. Do you believe that whatever sacrifices you give to God that you better do them in faith to be accepted? I seriously think that would be a great idea. What did we read in Hebrews 11:6 that pleases God? Without “faith” it is impossible to please Him and therefore faith pleases God. Even though you are doing something that could please Him like praising Him with the fruit of your lips, if you are going to do it without faith it will not be found pleasing.
I just did a quick Bible lesson on the importance of your faith and giving God your sacrifices today. There is more to the story of Cain and Abel than this, but that was the message from the Lord for you today. Abel through his faith in God was called righteous and his name is mentioned in some elite company. If you think it is too late for you to be added in this group I believe you are wrong. Thank you for reading my Bible lesson. May the love of God become known to you in new ways that are beyond your natural comprehension! If you have any Bible questions that you like for me to see if I can answer please provide them in a comment and as I am led by the Spirit of God I will address them. God Bless!
(Ver 1.3) Today’s lesson is Part 17 in one of the most important Bible study series that I have ever given to you about the subject of “Understanding Bible Faith”. If you have not read all of the lessons I would strongly recommend that you go and start reading with “Part 1” first and then continue through the series. Today is going to be a really different kind of post in this series. The Spirit of God led me in a way this week that I really did not expect to go. This week I was spending some time on Facebook and I was led to talk to a friend and the conversation went in a direction that only God could have orchestrated. Today I am going to share my friend’s testimony that I received this week about her mother’s miracle of healing. Hopefully you will read this testimony with an open mind and will learn something from it while being also encouraged that no matter what the diagnosis is from the doctor, that nothing is impossible or too difficult for God to solve and help you through. I will let you read the entire testimony that she wrote and then I will comment on it at the end and help you to understand what happened and why her mother has lived past the age of 80 after being given a near death sentence by the doctors at a young age. This testimony is from over 25 years ago. Here is what she sent to me and I want you to know that it was her anointed writing that produced this:
HEALING FROM CANCER TESTIMONY
My senior year in high school was Straight A’s, Dean’s List, Honor Roll, National Honor Society, Best Writer Award on the school newspaper and a small scholarship to help pay for college. Just when things seemed to be turning out pretty good for me, things got pretty shaken up.
Found out my dad was sneaking around with a young gal from his college classes. My mom found out the lump in her breast was cancer & decided she didn’t want to put up with both my dad & the cancer, so after 28 (not so happy years) of marriage, they split up.
My mom went into the hospital at the Air Force Base, and had a Bi-lateral, Radical Mastectomy – both breasts removed, and most of the lymph nodes from under the arms too.
With my dad out of the house, this left me and my older brother Tony on our own. The task of calling family, friends & church people to give them the news about Mama’s diagnosis, fell to me, because Tony thought it sounded better if I the person giving the info was crying and emotional (rather than him, in his ever monotone, emotionless way).
Mama was in the hospital 18 days – she was afraid to come home because she feared the dog might jump on her & hurt her, but she did finally come home. That was hard. Moms aren’t supposed to get sick. At least not that sick. And with chemotherapy treatments, she got pretty darned sick. Kids aren’t supposed to have to deal with that kind of stuff – they’re just not equipped for it. Teen-agers are still quite self-centered, at least I was, and so looking back at this time is hard, because I just wasn’t there for Mama like I would be today. This was a battle that she fought on her own, just her & God.
Because she was now separated (not divorced, because then she would lose her medical coverage from the military), she was on her own financially… with two teenagers at home. Tony did move out around this time. And the house had to be sold as part of the divorce settlement. I was not emotionally equipped for college, so I dropped out after the 1st semester. I had never had a job, so I wasn’t equipped for that either. I was pretty lost and self-absorbed. Mama, endured 9 months of awful chemotherapy while still driving 20+ miles each way to work & back; often driving with a bucket on her lap, because she was so sick from the chemo.
Somehow God brought her through all of this by His grace and a series of miracles.
Back when she first found the lump, a friend asked her what she would do if the doctor told her it was cancer. Mama said, “I’ll just tell him to sew me up & let me go home to die.”
But when the doctor gave her the news, he took her to the room of another patient. In that room, she saw a lady lying in the bed, one side of her chest flat and with stitches, and her husband standing next to her. First Mama saw the surgical wound, but then their eyes met. She said it was like the lady was saying, “But I’m alive!” Mama then felt “billows of peace” rolling over her with each breath she took. Instantly she did the first three steps of AA: 1) Admit there’s a problem too big to handle; 2) Admit there is a God that can restore her; 3) Turn her life, will & problem over to God.
She told the doctor to schedule the surgery, and then she went to bed. Sometimes, in the midst of a battle, the best thing you can do is rest and sleep, and let God take over.
The surgery was done. She was bandaged up and mostly alone in her hospital room. Mama, was always one to have her hair and make-up done up nice before going anywhere, so these endless days in the hospital were challenging in that respect as well. Wanting to try to regain some normalcy, she asked a nurse if someone could come wash her hair for her – apparently not! So Mama went in her bathroom, bent over the sink and washed her hair herself. Of course it hurt, but it had to be done. The next step was to pin her hair up. Pinning up her hair was a ritual Mama had done every night since she was 13 years old. It consisted of methodically taking very small sections of her hair, wrapping the hair around her finger, sliding that bit off her finger to lay flat on her scalp, and securing it in place with two bobby pins. This would cause the hair to dry in with a curl in it, rather than the pin-straight style that came naturally to it. This process of pinning up her hair required both hands working on top and above her head.
When the nurse walked in on her, she gasped, turned around and left. Nurse number two came in and did the same. Apparently, in the course of the surgery, the muscles needed to raise the arms are cut, so that movement is not possible… or is very painful. As they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way! Some days or perhaps weeks later a volunteer from “Reach to Recovery” came in to teach Mama how to walk her fingers up the wall, to exercise her arms and regain that movement. Well, Mama was way ahead because of her hair pinning chores.
Somehow life did go on. The house sold. Mama found an apartment for her and me. Although I don’t remember packing, I know we must have. Then somewhere along the way, sometime after the 9 months of chemo, Mama had another divine intervention.
Battling with pain in her liver as well as depression, one morning it was just too much to face. Mama lay in bed, and told God, “You gave me a job to do, if you want me there, you’re going to have to do something.” And then she pressed her head even deeper into the pillow. Before she knew what happened, she found herself sitting on the edge of the bed, with her feet on the floor, and no idea how she got there!
She made her way to the bathroom, where the orange glow of the countertop made her look even worse as she stared at herself in the mirror. Her response was only, “Unh–uh, God!” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw this small, brilliantly colored rainbow with block lettering. The message read “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. She closed her eyes, yet still she saw it. “Great, now I’m hallucinating!” She thought.
The rainbow went with her as she got in the shower, and with her eyes closed, she kept reading it. Every time she read it, it moved, like it was dancing and it was progressively moving closer to her. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. “I HAVE HEALED YOU”. Until it went inside her mouth and exploded! She said it felt like the explosion shook and vibrated all through her. As she stepped out of the shower, she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had healed her.
As she walked through the doorway from the bathroom to the bedroom, she saw something above her, shine down on her, and she said it “Tattooed” on her brain: “It doesn’t matter what it looks like, I Have Healed You.”. She said it was so real that she answered aloud, “Okay”.
She had not gotten a doctor’s report or diagnosis back yet, so she didn’t know what she was healed of, but she knew she was healed.
On the way to work that morning, Mama told me this whole story. And she said that she had been so sick with chemo that she would not go back on it. She said we serve a God who heals. I agreed (I did not know about the prayer of agreement: Matthew 18:19 “Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven.”). When she got to work, she shared her story with her co-workers; Christian counselors, who prayed over her.
By the time she went to see the Oncologist to get the news of the liver scan that had been done, the doctor was quite upset by the many new spots he saw. He motioned for Mama to look at the slides hanging on the light boxes. As she turned to look, all she could see was a hand, with fingers grasping a round pull ring, and a white shade pulled down preventing her from seeing the slides. At the same time she heard again, “It doesn’t matter what it looks like, I HAVE HEALED YOU!”
She left that doctor’s office without a prescription or a treatment plan; after all, she was healed.
That was more than 25 years ago. Mama is now 80 years old and is still healthy & well. Every now and then a pain will trigger a fear, but as she shares her story of God’s power, faithfulness and love, she is reminded of God’s word to her, that she was healed…. and still is, no matter what it looks like!
LEARNING THE FAITH LESSONS REVEALED IN THIS TESTIMONY!
I can possibly understand different things from reading this testimony of deliverance than you can see right now. I can see many hidden faith lessons presented to us that I feel are valuable for us to understand in this story. But, I also believe that I understand the subject of faith now much better than when I first started to study this subject of faith extensively well over 20+ years ago. Too often people do not understand that their current level of spiritual knowledge places limitations upon the things that they can receive from God’s Word. God tells the Corinthian church in 1 Cor 3:1 they are still carnal and unable to receive the spiritual things of depth and substance. Thus their spiritual maturity level placed severe limitations on what could be taught to them by Paul. Everything that is being taught by me or any other real Bible teacher is relative to two realities. What I teach you is totally relative to what I know on the subject and what you can understand about the subject is also totally relative to what you already know on the subject and the basics found in the Bible. I could easily go over your head with deep information, but I try very hard not to do that. That is why I teach using a series of lessons style of progressive information with limited content in each lesson. I try to go with the basics of a subject first, introducing you to progressively more complex parts of the subject in succession like they do in school with math for example. Therefore as you progress in this knowledge of God you should be able to grow into more complex sections of the information presented. I recommend that you go back and reread all the lessons more than once. This way you will catch new things that you did not see or understand before.
I am going to go through the testimony and give you some new perspectives to look at on the subject of faith. For example, many times we get the wrong idea from reading the Bible that a miracle of God is only an instantaneous spectacular phenomenon of the power of God and does not fit with a slower extended over time process like this testimony speaks of. Clearly this testimony was a new extension of the miracle working power of God over time. God was certainly involved in her deliverance even though it took an extended duration of time to fully manifest. Perhaps the reason why this detail took time will become clearer as I continue to go through the analysis of what was said and make some direct comparisons of this modern life experience with another Old Testament example that God gave to us as an example of faith to follow and to learn from. I will be teaching you using the story of Joshua and how they took the Promised Land as you will see soon.
Satan is definitely an equal opportunity oppressor, destroyer and murderer. He comes at anyone, anywhere and at any time that they will let him. The Bible says that “Your adversary the devil goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). That is exactly what is occurring in this testimony. I believe that is one of the first things to learn from this testimony. The origination of the cancer was not from God. God did not send the cancer and then deliver her from it for that would be idiotic. The next lesson to learn is that sometimes bad things happen to good people and we can understand that this occurs because of what Adam chose in the garden. After Adam sinned God said “The man has become as one of us, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:22). Therefore Adam allowed all evil to cross the threshold into the world because of his sin. When Adam let evil into the world he also let sickness come in the same door. I have a Bible lesson series on the specific subject of “Understanding Healing, Sickness and Disease” if you would like a more complete definition for why sickness is an evil and why it exists in our world. You need to settle in your mind and your heart today and determine who your God is. Is your God good or is your God evil or perhaps you are really confused and think that your God is both simultaneously? As long as this is not established in your heart it will cause you to doubt. This is exactly what Satan wants, since doubt will defeat you from receiving healing. Let me ask you again? Where does cancer come from? Is it from God or is it from Satan? Jesus gave us the answer and He taught us something very important in the Gospels and gave us some direct clues to that question. In the book of John Jesus informed us that it was not God who performs the evil in the world. Jesus said “the thief has come only to steal, kill and destroy but I have come that you might have life” (John 10:10). Jesus said very clearly that “I am not the thief”. Jesus said I have come to give to you, life abundantly. This was God in the flesh telling you He does not do anything evil to hurt you. Is cancer a good thing or a blessing? If you think it is good then you are cleverly deceived by Satan the thief. Cancer steals your health, your time, your ability, your strength, your money and your life if you let it. But Jesus said I am here to give you life and not to give you cancer. This is really not rocket science but you need to settle it.
Jesus revealed in John 10:10, that there exists two opposing forces; one of evil versus one of good and He attributes death and doing evil to you as being from Satan and life and doing good to you as being from God. Therefore, if any evil is working in your life it was Satan that was behind it and not God. Acts 10:38 teaches us that Jesus went about DOING GOOD, healing all those that were “oppressed” of the devil. That verse clearly teaches us that all sickness is the opposite of good and is an evil satanic oppression. Therefore, cancer is also a part of this unified set of evil oppression brought to people by Satan. Consider the synonyms of “oppression” because they are fascinating to learn. Oppression means “domination”, “coercions”, “cruelty”, “tyranny”, “subjugation”, “persecution”, and “harassment”. None of these describe God at any time or under any circumstances. These words are the antithesis of God and His goodness (Rom 2:4).
Here is another interesting bit of factual information that I learned from studying this information in the Bible. Satan can cause physical diseases, illnesses and symptoms to manifest in your external natural physical body. I really do not have time to fully elaborate why this is possible or what gives Satan access, but know that there was something that you did that opened the door for him. I know this because of the verse that I gave you earlier about “Satan goes about as a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour”. We can clearly read that Satan is not able to devour just anyone that he wishes or he would not need to seek. To seek means to look for something like a hidden door or search for something like a hidden passage that will allow him access to devour you. What is it that you do that opens the door for him? I really can’t explain it completely here, but if you want to know you can begin to read my series of Bible lessons on the power of your tongue and gain many clues to how this is possible. You see the Bible says “Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those that love it will eat the fruit thereof” (Prov 18:21). Did you notice that this verse in Proverbs repeats the same two elements described by Jesus in John 10:10? Here we have two opposing forces of life versus death and good versus evil. Therefore, life must be produced by us choosing to speak God’s good Words and death must be produced by us choosing to speak satanic evil words. This is more relevant and important than you can imagine right now. Your words got you into this mess, and your words can be changed to get you out of this mess. Let’s go back and read Deuteronomy 30:
Deu 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
You see your life is more in your hands than it is in God’s hands. People want to abdicate and relieve themselves of any personal responsibility for what happens to them. However, God says that I have given to you the choice, and therefore choose wisely and select to live. If Satan puts cancer upon you based upon something you said to open the door, then you can begin to reverse that curse that you initiated by speaking life. How do you do this? Jesus said “the words that I speak they are Spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). Therefore you need to find out what God says and speak that. I think I’m getting ahead of myself but I just said some very important things. Let’s go back and verify using the Bible that God is not the initiator of sickness and that Satan is. Let me give you a verse that links evil spirits with the subject of sickness:
Mat 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
I want you to understand that whenever God mentions two or more subjects in a one verse statement that there is an undeviating connection between them by direct word association. Clearly power was given by God to do two things; to cast out unclean spirits and to heal. This word “power” means “delegated influence” within a realm of jurisdiction or authority. It is a legal term indicating a transferred right of legal supremacy. Why does Jesus give His disciples power to cast out unclean spirits and was this, the same as healing someone? In other words is casting out unclean spirits equivalent to healing or are they potentially two separate spiritual activities of God’s power. You do understand the implications given here, don’t you? I believe what is being revealed is a cause and effect relationship between demons causing the sickness and then when you get rid of these causes then you have eliminated the effects of sickness. I hope that you understand these concepts of physics. I believe that this is all very significant information and you need to pay close attention to what is revealed. First do you know what an unclean spirit is? How do we define that and what is different between a clean spirit and an unclean spirit? What makes a spirit unclean? Perhaps it would be helpful to study the definition in the Strong’s of the Greek word translated as “unclean”:
From G1 (as a negative particle) and a presumed derivative of G2508 (meaning cleansed); impure (ceremonially, morally (lewd) or specifically (demonic)): – foul, unclean.
We can see that this word is associated with the demonic by Strong. It means something that is foul and impure. The opposite of pure is impure. A pure substance like gold is the most valuable in the pure form and the value decreases as you mix more filler elements with it. The concept of water is best as pure H2O and adding other elements soon makes it undrinkable. This is clearly a difficult concept to grasp until we search and find God’s use of this word in the Old Testament. God uses “unclean” to describe a leprous man in the natural realm. A leprous man was one with his flesh in a state of rot and decay. A leprous man was required to be separate from the non-leprous people so that they would not be infected. Any time a leprous man came near clean people they were required by law to yell out “unclean” so that everyone would be warned (Lev 13:45). I believe that God is using this natural example of sickness to demonstrate a spiritual truth about the angels that have fallen with Lucifer. They have left their state of perfection to become imperfection by their own sinful choice. Therefore sin is again a cause for spiritual imperfection making a clean spirit one without sin.
To be an unclean spirit is never mentioned in conjunction with a man’s human spirit in the New Testament. 23 verses in the N.T. mention unclean spirits and they are directly associated with spiritual beings that inhabit people. We can learn this a little more clearly by reading what Jesus speaks of in Matthew 12:43.
Mat 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
Mat 12:44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
Mat 12:45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
An unclean spirit is revealed to us in this discourse as a spiritual being that enters into and exits from a man’s house. However this is not a physical dwelling like a brick, mortar or wood building construction. These are all symbolic expressions of a much greater truth. The man’s house in this explanation is his symbolic natural body. A clean house or body is one that is free from evil influence or inhabitation and an unclean house is a man with one or more evil spirits living within. The real man is a spirit that lives in a physical body. The unclean spirits that are coming into the man’s house (body) were those spiritual beings that followed Lucifer from heaven. We can understand this concept of the human body house better by reading other verses in the N.T. like when Paul writes this:
2Co 5:6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
Clearly the body of a Christian man is his temporary dwelling place while still being present here on the earth. It is self-evident to me that this verse is speaking of an implied house being called a home to the spirit of man. The contrasted antithesis truth found in this verse is to be with the Lord in heaven when we are found apart from this physical body. What I just said is more clearly stated in verse 8:
2Co 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
To be absent from the body is to no longer be at home in the natural body. To be “present” with the Lord is defined as our spirits having left our body after death here on the earth and going to be with Jesus. This is called rightly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). Did you notice that the unclean spirits mentioned in Matthew were there for the purpose of the destruction of the natural house? The implied part of the story is that they were cast out and that the man was able to get his house back into the physical order of health. Let’s call this being physically healed since Jesus is describing his body and not a house that we live in. Jesus is describing spirits that cause havoc to a man’s body. Jesus says if you get rid of them and then let them back in they will bring 7 more with them the next time and it will be worse than the previous time.
Do you recall reading about the demon possessed man that Jesus ran into at Gadara? This man was described as a madman that could not be chained and Jesus came to him and commanded the “unclean spirit” to come out of him and they had a conversation first. Jesus asked for the name of the “unclean spirit” and they said “We are legion for we are many” (Mk 5:9). Here was a clear example of many evil spirits being present in the body of a single man. It does not say that this man had a physical illness, but it does say that he had a great mental illness. Therefore, mental illness is also demonically inspired manifestations of “unclean spirits”. That is exactly what Jesus was teaching in Matthew could occur. No doubt the man in Mark 5 had cleaned house before but has let the same spirits return with many more until now he has enough unclean spirits to be called a great army of them.
“Unclean spirits” are the evil spirits that inhabited the bodies of men and women on the earth that cause physical disease and mental illness and I could give you many more scriptures that help to support this evidence if I need to. Going back now to Matthew 10:1 do you better understand why Jesus connected the “authority” to cast out unclean spirits with the ability to heal ALL manner of sicknesses and diseases? According to the Bible when you get rid of the cause the resulting affects also has to go. What am I saying? I am saying cancer is caused by evil spirits. If you don’t understand that or believe that then you will not know to resist it and you will let it come in stay and live, run its course and kill you. You are going to have to take the authority that Jesus gave to you over your house that you live in. Just because Jesus gave His disciples this authority does not mean that it was not also transferred to you. You are the same body of Christ as they were. I do not have time to teach the subject of Bible Authority completely. I did one lesson on the subject of authority and great faith in this series, but I should probably do more just on this subject soon.
One seminary graduate man that I worked with many years ago told me once that God had given his wife cancer, yet they still went to the doctor to try to get out of the perfect will of God. That really did not make any sense to me. He desired his wife to live but then he had to believe that he was fighting against God to get her healed by a doctor. He was mixing up who was the oppressor and who was the healer ignoring the Bible while attempting to put God in both roles in his mind. Why pray to God and ask for healing if God sent you the sickness in the first place? Whatever God sends to you are we supposed to refuse it? Clearly that is illogical human reasoning and turns God into a liar when Jesus said “a house divided against itself will not stand” (Mark 3:25). If God is sending you the sickness and then healing the sickness, His house is a mixed up divided kingdom about to perish. I alluded to this statement earlier, but you MUST believe that Satan is the oppressor and that he has brought you the sickness or disease to kill you or you will not resist it like God says in His Word (James 4:7). Physical and spiritual resistances are both absolute requirements for any faith victory. The ultimate faith battle is on the inside, but the ultimate victory result is only seen by others on the outside in the natural. However, victory always starts on the inside and then this will works its way to the outside and I’ll talk about this more later.
I cried when I read this testimony. It touched my heart how much this lady endured in her life. I felt great compassion for what she went through. However, I also saw several things that developed in her over time that God used to deliver her. At first she did not want to fight the cancer, but then the doctor showed her another lady that was still alive and that seemed to make a difference in her to give her a fighting spirit. God can use anyone to try to change your heart. You need a fighting spirit within you or you will be easily defeated before you start the first battle. The Bible clearly teaches us that we are to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim 6:12). This clearly implies to us that there will be a series of faith battles that will occur in your life for your life. No fight is over instantly. In fact a fight further implies endurance is necessary. Natural fighters train for months before they go and fight one event. During this time they are strengthening their bodies to be an overcomer. This is a physical quality that can be transferred into the spiritual arena. If you go into this faith fight unprepared and passively expecting to automatically win, then again you are going to be defeated. I have never seen any fight with a passive winner natural or spiritual. If you think that you have automatically won the fight because of what Jesus has done for you, then again you will be defeated. There is nothing in the Bible that teaches us what God has given to us is automatically transferred to anyone without them believing, receiving and fighting to keep it. This pattern was first introduced with Adam when God told him to hedge the garden. Sure God gave Adam the garden without a fight, but to keep it safe was not God’s responsibility because God had given it to him to rule over. Threfore Adam held responsibility to keep every enemy out of the garden, but failed.
The children of Israel learned this lesson the hard way in the wilderness. When they finally decided to take their Promised Land, they still had the exact same enemies as before but now there were probably many more of them than there was 40 years earlier. The children of Israel had to couple a physical external fight with their internal spiritual faith fight in order to produce an external physical victory for the possession of the land. That is really no different than what we go through as revealed by this great testimony. Taking the Promised Land is really no different for us than what Israel endured. I would recommend that you go and read the book of Joshua. The entire book of Joshua is only 24 chapters and can be divided into three sections of information. The first 5 chapters represent the preparation part before the actual battle occurs. In these chapters God taught Joshua and Israel to start by being strong and courageous. This is a basic of any spiritual fight using your faith. God then told Joshua to not let the book of the law depart from his mouth, but to speak it day and night (Joshua 1:8). How does faith come? Surely you understand from the previous lessons that faith comes by hearing and that this act of Joshua speaking God’s word was God’s way of giving His people faith. This is exactly where you must start your faith fight also. If you are not getting prepared correctly you are already in trouble. Learn to be strong and then learn to speak God’s Word day and night.
The second part of the book of Joshua is chapters 6-12 where they actually take the Promised Land in phases. During these chapters the nation of Israel has multiple encounters with their enemies. God gives specific instructions for each encounter that must be believed and obeyed in order to be victorious. So far we have 5 chapters of preparation and 7 chapters of battles. The rest of the book of Joshua is Israel settling in the land. It is important to note that the conquest of the Promised Land is a duration of time of nearly seven years. What we learn from this is that just because God gives you something does not mean it does not take time to possess it. Clearly this was not an instantaneous miracle of God. But yet it was still clearly the power of God at work throughout the battles. Are you seeing any parallels with this information to the testimony yet?
Take the battlefield of Jericho in the O.T. as being no different than the battlefield of cancer for this lady in the testimony. The battle is not all yours, but yet you still have a major role to play in producing the victory. For example in the battle for Jericho, the children of Israel were given specific instructions from God and they were required to believe them by faith alone without proof or evidence, obey them and then expect God to do His part. They were required to march around the walls for 7 days. On the seventh day God told them to march around the wall 7 times and then have 7 priests blow their 7 horns and God brought the walls down so that they could take the city. That was an O.T. typology picture of a N.T. spiritual faith battle. They had to believe what God said and then become obedient to what God said or God was not going to help them win or make it happen for them. This is still true today. If you expect God to do everything, you are going to be defeated and the walls you are told to march around will remain upright.
Let’s compare what is different between this woman’s testimony and the fight of Israel to take the Promised Land. In the testimony, she did not believe in divine healing at first because of her ignorance of God’s word. Therefore she completely lacked faith to receive anything from God. Before this she did not have any courage to even continue to fight and thus she has failed to prepare as Joshua did. Thank God for His mercy. If you do not know what you are lacking, God will help you to get there. God ended up giving the woman courage to begin the fight by showing her another woman that had done the same. Later in the testimony God shows her a Bible verse and this is for the advancement of her faith in God’s word to allow her to believe what He has said. God sent His word to the prophet Moses and it was recorded bevore the battle can be fought. This written word of God was the faith source for Joshua’s fight. Are you seeing how God achieved what He taught Joshua in the first 5 chapters as this testimony unfolds?
It is very difficult to believe in the truth, if you do not know the truth or have never heard the truth. God did eventually show this woman a portion of a Bible verse found in 1 Peter 2:24 that states we were healed. We should be able to understand that this was God’s attempt at building her faith since faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom 10:17). In the testimony did you notice what God said to her? Maybe I should ask, did you notice what God did not say to her? God did not say “I am going to heal you”. God looked past her current physical condition where it did not yet look like she was healed and He called those things that be not as though they were (Rom 4:17) and said to her in the testimony “I have healed you”. God is never going to change what He says today and make it something different than what He has already said to you yesterday in His Word (Mal 3:6). That is why many of your prayers probably do not work, you are asking God to heal you someday and He has already said to you “I have healed you” (1 Peter 2:24). You are therefore, not in agreement with God. If you do not know what He has said, then that is your number one weakness and why you believe wrong. If you believe wrong then your faith is not based upon the Word of God but rather your misconception of the truth. When the answer to your prayer doesn’t come you will let your circumstances and your symptoms dictate the final outcome. If you learn to change your perspective and start believing “I am healed” simply because that is what God says I am, then you are now in full agreement with His Word and not your symptoms (Amos 3:3).
Physical symptoms of sickness, disease, and cancer are very real just like the giants were very real in the Promised Land to the children of Israel. Both are parallel manifestations of the same enemy. Both the natural giants and the physical symptoms are designed by Satan to put fear into your heart in order to take away any faith, hope or expectation in what God has spoken to you. The spoken Words of God were designed to give you faith (Psa 107:20). This is exactly what Jesus described would happen in the battle of the field also known as the Parable of the Sower (Mat 13:18). Jesus taught us that the seed sown was the Word of God (Mk 4:14) into the hearts of people. But then Jesus said the birds of the air came immediately to steal the word (seed) that was sown (Mat 13:4). The birds of the air were the symbolic demons (unclean spirits) that come bringing to you the symptoms. According to Jesus what was one of the key factors that keeps the spiritual seed from being stolen from us? It was the understanding (Mat 13:19) and the believing it that allowed the seed to remain and not to be stolen which produced the spiritual fruit that God desired. Producing spiritual fruit represents you obtaining the victory over your spiritual enemies in this spiritual battle for your faith beliefs. Jesus said this parable was the most important one for you to know and if you could understand this one you could understand them all (Mk 4:13). Take time to study the Parable of the Sower in the Gospels. It clearly reveals the spiritual battle that you are in now for the control of your belief in the Word of God. Satan is trying everything he can do to steal the Word from your heart and God is trying to help you to produce fruit. Let me show you some important faith scriptures on external symptoms and circumstances:
Rom 4:18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
Rom 4:19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:
Rom 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
Rom 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
Read these verses very carefully. These verses are describing the God kind of faith that Abraham and Sarah possessed. God had spoken and given to them a promise concerning a coming son that would come from their bodies and yet at near the age of 99 and 90 years of age it looked so really bad that it was not going to happen. Anyone can easily get into discouragement looking at the circumstances. But this is not what Abraham ended up doing according to these verses. Verse 20 says Abraham staggered not at the promise of God meaning he did not waiver because of the external circumstances or the wait for the promise to be fulfilled. In verse 21 it goes on to say that Abraham was fully convinced that what God had declared was not impossible for God to perform. Wow, that was an awesome revelation of truth. No matter what the circumstances or the symptoms of the lady with cancer in this testimony God still came and said “I have healed you”. She took hold of that truth and staggered not at what her body looked like.
The Promised Land was not all taken by Israel in one day. Neither did this woman in the testimony possess her healing in one day. Sometimes taking back physical health is a series of smaller miracle victories and not one giant miraculous event. For example the woman in the testimony continued traveling on her pathway to victory, by simply fighting to wash her own hair. Perhaps you do not understand the significance in this simple action. According to the doctors and the nurses, she did what she was unable to do physically and thus she achieved a major victory without even knowing it was a victory. If you listen to what the doctors say you cannot do then you are defeated. Fortunately for her she had not been told that she could not move her arms this way and she did it without being discouraged by the doctors negative words. If the doctors would have been there first and told her this, she might have been defeated. But this simple effort on her part of doing something so basic was a very significant victory on the road to recovery. That was a classic type of faith without understanding what faith is. Doctors do the best that they know from a natural perspective. They do not mean to be faith killers but many times they are. If you listen to them and believe them they can and will many times cause you to remain as you are instead of trying to encourage you to fight to get better. Your will is a major factor in your ability to receive a miracle from God as I have already taught in this series. This lady ignored the pain and washed her hair anyway. She then spent time with her arms raised and fixing her hair. That represents faith whether you understand it or not. Begin to do what you can’t do. Begin to do what they said you could not do. Begin to fight and take back one inch of ground at a time. Don’t give up, don’t quit and do not get discouraged that you did not take a mile today. Every inch will matter over time.
Reread this testimony now and compare it to the Children of Israel’s experience with taking the Promised Land:
- Israel had just gotten delivered (saved) from Egypt by a great display of God’s power and things are looking really positive as they walk out. Everyone is well, strong and wealthy with the riches of Egypt being transferred to them as they left. Pharaoh has second thoughts after letting them go and decides to pursue them only to be destroyed in the sea. Wow, can it get any better for God’s people? I think they even have a scholarship to get into a really nice college promised land.
- They then go from what appears as God’s great blessings to a wilderness experience even asking God, why did you bring us out here to die? Were there not enough graves in Egypt? The family situation was certainly starting to look very bleak, negative and cursed in this wilderness and even divorce could be splitting the family up.
- Just when it couldn’t look any worse they send 12 spies into Canaan land and get a really bad doctor’s report back. The report says that there are cancer giants in the land? 10 spies say we can’t overcome these cancer giants so let’s just die and only 2 said “It’s not a problem”. This is when the patient people are faced with a decision. Whose report are we to believe? The 10 in the majority or the 2 men of God? Fortunately, one doctor shows the patient a vision of a survivor and she chooses to become a Joshua who is willing to fight for the victory.
- For forty years the Joshua patient endures a fight of faith in the wilderness while everyone else around her dies one by one. Time in the wilderness has to take a toll mentally, emotionally and physically, but Joshua holds on to what God says still believing that he can take the land and overcome the cancer giants.
- Finally, it’s time to enter into the Promises of God. I can’t stand my dirty hair anymore so I’m going to make it clean all by myself. It’s not easy to do, it might even hurt, and the nurse looks at her and says you can’t do that. But that didn’t stop the Joshua Christian from doing it anyway. You see the 10 spies said we can’t, but the 2 said we can. Doing what others say you can’t proves that you can do it in spite of their weak opinion.
- The battle was won and the hair was clean, now it needs to be put up on the top of her head again something that no one said she could do. People this is called faith, if you did not know it. Are you learning anything?
- Every little battle and every little victory matters. With each time of victory new confidence grows and faith increases. The next battle is easier to win because of the previous victory and the display of faithfulness from God.
That was my quick comparison of the parallels between two victorious accomplishments by faith. Did you learn anything from it? I know it helped me and I pray that you received from it also. Let me conclude with a list of things that I took away from the testimony and reading in the book of Joshua today.
- Go to a doctor and get natural help especially if you do not know what the Bible says. There is no lack of faith in fighting a physical battle using a doctor as long you do not neglect the spiritual enemy that has caused it. Do not fight a spiritual or physical battle without God on your side.
- Sometimes not knowing what is wrong with you is worse than knowing who your enemy is. Joshua saw the enemies the same as the 10 spies, but Joshua did not let the knowledge of the enemies deter him from defeating them. Joshua knew the names of the people and you need to find out what you are facing.
- When you have a medical diagnosis you now have a natural enemy with a name. We know that Satan also has a name. So both of these are the names of your enemy that you are facing.
- The Bible says that every knee must bow to the name of Jesus because the name of Jesus is above every other name (Php 2:9).
- Therefore, use the Name of Jesus to stand against your named disease and Satan and command them both to bow to the greater name of Jesus.
- Remain as positive and optimistic as you can be, despite the diagnosis, prognosis, symptoms or circumstances because your faith is in the Word of God and what He has said to you like the believing Joshua. Focus on who your God is and the promise not the giants in your body.
- Prepare for battle. Feed daily and even hourly speaking God’s Word to help build your faith and keep it ever before your eyes and ears again as God instructed Joshua to do (Joshua 1:8). Time spent in preparation for battle is more important than the battle itself.
- Get a hold of a fighting spirit and do not ever bend or waiver to become passive allowing your surroundings, feelings, emotions or symptoms to dominate you or your thoughts. Cast down every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God’s Word (2 Cor 10:5).
- One of the primary spiritual battles that will occur is ultimately in your mind for the control of your beliefs. As long as you believe God instead of your circumstances you will win!
- Fight the good fight of faith and take back small chunks of the Promised Land daily. Don’t attempt to win the entire war in one day. Look at the war as a series of smaller battles to overcome one enemy at a time.
- Let each small past victory help to build you up and raise you to a new faith level of greater confidence for the next victory (Rom 1:17). For the Bible says clearly that the JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH. Do you want to live? If yes, then you need to get FAITH and increase it (2 Cor 10:15).
- You never ignore the giants or pretend like they are not present; you look each giant in the face and defeat them with the Sword of the Spirit like David did to Goliath. Giant symptoms are very real. We do not deny the symptoms; we do however deny their right to exist in our land.
- Like I said, your faith fight is probably not going to be a one victory or one battle experience, just like the taking of the Promised Land was not one battle and one victory for Israel.
- Faith is more like a marathon race event and not a fast sprint type of race. The taking of the Promised Land took nearly 7 years to possess. Do not get discouraged how long it takes, just keep believing it is yours.
- Joshua and Caleb saw themselves as ultimate winners and victorious long before they ever achieved the final victory outcome. That is having great faith before you see the result. That is what I am trying to tell you to do right now. Get a vision of victory and then expect it to come to pass.
Do you see yourself as a winner? Can you see the vision of victory? Do you expect to win because of who your God is or are the giants bigger than your God? Begin to change to see yourself as God has said and this will make the difference for the outcome in your life. I hope and pray that this testimony that I gave to you provided some encouragement on how to fight your coming battles. In this world we will all be faced with the same enemies in some form. Your vision and your beliefs will determine God’s ability to fight these battles for you. I thank my Facebook friend for sharing her story with you. I thank you for taking the time to read it and for allowing God to speak to your heart. If you have a testimony that you would like to share with everyone I would be very happy to hear it. God Bless you as we all grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
If you would like to continue reading in this series of Bible lessons please continue to “Part 18“.
(Ver 1.1) Today’s lesson is Part 16 in one of the most important Bible study series that I have ever shared with you about the subject of “Understanding Bible Faith”. If you have not read all of the lessons I would strongly recommend that you go and start reading with “Part 1” first and then continue through the series. I have been working on another subject entirely when suddenly the Holy Spirit woke me up early this morning and gave me the title to this lesson for me to share with someone that needs to read it. After the title was given to me, God then shared the scriptures to use in this teaching. So I am typing as fast as I can and I am hoping, praying and believing that I can write down everything that He said for you to read. I have touched on this specific subject in several other lessons, but this lesson will be much more direct about this specific revealed characteristic of faith in the Gospels and how that having aggressive faith is the same as having receiving faith. I’ll start by addressing what is aggression? Aggression can be viewed as a negative quality when misdirected for evil. But as I taught you before on the subject of “deception” that any negative quality can be turned to a positive for a good use or purpose. Aggression or aggressive behavior is one of these qualities that can be used for evil or for good. For example, if you know of people in the world that are starving it would be good for you to become aggressive to get them some food. That would be a pro-active pursuit of spreading a positive aggression. Negative aggression would be beating someone over the head to steal their money. Let’s start today by researching one of the definitions of “aggression”.
Aggression of course can be taken to an extreme with violent disregard for anyone else and that is not what I am attempting to teach you. Pursuing a goal and being forceful to achieve it is not always a negative unless it is directed for an evil purpose or plan. Every Bible subject must be balanced with every other Bible subject. For example, aggression is one of those Bible subjects that we must balance with the subject of “Love”. We are never aggressive towards our neighbors or our brothers or sisters. But as you will learn from what God said to me, we must learn to have aggressive faith in order to receive anything from God. I am going to give you several examples of people in the Bible that had direct aggressive faith and these should become the models for your faith that you possess.
What is the opposite of being aggressive? I believe that being passive is one possible way to define someone as not being aggressive. I have learned that when studying the Bible it is always very wise to review the unstated antithesis truth from any verse of truth that you are reading. In other words I am saying that when God gives us a direct stated truth in a verse, He also always gives us an unstated antithesis or opposite truth that we can learn from. That is why I asked you to think about the opposite of being aggressive. As we read through my scriptural examples today, observe who is passive and who is aggressive. You see I read the Gospels very closely and I could find no reference to anyone that was passive of ever receiving anything from God. Let’s quickly review a definition being passive:
This is an amazing definition. Can you begin to see the difference between being passive and being aggressive? Aggression is a show of force and being passive is a show of inactivity. The synonyms for being passive are “inert”, “inactive”, “submissive”, or being “flaccid”. Being flaccid is an interesting word that means that you have no firmness and you are like a Jell-O Christian. Therefore being aggressive is the active pursuit of one’s goals or desires with firmness. Being passive is the acceptance of whatever has happened to you without any response or resistance. Wow, the difference between those two realities speaks volumes to me knowing what I know about the subject of Bible faith.
When you read the Gospels closely and carefully you will discover a repetitious pattern for receiving faith. The majority of the people that received a miracle from God were never passive. Most of the time, they did not sit back and wait for anything to happen or come to them, but they were rather direct and forward, going to Jesus and taking what God was giving to them. I’m going to go through a story in the Bible that the Holy Spirit pointed me to and attempt to give you a different new perspective to what was happening and being taught so that you can learn what God was teaching us about being aggressive. We will read today starting in verse 2 of John chapter 5:
Joh 5:2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
Joh 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
This is the beginning of the story in John about the pool of Bethesda. I want to first draw your attention to the fact that this was called a sheep pool. If you have read my other Bible lessons you might remember a lesson I did on symbolic sheep. Symbolically in the Bible sheep are a representation for the people of God. Goats are a symbolic representation of those that are not the children of God. Therefore we can understand immediately that this story here in John is relevant by indirect symbolic reference to be something that is needed by the church. Next, if you look up the definition of the word Bethesda it means the “house of kindness”. How should we view God’s extension of saving and healing Grace to the human race? I believe God’s Grace to heal and to save is a display of His great mercy and His loving kindness. Right from the start of this story in John we can see that this story is about the saving and healing grace of our God. Therefore we can apply our knowledge from this series and say this story is about two related factors working together for good. One factor was the grace of God to heal and save and the other factor we will soon see was the aggressive faith of the people that were present to receive their healing. Let me try to bring you up to speed by reading the next verse:
Joh 5:4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
Verse 3 of John 5 informed us that there was a great multitude of sick, lame and diseased people that were present at the pool. Why were they all there? The Bible says here in verse 4 that God sent an angel occasionally to stir the water and the first one in the water got healed no matter what was wrong with them. Do you understand the reasoning behind what is happening here? It sounds like a race to me with a starter gun signal to begin. The winner was the first one in the water and they took the whole prize for that day’s race. All of the other people were losers and they went home with nothing. Think with me for a moment and help me determine who got healed when the angel stirred the water? It sounds like it was more than just luck or a random chance that determined who got healed. The water was not healing when still but when stirred it would heal only one person. I believe sincerely that this one healing that occurred was placed upon the one who wanted it the most. It would only make sense that only the most observant and most aggressive person present would be the most likely one that got healed. Did you know that your aggressive desire was a factor for your receiving anything from God? Are you beginning to learn that your passive attitude is probably why you are not healed or receiving what you asked God for? This lesson of aggressive faith is definitely still true for us today. For example, in Matthew 7:7 Jesus implied that if you were not seeking that you were not finding anything. What does it take to seek something? Seeking is never sitting and doing nothing. Therefore seeking is an act of aggression and effort to search. Certainly the one that got healed in the pool made extraordinary effort to be the first one in the water. Therefore, God was teaching the people that being passive is never a good quality to possess for receiving from God by faith.
After this point in time when someone had just gotten healed in the pool, for those that remained waiting at the porches it is both good news and bad news. The good news after someone is healed is that one of the competitors for next time to be healed was eliminated but the bad news was that they are still not healed because they were not aggressive enough to get in first. I believe that every winner of the race that gets there first teaches all of those that were left that they better increase their aggression level the next time. Do you see what God was teaching the people by only healing one? You see once someone was healed the word will spread about this miracle occurring again and the next time the water is stirred there might just be more sick people present waiting to receive. God said in verse 3 that there were five porches of people that were all seeking to obtain the prize and that really sounds like a lot of competition to me.
I do not want you to misunderstand what I am teaching. You are not competing today to be healed with anyone else. That is not what God is doing. Today there is no pool, no angel and no water to stir or get in. You do not have to wait for healing; God only has to wait on your aggression to receive. I am teaching a concept today from a Bible pattern. I am not teaching you a natural formula to receive in a pool of stirred water. Quit thinking naturally and step beyond what you see with your eyes to understand the spiritual application. Step out of the natural story and look at this story from an applied aggressive spiritual viewpoint. Later in this lesson I will attempt to transfer the natural pattern to a spiritual way to receive, but I’m not ready to go there yet.
Let’s take this part of the story and apply what we have learned about Bible faith so far in this series to verify God is speaking about faith in this lesson. In one previous faith lesson I told you that having faith was like a woman being pregnant and expecting something to come to pass. Wasn’t that exactly what these five porches of sick people were doing there? If they were not expecting the angel to come and stir the water again why are they even present? Does misery just love company? Perhaps someone in town called a meeting for sick people and they were just there to stand up for sickness rights. I really do not think that is the case although some people feel better if they are not the only one that is suffering. Others in the world today want you to believe they have a right to be the way they are but that is just passive lack of faith to change. I often asked myself, how did this pool dip race get started? Why was there so many present on this day and who was the very first one that ever got healed to start the people coming to this location? I mean this race must have been going on for a long time if they had the time to build five porches to sit under. I do not really think that we are given all of the direct answers to those questions in the Bible. However we can still learn what is happening and why God is doing this by applying what we have learned about faith so far.
Do you remember how faith comes? Romans 10:17 says Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The presence of a great number of people proved that they heard something and believed what they heard thus they had the foundational basis for having faith even though it was not faith in God’s Word that I know of right now. Can you understand that everyone present at the pool must have heard the same report of previous healings that had occurred before? Can you also understand that in order to have faith they must also have believed what they heard and thus establishing their reason for being there? They no doubt had heard before that whenever the water had been stirred that someone had gotten healed before and believed it. Having a right belief in what God says or does is the classic foundation for having sound faith by definition. Since this was an angel sent by God, there is still an opportunity for the people to believe or doubt and do without.
How about this new question; what makes sick people stay around without any proof or evidence that the water will ever be troubled again? I believe that is an important question to ask and to answer. The answer to that question is called faith and faith is always based upon the concept of Bible hope. Do you remember what Bible Hope was? Bible hope is not a wishing that something might happen. Bible hope is defined as an “expectation” knowing that something is certainly coming. Bible hope goes back to the pregnant woman example. If you are expecting something to happen then you are aggressively preparing for it to occur. A pregnant woman doesn’t wait until after she has the baby to get the baby’s room ready to receive it? Wow, did you understand what I just said. If you are not making plans for after you are healed you are not aggressively in preparation with any Godly expectation. I believe that I just said something very valuable, so take hold of it and don’t let it go.
The people at the pool certainly had expecting aggressive faith by just being present and not sitting at home. But they also exhibited patience for the appearance of an unseen angel and the moving of the water was then their trigger for an even more aggressive action. Having patience is certainly a factor being taught in this story. No stirring of the water meant no action was necessary, if stirring of water is present then I better do something fast. This stirring was called a point of contact and this just gets into some more basic faith concepts that I have taught on before. Do you remember the contact point example that I talked about before. I tried to teach you to release your faith by your actions up until you know that you have made contact with the power of God. For example, the woman with the issue of blood did this by physically touching the hem of the garment of Jesus. Her physical touch of His garment was her pre-established contact point and the exact moment in time where she stopped being aggressive in her faith having believed that she had now received what she desired. Did you understand that statement? The woman with the issue of blood was totally aggressive to receive right up until the point that she touched Him and received what she said. What she said was “If I touch His garment I will be healed”. Therefore she aggressively fought her way through the crowd of the other people that were also trying to touch Him but because only she had faith attached with her extreme aggression did she receive her healing when they did not. The entire crowd was aggressively touching Jesus but the others only had aggression lacking any faith. Aggression is worthless without faith and faith is worthless without aggression. The woman after touching Jesus turned and stopped being aggressive. Do you understand what I am saying? The woman with the issue of blood can now go home knowing she is healed and she hasn’t even talked to Jesus or asked for anything. Of course Jesus felt the power leave Him and He immediately turned to see who had this kind of faith that takes without asking. Only this single woman in the whole crowd of people exhibited the aggressive take it faith that receives without asking or without praying. She was the only one in the crowd that believed what she heard about Jesus and came for it. This kind of receiving is still available from God today no matter what it is that you need from God. Let me teach you something new about the woman with the issue of blood story that I have not mentioned before. The woman with the issue of blood was healed in chapter 5 of Mark. But, wait and see what happens in chapter 6 of Mark a little while after this news spread about the woman getting healed:
Mar 6:56 And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.
Suddenly everyone that touches Jesus is healed but in one chapter earlier it was only one woman that received. What changed from chapter 5 to chapter 6? People heard that touching Him works and they all believed it now. Now they could come in chapter 6 with the same level of aggressive expecting to receive faith as the woman in chapter 5 and they all received their healing. From this information we can learn that the aggressive faith of one woman can produce aggressive faith in many others by them observing what had happened. Before in chapter 5, the people had inadequate information and lacked expecting aggression. But, now they have overcome their ignorance and achieved a new level of aggression to receive because they learned some new valuable information and believed it. What you do not know is usually what is keeping you from receiving from God. In Hosea 4:6 God says “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge..”. The only way to overcome this insufficient knowing is for you to learn. That is why I teach on this subject a lot. I hope you are learning it.
Let us go back to the person that was healed at the pool. It was only the first person with this aggressive expecting type of faith that received their healing at the pool and this type of aggressive expecting faith will still receive today. As soon as the first one was in the water they were done. They got up, got out and walked home just like the woman with the issue of blood would have done. Learn the lesson that is being presented to us from the Word of God and then apply the concepts to your faith walk with God’s Word. Whatever you need from God if you have found the scriptural promises that say that you can have it, and if you believe them without wavering it is your time to go and get it. Be aggressive and take; do not sit passively waiting to receive anything. Keep the woman with the issue of blood and the one that was healed first at the pool in the forefront of your mind as your examples to follow. Do not let the others around you keep you from being the one that receives. I’m again not talking of natural physical aggression but of a spiritual aggression since there is no physical Jesus present and no natural competition to contend with. However, the Spirit of God is present and the devils are present and this is the spiritual atmosphere realm that you are in now to receive. Let’s look at some more examples in the Bible of aggressive faith to insure that this is a valid pattern found to learn from:
Mat 20:30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
Mat 20:31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
See the two blind men in Matthew 20:30 and 31 and how when they heard that it was Jesus, they cried out loudly (aggressively) ignoring the opposing multitudes of people that were rebuking them for shouting. They immediately had aggressive faith because they heard. These two blind men received from God what they desired because of their faithful acts of aggression. Clearly the two blind men had faith in something that they had previously heard about Jesus otherwise they would not have known who He was. No one said it was the Son of David but they called Him by this respectful title. Clearly they had great opposition but they were not going to let anyone around them talk them out of what they knew they could have. Clearly this is another example of not being passive and allowing what has happened to them to stay as it was. They heard who it was, they believed in Jesus as Messiah, they took action, they cried out loudly, they expected to receive, Jesus heard them and they received their sight. This is exactly how receiving faith works. Let’s move to another story of a lame man that received:
Mar 2:3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
Mar 2:4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
Mar 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.
Review this lesson of the lame man brought to the house by his four friends where Jesus was teaching in Mark 2:4. The crowd present was so large that they could not get anywhere near to where Jesus was, but did they let that stop them from receiving? Clearly they were faced with great opposition, obstacles and challenges to overcome. No one was present yelling at them to leave but yet they still could not get near to Jesus because the people were not going to move and let them in. What did they do, did they give up? No, they went up to the roof top and made a large hole and dropped their friend down to where Jesus was. Wasn’t that another example of creative positive aggression? Weren’t these men thinking outside the box of limitations? If they would have been discouraged by the size of the crowd they would have went away without receiving anything, but since they made a way where there was no way they got exactly what they needed. This verse says that Jesus saw their faith. This type of aggressive faith caused them to go away victorious. I have just given to you 4 great examples of aggressive expecting faith. All of them were presented with challenges to overcome. No one in the Bible ever said that you will not have any opposition. No one in the Bible said it will be easy to receive a miracle from God. But, persistent aggression overcomes the enemy every time and receives.
CHANGING OUR PERSPECTIVE FROM THE NATURAL TO THE SPIRITUAL
Let’s put this Gospel information into a spiritual context with spiritual opposition rather than a natural opposition story with a physical Jesus. You see these Gospel stories were only given to you in the Bible in order to teach you about the reality of the coming spiritual things that you would be faced with in the right now. There are several scriptures that inform us of things in the Old Testament were given to us as patterns for coming unseen spiritual realities. If you do not understand this you will be mostly confused with reading the Old Testament. You do understand that everything in the Gospels prior to the resurrection of Jesus was nothing but Old Testament examples, don’t you? In lessons 7 and 8 in this series I talked about the concept of taking the Promised Land. God’s stated Bible promises are representative of the symbolic Promised Land that the natural nation of Israel was told to take (receive). This clearly was described to be a fight for the land between opposing aggression. That was a physical natural reality and we in the church are not them and we do not fight like they fought:
2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
To war after the flesh is a concept that too many churches today are promoting in their ignorance. One recent unnamed ignorant pastor made the national news by preaching we need to lock up all the gays and just let them die off. Wow, how stupid can one man be and be called a preacher of God’s Word. Does he not know how to read his Bible? We are not wrestling against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12) therefore people are not our problem? If you lock up people without addressing the real spiritual force controlling the people you have solved nothing. Homosexuality has been around since the days of Lot. Did the death of the gays in Sodom solve the problem of homosexuality? No, obviously not. The spirits that were in them are now in others in the modern world. We are not in a physical conflict. Let’s get back to the subject of faith and our spiritual war:
1Ti 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
Faith is defined to be and described to us as a spiritual contest very much like the race to get into the pool first that we read about today in the Gospel of Matthew. In every fight there is one winner and a loser. Therefore a fight is a competition of opposing aggression and the winner is usually the one that wants it the most. However, we have a problem now. How do you fight in the spiritual realm? Who is your spiritual opposition that you are fighting against and what causes you to win or overcome in this fight? These are very relevant questions. In lesson 8 on faith I went into some of the answers to these questions. I listed 4 spiritual enemies that you are presented with. Do you remember what these 4 spiritual enemies were?
These were four revealed internal spiritual enemy conflicts that you can control and fix. If you do not understand that you were born ignorant on the subject of faith and that you needed knowledge to overcome this ignorance, then why are reading my Bible lessons? Next, I talked about fear being an opposing force to faith. If you are controlled by what it looks like on the outside rather than what God said to you on the inside you are probably going to die or loose. The children of Israel let their fears, worries and doubts keep them from their possession. I’m not going to go through all of that information again, but I thought that you should familiarize yourself with those subjects again as being potential enemies to receiving from God. I sometimes go back and reread all of my Bible lessons on a subject to remind myself what I said. It refreshes my memory and puts it in the forefront of my mind like God told Joshua to do in Joshua 1:8. I would recommend that just because you have read these lessons once that you go back and reread them again and again because there is no way that can remember everything and you should review them periodically as a fresh meal from God. Just because I ate steak yesterday does not mean I do not like to eat steak again.
What is Spiritual Warfare? I did a lesson on this subject a long time ago and it might help you to go and review it, to learn about what other spiritual enemies there are that you are faced with and how you can fight them. In that lesson I talked about how our weapons of war are not flesh based. But, God has given to us spiritual weapons of war to fight a spiritual battle. I’m going to take one of those weapons and discuss it here again today for you to connect it with your spiritual faith fight and how it works to defeat your enemy. This weapon of war is called the sword of the Spirit and it is described to us as being the Word of God (Eph 6:17). This Sword of Spirit is just one part of the six piece complete armor package of God that we are commanded to put on. Have you put on your armor? If not you are about to lose before the fight even begins. Prior to the verses describing the six piece armor of God, God reveals to you who you are fighting:
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Why would it be necessary to fight a defeated foe? If Satan has been rendered totally defeated why are we putting on any armor? You really need to ask God some hard questions in order to understand the whole truth. What God has given to us by His Grace can only be received by your faith. Thus the good fight of faith is now still on with Satan. Satan is your number one enemy and he is at the top of the food chain in this category of spiritual oppostion. Every other enemy that you are faced with is a direct result of something that Satan is using to try to defeat you. For example, fear is a spiritual force produced by Satan’s words.
Therefore we are in a spiritual war or fight concerning our faith and belief in God’s Word. How do you fight this unseen spiritual enemy? We can directly learn how to fight by observing from how Jesus fought Satan and then apply this knowledge to how we must fight him. When did Jesus fight Satan? It was actually a continual fight all the way to the cross, but there was one specific written example of this fight and that is what we are going to study next. This spiritual fight is popularly called the Temptation of Christ. Turn with me in your Bible and follow along in the battle:
Mat 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
Here in this chapter of Matthew we can read about Jesus being led by the Spirit of God. One of the key words in this verse is given to us as “tempted” in this translated version of the KJV. However, this Greek word means significantly more than that narrow definition. This Greek word represents a “test”. A test is normally a measure of a person’s knowledge, skill or endurance. A test in school provides instructors with evidence or proof that you know the material taught to you in their class. If you pass the test you are good to move on, but if you fail the test you better go and study the material again. That is a descriptive example of the fight of faith that you are probably in right now. God is not the tester or the test giver. It is unnecessary for God to test you since He already knows the results. Do you understand God’s omniscient quality and why He does not to test you? God provides the material and Satan is the one that attacks you to see if you know it, understand it and can use it against him. That is what is happening in this “temptation of Jesus” story. Satan comes to Jesus and speaks 3 different things to him in sequence. This represented a three part test with each part of the test being graded separately with a pending sudden death failure penalty if one test is not passed. The one being tested is only passed to the higher level in the test if they got the previous part of the test correct. To me it sounds like a progressive test of endurance with progressive skill levels from basic to advanced levels. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Ok, let’s go through the test that Jesus endured and learn from it:
Mat 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
What was the first level of test brought before Jesus? Jesus had just fasted and not eaten for 40 days and the Bible says he was hungry. Satan came to Jesus with a basic flesh test. Satan gave Jesus the thought to turn the stones around Him into bread. This thought of food appealed to His flesh. His flesh was very hungry and would have loved to eat some physical food. Being in the wilderness there was no physical food present, so Satan tells Jesus to turn stones into bread. But, Jesus responded with the Word of God.
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Do you understand that in this faith fight that Jesus also had on the armor of God? You do understand that this is a spiritual fight that is occurring, don’t you? This fight example describes how Satan will attack you. It also describes how Jesus countered the attack of Satan. The only key offensive piece in the armor of God is the sword of the Spirit. The sword of the Spirit is the written Word of God (Eph 617). Jesus aggressively quoted a written verse of God’s Word speaking it with His mouth to counter Satan’s thought and because He believed it He passed this phase of the test.
Mat 4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
Mat 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Now we are seeing more of the intelligence of your enemy in test number 2. Just because you can quote the scripture does not mean that Satan cannot do the same right back at you. Satan is taking a small part of the Sword of the Spirit and attempting to use it to test Jesus on a higher level of spiritual conflict. It has now become a battle of wits, wisdom and Bible knowledge and not just a battle of the flesh that we observed in test number 1. Satan has just progressed up to a higher test level from the flesh to the realm of the mind. You see man is a spirit being that has a mind and he lives in a body. The progressive levels of testing go from the exterior to the interior and these are your body or flesh first on the outside followed by your soul or your mind in the middle layer in between your body and your spirit. And then finally the real you on the inside called your spirit is the ultimate realm of testing that can occur. Satan is moving from the easier levels to the more difficult levels using progression steps. I hope you are learning something new today and that it will make a change in what you see that is happening to you and how to fight Satan.
Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Jesus just quotes the Sword of the Spirit to Satan and once again passes the test. Jesus did not debate the Bible with Satan, but also Jesus did not ignore the verse that Satan quoted either. Jesus quoted a higher truth that takes precedence over what Satan has said to Him. You see you cannot take one verse in the Bible out of context, misapply it and then think that this is all of the truth there is or is necessary to understand. This battle of the mind that is occurring proves to us that not all scripture is equal. We must balance and weigh each verse against each other verse to see if any of them are greater in importance. Just because Satan said you can jump and the Bible says that God will save you, Jesus was smarted than Satan and understood first the Bible doesn’t tell us to jump. Then Jesus understood that if I obeyed this suggestion He would be testing God’s ability to save. Therefore, Jesus said it is also written “Don’t test God”. Do you understand how the second verse that Jesus just quoted helps to interpret what the first verse that Satan just tried to use against Jesus meant? Therefore, the second verse represents a greater truth to know and Satan did not dispute it anymore and moved to the next level. This brings up a very important point. If you do not know what God says in His word how can you fight against your adversary Satan? Wow, that is probably why and how Satan is using your ignorance to defeat you. You need to spend a lot of time in the Word of God and get it into your spirit so that is what automatically comes out of your mouth in abundance when you are under pressure. Jesus did not have time to say to Satan wait a minute and let me look up that verse. I know it is here somewhere. No Jesus’ response was built into His Spirit and this is what you need to do quickly.
Mat 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Mat 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Now we can see the final temptation is on a spiritual level. Worship is only what a spirit being can do to another spirit being. No other mammal on the earth worships anything or anyone? None of them set up shrines or temples to bow down to their gods. Only ignorant men have the opportunity to worship the wrong god and they have created many of them in the last several thousand years. This is an amazing set of illustrated steps of progressive levels of testing. Clearly Satan started at the flesh exterior level of the man and then worked his way into the spirit going through the mind. I believe that this is exactly what will occur with you in your faith fight.
Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Here we have the final example of how to counter every level of attack and to overcome each progressive step of the test. In every case given the only weapon mentioned was the Sword of the Spirit when Jesus quoted what was written in God’s Word. I certainly do believe that the rest of the armor was present and a factor, but they were not what were emphasized in the lesson of how to overcome a test. Every other part of the armor of God is designed as a defensive part of the battle gear to keep you safe from the aggressive attack blows of your enemy, but only the Sword of the Spirit was designed to be a weapon that can be used to aggressively counter the attacks. After these three tests Satan really has no choice but to go away and try to fight another day with Jesus. I really hope that you understand how to better fight your faith fight. When Satan comes to you and says look at your symptoms of illness and that you are not healed, you can simply quote God’s Word and tell Him “By His stripes I was healed”. That is an example of the good fight of faith.
Possessing the promises of God is a spiritual battle with spiritual enemies. To win the battle you must get the Word of God built on the inside of you in your spirit and believe it with your whole heart. Your salvation was the greatest spiritual battle that required your fight of faith to posses. Let’s reveiw a verse in the N.T. and see how you fought this fight and won:
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Here is a single verse that describes the entire spiritual battle using one statement. This verse refers to the heart of man so that takes us into the spiritual realm immediately. This verse speaks of spiritual beliefs and that takes us into the faith fight. There are implied enemies, there are implied failures, there are implied weapons and there is a literal stated victory that can be achieved. Do you see it? It is amazing what God can put in one verse when you understand a few other verses. The confession of the words of your mouth is your sword of the Spirit in your armor. If you are not speaking out loud you are not fighting to win. If you want to be defeated don’t say anything. That is called being a passive Christian and just letting whatever happens, happen. No, confession is an aggressive use of your mouth to get what you desire. This verse is about the subject of desiring salvation, but that is a much broader subject and it includes much more than us just going to heaven some day in the future. Did you notice that this verse started out with “belief”. We are back to having faith in God’s word. Therefore we must have heard God’s Word, believed God’s Word and then spoke God’s Word. If your beliefs are not based solidly upon the Word of God then your spiritual fight is already lost. Let’s stop and look up the word “salvation” in the Strong’s dictionary to see what else this includes or applies to in your faith fight.
G4991 – σωτηρία sōtēria
Feminine of a derivative of G4990 as (properly abstract) noun; rescue or safety (physically or morally): – deliver, health, salvation, save, saving.
This Greek word can legally be translated as “delivered’ or “saved” or even “healed”. Therefore it is an all-inclusive statement including our physical wellbeing, our mental wellbeing as well as for our spiritual wellbeing and deliverance. You see God’s salvation does not exclude any area of your life only you do that by your unbelief in that area. Remember what I said earlier of the three levels of human existence? You are a spirit which possesses a mind that lives in a body. Therefore God provided “salvation” and “deliverance” to save from each realm of existence. No that does not mean that you will be problem free in life, we already know that is not the full truth. You still have an enemy that is alive and well trying to “kill, steal from and destroy” you (John 10:10). In this same verse in John, Jesus said “BUT I HAVE COME so that you might have life and that life more abundantly”. Did Jesus mean that life was later in the future or here available for us in the right now? I personally believe that He meant it for right now in this world. Later when we get to heaven there will be no need for salvation from anyone, or any need to overcome because there will be no more enemies present there. However, there are other truths written in the Bible that must be balanced that say “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). But in this same verse, Jesus also said be of good cheer because I have overcome the world. If you do not understand that Jesus set an example of how to overcome in the world for us to follow, then we would have a legitimate expectation to think that there is nothing for us to overcome. However that is not what the Bible teaches us. The Bible tells us that we also must overcome our adversities and our adversaries? At least 10 times in the New Testament we are commanded to be overcomers. Why would Jesus make this stipulation if Satan was already completely defeated and a non-factor?
Satan’s future is sealed in a gloom of darkness, but he is still trying to take down as many people as he can with him now. That makes him a significant angry aggressive spiritual force for you to overcome here and now. This enemy is trying to keep you from experiencing the abundant life that Jesus said was given to you in John 10:10. This life of abundance was much more than physical prosperity, but I believe that was included. I believe that our mental and spiritual health is much more important features to focus on instead of us getting rich or getting healed. However I did not say you cannot have it all if you that is what God says you can have. I’ll end this Bible study with this statement written from John and God to the church:
3Jn 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
John prayed that the people would prosper financially and have good health but he placed the final greater emphasis upon their minds and spirits as being the determining factor for both of these other benefits to occur. There is an implied association that if your soul and your spirit are prospering, then your health and your finances are also prospering. I am not a health and wealth preacher, but I do preach the Bible and I do not ignore one part of the Bible to remain pious to believe a selective spirit only salvation theology teaching. If Jesus only saved our spirits why is there so many other references taught on so many other subjects in the Bible? You have to completely ignore verses like this one in 3 John if you want to believe in a sickness and poverty bad news type of gospel. Why would John pray for something for others that was not the will of God for all?
My emphasis in whatever I teach is always for you to seek the God of creation and His Word to prosper you spiritually and mentally and the other parts of your life will come almost automatically after you do this. There is not a valid reverse order or approach to finding God or getting God to answer your prayer. You do not seek healing or prosperity and think that God will give them to you just because you need them. God does not consistently respond to needs, but God does consistently respond to faith. I learned this over and over in the Gospels and many other examples in the Bible. When you find out what God says in His word the needs will become insignificantly minor. I could give you many more Bible examples that prove this point but I will only quickly focus on one. For example Solomon asked God for only His wisdom and this wisdom made him one of the richest men of all of the men on the planet. That was how prosperity was supposed to work doing it God’s way. You need to change your focused approach to God today. Quit seeking healing or prosperity without first seeking the divine wisdom from the God who blesses and heals.
Start right now and pray “God help me to see me as you see me”. Then pray and ask God to bring correction and direction into your life and tell Him that you will change. Then pray and ask God for revelation knowledge of what His word declares. Ask God to open the eyes of your understanding and to enlighten your mind and spirit with His Great Wisdom. However, like anything that you pray for you must use the prayer of faith and believe that you received what you asked for when you prayed and before you see the answer. I did a whole lesson in this series on the Prayer of Faith. This means when it does not look like that you have any wisdom from God, this is the perfect time to believe God heard and answered your prayer and for you to say “I have the mind of Christ today”. “The wisdom of God is formed in my spirit”. “I hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and the voice of a stranger I do not follow”. After you do that you will soon see that God honors your request and has given to your mind new insight that you never had before. Before too long you will be teaching others God’s word on your own being healed and blessed. Thank you for your time and I pray that you have been blessed by what God gave me to say in the early morning hours to teach you. Alyaws remember that an aggressive faith is a receiving faith and a receiving faith is always an aggressive faith. I’ll try to move back to some other subjects that I have left before, but I do want to be led by the Spirit of God so that I can help someone to receive. So as long as the Spirit of God does not wake me with a specific lesson topic I will be going back to a recent study subject. God Bless!
If you would like to continue in this Bible study reading the next lesson please go to “Part 17” now.
Understanding Healing, Sickness and Disease! Was Divine Healing Always Instant in the Gospels? Part 7
(Ver 1.1) Today’s lesson is Part 7 in the Bible study series about “Understanding the Subjects of Healing, Sickness and Disease”. I have been led by God recently to teach on this subject of healing for someone and I do not always understand the reasons for doing everything that I do, so I just try to be obedient. I do know there are many people in the church in need of a divine touch from God so this subject is good for everyone to know even if you do not need the same today. I have already covered a lot of information in this Bible lesson series that will not all be repeated exactly as stated before, therefore if you have not read every lesson from the beginning, I would recommend that you start reading with “Part 1” before you read today’s lesson. Today’s lesson is a continuation of the last lesson to some extent about the question that I received “Is divine healing always instant”. I have been answering this question from a reader about why healing does not always appear to take place immediately after we pray and ask God to heal us. This is a very common modern problem found in the Body of Christ. Many are taught wrong and have based their beliefs on this wrong information resulting in failure to receive what God has already given to them. In the last lesson I taught on Daniel’s prayer and how that his answer sent from God was delayed for a period 3 weeks because of a spiritual conflict occurring in the unseen dimension between heaven and the earth. We discovered that God had heard Daniel’s prayer the very first day and sent the angel Gabriel to Daniel with the answer but yet the answer did not arrive for these 21 days. Obviously this is a pattern that we need to learn from to understand what is potentially occurring for us today.
The failure of humans to receive from God is often based upon their ignorance of not understanding that they also have an enemy that is purposely attempting to block their answer of God from coming. When this occurs they often fall into a vicious cycle of unbelief that God did not answer so I must go and ask God for the answer again. However, this new request usually just starts the same process over where we find that God hears and sends the answer but because it does not instantly occur again, the cycle repeats to almost a daily pray and ask God for an answer and if nothing happens tomorrow I just need to pray and ask God to send the answer again and again and again. I know people that have prayed for 10 years asking God for the same answer over and over; not realizing that He had tried to send it the first time they asked like we read in Daniel. I’ll probably shock some people today, but if you prayed about the same healing more than once you prayed the second time in unbelief that God did not hear you the first time. Unbelief is the opposite of faith and believing and Satan has just defeated you by the very simple tactic of causing a modest delay in time to occur. If you read the Gospels closely you will find that Jesus honored faith and nothing else. Those that demonstrated faith got healed and those that did not usually got nothing. God is still the same today.
Today I’m going to try to go through some Bible examples found in the Gospels where Jesus the Son of God in person could not or did not heal anyone instantly and discuss why not. These examples will help to bring clarity to why it might also take time for you to receive from God. In other words these new exceptions to the “instant miracle” belief will help us to understand that God does not always control what is happening to get someone healed. We can learn from these new profound examples some additional factors about divine healing that will be comforting and helpful if we can accept them for what they teach us.
IS DIVINE HEALING ALWAYS INSTANTLY MANIFESTED IN THE GOSPELS?
Truly while reading the Gospels we can see Jesus doing what appear to be many instant healings and miracles for many people. There are so many clear examples of instant healings and miracles found in the Gospels that they almost dominant the entire message causing many people to believe that this is God’s standard and only way of doing it. It also causes many modern people to wish they lived when Jesus was physically here on the face of the earth just so they could get healed that easily and quickly. For example, we can read about the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda that instantly rises and walks in John 5:2. There is another healing of two blind men that instantly receive their sight found in Matthew 20:34. Another blind man in Luke 18:43 also received his sight immediately. A leprous man was immediately healed by Jesus in Matthew 8:3 and Mark 1:42. There is more than enough evidence for instant types of divine healing to understand that this is a potential way for healing to occur but is it the only way that God’s power operated on the earth in people? I believe that it is a great mistake to think that this is the only way it can happen. Never lock God into your religious box of limited information and understanding. Never place any restrictions or limitations on divine methods and how they must operate to satisfy you or your fallible human requirements. You are a fool if you think that you control God, what He does and how He can do it. You are going to have to read and study the rest of the entire Bible to insure that God does nothing in a non-spectacular instant miraculous way in order to discount those types of alternate methods of gradual or progressive healings. So while I do not deny that instant miracles can occur even today, I also choose to see that there are some other very interesting recorded events in the Bible that need to be balanced with the knowledge of these instant types of miracles and that is my goal today in what I teach you.
Attempting to be balanced in all of God’s word will cause us to walk more down the center of the road keeping us far from falling into either side ditch of extremism on our left or on our right. For example, one ditch side of extremism on the subject of healing will try to say that God never heals anyone anymore while the other ditch side of extremism will scream God only heals instantly or it is not God. Both are just excessive positions that do not teach the actual balanced truth of God. Learn to avoid the ditches of extremism and that information will possibly help you more than anything else that I say today. Learn to base your beliefs upon sound doctrines using balanced principles and that will raise you above the level of deception that occurs in many man created teachings. But, before we go to these new Gospel examples let’s review a radical concept given to us in what God has created in this natural world about healing.
NATURAL HEALING, IS IT ALWAYS INSTANT?
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:
According to the Bible many of the invisible qualities of God can be seen in things that God has created in our world around us. We therefore need to analyze what did God create and does it relate to our subject today? Is there any healing in the human body that occurs naturally? I think that you can easily understand that the normal human body was designed to fight against sickness and injury and that this process was certainly designed by God.
Do you agree that God created natural healing? Doesn’t our natural physical healthy bodies have God’s divine healing systems normally pre-built in that are designed to repair themselves or to at the least help to fight off sickness or injury that have attacked us? Are any of these naturally designed divine processes instant? I believe that you can clearly see they are always consistently gradual and never an instant manifestation. Have you ever thought about that? The natural realm is a direct contrasting opposite to what seems to occur in the majority of the Gospel accounts. Could God have created an instant repair system in the body of man if He so desired? Obviously I believe that God is more than capable, intelligent and powerful enough to do that if that is what He wanted to do. However, our natural immune system was certainly a sovereignly designed feature that came from God and it is not an instant process. This immune system was given to every human being for the purpose of helping us obtain health. Naturally if we cut our external skin organ the process of self-repair normally takes over to correct the problem but again slowly over time. God created blood coagulation as a normal part of the initial process to stop the flow of blood in cuts. The scab will eventually form and the skin will eventually repair and heal. This is clearly a divinely designed healing process with multiple and progressive steps. It does not instantly happen and it requires time to be fully fulfilled. Therefore even in the created natural realm God designed non-instantaneous ways for divine healing to occur. So I have just given you two different example patterns for healing to occur by God’s design. Some of these Bible examples were patterns of instant divine corrections and others in the natural realm were not instant healings, yet still miraculous none-the-less over time. Using this information let us now go into some non-instant healings found in the Gospels.
JESUS HEALS A BLIND MAN IN BETHSAIDA
We are going to start our examination of a specific Gospel healing story that is often overlooked or ignored in the huge number of healing accounts recorded. This new additional example of divine healing in the Bible should further expand our knowledge that not every healing that Jesus performed was an instant miracle display of God’s extreme power. We will go to the book of Mark and begin to read in chapter 8 and verse 22:
Mar 8:22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.
Mar 8:23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
These are really fascinating verses beginning to unfold. Jesus comes to a town where some people living there lead a blind man to Him and ask Jesus to touch him. Why were these people bringing this blind man to Jesus and what did they want or expect to occur? Obviously the intended purpose was for Jesus to heal him with His touch. Here is where we need to stop and figure out why then does the anointed Son of God take this blind man out of town where they are before He heals him? Why not just touch the blind man in the town and instantly heal him? Wow, those are very tough questions to answer so we normally ignore them and keep reading not understanding the importance of what is happening here. What does leaving town, have to do with the blind man getting healed? You really need to ask God some specific questions if you ever expect to hear specific answers when you read and study the Bible. If you do not observe what is being said in the Bible you will certainly miss at least 99% of the main message. Let me try to answer those questions by what happened in another location with Jesus. Do you remember when Jesus once went into His own hometown and what happened there when He tried to heal the people? In this story found in Mark 6:5 it says that Jesus could there in that city do NO mighty works (miracles) except to heal a few minor sicknesses. Evidently we learn from these two stories that in some physical locations it matters to Jesus and determines what He can or can’t do. This is actually very important because this information will still hold true for today and your physical location in the world. The location of where you are presently can and will affect if you are able to receive your healing. I have observed this before and perhaps you have also. In churches that do not teach about divine healing, rarely does any divine healing ever take place. In other churches that teach divine healing strongly there is an atmosphere of expectancy that permits God to heal.
Why are some cities open to receiving miracles from God while other cities like Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth and Bethsaida were not? Jesus teaches us in Mark 6:6 that it was their unbelief in Nazareth that limited what God could do there. Wow, religious people struggle with that statement tremendously. However, I did not say it God did in His Word. So if you reject His words do you not also reject Him? According to the Word of God, people have the power to limit what God’s power does on the earth and this human power was called unbelief. I know I’ll get some negative comments from certain kinds of carnal religious people for saying that, but I’m just reading the Bible. I hope you are doing the same. Notice by this defined truth that if unbelief has the negative power to cause us to not receive from God then by the law of antithesis your belief contains the positive power to receive from God. I hope you heard and understood what I said, it was very important. Check your surroundings and see if everyone around you believes with you or are against you. If they are against you then it could cause an atmosphere of unbelief that can hinder the flow of God’s power.
Apparently from this information we must conclude that the people in Bethsaida were also full of the same type of negativity called unbelief and this was the primary reason why Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the city. Notice that Jesus only laid His hands on the blind man once they were fully out of the city, but also notice that before He did this that He only did it after spitting on his eyes and that is another very interesting twist to observe. What does spitting on the blind man’s eyes have to do with his physical healing or the power of God’s ability to manifest? I probably will not be able to answer that question to the fullest satisfaction of many readers today. However, it is very noteworthy to search your Bible to see that at least 3 times in the Gospels Jesus used spit to heal someone and these 3 different people were only healed because Jesus first spit.
Why is it that some people in the Gospels got healed by a touch alone and others by spit, a touch and a longer process? We are forced to conclude that either God’s power alone was not effective in these specific cases or that there are other unknown factors that were involved that kept this blind man from seeing instantly. I vote for number 2; that there existed other unknown or unstated factors that existed and that God’s power did not fail them or treat them uniquely differently. I cannot believe God’s power or lack of power was the problem in this blind man’s case in Mark 8. What would happen if someone came and spat in your face? What would your reaction be if you did not see it coming? Shock, surprise, and even potentially anger could arise from someone doing this unexpectantly to you. I believe Jesus did this on purpose to get a reaction and to set the expectations for something new to happen. The blind man certainly felt the spit hit him and this was not what he was expecting so that changes his attitude to expect something different. This is actually a good lesson to learn from. Don’t expect how God will heal you just expect it to happen and it will.
I did not really emphasize this point but in verse 23 the last thing that Jesus does is to ask the blind man if he can see anything? That is an amazingly interesting question for the Son of God to ask. Does He not know that the man was healed after He has spit and touched his eyes? Do you think that after you pray and ask God for healing and He has sent the answer, is it possible that God is asking you are you healed? I believe He is, even if you cannot hear it. You need to figure out how to answer that question correctly before it is asked to you. Let’s continue to read the answered response given to us from the Mark 8 blind man:
Mar 8:24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
The blind’s man’s first words to Jesus were “I see”. That is a positive faith statement whether you understand it or not. It indicates that there was at least some progress in his eyesight after being led out of the city, Jesus spitting on him and touching him. Previously the blind man could see nothing and now he says that he sees men that look like trees walking. You need to learn to speak positively no matter what is not working fully. This statement represents a progressive healing process occurring in steps. The message is clearly presented that something was different in this blind man based upon some unstated and unknown factor. Now, examine Jesus’ response to the man’s answered words of seeing partially but not clearly:
Mar 8:25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.
Here we have an example for every minister to potentially follow. If you lay your hands on someone and they do not begin to recover fully we could learn that Jesus stopped and did it again. Why does the great God in the flesh need to do something twice? I personally believe it was for two factors for us to see. One is to teach us what to do as men and second is to show us how to increase the faith of the person that we are ministering to. Jesus never wavered in His belief that the man was healed. However Jesus’ faith and the anointed power of God were not the only factors involved in the blind man receiving his healing. If you do not understand how faith works, you will never understand what is happening in this story. Jesus took the blind from the city to eliminate him from the surrounding force of unbelief (lack of faith). Now alone together with Jesus the single isolated blind man’s lack of faith is the only factor that needs to be overcome. While the blind man was being led out of the city by Jesus, he could have stopped Jesus and said “I’m not going” and walked back into town at any time. The blind man exhibits a certain measure of faith simply by silently being a follower of Jesus without questioning or having any proof that anything positive will even happen to him. That reality exhibits very simple faith to be led without knowing the outcome. In fact it corresponds to a N.T. verse that says we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). The blind man walking out of town took a level of belief in someone that the blind man could not see and thus he fulfilled this verse literally. Do you understand what I am trying to say and how it is an important part to my lesson?
After getting the man out of the town Jesus continues to work on increasing the man’s faith level to receive. Jesus does this by first spiting in his eyes. This spirt is a tangible physical feeling that the blind man could immediately feel and it was also something totally unexpected for him to experience. Therefore the blind man is now beginning to expect the unexpected to happen to him. What happens when you experience something that you did not expect? I believe it sets a pattern for you to begin to expect more of the unexpected. No doubt no one had ever done this to the blind man for this reason, so this causes the blind man to start expecting something new to happen. Jesus then lays His hands on the blind man’s eyes and the tangible anointing of God could now flow from Jesus’ body into the blind man’s body and no doubt he could feel this power also. Afterwards Jesus removed his hands and asked him a direct question. When the man opens his eyes and sees for the first time things were definitely better than before but yet still not perfect. So Jesus touches the man’s eyes again and the anointing again flows and this time he opens his eyes and sees every man clearly. This is pretty awesome stuff if you can see what is happening.
There are two main factors that must be present for the majority of divine healings that takes place in the Gospels. These two main factors that must be present are first the quantity of God’s power that is present and administered and second the quantity of the person’s faith to receive the power of God’s Grace given. Both must be present and working together in unison, agreement and harmony or the divine healing will not take place. Of course there are still exceptions to every rule. The fact that God can still give to anyone a gift of healing even to someone without faith has occurred in the Bible and still does occur in the world today occasionally. For example, the lame man at the pool of Bethesda was an example of a gift of divine healing without any mention of faith being present. However, do not count on God doing this for you. You don’t have any promise in the Bible that says He will do it this way. This is completely up to God and He will decide to do it and not you. Many times I have seen God do this in third world countries for people that have never heard about God or Jesus.
THE DIVINE ANOINTING PRESENT FACTOR
Let’s briefly talk about the variable of the anointing factor. God’s anointing can be given to every man in various measures of power and effectiveness. Practically no two men on the earth possess the same level of anointing from God. We can learn this fact in many verses but one of the clearest examples is found in the life of Elijah and Elisha. Both men were great prophets of God and both did extraordinary feats for God. However, Elisha asked for a double portion of the anointing that Elijah possessed. Let’s go back and review this quickly in the O.T.:
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.
2Ki 2:10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
God is described to be omnipotent or “All Powerful” in the Bible. These descriptions of God provide us key qualities that we do not fully comprehend. God’s power is what I will call limitless or unlimited, yet God still places self-imposed limits on what He does by His own sovereign freewill and by His own Word. Levels of this power of God can be transferred as an anointing on spiritual beings like angels and on the people on the earth. Elijah was anointed by God and he called down fire from heaven that consumed all of the prophets of Baal. Elijah also stopped it from raining on the earth for a period of three and half years and then commanded it to rain and it did. Now, Elisha observes the great things that God has done through Elijah and only asks for something greater and if you read on in the Bible, you will find that it was granted to him. The number of great things that Elijah did, Elisha did twice as many. Go study it for yourself and see that God’s power was variably given to men. However, we can learn that no other man had as much of the power of God’s anointing as Jesus did. Acts 10:38 tells us that God anointed Jesus with this power to drive out and heal everyone oppressed by Satan. Satan as you may recall from reading in Ezekiel 28:14 was also anointed by God. Therefore Satan had power given to him by God also. We learn from Acts 10:38 that Satan used this power to oppress people with sickness and that God countered this oppression with Jesus bringing healing. However, let me show you a scripture that appears to claim that Jesus had the entire anointing power of God according to the Word of God whereas Satan and others did not:
Joh 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
God tells us that the measure of the Spirit that was present upon Jesus had no limitations that were set. This is a very interesting statement that is full of implied truths. It indicates that every Christian today has the Spirit of God by limited measure. This simply means that we all have God’s power but not in the fullest measure like Jesus when we pray for someone else. However God’s power not in the fullest is still powerful enough to solve every human situation and problem. Do not discount God’s power to say I don’t have enough to get someone else healed today. Do you remember what Peter said to the lame man at the gate of Jerusalem? The lame man wanted silver and gold from the Peter but Peter said those I do not have, but such as I have, give I thee and commanded him to rise and walk. Peter was anointed to heal and he knew it. He offered this anointing to the lame man and he received it by his level of expecting and walked that day.
I probably need to do a separate series on just the anointing of God and how it works. What we need to know today for receiving healing is that when a man or woman of God comes and lays their hand upon you that their level of anointing power is a factor for the amount of power delivered. Still understand this if you are alone in your house with no one to pray for you, God is ever present and the power of God is always available. The difficulty in this approach is that many times there is no point of contact that is readily available to receive. You see when Jesus spit on the blind man and laid his hands upon his eyes this represented an observable, physical and tangible contact point that could be felt externally. This power transfer contact point greatly enhances a person’s faith in receiving the power of God. Jesus certainly understood this and this is why Jesus was led by the Spirit of God to do what he did in healing this blind man.
I really was planning on doing more than one healing in the Gospel today, but I have gone long enough in this lesson with presenting many new things to think about. I do not want to overwhelm you with too much new information or it will just go in one ear and probably exit the other. Let’s recap with a quick overview of what you should have taken away from today’s Bible lesson.
- The blind man’s healing in Bethsaida was not instantly manifested.
- In fact the unbelief of the city of Bethsaida causes Jesus to remove him from that place before ministering to him.
- Jesus spent personal time building the man’s faith so this faith was important to be present in the man in order for him to receive his healing. Therefore, spend time in building your faith.
- The blind man literally walked by faith out of the city of unbelief in order to receive and was healed.
- The blind man’s healing was a limited multi-step process and took time.
- Jesus had to lay hands on him twice for the healing to be fully received.
- The anointing factor of the power of God is variably given depending upon who is administering God’s power.
- Even a small amount of the Power of God is all that is needed to heal anyone.
I know I made a lot of other important points, but you can go back and reread them to get them all. I suggest that you reread these healing lesson over and over to help build up your understanding and your faith in God’s word. Thank you for taking the time to read and for your willingness to hear from God. God bless you as we continue in this series.
(Ver 1.1) Today’s lesson is Part 6 in the Bible study series about “Understanding the Subjects of Healing, Sickness and Disease”. This is a very important Bible subject to study because it eventually affects everyone and you will need to know about it someday even if you are perfectly healthy today. Without understanding this subject in detail, you will not be able to pray and ask God for healing with any confidence that He heard you and has answered. Therefore, in this series we have been exploring the Bible foundations to recognize God’s truth and perspective on the complex subject of where does physical healing, sickness and disease actually come from! What are the sources to each reality? I have already covered a lot of information in this Bible lesson series that will not all be repeated exactly as stated before, therefore if you have not read every lesson from the beginning, I would recommend that you start reading with “Part 1” before you read today’s lesson. Today’s lesson is an attempt to answer a question that I received from the last lesson on healing. The question came from a reader and asked “Is God’s healing always instantaneous?” You see there are some common Christian misconceptions that if I pray and ask God to heal me today and it does not immediately show up externally, then nothing happened, or God did not hear me, or God did not answer me, or God said no, or possibly I just failed to receive. There are actually so many possible outcomes and explanations of the outcomes for prayer that I cannot fully describe them all here. There are so many questions placed in the minds of people by Satan to get them to not believe in what God has said to them in His Word. If you allow these questions to remain unanswered you will be easily defeated.
WE WALK BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT
I am going to start the answer to my reader’s question by teaching briefly on a related dependent subject called faith. Faith is a dominate theme subject found in every part of the Bible. The Old Testament references are largely hidden or not stated plainly, but they are there when you discover how to look for them. I have a whole series on the subject of Understanding Bible Faith so if you want to learn more about this subject you should go and read that because it is essential to receiving anything from God. Faith is a belief based system. Faith in God comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom 10:17). What we begin to see as we study the N.T. in detail is the failure of people to become a doer of the Word of God. The primary reason for not doing the Word of God is either ignorance or rebellion. Adam rebelled, but people today are mostly ignorant. God said in Hosea 4:6 that my people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. Therefore what you do not know today will cause you to fail and to be destroyed tomorrow. You see God gives you a very important instruction in the New Testament and you can ignore it or you can choose to learn what He said and then implement it in your prayer and Christian life here on the earth and this will help you to succeed. Read this statement of God:
2Co 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
What does it mean to walk by faith and not by sight? Remember what I said earlier that faith is a belief based system based upon hearing God’s word. God is teaching you not to look on the outside in order to determine what exists on the inside of you. There are two distinct contrasting realities given in this one verse that are directly opposed to each other. These two conflicting things are your flesh and your spirit. Faith is an internal spiritual force and sight is an external physical reality. God is basically revealing your internal spiritual beliefs are by far more important than what you can see or feel on the outside in your body. I don’t know if you understand the point that I am trying to make to you yet. Where is your healing needed? Obviously the healing is ultimately needed in your external physical body. But where according to God does healing need to start or come from? Again, it is obvious to me that healing comes only from the Spirit of God by our internal faith. Therefore external healing must come from the Grace of the Spirit of God through your faith in an unseen internal God in order to be made manifest. What I am describing is an internal spiritual process that causes the external to be seen. Let’s verify the location for your faith as revealed to us by God in His Word and this might help you to understand what I am teaching:
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Here in this verse God says that your spirit is capable of believing things that your physical eyes cannot see. Righteousness is another Grace of God given gift. Can you see your God given righteousness? Technically it is impossible to see your righteousness with your physical eyes. Therefore the only way we know we are righteous is by reading it or hearing from the Word of God and that is called faith if you believe it. Therefore, righteousness is a spiritual gift concept and not a physical entity. But, yet God says with your spirit you can still believe that you are “righteous” regardless of what you feel or see on the outside. That is what God describes as “Heart Faith”. In this verse there is a powerful combination being described. Your beliefs working in conjunction with your spoken words can produce your healing and health in your physical body. You probably don’t see it but I have looked up the words in the Greek and know that this is what they say. The word translated as “salvation” is the Greek word “soteria” and this is an all-inclusive work of God that means to “to deliver, give health, and to save”. This saving and delivering work of God is part of a revealed process. It requires what God gave us by His grace first and then what you believe with your heart called your faith second and then finally the corresponding works that causes you to confess with your mouth unto your final accomplished “salvation”. Remember that “salvation” can mean “health”. Are you getting what I’m saying yet? Also notice that this is a defined process of implied duration and not an instantaneous manifestation.
You are a spirit being that lives in a natural physical body. This human body is a five sense dominated machine; these five senses are sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. However, to walk by faith is an internal spiritual belief in something that you have no proof or evidence of possessing (righteousness, salvation, healing, etc.) which is supposed to be independent from what your senses are telling you. Uh oh? What did I just say? If I prayed to God and asked Him for divine external physical healing what exactly am I supposed to not be looking at according to 1 Corinthians 5:7? If you said what it looks like from the natural doctor’s perspective, you are correct. Do not however misunderstand what I just said. I did not say to stop taking your medicine or stop seeing a doctor. However do not let what they say to you rule what you believe and confess. God is a greater physician than your natural doctor and He does not care what a natural doctor said to you. Your natural doctor could have told you that you only have 6 months to live. That report really means nothing to God. It only means anything to you if you let what your natural doctor said take precedence over what the Great Physician God said in His Word. I’m beginning to allude to a spiritual battle for your internal beliefs that will occur in between the time of prayer and the time that you actually see the answer from God. But we’ll get to that more as we continue.
WHY A DELAY IN THE ANSWER IS NOT A NO FROM GOD!!!
Do the answers of God come instantly or is there sometimes a delay or time lapse? We are going to attack the wrong belief of this potential wait time as being a non-answer from God using the Bible today in order to learn how to receive from God His divine healing power and promises. There is a certain example given to us in the O.T. of God giving the Promise Land to Israel. This example shows us the existence of two reports being presented to the children of Israel. Ten spies claimed that the land was not theirs because they were unable to possess it and they died in the wilderness with all those that did not believe with them. Two spies claimed the land was theirs because God had given it to them and entered into the land eventually as victorious conquerors. Was the Promised Land instantly obtained by the believers Joshua and Caleb? Obviously not, so why then do you believe that God’s promised healing must be instantly manifested? Was not the faith of Joshua and Caleb the determining factor for them entering into the promise? Are they not your examples to follow? We need to put things together correctly and learn the simple process of how faith works. Simple childlike faith in your Father’s words is also what is required for your victory. Faith is the answer to receiving anything from God. What God has given to us by His Grace is yours but it is not guaranteed to happen instantly even if you believe it. Let’s go back to the N.T. and understand this very important concept that I am teaching you for it is the basis for your answer from God:
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
This is the third verse that I have given to you about faith and God has many others if you want to learn about them. I feel like faith is one of the 3 most important basic subjects found in the Bible to know intimately. God teaches us why the majority of the Christian people on the earth do not receive what God has given to them in this single verse. God declares that “faith” is more than a simple suggestion. God speaks directly to you and informs you that this is how you are required to please Him. If you have no faith, then you cannot please God, it is a clearly stated impossibility. God then informs you what faith is based upon, in the next statement. He that has come to God must first believe that God exists and that He is a God that rewards them for seeking Him. God gives you a prerequisite for two things to believe before you ever come and pray and ask Him for healing. This means that believing these two things about God is essential for receiving anything from the omnipotent Spirit Being that you have never seen and cannot prove exists. From this verse, there are two kinds of people that are implied to never receive anything from God. First, those who believe that God does not exist will never on this earth be bothered by God. Second, those that believe in a punishing judgmental God will never receive anything good from that God either.
Jas 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
You can see that God informs us in this verse that the Prayer of Faith will save (heal) the sick. God is teaching you how to receive healing and declares that it is only by your faith and your prayer working together correctly that you will receive. The key word “save” is the Greek word “sozo”. This again is an all-inclusive work of God dealing with spiritual shortcomings, physical shortcomings, emotional shortcomings and mental shortcomings. What you were lacking in these areas has been given to you by the Grace of God. However, just because they are given does not mean that you possess them like the children of Israel in the O.T. Therefore, what you believe right now is the root for why you are either saved or not saved, or healed or not healed today.
What I am doing is establishing several perquisite factors before the prayer of faith can occur. You see if you believe wrong you will have no firm foundation for what you are praying and asking for. For example if you believe that God will heal you someday in the future then you are not in agreement with what God says in His Word. The Bible says “How can two talk together unless they agree?” (Amos 3:3) God is revealing that the His power works for those that are in agreement with Him. How do you get into agreement with God? You must first learn what He has declared or promised you in His word and then you must believe it with your whole heart and never doubt it again. This is called confidence that what God has said is true regardless of what you are feeling or seeing in your body. This principle is exactly what caused Joshua and Caleb to become winners and not dead men in the wilderness. They had confidence and were in agreement with what God’s Word had declared and they eventually possessed it. That is the spiritual battle that will occur in you today. Just understand that because there was a significant delay from when God told Israel the land was theirs to when they finally possessed it, did not mean that God was the reason for the delay. Delays do not come from God. God was not the reason for the delay. The people were directly responsible for their own outcomes and results.
WHY THINGS SENT FROM GOD SOMETIMES TAKE TIME TO SEE!
Does everything sent from God come instantly so that we can see them immediately? This is actually a very important concept to fully grasp and I think from my previous example of the Promised Land you can clearly see there was a major time delay that transpired. What we need to do today, is to determine from the Bible why delays occur and whose fault are they so that we can understand that it is not God’s fault for them not occurring. Let’s explore a N.T. verse very quickly to help establish the requirement of time in conjunction with our need for patience while continuing to have faith in what our God has said:
Heb 6:12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
If time was not a factor for possessing the promises of God then there would be no need for our patience. I only need patience when I am standing in a long line of people that are ahead of me in line. I only need patience when stuck in heavy rush hour traffic and not moving forward. When I do not possess patience then I usually fail to receive what everyone else was in line to get. This could be tickets to a movie or the line to be interviewed for a job. We only need to have patience when there is a time delay for receiving what we desire or believe that we will receive. You can get into a line and ask the last person standing there if it is the line for receiving bread. If they said yes and you wait then you are basing your faith in a person you do not know and trusting they are correct and you will only find out if it was true if you wait to get to the front of the line. If after 5 hours you find out this is the line for vaccination shots and not for bread then you just wasted a lot of time using wrong faith. That is exactly why I teach so much about faith. If you base your faith on God’s word you should have confidence in His ability to perform what He has said and this is why you need patience.
Here is the main factor for why people believe wrong. It is what I call the omnipotence of God factor. If God is omnipotent (meaning all powerful) then why if we pray today do things not instantly happen tomorrow? Have you ever noticed that? I mean is God listening? Does God even hear us? Does God not care that I’m hurting today? Some prayers that I have prayed took weeks or months to see in the natural realm. Honestly some prayers I have yet to see. However, just because some prayers have not happened yet does not mean or prove that they will never happen. So I must continue to believe regardless of what I can see externally like a Joshua and Caleb type of Christian. Let’s investigate a new and very important Bible story example given to us by God and find out what other factors are involved in getting our prayers answered from God. We are going to look at the story of a praying man named Daniel. Come and read in Daniel chapter 10 with me:
Dan 10:2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks.
Dan 10:3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
I want you to see the stated timeframe for this story first. God tells us that Daniel has been in prayer for 3 weeks of time. Do you ever pray for three weeks solid? Today that would be very tough to do with our busy lifestyles. I’m not teaching that this is what got the answer from God, I’m just saying there is a stated time lapse that has occurred for us to learn from. Don’t get all works based with me and think you have to do what Daniel did in order to get God to answer your prayer. That is a wrong motivational type of thinking and it should never be followed. We are led by the Spirit of God and not by what Daniel did. You are welcome to go and read all of these verses in Daniel 10 if you like but I’m going to skip down to verse 12 next:
Dan 10:12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
The speaker in this verse is the angel Gabriel and he declares that God sent him to Daniel because of Daniel’s words. Words of course are the important stated factor for any prayer request to God. If you have no spoken words present then you have no prayer. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God will answer your silent prayer without words. Daniel had been praying and asking God for wisdom and understanding and the angel shows up with God’s answer around 21 days later after Daniel first started praying. However the angel of God clearly says that he was sent to go to Daniel on the very first day. Why then was there a major delay of 21 days for the angel of God to arrive and tell Daniel the words of God if God sent him on day 1? Is heaven just 21 days from earth and it takes that long to travel between the two? I do not think that is what is stated, do you? Why then did it take so long for the angel to arrive on the earth? I believe that is an excellent question and we will see the answer if we read the next verse:
Dan 10:13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
Here we have a very important revelation given to us about why things from the Spirit of God often take time in the natural realm to manifest or appear. The angel of God with the message from God told us that he was sent the moment that Daniel prayed, but we are now informed that the “prince of Persia” withstood Gabriel for a period of 3 weeks. This “prince of Persia” is a code name for the angel Lucifer that also has great spiritual power and ability being an anointed cherub. It is stated fairly clearly that Gabriel and Lucifer fought for the duration of the three weeks until Michael another great angel came to help to get the message through to Daniel. What we see being revealed is a spiritual warfare that is unseen in the natural realm. Do you understand that this spiritual war occurs every time that you pray and ask God for anything in the natural realm? Satan is called the prince of the power of the air in Ephesians 2:2. What God is saying is the earth’s atmosphere is Satan realm of domain and rule. Every time an angel is sent to earth from heaven, they must enter this realm of air. Therefore, there is a continuing conflict between these two kingdoms fighting for control. This is the kingdom of light that God rules versus the kingdom of darkness which Satan rules. This is about the time where religious people try to tell me I’m a fool because God is in complete control since He is omnipotent. However, if it is true that God controls what happens on the earth, then why did God have to send the other angel Michael to help Gabriel? Does it make any sense to you? If you don’t believe me that is really not my problem. Just try to understand that like Daniel, this clearly means you have a spiritual enemy working against your prayers to God today. There is nothing new under the sun, everything will continue as it was in Daniel’s day until Satan is finally cast into the lake of fire.
What can we learn from this story of Daniel praying and God sending the answer? We can clearly see that God heard the spoken word prayer immediately the very first day and sent the answer directly without any delay. We can also clearly see that you and God have a spiritual enemy that is trying to stop the answer from appearing to you. Therefore, we can clearly see that God’s answers require time to come because of this spiritual battle that is taking place. What we cannot see clearly stated in this story is the faith of Daniel that was required to keep the answer coming no matter how long it took. Remember Hebrews 11:6? God said we must have faith in order to be pleasing to Him. Daniel was obviously pleasing to God in this story and he received the answer even though it took time to come. Therefore, Daniel possessed the God pleasing kind of faith even though it is not directly mentioned here in this story. We can observe Daniel’s possession of God pleasing faith being indirectly referenced in Hebrews 11:33 as he still possessed it when he shut the mouth of the lions. In the New Testament God tells us that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world (Eph 6:12). God basically informed us in this verse that this spiritual war is still raging in the unseen realm after we pray today. Just try to accept the fact that Joshua had enemies possessing the Promised Land given by God. These enemies were shadows of the real enemies that you are facing today.
THE IMPORTANCE OF LEARNING FROM O.T. EXAMPLES!
There is a very popular Christian misconception (wrong belief) that divine healing is always consistently instantaneous and an immediate supernatural observable miracle or we must withdraw and believe that no one was healed based upon the observable circumstances. Uh Oh? That sounds a lot like someone is not going to enter into the Promised Land because they saw the giants again to me. That as I have stated is a contradiction to walking by faith believing in what God said instead of us walking by our sight. Many times this type of belief will cause certain people not to receive fully what God has clearly already given to them according to His Word. Go back and reread the Old Testament examples and understand how God gave the children of Israel the Promised Land back when He spoke to Abraham and yet they did not possess it physically for over 440 years. The first five books of the Bible were written by Moses and yet Israel did not fully enter into the Promised Land and take control of it until the book of Joshua. From this story I learned several things that I feel are very important for us as Christians to know.
- What the spiritual God had given to man from the spirit realm, man was still required to possess or take control of in the physical realm from the enemies that possessed it.
- Israel’s possession of the Promised Land was not an instant event, but was rather a process that took time to fully manifest?
- There were also very specific enemies that needed to be overcome and driven out of the land that were trying to keep the nation of Israel from God’s promise.
- What God said did eventually come to pass in spite of the stiff necked people that did not want to believe Him. However God did wait to get a new group of believing people that would have faith in His word first.
These are just four of the basic lessons that I learned from the children of Israel. Why is an Old Testament historical story so important for me to understand in the modern church? It is simply because God’s Word tells us that it is important. I am forming my beliefs based upon what God says and reveals in the N.T. and ignoring what people say. Let me show you something God says about Israel:
1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Reading the context you should be able to recognize that God is saying that the stories written concerning the children of Israel were written as examples for all of us that live at the time of the end to learn from. Since we clearly live in the last of the last days on earth we are exactly those people and they are my examples to learn from. However, we can learn from two types of examples. One is a positive example that we should follow and the other is a negative example that we should not follow. Which one was Israel in this story example? I hope that you can see Israel was being a majority negative example not to follow in this story. The time of the church age is closing around us very fast and the final curtain is about to fall. Therefore, we are those people that need to learn from their negative examples before time closes on us.
What can we learn from the Old Testament accounts? I believe the Children of Israel were a type of the people in the church. Israel was in bondage in Egypt for 400 years as a type and a shadow of the people of the earth that were in bondage to Satan for 4000 years. Just as God sent Moses to deliver them from their bondage in Egypt so Jesus came to the earth to deliver us from our sins and the dominion of Satan. There are just too many revealed type examples of the children of Israel for me to teach them all in this lesson. Let’s skip down to the Promised Land and what it represents in Christian typology. Think of the Promised Land as being healing since that is one of my main subjects today that you may not yet possess. If God’s Word declares that He has already given to you your healing and yet you still do not possess it or live in it, then you are technically the one at fault, not God. I know people don’t like that statement, but that is what God teaches us in His Word using the type of Israel. Everyone likes to blame God for them not being healed and God says I have already given to you this spiritual land of health why do you not possess it yet?
Before there was an Israel, God looked at Abram one day and showed him the stars in the heaven and said to him to look because this was his seed in Genesis 15:5. However, Isaac the promised child was not born until Genesis 21:3 many years later. Was the miracle promised birth of Isaac instant or a slow process over time? Why didn’t the words of God suddenly appear so that Abram could instantly see them happen? I believe you can see from just the two initial examples of Abram and Israel that not everything that God declares is always manifested instantly manifested on the earth. In fact there appears to me to be some type of unstated factors for their fulfillment to even occur. You see we often set the wrong beliefs from reading only partial truths found in the Bible. For example, in Genesis 1:3 God looked out over the darkness and says “Light Be” and suddenly and apparently instantly light was present and thus many try to take that isolated truth and exalt it to a universal truth to apply it to everything that God says. This is jumping to the wrong conclusions based upon limited information and Christians do it all the time. If that was how everything that God said works then there would be no other verses found in the Bible that would display anything differently. Since I just showed you that what God said to Israel and Abram did not work that way we have to now adjust our beliefs to include some new additional information, balancing both realities. There are so many examples in the Bible of God prophesying something hundreds or even thousands of years before it actually occurs and then suddenly it happens and is fulfilled. How then do we resolve this new variable time conflict in the factor of our beliefs? Do you understand what I am asking you? Why are God’s words not always immediately seen as fulfilled if God is omnipotent and all powerful and capable of doing anything? Let me try to tie my question to the mainline subject of healing today. When were, God’s Words of healing spoken and when will they be fulfilled or are they already fulfilled now in relation to the factor of time that we live within. For example, read this next verse about healing very carefully:
1Pe 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Here we have another prime example of God saying to the church that we were already healed and yet many of the people in the church today are clearly not healed. Our hospitals are full of Christian people that are physically hurting and dying daily. This verse in 1 Peter 2:24 is a partial quote from a verse in Isaiah 53:5. The verse as written in Isaiah is translated as future tense as a porphecy that we will be healed by Christ’s work to come. However clearly in 1st Peter after Christ has died and was raised from the dead the work has been accomplished and it is referenced as a past tense done and completed work of God. Are there any direct connections of commonality found in this pattern with the observed statement spoken by God to Israel that “I have given you the Promised Land” past tense and yet they still did not have it physically in their possession? If you examine the phrasing here in 1 Peter 2:24 and look up the words in the Greek dictionary, everything stated is in the past-tense phrasing, like it has already occurred in the eyes of God. How can God possibly say we are healed when we are not? What we begin to observe is a major stated difference between two opposing points of view again. Two reports are being stated. You can believe the ten spies or you can be a Joshua and Caleb type of Christian and believe God. One statement is from God’s perspective looking at us spiritually saying we are healed and one statement is from our human perspective looking only naturally at the circumstances of things saying it is not yet fulfilled. How do we resolve this? I don’t have the time to teach you everything here in one lesson. This is where you must believe when you cannot see. I just want you to try to begin to see things differently from God’s perspective and that will start the change process on the outside to see it in the natural. Become a Joshua and Caleb type of Christian believing in what God has said while overcoming the natural observations that are conflicting with His word. Notice I did not say ignore them, I said to overcome them and that is totally different.
I think I will continue this lesson in another follow-up one to come. I have many more things to say on this subject but I have really gone long enough in this one. I so appreciate your faithfulness to study the Bible with me. I value your time and God sees our hearts and knows our motives for what we do. I think you can see that I spend a lot of time in writing these serious important Bible lessons. I do this for two main reasons. First I believe that God told me to do them so I am being led by the Spirit of God to teach. Second, studying the Bible helps me to learn from God and if it helps me to learn then I can certainly help someone else to also learn. God bless you tremendously and if you have any questions or comments on this or any subject please feel free to share them with me. God Bless you!
If you would like to continue reading in this series you may continue with “Part 7“.
(ver 1.0) This is now Part 15 in a series of very important advanced Christian Bible lessons on the subject of Understanding Bible Faith. I have covered a tremendous amount of information in this series that will not be repeated so if you have not read it from the beginning I would suggest that you go and start with “Part 1” first. I dealt with the subject of Great Faith in one other lesson directly and several other lessons indirectly. In the direct lesson on Great Faith about the woman from Canaan we discovered the importance of how we view the problem versus how we view the power of God to solve the problem matters. I attempted to teach you that no matter how big the problem may appear, the power of God to solve it is so much significantly greater that it only takes a crumb of His power to change it. This principle was an awesome revelation that combines two stated truths found in the Bible concerning faith. First there is “All things are possible with God” and second that “all things are possible to those that believe” (Mat 19:26, Mark 9:23). You see many Christians have no problem believing that God can do anything because He is omnipotent, but then they fail to realize that they have any part to play in getting this reality from God to occur in the natural realm. It is a combined effort of agreement between God and you and you cannot ignore the fact Jesus taught that people must believe in order for the humanly impossible to transpire. This is why Jesus told us that all things are possible to us “IF WE CAN BELIEVE”. So our faith is again mentioned as the final determining factor for what is possible for us or what happens to us. I hope that you understand what faith is by now. Faith is a belief based spiritual system that comes from hearing His written Word about what God has already accomplished in the Spiritual realm. It is this Bible faith that becomes the literal substance of those things that we cannot or have not seen in the natural realm (Heb 11:1).
Today I am going to focus in on the only other illustrated example given to us in the Bible of explicitly stated great faith. Jesus only looked at two different Gentiles and said that they had great faith beyond what he could find in all of Israel. Jesus revealed to us that he was looking for people with faith in this statement and He marveled at only two things; those in Israel that had no faith and those outside of Israel that had great over the top faith. So I have already addressed the woman of Canaan that was rewarded for her great faith by Jesus casting the devils out of her daughter. Today I am going to look at the story of the Roman Centurion that introduces us to a brand new perspective on the subject of faith. How did this non-Jewish man obtain such great faith when Jesus was not even sent to anyone except to those in Israel? I believe that this is an excellent question to answer and that will be my goal. We will start reading in our Bibles in Matthew chapter 8 and verse 5:
Mat 8:5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
Here is the beginning of the great faith story. Notice how the story begins. The Roman Centurion is coming to Jesus and it was not Jesus coming to the Roman Centurion. Recognize today where the source of your answer will originate and then start out to get it from Him the same way. I know today that Jesus is not physically on the earth, but He is here spiritually and His written word is ever present here for you to still seek out. God, His Spirit and His Word are all inseparable realities called three in one (1 Jn 5:7). So come to the Bible and start to learn what you are missing and then pray and He will answer. Also recognize that if you are waiting on God to show up you are out of the designed process of God’s flow and you are doing it all wrong. If you want an answer to a problem in the world today you are going to have to go and figure out how to receive it. This is exactly what the Roman Centurion is doing in this example. The Roman Centurion was not sitting back passively but was taking steps and being aggressively active to seek God for the answer. I hope you have gotten that concept from the previous lessons, but I restated it again for those that need to hear it.
Mat 8:6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
Here is the stated great problem that the Centurion is seeking Jesus to solve. The servant of the Centurion appears to be too “grievously” sick to come to Jesus himself. We can understand that the servant is suffering greatly and in tremendous pain. The Centurion obviously has great compassion in his heart to do something for someone else to try to help them. Having compassion is a Godly quality that is highly desirable. Here we must stop and understand why is the Centurion coming to Jesus? At this point he must have either seen Jesus heal personally before or at the very least heard of Jesus healing someone by word of mouth from a witness. Hearing is a requirement to having Bible faith. As we continue in this lesson you will definitely learn that it was the Centurion’s faith that causes the positive results to occur.
This also introduces us to an interesting concept and a fascinating question that comes up when discussing this subject of faith. Can my faith or your faith be used to help someone else get their answer? Clearly in this example given to us from God in Matthew 8 we are going to see that the Centurion’s individual faith definitely helped a servant without the servant’s faith being involved. Part of the reasoning that needs to be taken into account is that a servant is a delegated household subordinate or individual. In other words the servant was part of the household of the Centurion and under his roof. However, it is more complicated than that statement. You see in the example of the Centurion the fact that the servant is so sick that it would be impossible for him to seek out Jesus personally for himself must also be taken into account. Plus the fact that the servant was the property of the Centurion means whatever happens to the servant is up to the owner in charge. Both of these factors play a role in determining whether your faith can be used to help for others. It is a great mistake to automatically assume that you can force your faith upon anyone or that you can override the will of another individual to get them saved, healed or delivered from anything that they do not want to be free from.
Let me go into some examples of when your faith can and cannot work for others. For example, if you have young children living at your home and they get sick, it is going to be your faith that gets them well until they get to the age of accountability to have faith for themselves. This is the repeated reality found in the terms of the Roman Centurion who is the head of the house and the servant being a subordinate figure. Children are always subordinate to the parent. This same natural example crosses over into the spiritual realm also. You see if a Christian is new to the faith, they are a spiritual child in the Lord too young and immature spiritually to have faith for most difficult things. That is kind of an oxymoronic statement, since nothing is too hard for God and if they believed for their salvation that was probably the greatest obstacle that they will ever face. Technically a saved person has already achieved great faith in one area for their salvation. But, that is the problem it takes more faith in other areas like being filled with the Spirit, or healing, or finances to solve those different inadequacies. I guess what I am trying to say is that your faith can be accessed to work for many new Christians at least once. However, as they grow, spiritually mature and see how it works they will learn that they will be required by God to have faith for themselves. Just like kids today in the natural are required to grow up and take responsibility for their own lives, so it is in the spiritual realm.
Next if a person is unconscious or unable to come or ask for their own healing then many times your faith can be used to help them also. It is not always the case however. For example, when my father was unconscious in a comma in the hospital after a stroke the entire local church body prayed and sought God for the answer in faith, but the answer did not come. Was it our lack of faith that caused us to fail or were there other factors? You see there were several other factors that hindered the healing. The spiritual maturity of my father played a very significant role. The previous actions of my father were also pivotal in determining whether our faith could work for him to be healed. Also our will could not override his will and we do not actually know what he desired or thought about staying and being healed or going to see Jesus. First off consider this; my father was not a baby Christian. He had been a Christian for over 25 years. Next consider that my father had been to two Bible schools and was a pastor of a church. Then consider the fact that he ignored certain warnings from God about what was about to happen months earlier and the instructions given to him by God that showed him what he needed to do to fix the situation and it was all of these things that allowed death to dominate him and win. Do you remember the story of the prophet coming to the king and telling him that he would surely die and to get his house in order (2 Kings 20:1)? What did the king do and what result did it cause to change? Surely you remember, the king repents before God and God sent the prophet back to tell him that God had lengthened the king’s days on the earth considerably. So what people do on the earth, how they react to bad news, their ability to repent and change or not to change must matter if they want to live on the earth a long time. Do you understand this? What if the king did nothing? God said that he would die and he would have died just as it was spoken. This same thing happened to my father, God sent him a Prophet warning him of his death and he ignored it and guess what happened? These are very powerful lessons to understand about when your faith will work for someone else and when it will not. God says in the Bible “I am not mocked, whatever a man sows that will he also reap” (Gal 6:7). This is a basic statement of truth that sometimes what we pray for some men may not matter if they have sown the wrong crop and refused to repent for it.
Let me give you another example of when faith worked for an unconscious man. A pastor of a small church in Texas once had a member of his church fall off of an oil well platform from a great distance and he was very near death. He was unconscious in the hospital and the doctors said it was just a matter of time and he would be gone. His pastor was a believer in faith and he did not accept that report. This pastor went before God in faith and prayed and the man eventually fully recovered and came back to church well. So what is the difference here? The man was a member of the church of the pastor. This means the member was under the jurisdiction of the pastor being a spiritual subordinate and I’m going to talk about this more in a little while. What I am saying is that the pastor had a right to pray for his own member because he was not a fully grown mature Christian and the fact that the member could not pray for himself and ask God for healing since he was totally unconscious. The church member had not been warned by God of impending disaster and he just fell into it. Thus the factors were dramatically different between this man and my father’s example. So the subject of faith and healing is a very complex one that has many factors involved in it and sometimes it is extremely difficult to determine when your faith will work for someone and when it will not. Let’s continue with the Centurion:
Mat 8:7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
Jesus replies to the Centurion that He will come with him so that his servant will be healed. However, I want you to think and understand why Jesus said that He would do this. It has to be the man’s faith being visibly seen that causes Jesus to go where he was needed. I can find no other reason that caused Jesus ever to do anything for anyone just because they asked. I guess I should qualify that statement, because there were times when Jesus did things through a manifested gift of the Holy Spirit’s working. A gift of healing or a gift of miracles is a different type of the work of God that takes place by God’s divine choice and does not involve the faith of the individual to receive it. God will sometimes heal someone as a sign or as a confirmation of the Word preached that will not involve a man’s faith as a great gift. Just do not count on the gifts of God to heal you, this is a great mistake. You do not control the gift giver; gifts are only given according to God the administrator by His divine sovereign choice. This would be like if you heard of me giving away a present to someone that you really liked or needed. Even if you came to me personally and asked me for one, does not mean I will give it to you? That is presumptive thinking to assume someone will give you anything when you do not know the circumstances to why the other one got what they received. Conversely your faith can be used to take hold of God’s power at any time as we discovered studying about the woman with the issue of blood that just came and took her healing without praying or asking God for it. Next, I want to explore the scriptures that record the Centurion’s response to Jesus’ confirmation that He will come and heal. Here is the beginning of the statement:
Mat 8:8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
One of the first factors that I notice about the Centurion is that this man of great human power in the Roman army has great humility. It takes great humility to even ask anyone for help. Do you understand that? The soldier could have demanded Jesus to come, but instead tells Jesus he is not even worthy for Him to come under his roof. If you feel like you are worthy of Jesus coming to do anything for you then you are not in the right attitude of respect and humility for the all-powerful God. You do not deserve the answer and there is nothing that you can do or to offer to make yourself deserving. Anything that you obtain from God is solely based upon God’s Grace to give it. Your position of wealth, fame, power and influence on the earth will not cause you to receive anything from God. Then the next thing that I want to point out is the Centurion’s ability to perceive spiritual things. This Centurion could see when Jesus spoke that things happened. He simply asks Jesus to speak the Word and his servant would be healed/saved. Wow, that is an awesome display of ultimate faith. I can see why Jesus was so focused on this Gentile man entirely. You see if the Centurion had no faith he would have not come to Jesus at all. If the Centurion had only average faith he would have been very glad for Jesus to come to his house. But because he understood spiritual things greater than any other, he asked Jesus to just give the command and it will be done. You may not yet understand what is happening in this story and why this man has this kind of faith, but you are about to learn the key found in the Centurion’s next statement:
Mat 8:9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
The Centurion says “I am a man under authority”. Wow again and double wow! The Centurion just revealed one secret to having great faith and this is where we are going to spend the rest of the lesson. The Centurion tells Jesus, “I speak commands and they are obeyed”. The centurion says “I tell this one to go and he goes, I tell this other one to do this and it is done”. In other words this is a military man who understands authority. Everyone in an army has an assigned rank of authority. Anyone new to the army is at the bottom of the authority food chain. Anyone with extended experience and maturity is at the upper echelons of the authority ladder by their years of experience and wisdom. There is literally no one in the army that is not under the authority of someone else. Even the chief leader is under the lordship of the ruler of the country. There are vast numbers of lessons to learn from the military but I will not attempt to give you very many. Just understand that orders are given and orders are obeyed. If orders are not given, nothing is done. If orders are not obeyed then severe consequences are delivered. All of the army is a word based command structure system of authorities. No one shoots their gun without someone in charge telling them to shot, where to shoot and how often to shoot. If you don’t understand this I’m sorry, but that is generally how life works in the army.
Mat 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Jesus’ responses to the Centurion’s words are very revealing. As you can see Jesus is clearly looking for faith in Israel and has found it to be a scarcity. If you do not understand that Jesus is still looking for faith today then you are not in touch with reality. God has not changed, is not changing and will not change. So this is the key factor for what is happening in this story. Jesus stood in astonishment with the words spoken to Him by a man outside of the Old Covenant. This wisdom that came from the Centurion’s mouth demonstrated his ability to recognize things that others ignored around him. Do not think that Jesus did things in isolation or in private always. When Jesus cast out a demon with His Word, the demon was gone and people could see the result immediately. Many people in Israel recognized this to be authority in demonstration, but only the centurion used this knowledge of spiritual authority to set his servant free from his pain, torment and impending death. Let me show you some other scriptures found in the Gospel about Jesus’ authority quickly:
Mat 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Mar 1:27 And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.
You see the authority that Jesus carried with Him on the earth was clearly evident so that everyone could see it to be different than all the other teachers in Israel. This is what the Centurion also observed and only he understood how it worked. You can clearly see that men of Israel questioned Jesus in Mark 1:27 saying He speaks and the demons obey Him. These are military realities. They were very self-evident but yet some saw them and questioned them, others saw them and accepted them. Where are you today on this authority revelation? That is exactly why I am teaching on this subject to help your faith. Let me show you another verse on this subject of Jesus’ authority:
Mat 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
Here we have the Jewish leaders in the synagogue questioning the obvious display of authority from Jesus to teach, to heal or to do anything. You can tell these leaders recognized what authority was, but yet they did not accept it to be a legitimate authority since it was not given to Him by them or by any other established human organization, government, etc. The things in their minds were not right. They saw Jesus as a mere man from an insignificant city called Nazareth and not the God man sent from heaven born in Bethlehem. Uh Oh? That was a major stumbling block of offense to them and they allowed their ignorance of the truth to stop them from seeking the truth. That was not very good news for any of them at all. You see these men were very closed minded locked into a false knowledge of the truth. When confronted with truth they closed their eyes because of His overwhelming brightness, even though truth was standing right in front of them. To be closed minded is a state of mental and spiritual blindness that is used by Satan to keep people from knowing the truth (2 Cor 4:4). I pray that you will always be open to learning more from God, because He certainly has more that He can teach you.
In Matthew 8 we have discovered a new factor for having great faith. This factor for having great faith is called “authority”. Both the Centurion and Jesus walked in authority, understood authority, recognized authority and used authority to produce positive results. The Centurion’s authority was natural and Jesus’ authority was clearly spiritual. Both men knew what authority was and both men understood how authority worked completely. Both men recognized the power of spoken words and this is the basis of ALL authority. That is where we are in this lesson. Perhaps we need to research what authority is and how it affects our faith next? We still have a lot to learn on the subject of authority so let’s explore deeper.
People today in the modern world still question authority and do not understand the importance of its existence. They typically disrespect those that are in authority and they do not understand the chaos that would exist without any organized structural authority. We like to live in a free country and enjoy all of these freedoms offered, but these are only made possible because there are established laws under authority. In this country that I live in we have an organized system of hierarchical layers of authorities. Let’s quickly look at a definition that I found on the internet for the word authority:
- The power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience:
- The right to act in a specified way, delegated from one person or organization to another.
Authority involves power, but authority does not mean you are all powerful. Being the strongest man in the world does not make you the one in charge. This is true in every realm of government, sports, corporations, organizations, families, etc. Many times the shortest weakest men or women are the ones with the most authority. Understand the difference between power and authority. For example, a policeman carries a gun that gives him power, but he also has been given delegated rights of authority by the badge that he wears. Both of these are separate distinct factors that combine for either positive or negative results. Look at the definition of authority; this word means a delegated right to give orders and to enforce their obedience. These orders given are expected to be carried out or there are major consequences. Having rights is a key part of the definition to having legitimate authority. This is why Jesus was questioned by Satan asking what right do you have to do these things on the earth? Satan did not realize how smart God was and that God does not do anything that is illegal. God certainly had a right by all of His past previous divine acts. But, I do not have time to fully elaborate on all of these today.
Using these definitions of authority we can easily understand that our God holds all authority by preeminence and power. But, can we also find the transference of rights and authority from the most High God to us or anyone else here on the earth? You must realize that God is sovereign and being sovereign God has the explicit right to delegate authority to whoever He wishes. Does God do that and why would God do that? Certainly God has the right to do that, but many do not understand why God would do anything to relinquish any control. To surrender control would violate their idea of an omnipotent God in sovereign control of everything that occurs. Delegation of authority would allow others to make independent choices, laws, rules and commands and thus things on the earth would no longer be in God’s full control. That concept boggles the mind of many religious people endlessly. That is really very unfortunate that people do not just read their Bibles and actually see what God has said in His word and then believe that. Read this verse carefully and observe the transfer of authority from God to man:
Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Man being made in the image and likeness of God dictates “that what God is capable of man is also capable of” on a lesser scale. You see I once had an educated seminary man try to tell me this verse does not mean what it literally says. If that was true then no verse in the Bible could be taken as truth either. Anyone could easily dismiss the virgin birth, the existence of the man Jesus Christ or His death on the cross and his subsequent resurrection from the dead as all being invalid occurrences. This verse in Genesis clearly from God says man/Adam has been given “dominion” over all of the earth. Did God have the right to do this, certainly He did. Perhaps it is the word dominion that you are having problem with. This word has a very different meaning than what may come to your mind at first. Let me give you the Strong’s definition of the word to investigate what God intended to happen with His created man Adam:
A primitive root; to tread down, that is, subjugate; specifically to crumble off: – (come to, make to) have dominion, prevail against, reign, (bear, make to) rule, (-r, over), take.
Interesting Hebrew word definition, isn’t it? To “tread down” is a very familiar term if you have read many of my other Bible studies. You see this word “dominion” corresponds to an impending prophecy after the fall of man found in Genesis 3:15 where Gods says that the “seed of the woman” would bruise the head of the serpent. The confusion arises because people do not understand who the woman is or what the seed is either. Genesis 3:15 has not been fulfilled yet even though many teach that it has. To those that teach that it has been fulfilled show me the Bible verses that declares this. You are going to have to show me where Jesus is called the seed of the woman and then show me where he bruised the head of the serpent. Since you cannot find these verses, you have to make other verses try to fit your beliefs and that is a dangerous approach to Bible interpretation. What we must first understand is that “dominion” to God means to “tread under foot”. Then we can try to figure out why Adam did not do this and what the consequences were for not following God’s orders.
What God is teaching us is that how the world began with man in authority will be how the world will end. This word definition for “dominion” conveys delegated authority and at the very least the right of man to have limited human sovereignty over the earth. This would give Adam the right to make independent decisions apart from God. For Adam to rule and to reign on the earth represents the delegated right of power and authority given from the highest authority in the universe and that was God. Was Adam the strongest and most powerful being on the earth at this point of assignment? As of Genesis 1, he probably was, but as of Genesis 3 we see the entry of another spiritual being called the serpent coming onto the scene that at the very least God says in the Bible also has great power but yet no authority on the earth. Let me ask you at the point of the entry of the serpent on the earth, who had authority? Was it God, Adam or Satan? Adam of course had been given full authority by God to kick Satan out. Therefore, God did not have the responsibility to do it. Satan comes into the world and causes sin and death to reign. Now authority has been transferred to Satan. God gave it to man and the man gave it to Satan. Probably not the best choice Adam could have made. But nevertheless all of this was legally transferred authority based upon God’s Word.
You see when Jesus came into the world Satan took Him up to a high place and showed Him all of the kingdoms of the world and said I will give these to you if you worship me (Mat 4:8-9). Satan declared with this statement that the rights and authority of the world had been given to him. Where did Satan get this if not from Adam since it was first given to Adam by God in Genesis 1:26? I find things like this written in the Bible to be fascinating. Why would God put such detailed information of events if they were not significant things that we needed to know about and to understand? Also these related subjects would not be understood if they were not properly connected in some way. God is teaching us that authority matters and that was one reason that Jesus came into the world to reverse the works of Satan (1 Jn 3:8). You see after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead He makes another radical statement about a transfer of authority that is often ignored:
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Do you see what Jesus the risen Savior has just declared? Is Jesus a liar? Is this not omnipotent God in the flesh? What a new radical statement. Here God is telling us of another transfer of all authority that has just taken place. Jesus Christ informs us clearly that not all power was His before, but now is in two different dimensional realms. Power in both the spiritual dimension and the natural dimension has again been transferred back into the hands of God. Wow, is that a tough concept to comprehend? Do not forget these words, because they are very important. This Greek Word translated as “power” does not mean God lost His omnipotent ability of force at any time. This Greek word translated as power actually means “Authority” has been transferred again back from Satan and returned to God on the earth. Uh oh? That means Satan no longer has any authority again on the earth as before Adam sinned. Do not confuse power and authority. Satan still has power, but he has no authority to use his power unless a Christian gives him the ability to use it. Let me show you the very next statement that Jesus makes to the church after saying all authority has been returned to Him:
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Can you see that Jesus after saying that all authority has just been transferred to Him, immediately He transfers that authority back to the church, His body on the earth? That is why this verse 19 starts with the conjunctive “therefore” which connects the previous statement to the current statement. You see Jesus immediately delegates responsibility again to His people on the earth to do something in the power of His name. Do you understand this? These concepts are very important to embrace as a Christian. You again have delegated rights and authority from the Most High God to do things. What Satan took from Adam and lost, you have gained back from God through Jesus Christ. The only difference is we are not working independently from God because God is joined with us working together in us to bring about the final victory over Satan. Now we need to go back and determine what do all of these transfers of authority have to do with faith and more correctly us having great faith?
This is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. We are going to make a practical application of how to possess the greatest kind of faith using our newly found knowledge of how authority was transferred from God to Adam, Adam to Satan, back to Jesus and finally to the church and how this type of authority works from a military perspective. Recall what the Centurion said to Jesus. He told Jesus to “Speak the Word” only and my servant will be healed. Did Jesus do this and what happened to the Centurion’s servant after Jesus spoke?
Mat 8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
Jesus speaks several things but I skipped down to verse 13 to shorten the lesson for now. Jesus says to the Centurion to go your way and that as you have believed (past tense) it has been done to you exactly that way. Ok, that was my paraphrase of the words of Jesus, but surely you can see what Jesus has declared. Why did Jesus emphasize that the Centurion had already believed and did not currently believe (present tense)? Do you think this make any difference? I believe that it does make a huge difference. If you believe that God will heal you someday in the future then that is not real great faith. Maybe it will help if we review what just happened to the Centurion and the servant. Here is a synopsis of what the Centurion did and what happened:
- The Centurion heard of Jesus and had faith in His Word.
- The Centurion initiates the exchange and does not wait passively for Jesus.
- The Centurion was very humble in his approach to God.
- The Centurion had great compassion for another to seek God to help.
- The Centurion recognized the Authority that Jesus possessed.
- The Centurion understood Authority involved only Giving Orders.
- The Centurion believed that he only needed Jesus to Give the Order.
- And finally the Centurion believed it was done when the Order was given.
- The Bible then said after the word was spoken, the servant was healed.
- Therefore, by the time everyone was back at home everything was back to normal.
- Understand that at no time on the way home did the Centurion doubt that it was not done.
- Therefore, the Centurion had great confidence in the Word of God that was spoken to him.
These are all factors of having great faith today. In other words all of this happened exactly like it was previously believed and spoken by the Centurion first. Did you notice I did not say spoken by Jesus first? Yes I did mean it that way. Yes Jesus did say it was done according to the way the Centurion believed, but Jesus didn’t tell the Centurion to believe this way or what to say. The Centurion made the choice what to believe and knew based upon his knowledge of authority that it would be done if Jesus would agree. This was the greatest faith example in the entire Bible of an unsaved Gentile man that was never in covenant with the almighty God because he understood authority. Clearly we can see that it was only because the Centurion believed in authority and spoke humbly with authority that caused him to have such noted declared great faith that caused even God to stand in awe and marvel. Do you want to amaze God? Here is how you do it. You believe He has given you the same authority that He possessed “to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19) and you speak with this delegated authority of God’s Word in your mouth declaring what has been already established in the spiritual realm and God will then say to you “be it unto even as you have believed today”. You see I just quoted you a part of Luke 10:19 and you need to go and read this verse closely and study it:
Luk 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
This verse confirms your authority over Satan. God says that you will “tread on” the power of serpents. Isn’t that a full circle back to what God said to you in Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 3:15? To “tread on” again means that you have been given transferred rights of authority to demonstrate Satan’s defeat on the earth personally. You will need to look up the definitions of the words “power” in this verse in Luke 10:19 in order to fully confirm what I am telling you. The first word translated as power in this verse means “Authority” and the second word translated as “power” means force. So they are two different Greek words concerning two different spiritual beings. We have God’s “Authority” over Satan’s force of power. Both of us are in the world but light overcomes darkness every time. However, if we do not exercise our authority, Satan will dominate us with his illegal power.
I guess I have been going a long time in this lesson. I have many more things that we could talk about concerning using your authority. Perhaps I need to do a series of lessons just on the subject of authority. This is truly a great revelation that every Christian needs to understand. Jesus has come into the world to restore the right order to man and has given to us His newly transferred authority for a purpose. We are going out of this world a victorious church and not a defeated church. We can only be victorious if we learn that we have authority and then learn how to use it with our faith. This information will change your life and your attitude. When Satan attacks with his power, you can fight back with your authority and he will flee in terror. Satan will not like me teaching you this authority, but that is just too bad. If you will grasp these concepts and take hold of them firmly and believe what God has told me to tell you, you too will become an over comer for God. God bless you until next time and please leave me a comment about how this is helping you to learn and grow in the knowledge Jesus Christ.
If you would like to continue to read in this series on the subject of Bible Faith you may now go to “Part 16“.
(Ver 1.2) Today is Part 14 in a series of advanced lessons on Understanding Bible Faith. If you have not been reading this series from the beginning I would recommend that you go back and start with “Part 1”. Faith is by far one of the most significant subjects found in the Bible for every Christian to know. This subject has far reaching applications that crosses into everything else found in the Bible. The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God. The Bible says that whatever is not of faith is sin. Without faith it is impossible to be saved. Without faith you will remain where you are today and fail to achieve what God has called you to do. These are radical concepts that few Christians attempt to understand and they have therefore, failed to recognize why they are in the situations that have arisen in their lives. God many times gets blamed in error for these conditions of mankind. But, it is far more likely that it was the people’s own ignorance of the subject of faith that has caused them to be facing what they think that they are unable to overcome.
What have we learned from this series of Bible lessons on faith? We should have learned that anything that happened to anyone in the Bible that was ever positive occurred only because someone had faith in God and His Word. Even in the majority of the cases observed in the Gospels, Jesus only acknowledged a person’s faith as being the key factor for them being saved, healed or delivered. At no time did Jesus take credit and say that it was His power alone that delivered anyone. This is why this subject is so critical to learn about right now. What applies to the people in the Bible applies directly to you and me today. Faith is the human factor that causes God’s power to be made manifest in the natural world. This could be the Power of God for spiritual salvation, physical healing, emotional restoration, marital reconciliation, child relationship and development or financial blessings. God cares about every area in your life, but God is not going to get involved just because He can or just because you need Him to. God will however, respond to your faith and move heaven and earth to get you the answer when you learn to do your part and believe.
I once heard a preacher man on TV say that faith does not move God. His point was that faith moved you to be in the right place to receive and that is really my subject today. But, I also wondered after hearing him, what Bible he was reading. I just had to disagree with that statement whole heartedly. You see I learned that the Bible says God is no respecter of people in the world (Acts 10:34, Rom 2:11). However, reading in the Gospels I learned that if people had faith God would do some extraordinary things to help them and not having faith mostly caused people not to obtain what God wanted to give to them. I read in the Matthew that when the centurion came to Jesus and asked for Jesus to heal his servant that Jesus said I will come (Mat 8:7). Why would Jesus have made such an effort to go out of his way for a Gentile that was never in covenant with God in order to go to his house personally to heal his servant? People really need to read the Gospels with more attention to the details. The centurion tells Jesus you do not even need to come to my house, just speak the word only and my servant will be healed. Jesus is again marveled and said I have not found so great a faith no not in Israel (Mat 8:10). Why was Jesus willing to go? Is this not an example of God in the flesh being moved? According to Jesus it was the centurion’s faith that caused Him to even be willing to travel and go where He was needed to go. Go read the story and see if it is not true. Jesus was moved by faith to go many places and this is still true today, because the Bible clearly says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb 13:8). Let’s talk about faith today and learn some new things on this very important subject. Let me give you one of my foundational verses today:
Mat 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Who gave the blind their sight? It was God of course. Who caused the lame to walk? Again it was God. Who cleansed the lepers? It could be no one else but God. Who can only raise the dead? No one but God can raise the dead. Finally who preached Gospel to the poor? It was Jesus. But, notice the emphasis is not ever upon God or His power in this verse anywhere. The emphasis is placed upon people receiving these things from God and that is a completely different perspective to that of God just giving them to everyone. While faith is not directly mentioned in this verse, I understand that this is the implied subject that causes people to receive, but you may not know that yet and that is why I am teaching this new part of the subject today. It is only because the blind has any faith that they are able to receive what God has given to them for free. What is receiving and what does it mean to receive something? Let’s do a quick review of the definition from the dictionary:
- To take or acquire (something given, offered, or transmitted); get.
This is an interesting concept that is easily overlooked by Christians? This word conveys personal responsibility to do something. This something requires individual action in order to be made effective. There are many things that come to my mind when reading this definition. If someone takes something that was not given to them, this is called theft or stealing. But, since we are talking about God’s gifts that have been given through His promised Word we are going to have to figure out how to reach into the spiritual realm to take what we cannot see or touch with our physical senses. Think of it this way, what if God has given to us in the spiritual realm, but no one has come from the natural realm to take what He has offered to us all freely? Is God going to come into the natural realm and force you to receive (take) it? That would certainly change the definition of receive, wouldn’t it? That is the religious idea of election or predestination and that is not in the Bible. God will never force His will or His gift of salvation upon anyone who does not take it freely. People in the natural realm are always required to take by Faith what God has given freely by Grace in the spiritual realm. Think with me in terms of natural Israel as being our example. They sat in the wilderness dying because they did not want to go into the Promised Land to take by faith what God had freely given to them by Grace. The Promised Land represents the spiritual dimension of your faith fight and obtaining God’s blessings. The wilderness represented the natural realm where if you remained you do without God’s blessings. Do you understand the analogy that God has given to us from this very clear Bible example?
Let me give you some more Bible examples of receiving to help teach you that I am not making this stuff up. Read with me in the book of Luke and see that Jesus is speaking to a blind man in another marvelous faith lesson:
Luk 18:41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
Jesus asks the blind man what do you want from me and the blind man demonstrates his faith by his actions and his spoken words. The answer given to Jesus question was “I want to receive my sight”. Why didn’t the blind man just ask for Jesus to give him his sight? Wow, that is a really great question. Sight is definitely what the blind man was after from Jesus, yes? Did you know that it matters what you ask for and how you answer when God comes to you? If the blind man’s words did not matter then why did Jesus even ask the question? Jesus is obviously well aware of the situation and the need and yet the man is not yet healed. What is Jesus waiting for? The problem was standing right in front of Jesus and Jesus could have just reached out and said “Be Healed” if it was all up to the power of God. Please think when you read the Bible. Jesus never does anything like you would do normally. If you were God standing before a blind man you would have probably just said “Your healed” and kept walking. But, Jesus stops and asks this man a question and that has meaning and his answer must matter. Everything that Jesus did was on purpose. I personally believe that it was only because of the blind man’s great answer that allows Jesus to continue. Can Jesus just heal everyone in the Gospels? Unfortunately, you do not find that is true if you observe what it really says. We learned from the woman with the issue of blood that she was the only one that got healed in a massive crowd of people that were all trying to touch Jesus. Jesus turned and looked at her and said your faith has saved you. Getting back to the blind man’s answer, why does he ask to receive his sight from Jesus? Do you understand that these words put the responsibility upon the blind man to receive and not Jesus to give? Do you understand the difference? That is a very new radical approach to take with an omnipotent God that is always capable of giving to us anything. God is teaching you that the way you think and speak is going to matter if you want to get your answer from Him.
So I’m going to introduce you to a brand new concept about faith and this will be a little bit different than anything that I have said before. True faith concludes that God is not only capable of giving, but that He has already given and I just need to learn how to receive it. The blind man never asked for Jesus to give him anything or to heal him, he only asks to receive his sight. Sight represents the answer to the man’s problem blindness. It is clearly stated from the blind man’s perspective and his request that Jesus has already given this and he just needed to take it. That is what faith is from a new Bible perspective. Let me help you see something else new in the Bible:
2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
God is stated to have power and through this power God has already given to us what? Is this not “ALL THINGS” that pertain to life? If God has given to you ALL THINGS that pertain to life why don’t you have it? It comes back to you not knowing how to receive it again. If you do not take from the spiritual realm what God has given, you will do without it in the natural realm. That is just the way it is and that is why people do without in many cases. What is your problem today, you only need to learn how to have faith to receive to get your answer also. Faith reaches out to receive or take and that is the foundational basis for my entire Bible lesson today. If you are receiving then you are in faith. If you are not receiving then you are not in faith. Your faith will receive the answer. Wow, again that is great information to learn. Notice the response of the creator God to this man’s request to receive:
Luk 18:42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
Jesus clearly associates the blind man’s faith to be the determining factor for him being able to receive his sight and it was also his “receiving” that permitted the anointed power of God on Jesus to flow and to manifest in the natural realm. You may recall that when the woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus, immediately Jesus felt virtue (power) flow from Him. Jesus stops and turns to see who accessed this power to flow and then tells the woman your faith has saved you. I always find it very interesting what Jesus says to people. Jesus does not say I have healed you even though it was clearly the power that He was anointed with that did the work in everyone. To the blind man, Jesus said “take your sight, your faith has saved you” and this caused power to be transferred from the spiritual dimension into the physical dimension. I may have implied this before, but I want to reemphasize the fact that faith is a spiritual force that you possess and not a natural feeling that you can work or sense and we will talk about that more in second. Clearly in Luke 18:42, Jesus again places the emphasis on the man’s taking with his faith and not upon God’s giving of the power.
Luk 18:43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.
I like the term “immediately”. This man is instantly healed by God and received what he requested without delay. However, this is not the only blind man healed by Jesus in the Bible. Why does God not treat every similar problem the exact same way? Did you ever notice that? There are several different blind men healed by Jesus in the Gospels and they are all different. It is actually a great lesson to go and read them all to determine the differences, but I will not do that for them all to limit the size of this lesson. I technically believe that God does treat every identical problem the same, but that it is the human contribution or factor that causes the variableness to occur. It is only because every person does not have the same level of faith that things appear different in the natural realm. For example, there is a blind man found in John chapter 9. This man encounters Jesus in a much different setting. If you do not recall this story please stop now and go read John 9 and then continue with this lesson so that we can compare the two similar problems and the healing examples. In John 9, the disciples point the blind man out to Jesus and ask Him a question about who sinned to cause his blindness. Let’s skip the answer to concentrate on what Jesus did different for the blind man and then let’s compare what this blind man did that was different to the blind man in Luke. In John 9, Jesus spits on the ground and makes mud and puts it on the man’s eyes and then tells him to go and wash it off. Why didn’t Jesus do this in Luke 18? The blind man in John 9 goes and does what Jesus asked him to do and comes back seeing. Why didn’t Jesus just look at the blind man in John 9 and say “Receive your sight your faith has saved you” like he did in Luke 18? Both are clear miracles of receiving sight, but they are completely different examples of the variable of human faith required to receive. It is clear to me that the blind man in John 9 had no faith at least at first. Let’s back up in the story of the blind man in Luke 18 to learn a few new things that I did not include to compare the differences.
Luk 18:37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.
Notice that this verse says that Jesus was passing by. Did you notice that? Jesus was not there to heal, and He would have just passed by if no one had any faith to stop Him. Do you understand that? Jesus was also passing by the blind man in John 9, but this time the disciples stop Him. Faith always gets God’s attention. I have given you examples of this several times. In the Gospels, clearly God was moved when He encountered the Faith of people and even at times marveled at their faith. What caused almighty God to go out of His way to deliver the child of a gentile woman in Tyre that you read about in an earlier lesson? Was it not her great faith? If you want to get God’s attention so that He marvels at your great faith you are going to have to learn how that works. This blind man in Luke 18 heard a commotion and demanded to know what was happening and he was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. Obviously this was at least a key part to him getting faith but it could not have been the entire story. He must have heard at some time in the past who Jesus was and that Jesus had said that He was anointed by God to heal and to give the recovering of sight to the blind and he must have believed in Him because of what he did next:
Luk 18:38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
Who is the blind man in Luke calling for? He had just heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, but he calls out for Jesus the Son of David. This was a covenant term of recognition or a covenant Title of respect and honor. Clearly this blind man understood more than many that were in the Jewish temple. The fact that the blind man calls Him the Son of David reflects that he knew who He was. The Messiah was prophesied to come from the seed of David. According to prophecy David’s son would forever sit on the throne of His father David. These are natural descriptions as well as spiritual terms being related. Take notice, who the blind man is calling out for. Could it be these covenant words that got Jesus attention to stop and not to just pass him by? Also note the man’s acknowledgment of God’s mercy. Love, mercy and compassion are all spiritual partners of God’s Grace. You can call them synonymous terms or you can see them as related intertwined subjects like a divine chord of character. Grace, mercy, compassion and love caused God to give to the world what they did not deserve. Nevertheless the blind man directly sought for Jesus and this must have been based upon him hearing His Word in order to already have faith when Jesus had not said anything to him up until this point. Therefore the man had faith and chose to do something to receive. Doing nothing would have resulted in Jesus passing by. Doing nothing would have resulted in him not receiving. The blind man could have had faith after hearing, but kept silent and not activated it and he would have done without.
Why is Luke 18 so much different than John 9? Both are blind men. The blind man in John 9 never calls out for Jesus to do anything. The blind man in John 9 does not ask for mercy, does not call Jesus the son of David, does not ask to receive anything and therefore Jesus has do some things differently because this man had no faith at this time. The John 9 blind man either does not know who Jesus is or has just never heard of him before now as being the anointed one sent from God. Luke 18 clearly is radically different. The blind mind initiates the contact after hearing the crowd passing. The John 9 blind man is passive and the Luke 18 blind man is totally aggressive taking the initiative. The blind man in John 9, Jesus initiates the conversation. The blind man in Luke 18 even the people can’t shut him up. One man has faith and corresponding works and the other man has neither at first. Let me introduce another complex factor that I have addressed only in passing. There is another faith factor or partner given to us in James that is applicable to what is occurring both in Luke and in John. Please allow me to take a side trip into teaching you about faith and works and how they are displayed in each Bible story from Luke 18 and John 9.
Jas 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Why are faith and works even mentioned together in the same verse? These two forces are diametrically opposed to each other in many other verses found in the Bible. For example, Galatians 2:16 says no man is justified by works, but by faith in Jesus Christ. What we learn from studying this subject is that faith alone in Jesus does not save anyone. Conversely works alone never saves anyone either. However, these two factors working in harmony together cause’s salvation to manifest. Why is faith dead without works? You could also ask; why is works dead without faith? Ok, why is that? We are born into the natural world as hidden spiritual beings. God is a Spirit, yet we do not come to know Him spiritually first except through hearing about Him in the natural realm and believing in Him by faith. When we choose to hear and learn about God and decide to believe in Him that is the initial stages of having saving internal spiritual faith. But, yet you are not saved until you acknowledge Him with your external works of your spoken words that He is your Lord. Those two factors together are the external corresponding work based actions working in conjunction with your internal spiritual faith based believing to cause a union of the physical and the spiritual resulting in the manifestation or receiving of an already accomplished God given reality. This is an example of faith and works coexisting and cooperating in harmony to produce salvation. Let me show you in the Bible:
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Roman’s 10:9 demonstrates how faith and works go together and tells us that we must first believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. The only way you are going to believe this is if someone comes and tells you about Him first. How does faith come? According to the Bible faith comes by hearing the Word of God, therefore believing comes by you first hearing. Then Roman’s 10:9 tells you that if you confess Him as Lord with your mouth then you are saved. This is the external works part of the internal spiritual faith belief. This verse is actually given to us in reverse order of occurrence and it does not directly mention the preaching part of the process, but yet everything can be confirmed by reading the next verse. Notice that true Bible believing only occurs in the heart of men and women on the earth in Romans 10:10.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
It is with the heart (spirit) that the Bible says that people believe anything. What we discover is that there are two realms to the completed process of salvation. The natural realm requires your works of confession while the spiritual realm requires your heartfelt beliefs to be established on God’s Words given to us by His Grace. All of this is dependent upon you first hearing the truth of the Gospel and then receiving it like we saw in the story of the blind man in Luke 18 or the woman with the issue of blood In Mark 5. Why did the blind man not ask Jesus to give him sight? Why did the blind man only ask to receive? This is the most important part of Bible faith. God had already given Jesus and the Messiah was present in the flesh standing right before this blind man. The blind man does not need to ask for Him to come and heal because God has already come and He was already anointed by God with healing power (Acts 10:38). The Bible said in Psalms 107:20 “God sent his word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions”. Do you suppose the man understood what the Bible said? Jesus the Word of God made flesh was given and present. God says in Psalms 107:20 that this sent Word “healed” them, as in past tense, done. Why do you need to ask for anything that was already done? That is the problem of most people’s prayer in the world today. They pray for salvation for a friend and salvation was given already and the friend now just needs to receive what God has given. Pray for your friend to receive, pray for God to send laborers across their path to preach but do not pray for God to save them. God will simply say to you I have done that if you were truly listening when you read my word you would have seen where I told you that I saved them. You can find this truth in many verses but one of these is where God says that we have been given the ministry of “reconciliation”.
2Co 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
This is a radical concept and this verse has some great information within it. The statement that God was in Christ informs us that Jesus was much more than just an ordinary man. He was God in the flesh and why did God come in the flesh? This verse says that God came to reconcile us (the world) to Himself. The world was everyone that was unsaved, an all inclusive scope of reality. This is again past tense terminology given to us as the completed action of God. These are specified things that God has already given and already accomplished. This verse ends with a message of direction for us today. We are to go and tell everyone what God has done. This is called the ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation is the great exchange. God has given to us His life and in exchange we are to receive this eternal life by giving to Him our lives. What God has already given to us in the spiritual realm, we now must receive in the physical realm through our faith and works.
What we discover from understanding about faith and works in James is why there is such a difference between the Luke 18 and John 9 blind men. The Luke 18 man had heard of Jesus, had faith and released his faith in his words and his actions to receive. The John 9 man had not heard of Jesus, had no faith at this time and could not release his faith in anything to receive. What does Jesus do for the man in John 9 to cause him to have faith? If you read the chapter you know that Jesus is said to have made mud from the ground and He then “anointed” his eyes with it. We can understand from reading Acts 10:38 that it was the anointing that healed those that were oppressed of the devil. However, the blind man’s faith in John 9 was still required to receive. The anointing still healed both men, but in John 9 God could not heal until the blind man in John 9 believed and did something first. So Jesus speaks instructions for the blind man to believe and then tells him something for him to obey (do). The man in John 9 had to go to a very specific pool and wash. What if the man never went to the pool because he did not believe what was happening to him was real? What if the man left Jesus but did not go to the right pool? What if there was a closer pool and the man went to that one instead? What if the man did not believe Jesus at all and he was not obedient and just went home? Hasn’t Jesus already anointed his eyes with the Power of God? I believe that he would not have received his sight. Being obedient to the voice of God is the acknowledged action of your beliefs. If God tells you to do something it is wise to do it no matter how crazy it sounds. Both men from Luke 18 and John 9 exhibit faith and works in action working together to produce positive results. One did not have to go and wash, the other did. However, both received their sight in the end. So that is more important than not receiving. Let me teach you another factor that is also revealed in these lessons:
Luk 18:39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
Here is a man that is blind, he hears a commotion and asks what is happening and people tell him about Jesus of Nazareth passing by. As the man calls out for the Son of David and for mercy others around him rebuked him to stay silent. What spiritual application can we learn from this new information that applies to us today? We learn that not everyone in the world is on your side and is willing to help you get your answer. We learn about the concept of the opposing forces of evil that will try to stop you from receiving. In other lessons I talked about these being like faith giants in the spiritual battle of your faith. While you are seeking for God’s mercy, you will encounter a spiritual force of opposition that will attempt to shut you up and stop you. Do not think that all of the things of God will be so easy to access? Do you think that you have no enemies and that God has no enemies? Where do you find that in the Bible? Do not assume everyone is on your side. Truly the opposition in Luke 18 came from ignorant people who knew not the heart of God to save this blind man. These people understood little to nothing of how God worked and why. These are examples of people that you will run into everywhere still today, on the internet, in your church, in your Christian book store and at your work or in your family. These people will discourage you from seeking to be healed, saved and delivered. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that you will not be persecuted for doing the right things and for seeking God’s help. What made this blind man in Luke 18 ignore all of his critics and continue to shout louder for the Son of David’s mercy? It is called the determination factor. If you are determined to receive from God then you will receive from God no matter what comes against you to stop you. Determination can mean when it looks like it is not working you remain confident that it is working. Determination can mean that when someone tells you the Bible is full of lies and errors that you just ignore them. The blind man in Luke 18 could have given up and given in to the opposition and then he would have remained blind. The blind man in Luke 18 could have listened to fools and stayed blind. If the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5 had not been determined to fight through the large crowd of people to touch Jesus then she would have not been healed either. She showed her determination by not giving up or quitting despite not feeling well and all of the people that were in her way. The blind man in John 9 could have given up on the way to the pool. He was still blind the whole way there. Jesus didn’t go with him and encourage him the whole trip to make sure he did what he was told either. Do you think that it was easy for him to get there? Have you ever been blind? I think it was not easy for him to do anything that Jesus said to do. You are going to have to make a conscious decision to become determined after you learn about faith. You will have many enemies both spiritually and naturally that will counter your beliefs to get you to fail.
Let me stop here and review the list of faith partners that I have been teaching on with the new additions to what you shoud have learned today on the subject. So far today we have discussed two new faith examples of Jesus healing blind men from Luke 18 and John 9 and I also mentioned the famous faith lesson of the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5. God says let everything be established by the words of two or three witnesses and that is what I have done today. I have given you three witnesses to faith. I will now give you a list of faith characteristics that we have talked about in this series and you should be able to identify these in every story that I have included in some form of words or displayed actions:
The success of your faith depends upon:
- Your Humility.
- Your Will/Desire to Get the Answer.
- Your Aggressive Actions to Participate in the Process.
- Your Ability to Hear.
- Your Understanding of the Word Heard.
- Your View of the Importance of the Word of God Heard.
- Your Belief in His Anointing Power.
- Your Belief in the Truth of the Word of God.
- Your Confidence Level in God’s Ability to do what He has Promised.
- Your Confidence Level in God’s Willingness to do what He has Promised to do.
- Your Overall Trust in God.
- Your Continued Determination Level Despite Major Opposition.
- Your Reaction to the Opposition.
- Your Words Spoken.
- Your Positive Expectation Level.
- Your Actions of Obedience.
- Your Receiving the Answer.
You should be able to find these faith qualities demonstrated in the life examples of everyone to some extent. Not everyone of them is obviously stated in every story, but yet they play a role in them receiving from God their answer to their problem. Today’s lesson was primarily about Faith Receives in the natural realm what God Grace has given to us in the Spiritual Realm. I then taught you that this was a combined effort of both the natural and the spiritual realms of man working in harmony. The human spiritual realm is where we believe and the natural physical realm is where we do the corresponding works. The realm of the human soul also plays a role in my list of factors but I have never spoken of this realm directly before just now. The soul realm of man is where our mind is, where our will originates and where our emotions play major factors into the faith fight. I talked about your will in other lessons being a factor to receiving. Today I talked about your determination being a factor and again this comes from your soul or your will. Your emotions will play a factor and cause you to want to give up. These are some of the very complex factors involved in Bible faith. We could probably add many more to the list and potentially we may do that in future lessons on this subject. I hope and pray that you learned something today about faith that will help you in your relationship with God. Until next time, may God bless you and keep you as you walk by faith. God Bless.
If you would like to continue reading in this series on Bible Faith please go to “Part 15“.